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22 entries from July 2009

Conflict - Alcohol and Marriage

As we began this series regarding conflict I set out some of the guidelines and the premise by which we intend to explore the specific issues. If you have not read that post, please read it now (go here, then come right back).

I told you last week I want to look at alcohol in marriages and we will. Prior to jumping into that I am also compelled to share with you two books I have found helpful when dealing with conflict.

• Boundaries in Marriage by Dr. Henry Cloud and Dr. John Townsend

• Love must be Tough by Dr. James Dobson 

Written by Christian authors, the books offer some solid suggestions to deal with some of these tough issues. You can find these books in our recommended reading page, click here.

Onward.

Over the past week the Lord confirmed to me that I need to post on alcohol and it’s affects on marriages. I appreciate everyone who left comments and sent me email. You are the voice that I needed to move me forward with these posts.

I recognize that there are mountains of books, materials, and studies that address the subject of alcohol and alcoholism. Where I tend to see the affects arise in my ministry is specific. So, I am going to share this scenario with the reading audience.

Fictional story based on actual lives:

Tina and Mark (fictional names) have been married 10 years. Three years after they married Tina found Jesus. That is when trouble began. Several children arrived and Tina’s faith grew. Mark remained the same.

In the early years of their marriage Tina and Mark would join the gang at the pub for football, beer, and burgers. Also, Mark and Tina usually unwound after a long day with a couple of beers or a bottle of wine in the evening. However, Tina began to change and she no longer went to the pub and really lost her desire to drink at night. She was too busy raising the kids and wouldn’t leave them to go out. But, Mark was adamant that he wasn’t going to grow old at 30 so he continued to head to the bar once or twice a week. Unwinding with a beer in the evening began to grow to four beers in the evening, every evening.

**** This is where I (Lynn) begin to run into people in marriage who are at a kind of crossroads.

Tina, takes a step back and starts pondering a crazy thought, Is my husband an alcoholic? Tina really isn’t sure and isn’t that concerned, yet. I mean really, after all Jesus drank wine. It’s not a sin to drink, she thinks to herself, and then shrugs off the thought. However, it keeps nagging her. She is bothered that her husband is out at a bar once a week without her. After all, she knows what can happen after a few drinks and a vulnerable situation arises.

She tries to talk with Mark. He is mad that Tina is such a stick in the mud. He is not doing anything wrong. It’s her fault she doesn’t want to go to the bar and have some fun. He thinks, this whole Jesus thing has ruined our lives.

Tina cannot help but notice the increased drinking. She feels disrespected by her husband because he is leaving her every weekend. She wants to spend time with him but he can get mean when he’s had a few.

She is hurt, and worse than that, bewildered as what to do. Arguing has done nothing, threats, manipulation, nothing seems to get through to Mark.

She cries alone. He is angry and blames her for their problems.

In this scenario it is likely this couple has other issues besides alcohol. But, I am going to focus on alcohol because it seems to be where marriages can go two different ways. Good and one not good.

Where I find believers struggling is this: recognizing there is a problem with alcohol. There are some specific questions that can help guide you.

Okay, don't be mad but this post has run long so I am going to cut it off here. I will post next Friday what happened to Tina and Mark. Stay tuned.

Isaiah 61: 1-2 The Spirit of the Sovereign LORD is on me, because the LORD has anointed me to preach good news to the poor. He has sent me to bind up the brokenhearted, to proclaim freedom for the captives and release from darkness for the prisoners, to proclaim the year of the LORD's favor and the day of vengeance of our God, to comfort all who mourn

This scripture leaped into my mind as I typed. It is this scripture that compells me to write about such difficult subjects. May all that we say be sifted and may it bring healing and ultimate glory to the Lord Jesus Christ. Be Blessed, Lynn

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Thankful Thursday - Summer Fun

Hi, It is the last Thursday of the month. I have greatly enjoyed hosting Thankful Thursday this month. Your posts offering praise to our Lord honors Him greatly. Your words encouraged, made me laugh, brought me new insights into our faith. Thank you.

Next month we will all be meeting at Grace Alone, Iris will be hosting. She is a wise woman who always brings something special to our weekly praise. September we meet again at Women Taking A Stand and I will see you here again for the month of October.

This week let's enjoy the season of summer. What are you thankful for in the warm months of summer?

  • Comfortable mornings sitting in my back yard among the flowers and garden, sipping coffee, reading my daily Bible and talking with Jesus.
  • Bright blue summer skies
  • Fresh fruit
  • Ripe Mellon
  • Sleeping in.... (at least my husband and daughter. I'm an early riser all year round.)
  • Yellow roses
  • Cool octagonal spider webs and big ugly, yet cool looking spiders.
  • Finding a Sandollar floating in the surf during a casual stroll down the beach.
  • Fresh from the garden veggies.

I could go on forever. God is Awesome. He is brilliant. He is good. He is love.

WE ARE RICHLY BLESSED!

Have a fantastic Thursday and tell someone today that you are thankful they are in your life. I love you. Be Blessed, Lynn



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Eternity's Waiting

Praying As I mention in the weekend devo, Ecclesiates 3:11 became quite significant to me last week. I'll tell you why. I've shared recent posts about "living out loud" and searching for God's will in my marriage, and what that means. What should I say or not say about my faith? Am I living out loud enough?

Well, I took a chance the other day.

I've mentioned before that my sweet hubby is an avid disc golfer. Last week when we were on the way to the airport for an out-of-state tournament, I mustered the courage to tell him I would be praying for him. He didn't say anything at first, then shared that he hoped he would be in my thoughts, too.

