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21 entries from June 2009

Let’s Talk, Part 2

1022995_lovers_blissLast week we had a great discussion about communication. Lots of great comments and input. Let me see if I can summarize some of what was shared.

Talking: The true key to communication, although we do communicate with our body language and tone of voice, but we’ll leave that to another post. Kathleen gave us a good example of how she tried to meet her husband on his terms and interests. And based upon what she said, her efforts were rewarded. Her husband encouraged her. The point here is she took the time to find a way to involve herself in something her husband liked to do, therefore opening more opportunities for them to communicate and share. (Guess I’ll give disc golf another shot. Stay tuned for more on that one!)

Choices: Part of the underlying thread of communication is the choice to participate and even choose an activity conducive to talking. Having dinner instead of a movie. Taking a walk together for exercise instead of going to the gym and then going different directions. Or even doing activities in the same room—reading, like Gretchen’s example—but still keeping physical contact (there’s that body language again…) and being open to share and talk when the mood hits. Just be sure to pick an activity in which you and your spouse won’t mind interruptions. Kathryn made a great suggestion of having a regular date night. Here’s an opportunity to get creative in the planning and even challenge one another to try new things. Let’s admit it, part of the battle is falling into old routines that leave one or both spouses dissatisfied.

Part of this also applies to the situation like our anonymous friend shared. Yes, we want to reach out to our unbelieving spouses and find common ground, but we can’t compromise to sin in order to do it. God would never ask that of us anyway. Perhaps in anonymous’ case, the family could work together to find appropriate shows and movies they can watch together, and leave a clear boundary that he’s on his own when she and her son find the content offensive. Their actions will continue to speak volumes.

Setting Aside Agendas: With this comes Amber’s excellent point. Humility. If we can go into our effort to connect with our spouses with humility, with our own agendas set aside, perhaps we can reach them in new ways. Sure, it may mean doing something like wading through burrs and dry grass to find a Frisbee disc on a hot day, but am I willing to put aside my discomfort and make the point of the activity—to spend time together—the focus?

Rob gave us a reverse scenario of this one. He found something he felt would be interesting to both him and his wife. And not only that, it turned into an opportunity for him to share his faith. His persistence paid off.

Prayer: At the risk of sounding like a broken record, let’s pray and ask God to show us new ways to communicate with our spouses. When we’ve tried everything and have basically moved on to live separate lives for the most part as Grammy shared with us, I still believe God can break these barriers in ways we can’t even imagine. So yes, when we are in a difficult marriage, we should continue to grow and pursue our own interests, but we shouldn’t give up on our difficult spouses, nor throw that valuable respect Tamara talked about out the window. Nor should we keep ourselves stagnant just to make our spouse happy. The enemy would love nothing better. When we can’t seem to make any ground in these situations, God can. And we can too through his guiding hand and strength. (Phil. 4:13)

So, let's keep sharing new ways to communicate with our spouses. And if you see me on the disc golf range, be sure to wave hello. I’ll be the one picking burrs out of my socks.

Praying and believing,
Dineen

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Attending Church Alone
Church or no-Church

Things often play out very strange.

I am going to share a story with you. I am still trying to process the circumstances of the past two weeks looking for the hand-print of God in this. I would be interested to know if any of you have experienced what I experienced and how you processed it.

 _____

One of the most consistent Google searches which bring new readers to Spiritually Unequal Marriage is this: Attending Church Alone.

I am not surprised by this. For many years, going to church alone was an enormous obstacle for me. Our society is after all, structured primarily around couples. Ever been to the amusement park? Two chairs together on the roller coaster. What about going to the movie theater alone? Shudder!

And finally, church. Organized religion, for the most part, revolves around couples – families. I am not condemning this truth only pointing out that the typical church centers around husbands AND wives. Church leadership doesn’t intend to isolate singles. After all look at the many thriving singles programs churches offer. Manalonechurch

However, being married and single is a category most churches can’t even begin to comprehend. With this said, the reality of attending church alone is excruciating. Many Sundays, I would sit down in the sanctuary by myself. Soon a cute couple would shuffle down the row in front of me. I always seemed to notice they were holding hands. Woman prayingThen they would sit directly in front of me thus making it impossible for me to ignore them. And finally they would shoot each other a dazzling, I-am-in-love-with-you-and-so-glad-to-be-in-church-with-you, smile.

Pain.

I’m not saying anything is wrong with this scenario. In fact, it is very right. But for me……. my heart could be wrenched right out of my chest. The pastor’s message would become lost as his words floated above me, indistinguishable because I was lost in a turbulent sea of unfulfilled longing which threatened to completely swallow me up. Anyone relate?

So now let me put a twist on this scenario. It’s utterly strange to me as I contemplate what I am going to share.

In the recent months since my husband's unemployment, he has attended church with me sporadically. Elated just doesn’t describe how excited I felt over this change in our relationship in early January. Every unbelieving spouse, hopes –dreams- about this day. We think, finally, he will hear the truth spoken and because it is delivered by someone other than me, perhaps the Holy Spirit will finally breakthrough to him.

