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21 entries from July 2010

Weekend Devo — The Best Truths Bear Repeating

This is a post from last October that just seems to need repeating. I know it's a truth I need constant reminder of. Trusting God is key, and keeping our hopes in Him is the source of our enduring strength. Have a blessed weekend! Hugs! ~Dineen

Waiting on God
Waiting God never ceases to amaze me in the intricate perfection of his work and plan. Have you found yourself in a place where you see how the details surrounding you are linked together and blooming like a flower? And as the petals open, the legitimacy of each event suddenly comes into view, perfectly planned and coordinated in an intricate pattern of destiny?


I love those moments. Though I’m sure I don’t see them all, I know I’d miss more if I didn’t constantly and intentionally draw closer to God. We need to stay in a place of yearning for more of God and less of this world.

Otherwise, we might miss what God’s doing in our lives.

I know I’ve said this before, but bear with me. Waiting is a big part of our Christian walk. Hard to do in a world so focused on how fast something can be done. We’re becoming a culture of impatient people. I see it in my own children. But I know from experience that waiting is critical in our walk with God.

Now I’m coming to understand a new dimension of waiting. For the last year, my constant question has been, “How do I rely on God’s strength instead of my own?” I run out of strength, then wonder what happened. What did I do wrong? How do I know when I’m operating in my own strength and not God’s?

I think I got part of the answer yesterday at Bible study. A very special group of ladies meets every week at my church. I love these women, because they are the most authentic and God-hungry women I know. Right now we’re studying Esther by Beth Moore.

Let me first confess that I’m a big Beth Moore fan. Her studies have impacted my life more than any others I’ve done, except for Experiencing God by Henry Blackaby and Claude King. But this Esther study by far exceeds them all. I think Beth crawled into my very situation and wrote it just for me. ☺

Yesterday we received a nugget that I believe is key to answering this question I’ve had about God’s strength. Take a look at Isaiah 40:31 (ESV):

but they who wait for the LORD shall renew their strength;
they shall mount up with wings like eagles;
they shall run and not be weary;
they shall walk and not faint.

Waiting and strength are linked here in a way I hadn’t thought of before until Beth said something like this:

“We will lose our strength when we wait on the event, thing, or person instead of waiting on God.”

Talk about a “whoa” moment. Suddenly the pieces fell into place. When do we feel like we can’t go any further because we have no more strength?

When we’ve prayed over and over again for our spouse to believe in Christ? For a child to be healed? For a job?

For a difficult situation to resolve and find a peaceful solution?
For a loved one to come back to us?

Add yours to the list. (Tell us about it in the comments.) Now ask yourself this. “What am I waiting on?” Did your answer look like one of these:

For my spouse to come to faith.
For my child to be healthy again.
For the right job.
For this situation to be fixed and go away.
For my loved one to come home.

Is your strength lagging? Are you tired and want to give up? Are you asking why God isn’t strengthening you? I know I have.

The key is right in the first line of Isaiah 40:31:

but they who wait for the LORD shall renew their strength.

Like Beth said, when we wait on our spouse to choose God, for our child to be okay, for a job, for peace, for restoration with a loved one, we’re waiting on that specific event, circumstance, or person. We’re waiting on it, and not God. And we lose our strength.

It always seems to come back to where we point our eyes, doesn’t it? Keeping our eyes on God and waiting on Him. Let’s put it to the test, shall we? See if it works? I’m ready to wait on God and let him renew my strength.

How about you?

Praying and believing,
Dineen

*****

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

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The Safe Life - The Crazy Life

Are you living the safe life or the crazy life. Francis Chan author of Crazy Love.

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

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Thankful Thursday -

Let us give thanks. It is Thankful Thursday.

Wow, can you believe July is almost over. I had a blast hosting Thankful Thursday in July. Next month we will meet up with Laurie of Women Taking A Stand and in September we will share our thanks with Iris of Grace Alone

My month of hosting Thankful Thursday is at an end. We will meet back here again in October. Wow, fall is around the corner. Next week let's find each other for another week of praise over at Laurie's place.

Before we leave summer too quickly, I want to share something from my summer with you. Take a look at this photo I snapped a few weeks ago. It a photograph of a morning glory that vines on the little picket fence surrounding my garden.

Imported Photos 00017
 

It may be difficult to see in this small version but if you click on the photo you can see a larger photo. What I want to show you is the Awe of our God.

Now look at the center. Do you see it? It actually glows. It glows in a brilliant white. 

How does God do that?

I am often moved to moments of awe and wonder of our God in the small details of our world. Most people would miss this amazing phenomenon of a glowing flower but I didn't. When I look upon such amazing beauty and mystery, I am moved by the Lord.

I am moved to thank the Creator, my Lord, for the majesty and mystery and magnificence of His creation.

Today, share a photo with me of something that inspires awe in your heart and let's honor the Lord with our worship and thanks. Be blessed, Lynn

PS. I would be so thrilled if you would join me in a few weeks for The Intentional Marriage. It will be on August 13th and I have a challenge for you and your marriage. I promise it will be worth your time. You can write about the challenge on your own blog and link up here.

God created the design of marriage to help us understand His relationship to us and our relationship to Him. That is what The Intentional Marriage is all about. Let's discover more about growing in our love for Jesus and our spouse. See you soon. Lynn

(turn on the speakers because the music is happy *grin*)

*****

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

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Step Three: Obedience

1228973_love_1 Last week I had the chance to catch up with a dear friend. Over lunch, we brought each other up to date on the details of our lives. At one point after relaying my own family’s current events, she paid me a compliment in regards to my patience with my husband.

The firmness of my answer surprised me. “I’m simply doing what God is telling me.”

Obedience isn’t easy, especially when it affects our own lives adversely. To the outside world, we may seem foolish and even spineless, but here’s where that first choice to love our spouses becomes so critical. If we’ve chosen to love only when times are good, which is easy in the moment, our resolve falls away when times get tough.

And let me emphasize again that this decision is not based on our own feelings or the ability or inability of our spouses to meet our expectations. It’s a decision based in obedience to God and to His calling to love a lost soul.