To me that goes without saying, and praying is even better. My way of loving on him. I told him this. He replied that he just liked to know he'd be in my thoughts without a third person.

We've talked here before at S.U.M. about how an unbelieving spouse can see Jesus as an intruder. This is an example of that. An unexpected one for me, because I've made it clear to my husband in the past that he came first, before church stuff. And I'd even stay home on a Sunday if he wanted to make plans or just wanted me home. (I think he's asked me to do this maybe twice in the last five years and even then, I had to ask him if he'd like me to stay home when I realized what he was hemming and hawing about).

Yet, here I was faced with that similar reaction. I did my best to reassure him he would definitely dominate my thoughts. In my mind, having someone tell me they were praying for me is a precious gift—one that humbles me. For him, it was a threat. I shared my faith, we conflicted.

Though I can't completely understand his position, I will respect it. I let the subject be. The next day, I shared this with Lynn during our phone conversation. She'll tell you that no sooner had we hung up, I called her right back.

Because it suddenly dawned on me. How can my husband be threatened by something he doesn't even believe in?

Eternity in the hearts of men...

God has set this in all of us, even those that choose not to believe. They can't escape it even though they think they have. God designed us to be his. He designed us with that reality in mind. He designed us with eternity in our hearts.

That includes my sweet husband, and your unbelieving loved one, too. Eternity's there waiting.

Praying and believing,
Dineen

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Conflict - Hold On To Your Hats!

Well I have actually spent more time than you might believe in prayer about this topic, conflict. I have prayed about it, thought about it. I have gleaned through the pages of several books researching this subject to provide accurate and Godly information about how to deal with conflict.

I have been so unsettled about this topic that I spent more than an hour on the phone with Dineen talking about it a few days ago. In fact, I just now left my bedroom where I was spending some quiet time with the Lord, asking Him what to write. (It’s 2:52 on Saturday afternoon)

So after speaking with the Lord and with my writing buddy, Dineen, I am compelled to follow my heart. I am going to take an interesting direction as we proceed down this path. As we walk this path I need to set out some thoughts:

• I don’t have everything figured out.

• I am not a professional. However, when I think I might tread into an area where I lack experience or wisdom, I will seek out the professional Christian Counselors I work with.

• I am going to write about specific subjects that I encounter as I work with men and women in ministry. I will not use specific situations only the general scenarios. So please don’t worry I would ever share anything you ever told me in confidence. If you think you find your story in the posts to follow, it is only because I have encountered the conflict over and over in many marriages. You are likely not alone in your struggles.

• I am leaning heavily on the word of God, my prayer time and how much my heart has ached and has been broken over the years as I pray for men and women who are dealing with these specific conflicts in their lives.

• Finally, I invite you – no, need your input. I may have some solutions or options which may help when dealing with a conflict but I won’t have them all. If you have lived through some of the struggles we will discuss and you found a Godly way to become free, I implore you to share. Share anonymously if need be but share from your heart.

Whew! Glad to get that off my chest.

Before I dive into the biggest conflict on my heart, I have some thoughts about conflict and conflict resolution. Last week I asked the question, Is it Godly to draw the line in the sand?

Let’s be clear on the answer here. YES.

In fact, there are times as believers we MUST draw a boundary line. I want to share with you what one reader wrote. Rosheeda wrote in two paragraphs a brilliant answer.

It is sometimes Godly to draw lines in the sand. We are called to be peace MAKERS, not peace keepers. Peace keepers just go w/the flow to avoid the whole scene... But here's the thing about peace MAKING: you have to address that which is OUT of order, to bring about Godly order. And that isn't always easy. As Believers, we are called to a certain standard, and we are called to hold each other accountable - out of love - because that's how Christ loves us. As much as He loves us, He still rebukes us. Because without the address, there would never be change - because we would remain blind to our own flaws. Our relationships with each other should mirror our relationship with Him.

Boundaries in any relationship are important. Because boundaries in conduct require us to learn what genuine respect looks like. And respect is where love begins and ends. That doesn't mean we always agree. It simply means we learn to handle each other with care - which is what God calls us to anyway. Anytime we are not requiring that of each other, we are not being the peaceMAKERS we are called to be -because a lack of respect in relationships (especially marriage) breeds tension and animosity - and those things lead to sin... love you. ro

Rosheeda, the Lord dwells in your heart. Thank you.

We are called to have boundaries. I think we already knew this deep down. But, conflict is deeply intricate. The dynamics in each marriage are highly individual. In the grey areas, outside of specific scripture, a situation may be perfectly fine for my life and marriage but to another it is absolutely reprehensible and conflict is inevitable.

This is what Dineen and I discussed for almost two hours. How do we guide this conversation with this in mind? I arrived at the place where we can’t. So, I have decided, as I stated earlier, to address specific issues common to marriage.

The one issue pulling directly and passionately on my heart is this: Alcohol ~ I have much to say about how this little word affects many. And, you might be surprised how much I know about the subject. Also, I will tell you this, I live in wine country and enjoy a nice glass of red from time-to-time.

So, I am putting myself out there. Don’t get freaked out yet. I want to talk about how I see alcohol affect some families and specifically marriages. At what point is the boundary line broken? How and what should you do to set boundaries and mostly give you hope that if you are living in this particular situation, GOD CAN CHANGE IT! He may be calling you to action.

Now, this is just one of the touchy subjects I have wanted to write about for years, so hang on to your hats. Let’s let the Lord lead this series of post and bring healing.

