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21 entries from August 2009

Marriage Monday - Girl Talk with My Teen.

It's Marriage Monday and our topic is fantastic, like always:

Girl-talk: Mothers & Daughters Talk About Love


 

1st Monday Every Month at Chrysalis

You can probably imagine since I write so much about marriage my teen daughter has heard a lot about the subject of romantic love, marriage, men, women and everything in between. Poor kid.

Well, in fact, I tend to jump on my soap box often when the subject of marriage arrives in conversation. I mean really, I have a teenager, she is boy crazy, and she lives with married people. Poor, poor, kid.

Okay, don't feel too sorry for her.

I will admit she has been known to roll her eyes and say, "Mom, you're doing it again."

I glance at her, and grin in an oops, I just-can't-help-myself look, then say, "Sorry, but you know this is a subject of my passion."

*Eye-roll*

However, we enjoy some of the most stimulating, hilarious, and fascinating conversations about love and marriage.

Take a listen to a few of our favs:

"Mom, I hate football. I can't believe guys watch this silly sport all day long. I mean really. A bunch of dudes, dressed in tights bashing into each other. It's positively barbaric."

Now it's my turn for an eye-roll. "Oh girl, you have so much to learn. Men like sports, learn to like football, your marriage will get along all the better. Trust me on this."

_____

"Mom, have you really forgotten what it's like to be in high school? Girls, want a boyfriend."

"Sweetie, don't rush it. I know it seems like it would be a cool thing to have a boyfriend but you have to ask yourself, are you truly ready for all that entails? Saying you have a boyfriend and actually having a boyfriend are two different things. You have plenty of time. Trust me on this."

_____

Just now I asked my Teen, "When I talk about marriage with you, what do I say?"

"Mom, you remind me to marry a believer. Life's easier that way."

~Hmmmm, I bet you are not surprised by this conversation.

_____

And now, I am leaving you with a conversation that might offend your sensibilities. For certain this is a conversation for girls only so guy readers out there, look away. Please receive this in the humor intended. *grin*

"Mom, why are guys so obsessed with the size of their, ahem?"

"Girl, I can't even begin to explain that one. I haven't a clue."

~Conversation over.

Just keepin' it real! Don't be too mad. I bet a few of you women out there have pondered the same thing on occasion. *grin*

_____

I love my husband and I love being married. I want my daughter to experience the miracle of marriage and romantic love. I know the Lord will use her marriage to teach her, selflessness, friendship, trust, service, sacrifice, authentic love, and a multitude of other Godly characteristics. He certainly used my marriage in this way.

It is a continuing prayer of mine that she will meet the man God has prepared for her and their lives together will serve and honor our Lord, Jesus Christ. I have been praying for this young man since my daughter was tiny. The in-laws too. I can't wait to finally meet them as well.

I'm looking forward to reading your thoughts and conversations. See you over at Chrysalis.

Be blessed, Lynn

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Weekend Devo — Restoring Joy

841479_pain

9 Hide your face from my sins
       and blot out all my iniquity.

 10 Create in me a pure heart, O God,
       and renew a steadfast spirit within me.

 11 Do not cast me from your presence
       or take your Holy Spirit from me.

 12 Restore to me the joy of your salvation
       and grant me a willing spirit, to sustain me.

— Psalm 51:9-12

The other morning I woke up feeling very unsettled. I knew something was off. And I don't share this to make myself seem more than I am. Quite the opposite actually, but that day, my feet didn't hit the floor.

My knees did.

I knew I was not right with God. I'd let the business that is the norm for me this time of year to crowd Him out. And as I knelt, I felt the nudge to pray for God to restore the joy of His salvation to me.

Then, to top it off and to make sure I truly understood He was the one who wanted my attention, the Upper Room booklet used Psalm 51 for that day's devotional.

I love it when God makes it clear He's very present and very aware of what's going on inside my life and in my heart. Even in His discipline, His intense love and caring are clear.

I'm not where I'd like to be. I still need to calm the clamor of deadlines and agendas to fully refocus. But what reassurance to know that even as David wrote down this Psalm, God knew I would need it, too.

We serve an incomprehensible God who pursues and adores us even when we forget Him. How great is He?

Praying and believing,
Dineen

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Chronicles of the Donovan Clan

Hello…..

What happened? August is over… I feel like deer in head lights. Where in the heck did the month go? I had so much to write about and finish up before September.

