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7 entries from November 2006

For an Audience of One

Spiritually Unequal Marriage exists to help and encourage those of us who find him or herself in an unequally yoked marriage.

Over the years, I have I grown in my love relationship with Christ and with my unbeliever. This is only possible through the intervening and supernatural hand of Jesus Christ. Still, I can experience days or even weeks when I feel defeated.

A trigger for these emotions can be an offhand comment, by my husband, about faith, Christ, heaven, hell, etc. My husband does not purposely aim to hurt, it just happens. Trigger comments bring on a fresh realization that my husband is excluded from a giant portion of my life, actually most of my life. His rejection of Christ feels like a rejection of me. I long for our marriage to be in the hand of God. I long for my husband to meet the Jesus I know. I long to share my thoughts with him, pray with him. The list can get extensive….

When the avalanche of these emotions overtake me, it is just like my Lord to send help and hope. That is precisely what happened a few days ago.

I sat alone in church, feeling hopeless. Pastor Greg began to speak. It was as if the message was written for an audience of one, me. Now want to encourage you.

Never Give Up: Find it here next. How does God help you when you are in the avalanche?

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Raising Kids Christian - The Prodigal

Jesus told this story: Luke 15

The Story of the Lost Son

11-12 Then he said, "There was once a man who had two sons. The younger said to his father, 'Father, I want right now what's coming to me.'

12-16 "So the father divided the property between them. It wasn't long before the younger son packed his bags and left for a distant country. There, undisciplined and dissipated, he wasted everything he had. After he had gone through all his money, there was a bad famine all through that country and he began to hurt. He signed on with a citizen there who assigned him to his fields to slop the pigs. He was so hungry he would have eaten the corncobs in the pig slop, but no one would give him any.

The prodigal child *sigh*… No one, in all creation, can keep a mother or father on their knees more than this wayward child.

I want to begin this segment about our prodigals with the following scripture:

Proverbs 22:6 (New International Version)
6 Train a child in the way he should go,
and when he is old he will not turn from it.

A very godly woman told me the story of her wayward son. As a young mother, she did her best to instill Godly principals in her child. Yet, she made many mistakes and her son fell away from faith in his teen years. Still at age of 40, he has not turned back to Christ of his childhood.

My friend went on to smile at me with a peaceful assurance in her eyes. She said, “I cling to Proverbs 22:6 for my son. I KNOW when he is old, he will return to his faith.” She went on to say, “and I mean old.” We both laughed yet knew she rested in this truth.

There is hope for us parents of prodigals. I myself returned to my childhood faith in my adult years. We must continue to pray for our wayward kids just as we pray for our unbelieving spouse. Our prayers are the covering over our children that will sustain them and protect them while they are lost in the world.

So what do we do during the waiting years? We love. Carol, another deeply committed Christian woman, shared her story. Her daughter became lost in the world of drugs, boyfriends and wild living, just like the prodigal of the Bible. After many years her daughter came to her senses and returned home. Why?

Carol never stopped loving her daughter unconditionally. Any interaction she shared with her daughter in the dark years, she loved. Her daughter could not believe after all she had done and the pain she brought to her parents, they still loved her. Their unconditional love brought deliverance. Carol’s daughter is back on the path toward home.

Remember our spouses redemption is in the hand of God, so too, are our children. It is not up to us to save our kids!

I must quote Nancy Kennedy here because she said something in the interview with SUM that really hit home:

Even in the most devout Christian homes, kids stray. My pastor says, “Think of the most perfect parent ever- God the Father- and then look at the way His kids turned our (meaning us).” That should give us all hope.

As for advice… pray hard. Parenting is difficult, but God’s grace covers us all. The bottom line is, God is God. Salvation is His and He calls the shots. He uses everything we go through for His glory and our ultimate good.

Amen, Be blessed, Lynn

*****

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Raising Kids Christian - Part VII - The Battle for our Kids

Never forget that we are in a battle. Our enemy will begin to deceive our innocent children, even at a young, much too young age. Eternal consequences are at stake and you are the first line of defense.


Ephesians 6:12
For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms.

Do not become paralyzed with fear but be aware. Greater is He that is in me than he that is in the world. Praying daily for our children’s protection and spiritual growth is essential. In Part II of this series we covered the essential dialog with God regarding our children. If you did not read this article, please read it for your children’s sake.

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A typical evening….. You and your husband are watching television in one room. Your oldest is on the computer in another, the two little ones are in the bedroom watching television as well.

This scenario scares me…. Divide and conquer. It seems to me that the enemy would love nothing more than to separate and divide a family. Television has become an effective tool for this very result.