Isaiah 61: 1-2 The Spirit of the Sovereign LORD is on me, because the LORD has anointed me to preach good news to the poor. He has sent me to bind up the brokenhearted, to proclaim freedom for the captives and release from darkness for the prisoners, to proclaim the year of the LORD's favor and the day of vengeance of our God, to comfort all who mourn

This scripture leaped into my mind as I typed. It is this scripture that compells me to write about such difficult subjects. May all that we say be sifted and may it bring healing and ultimate glory to the Lord Jesus Christ.

Be Blessed, Lynn

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Weekend Devo—Time and Eternity

859675_book___ He has made everything beautiful in its time. He has also set eternity in the hearts of men; yet they cannot fathom what God has done from beginning to end. — Ecclesiastes 3:11

I don't know about you, but there are certain books in the Bible that take more energy to read than others. Ecclesiastes is one of them. I picture the writer as a person full of wisdom, but always from a slightly negative perspective (giggle).

But this verse set the stage for some events this past week—ones I'll share Tuesday, but I want to share this hope-filled nugget with you in the meantime. There are two profound truths here.

One, it speaks of God's timing. I'm sure you've had one of those times where things just seemed to work out and when you look back, you see this perfection to it—how God prevented, prepared, or purposed something. These are the moments that take my breath away in their perfection and beauty.

When my daughter was diagnosed with a brain tumor, everything moved so fast. They wanted to even schedule the insertion for a port in her chest for the chemo treatments. But for some reason, the planning of this procedure kept falling through. I was frustrated at the thought of her having to go through another procedure after they removed the tumor.

Turned out she didn't need that port. They discovered the cancer wasn't as aggressive a form as they first thought, but they couldn't know that until they'd removed the tumor and analyzed it. What I thought was disorganization was God making the situation "beautiful in its time."

The second truth sends a thrill through my heart and spirit. God sets eternity in our hearts. Though we cannot fathom all that God is and does, He's done this so we don't have to. For all of us. It's not a part of salvation but the very desire that brings us to salvation. Deep within, God designed us to have this yearning.

And it's a promise I claim right now for my precious hubby. I hope you'll claim for your unbelieving loved one, too.

Praying and believing,
Dineen

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Thankful Thursday - Victory!

I was raised in church.

As a kid I would sit in cushioned benches in our church along with my family and every service began with hymns. I learned every word to so many of those old songs.

Today they still reside deep in my soul. At unusual times and places those old lyrics force themselves up and out.

And….. I start singing… OUT LOUD! In the middle of the night. Out in the garden. While I am jogging. The shower, the car, often while I am praying in the morning.

Well today I was so moved by Dineen’s post (below) that my lips began moving and I am filled with this old hymn….

VICTORY IN JESUS…. MY SAVIOR FOREVER.

I want to jump out of my chair right now and sing at the top of my lungs… Better not as my sleeping family would likely pound me *grin*.

Girls, and men, we have victory.

Read this scripture again:

For everyone who has been born of God overcomes the world. And this is the victory that has overcome the world—our faith. Who is it that overcomes the world except the one who believes that Jesus is the Son of God? — 1 John 5:4-5 ESV

We will prevail through the transforming power of Jesus Christ.

Today, I claim to the world that Jesus works. He can change wayward hearts, stubborn children, an unbelieving spouse, angry bosses, mean spirited people and mostly, me. Woo Hoo!

What is your victory?

Have a blessed Thursday. I am looking forward to reading about your triumphs. Lynn

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Living Out Loud, Part 2

987763_man_thinking Thoughts and questions are formulating in my mind. I've not yet made sense of it all, but I trust God to take care of that. Consider this more just me thinking out loud. And please join in with your own thoughts.

Perhaps its impatience. I don't know, but I do sense God preparing me for something, and I don't think I'm alone. We want to make an impact on our spiritually unequal marriages. We want to see God's hand at work. We want to see change. Are you with me so far? Are you feeling that same nudge, too?

We walk a difficult path in a S.U.M. We're constantly aware of what we should or shouldn't say. Or try to be. What will cause an argument? Taking the children to church, leaving a Bible out in the open, voicing our own faith-based opinion regarding a political debauchery?

How do we live our faith effectively in such circumstances? Sometimes we find a groove that works, a place of rest and peace. Conflict is avoided for the most part, but are we in actuality becoming complacent? Is God calling us to do more?

In the past I've entered this battleground. Whether willingly or unwillingly, I answer the best way I can, from what I know, what I see, and what I believe. Yet nothing has changed. At first I see impossibility, then God shows me possibility. At times I sense hopelessness crouching like a tiger, ready to steal my hope. Then God gives me a glimmer of victory over this beast and hope is restored.

I read the following Scripture recently, and even looked up different translations of it. I liked this one best:

For everyone who has been born of God overcomes the world. And this is the victory that has overcome the world—our faith. Who is it that overcomes the world except the one who believes that Jesus is the Son of God? — 1 John 5:4-5 ESV

Have you ever thought of your faith as your victory? Over the world? Over your circumstances? Over your spouses' disbelief? Since reading this, I've repeated this phrase over and over again:

"My faith is my victory. My faith is my victory. My faith is my victory."

In Romans 8:36 Paul says, "No, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him who loved us."

I want to live my faith victoriously through Christ—in my marriage. I know you do. I'm praying fervently for you and I hope you will for me. I'm not ready to let this subject go. Next week, I hope to have more insight on HOW we can do this.

Praying and believing,
Dineen

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CONFLICT ~

You can't live with him...You can't live without him.