So let’s finish up our conversation about conflict. Give you an update from the Chronicles of the Donovan Clan, talk some about Mothers and Daughters and their talk about love on Marriage Monday, and finally prepare for the big launch of “Tune in to Heaven’s Frequency.” This is a 30 day journey that I promise will forever change your marriage. Are you up for the dare? Starts October 1st. Details in mid-September.

Whew, are you tired yet?

Today: Chronicles of the Donovan Clan

First, I want to tell you a story about a young woman I knew a while back. This young wife woke up one morning to the realization that she did, in fact, believe in the God of the Bible. She grappled with the truth that she’d been running from the man, Jesus, who she remembered from Sunday school tales. She knew from that day forward, life would never be the same. Her faith was reborn.

Sitting up in bed, she looked over at her sleeping husband, tears burned. “Oh no, he really doesn’t know Jesus. He will never be part of my life of faith.”

That was the day she began to pray for his salvation.

Years past. Prayers continued. Bible study groups prayed for her husband. The church too.

Nothing.

Still, she prayed.

As I remember that young woman, I swallow a lump in my throat. It was me.

I have prayed for more than 17 years for my husband’s salvation. I have longed for a life where I felt safe to talk about this man, Jesus, within my marriage. I clung to the hope of mutual Christian friends. I was desperate to sit as a family in a church service.

So, why hasn’t God heard my prayer? I know the salvation of my spouse is in His perfect will. Why? I guess the more important question to ask is why didn’t I just give up and stop asking? After seven years? After ten?

Am I a fool to pray for more than 17 years for the same thing?

I know that there are many of you right now, in this very place. You have thoughts, “God I want to give up. He is never going to change his mind. Why aren’t you listening to my prayers?”

Now I am going to tell you why you are not EVER going to give up.

I know our God listens to our heart’s yearning for a believing spouse. The reason I know why is because for the first time ever, my husband is attending church with me. Mind you, he still has not crossed the line to baptism but the man gets out of bed on Sunday mornings, gets ready and our family goes to church together.

Further, this past Sunday, he brought his bible. He followed along with the message the pastor gave, flipping pages, pointing out notes in the margin to me as my heart soared.

Miracle of miracles.

I thought I was going to pass out when I caught a glimpse of the book in the man’s hand as he got in the car.

Now I don’t know where this new interest in God will take him. I have been here before. However, for years this man wanted nothing to do with Jesus. He vehemently fought against all things of faith. Yet, this week I experienced one of my deepest longings fulfilled. He came to church. He talked with two guy friends there. (I had to go find him because he was outside talking away…. To another Christian man…. ) He brought his Bible. He read it. He held my hand as we sat together.

Please hear me. None of this change is because of me. It is all because it is the Lord’s will to save my husband. I only prayed along the way. Nonetheless, God delighted me in the process and granted my heart’s desire.

How undeserved am I, but so humbly thankful.

I will continue to pray for my husband’s salvation and during this season of our life. I will pray every day. Every day. For another 17 years if that is the will of God.

So, when you think you can’t utter another word for your husband, because you are disappointed, angry, or perhaps at the end of your rope, I know you can. I have been there too. God listens to every word.

There are three words that I prayed when the hour seems darkest in marriage, in parenting, in life, “Lord, change me.”

He will!

Have a blessed day, Lynn

*****

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Thankful Thursday - A Second Chance

This month we will be meeting at Grace Alone, Iris will be hosting.

September we meet again at Women Taking A Stand and I will see you here again for the month of October.

This has been a crazy week. I feel like I have taken three steps forward and two steps back. I triumph in some areas and lose ground in others.

It seems that sometimes I may never conquer some of my struggles. I often wonder why the Lord puts up with my nonsense at times. I don't know why He is so patient with me.

But...

As always, the Lord sends a word, an email, a hug along to tell me, I forgive you 7 X 77 X 77 (not the actual scripture numbers, but in my case... factual.)

My Lord says, "I haven't called the qualified. I have qualified the called. Lynn, I love you and want you to just keep doing what I told you last. Trust me."

"Lynn, I love you. I love you. I love you."

I am indeed blessed. THANK YOU LORD!

Happy TT. Hugs, Lynn

*****

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"This Should Keep Us All Thinking"

My precious daughter Leslie found this video on You Tube. Whether the story is true or not doesn't matter. The message is a powerful one. You can find out more about the person who made it on You Tube.

And I find especially precious the setting of this story, because today is Leslie's first day back at school. After a year of surgeries, treatments and recovery, she's excited about restarting her life. Her words, not mine!

Can I just shout it from the rooftop? GOD IS GOOD!!!

Praying, believing, and rejoicing,
Dineen


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On the Road to Nowhere Good

Guest post by: Tami Boesigner

Her husband had interest in an organization she knew to be contrary to God’s Word and she was upset.