A desperation prayer is then quickly uttered. “O Lord, please, please, let this be the day he is baptized.”

Well, I am still waiting. And in recent weeks, a new phenomenon has emerged into our intricate church attendance drama.

ME.

Recently when my husband chooses to attend church, I faced some unexpected and baffling scenarios. The night or morning before church, my husband would launch into complaints. “The music's too loud. It is a waste of time. Why do we stand through the long singing time? All the men that I observe in church just aren’t’ into it, so why do we sing? And, why is church so long anyway? An hour is enough.”

At first I would answer these questions. “Popular Christian music isn’t like the old hymns. Younger people like it louder and more energetic. So do I.”

“We stand because we honor God as we stand to our feet and from my perspective the singing (worship) isn’t long enough.”

“Many, many people including men really, honestly, like the music.”

And I just leave the whole length-of-the-service thing completely alone. If you love Jesus, you like to be there. If you don’t…….

In addition to these complaints, he would use body language to display his displeasure during the service once we arrive. And if I am brutally honest, I found myself in silent tears as I observed the hostility in him while I stood at his side in church on random Sundays. Because of these verbal and nonverbal complaints, the once-a week- worship and reconnection which I desperately needed was subtly stolen from me. It was just too much for me to ignore.

It seems last week I couldn’t take anymore. It was Father’s Day. He complained about getting up early. “I am not going to rush to get ready. We will get there when we get there” he said as he stepped into the shower.

My disappointment mounted. I LOVE TO WORSHIP. The music can absolutely revive my heart.

We walked into the church that morning and the music was loud but not piercing. He immediately mumbled some caustic remark to me. Girls and Men…. I just snapped. “You do not need to be here. I don’t want you to come to church just to make me happy. I no longer want you here if you don’t desire to be here so please leave right now and I will get a ride home.”

I stared straight into his face with an intensity that could have bored holes through his head. At the moment, I wish they would have. Not kidding!

_____

~This post has gone long but I have so much more of the story to tell. It's already written and I will meet you again here on Friday, July 3rd for the conclusion as well as a question for you. Please come back. Also, today give me your thoughts and share your experiences about church or no-church. Be Blessed, Lynn

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Thankful Thusday - She Sings??????

Hi Everybody, I stopped a minute from making my debut Blogger’s Retreat video. If you want to see Lynn Donovan embarrass herself as never before, you will not be disappointed with this video. I am going to sing, dance, type and who knows what else. Yikes!

Promise me that you will listen with a forgiving ear when I finally get this puppy finished and posted here.

Why would I do this? Well, I am willing to debase and humiliate myself for the most worthy cause ~The 2009 Free To Be Me Blogger’s Retreat.

This retreat is for all Christian women bloggers and wanna be, future bloggers. We are going to meet together, finally, face-to-face in October. We are going to laugh together, learn together, encourage one another, pray for each other, blog, and worship our Great King. Because, after all, it is for HIM that we write.

I am thankful this Thursday because God arranged for me free airfare. My unbelieving husband gave me his frequent flyer miles to send me across the country to be part of this awesome event. (I just love it when God uses my unbeliever to further His kingdom.) This is especially awesome because of our unemployment situation. God is a God of miracles. Can I get an AMEN?

Please, please, please make any and all efforts to join us if you are able. We are offering scholarships in July and then August watch for more information at our blog, Free To Be Me Blogger’s Retreat and our Social Net Work, Free To be Me.

So, today I am praising the Lord for airfare and for the forgiving people who will watch this video next week and who will still come back to visit after hearing my voice. Love ya!

God bless and have a perfect day (hint, hint).

For more Thankful Thursday, visit Laurie at Women Taking A Stand. Also, next week, Thankful Thursday returns here, Spiritually Unequal Marriage, for the month of July. Be blessed, Lynn

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Let's Talk

1022995_lovers_bliss Communication is a vital part of any relationship. And I'll be honest. Right now I'm not communicating very well with my hubby. Thanks to some wonderful prayer warriors, I can sense it's getting better, but I'm still not quite on track, or where I'd like to be. Because, let's face it, in a SUM, it's like we're constantly on stage, don't you think? I know I do. We want to our unbelieving spouses to witness what God's done or doing in our lives, but that's not always easy.

So, let's hang out and talk a little bit here about the challenges of communication and how we can find ways to improve our talking, and listening skills.

One area I think makes a big difference in communication is staying connected. This can be a real challenge in any kind of marriage. We grow older, our interests change, and before you know it, you're more like two people living separate lives who occasionally intersect than a married couple.

I know I've tried playing an online game with my hubby, and even went disc golfing with him once. But I'm finding myself more challenged to find things we can connect with and through, since our beliefs are so different.

So, what have you found works in helping stay connected to your spouse? Let's get a convo going here, people! Let's talk!

Looking forward to reading your comments!
Dineen

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I Like Big Bibles and I Can Not Lie

Yesterday in honor of Father’s Day we experienced: 

Manchurch

Every year ~ fantastic. Here is a taste.

Prepare to experience an urge to dance, giggle and jump up and down. You will want watch every second of this video. I promise.