In review, we can see these steps are very interconnected. First the decision to love, which is what opens the door and allows God to work in our own hearts as well as our unbelieving spouses.

Second, keeping our focus on God, not our circumstances. Remember Isaiah 40:31 says, “But those who hope in the Lord will renew their strength.” Not hope in our spouse’s conversion or change. No, we are to keep our hope firmly placed in God. That’s where our strength comes from, which is vital if we’re to persevere in step three.

Step three: Obedience. Whatever God is telling you to do, move forward in the confidence that He will supply what you need. Makes sense, but think it through. God certainly wouldn’t tell you to do a difficult task and then bail on you. That’s not His character. He’s going to strengthen you in ways you won’t even realize.

Like the confidence I had when I answered my friend. I know that wasn’t me. That was God working in me. As the words left my lips, I knew the truth of them resided deep within my spirit. I know what God is calling me to do in my marriage right now. To stand firm by my husband’s side in support and trust.

Because God told me to. So my thinking is if God says I’m to trust my husband in these new ventures we're about to embark upon, that’s the same as God saying, “Trust Me.”

God asks us to love as his Son. Jesus loved without conditions. Without expectations. Without restrictions. And it’s that kind of love that spoke the loudest of His presence and salvation.

So whatever God is calling you to do in your marriage, walk forward in confidence. Ignore those who criticize and carefully consider those who caution. Then know that you know that you know that what God is asking you to do is for Him.

And trust that God will give you the strength to persevere.

Praying and believing,
Dineen

*****

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

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This Story Will ROCK Your World!

I have a question for you:

* How many different versions or renderings of the Cinderella story do you think there are in our world? -DON’T Google it. Just give it a guess. 

If you were in the audience for the One Marriage Conference, you know I asked this same question and the answers ranged from ten to hundreds. Well here is what I found at Wikipedia: 

"Cinderella; or, The Little Glass Slipper" (French: Cendrillon, ou La petite Pantoufle de Verre) is a classic folk tale embodying a myth-element of unjust oppression/triumphant reward. Thousands of variants are known throughout the world. The title character is a young woman living in unfortunate circumstances which suddenly change to remarkable fortune. The word "Cinderella" has, by analogy, come to mean one whose attributes are unrecognized, or one who unexpectedly achieves recognition or success after a period of obscurity and neglect. The still-popular story of Cinderella continues to influence popular culture internationally, lending plot elements, allusions, and tropes to a wide variety of media. 

My teen daughter studied the phenomenon of the Cinderella story in middle school. Her textbook credits more than 900 different versions of this classic which are told in every culture. Some renderings are ancient. Of course, we know this story well. It's the account of a poor little girl who falls victim of evil, (stepmother and stepsisters in Cinderella’s case). She is then rescued by prince charming, they marry and she inherits riches, the life of royalty, and lives happily ever after. 

My daughter's dreams of Happily Ever After began years ago as a toddler with The Little Mermaid, Cinderella and Snow White. Years passed and our stories morphed into new tellings such as The Princes Diaries and one of my personal favorites, The Princess Bride. Then there are the more grown up versions; Jerry McGuire and Sweet home Alabama and My Big Fat Greek Wedding

Awwww. Warm and Fuzzy  

We grow up believing in Happily Ever After. 

It’s no wonder, as children we read all of these stories and we watch every romantic comedy which exists. We dream of our Prince Charming and Happily Ever After and living the life of royalty. 

Each of us want happily ever after. Deep down inside we crave adoration, to feel beautiful and respected, loved to distraction, intimacy, and ~perhaps a few servants that come with royalty might not be bad either. 

We search for our prince and marry to live HAPPILY EVER AFTER. 

These stories are fantasy. They are a Fairytale. 

Or are they? 

I’m about to tell you a fantastic story which is absolutely true. Every Fairytale ever told is modeled after this story. 

Let me introduce to you the King: (read every word and allow the Lord to work in you this moment)

I heard a loud voice shout from the throne: 

God's home is now with his people. He will live with them, and they will be his own. Yes, God will make his home among his people. He will wipe all tears from their eyes, and there will be no more death, suffering, crying, or pain. These things of the past are gone forever. 

Then the one sitting on the throne said: 

I am making everything new. Write down what I have said. My words are true and can be trusted. Everything is finished! I am Alpha and Omega, the beginning and the end. I will freely give water from the life-giving fountain to everyone who is thirsty. All who win the victory will be given these blessings. I will be their God, and they will be my people. Revelation 21:3-7 (CEV) 

THIS….. is the real story of Cinderella. 

And this story is our story. 

It belongs to each of us who believe in the Lord, Jesus Christ……. 

It is trustworthy. 

It is true. 

Tears are vanquished.

We the believers, His bride, will inherit the Kingdom. 

It's no wonder we love to believe the Cinderella story? 

It’s our true story. 

So this very hour, I say, “Cast off your temporary sadness. See your burdens in the light of the truth. See the King who conquers the evil of this world and freely passes on to you an inheritance of vast riches, which will last forever.” 

Praise the name of Jesus. Rejoice you are a son, a daughter of the King. 

Now go and live like the royalty that you are. 

Love boldly. 

Take chances. 

Forgive easily and take every opportunity to tell someone the truth of this powerful story. 

Be blessed, Lynn 

*This post is inspired by Dr. Clay Jones of BIOLA. Thank you Dr. Jones. You ROCKED my world. 

*****

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

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Weekend Devo—Words of Praise

At the end of June, Deb shared the story of how her marriage is being restored. In case you missed it, you can read it here. The following is something that she wrote recently. It's amazing and truly inspired by the Holy Spirit! Have a wonderful weekend and rejoice along with her!
Praying and believing,
Dineen


From Deb...

Catch_the_light Highest praise leaps from my spirit.

We worship best when we revel in what You have given us to do. Our highest pleasure is your highest praise. This knowledge is too wonderful for me.

You are too generous, my God. We deserve nothing but pain, imperfect and willful as we are. You would still be known as Holy if we sat in ashes rotting for an eternity, for You are just. Yet you, although a jealous God and Righteous, share without measure the sunbeams of your love, and wrap us in them. The strength of just one of these rays is enough to obliterate us forever, so perfect is it, yet you bring us into your presence with them, and bind us gently by them, and so we are loved unceasingly.