“It’s wrong,” she said, “I know it’s wrong.”

“Have you told him that?” I asked.

“He knows I disagree, but I haven’t come out and said it.” She explained she had a tendency to tell him what to do and his response was never good. Usually, voicing her strong opinion only motivated him to show her he knew better. She felt it best to let him come to the conclusion himself to avoid the bad patterns they followed in the past. So she agreed to let him invite some people from the organization over to discuss what it was all about.

“I’m his wife,” she said, “If he’s going to go on this journey, I’m not letting him do it alone.”

The visit led to an invitation to tour the organization’s facility. Playing the supportive spouse, she agreed to go along, but her insides were churning. For good reason.

“How far are you willing to go?” I asked, “Where is this path leading? First, it’s a harmless visit in the safety of your own home, then it’s an invitation to tour the facility. Where are you going next?”

“I don’t know,” she said.

“Isn’t the logical end to this road an invitation to join the organization? Are you willing do that?”

Here’s where the hard rubber meets the concrete road. Conflict is inevitable. At some point, this couple WILL butt heads over this issue. Wouldn’t it be better to address it early on, before potential damage could be done?

Has a similar scenario affected your marriage? As tough as it may be to hear, there’s a fine line between being supportive and enabling your spouse to go down a path you know to be wrong. We want to be loving and encouraging. We want to take an interest in what our husbands do. We don’t want to come across as judgmental wives. And it’s true as spouses we have an allegiance and responsibility to our mates.

But our first allegiance is to God.

Is there an area your spouse delves in that you know to be wrong in God’s eyes? Do you wonder how to handle it?

Guest Post: By Tami BosingerI suggest you take a hard look at the path you’re traveling and ask yourself some tough questions:

What does God say about it?

Where is this leading?

How far can I travel with him?

Am I supporting him or enabling him to take the wrong road?

What does a LOVING wife do?

Confronting the issue will probably cause conflict, but do you truly love your man if you make the path to destruction easier? May God give us courage and wisdom to do what is right in His eyes.

Tami Boesiger

Tami The Next Step

Tami Boesiger: Tami shares her life with husband, Kevin, a Creative Arts Pastor and their four children in Beatrice, Nebraska. She considers her marriage God’s big miracle to her and has enjoyed being Kevin’s wife for 21 years. The two of them collaborate to write musical productions and skits for their church, some of which are sold on their web site, Distinctive Notes. Striving to be real and genuine in her writing, she candidly shares her struggles and asks the questions we all ponder, wanting people to see that being a Christian is not about being perfect or having all the right answers, but about living beyond our earthly existence. Tami keeps busy staying on top of her kids and all their activities, leading Ladies’ Bible studies, writing, singing in choir and worship team, playing clarinet and saxophone, lunching with friends and hanging out with her husband. Get to know Tami at her blog, The Next Step.

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Weekend Devo — Don't let that hold you back.

“Each of us finds our meaning and function as a part of his body” (Romans 12:5 MSG).

So often we focus on what we lack or a flaw and see these things what holds us back. Yet we forget that God created us exactly as we are and even designed good works for us with our specific talents and flaws in mind.

Amazingly, if you haven't noticed, it was those significantly flawed characters in the Bible who accomplished the most for God. Why? I think it's because they couldn't rely on their own abilities and get caught up in their own press. They had to rely on God to get the job done.

Take a look at this list from a Purpose Driven Connection devotional by Rick Warren.

• Abraham was old,
• Jacob was insecure,
• Leah was unattractive,
• Joseph was abused,
• Moses stuttered,
• Gideon was poor,
• Samson was codependent,
• Rahab was immoral,
• David had an affair and all kinds of family problems,
• Elijah was suicidal,
• Jeremiah was depressed,
• Jonah was reluctant,
• Naomi was a widow,
• John the Baptist was eccentric to say the least,
• Peter was impulsive and hot-tempered,
• Martha worried a lot,
• The Samaritan woman had several failed marriages,
• Zacchaeus was unpopular,
• Thomas had doubts,
• Paul had poor health, and
• Timothy was timid.

So next time you think you're not equipped to do what God's calling you to, think again. It's not what you've got to offer that will get the job done. It's that you recognize the only way it's going to happen is if you get out of the way and let God work through you. And if he's calling you, he'll certainly equip you.

Amen?

Praying and believing,
Dineen

*****

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Thankful Thursday - Growing Up!

This month we will be meeting at Grace Alone, Iris will be hosting.