Have a fantastic week. Be blessed, Lynn

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Weekend Devo—Praying Fervently for our Children

In celebration of Father's Day, I'd like to share this wonderful article by Rick Warren with you. —Blessings! Dineen

Dd_header

Fathers: Pray Fervently for Your Children by Rick Warren

"I pray for them. I am not praying for the world, but for those You have given Me, for they are Yours" (John 17:9 NIV).

Jesus reflected the father heart of God when He prayed for the disciples. As a father, or mother, you can pray that your children will focus on the five purposes of God.

God's five purposes for your children are the same as God's five purposes for your life, and the same as the five purposes for the church. Jesus prayed for all five purposes in the lives of those He was leading.

Jesus said, "I pray for them. I am not praying for the world, but for those You have given me, for they are Yours" (John 17:9 NIV).

We can pray that our children will live for Christ joyfully: "I say these things while I'm still in the world so that they will have the same joy that I have" (John 17:13 GWT).

We can pray that our children will grow strong spiritually: "I'm not asking You to take them out of the world, but to keep them safe from the evil one" (John 17:15 NLT).

We can pray that our children will serve Christ effectively: "Make them ready for Your service through Your truth; Your teaching is truth" (John 17:17 NCV).

We can pray that our children will experience fellowship personally: "My prayer . . . is that they will be of one heart and mind, just as You and I are one, Father . . . and the world will believe You sent me" (John 17:21 LB).

We can pray that our children will bring others to Christ regularly: "I pray not only for them, but also for those who will believe in Me because of their message" (John 17:20 TEV).

Even if you are not a father, or a mother, you will help others move toward the heart of God by praying for them and the purposes God has planned for their lives.


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Pride is a Cheater

Pride is a Cheater

My name is Pride. I am a cheater.
I cheat you of your God-given destiny...because
you demand your own way.

I cheat you of contentment...because
you "deserve better than this."

I cheat you of knowledge ...because
you already know it all.

I cheat you of healing...because
you're too full of me to forgive.

I cheat you of holiness...because
you refuse to admit when your wrong.

I cheat you of vision...because
you'd rather look in the mirror than out a window.

I cheat you of genuine friendship...because
nobody's going to know the real you.

I cheat you of love...because
real romance demands sacrifice.

I cheat you of greatness in Heaven...because
you refuse to wash another's feet on earth.

I cheat you of God's glory...because
I convince you to seek your own.

My name is Pride. I am a cheater.

You like me because you think I'm always looking out for you.

Untrue.

I'm looking to make a fool of you.

God has so much for you, I admit, but don't worry...
If you stick with me

You'll never know.

~ Beth Moore
Praying God's Word.

Decorative clip art

You need this video. If you are traveling in the valley, now is your moment to see some daylight. If you are walking on the mountain top, you are about to walk on the very summit. Today you will be encouraged, I promise. Eight tiny minutes. It is so very worth it.

PS. YOU are God's original masterpiece! Have a blessed day, Lynn

Lynn is God's original masterpiece!

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Thankful Thursday

I have a random ton of things I am thankful for this week.

Firstly, thank you for the encouragement from all of you on Monday. Caitieadjusted IIGod spoke to me through your words and I am walking the walk and talking the talk… Thank you for the scripture verses, the prayers, the offers to help job search. I am undone and humbled to be loved by God’s people in such a real and uplifting way.

Secondly, Friday my daughter was promoted out of middle school. sniff.. sniff… I have a high schooler. Sheesh, where do the years go? 

DSC04551_edited-1 Third, right now I have a house full of teen girls who are making videos to share on YouTube. It’s a parody. They have included me as one of the actors. What a hoot. We have laughed and giggled until I thought I would tee tee my pants.

I am richly blessed today. I will not lose sight of the prize…I press on toward the goal to win the prize for which God has called me heavenward in Christ Jesus.

Have a fantastic Thursday. Be Blessed, Lynn

For more Thankful Thursday hop over to Women Taking A Stand.

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The Bible as a Magazine?

Bible-illuminated_cover Last week I found out about an interesting book while watching Stephen Colbert. The Bible Illuminated. Created by Swedish-based Illuminated World and approved by the American Bible Society, this magazine style Bible uses the Good News Translation mixed with images from today. The New Testament is available now and the Old Testament can be pre-ordered.

I'm fascinated with this concept. One, Scandinavia is one of the least "religious" areas in the world. The potential for this "coffee-table" style Bible to reach those unexposed to Christianity could have huge potential.

On the other hand, some of the images seem odd. Throughout the Scriptures, certain pieces are highlighted and connect with the images. One photo of three gangster-looking men seemed to be linked to the three wise men. I laughed at first, then struggled with the connection.

41ke82tE1LL._SL500_AA240_ The covers themselves are very evocative and strong. Here again, I can see these images working quite well in the Scandinavian region known for its free thinking, yet I can also picture the more conservative side finding these covers verging on inappropriate.

However, I'd like to believe the potential is there to reach those who wouldn't otherwise pick up a Bible on their own. As an unequally yoked spouse I'm always looking at things like this from the angle of reaching the seemingly unreachable.