We are honored as you are glorified. Everything You have You share with us. You love us as You love yourself. Perfectly. There is no God like you. You have desired in Yourself to make us like You. Why is this? It is too much! No one compares, no one is Your equal. Not a human mind can possibly conceive the standard by which You are. There is no standard but Yours, all others are profane lies and will soon disappear.

Our minds are petty, fallen. Yours soars. You are furiously aware of Your own freedom, none can take it from You. You are forever. Who can tell of your wonderful acts? Even the angels cannot form the thoughts that do You justice. They will forever puzzle the dark mysteries of your grace.

Indeed, we will spend forever in perfect astonishment.

Your grace and love to the children of men is beyond knowing. Truly, Your love is better than life. Even a drop of your presence is more luscious and restful than the sweetest ocean waters. You give us rest. You are God. I adore You. I feast on your nearness. Who is God but You?

But why do you come so near? You should remain far away, as one shies from the stench of dead bodies. Yet you made us alive. With unimaginable cost to yourself, as complete as You are. You conceived the most perfect end by the most perfect means and carried it out to perfection, an act that stunned eternity. We cannot understand, we can only bow. We adore You, great God.

Blessing and glory and wisdom and strength, honor and glory and power, be to You, God of the Ages, Ancient of Days.

You are utterly magnificent.

*****

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

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Christ is Unexpected

Tuesday I shared a story with you which as I still ponder it now, seems..... what's the word I'm searching for.

Hmmmmm

Unexpected.

Yes, unexpected.

I have been traveling this road with Jesus now for a long while and yet I'm still surprised by Him. He seldom answers my prayers in the manner I expect. I think He's that way on purpose. He wants me to experience Him orchestrating the astonishing to make sure I am paying attention but mostly to teach me to shout His glory to anyone and everyone who will listen.

I love that about Him.

Well, Tuesday I shared the unexpected salvation story of the least likely woman in my husband's unbelieving family. But what happened next further surprised and delighted. (read it here)

I mentioned in my story Tuesday that my husband's mother is approaching the mid-stage of Alzheimer's. She has her good days and her bad ones when it comes to her memory. Most of the weekend the house was crowded with people and my mother-in-law remained quiet. I don't think she expressed much emotion nor memory with all the coming and goings on in the house.

Also on Tuesday I shared with you how I have grieved over my MIL's unsaved heart and now it appears her Alzheimer's may hold her cognitive mind and soul captive. She may be unable to receive the truth. I sat with my sister-in-law last Friday and shared my emotions over this and she looked at me and said, "Lynn, her heart is like that of a two year old right now. It's the perfect time to share Jesus with her."

Her words resonated within me. Perhaps it isn't too late.

Sunday morning arrived and we were leaving later in the afternoon to return home. Everyone was gone with the exception of my husband, daughter and I. My mother-in-law woke and sat in her chair and something was different about her.

She was clear.

She used my name and laughed at a joke I told her about something we used to share. 

She remembered.

It was if all heaven worked to cleared her mind and I felt like the Holy Spirit was telling me...

NOW

I wanted to get her alone, away from everyone so she could listen and not be interrupted. And it was weird. Out of nowhere, my father-in-law shows up. Next my husband, then my daughter. It was if a war was playing out and I couldn't get her alone to talk.

However, I am a persistent blonde. 

Finally, I got mom-in-law out on the patio. I shut the door so perhaps the family would get the hint and asked my daughter to leave us outside alone.

I started just chatting with her and she was clear minded with her memory. I asked her if we could pray. She said yes. Then I asked, "Do you know who Jesus is?"

"He's the son of God."

Oh sweet words to my heart. 

I then asked her if we could pray. And we prayed. Now this prayer was a little different as I didn't ask her to repeat my words. I was afraid she would get hung up in the repeating and become frustrated and give up. I gently reached out and I held her hands and we prayed to Jesus and asked His hand over her life.

I never dreamed this moment would come. I am so utterly thankful it did. I have done all that I can to serve the Lord Jesus and I have stood in the gap for this family. 

It has been a humble privilege to do so.

God has answered my prayers and heard my words of deep and real grief I have had in my soul for this woman. How amazing that He allowed me to pray with her. 

I have peace now. 

One day when I get to heaven, these two women will greet me. In that moment nothing else will matter. Nothing will matter ever expect Christ glorified. All my hurt over my unequally yoked marriage won't matter. My unhappiness, my life on this earth will not matter..... I count it all but lost for the sake of Jesus.

Philippians 3:8 What is more, I consider everything a loss compared to the surpassing greatness of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord, for whose sake I have lost all things. I consider them rubbish, that I may gain Christ.

I think for the first time I truly perceive the power of this passage.

I get it Jesus. I get it.

I give you all honor and glory and power and worship. It is all for you. Your humble servant, Lynn

*****

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Thankful Thursday - Another Adventure... can you believe it???

Let us give thanks. It is Thankful Thursday.

This month we are spending the HOT month of July here at Spiritually Unequal Marriage. Next month we will meet up with Laurie of Women Taking A Stand and in September we will share our thanks with Iris of Grace Alone

Wow, I have to tell you that God gives good ideas. And one idea He has growing in Dineen and I is joining up with Christian Women Affiliate and hosting our own Television broadcast.

Our Broadcast title is: The Intentional Marriage. You can read more about it when you have time.

I am so thankful and stand utterly amazed at all the Lord does in the life of an ordinary gal.

What are you thankful for? 

Link up, write up and visit up... Let's honor Jesus with our thanksgiving and praises. Be blessed, Lynn

*****

Share your voice, heart and love in the comments. 

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

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This is Why I Am Married to an Unbeliever

This past weekend, my husband, our daughter and I flew to Sacramento to spend several days with my husband’s mom and dad. Also joining us at the house was my spouse’s brother, his girlfriend and my husband’s cousin, his wife and twin daughters and their grandma, who is my husband’s mother’s sister. 

Hunh? 