September we meet again at Women Taking A Stand and I will see you here again for the month of October.

Well for many of us it is back to school week. May I just say one thing:

It’s the most wonderful time of the year! Do you remember that office supply commercial? It makes me grin.

On this Thursday when we take time to reflect on the things we are thankful for, I must share a story about how our Great God works in the lives of our kids.

On Monday my daughter, my baby girl, started High School. I can’t begin to tell you who felt more stressed - her or me. Sheesh!

Two weeks prior, my daughter held my hand and said, “Mom, please pray that I have some friends, girls I know, in some of my classes.”

“Sweetie, I will but you need to pray also.”

“I have been Mom.”

A week flew by and my daughter picked up her schedule a few days before school resumed, no friends. Not a single person she knew was in any of her classes.

As she told me about her scary future without friends, I knew what she was thinking. Is God real? Does he really hear me when I pray? Why didn’t he listen to me and give me at least one friend?

I let the moment pass. I didn’t have words. However, the next morning, I sat with the Lord in the garden and I asked Him about these very thoughts. “Lord, she is going to think you don’t hear, or answer prayer. She is a kid trying to have faith. But at this very stressful time in her life she needed to hear from you.”

During this prayer time, I felt the Lord speaking to me, “Trust me. I have this worked out. I have appointed new friends for her. They will meet in due time. Trust me on this.”

Well this answer was great for me but how would I explain this to my baby girl? Wouldn’t you know it, later that day, my daughter, and I were standing in the kitchen and SHE initiated the conversation and voiced her disappointment with God. “Mom, why didn’t He hear me?”

This is where I tell you I am so thankful for prayer and for a God who knows what He is doing.

The moment presented itself for me to share with her the very words God spoke about her friendships. I said, “Trust God in this Caitie. He has friends waiting for you. I know you think he let you down but I am telling you, God has this covered.”

Well indeed on her very first day after school, she arrived at the car, hot and tired but with happiness in her heart. It was a good day. She met several new friends right away. (Not the usual pattern for this child)

Now I am not one to say to someone, I told you so. However, I smiled and in a kind voice I said, “See, I told you, the Lord had this all worked out.”

“Ya, Mom, He did.”

Priceless!

What are you thankful for this Thursday? Have a great day. Be Blessed, Lynn

*****

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The Physical Connection

AddingZestHeaderLast week I did a post over at Adding Zest, Patty Wysong's site that tastefully deals with the physical side of Christian marriage. And it falls right in line with our explorations of staying connected to our spouses and dealing with conflict. I hope reading "The Physical Connection" blesses you as much as it blessed me writing it. I'd love to hear your thoughts on this particular topic and the four suggestions I make. 

On a side note and along our ongoing theme here at S.U.M., looks like I'm now an official disc golf player! Are you laughing? I know I am but in a good way. My sweet hubby has loaned me one of his bags and several discs. And this past weekend he bought me a lightweight visor and my very first store-bought disc. I never thought I'd wind up on the course by his side, but I'm having fun and even better, so is he! I think I impressed my dad, who's a traditional golfer. He's so pleased I won't be be a "golf widow."

God moves in amazing ways, doesn't he? I'll keep you posted!

Praying and believing,
Dineen

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Marriage, Alcohol, Final Thoughts and a Suprise!

When 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 want to add some thoughts about our current topic, Alcohol and Marriage, before we move on to another subject.

I went back and reread the posts and my husband also read them. I asked him what he thought and we started a conversation. He looked at me and said that it appears that this series of posts casts him as a man with an alcohol problem.

Yikes! I didn’t realize I wrote it that way.

He does not have an alcohol problem. He never has. (Okay, Honey, whew, glad I cleared the air.)

I also wanted to let you know that I ran this topic and my thoughts by our church counselor. He was also in agreement that Al-Anon and Alcoholics Anonymous are excellent programs. I also know Troubledwith.com offers advice on coping with and the treatment of alcoholism. You can find the link on our resources page in the sidebar.

This is only one issue, a major issue for sure, in which a marriage can encounter conflict. This kind of an issue I would consider a major issue as compared with disagreeing on what sofa to buy for the living room.

What I think we need to talk about next before jumping into the life-altering issue of infidelity is this: When does conflict cross a boundary line? And, the follow up question: Is it right to create a “crisis” in your marriage to resolve such conflict? Ahhhhh, great questions. I have been dying to talk about these.

What do you think?