I'm not sure how these "books" will go over in the U.S., but perhaps here is where we have to trust that God will certainly use this to his glory.

We've seen Him use stranger things, haven't we?

Praying and believing,
Dineen

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Chronicles of the Donovan Clan - The Update

Well it’s been a long time since I have posted an update about the Donovans. This post is difficult for me to write.

Most of you know that in January my husband lost his job. Back then I wrote about my trust in God and how He has our lives in the palm of His hand. I wrote how I knew He was working all things together for good and for my husband’s salvation because I love Him. You can read that post here.

Friday my husband sat me down on the couch, “Honey, I just spoke with the company. They are unable to hire me as we were anticipating. The company decided to hire from within to save money. In fact, things now are again at square zero. I will keep looking”

Literally, my heart began to pound. In 15 seconds a million thoughts flashed through my mind.

  • The dwindling number in our checkbook.
  • The doctor’s appointment that must be postponed.
  • A long overdue purchase of bathroom rugs.
  • Big things and tiny things.
  • As well as the small but still relevant wish list I cling to for the day a paycheck once again arrives in hand.

Girls and guys, it is now I find out what my faith is really made of. Today, this month, it seems my hope and enthusiasm is eroding. I just didn’t see this setback commin’. Blindsided and befuddled.

For the past three years I have written about God’s faithfulness in my life. I have shared with you tiny as well as giant miracles of God moving in the most unexpected ways in my life. I have assured you the Lord hears our prayers and waits anxiously to answer.

Today I am standing in that deep valley. I have questions.

  • Lord, why are you silent?
  • Lord, do you want ME to return to work?
  • Lord, how much longer do we wait?
  • Lord, why aren’t you listening?

Gulp….. And then…….. I went to church. Thank you Jesus for church. Although church is filled up with broken and messed up people (like me), it is a place where Jesus dwells and gives me perspective.

The message today: When Life Doesn’t Make Sense. Do you think this message was for an audience of one????

For the first time in a long time, God seems to be silent. Aren’t there scripture verses where God pulls away to test a person. Hummmmm. God is silent. My life is on hold. I am not hearing the Lord speak the way forward. How many of you have been in this place?

However, my life is not God forsaken it is God directed. It is time to really show all of you what my faith is made of. It is time for me to put my faith where my mouth is or at least my computer keys….

For years I have asked you to cling to Jesus to trust Him with your heart and your marriage. So, today, I am compelled to believe Jesus is asking me to cling to Him in the silence and trust Him with our future. This is what I heard this morning as if it was written for me alone:

“Lynn, for the next 24 hours I want you to do what you know is right (Godly). I want you to trust me so much that you must lean on me each day and only focus on one day at a time. Then…… I promise you this, the day will come and you will be amazed to see how I have used you in a powerful way.”

As I heard these words I wept.

Gang, I will choose this day, these 24 hours, to remain faithful. I will choose to do what is right. I will continue on doing what the Lord told me to do the last time He spoke.

If you are traveling in this strange valley with me, and I know many of you are, keep doing the last thing you were told. Choose to do the right thing. Focus on what you have always known to be true. The truth of the living Word of God. Live these next 24 hours leaning wholly on the arms of Christ and I am certain with all that I am that we will be amazed to see how God has used our life our witness in a powerful way.

Thank you so much every one of you who has prayed for my husband and me. Your emails checking in on us, your e-cards, your friendship has carried me through this valley. I will promise you this. This trip through the valley will never be forgotten. When I hear of a sister or a brother in the valley in the future, you can bet, I will be your prayer partner. I will pray with a new fervor because now I have lived it.

I love you. Be blessed, Lynn

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Are you listening, God?

1195551_what_not_to_do_3 Listen to advice and accept instruction, and in the end you will be wise. — Proverbs 19:20

In My Utmost for His Highest, Oswald Chambers speaks frequently of the challenges in the valley, which he likens to the trials and travails of everyday life. Those moments on the spiritual mountain tops are fine for what they are but the true testing is in the daily living when nothing seems to be changing or happening. Therein lies the true test of our faith.

Those are often the moments we wonder, and even ask, if God is listening. I can remember many a time wondering this very thing. I prayed and prayed, yet no answer came. Over time, I've found one of three things to be true at these times.

Nothing's Changed. What I'm asking about, God has already clarified. Often times we doubt and wonder if we're still on track if God hasn't told us anything new. I've learned in this situation that's it's not that God isn't speaking, He just doesn't have anything new to say. This is a good sign that your on the right path and to keep going until God tells you otherwise.

It's not just about me. Several times I've been involved in a ministry or situation that involved another person. For example, years ago I wanted to start a woman's ministry at my church with another person. I knew this was something I should do, but when and how still remained a mystery. I prayed and prayed, growing more frustrated at God's silence. Then as events unfolded, it became clear through this other persons actions that God was waiting for her to make a choice, which wound up being a bad one. And how wise He was. Had I proceeded and jumped ahead, the ministry would have never succeeded had I involved this person.