Are you confused yet? 

Double hunh? 

I guess it isn’t important I name all of the players, yet it is. 

You see, I have been praying for the salvation of many of these people for more than 18 years. All of my husband’s family is unsaved but for their cousin and his wife. My husband’s cousin came to Christ when he was in High School. All these years I have been burdened not only for my husband’s salvation but for all of his family. 

Now here is where the story gets interesting and glorifies our Lord. 

You see my husband’s mother is in the stage of Alzheimer’s where she is cognizant on some days and other’s she isn’t. I have grieved, deeply that she and my husband’s father remain unsaved and time is growing short. I spoke with them years ago about my faith but they politely told them it just wasn’t for them. 

Several weeks leading up to our visit I began to pray over our time together. I asked for angels to be sent ahead of me to prepare and protect no matter what situation we may find ourselves facing. The day prior to leaving however, I prayed differently, something like this. 

Oh Lord, if there is a way to reach any of them with the truth of who Jesus Christ is and bring them to faith, then Lord please set about making the moment happen……. 

Why is it I am always astounded when the Lord answer’s my prayers? 

I sat in the dining room on Friday afternoon after a fun day at the Jelly Belly Candy Factory. I was visiting with my husband’s cousin’s wife and mother. Now I don’t know what happened but I think the conversation turned to the book Dineen and I wrote and how it was a book about faith. Well, this conversation with my cousin’s mother, age 69, began moving fast and she began telling me about her experiences or actually lack thereof, with faith throughout her life. 

One thing led to the next and I found myself looking into her eyes and I said, “Jane, do you know who Jesus is? 

“Yes, He’s the son of God.” 

“Did you know that believing in Him is the way to heaven?” 

“Yes.” 

“Have you ever prayed and asked Him into your heart?” 

“No” 

“Well do you want to do that right now?” 

“Yes, I do.” 

I reached for Jane’s hands and I said, “Then just pray with me and repeat what I pray.” I then stumbled through the prayer of salvation. I have always wanted to do this but have never had the chance…… until now. 

We prayed together and said together, “Amen.” 

She looked up with tears in her eyes and said, “Thank you.” 

I hugged her and her daughter-in-law who is also a Christian, sat at the table with us and watched her husband’s mother come to Christ in that very moment. 

Thank you Lord, Jesus!

_____ 

I plan to mail Jane a Bible and pray for her. 

The dynamics leading up to this day are complex and traverse decades but on the plane ride home on Sunday, it was as if the Lord whispered in my ear. “Do you now see why I placed you into this unbelieving family?” 

I whispered back with tears flooding my eyes, “Oh Lord, I am undone. That you would use a broken and messed up blonde like me in the service of Your Kingdom just blows my mind and brings me utterly humble to your feet to give you worship and all honor and praise.” 

So today if you are living with an unbeliever I say to you, “Stay the course.” There are eternities at stake and not just those of your spouse. 

Now, this is NOT the end of the story. Oh, NO. Our Lord is just too BIG to stop here. So, tune in on Friday for HIS-story continues and His light continues to penetrate the darkness

I love you Jesus. I love you with all of my heart, mind, soul and strength. Lynn

*****

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

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Focus on Your Mission

Mission In last week's post I talked about making the choice to love our spouses. And as I said before, this is the first step to loving our unbelieving spouses unconditionally. Many of you have shared that it's difficult to love your spouse because of his behavior, which is completely understandable. But please also understand that allowing those situations to determine whether you love your spouse or not is conditional love, which is based upon performance and circumstances.

Conditional love is human and is fraught with disappointment and failure. We need God's love, wisdom, and guidance to move beyond this limited commitment in order to understand God's covenant of marriage and complete commitment.

In our spiritually mismatched marriages, we seem to face more difficult situations and more than our fair share (if there is such a thing) of spiritual warfare. Opposition is just a part of this kind of marriage. Perhaps knowing and accepting that can help us to move beyond ourselves to answer the calling God has put on our lives.

"And now, compelled by the Spirit, I am going to Jerusalem, not knowing what will happen to me there. I only know that in every city the Holy Spirit warns me that prison and hardships are facing me. However, I consider my life worth nothing to me, if only I may finish the race and complete the task the Lord Jesus has given me—the task of testifying to the gospel of God's grace. — Acts 20:22-24

Yesterday I read these verses, which immediately spoke to me regarding our “mission” as unequally yoked spouses. We do not know what the future holds, but we do know God has called us to this path for a most noble and great reason. When we can see this, I believe it is then that our burden becomes lighter and we are willing to commit and fight for our cause--our spouse's salvation.

Now I will confess I can only speak to this from my own perspective. I’m not married to a very difficult or hurtful man. He’s quite the opposite, so forgive me if my perspective is limited, which it may very well be.

But like Paul, God has used his Spirit to forewarn me of difficult times spanning a year before my husband is spiritually healed. This warning came nine years ago. I refused to turn away then and I still do. In the meantime I will continue to do what God told me then, to continue to march around my husband in prayer, like Joshua did with Jericho.

So, here I will finally come to my point. The second step in loving our spouses unconditionally is to keep our focus in the right place. To understand that this is much greater than ourselves. In fact, it’s not about us at all. It’s about a soul who’s at risk of perishing. Some of us will be asked to sacrifice a little. Some of you are sacrificing so much, it makes my heart ache and brings me to tears before God, praying for your strength and perseverance.

But I know without a doubt God is working in those very situations to bring our unbelieving loved ones to faith. In the end, it’s still their decision. And they can still choose to say no. However, no matter what the outcome, let’s run the race as God has called us to so that when we meet Jesus face to face, when we fall to our knees in front of Him weeping in awe, gratitude, and relief, and when He gently lifts us to our feet and wipes away our tears, we can hear those most coveted words,

“Well done, my good and faithful servant.”

Praying and believing,
Dineen

*****

Share your voice, heart and love in the comments. 