Have a fantastic week. Lynn

PS. Over four weeks ago the Lord woke me up in the middle of the night. He gave me another idea to share with you. If you have been reading for a while here at Spiritually Unequal Marriage, you might remember the Kingdom Assignment we all did together last year. That was a humbling and triumphant experience all at the same time. It was awesome. God has the best ideas! (to read some of the posts, click on the Kingdom Assignment in the sidebar.)

This new idea that God gave me is similar except this time, the Lord wants to do something for you.

I plan to tell you more about it next week. We are going to give it a whirl during the month of September. The kids go back to school and schedules resume. The Lord said it is a perfect time to prepare us for a major shift in our lives and lead us into the most amazing season of our lives.

Girls and men, I am psyched. I will tell you more soon. Now, I wonder, could the Lord be putting a little tickle in your heart? Perhaps you are to be part of this.

I can’t wait, I tell you. I just can’t wait.

*****

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Weekend Devo — Have you noticed?

147660_blue_pansy_with_water_droplets Praise the LORD. Give thanks to the LORD, for he is good; his love endures forever. — Psalm 106:1

Have you noticed God in the little things? The bloom of a flower, a clear blue sky, a special word you needed at a particular time of discouragement?

God's presence is all around us, constantly. He knows about every bit of our lives, and not just as an observer but as faithful Father/Friend/Creator who cares and wants to be involved in our lives. And He is!

He is so faithful, so holy, so constant! I hope you'll take a moment this weekend and notice the ways God's working in your life. Make a list. Even of the tiniest of things.

And give Him praise and thanks, because God is good!

Praying and believing,
Dineen

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Thankful Thursday - Hope

This month we will be meeting at Grace Alone, Iris will be hosting.

September we meet again at Women Taking A Stand and I will see you here again for the month of October.

“But even if you should suffer for righteousness’ sake, you will be blessed. Have no fear of them, nor be troubled, but in your hearts honor Christ the Lord as holy, always being prepared to make a defense to anyone who asks you for a reason for the hope that is in you; yet do it with gentleness and respect…” ~ 1 Peter 3:14-15

If we did not have hope, we could not thrive. This is what Spiritually Unequal Marriage is all about. We have hope for our future. We have hope for our spouse's salvation. We have hope for our kids. We have hope for happiness in this life and then eternal life.

We have hope because we have Christ.

Have a blessed Thursday, Lynn

*****

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More Disc Golf Adventures

Photo Well, I mentioned on last week's post that I would be going on a disc golf adventure. We headed out early afternoon with our daughter's poochy, Shasta, to play a course nearby.

In case you're unfamiliar with disc golf, it's just like traditional golf but instead of clubs, you use discs called drivers, midranges, and putters. Each one varies in thickness/thinness and hardness/softness of the plastic. And some of them even have ornate artwork and graphics on them.

Like a golf course, there are holes, or rather, baskets, like the one I'm standing next to in the picture. Most courses are nine, eighteen or twenty-seven baskets (this one is nine) and the goal is to make or brake par on each basket. Usually three to four throws.

Except I, of course, took a whole lot more than that. But my sweet hubby was so patient. He didn't care if it took me twice as many throws to get to the basket as he did. He just kept showing me ways to throw the disc and encouraging me. And we only played about six or seven baskets, because it was so hot.

I'm so amazed. He wants to play again next week, but get an earlier start so we avoid the heat. I can tell it means a lot to him that I'm interested in something he's so passionate about. We had a great day together. That was the best part for me, to spend time together and connect. And the exercise never hurts.

Who knows, maybe I'll actually wind up good at it one day.

Praying and beleiving,
Dineen

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God Wakes Me Up. It's Important

God wakes me up in the middle of the night!

Has God ever awakened you in the middle of the night? Then as you become fully conscious is there someone on your mind? Do you sense that you need to pray for them? On the other hand, perhaps you are awakened and have no idea why you are wide-awake and can't go back to sleep?

This is exactly what happened to my friend Val. In the middle of the darkness, several months ago, Val became wide-awake. On her mind was a young woman who is married to one of the pastors of our church. Val was immediately compelled to pray for her. She held this young woman up before the throne of our King, asking for intervention, and safety.

Val does not remember how long she prayed but recalls praying fervently because the Holy Spirit obligated her.

Several days later Val and her friend had a chance meeting. Val began to tell her friend about how she was awakened to pray for her in the night. Her friend asked, “What night and what time did you begin to pray?” Val told her the approximate time and date. Her friend’s face drained of all color and she stood motionless. She looked at Val and said that was the precise hour she began to experience the beginning of a miscarriage.

At Bible study today, Val told me this story. She said that since that night, she is convicted to pray anytime the Master asks. She will always respond, even in the middle of the night because someone needs God’s involvement.

