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12 entries from October 2006

Raising Kids Christian - Part III

It’s up early, make lunches, organize the backpacks, dressing then driving kids to school. We are busy parents of busy children. We often miss many teachable moments in our rushed day. I see teachable moments as a divine appointment with God when our child is open to practical, Biblical teaching.

I have found a very special place where I can experience a teachable moment and even pray with my child. It is in the car. Driving to school is such an opportunity to pray with and for my child. Think about it. We are alone with our kids. Activity is minimal with fewer distractions. They are a captive audience. I find a simple prayer said out loud, covering my daughter’s day, does two things. No, three.

First, she has a better day at school. She comes home less stressed and happier. Second, it is a powerful display of my own faith. A child watching their mother’s faith-in-action is the most powerful influence in their own spiritually journey. Thirdly, it teaches them how to pray. Children learn from imitating their parents. How can they learn to pray effectively if they are not learning it from their mom or dad?

In a spiritually mismatched marriage, you may be unable to pray out loud in your home because your spouse makes it difficult. However, you can pray for your kids in many other places. Make your own prayer mobile. Your captive audience has everything to gain!!

Be blessed, Lynn

Next post: Reading your Bible, how this activity can influence your children.

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Raising Kids Christian - Part II

After is was quiet and the children were in bed, Linda retrieved her Bible, took it into the kitchen, and left it on view for a week before taping it back together.

Children who grow up in homes where they witness this kind of response to Christianity need all the prayer covering they can get. - Raising Kids Christian, Michael Fanstone.

No other calling, as a parent, is greater than praying for our children’s eternal life. Our children may not know or even understand the effect we have over them when we petition our Lord in their behalf. I am often baffled that Christian parents don’t find the time to bring their children under the protection of God. If we are not praying for our kids, who is?

I cannot emphasize enough how daily prayer can be the difference in the circumstances of your children’s life. Daily I bring my child, by name, to the throne of the King. I ask for protection over her from evil people and evil spirits. I ask that God would walk with her and remind her to seek Him sometime during the day. I ask for His guidance and help in specific struggles she is facing at school or other areas of her life. I name the specifics. I ask the Lord to grow her love for Him. Then I ask him to make me a better parent.

I include this prayer for my adult son and daughter every morning when I pray. I also pray with my daughter at a most unusual time, It has been a powerful time of prayer and has encouraged her in her faith. I will tell you about that in my next post.

Do you pray with your kids? Do you find it difficult to pray out loud before your children? Have you asked your kids how you can pray for them? Leave me a note how you pray for your children.

Be blessed, Lynn

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Raising Kids Christian

I am stepping with great fear and trepidation into our next topic, Raising Kids Christian. I have been before the Lord asking for His divine guidance and word as we seek to uncover truth and wisdom for our children. I will ask the Lord to guide us through this study and to pour His Holy Spirit on all that is discussed in this series.

Lord, I ask that you are glorified through the words recorded here. I ask, Father, that if I speak anything that is not of you, those words would be forgotten and only your words would remain in the hearts of those who stop here.

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Lord, we are humble parents seeking to lead our lambs to the foot of the cross. Show us the way. Father, give us your direction when we are lost. Encourage us when we feel defeated. Give us the peace we need to pray effectively for our kids. Help us to remember that our children’s lives are in the palm of your hand. Mostly Lord, we humbly ask to help us become better parents through your teaching in the weeks to come. In Jesus name, name above all names, Amen.

Raising children to become Christian adults in the world today is tough. It is even tougher with out the support of a believing spouse. Children can be confused or anxious because mom and dad differ in their viewpoints. How can we guide them through the choices ahead to create young men and women who have a personal relationship with Jesus Christ? That is the question at hand so let’s get to it!

Linda is a woman who has learned to persist in prayer for her children, even though they have been deeply affected by their father’s anger toward Christian positions on various issues. One evening Linda was on the floor coloring with the children when her husband stormed into the living room with her Bible and a study book in his hands. Earlier that day Linda had inadvertently left them on the kitchen table instead of putting them away in a cupboard. Her husband saw what she had written and was so furious that he ripped the books up in front of the children and threw them out the front door. – Raising Kids Christian, Michael Fanstone.

The next post tells how Linda handled this situation and how our prayers for our kids are crucial. How to pray, what to pray, when and where all are important in the spiritual lives of our kids. See you then. Be blessed, Lynn

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In Spite of Me - Conclusion

Just as James predicted, my desire gave birth to sin, and in months I was caught up in an emotional affair. What started as fantasy led to longer talks, phone calls, a walk on the beach. I knew I couldn’t be unfaithful to my husband. Didn’t want a divorce. But my heart had turned completely from him. I was miserable in my marriage and yearning for another man. I felt the destructive effects of sin in my life. I couldn’t eat or sleep and anxiety overwhelmed me as I harbored my horrible secret sin I couldn’t seem to escape.