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

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Weekend Devo - God's in the Details

IMG_0682 That's why I don't think there's any comparison between the present hard times and the coming good times. The created world itself can hardly wait for what's coming next. Everything in creation is being more or less held back. God reins it in until both creation and all the creatures are ready and can be released at the same moment into the glorious times ahead. Meanwhile, the joyful anticipation deepens. — Romans 8:18-21

I absolutely adore gardenias. In this little glass bowl sits four gardenias from my own bushes. I've tried to grow them for years in three states and one foreign country and never had success until now in California. I smell the fragrance of these delicate creamy white flowers and I find myself in awe.

Though God's Word tell us even His creation waits for Christ's return and is held back, I smell these flowers, experience the intense satisfaction and pleasure they bring me, and yet I am amazed to think this is how they exist in their "held-back state."

I believe God is in every little detail as much as He's in the big stuff. God's fingerprint is as much on these flower petals as they are on the Grand Canyon. God didn't have to create the gardenia. He didn't have to create lush colors, odors, and tastes in our world. But He did. For us.

I also believe God knew I, Dineen Miller, would love the smell of gardenias when He created them. What was God creating when He was thinking of you?

Oh, the magnitude of our God! If he can speak to our hearts through the details, He can certainly use those details to speak to our unbelieving spouses. I am praying for it!

Praying and believing,
Dineen

*****

Share your voice, heart and love in the comments. 

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

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How I Found Healing

Many of you, who have been readers here at Spiritually Unequal Marriage for a long time, likely know that I began this blog more than four years ago because the Lord, Jesus, healed me and my marriage. It was a journey with Christ that returned my hope and instilled peace in my life and gifted me with authentic joy. 

After finding a real relationship with Jesus, He then urged me to share the path of healing with others who are traveling behind me. For all of our many new readers who have not had the opportunity to go into the archives, I want to share the single most important and powerful thing that changed my life. 

My Daily Bible

Imported Photos 00013

This is a picture of my Bible. I began reading it on June 13, 1998 and have read through God's word every year since. This is one of my precious heirlooms. I record events in the margin and scribble notes to my Savior among the pages. I have underlined passages and their are stains of coffee as well as tears. My daughter has asked that this Bible be listed as her inheritance in our will. (she cracks me up)

Through the most unusual culmination of circumstances my mother gave me this Daily Bible which she purchased from a Becky Tirabassi seminar. This Bible is a 15-minute daily reading. It includes a portion from the Old Testament, the New Testament, Psalms, and Proverbs. You read through the entire Bible in a year.

Like Becky Tirabassi, I was able to keep my dentist appointment, my hair appointment but made little effort to keep my appointment with the God of the universe. But, I wanted lasting change in my marriage so I knew I needed to invite God into it. I needed to know what He had to say about life.

I needed to read His Word.

So, here is the hard part. I had to get up at 5:30 a.m. every morning to meet with the Lord. But I made this appointment and I kept it. At that time in my life I was working in Corporate America. I had an extraordinarily busy schedule. However, I set my alarm and shuffled to the coffee pot. Sat with my Bible, my journal and there I met Jesus.

Every morning.

I invited God into my life through His transforming words. I was forever changed and healed.

So, I ask this question of you. Are you struggling in your marriage? Are you struggling with a child or with your employment? Are you unhappy, disillusioned?

Then this is your invitation to healing. 

God is asking you to sacrifice your sleep to find peace, contentment, healing and a relationship that will ROCK your world and leave you forever changed.... for the better.

Order your own Daily Bible. 

Change your marriage.

Change your perspective.

Change your life.

Be blessed, Lynn

*****

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Thankful Thursday -

Let us give thanks. It is Thankful Thursday.

This month we are spending the HOT month of July here at Spiritually Unequal Marriage. Next month we will meet up with Laurie of Women Taking A Stand and in September we will share our thanks with Iris of Grace Alone

Several years ago, I found myself in what I would describe a very real spiritual battle. I had been praying for my unsaved husband and the spiritual warfare over him was intense.

At that time I began to pray for angels to be dispatched from the Lord's throne to my home. To stand guard at every window and door, with their swords drawn ready to fight for me, my husband and our family. 

God listened and Wow, what a battle it was. One day I will have to share what happened. Too much for now. I am utterly convinced God dispatched those angels and they have been standing over this home ever since. 

But, one of the amazing little miracle that came from that period of time were the doves.

DOVES

In God's Word we learn that after the flood the Lord sent a rainbow as a promise He would never again destroy the world by flood.

Genesis 9:13-15 I have set my rainbow in the clouds, and it will be the sign of the covenant between me and the earth. Whenever I bring clouds over the earth and the rainbow appears in the clouds, I will remember my covenant between me and you and all living creatures of every kind. Never again will the waters become a flood to destroy all life.

Now this might seem a little strange but in the same way God has sent a promise to me through the doves. 

Dove-on-fence-2Ever since that time of battle, I have noticed that doves are all around. In the late afternoon two doves arrive to sit outside of my kitchen window on the fence. I see them on the back fence from time-to-time as well.

This morning on my jog and praise, I spotted a dove sitting on the light post above the path where I was jogging. And as I finished my jog and was walking toward my home during my cool-down, there it was.... A small dove just walking down the sidewalk in front of me about 20 feet.

If you could have seen me, I burst into the broadest smile and started praising God and thanking Him for the angels that He sent to protect and care for me and my family. (yep, the neighbors think I'm strange)

I can't help but praise the Lord .... out loud.... in the street because He is so very good to me.

Psalm 91:9 If you make the Most High your dwelling— even the LORD, who is my refuge- then no harm will befall you, no disaster will come near your tent. For he will command his angels concerning you to guard you in all your ways;  they will lift you up in their hands, so that you will not strike your foot against a stone. You will tread upon the lion and the cobra; you will trample the great lion and the serpent. "Because he loves me," says the LORD, "I will rescue him; I will protect him, for he acknowledges my name. He will call upon me, and I will answer him; I will be with him in trouble, I will deliver him and honor him. With long life will I satisfy him and show him my salvation."

How amazing and awesome is that passage? It's true.

