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23 entries from February 2011

Television and our Kids

So I’m bugged.

And I’m going to have to chat about it.

I’m opening up a bucket of worms in controversy. But if we as believers don’t talk about some of this stuff how are we going to help one another?

Television So I’m bugged about television.

On several levels.

I may not have all of my facts in order but I do have my heart in order on this subject so here we go.

Skins.

MTV’s new racy show "Skins" is everywhere. Not only did its premiere episode attract more than 3 million viewers, it's been written about in hundreds of newspapers, magazines and blogs. That's because advertisers are dropping like flies; Shick, Wrigley, and today, Subway, all pulled the plug. That makes seven so far. The sexually charged show features high school students who routinely have sex, drink alcohol and do drugs.

The show is rated TV-MA and includes the appropriate disclaimer in the beginning of each show. That rating means that it may not be suitable for teens under 17. But still, kids as young as 12 years old are watching the show. And many of the actors are under the age of 18. ~From PIX 11 online. 1/24/11

In my research about this show I discovered a quote from one of the cast:

Sofia, 18, defends the show, saying, "It's what teens are doing. It's the way teenagers believe, I think, especially you know in certain situations when you come from home lives where your parents don't really support you or really listen to you. That's what most of these kids are going through."

Okay, so now I’m really bugged.

I have a teen daughter, 15 ½ years old. I asked her today about this show.

“Caitie, have you heard of the TV show, Skins?”

“Ya”

“Do you know what it’s about?”

“Ya, it’s kids smoking, drinking, having sex and doing drugs.”

“Yes, that’s what I heard it was about too.”

I want to set the tone of this conversation with you. I’m not approaching my daughter with a tone of accusation, but one of I’m really curious about what teens are thinking and what is really happening out there. And she knows I write about some of this stuff. So, I went on with my questions.

“Cait, have you watched it?”

“No, mom.”

“Do you want to? Do you want to see what it’s all about?”

“No.”

“Why”

“It’s inappropriate.” Her real answer.

You see she could watch this if she really wanted to. I wouldn’t know. Any teenager is going to watch what they really want to through the internet, a friend’s house, etc.

Our conversation continued, “Do you agree with one of the stars who said that it’s what teenagers are doing. Are your friends doing this stuff?” Now remember my daughter attends a large public high school in Southern California. (Ya, she’s already exposed to stuff in high school I wouldn’t have dreamed could be possible even 10 years ago.)

But my daughter responds, “No Mom, my friends and most of the kids as a whole aren’t doing this stuff. But there are always a group of kids who have a crappy home life that are into it.”

So why am I sharing this long and weird conversation with you? Because most of us here in this community are parents. AND we are parents who are raising kids in a spiritually mismatched home. And we are parents who have kids that watch television.

But we can take a moment of hope here.

I'v realized today that now as my daughter is age 15 ½, all those years of pouring myself and my faith into her are showing their fruit.

It hit me, she is choosing for herself to reject Skins as a program she doesn’t want to watch even though it’s all the talk at the High School.

Parenting in a home where two different world views exist is challenging, especially when it comes to television choice. Our spouse may not be watching Skins but they might be viewing something else that is bordering on inappropriate wickedness.

Okay, so my thoughts on television are just getting going but this post is already too long. So we are going to take this conversation out for a long walk until we have all found some truths to add to our parenting arsenal and some suggestions on how to handle conflict with our spouse when it comes to media choices including, television, movies, books, etc.

This seems to be a very real irritant in our skins and an ongoing conflict in our marriages that spills over to our children and parenting. (Do you agree?)

So today, I’m greatly interested in your parenting efforts as it relates to television. Is it really THAT big of a deal what they watch? What is age appropriate? What do you do if Dad/Mom says it’s okay and you know it’s not? Tell me how you are leading your children in their viewing choices.

I hope I’m not as bugged tomorrow about television but I bet I will be. I have much more to share as we walk this road. Looking forward to some “real and honest” conversations here so we can help each other with this very issue. Be blessed, Lynn

I’ll be checking in and adding to the conversation in the comments.

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The Me Project by Kathi Lipp

One of the ministries we partner with is Kathi Lipp and her wonderful books. If you haven't ready one of Kathi Lipp's books, drop everything and run out now and get one! Her first book, The Husband Project, has become one of my favorites. Kathi carried on her project theme with her next book, The Marriage Project. And now she brings her wit, wisdom, and immense creativity to The Me Project: 21 Days to Living the Life You've Always Wanted. Packed with practical encouragement this book is a journey of discovery and life changing steps to walk into the life and purpose God intends for each of us. I can't recommend Kathi Lipp's books enough. She is an amazing writer, an amazing speaker, and one of the most "real" people I've had the privilege to meet. So, now I get to have a little fun here. Check out the rest of this post for details about Kathi and her book.