It is not always clear why we need to pray for others or what our prayers avail. What I do know is that believing prayer is powerful. God often calls his servants to pray at night. Perhaps that is the only time we are truly quiet enough to hear His voice.

God will wake me also in the night. Sometimes I don’t know who to pray for so I just ask, “Okay, God, who am I suppose to be praying for.” I know that one day I will see the result of the quiet prayers, uttered in the darkness. Have you been awakened to pray in the middle of the night? Tell me what God asked of you. Be blessed this Day! Lynn

From the Archives, August, 16, 2006

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Weekend Devo—To Know and Be Known

(This is a re-post from July 30, 2007, with the addition of applicable Scripture. In light of our recent topics I thought it might be a good one to revisit.)

Bible But the man who loves God is known by God. — 1Corinthians 8:3

As I wrote down my prayer, the ache in my heart formed into these five words, “to know and be known.” Baffled by its meaning, yet fearful of the ramifications, I realized in that moment this was my dream.

To know and be known.

Several days later as I read one of my devotional booklets, one line jumped out at me. Almost word for word, the writer stated the same thing—to know and be known.

Now I knew I had to explore this further. What’s at the heart of this plea-like desire? If you’re like me, your faith defines who you are. At your very core, you find God, and everything you do is affected by this relationship.

Now I don’t say this to appear more than I am. Believe me when I say, the closer I come to Christ, the more I see how truly fallen I am. No, this goes deeper. This comes to a deep need to share ourselves with our creator and with our significant other. Our spouse.

How can you share who and what you believe yourself to be when the very essence that defines you is a Creator your spouse doesn’t acknowledge or even believe exists? We already struggle to be who we are in a society that tells us we’re not good enough, no matter what we do. Our marriages are supposed to be a place where we can truly be ourselves, secure in the knowledge that we are loved and accepted. But what happens when what we believe is unacceptable to the one we’ve committed to spend out lives with?

This question drove me to examine this desire and explore it in two parts.

To know. I want to know and understand my spouse, to relate to him on a spiritual level. Yet our mismatch makes this virtually impossible. I can’t know him this way, because he is still entrenched in his carnal form. The spirit I long to connect with isn’t there. But to delve deeper is to understand that who I truly long to know is God. To understand my place in his kingdom, and to find peace in this knowledge.

And be known. I want my husband to know who I am, to understand that my faith defines who I am at the very core of my being. Again I am drawn to connect with him on this spiritual level. To look further is to see our deep-seated need to be known by God. To know we matter to Him. That we are more than just one of many and unique in the Master’s eye.

I’m coming to understand why God brought this desire to light. Our natural tendency is to search for fulfillment of our greatest needs in the ones we are closest to. Our spouses, our children, our friends, our ministries, our jobs. Yet God desires that He be the one we turn to for this deep fulfillment and connection. This is the essence of our relationship with Him—our one true love.

I can’t relate to what it feels like to be married to a believer. I can only imagine it, picture it, desire it—deeply yearn for it. But in this time of waiting, I’ve met Jesus in a very personal way. Now more than at any other time in my life, He is more tangible than I have ever known Him to be.

When the spiritual loneliness hits me, my thoughts turn to Him who knows me better than anyone ever can. I turn to the ultimate groom, the one who died for me, and lives through me today. I turn to Jesus.

And in his presence, I am known.

Praying and believing,
Dineen

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Conflict - Alcohol and What Happened to Mark and Tina?

When 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).

Last week we left the story of Tina and Mark at a crossroads. Tina thinks Mark might have a problem with alcohol. The drinking has definitely put a stain on their marriage.

For some reason, this is often where I find myself arriving in the progression. I receive a call from a friend, an email arrives, or one of the girls in Bible study stops to talk with me after class. They describe some of the difficulties they are experiencing with their spouse. Rarely does she mention alcohol. She will share the struggles with communication, the growing disrespect and the disconnect in their marriage.

I assure you I listen with my whole heart, and my soul is pierced by their pain.

I then proceed down a conversation similar to this:

Lynn: Oh, Tina, I am so very sorry you are in the middle of this pain. I can feel your hurt. I know you said that Mark is hanging out on the weekend with his guy friends and you feel lonely and rejected. I know you have thought to yourself, this is not what a marriage should be. I know, because I have had those thoughts in the past.

Can I ask you a question?

Tina: Sure

Lynn: I can probably guess Mark is having a few beers while hanging out with the guys. But, can I ask you, does he drink in the evening too?

Tina: Well, ya, he will have a couple of beers at night.