I have been pondering conflict.

Not world conflict, nor social conflict but that personal, in-your-face, conflict in marriage. I guess my thoughts on conflict have surfaced because of my most recent exchange with my own mate. Remember Church or no-Church?

If you are married, you deal with conflict. After all, we are human, broken and flawed. What troubles me is so often conflict is avoided or handled inappropriately. Therefore, I think we need to take a look at some real situations and discover how conflict is handled appropriately and through the lens of the Bible.

As I was in my quiet time a few days ago, speaking to the Lord, the following found its way into my prayer journal:

I wonder if many of us have a view that as a Christian, we must be the spouse who refrains from conflict. It is our duty as a follower of Christ to always be the peace maker and give in to the demands of our spouse and don’t rock the boat?

There are scriptures that point to this conclusion:

Proverbs 13:3 3 Those who control their tongue will have a long life; opening your mouth can ruin everything.

Ephesians 4: 29 Do not let any unwholesome talk come out of your mouths, but only what is helpful for building others up according to their needs, that it may benefit those who listen.

And then there is this one:

James 3:6 The tongue also is a fire, a world of evil among the parts of the body. It corrupts the whole person, sets the whole course of his life on fire, and is itself set on fire by hell.

Yikes!

It’s all so confusing.

There are times we should keep our mouth shut. Such was the case last week when my husband was moving slowly on Sunday morning and I thought we would be late to church, again. You may remember, I took control of my thoughts and then my mouth and said nothing. It was the right thing to do.

However, three weeks earlier the conflict that erupted between us in the most inopportune place and at the most in opportune time was necessary. Perhaps I could have made an issue of this growing church or no-church conflict at home later in the day. However, I am convinced the impact would have been feeble, my words ignored, and resolution of our differences would still be hanging out there.

People, there are times we not only need to rock the boat but we need to get out of the boat.

Now, don’t panic. You know I am not leading this conversation toward throwing in the towel. No, I want to look honestly at proper conflict and our responsibilities as believers in these unique marriages.

So how do we start to define this vast issue of conflict resolution? Let’s start with this; Is it Godly to draw the line in the sand?

What do you think?

Have a blessed week and stay tuned for more on CONFLICT, Can’t live with him. Can’t live without him.  Lynn

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Weekend Devo — Living Out Loud

God Is Interested in Your Work by Rick Warren

"It's in Christ that we find out who we are and what we are living for. Long before we first heard of Christ and got our hopes up, He had His eye on us, had designs on us for glorious living, part of the overall purpose He is working out in everything and everyone" (Ephesians 1:11-12 MSG).

Many Christians don't make the connection between Sunday and Monday. They compartmentalize their life. They think, "Well, I've got a spiritual life and I've got a secular life. My spiritual life is when I read the Bible, when I pray, when I go to church, when I do good things for others. That's my spiritual life." And that's over in one compartment.

So then, they think, over in another compartment: "This is my secular life. That's my work, my job, my career, my business decisions, my finances, my pension plan; all these things are my secular life."

God says, "No, that's wrong. All of life is spiritual." The word secular isn't in the Bible. It all matters to God; everything in your life is important to God. God is as interested in your work as He is in your prayers. In fact, I would suggest that He might be more interested in your job because you spend more time working than you do praying.

The fact is, your relationship to Christ is like marriage. Marriage is a full-time relationship, and so is your relationship with Christ. What do you think would happen if I came up to my wife and said, "Honey, I'm going to act married only when I'm at home"?

The fact is, all of life is important to God, and you can't separate your Christianity from your work, just as you can't separate your Christianity from your life.

I read the devotional above last week, and it's rattled in my brain for the rest of the week. Warren talks about how we can't separate our Christianity from our work and lives, and even uses marriage as an example. But this got me thinking...how do we live our Christian lives in a spiritually unequal marriage? Do we compartmentalize it, as Warren talks about, living it only on Sundays in order to avoid conflict? Do we live our faith in the shadows out of necessity (and some of us do...)? Or have we taken this route, because, well, it's easier?

These are the questions going through my mind right now. Come back Tuesday for more about living our faith out loud when we feel like we have to be quiet. I hope you'll explore this topic with me in the weeks ahead.

Praying and believing,
Dineen

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To All Evil:

To All Evil:

You are hereby now put on notice. I am back, praying with a vengeance. I believe in a Holy, perfect and loving God. The One. The Only. God of the Universe. God Almighty.

To all evil: This God is for me and will never leave me, nor forsake me. He is my shield, my strength. He ONLY wants what is good for me and never evil. He is watching my back, side, and front. He hears ever word I utter so you better be very afraid because I am about to pray down millions of angels upon this earth.

I will be asking for protection and God's holy power to triumph over our circumstances. To change our lives to live in victory. We will shout to everyone we know that it is GOD who rescues, who lifts us up to new adventures and new heights of love and relationships.

I will proclaim to my dying breath that God is real, all-powerful, able to over come all evil. God can and will rescue marriages, save us from depression, alcohol, heartbreak, drugs, video games, hatred, anger, bitterness and unforgiveness.

To all evil: Not only will my God rescue me and all of my friends. He will give us our dreams just because I am asking and because God delights in us. So today be very, very afraid. We will not back down. We will not surrender. We will stand at this moment and say, "We serve the Lord Most High. We always will. Nothing you do to us will ever tear us away from our Jesus."

To all my friends: Believe today we are turning a corner. There ARE changes ahead which will delight us, make us laugh and giggle. There are dreams to be fulfilled and God stands ready to listen and work in our lives. Let's watch and see now what He does.