Also, leave a comment. One name will be picked to be entered into Kathi's contest for a Deluxe Starbuck's Gift Basket valued at $62!

Added Bonus! Click here to read Kathi's article "Three Super Simple Kickstarts to Living Your Dream."

Has that rush to make (and break) New Year’s resolutions already waned? According to Daniel Pink, author of ¨Drive: The Surprising Truth About What Motivates Us, taking small steps every day will not only help you stay committed to your goal, ¨but will also help you ultimately achieve that goal when obstacles come up. Author Kathi Lipp wants you and your friends to live out those dreams—and have some fun along the way.

As women, we forget the goals and dreams of our younger years. The busyness of everyday life gets ¨in the way. To-do lists replace goals. The Me Project provides women with fun and creative ways to bring back the sense of purpose and vitality that comes with living out the plans and dreams God has planted in our hearts. Kathi Lipp’s warm tone and laugh-out-loud humor motivates women to take daily steps toward intentional goals. The end result? We get back our lives and enjoy living in the confidence of a purposeful life in spite of our chaotic schedules. This handy guide coaches women to do one simple thing toward achieving our goals each day for three weeks. A woman experiencing the exhilaration of a rediscovered life offers more as a wife, mother, friend, volunteer, career woman.

Finding the balance between living day-to-day with purpose while pursuing the passions God has placed in our hearts is a delicate pursuit. In this refreshing, insightful book, ¨Kathi lays out a doable plan that makes sense and helps make our God-given dreams ¨a reality. Never stop dreaming, because women who dare to dream do make the world ¨a better place."
—Jean Blackmer    
author of MomSense: A Common Sense Guide to Confident Mothering    
Publishing Manager, MOPS International www.MOPS.org


Author Bio

Kathi Lipp is a busy conference and retreat speaker, currently speaking each year to thousands of women throughout the United States. She is the author of The Husband Project and The Marriage Project, serves as food writer for Nickelodeon, and has had articles published in several magazines, including Today’s Christian Woman and Discipleship Journal. Kathi and her husband, Roger, live in California and are the parents of four teenagers and young adults. For more information visit her website: www.kathilipp.com

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One Little Step and Then......

I listen as she wept softly.

Phoncrywom I spoke to this young wife on the phone recently. She found herself in a place she never imagined could happen to her. Like so many of us, her husband lost his business because of the economy and they are in a financial meltdown. They moved to a new state to find work and now she finds herself facing some of the most difficult choices she’s ever going to make.

Her pain stems from the fact that her future is not what she wants and the difficult choices in front of her are a direct result of the consequences from her husband’s past financial decisions.

Ouch.

Compound this financial crisis with the fact that this woman and her husband are spiritually disconnected, it is a formula for disaster.

But all this aside, what was truly roiling around in this young wife’s heart was anger. She’s just plain mad.

What do we do with our anger?

I will tell you that for years and years, I carried around red-hot anger that rested just below the surface ready to spring on anyone who might push me a little. I was mad about everything in my marriage and my anger was justified. Unmet needs, disappointment with many of my husband’s decisions, fury over his intentional harsh and cruel words birthed resentment in my heart and anger became my constant companion.

But do you know what happens slowly and subtlety when anger takes up residence in your heart? It will surely be joined by its insidious cousin, bitterness. And that evil and vile creature is a dangerous threat to our very soul.

For me there came a day where Jesus said, “Enough. What have I commanded you?”

Matthew 18: 21 Then Peter came to Jesus and asked, “Lord, how many times shall I forgive my brother or sister who sins against me? Up to seven times?”

 22 Jesus answered, “I tell you, not seven times, but seventy-seven times.

"O, Lord, I want to obey ut how do I make myself get over my anger? It’s not as if I can just flip a switch and turn it off."

But God is faithful and He slowly revealed what I had to do. I began to pray this sentence, “Lord, help me to WANT to forgive.”

Spiritually Unequal Marriage is all about equipping you with the truths from God’s word to thrive in your mismatched marriage. Stepping out onto the very difficult path of forgiveness is one path that’s “required traveling” to find your way to the Promised Land. I’m sharing my personal experience with you on how I stepped on to that path, because I know so many others need to find healing.

Forgiveness brings healing… to you…..  to your spouse….

As I listened to the weeping on the other end of the line, I wanted to cradle this young woman in my embrace and rock her as if she were my daughter. Her pain and confusion poured from her. I hurt for her with my whole heart.