Am I listening? It's not that God's isn't listening to me. I'm not listening to him. This is the hardest one for me, but one I'm having so much fun learning about right now! I read somewhere recently about asking God if He had anything to tell me or that I needed to know during my quiet time. I tended to rush off before he could speak. I'm amazed at how much more I hear from Him, and discern.

So when God seems oddly silent, go down your list of possible reasons why. And if you're like me, keep at it. We live in a busy world full of distractions and noise. Listening has truly become an art form. But with the Master, it's so worth it.

Praying and believing,
Dineen

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Faithful God by Rosheeda Lee

This has been one of those seasons in my life where I just don’t get it. ‘Rosheeda quit.’

Not knowing how I was supposed to live, I quit.

My man… ‘Walk Away.’ In love and absolutely miserable without him, I walked away.

‘Rosheeda, go back.’

‘Lord, seriously. Four months ago You told me to leave. ‘

‘Rosheeda, go back. He is My Will.’

‘But Lord…’

‘Trust Me. Because of his love for you, he will learn to love Me.’

Unsure and all, I made that phone call the very next day… Three years later, he is still my man, we are more in love than ever before and marriage is just around the corner. God has done what He promised and more. I look at my man and I see God’s love for me. I look into his eyes and I sense a growing love for my Jesus. He’s no longer content w/salvation. He’s growing and learning to pursue sanctification…

Looking for a job

‘Lord I need a job.’

‘I am He who supplies all your needs.’

‘Wait on Me.’

‘In My time I will provide the job I have for you. Wait.’

… and so. For months I waited. And in the process lost all that I owned. My car. My apartment. And all my belongings. I don’t even have pictures. All I have is what I took back with me to my parents’ home. Literally.

‘Rosheeda go look at houses.’

‘And buy one with what, exactly? Since I have no job.’

‘Do as I say.’

... and off to look at houses, I go. I see one that I like. The man there is the owner and they are working. On the 4th of July 2007. We make plans to talk and to get together to finalize this house. I cannot buy it, but he will lease it to me and let me purchase at the end of the lease. I go to his office to finalize this transaction and HE OFFERS ME A JOB – ON THE SPOT. The house … didn’t pan out. The job… I’ve been here almost two years…

He has been faithful to provide, when I didn’t have anything to eat or any way to go buy groceries.

He has been faithful to protect me when emotionally I was ready to just give up on life.

He has been faithful to comfort me when people have disappointed me.

He has been faithful to be my shelter, my refuge, my strong tower in the time of trouble.

And the list goes on.

I cannot say that God has been a genie in a bottle for me. I cannot tell you that He has done all I thought He would do, just like I thought He should do it. But what I CAN say is that He has done exactly what He said He would do.

I wish I could tell you that God has given me all I lost back and then some, but that hasn’t happened just yet… In some ways, I’m still waiting; but I can say beyond a shadow of a doubt that God has been faithful to me.

It is not in the prosperous place that you learn what that means, but in the dark places. Because it is only in those places that you recognize your absolute frailty and need of Him. You realize that but by His Hand, you’d be utterly lost.

And the real beauty is that I’ve gotten to know Him better through all the hard places. He and I, we have a special relationship and I know that I can trust Him like I trust my best friend- except more. He is who He says. All the promises of His heart, all the promises of His word, He will honor. He wants nothing more than to show off for you. He delights in us. It is His pleasure to be known intimately and to love (and be loved) extravagantly.

His faithfulness is a promise to us. He’s faithful whether we are or not. Not because He HAS to be, but because He WANTS to be. Just because He loves you. If you will get to know His love, you will also know His faithful heart. Pursue it. Chase it down. I promise, when you discover how beautiful it is, you will never be the same.

Guest writer, Rosheeda Lee, is 31 years old and reside in Duncanville, Texas. She is employed at a real-estate development company as an Office Manager. In addition, she serves on the Board of Directors for a fledgling non-profit. Rosheeda attends Oak Cliff Bible Fellowship, a non-denominational church in Dallas, Texas. Currently she is not yet married, but will be soon to the man she knows God has created specifically for her and she will be mother to two exceptional young men.

Rosheeda is also active as part of leadership for our youth choir. She says “The Lord has really begun to cultivate in me a heart and a passion for women and relationships. It is my desire to eventually write and share with other women the beauty of the hearts God has given specifically to us.”

You can find Rosheeda at her personal blog, Beauty for Ashes. Her life verse: 1 Peter 1:8 Though you have not seen him, you love him; and even though you do not see him now, you believe in him and are filled with an inexpressible and glorious joy.

Thank you, Rosheeda, for sharing your heart here at Spiritually Unequal Marriage. God bless, Lynn

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Thankful Thursday - Beauty?

Beauty is in the Eye of the Beholder Wow, I think Laurie has picked a fascinating topic for our Thankful Thursday post.

As I read this title I remembered sitting in a Beth Moore study last year. We talked a lot about beauty. In fact, I think it was the study of Daniel. Our society is obsessed with beauty.

Youth, beauty and intelligence will get you far in our culture, but, what about the rest of us? Beth Moore said, “We are taught self-absorption and we are miserable.”

She is spot on.

Today, I am thankful the Lord has given me understanding of real beauty. It is NOT in the eye of the beholder. Real beauty is distinguished through the eyes of God.