And then it all came out. The morning that I knew I had to confess my sin to my husband was the most terrifying morning of my life. I knelt on the floor of my bathroom and begged God for mercy. I knew the consequences would be horrible. Would he divorce me? Surely he would never come to God now that I’d betrayed him.

He was devastated, but I was amazed that his love for me ran deeper than I realized. Though heart-broken, he wanted things to work. Wanted that badly enough to agree to attend a Bible study on marriage.

After our first class, we attempted to do the homework, which involved reading Bible verses. As I read, Bill frowned and shook his head. Having never read the Bible, it made no sense to him. “Maybe you can just tell me the basic story of the Bible,” he said. “Ya know, like who the main players are?”

So I sent him off to work with a little Billy Graham booklet. When he came home, he said, “Well, I read Billy’s booklet and I said that prayer in the back.”

“You what?” Surely I’d misunderstood. “You want to be a Christian?”

“Things haven’t been working so well with me in charge,” he said. “I think maybe it’s time to let the Big Guy take over.”

I’ve got to tell you that I didn’t believe it. I didn’t think he had any idea what he was saying. Or perhaps it was something he was doing to make me happy. But I was wrong. It was real. Four years later, here we are—marriage restored, praying at meals, and going to a new church we both love where we take communion together. I cry every time we drink those little cups of grape juice together, amazed at God’s mercy and grace. Amazed that he saved me from the slimy pit I’d fallen into. And amazed that he saved Bill. Not because of, but in spite of, me.

The road to healing is a long one. Though God has worked in our lives, we will never forget how our marriage almost crumbled. I would like to say to those still in that position of being married to an unbeliever: Love your husband just the way he is—unconditionally the way God loves us. Don’t judge him if you can help it—he is still suffering from the same disease you once had (sin). You’ve only been fortunate to find the cure. Follow the advice of Hebrews 13:5, “Be content with what you have, because God has said, ‘Never will I leave you, never will I forsake you.’” It’s true that there is a void in your marriage. A spiritual void. And it’s hard. But Jesus can fill up that void. I can tell you that once he’s saved, there will still be voids. No person can fill us up, meeting all our needs. Only Jesus can. Don’t say, “If only.” Set your eyes on God, love your husband, and don’t give up. Miracles happen.

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In Spite of Me

In Spite of Me
By, a thankful and repentant wife

Note: I’ve chosen to write this story anonymously and change the names. Though I have my husband’s permission to share this in the hopes that it will touch someone’s heart, we don’t want to risk hurting anyone involved. We pray that God will bless your marriage.


When people hear that my husband Bill only came to know the Lord four years ago, after we’d spent eight years “unequally-yoked,” they often say things like, “Oh it must have been all your prayers that did it,” or “Your faithful witness probably drew him.”

At which point I laugh. Nothing could be further from the truth.

I’d wandered far from God when I met Bill. Far enough to have gotten pregnant as a teen. I was a single mom of three-year-old Amber and caught up in all the things of the world. Bill was a great guy, who accepted both of us into his life, and soon we were married.

When you grow up knowing the truth about God, I don’t think you can ever really forget it. I didn’t. When Amber was five, I got to thinking that I ought to bring her to church. Bill didn’t seem to mind, so I did. Though I thought it was for Amber that I was going, I soon found myself sitting in an old New England Baptist church, holding a Bible and missing my relationship with God. He welcomed me, His prodigal daughter, back with open arms. I rejoiced as the truth sank into my heart—He loved me just as I was. Married to an unbeliever, mother of a child born out of wedlock, having done all the things my youth pastor had warned against years ago. I found love and forgiveness at the foot of the cross, and went home full of joy.

But my husband wanted no part of it. “I’ll never have anything to do with that stuff,” he said. “I don’t want anybody pushing their beliefs on me.”

At church, sitting alone amidst a sea of happy couples, I felt like a girl with no date at the prom. I couldn’t attend the Sunday school class on marriage, had no hope of ever going to one of the marriage retreats the others got so worked up about. Worst of all, I was excluded from the social get-togethers where couples would get together for dinner or outings. It wasn’t all because people didn’t invite us. The few times Bill agreed to come to something, it was awkward. Ultimately he told me he just didn’t want to hang out with “those people.”

The more involved I got at church, the less I felt connected to Bill. I thought he didn’t care about the things that were most important to me. I considered the people in my church my family. Thought of them as the people who “got me.”