I’m not certain she heard what she wanted to hear from me but she did hear what would really help her. Fast and pray, ask the Lord to show you His will for your immediate future. He truly loves to answer those kinds of honest and humble prayers.

I also told her it is unlikely God will answer her in the way she expects. I explained that in the many, many years walking with the Lord, He often is intentional about doing the unexpected, just to prove to us that when it works out, it was Him standing right next to us all along.

Walking with Jesus can be a difficult call to duty. But walking with Jesus is a sure road to freedom, hope, joy, love, peace and ultimately a life that is transformed before the eyes of a broken and lost world. Oh, let Jesus move, let him show you authentic living through forgiveness and humility. Pray and seek His will. It will always be good for your life, your marriage and your family.

That first step on to the path of forgiveness is the beginning of the most fantastic journey you will EVER have. I promise you this: you won’t be disappointed.

Be blessed, Lynn

I share so much more about the amazing journey through the Land of Forgiveness in chapter eight of our book. I pray that the words that God gave me to share here and in that chapter are used to bring healing to many, many marriages. Hugs, Lynn

If you haven't visited our new website and registered for the marriage basket, hop over there today. Winninghimwithoutwords.com

 

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Thankful Thursday - It Takes a Giant Family

Thankful Thursday is at Laurie's of Women Taking A Stand and then over to Grace Alone for March and back here in April.

Hello... IT'S THANKFUL THURSDAY.

If you are new here at Spiritually Unequal Marriage, let me introduce you to one of my favorite days of the week here at our home.

A day we are intentional about recognizing our blessings and naming them to give praise to our Lord. It's a fun opportunity to participate if you are a blogger, on FB, or in the comments here, to add your praises and link up with an entire on-line community to give praise.

Today, I want to thank the Lord for the many, many people who support SUM behind the scenes. There truly are a significant number of people who contribute to make this place a home. They volunteer to help because of their love for their Savior and because they love and care for all of us in this community.

  • Prayer Warriors. We have friends who pray for Dineen and I, our marriage and our ministry. Without these vital intercessors, we would be a weak force for the Kingdom.
  • Technical people who help with our many web responsibilities, here and at 1 Peter 3 Living.
  • Our publishing team who invested and still invests hours, hearts and finances to help reach others who have not found us on the internet.
  • Mentors, friends who share knowledge, people who connect us to others, so, so many who encourage us and help direct our path.
  • And all of you, our friends, who come here to share a part of your day with us. You are the reason we are here.
  • And there is one person who financially gives generously to provide the resources to make our home here a place that is free to anyone who needs love and encouragement. Thank you Sue. 

Today, I'm so thankful for how God brings so many together in His Kingdom. Our on-line home here with you is a taste of our future in heaven. It thrills my heart to know each of you, to pray for your marriage, to rejoice in the victory the Lord has for all of us.

If you blog or FB, join us at Laurie's today. If you don't blog, add your thankfulness to the comments below. Writing out your thanks to Jesus has a profound effect on your heart and it brings honor to our Savior. Be blessed, Lynn   

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Be All You Can Be

IStock_000004628405XSmall I’ve been harboring a lie and I didn’t know it.

Last Friday I sat during my quiet time, praising God for the amazing ways He’s using this ministry, and Lynn and I, to reach out and help others in spiritually mismatched marriages. I will tell you I was so overcome with gratitude that God was using me to help others, that He chose me to be a part of this ministry, that tears sprung to my eyes.

Then, as only God can, He gently showed me a lie I’d bought into. In the past I’ve had times where I wondered if my husband’s unbelief kept me from stepping into completely serving God. What I mean by that is, would God have to keep me simmering on the stove until my husband accepted Christ and then He could let me “boil” full steam for Jesus!

Forgive the poor analogy but I hope that makes sense. I’ve pushed that thought aside many a time, refusing to believe it, but what I didn’t realize is that I’d totally bought into it.

This revelation hit me full force Friday morning, as if God were saying, “Look, you thought his unbelief would keep you from doing what you wanted for me. Take a look around you, Dineen? Did it hold back this ministry and book and how I’m using you in the midst of it all?”

Needless to say, my tears turned into a full bawl. (It’s been a very emotional few days!) The lie was exposed. God hadn’t held me back at all. My husband’s unbelief hadn’t held me back either. No, I’d allowed this lie to take root in my thoughts and allowed it to make me think I was being held back from serving God as I desired. And I’m sure I’ve even hid behind my husband’s unbelief at times out of the fear that stepping out would make our faith disconnect worse or make waves in our marriage.

Yet here I sit (and write) with the full evidence in front of me that it’s not true. The enemy succeeded for a while, but not anymore.