God looks down upon his children and says, “I am the King. I am enthralled with your beauty. (Psalms 45:11) Lasting and authentic beauty is found in your inner self, the unfading beauty of a gentle and quiet spirit, which is of great worth in God's sight. (1 Peter 3:4)

I pray your day is filled with beauty sent from the Father. Be Blessed, Lynn

For more Thankful Thursday posts, head over to Women Taking a Stand.

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Five Valuable Questions

652978_signage_1 You know how you have those times where you think things are going well? Quiet time's in place, you're more in love with your spouse than ever, and your kids (all of them!) are actually doing well and handling their responsibilities without making it an act of congress on your part. (I actually have one of those, btw—an Act of Congress. No kidding!)

Well, right now I'm not in one of those times. I'm struggling. I don't know why. I'm pretty sure the enemy is partly to blame. The road has gotten quite bumpy of late. And I'll share with you one recent detail because so many of you prayed for my daughter when she was diagnosed with a brain tumor (and still doing well!)—we found out last weekend that my father's cancer has metastasized to his brain. Yes, a brain tumor.

These are the times that we want to ask God, "Why?" Honestly, when I found this out, I didn't. Dad's battled cancer for six years and done well, exceeding his original "one year" diagnosis. He's beaten the odds. And he's a fighter who tells me, "It ain't over yet," and "Now, my granddaughter and I really do have something in common!"

But how stealthily the stress of life invades our balance until we're so out of whack, we stagger and even fall down. Times like these can really test what we believe to be our limitations and definitions of what we think we can handle. And this can seem a valid consideration within the confines of our own strength.

Yet this is the most critical time of all to look upward. Through all these struggles, with our spouses, our children, our jobs, our finances, our families, our neighbors, our society, our government—God is always there, reviewing and approving. Or reviewing and rejecting. He's the great sifter in charge of what gets through and what doesn't.

Now for some that may seem like he's cruel to let through some of the stuff he does. But that's a downward viewpoint. An upward shift in our perspective gives us a whole new picture, one in which nothing is wasted and everything is redeemed for a higher purpose and calling. I find great comfort in that, because God is in complete control, giving us whatever we need to handle what lies ahead. He prepares us, comforts us, and restores us. We walk the trials and come out the other side stronger, more prepared for what comes next, and in a position to share what we've learned. We become more Christ-like.

In 1 Corinthians 7:17, Paul says, "Nevertheless, each one should retain the place in life that the Lord assigned to him and to which God has called him." Perhaps the question we need to ask is not "why," but...

Who: Who do I need to share this testimony with so that they may be encouraged?

What: What can I learn from this and apply to the next situation?

When: When do I move forward and when should I be still?

Where: Where does God want me to go/look/seek next?

How: How can this situation glorify God?

Yes, I'm struggling, but I'm looking upward and clinging to God—trusting him to help me find my balance and stability again. And perhaps that's why God allows these times so that we can remember that he's the one we need to look to for that steadiness. Not ourselves. 

Praying and believing,
Dineen

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Popcorn and Betrayal

Popcorncoke A few hours ago I held my teen daughter while she wept....... continued at Laced With Grace.



Join me today at Laced With Grace for Popcorn and Betrayal.  The Lord has healing, wisdom, and comfort waiting for you too while you stand in the concession line. Be Blessed, Lynn

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Weekend Devo — Are you with God?

Praying "The Lord is with you when you are with Him." — Asariah, son of Oded (2 Chronicles 15:2)

Here's another one of those Scriptures that kept my interest for days. It fascinates me to find something I could so clearly hear Jesus say in the Old Testament. But that makes sense, doesn't it? After all, Jesus said he didn't come to replace the Law, but to fulfill it.

Asariah's words were profound then for battle and they are true for us today. Through obedience to God's will we find freedom, peace, and enjoy his blessings. With this Scripture I sensed this to be a time of needed prayer. Hope you'll pray this with me:

Father God, you are always there, always faithful. We stand in awe of your presence and we are so honored that you love us and want to be with us. We live in a crazy world full of confusion, disparity, cruelty, and evil. Yet if we stay close to You, we can witness true peace, love, sacrifice, and goodness.

Lord, help us to "stay with you." Help us to be faithful and faithfilled. When we despair in our lives and especially in our marriages, give us wisdom and guidance so we may persevere. Remind us constantly to keep our eyes on you and no where else. And when we feel impatient and discontent, fill our hearts with your presence and remind us that your all we need.

Jesus, You gave your all for us. Help us to give our all for you. In your holy and precious name, amen!

Praying and believing,
Dineen

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Thriving Despite

Hi All My Friends, I sure owe you an apology.

I apologize for my sporadic writing schedule in the month of May. In my life, May and December are equal when it comes to over commitments and busyness. I’m sorry! Whew glad to get that off my chest.

Today I want to conclude the truths from the book, Thriving Despite A Difficult Marriage, by Michael and Chuck Misja. To read from the beginning click here.