What are your kids watching??? What are you watching??? Yikes!! This can be a very uncomfortable question. I know my unbelieving spouse watches television that Jesus does not want me to watch. Because of our different values, it can be extraordinarily difficult to put forth a united front for our daughter. We will disagree concerning what she can watch and what games she can play on the computer.

What I have learned after much heartache and time is to put forth your best effort. Talk with your spouse. Try for a mutual agreement. Usually, spouses are agreeable about what the children can and cannot watch and play…Monitor your child at the computer and the television they watch. You are the one who can make a difference in what goes into their little minds.

It is imparative we understand this important concept: The second an inappropriate image goes in to your childs mind, you can NEVER get it out. If they stumble upon pornography, that picture is always there. Your kids see it, it disturbs them, they don’t know what to do with it. The enemy can use that image to create false perceptions about what they saw. Monitor CLOSELY your younger children.

There is also a good post about video games over at 5 minutes for mom.

If you have teens, it is imperative to keep communication open. Youths often think they understand mature concepts but they don’t. If you need help to open up communication with your teen, start at Focus on the Family. You must have open and trusted dialog to help your teen through the weird and tumultuous teenage years.

Don’t be discouraged. Be empowered! We know the truth, we can share the truth with our kids!
The truth will set them free. Be blessed, Lynn

Next Post: The prodigal. This is a wonderful story to give you hope for your prodigal.

*****

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Raising Kids Christian - Part VI - Encourage Your Kids

Lord, I hold up every parent reading this series of articles, Raising Kids Christian. I ask You, Father, to send a fresh anointing of the Holy Spirit into their life. Empower them by Your spirit to stay the course, to keep the faith and to love, love, love.

Lord, I pray that you would give us a supernatural ability to discern the truth concerning our children. Fill us with wisdom to be a trusted guide in their journey through life. Make each of us a better parent today.

As You lavish Your love into our lives, help us to pour unconditional love into the lives of our precious lambs. Grant us patience and peace for the rebellious times ahead, for the confusing and scary moments of parenting.

Our children are a precious gift You have entrusted to us for a short time. Help us love them as you do. Amen


In addition to praying for our kids and offering a living example, as a Christian parent, we can encourage our children in their faith in other ways. We have already talked about attending weekend church services. Take your children with you as long as you can.

I confess, my tween daughter did not like to go to church every week. Some weeks she would go with me and other weeks stay at home with Dad. My daughter never cared to attend her age specific “Sunday school.” She would rather attend adult services over the “kid room” as she called it.

Now she attends every week!!! She volunteered to help in the kindergarten classroom while I attend church. She loves it! She is a teacher’s helper. She is delighted every week with the kids who look up to her. She reads her lesson material the week before and is prepared to talk about the truth with the five-year-olds. She is learning more now as a teacher’s helper than she did sitting in church with me. God orchestrated the invitation to my daughter to teach. I just encouraged her by telling her she would be good at it!!!!!

You can also help them be aware of Christian events and opportunities. Church youth group is a fantastic outreach! There are Christian concerts, youth camp, movie night, Christian bowling, roping, racing, etc. There are youth retreats and missions to build homes in Mexico, as well as local missions, feeding the homeless also, pool parties and vacation bible school for the youngsters.

Pray for a Christian friend for your child.

Your child may not be a Christian today but you can talk to them about your faith. You can encourage them to pray to God. Small prayers given to God are often the beginning steps to a love relationship with Jesus Christ.

In my next post: Where do we draw the line??? How much television? Video? What movies are they watching? What images and messages are they receiving through the media and in your own home? What happens when mom and dad disagree???

In my final post on Raising Kid’s Christian, we will tackle the Prodigal…. Stay tuned and be blessed my friends. You are not alone!!

Remember: Philippians 4:13 (New Living Translation)
13 For I can do everything through Christ, who gives me strength.

*****

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A Child's Faith

One of the delights of writing some of the series of articles for Spiritually Unequal Marriage has been my interviews with my family. I have been surprised, humbled, and encouraged by my family’s willingness to participate and their honesty in the answers. They are truly interested in helping us in any way they can. Mostly they help me!!Imported_photos_00097_3

During this series, I decided to interview my eleven-year-old daughter. I asked her several questions I think might be of interest. I have her permission to share. I also would encourage you to “interview” your kids. God will use these private discussions to change you and your child.

I know our reading audience is vastly different in that we have children of all ages or do not have children. Still, I hope you will enjoy the truths of God from the eyes of a child. Also, my interview with my daughter would not contain the same questions as an interview with an adult child or a three-year-old. However, consider these questions as a starting point then how you could revise them to interview your own child. Ask your child if they would be willing to participate in our website interview. Please email your answers to me. Sharing your challenges and successes can help all of us.

Interview: October 15, 2006

Q: What do you think about the differences in your parent’s beliefs?
A: I don’t like it when you argue about your differences like when the news is on and you both can’t agree!