I want to pass this revelation onto you. Whatever it is that God is calling you to do, go do it. If God is the one leading you in a direction you fear may create waves, step back a moment and look at this way, and with much prayer.

God knows your spouse, knows what will and won’t stir the waters of your marriage. He’s in control of it all. And if God is calling you in a certain direction, He’s not only going to equip you for it, He’s also going to work in your unbelieving spouse as well.

I will give you an example. Our book is finally here, real and in our hands. You know what our message is. And you know that Lynn and I have been very careful to spend time in prayer to make sure we’re clearly serving God and following His will and purpose for us in this ministry. In other words, we’ve been very careful not to step outside of God’s plan or get ahead of him.

Enter my husband—the atheist—who is as excited as us about our book. He’s checking our Amazon ranking and sending me little updates as to how the book is doing. He’s so pumped!

Friends, if that’s not God working in his heart to accept what is the truth, I don’t know what is. I don’t claim to understand it, but I know without a doubt this wouldn’t be possible without God.

So, don’t be afraid to step out and live your faith as God is calling you to. Don’t wait for your spouse to come to faith in order to walk into the purpose God has for you now. If anything, your life of faith will become an even more powerful testimony of God’s power and saving grace to your unbelieving spouse.

When we stay close to Jesus, and are willing to lose our lives for Him, amazing and wonderful things happen in our lives and in our marriages. We can move forward with the assurance and trust that God has all the details in his control. He will bring you to a place of service that will work for you and your marriage. It may not be what you expected, but I’m betting it will exceed what you thought possible.

Praying and believing,
Dineen

Do you ever feel like a nine year old at an amusement park? You want to ride with the big kids on the “Big” rides with the adults but you just don’t measure up. Not tall enough.

I think everyone of us struggles with …. Not enough.

Join Lynn today at Laced with Grace for: Why Does It Feel Like I'm Never Enough.

 

Laced With Grace

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At The Internet Cafe Devotions Today

Today at the Internet Cafe Devotions, The Marriage Channel they are giving away a copy of Winning Him Without Words.

Stop over today for some snippets from the book and enter for the giveaway. Hugs, 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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A Very Different Post

Today’s post is different.

What is living on earth really all about? Can you say that you honestly understand why you are here and what your role in life is? Do you know that there is only ONE thing that is of concern to the human race?

Only one singular thing must be our focus?

I’m about to share an excerpt from the book, A Divine Revelation of Hell. This is a controversial book in that it’s one woman’s telling of her visit to hell. I agree that there is no way to “prove” that her experience was authentic, however, I believe hell is all she describes and even more terrible. I understand that this post will disturb many yet I’m compelled to provide a glimpse of what waits for those who are unsaved.

Page 31 &32 Jesus is walking with Mary Baxter (author)

    I could feel fear all around. Sorrow, cries of pain and an atmoshere of death were everywhere. Jesus and I walked in grief and pity to the next pit. (the pits of fire stretched out for miles, as far as the eye could see.)

    In the next pit was a woman on her knees, as if looking for something. Her skeletal form also was full of holes. Her bones were showing through, and her torn dress was on fire. Her head was bald, and there were only holes where her eyes and nose were suppose to be. A small fire was burning around her feet where she was kneeling, and she clawed the sides of the brimstone pit. The fire clung to her hands and dead flesh kept falling off as she dug.

    Tremendous sobs shook here. "O Lord, she cried, "I want out." As we watched, she finally got to the top of the pit with her feet. I thought she was going to get out when a large demon with great wings that seemed to be broken at the top and hung down his sides ran to her. His color was brownish-black, and he had hair all over his large form. His eyes were set far back into his head, and he was about the size of a large grizzly bear. The demon rushed up to the woman and pushed her very hard backward into the pit and fire. I watched in horror as she fell. I felt so sorry for her.

    Jesus knew my thoughts and said, "My child, judgment has been set. God has spoken. Even when she was a child, I called and called her to repent and to serve Me. When she was sixteen years old, I came to her and said, "I love you. Give your life to Me, and come follow Me, for I have called you for a special purpose." I called all her life, but she would not listen. She said, "Someday I will serve You. I have no time for you now. No time, no tme, I have my life of fun. No time, no time to serve You, Jesus. Tomorrow I will." Tomorrow never came, for she waited too long."

The story goes on the explain this woman's desire for beauty and money became a tool of satan and how even to the end she knew God was pursuing her. But, she always thought she would turn to Jesus some day. She was killed in an automoblile accident.