O, Lord our God. Today we will not be afraid or defeated. Wrap your love around us so tight that we feel 10 feel tall. Nothing can touch us, hurt us, or defeat us. Lord, lead us in YOUR ways and let us surrender our selfishness. Father we trust in you through the transforming love and the powerful, life saving blood of Jesus. It is in His name we ask for your power in our lives. Dispatch those angels now Lord and let us stand ready to do your work. In Jesus name. Amen.

From the archives May 28, 2008

Be blessed, Lynn

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Thankful Thursday - Random Heart

Wow, Thursdays roll around fast, don’t they?

I love to read blogs. I never have enough time in the day to read all those I want. But, I do get around once in a while.

This Christian community of bloggers is fascinating. I never grow tired of reading stories of God present and actively working in the lives of believers. We share with each other from our hearts. We write about our kids, husbands, dogs, the dishes in the sink, and all manner of daily living. Through our words we encourage one another. We are moved to pray for each other and to love authentically even if we are physically separated by many miles, countries, oceans.

You might think after years of writing and reading in this arena, a person could become bored but I’m not. I’m still tickled to discover new tidbits about your life. I often travel with you on vacation. I watch as you triumph over adversity and give all praise to Jesus.

I am captivated further because, as individuals, we don’t try to outshine each other in our writing but we bring a collective offering of praise to God. We celebrate one another’s accomplishments.

How unlike the world.

This Thursday I thank the Lord for this community, the friends, the laughs, tears and joy I have experienced because of you. Thank you and don’t stop blogging. Hugs, Lynn

Also, I apologize Mr. Linky was removed from last week's post. Mr. Linky moved to a new host and just moved my url over today. Sorry, I didn't make it by your place last week but I intend to visit this week. 

Not sure if Mr. Linky is still working. If you don't see it, please leave your link in the comments. I am working on it.

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A Strange Devotion - Titans of Industry

I have an odd devotion today.

I hesitate to write my thoughts but the Lord just won’t let me escape what is pressing on my heart. So here goes….

Find me at Laced With Grace today for Titans Of Industry.



I would be greatly interested in your thoughts about these insidious kingdoms. Be Blessed, Lynn

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Second-Hand God?

653688_together_forever "I'll never again live on the crusts of hearsay, crumbs of rumor." — Job 42:6 The Message

I love this line from the Message translation, because even Job made the same mistake we do sometimes. We rely more on what people and books tell us about God than really getting to know God through prayer and reading his Word ourselves.

We get lazy. We let other people and things do the work for us—our pastor's Sunday sermon, books  about Christianity, or even a friend's perspective. Nothing is wrong with any of these things. On the contrary, they enrich our faith walk, but they can't be the heart of our belief.

Any relationship takes work, but the effort is usually much more rewarding than trusting a third party go-between. Think of it this way. Let's say you meet the person you're one day going to marry (only you don't know that yet). Your friend is with you at the time, too. You really like this guy/girl and want to know more. Then you find out your friend knows this person quite well because they've been pretty good friends for a while. She's even written down things about him in her journal.

You ask questions. Your friend tells you what she knows. You read her journal entries about him. As you ask more questions, you continue to listen to her interpretation of who this guy is and you come to "know" him through your friend's perspective.

But do you really know him? Do you understand who he is? Can your friend give you the complete picture of who this person is and what they're like? Don't you want to know for yourself? I mean, what if this is the guy you wind up marrying?

You wouldn't want to get to know your spouse through another person, so why do the same thing with God? And the best way to get to know God—and to keep learning about him—is to pray and read the Bible.

As one of those people who used to rely more on books and sermons than the real deal, I can tell you there's a big difference in knowing about God and experiencing him. And the more we experience God, the more he shows in our lives, which is the ultimate strength of our testimony to our unbelieving spouses.

Find out for yourself. Make a commitment to seek God and to really know who he is first hand. Experience him. I know you won't be disappointed.

Praying and believing,
Dineen

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Church or no-Church; The Conclusion

It’s a typical hot July day here in sunny Southern California. It’s Sunday afternoon. I am in my office and I can hear my hubby clearing the kitchen of the lunch dishes. I am remembering the morning. I woke today wondering about church or no church. Would he go? Would he stay home?

What do you think happened this morning?

Before I tell you how the morning played out let’s rewind, I think it was Wednesday – no Thursday. My husband and I were in the family room watching television. I can’t recall how this conversation began but, the television was quieted as we discussed the upcoming weekend get-togethers on the calendar.

During this conversation I inserted, “No matter what, you will find this girl in church come Sunday morning.” I smiled. “I have missed it and can’t wait to be there this week.” You see, I haven’t attended now for two weeks. It feels like two years. I made certain that my tone of voice was kind and even keeled as I spoke. I didn’t want him to feel guilt or judgment. I only wanted to assert that church this weekend, was one event I would not miss. The unspoken message hung above us. You are free to go with me; you are free to stay home.

He changed his posture sitting up and leaning forward he said, “You do know that for the past couple of Sunday’s I was willing to attend church. I set the alarm and would have gone with you.”

I should clarify right now that it was me who chose to stay home over the past two Sundays. Not because I was pouting or angry or trying to make a point. I just felt like I needed to be home and let things settle out.

I looked at my man, “You know, I am completely sincere about this Honey, don’t go to church just to please me. Don’t go because you think it will make me happy or that it’s good for our marriage. I promise you, it is okay to stay home and I won’t be mad.”

“I wasn’t planning to go just for you. I want to go for me too.”