I began to overlook the fact that Bill was a really good husband. A hard worker who held a good full-time job and operated his own business on the side. A man who regularly called me beautiful, kissed me, said “I love you,” and asked if he could get me anything every time he went out. A man who, though he wasn’t interested in my God, respected my beliefs.

Instead, I focused on the spiritual void in our relationship, the way he took the Lord’s name in vain, the way he left me to bring our three daughters to church alone. Why should I have to be the one carrying diaper bags, getting everyone to their Sunday school classes, and sitting in the nursery with a crabby baby?

I threw myself completely into church. I sang in the choir, went to bible study, chaired a committee, worked in the library, and never missed a Sunday night service. The distance between Bill and I grew.
And then I began to ponder the most dangerous words: “If only.”

I sat on the velvet cushion of the old pew and sighed. If only I’d married a Christian man. My eyes drifted across the aisle and rested on a single man. If only I’d married someone like…him.

James says “Each one is tempted when he is drawn away by his own desires and enticed.” and it’s true. I let those thoughts linger. The man I thought about was single, attractive, funny. He loved the Lord. We worked together in a church ministry, often laughing and chatting together. What a great couple we’d have made. I imagined him and I going to the marriage Sunday school class together, then off to one of those retreats.

Just as James predicted, my desire gave birth to sin, .......... Part 2 of this extraordinary story to conclude in two days……

For those of you waiting for the series of articles about children of unequal marriage, it is on the way. Forgive the delay…… life is getting in the way of my blogging again….. Go figure. Series will begin midweek.

Thank you for your support and encouragement! I love you! Lynn

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Part Two - Complaining or Asking by Amy Forbes

In my previous post, I mentioned having a gentle and quiet spirit (1st Peter). I grew up in a controlling household where my parents argued on a daily basis, my father was a domineering man and I always promised myself that I would never let my future husband push me around the same way. Because of this I used to be very outspoken, domineering, and forceful person. I just didn't realize how much until God changed me. I always thought that submission was being a doormat. In my mind I equated it with women who are treated like second class citizens specifically by their husbands. One day at church I found a magazine called Keepers at Home (womenofgodinternational.org) which was instrumental for changing my understanding, BIG time. This little Christians ladies magazine published here in New Zealand taught that women are important in the lives of their husbands and children and submissiveness wasn't what society thought at all. Being curious about the meaning of the word submissive, I looked up a few bible verses:

Colossians 3:18
Wives, submit to your husbands, as is fitting in the Lord.

Ephesians 5:24
Now as the church submits to Christ, so also wives should submit to their husbands in everything.

When I read in the magazine about submission the teaching was clear about the meaning and it also said that it doesn't mean being a doormat as I once thought. It means that I should be allowing my husband to be the head of our household just as God is the head of him. It took a lot of courage and humility to spiritually, mentally and physically hand over the reigns (so to speak) to my husband, even though he wasn't a Christian. I had to pray and trust God that the decisions were what He wanted for us. I had to trust that if they weren't, He would protect us. Once I did it was as if a huge burden had been lifted and he started asking me for advice so that I could still have my say but then he made the final decision. Finally - liberation from control! I never wanted to be like my Father but I had unknowingly become like him. Think about your speech and your behavior. Are you Christ-like or are you trying to take over the reigns like I did? Remember this:

Proverbs 14
The wise woman builds her house, but with her own hands the foolish one tears hers down.

Amy Forbes
Guest Writer
Spiritually Unequal Marriage

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Complaining or Asking by Amy Forbes

Throughout the years my husband was distant from the Lord, we had conflict after conflict. I seemed to be growing in my faith whereas he had not only walked away from God, but was indifferent to Christianity. Each time I was dissatisfied with something he had or hadn't done I would complain and nag until I had several light bulb moments, two from my bible and one from an unexpected source. This is what God showed me:

Proverbs 27:14
A quarrelsome wife is like a constant dripping on a rainy day.

1 Peter 3:4
Instead, it should be that of your inner self, the unfading beauty of a gentle and quiet spirit, which is of great worth in God's sight.

Ouch, those really spoke to me. It is no wonder neither of us were happy, my words were actually nagging him but what to do about it?

A while later I happened to be watching a Dr Phil program and he made this quote: "Stop complaining and start asking.”

Wow, now I had something to work with, so I asked God to change me, to help me to stop pointing out my husband's inconsistencies. That's when things started to really move positively. Although my husband has since turned back to God, I feel like I was an Israelite going through the wilderness. Like them, for years, I was looking at my husband instead of myself. When I started focusing on my walk with God and not his, it started the ball rolling spiritually.