Lynn: So, I am just wondering if the thought has crossed your mind. Do you think your husband has a problem with alcohol? Can he go more than a week without a drink? Have you wondered if maybe, just perhaps, he might have too much alcohol? Could he be an alcoholic?

The answer to this question is truly critical. If a spouse has toyed with the idea for a while that her/his spouse might be an alcoholic, it is likely it may be true.

*** Now don’t panic. Not everyone is an alcoholic that drinks.

This is what I would tell Tina.

Lynn: Tina, I’m not sure if you only needed a listening ear for your broken heart. I am so very glad to just listen, but I am wondering if you perhaps need someone to just help you get out of this place your marriage is stuck in? I would like to share with you my thoughts.

Please, please, PLEASE, pray about what I tell you and ask the Lord if these words are meant for you.

I want you to pray about attending an Al-Anon meeting. Taking this bold step will do several things.

One, it is gonna rock the boat with Mark. It will shake him up to realize you think he has a problem. It doesn’t mean he is ready to accept the truth but this action will prompt some conversation (conflict).

Two, it is a public action. You need to be emotionally ready to accept the reality of someone you know recognizing you at a meeting. You must be ready to do what it takes to find healing. It takes courage and you will need prayer support. Start praying on your knees about attending. The Holy Spirit will convict you if this step is right. Don’t let fear or shame guide you. Your future could hinge on this action.

Three: Al-Anon will teach you how to cope. They can coach you to set effective boundaries.

Now I have probably overwhelmed you with much to think about. Pray and if need be talk with a counselor at church.

***This is where I tell you that this advice does not apply to everyone. However, I find in serving women in ministry we often don’t know what to do. Our husband drinks, we think, too much. We don’t know where to find help and don't know someone safe to ask questions about this delicate subject. We are too afraid to talk to someone at church, especially the Pastor. My goodness, what would he think?

What I do know to be true is this. If your spouse has a drinking addiction, even a moderate one, it strains the marriage. You don’t have to suffer in silence. There are many resources to learn to cope and eventually work your marriage through this difficulty. Al-Anon is only one. But it starts with you.

It seems unfair that we always have to be the one to take action but alas, isn’t that just like God. He wants to work in other’s lives through us. He may be calling you to do so today.

This is where I now ask you to share. Are you in a similar situation? Do you need prayer? Have you overcome addiction? How did you do it? What can you share here today to help set a captive free? Please feel free to share anonymously.

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

Be Blessed, Lynn

Next conflict: infidelity

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I Have a Bad Reputation

It’s True, I have a bad reputation.

My friends in the neighborhood all know about me. My family has known for a long time. I have an issue.

Sometimes I catch an off-hand word about my peculiarity or a casual remark in conversations in the yard or at church. I know I should change.

So today I will confess. My name is Lynn Donovan and I....

find the rest of the story at Laced With Grace. You won't believe what God does this time...... and He is waiting to do this amazing thing in your life too..... It's too cool.... Hugs.

Have a fantastic day. I love you. Be Blessed, Lynn

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Thankful Thursday

This 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 Thursday I pause to give thanks to the Lord for the privilege of prayer. It can blow my mind to think the God of the Universe, who created all things, who knows every person intimately alive or ever lived would be interested in conversation with lil' ole me.

Blows my mind I till you!

In the past several days I have seen the direct results of my conversations with the Lord. I see how He listens patiently, how He forgives me 70 times seven. I look at my spouse and see the hope of prayers fulfilled.

I am in awe and I give all glory and honor to the Lord Jesus Christ. I am so very thankful for the divine privilege of prayer.

Be blessed, Lynn

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An Adventure Into Disc Golf

638105_frisbee_golf_1 My sweet hubby just got back last night from the 2009 PDGA Disc Golf World Championships. Over the years and through countless hobbies such as traditional golf, rollerblading, and a unicycle (yes, you heard me right), this is the one sport I've seen him play and pursue passionately.

I admire his dedication and determination to improve in the sport. He plays every chance he gets. And yes, I've become the proverbial "golf-widow." But he loves it.

We've talked here at S.U.M. before about the challenges of staying connected to our spouses, to find common ground when faith and church can't be. Especially when interests diverge so drastically. And as I've shared in recent posts, I'm searching for ways to have more impact on my husband's life.

While he was gone, God showed me that these two issues were tied together. That if I want to have opportunities to "show" him Christ (1Peter 3:1) then I need to insert myself in his world. And right now, that's disc golf.