The premise set forth in this book actually mirrors my journey. It was like reading about my life and how Jesus healed my disappointments. Although I don’t believe I live in a “difficult” marriage, what the authors are sharing is hope. They also are practical. I am all about the practical.

What I learned through my own journey is exactly what these authors share.

1) We ALWAYS can have hope in the transforming power of Jesus Christ. We serve an all-powerful God. He can change anyone and He especially wants to change His children in addition to their unbelieving spouses.

2) Don’t wait for your spouse to change to find purpose, fulfillment and joy in living every day.

Years ago I heard Patsy Clairmont speak at a Women Of Faith event. A casual sentence she spoke during her talk changed my life. She said, “You go ahead and serve God. You don’t need to wait for your husband.”

I guess I thought my husband needed to be a believer first so I could serve God’s kingdom. It was that precise moment the Lord spoke to me and my life changed. I didn’t feel guilty about leaving my husband out of this part of my life and I felt empowered to explore the fascinating and exciting adventures the Lord had for my future. I have been serving and loving Jesus ever since and have never regretted a minute.

Although I still long for us, as a couple, to serve God, I am content to live my life not waiting for my husband to change. I am not in a holding pattern watching life slip by. I am not waiting for my marriage to change. I don’t deny there is still pain and things I want to change in my marriage but I can thrive through those disappointments.

I am thriving and I live a happy life because it is filled with serving Jesus Christ. I am content to wait and pray for my spouse’s salvation. I have a living hope in Jesus Christ, the Redeemer of the world.

If you are living in a difficult situation or struggling to find hope for yourself in a challenging marriage, this book is for you. It is full of healing understanding of how to thrive through some of the most challenging marital situations. Buy it today and begin your own journey this summer.


062148: Thriving Despite a Difficult Marriage Thriving Despite a Difficult Marriage
By Michael Misja & Chuck Misja

Starting next week I am feeling led to get into rich biblical teaching again. I keep hearing the Lord talk to me about, Spiritual Warfare in marriage as well as another subject… What does a Biblical marriage really look like? You would be surprised. It’s not what most people think.

So, I may bounce around with both of these topics. I have found some of the best writing emerges when I just allow the Lord to fill my heart about something and then share it with you. I love all of you who stop here. I pray for you when you and I pray over your marriages. Your marriage relationship is so very important to God. It means more to Him than you will ever know. Be Blessed, Lynn

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Thankful Thursday - End of an Era... *sniff... sniff*

Hi Everyone. It’s Thankful Thursday again. Iris, our original hostess for this meme, will be returning and sharing TT with Laurie and me. Here is the schedule.

Lynn at Spiritual Unequal Marriage - May, July and October 2009

Laurie at Women Taking a Stand - June, September, and December 2009

Iris at Grace Alone - August, and November 2009

I know it is a tad bit confusing to keep on top of who is hosting but you can always find the schedule at Grace Alone. This month, June, we hook up over at Laurie’s, Women Taking A Stand.


Well it’s the end of an era today.

My daughter is leaving Middle School. Her promotion ceremony is next Friday. *sniff.. sniff* I’m sure I will share more about that next week. However, today is the day that I retire as the Middle School Band Treasurer.

Hallelujah!!!! And yet, I feel sad at the same time.

Band was a wonderful experience for my daughter and for me. I am thankful I was able to be part of this special part of my daughter’s middle school years. This is especially true because she is turning to drama in high school and leaving her band days behind her.Imported Photos 00074

Our experiences with band were awesome. Priceless memories, indeed!

But, the best part of band….. my daughter received the gift of music. It will always reside in her heart and that's a wonderful gift from God!

Have a blessed Thursday. Lynn

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Books, Books, and Books

Welcome to the final week of our Open Forum. We've tackled some tough questions the last several weeks. It has been and honor and a pleasure for us to serve our readers this way. Please, feel free at any time to leave a question you may have in the comments or email Lynn and I directly through our "meet" pages.

This week's question is from Melonie K.:

1009935_question_con_3Since I am a newer reader and have basically just picked up where you were when I found you, do you have suggestions for books that might be available at the library on SUMs? Because I'm LDS, I'd really prefer something that isn't too denominationally focused - titles that are more "general" Christian, that focus on Scripture and personal stories, rather than a certain church's doctrine?


Dineen's Answer: Great question, Melonie. Summer seems like a good reading time so we saved your question for last. Books are an excellent way to find support, encouragement, and understanding. First, let me say that Lynn and I are firm believers in the Bible coming above all other books. You may feel you can't find what you need for your situation in God's Word, but I promise you will. Even if you start with an online Bible search like BibleGateway.com and use their keyword search feature, you will find Scriptures to bring you comfort, memorize, and pray. Be careful of reading books and looking for what you need there more than you search the Bible.

Here at SUM, we also have a  page, Absolute Best Books, with a long list of books Lynn and I are happy to recommend. You'll see several in the side bar along with a link to this page. These are books we've read ourselves or researched. Melonie, I encourage you to start there.

In addition to those listed in our library, I'd like to offer these as well:

Spiritually Single by Marcia Mitchell — this book is out of print, but I did find it on Amazon. Printed in 1984 by Bethany House, this is the first book I ever read on the subject being unequally yoked along with Beloved Unbeliever by Jo Berry. Both are excellent books.