What promises has the Lord given you? Let's praise Him for He is a God of promises and promises kept. I can't wait to read your stories. Leave me a comment and link up, then visit at least one other blog. Honor Jesus through our words of praise. Be blessed, Lynn

*****

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Choose to Love

IStock_000010149362XSmall On the weekend devo I wrote about loving our spouse unconditionally. Let’s talk some more about how to do that. Sometimes giving examples helps too, so if you have one you’d like to share, please do so in the comments section.

Let me travel a tangent here to say that Lynn and I value your comments and sharing so much. This is a tough but vital ministry. Lynn and I talk, pray, cry, and rejoice over so many of you. It’s about hope, so if you feel led to leave a comment, do so! You never know how much your words may encourage another reader to keep going.

And that’s what it’s about a lot of times, perseverance. How do we keep going? How do we keep hoping? How do we love our spouses unconditionally?

I want to share some Scriptures to encourage you. Claim one, some, or all of these in your heart and know that God is faithful, whatever path He calls us to walk. And please read to the end. I saved the best for last.

Therefore, since we have been justified through faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ, through whom we have gained access by faith into this grace in which we now stand. And we rejoice in the hope of the glory of God. Not only so, but we also rejoice in our sufferings, because we know that suffering produces perseverance; perseverance, character; and character, hope. And hope does not disappoint us, because God has poured out his love into our hearts by the Holy Spirit, whom he has given us. — Romans 5:1-5

These verses start with our justification through faith. Then it speaks of the peace we have through Jesus, who we gained access to by that faith. This faith allows us to stand firm in Christ. Every bit of this screams Christ is the center of it all.

These Scriptures also help us understand that sufferings are and will be a part of our lives, but that we can rejoice in them. Why? Because we have a God who loves us and brings purpose to every part of our lives, even our trials and sufferings. Through them we learn perseverance, character, and most importantly, HOPE! How do we do this? What’s the key? Jesus is the key. We can persevere and have hope as we stand firm in Him.

We have confidence in the Lord that you are doing and will continue to do the things we command. 5May the Lord direct your hearts into God's love and Christ's perseverance. — 2 Thessalonians 3:4-6

Here we have an example that tells us that our hearts are to be defined by God’s love. Who we are, how we see others and ourselves, and how we love is all supposed to work within the confines of God’s amazing and unending love. That’s huge shift in perspective! That means we don’t have to love our spouses through our own capacity. God knows we can’t and He’s provided his Son to help us persevere. Again, all through Him!

Consider it pure joy, my brothers, whenever you face trials of many kinds, because you know that the testing of your faith develops perseverance. Perseverance must finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything. — James 1:2-4

These are some of my favorite Scriptures because they speak of God’s preparation in our lives. He doesn’t abandon us. I know sometimes it feels that way, but crying out to God in your times of despair is also an act of faith. And I know sometimes it can feel like God asks so much of us, asks us to sacrifice a lot for our unbelieving spouses, but remember that a soul is at stake. We have a high calling and God will equip us every step of the way.

So what’s my point in all this? Hang on, we’re almost there.

God is present. We are not alone. He is our strength and prepares us for whatever comes, for our good! And for the good of those He’s calling us to love unto Him. This never changes. What does change is our perspective. Are we operating only within our own strength and ability with our eyes focused on the problem? Or do we have our eyes turned upward as we stand firm in Christ with the understanding that God is our strength and our hope?

I’m a firm believer in the power of decision. We can be like the waves James speaks of that are blown and tossed by the wind because of their doubt. I believe this happens when we are indecisive as well.

What’s the first step to loving your spouse unconditionally? Choose to love. Don’t worry about the feelings. Those will come later. Make the choice to love your spouse and do whatever God asks you to do. Use the above Scriptures as reminders that God will strengthen and equip you for what’s ahead. Make the first step, then watch what God does.

This quote below from Goethe says it beautifully.

“Until one is committed, there is hesitancy, the chance to draw back, always ineffectiveness, concerning all acts of initiative (and creation). There is one elementary truth in ignorance of which kills countless ideas and splendid plans: that the moment one definitely commits oneself, then Providence moves too. All sorts of things occur to help one that would never otherwise have occurred. A whole stream of events issues from the decision, raising in one’s favor all manner of unforeseen incidents and meetings and material assistance which no man could have dreamed would have come his way. Whatever you can do or dream you can, begin it. Boldness has genius, power and magic in it. Begin it now.” — Johann Wolfgang von Goethe

Praying and believing,
Dineen

*****

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Marriage Monday - Let's Take a Candy Break

It’s Marriage Monday over with e-Mom of Chrysalis

July’s topic, “Blessing Our Parents” taps into the joys of extended family. How are we incorporating the older generation into our married lives in healthy ways? 

Of the topic choices, I selected: • Long-Distance Grand-parenting: What Works for Us 

If you are a blogger, please join in the fun. If you are not a blogger, oh please, share with me your experience in the comments here. Hugs.

The Candy Break 

My parents were both born in a small town in the flat lands of Colorado where farming was a way of life. Small towns dot the highway about every 30 miles where farmers buy tools and parts and sell their crops. My mom and dad moved from their small town to the big city right out of high school but my grandparents lived most of their lives in the same place.

My grandparents were, Nan and Elmer Parks. Grandma and Papa to this tow headed kid and my siblings. They were my mother’s parents and they passed away within the last ten years. I miss them terribly but longingly await our reunion in heaven. 

We never lived close to our grandparents yet the bond of love we shared with them would lead you to believe they resided next door to us all of our lives. You see, Grandma and Papa put forth the effort to love us grandkids from a far and build lasting relationships with us that still tug on my heartstrings today at the age of 50. How did they do it? 

Like this. 

Every summer Mom packed up the car and we drove most of the day to reach Grandma and Papa’s house. Trips to grandmas were the only vacations my parents could afford for most of our young childhood. 

We usually arrived at the front door as dusk settled around us. We kids, would yawn ourselves awake and then scramble for the house. The door would fly open and loud voices of welcome would shout, filling the entire house with laughter and excitement. We were treated like little princesses and a little prince arriving home to our long lost castle. 

This was only the beginning of a few weeks of summer bliss in the life of three ordinary kids. The next day was always special. 