OUCH!

Q: Do you believe in Jesus?
A: I do. I just know He is there. He hears my prayers. I pray for my Dad.

WOW! Didn’t know all of this!

Q: What helps you to be assured in your faith?
A: I see you reading and praying. It makes me feel that I am right.

Hummmm… Our personal faith is a shinning witness for our children

She went on to tell me that her faith is very simple for her. She honestly doesn’t understand why Dad doesn’t get it! (Her words: They were painful for me to hear. We both long for Dad to come to Christ)

As a child, her faith comes simply! As adults, we complicate faith, don’t we?

Thank you for indulging my interviews. I pray that you will find encouragement for your children’s faith here. I will continue the series on encouraging children toward faith in my next post! Be blessed! Lynn

*****

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Raising Kids Christian - Part V

Sunday morning arrives and so does the stress. To attend church or not to attend church is the question. Spiritually mismatched couples find church attendance a giant point of contention as I discussed in the series, Going It Alone. This series explores the flash points of disagreement which arise with our spouse over church and how we can navigate through our hurt and disappointment.

Taking our children to church can create an entirely new set of problems for a spiritually mismatched couple. As a Christian parent, we are compelled to take our children to church. We want to expose them to other kids and adults who love Jesus and who pursue a life lived for Him. Our spouse, however, does not share our enthusiasm or can be outright hostile about taking the kids to church.

What can we do???? In most households, the non-believing spouse usually does not mind if the kids go to church as long as they don’t have to go. So taking your young children to church is relatively easy. Young kids find church programs fun and they enjoy playing with the other children. However, when they enter their tween or teen years, their desire to attend church can shift. This is especially true when Dad stays home. Kids want to stay home and hang with Dad.

As the Mom or Dad who attends church the best advice I have is to remain flexible. When your spouse is encouraging your kids to stay home or the kids are difficult about church, don’t argue in front of them. What we must do is decide before this day of contention arrives how we will react. Reacting in anger or forcing attendance creates negative emotions and feelings in your child’s heart. I agree there are times when we, as parents, insist our children follow our instructions and wishes. There are many good reasons! However, in a mismatched marriage the dynamics are different.

What can we do? We can pray hard and plan to take them to church as long as we can. Many of us have children who have given up on church whether they were raised in a Christian home or not. I want to give you a wonderful scripture. It is a promise from God that is powerfual and gives us hope for our kids.

Proverbs 22:6 (New International Version)
6 Train [a] a child in the way he should go,
and when he is old he will not turn from it.

The key to this verse is the word OLD. Remember effective influence over our children is through our authentic relationship with Christ and by the way we live. This is true of our spouse as well. It is solely up to Jesus, who is the redeemer of all people, to save our children. Rest in this promise.

Encourage your children to go to church for as many years as you can. Such encouragement, as long as it is not heavy-handed and dictatorial, can make a dramatic impact on youngsters, even if they abandon going to church earlier in life than you would choose.

Be encouraged! We serve the Most High!! He loves our kids more than we do. Be blessed, Lynn

Next Post: Other ways to encourage your kids toward Christianity.

*****

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THRIVE in your Spiritually Mismatched Marriage and raise your children to faith. Our books are filled with practical experience and Biblical advice. -click or tap the photo-

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Raising Kids Christian - Part IV

Daily I rise, grab my large mug of strong coffee, my Bible and my prayer journal. I sit down in the family room under the lamp. It is my favorite time of day. I meet with my Savior to read His thoughts, sip coffee, I love a great cup of coffee. I read and pray in the morning. In one of my previous posts I talk about the benefits of praying in the morning, Can Prayer Be a Witness. As I read as my daughter wakes. She sees me faithfully, day-after-day, reading and praying.

Prayer and Bible reading is a profound witness to our children. The effect on your children can be considerable. The mere fact that their mother, of all people, has this kind of meaningful relationship with God will inevitably make an impression on them. You may do little more than tell them of your own experience of Jesus, but your persistent, gentle message will come through strongly. They may realize that it is worth their while to consider trusting Jesus too. - Raising Kids Christian, Michael Fanstone.

Next post we will talk about kids and church. Children and church attendance creates enormous conflict between spouses in a spiritually mismatched home. We will discuss aspects of church attendance and conflicts next.

I hope you have a minute to read a great post over at Chrysalis. E-Mom has a post about prodigal children as well as suggestions to help young children grow in their relationship with Christ. As part of this series, I will also be discussing prodigal children. I was a prodigal and I have a prodigal son now of my own. Stay tuned. Be blessed, Lynn

*****

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THRIVE in your Spiritually Mismatched Marriage and raise your children to faith. Our books are filled with practical experience and Biblical advice. -click or tap the photo-

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