Fasting for Spiritual Break Through by Elmer L. Towns — This book outlines nine different biblical fasts. A great too for breakthroughs.

Sacred Marriage by Gary Thomas — A lot of the principles Lynn and I share here go across the board to marriage in general. This book is one of the best and it's priniciples apply to all kinds of marriages.

The Love Dare by Stephen Kendrick and Alex Kendrick — We did this study on the 1PeterLiving Loop and witnessed many marriages change for the better.

The Husband Project by Kathi Lipp — This book is like a fun and flirty version of the Love Dare. I haven't had a chance to do this one myself yet, but I know Kathi, the research she put into this book, and her heart behind the book. This is a book to have fun with.

Alone in Marriage by Susie Larson — This book is in my "plan to explore" pile. The book covers a wide range of issues such as pornography, addiction, and depression which place the woman in a lonely position in the marriage. I can't recommend it until I read it, but I put it out there as a possibility for you to explore.

Melonie, pretty much all the books listed here and above are biblically based and nondenominational. I hope this gives you a good list to take to your library, and I hope they at least have some of these books. A lot of libraries will even order them if you ask. That's worth looking into.

Happy reading! — Dineen

Lynn's Answer:  I echo Dineen, we write looking to the Word of God for our final answer and authority about marriage and life. However, I also believe there are men and women who have been inspired by the Holy Spirit to write exceptional books which help others to find healing, encouragement and joyful living through the truths of Jesus Christ.

In particular, one specific book became my lifeline in the early years of my marriage. When He Doesn't Believe by Nancy Kennedy. You can find this book in the sidebar. I was a new believer and struggling with my marriage when I discovered this book. Without this tool, I don't know where my marriage would be today. I was so thankful to discover Nancy and since then she has been so kind to be a guest contributor here at Spiritually Unequal Marriage. You can read her posts here and here.

All of the books in our recommended reading are great books. Happy reading this summer.

Now on a different note. Last month in my Women's Ministry Newsletter, I offered some fiction and nonfiction - Beach Reads. These are great books to tote along on summer vacation.

Fiction:

Sophie's Heart by: Lori Wick

The Princess by: Lori Wick

Redeeming Love by: Francine Rivers

The Mark of the Lion Series by: Francine Rivers, Book I & II - A Voice in the Wind & Echo

In The Darkness Danger in the Shadows by: Dee Henderson Negotiator by: Dee Henderson

Nonfiction:

Love and Respect by: Dr. Emerson Eggerichs

Power of a Praying Wife by: Stormie Omartian

Intimacy With The Almighty by: Charles Swindol

The Dream Giver: Following Your God-Given Destiny by:Bruce Wilkinson

The Five Love Languages by: Gary Chapman

I Dared to Call Him Father by Bilquis Sheikh (By far.... My personal favorite this year... Thanks Dee)

You can find all of these titles at Christianbook.com.

God bless and happy reading. Also, if you are interested in doing a book review for any of these titles, please email me,, Lynn. Have a blessed week and happy reading. You're in for a great time this summer. Hugs.

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Free To Be Me

Blogger’s Retreat

Over the years I have met so many wonderful men and women through this fascinating and awesome community of bloggers. There have been so many days that I have stopped over to your place to read and found your words a balm to my spirit. Sometimes they were an encouragement to my marriage, often your words were a reflection of Jesus in your heart. Through reading your blogs I have come to love so many of you. REALLY love you!

I would leave comments like, I look forward to meeting you face-to-face. I still do.

For a long time I thought that meeting would take place in heaven but now it might really happen while we still live on this earth. How awesome it that?

The Lord has inspired Angie of The Knightly News to host a blogger’s retreat. The Lord has arranged it so I may attend. In fact, I will be one of the speakers the retreat.

Marsha of Marsha Musings is helping to bringing this unique event together. Today she is offering a free registration. The event is in Florida. I already know a couple of us California girls are going to travel across the country to be there. So, if you can arrange the travel, please, please, please pray about joining us there.

The retreat will offer some amazing workshops. Some of the topics will include:

~ How to lead an online Bible Study - meeting their needs, touching their hearts, growing up in Grace.

~ Being a Follower of Jesus and not falling into the Follower Button trap.

~ Developing your blog into a women's ministry.

~ Using personal video chats to reach out and minister in new ways.

~ How to write a compelling story, meaningful devotional.... hooking/captivating your audience.

~ How to market your blog/should you 'market' your blog?

~ Finding your niche - your special corner of blogworld - blogging your passion.

~ How to handle blog addiction - finding the balance between your personal relationships and your blogging relationships.

~ Copyrighting information.

We are finally going to meet face-to-face. We are going to see each other and rejoice in the name of Jesus because He set us free.

Check out:

Free to be me – Blogger’s Retreat

Marsha from Marsha’s Musings 

Sister's of Faith 

God Bless you and I can’t wait to finally give you that hug. Lynn

Also, a shout out to my gals over at Fruit In Season. It’s Marriage Monday today. Pop over there for some great posts about marriage.

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