Papa worked in bookkeeping and kept a home office. Around 10 o’clock in the morning he would emerge from his office and announce in his exuberant and chuckling voice, “It’s time for a candy break.” This time of day was normally a coffee break for him and his office assistant but on the first day with the grandkids, it became a “Candy Break Day.” 

BagofcandyHe would load us kids into his Ford Bronco and escort us into this tiny little shop that served as a local candy store, ice cream parlor, and gas station. Behind the counter from floor to ceiling was every sort of individually wrapped candy you could imagine. Gum balls and suckers, candy cigarettes and Hot Tamales, waxed lips and jawbreakers. 

My brother, sister, and I would quickly shuffle in and stare in wonder. I felt like Charlie in the movie, Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, when Charlie steps into the Garden of Eden of candy. 

Our eyes boggled. 

Next, Papa would boisterously greet his friend behind the counter, ask for three brown bags, and then hand a bag to each of us. Papa stooped down to our height and said to three overwhelmed kids, “fill’em up!” 

We would start pointing, talking, then giggle, and hug Papa’s neck all at the same time. The poor guy behind the counter didn’t know what to think. There was no limit and three little kids who rarely got this kind of spoiled, picked out anything and everything our hearts desired. 

We sucked, slurped, and licked candy into the twilight hours and later that night, have a tummy ache.

Yes, all was right with the world……. 

These are only a few of the purposeful efforts my grandparents put forth to show love to their grandkids who lived too far away. I have a million more stories I could share and likely will…… on another day. 

This legacy of love didn’t stop with my grandparent’s generation. My mother, who also resides several states away from her grandkids, puts forth the same effort to remain close and connected to her grandkids. Packages arrive in the mail for every holiday. I mean every….. single….. one plus some which aren’t official. Phone calls every Sunday come rain or shine. Notes and candy. She makes every effort and I assure you that her grandkids, my son and daughter, love and know their Grandma Sue. 

One thing I know for certain, God is in the midst of this kind of legacy. My grandparents, my mom and me, we love Jesus. And more than anything we want the next generation to love Him too. 

So now, it’s my turn to step into this legacy. I am looking forward to grandkids in my future and you know what? You can bet that there is a “Candy Break Day” waiting for each of them. 

Be blessed, Lynn

*****

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Weekend Devo — Giving Love

933344_i_love_you On one of last week’s post, a commenter asked if God could teach her to love her husband unconditionally. This is such a good question, that I decided to share some of my answer here today.

This is such a crucial area that I think we need to talk more about not only loving our unbelieving spouses unconditionally, but also HOW we do that.

Can we love our spouses unconditionally? The answer is YES! I am a living testimony to that. For years I loved my husband a lot when he was meeting my expectations, then not so much when he didn't.

I was loving him on my own strength.

As God showed me this, I began to pray that God would help me be the wife He needed me to be for my husband. Then I began to pray that God would help me love my husband unconditionally, in his strength.

My husband isn't perfect. Our marriage isn't perfect. And I am so far from the mark, I thank God everyday for His mercy, grace and strength. But I will tell you, I love my husband more today than I did when I first married him. Our daughters laugh at us because we're like kids, anxious to see each other and spend time together. We send each little messages sometimes during the day. He even calls me during his lunch walk at work so we can chat.

It hasn't always been this way. I give God all the credit. That doesn't mean I just sat back and let God do all the work either. We have to be intentional in our marriages EVERY DAY! And like I said, it hasn't been by my strength but God's.

How I love my husband today would be impossible without Christ in me. That's when we can love our husband's unconditionally and sacrificially.

If you’re struggling in this area, call out to God to show you where to start and to give you the strength to do each step. To be your strength. It will be slow, little by little. God does that so YOU won't be overwhelmed. I promise you, you will be amazed at what God does in you. You will be amazed at how you wind up loving your husband.

With God, we can do anything He calls us to do. Our marriages can be the greatest adventure of our lives, next to our walk with God!

Praying and believing,
Dineen

*****

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Thankful Thursday - Friendships

Let us give thanks. It is Thankful Thursday.

This month we are spending the HOT month of July here at Spiritually Unequal Marriage. Next month we will meet up with Laurie of Women Taking A Stand and in September we will share our thanks with Iris of Grace Alone

Hi Everyone. So glad you joined me to give praise and thanksgiving to our Lord. Over the weekend I enjoyed celebrating a 50th wedding anniversary and visiting with my childhood friends.

It was a blast. We reminisced. We laughed. They all reminded me about some of the trouble I got us all into. I guess I was quit ornery. Sheesh! Imported Photos 00000  

The story of lighting the backyard on fire was relieved. YEP, knew THAT would come up as well as a few others that I sure would like to forget. However, it was so much fun to remember our childhood. My heart grew full with love as we renewed our friendship as "grownups."

So, today I give thanks that the Lord allowed me to return to my childhood home and say to these precious people for the first time in 30 years, "I love you."

Imported Photos 00002  God is indeed Good.

Who is He calling you to telephone or visit and say these precious words, "I love you." Don't put it off. Call right now and let love flow into a past friendship which you treasure.

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I can't WAIT to read your post this Thursday. 

Honor Jesus with your thankful heart.

BIG hugs, Lynn

PS. Because we were celebrating a 50th wedding anniversary, I took a moment to ask Rosie what the secret was to a 50 year marriage. Find out what she said at Laced With Grace and read, The Best Wedding Advice EVER!.

*****

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More Adventures and a New Motto...

Fear-Courage Like Lynn and her Chronicles of the Donovan Clan, the Miller Adventures are taking some interesting turns. The latest is a new business venture on my hubby’s part. He’s left the conglomeration of the tech industry to venture out on his own. Yes, a bit risky in today’s economy, but it’s something he’s always wanted to do.

My sweet hubby is looking for the fulfillment he was no longer getting at his job, despite it being an awesome place to work. He would be the first to tell you that. He loved the company, just didn’t want to do that kind of work anymore. After 27 years of doing very similar work, he’s burned out. He wants to be more creative.

This discontent is so reminiscent of what I felt in my own life years ago before I recommitted my life to Christ. I’d even started the process of getting my next degree at art college. But God had other plans for me. The rest is history.