If you're also worried about a prodigal a good thing you can do is ask God to change you. It's only the changes in you that will make a difference. Not one of us perfect, we are all a work in progress.

As for nagging, I now know that if I need something done or if I need to ask my husband something I think about the way I talk to him. I ask myself am I nagging or am I asking him nicely? Today, I ask him once, then write out a list and put it on the fridge so he can see it then I drop the subject. I found the more I ask the more he resists. Think about how you communicate with your spouse - are you complaining or asking?

Amy Forbes
Guest Writer
Spiritually Unequal Marriage

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Troublewith.com

At Spiritually Unequal Marriage, we take a hard and honest look at marriage issues in light of our society and the Word of God. Some of the topics covered here are applicable to all marriages and many are specific to unequally yoked couples. When we are honest about our struggles and failures, we can experience real and lasting change. This is God’s perfect and pleasing will for our lives.

We often delve into challenging issues such as anger, loneliness, and stress. In this process, some of us will uncover giant stumbling blocks, which must be dealt with to achieve authentic healing. Understanding and applying God’s word is the beginning, however, we also may need professional guidance.

It is my commitment to consult with professionals such as, Rebecca Saville who is a physiologist and guest writer at SUM, when taking on a difficult subject. I also want to offer an online resource with helpful information on a wide range of issues. TroubledWith.com looks at parenting challenges, relationship difficulties, love and sex, marital conflict and life transitions to name a few.

I am preparing to write a series of articles on raising children in a Spiritually Mismatched Marriage. Please write me or leave a comment to give me your concerns and questions. Our children’s faith is of paramount concern in any marriage but even more so when faiths don’t mate. I look forward to sharing what God says about our kids.

Be blessed, Lynn


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Abundant Blessings

It is the Lord’s Day, a perfect and beautiful fall morning. For the first time I turned on the central heat. The warm air circling holds a ting of musty, burnt dust smell. This happens once a year when the heater is engaged for the first time of the cold season. It is a nostalgic moment speaking to me the promise of the seasons ahead.

On this beautiful Lord ’s Day, I am overwhelmed with the delights of my heart. I know my Savior has graced me with rich and lasting blessings that overflow in my life. It is a day for giving thanks to the Lord my provider.

O Father, You have lavished love upon my life in unfathomable ways. I thank you for my husband, children, family, church, home, and country. Hear my heart, I will name my blessings all day long and give You thanks. Amen

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This Monday, October 9th , is the launch of a new weblog created to enrich our devotional time with Christ.


Laced with Grace will offer a daily devotional post Monday through Friday and one on the weekend. Iris, author at Sting My Heart, has followed the prompting of God to create this beautiful place for us to gather and worship. She describes the site as follows and I could not have said it better:

Laced with Grace
is a place for women to focus on God’s Word and get encouraged in their walk with Him who saves. He is our inspiration on a daily basis and He helps us to focus what truly is important in this life.

It is my prayer that the name above all names, Jesus Christ, will be honored through the words and prayers of the authors and the visitors.

Hope to see you over at Laced with Grace! Be blessed!

Lynn

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Pray for our Pastors

Pastors and their families live under incredible pressures. Their lives are played out in a fishbowl, with the entire congregation and community watching their every move. They are expected to have ideal families, to be perfect people, to always be available, to never be down and to have all the answers we need to keep our own lives stable and moving forward. Those are unrealistic expectations to place on anyone, yet most of us are disappointed when a pastor becomes overwhelmed, seems depressed, lets us down or completely burns out.

That's why God has instructed us to recognize His servants.

"The elders who direct the affairs of the church well are worthy of double honor, especially those whose work is preaching and teaching" (1 Timothy 5:17).

October is Clergy Appreciation Month.

Today make it a priority to pray for your pastor. Hold him and his family up to God. Ask for protection and wisdom to grace their home. Please visit Parsonage.org for more information about honoring your pastor.

Be blessed, Lynn

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Thank you Nancy Kennedy

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I want to thank Nancy Kennedy for taking time out from her busy schedule to share her thoughts with us here at Spiritually Unequal Marriage. Nancy is thriving in her 31 years of marriage. Her example and practical advice was exactly what I needed to move forward in my marriage.

You can find more of Nancy’s resources on her website http://nancykennedybooks.net. Also, check out her newest book, Girl on a Swing, scheduled for released October 31, 2006.

Lord Jesus, hold Nancy in the palm of your hand. Her light shines in a dark world. Protect her and her family from the enemy. Grow her ministry and love her intensely. In Jesus Name, Amen.

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