“Really?”

“Really.”

Fast forward. It’s Sunday morning. My guy was up late the night before, so I pretty much knew he wouldn’t roll out of bed in time. Then…….

Behold!

At 9:10 a.m. he shuffled down the hall in search of coffee. A miracle in itself, as he is a definite night owl and up later than usual to boot. I smiled at his tired face. He mumbled something about a nap and sat down with his steaming mug.

I headed off to get dressed and he followed shortly. He was moving slow and I thought to myself, we are going to be late again. But, I kept those words to myself for once and gave him grace.

We arrived at church, the three of us, including teen-daughter. We sat down in the sanctuary with one minute to spare. We were at church together. No anger, no rolling of the eyes, no pressure, no guilt, only love.

Now that’s a great end to this story.

Sometimes I just sit down and ask Jesus, “Why are you so patient with me? I seem to make things harder for You, Lord. Forgive me.”

I have learned many lessons over the past several weeks. It is hard to share with you how my selfishness can get in the way of God’s efforts, how human I can be, and how I can struggle to truly practice what I preach. Gulp, but I pray that someone will read this story and realize that God will go to great lengths to change a selfish little girl like me and to reach out to an unbeliever like my husband. He NEVER stops working on our character, our relationships nor our marriages. He never stops pursing the lost.

And He will never give up on you either. NEVER!

He loves us that much. How awesome is that?

Be Blessed, Lynn

Church or no-Church, Part I

Church or no-Church, Part II

Church or no-Church, Part III

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Wekend Devo — Spiritual Warfare

Spiritual warfare is a major issue in spiritually mismatched marriages. I loved this message from James MacDonald at Walk in the Word. I hope it ministers to you as much as it did to me. Great reminders here that our God is bigger than anything we face!
Praying and believing,
Dineen

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Strategic Lessons for Spiritual Warfare

By James MacDonald

Article_image182 The Lord is faithful. He will establish you and guard you against the evil one. — 2 Thessalonians 3:3

Military strategists will tell you that learning the truth about your enemy is a critical factor in winning battles. As followers of Christ, we have an enemy that seeks to destroy us, but let's add some ammunition to our spiritual warfare arsenal by blowing up some of Satan's most calculated lies about himself.

#1 Satan has limitations. Don't think that the enemy of our souls can get access to you anytime he wants or do anything he feels like doing. The Bible teaches that God has put limits on the enemy.

In my small group we've been memorizing the great promise in 1 Corinthians 10:13: "No temptation has overtaken you that is not common to man. God is faithful, and he will not let you be tempted beyond your ability." When the enemy whispers in your ear, "Give in - you can't win." Say back to him, "That is a lie." (Remember "Liar" is another of his names.) God says there's nothing that you will face that you can't have victory over. He won't allow it. He will allow you to be tempted only to the point where you can win. God allows the struggle to go on so that you can draw down upon His strength and live in victory.

#2 Satan is not omni-anything. He doesn't know everything (he's not omniscient); he doesn't know what you're thinking - only God knows your thoughts. He's not everywhere (only God is omnipresent). He can't do everything (he's not omnipotent) but can do only what God allows.

#3 Satan is the defeated enemy. Revelation 20 makes very clear Satan's ultimate end in the lake of fire. Satan has already lost the fight - it's just a matter of time. At the Cross Jesus took the fire out of Satan's battle plans. Colossians 2:15 says that God "disarmed the rulers and authorities and put them to open shame, by triumphing over them in [Christ]." I love that! Satan must have thought, "If I get Him up on the cross, it's over." But wait a second - He's alive again! The greatest victory of all time is the resurrection of Jesus Christ. His victory guarantees our victory in the spiritual war of the ages.

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Thankful Thursday

My daughter and I just returned from an afternoon movie. Give me a romantic comedy and a sprite zero. mmmm,mmm, almost heaven!

Today, my heart is filled with the simple.

An unrushed summer day

The lazy afternoon ocean breeze wandering over the hills of our town

A delightful romantic comedy that leaves you warm and fuzzy

Time with my teen

And visiting with you, my online friends.

Ah, yes. Contentment. God is so very good.

1 Timothy 6-8 A devout life does bring wealth, but it's the rich simplicity of being yourself before God. Since we entered the world penniless and will leave it penniless, if we have bread on the table and shoes on our feet, that's enough. (MSG)

Marriage thought, quote, humor of the week: This week I thought it would be fun to share a little marriage humor:

Many girls marry a man just like their Dad, no wonder so many mothers cry at weddings.

~just for fun. *grin*

Have a blessed Thursday, Lynn

PS. Today I shared a story at Laced With Grace. It is absolutely true. If you are needing a lift and need to be encouraged about people in general, this is a story for you. Head over for Are You Happy, (clap,clap *giggle)

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Are You Happy? (clap clap *giggle)

“Sweetie, I need a few things from the grocery store. Let’s stop there after the eye exam.” I suggested to my husband.

With my daughter’s exam complete and glasses ordered, we headed to Dairy Queen. After ordering a cold Banana Split Blizzard, my teen daughter, headed for the car to wait while we I walked toward the grocery store.

Suddenly it dawned on me that the parking lot was a zoo and that’s the precise moment I said, “Are we nuts? It’s the day before the Fourth of July holiday. Everyone in town is here. It may take an hour to buy the five items we need.”

This is a true story that took place at our local grocery store. If you are needing a lift in your spirit today, this is the story for you........ continued at Laced With Grace.

I promise you will be smiling before you leave.