So the next year will be a new adventure. As I’m already self-employed, we both will now be working from home, spending more time together, and venturing out into new territories both professional and relationally. (Our offices are just feet away from each other.)

I believe this is part of what God is doing in my husband’s life. In our lives. What the future hold, I have no idea. What I do know is that I’m excited to see where all this goes. I trust God to carry us through whatever comes, good or bad. He’s already proven His faithfulness over and over again to my family over the last few years of intense trials.

One thing I find most interesting is that God is calling me to pray for my husband as if her were a believer. I am amazed at how that strengthens my own faith and belief that God can do anything.

God is in control and I am content. And my hubby isn’t the only one God is working on. I believe the way I am able to love my husband right now is Christ working directly in and through me during this critical time in my husband’s journey. I know it’s not me. I’m not capable of that kind of love.

With God we can do anything He calls us to do. He is our strength and our courage. Through us, God can accomplish great things, and He let’s us be a part of the adventure!

So what’s my new motto? NO FEAR!

Praying and believing,
Dineen

*****

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Best Wedding Advice EVER!

Over the weekend I returned to my childhood home. 

My daughter and I flew from Southern California to Salt Lake City. I hadn’t been back to where I grew up to visit my old friends for more than 30 years. 

Thirty years. 


Bunch of us on a Hike to Big Rock in the Millcreek Canyon.

Although we stayed in touch with our friend and they visited our new home, it has been a very long time to wait for me to return home. 

This weekend we all gathered at my BFF Michelle’s house to celebrate her parent’s 50th wedding anniversary.

Join me at Laced With Grace where I share 50 years of marriage advice. Four profound words you need for your marriage.

Best Wedding Advice EVER!


*****

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Weekend Devo — God's Infinite Love

Bible We love because He first loved us. —1 John 4:19

I’m sure you've heard the expression, “You can’t make God love you any more or any less than He does.” I’ve found great comfort in the fact that we can’t lose God’s love. Yet I have to confess, I’ve struggled the part about not being able to make God love us more. That’s the perfectionist, the striver in me seeking approval. As I sat the other morning, reading my devotionals and Bible, my thoughts took an interesting path.

If we were able to make God love us more, this would imply that we could also make Him love us less. This would also imply that God is selfish and self-centered, giving and taking love according to how well He deemed we’d performed. And if that were the case, Jesus’ death on the cross would mean absolutely nothing.

This may seem obvious to you but to this recovering perfectionist, this is huge. Now I understand that God’s love is so total, so complete. He loves without limitations. He can’t love us more because He already loves us completely. It’s just not possible to increase or decrease his love.

When my youngest daughter was around four, she had a basic understanding that infinity meant unending and limitless and wanted to tell her grandmother that was how much she loved her. She would say to her grandma, “I love you infinity.”

As I reflected back on this, my daughter’s words struck me with new meaning. From the example of a child, I was given a picture of how God loves us—infinitely, without end, and without beginning.

He’s always loved us, and He always will. No more and no less.

Happy 4th of July!

Praying and believing,
Dineen

*****

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Chronicles Part Deux

As you read this I am likely on my way to Salt Lake City. I grew up there. My daughter and I are attending an anniversary party. We plan to visit our childhood friends and celebrate their parent’s 50th wedding anniversary. We will laugh our heads off sharing the many stories of our crazy childhood antics. 

Most of you know I LOVE stories. There will be tales of when I started a fire in my backyard. My daughter loves this one. “Mom, I can’t even believe you did that.” 

To me, I still don’t understand why my mom became so upset. My logic was perfect to my nine-year-old mind. I had a hotdog and needed to cook it. Besides I planned to share it with the ten other kids watching. Perfect sense to me. 

Ahem, yep, I think I was in a bit of trouble over that one. 

We floated down the ditch behind our home, played hide-in-seek in the cherry orchard, and ate so many cherries we threw up pink later that night. We caught toads, competed against each other in hopscotch like it was an Olympic event and captured and jarred every peculiar and ghastly looking insect within a three mile radius of the house and I am a girl….. We also played Barbies for hours on end walked on home-made stilts up and down the street from morning to night. 

If you hear hilarity and all manner of belly laughing off in the distance this weekend, you can bet it’s me having the time of my life reminiscing with the family friends whom I love dearly. 

So I have a question for you. Can you hear the joy in my words? 

My joy has returned and it’s not because of the weekend I’m anticipating. 

The joy of the Lord is my strength. 

I have known this passage since I was a child. I would sing these words in Sunday School but here I am at age 50 and am experiencing the truth of these words in a very real way for the first time. 

I want to be transparent and say that the setback with my marriage and my husband’s faith journey knocked my faith around. (read the story here) 

So many of you wrote to me and prayed and wrote some more. THANK YOU. That is what I have done for you when you were weak and I will continue to do as long as I have breath. But, I have now passed through that valley and this is what the Lord has asked of me. 

Surrender everything. 

He means “everything.” My journey with God is about surrender. 

A year ago, I surrendered many things during our prolonged unemployment. When God spoke to me and said, “Lynn if I call you to surrender all your ministry work and return to the corporate world, would you do it?” 

I absolutely pitched a fit. I went into the church office where I work and whined to my friend, Pam, every day for two weeks. Poor Dineen, I whined to her also. But, after that I said, “Lord, I surrender.” I meant it and was planning to start to look for work. 

Shortly after that my husband gained full-time employment. But, the Lord wanted to know that I was WILLING to give up the ministry He gave me. 

This past month has been about surrender of a dream of my husband becoming an enthusiastic partner in faith. 

I gave it to Jesus. 

I won’t stop praying for his salvation as God has not called me to cease but I have accepted that it’s a possibility that I will walk my faith walk alone for the rest of my life. 

Looking at this future, the Lord has given me peace. He has returned my joy. His strength is my joy. I am living this passage for the first time. 

And, no one is more surprised than I am. 

The Lord has done great things for us, and we are filled with joy. Psalm 126.3 

AMEN! 

Have a blessed weekend. I hope to share some stories and photos and all manner of silliness on Monday. Be blessed, Lynn

*****

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