I mentioned before I'd be the one on the disc golf course, picking burrs out of her socks. Well, looks like Saturday is my day to break into this up and coming sport. While my husband was gone, I brought up the idea of playing with him when he got back. I wish I could describe the change in his voice...I could tell it meant a lot to him.

So, maybe I'll have pictures to share next time. At least an eventful story, I hope. God nudged me this direction so I'll trust him with the rest. In the meantime, think of some unique ways you can connect with your spouse this week. Do something a little different and see what happens. Then let us know!

Praying and believing,
Dineen

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Marriage Monday - I Caught a Glimpse and it was Awesome!

It's Marriage Monday and we have an open topic. I want to share a special moment with you when I saw a side to my husband that left me breathless.

1st Monday Every Month at Chrysalis

My night owl shuffled down the hall this Sunday morning. His salt and pepper hair was standing up on the back of his head, resembling a porcupine that was a tad bit angry about the earliness of the morning hour.

I secretly grinned as he headed for the coffee pot.

I love so many things about this man. His porcupine hair, the way his right foot always jiggles with nervous energy- it’s the engineer in him. His deep voice and the simple tan shorts he always wears, (he owns a pair for every day of the week).

His peculiar habits are a part of our daily living, the good, bad, and the ugly. Mine too.

His daily routines are behaviors I know well. They are endearing and annoying all at the same time, if you know what I mean. But, on occasion I am privileged to witness more than the mundane. I stand at a distance and gaze deep into the heart of my man who in many ways remains much of a mystery to me no matter how much time we have lived life together.

One of those profound moments happened this weekend. I shall never forget it.

An interesting scenario played out in our social net over the past several days. As can happen in friendships, a disagreement arose and tempers flared. I watched from the sidelines as words were spoken and people took sides.

This little neighborhood tiff was not about my husband or our family in any way, however, it directly affected him. With that said, I saw my man’s integrity rise to the surface. He guarded his tongue; he carefully, with intelligence, navigated the situation.

He did the right thing.

I am so proud of you honey! You are my HERO!

I am madly in love with you forever, Lynn

For more Marriage Monday, visit Chrysalis.

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Weekend Devo—Worth the Wait

953185_hourglass We do a lot of waiting in our lives, don't we? I think we do some of the hardest waiting in our mismatched marriages. God can seem mighty silent sometimes.

I came across this quote by Raymond Edman last week:

“Never doubt in the dark what God told you in the light.”

Our times of waiting can certainly seem like darkness, but what's so amazing that God never stops working. Sometimes we just have to wait a little longer.

Below is a devo from Purpose Driven Connection. I hope it encourages you as it did me, that sometimes we have to accept God's "not yet," and keep waiting. But isn't it worth the wait?

Praying and believing,
Dineen


How God Builds Your Faith: Delay
by Rick Warren


"But these things I plan won't happen right away. Slowly, steadily, surely, the time approaches when the vision will be fulfilled. If it seems slow, do not despair, for these things will surely come to pass. Just be patient! They will not be overdue a single day!" (Habakkuk 2:3 LB).

Even as you make a decision to follow the dream God places in your heart, you can expect a delay. God will not fulfill your dream immediately because this is another step toward building your faith.

In Habakkuk 2, God says, "These things I plan won't happen right away. Slowly, steadily, surely, the time approaches when the vision will be fulfilled."

In this step of faith-building you will most likely start asking the question, "When, Lord? When are You going to answer my prayer?"

And we hate to wait. We don't like to wait in a doctor's office, or in traffic jams, or at restaurants, or for Christmas presents, or for anything else. But what we hate worst of all is waiting on God.

Have you ever been in a hurry when God wasn't? It's so irritating! You're ready, but God isn't. God wants to work on you before He works on the project. Every believer must go through the University of Learning to Wait (ULW). Some of us are still working on our degrees from ULW!

• Noah waited 120 years from the time he started building the ark until it began to rain.
• Abraham was told he would be the father of a great nation and didn't have a child until he was 99.
• God told Moses he would be the leader to lead his people out of 400 years of slavery, but then made him wait in the desert 40 years.
• Joseph spent years in prison before God raised him up and he became the ruler God wanted him to be.
• God had David anointed as king, but then David waited for years until he actually got to be king.


We all have to go through these waiting periods. Even Jesus waited for 30 years in the carpenter's shop before setting out on his public ministry.

Why do we wait? It teaches us to trust in God. We learn that His timing is perfect. One of the facts we have to learn is this: God's delay never destroys His purpose.

A delay is not a denial. Children must learn the difference between "no" and "not yet," and so must we. Many times we think God is saying, "No," but He is saying, "Not yet."

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