Join me today at Laced With Grace for Are You Happy (clap clap)?  


Be Blessed, Lynn

 

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When God Leads

1009935_question_con_3 “When you sense an answer from the Lord and your husband doesn't, how do you communicate WHY you feel moved to do what God said?”

A friend of mine posed this question to me recently. At first I didn’t know how to answer, because I couldn’t recall a situation where this happened. Don’t you know God brought a time to mind as I relayed a story to someone a couple weeks later?

Almost two years ago, my daughter started talking about getting a dog. We already had four cats, so I didn’t take her idea too seriously, nor did her dad. Yet, she persisted and even found the dog she wanted in an online search. A search that shouldn’t have shown her this particular dog, but for some reason did. That was my first inkling God was at work.

As the week progressed, I sensed deep in my spirit that my daughter needed this dog. She’d had a difficult time in seventh grade, and I’d decided to homeschool her for the next school year in an attempt to see if we could help her depression.

But how could I explain this to my husband? I knew if I brought God into the discussion, the validity of my case would diminish. So, I presented it as a mother trying to do what she thought best. I knew this dog would be important to our daughter and that’s exactly how I presented the situation, with a lot of prayer of course.

At the time my husband trusted my judgment, and now he too sees how important this special dog has been to our daughter, especially during her brain surgeries, treatment, and now her recovery. In the two years since, what I sensed from God has been affirmed over and over again as his way of preparing us for what laid ahead and providing what we would need to persevere.

Through prayers and God’s guidance I was able to present my position in a way that respected my husband and honored God.

As unequally yoked spouses, these types of situations are inevitable, but if God’s the one leading us in a certain direction, he’ll surely help us get there.

Praying and believing,
Dineen

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Going Alone? Oh No Siree!

I sat down a few minutes ago to prepare this post. Before I started typing, I stopped to pray. I prayed for all of you who read the posts, Church or no-Church. I thanked the Lord, our Great King for each of you who took time to leave me your thoughts, your prayers, your concerns and your experiences.

Church or No-Church, Part I

Church of No-Church, Part II

I have read and re-read your comments just now. I have tears in my eyes. I have been writing here for three years and the advice and love and comfort all of you have given through your comments is some of the best I have EVER read. I encourage all of you to read the comments from last week. Such words of wisdom. You may very well leave your computer today….. CHANGED. PERMANANTLY – CHANGED!

I know that I am.

On Friday I wrote that I was seeking answers from the Lord and how He is always faithful to answer when I pursue His wisdom. Girls and men, He did not fail me. I have a powerful story and prayer to share.

Before I tell you what happened, I think it is important to point out some interesting observations from all of your comments.

First, not all of us agree. After reading through the comments and the private emails I received, it looks like the church or no-church decision is very personal and individualized.

Second, it appears most of us actually have grappled with this very choice and have spent considerable hours, years in prayer and in thought, determining what is appropriate for ourselves, our kids and especially our husbands. These decisions were not made lightly.

Third, many of you found your spouse attending after you released pressure on them. hmmmmm

Fourth, many spouses attend to make their wives happy and that works as well. hmmmmm

Fifth, the enemy is often at work in this situation. (Boy, is that the truth)

Okay, now I want to share a direct message that came to Lynn Donovan on the beach Thursday afternoon. The minute I heard these words, I knew Jesus was correcting my perspective and re-directing my path. The words spoken to me were what I needed to hear and penetrating. I am changed.

So, here goes…

I am fortunate enough to have a small group of friends from my church. We meet together once a week to review the pastor’s message and to pray for one another. Until this year, I was never comfortable as a “married-single” to be part of an intimate group like this. I always felt like a third wheel among all the couples. But, my friend, Pam, loved me so much and welcomed me after inviting me year after year to join the small community, that I felt ready. Thank you Pam!

Well, because most of the families in our group are on a budget, we look for inexpensive ways to enjoy the summer with our kids. The beach is perfect. Free rides on the waves, beach combing and you pack a lunch.

On Thursday, I arrived at the beach and joined a few of the other gals there. I sat down with Gina and Jolene and I shared with them my struggle with this church or no-church thing. They know me and my husband and listened with loving hearts and ears.

I explained my dilemma, “Jolene, it is just so hard to sit there (in church) when he is angry. I don’t want him there.”

Jolene, looked at me and she said. “So what.”

Hunh? No mercy here. Jolene isn’t one to beat around the bush.

She went on in a kind and loving voice. Her message was not to hurt but honestly to help. “Lynn, you know that my husband and I were unequally yoked for many years. He came to Christ a little over five years ago. But before he was saved I would literally be on my knees before the Lord, begging Him to place Himself anywhere and everywhere in front of my husband.”

Hunh?

“I would pray, “”Oh Father, place yourself in front of my man at every turn. Put a Christian man next to him on the airplane today. Father, let my husband catch a glimpse of you through a song, or something on television tonight. Lord, surround him with other business people who love You at his meeting today.””

“Lynn, I wanted my husband surrounded by the Lord. If you want the same, you will want him at church too. Let go of yourself here and if your man is willing to go to church then rejoice as you sit next to him, because the Lord is answering prayer.”

Gulp!

“Oh, Jolene, you are absolutely right.” I knew in my heart, for me, the right thing was to get over myself. And at that instant I did. How dare I let this be about me?

On Thursday as I sat under a cloudy sky at the beach, the Lord spoke. He didn’t speak audibly but through a wise and Jesus-loving friend, Jolene. I now pray much differently and with a new heart for my husband. I stopped asking the Lord to save my husband and to have him read the Bible and to open his spiritual eyes. These prayers are not wrong but I now I am moved to pray like this:

Oh Father, today let me just love him. Pour Your love into me is such a powerful and complete way that I am just bursting with You all over everyone and especially my husband. Father, I beg you to place Yourself before my man today. Be in front of him as he searches the employment boards for work today. Lord, place one or two men in his path at the store today or on the phone who know You. At the Worship barbeque tonight, I ask that there would be one or two Christians who initiate a conversation with him. Lord, I ask you to surround him with You. Fill his morning, noon and night with some message that puts You smack in the front of his face. I ask Your will in his life and not my own.

Lord, YOU- sit on my throne.

 

You sit on my throne.

You sit on my throne.

I love you Jesus. I love you. Your humble servant, Lynn

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Weekend Devo—
Finding God in the Little Things

IMG_3126 Amazing how the littlest word or gesture can go a long way. I'm going on a mini retreat next week with two friends from church. We've tired to plan this for several years and finally found a way to work it out. Tahoe here we come!

But what's so funny to me is that I'm more excited about two little bracelets I found for these two dear women who have meant so much to me over the last six years.

The bracelet in the picture is the one I got for myself. It says Hope, Faith, and Love with hearts, crosses, and ichthuses in between the words. The other two have Bible verses on them, which will have special meaning for my friends. They've both had to deal with a lot over the last year, and God has shown his faithfulness over and over again.

It's these little things that can sometimes carry us through the trials of life. I've learned to recognize even the smallest of moments as a blessing from God. Laughter has come to mean so much to me and my family these last nine months.

 How about you? What little things or memories bring to mind God's love and faithfulness? And how can we bring these moments to those around us during difficult times?

A special word of encouragement, a hug, a wagging dog's tail. God's in it all.

HAPPY 4TH!!!
Hope you have a blessed day full of these special moments.
Dineen

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Attending Chruch Alone
Church or no-Church. What is a Girl to Do?

Continued from Monday.

I just couldn’t do it any longer. Sacrifice another morning. I survive because of those two little hours where I refuel, gain perspective and fill my soul with spiritual strength in order to face the week ahead and the spiritual battles which are inevitable.

His non-confrontational persona leapt forward and he mumbled something inaudible and shuffled myself and my daughter into a row. My eyes burned but I was able to sit through the service.

Which brings us to yesterday (last week), actually rewind a bit further to late Saturday evening. We arrived home after an evening with friends. I am angry because it is 1:00 a.m. and church in the morning is now doubtful. It is then that I decide the last straw has landed on my back. Such strange timing.

I launch into this tirade, “It looks like I am going to miss church again. I am angry because we were out late and you did nothing to wrap up the evening at an hour to allow me rest and to get up early to attend church with my small group.”

There is much more to this building dynamic which is the result of numerous repeats of this scenario. You will have to trust me on this. I didn’t freak-out over a single event. This is a long in the making.

Now bear with me on this me because this exchange appears selfish and in fact it may be. However, at this moment, I am truly over it! I don’t want my husband to EVER attend church with me again unless he wants to. The conversation ended with me flopping into bed.

The next morning, “Sweetie, I want you to know that I in fact, was planning to attend church with you. Not because it would make you happy but because I wanted to.”

Sheesh!

We didn’t make it to church. As I write this post, I am puzzling. How could I traverse a complete 360 about this most important topic and really mean it? More perplexing, I haven’t been able to work through the rightness of it nor God’s perspective (yet).

The way I see it, for years, I applied pressure on my husband to such a degree that he attended church ONLY to make me happy. The result, he finally starts attending we are both miserable.

This is my dilemma. I believed, with all that I am, church would reach my husband. Untrue as of right now. Furthermore, I think I am happier about going alone than sitting by my man and feeling the stress of his displeasure.

I know many of you KNOW exactly what I speak of. I am unable as of this moment to give you the answer but the answer I seek. Not only for me but for you who have also faced or will face this strange turn of events.

I commit this to you my friends, God has brought this situation alive and to the forefront. He is preparing a learning moment, dare I say, a paradigm shift for me and for many of you. I am seeking the truth of navigating – church or no-church, with fervent prayer and a persistence not present before.

Our Lord has never failed to show me the truth of my situations, marriage, parenting, friendships. I will remain faithful and trust He will do the same in this. And, when I know. You will know.

Until then, I want to hear from you and how many of you traverse the quandary of, Church or no-church. Share with me. Be Blessed, Lynn

I plan to talk with you about what I am learning about myself, this situation, about my husband's journey and our Great Big God on Monday. Please tune in for that conversation. It is gonna be good. Love ya! Lynn

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Thankful Thursday - Freedom

Thank you Laurie, Women Taking A Stand, for hosting Thankful Thursday last month. In the hot summer months of July we will give thanks to our Lord here and then in August head over to Iris, Grace Alone.

On this second day of July I am thankful for my freedom.

I am free to worship Jesus. American-flag-2a

I am free to do the right thing.

I am free to stand against evil.

I am free to take the difficult road.

And even if I were put into chains tomorrow, NO ONE can take these away from me.

I am a slave of Jesus Christ and yet, I AM FREE!

What are you thankful for this week?

Also, if you remember in May when I hosted Thankful Thursday, I offered a computer tip each week. Well this month, I think it would be fun to share some marriage quotes/thoughts and some humor. So, here is my marriage quote today that I shared on Twitter and Facebook today:

A good marriage is a union of two forgivers.

Have a blessed Thursday. Be blessed, Lynn

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