-----

Cross-of-christ

For far too many years, life was all about me. My need for love, for significance, for validation constantly drove my behavior. My unquenchable need to feel beautiful in the eyes of others and to be important, esteemed in the minds of my work colleagues and my neighbors fueled my thoughts. These deep wants drove my decisions and manipulated my love and kindness for others.

Jesus said: Whoever wants to be my disciple must deny themselves and take up their cross daily and follow me.

When you boil it down, ALL of our needs are met in Jesus. He is our provider, our strength, our love, our pride and our hope in every circumstance. He is our significance in this life.

The only thing that matters in life is Jesus.

Jesus wasn’t offering a suggestion in Luke 9:23. He is calling, pleading with us us to take up our cross. That means get our “self” out of the way. Be totally sold out for Him so that we can help others, our spouse, our children our neighbors, to be saved from an eternity in hell.

Today I convinced He is calling us to surrender self.

Self-exaltation
Self-will
Self-serving
Self-absorption
Self-sufficiency
Self-protection
Self-loathing
Self-promotion
Self-delusion
Self-righteousness
Self-worship
Self-pity

He is calling me. He is calling you so that our lives are a witness to others. We have the answers and we know the truth. And the truth is Jesus and He will set us free from hell and the truth will set our unsaved spouse free, an entire world free.

From an eternity in hell.

What are your thoughts about this post? Did you feel a stir in your soul? God is moving with power. Who in your life needs Jesus? Give their first name in the comments and a prayer for their salvation.

Be blessed, Lynn

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The Intentional Marriage — A Look at 1Peter 3:1-5

In case you didn't get to watch our live broadcast, here's the recording of The Intentional Marriage show from yesterday. I will warn you that I got a little emotional, but in a good way! LOL! But I did. God is filling my heart with so much new stuff right now, I can't even put it all into words. He's revealing amazing things, one of which I will share with you on Tuesday. God showed me a lie I'd bought into about my marriage. One I think many of us fall into.

So, enjoy the show. Forgive my tears—just know they come from my love for Jesus, my love for you, and the message God put on my heart to share with you today. Watch to the end so you can find out about the surprise too!

Praying and believing,
Dineen

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Be Intentional and SO Much More

Tune in for our LIVE streaming television show, The Intentional Marriage. 

This morning 11:30 ET/ 8:30 PT. Dineen has a great message for us.

Click here to see the screen.

Today, I'm feeling compelled to say TWO words to our community...

Just pray.

Why is it that so many of us turn to prayer as our last resort. We have run out of every option. Tried to fix our spouse. Tried everything under the sun to change our circumstances. So, finally, well, we think to ourselves, "I guess I should pray about it."

Prayhandshad The power of God isn't a mystery. Discovering a life filled with happiness and fulfillment isn't a secret for only a select few. No, it's for all God's children. And I promise He really, really wants us to live in joy.

It starts with praying. Everything that God brought into my life that is good, pleasing and in the perfect will of God came because I prayed.  Romans 12:1-2

My prayers in the early years were selfish and shallow but God in His great grace has moved me to pray now not for my self-centered wants but to truly pray for my spouse. I want to share a prayer from our book, Winning Him Without Words. Today, I pray more like this and these kind of  prayers move heaven and earth. 

Oh, Father, today let me just love him. Pour Your love into me in such a powerful and complete way that I am just bursting with You. Teach me how to pour Your love out over my husband and everyone I meet. Make every encounter I have an opportunity for others to see You and not me.

Father, I beg You to place Yourself before my man today. Be in front of him at the office. Be at his side at lunchtime. Be behind him as he talks on the phone and writes a letter. Lord, place Christian men in his path, at the store today, on the phone and at the office. Let him see reminders that You are in relentless pursuit of him and that Your passion for him will never fade. Lord, I ask You to surround him with You. Fill his morning, noon and night with Your presence and protect him from the enemy.

Lord, I ask Your will in his life, not my will. I love You, Jesus. I love You. Your humble servant, Lynn.

What are you waiting for? Be Intentional and start praying and then watch what God will do. Hugs, 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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Thankful Thursday - No Weapon

Thankful Thursday is at Laurie's of Women Taking A Stand and then over to Grace Alone for March and back here in April.

After spending a week in bed with the worst cold ever, I'm starting to feel like a human again. The enemy tossed every obstacle possible at me two weeks prior to our book launch but I would have none of it.

I told the devil yesterday that in the name of Jesus, I would make it to Bible study today.

And I did.

I am behind schedule and set back but not defeated. 

I serve the Lord Almighty and the devil is hereby put on notice. No weapon formed against me will prosper. Is 54:17

So, my challenge to everyone on this Thankful Thursday is to speak these words of power into your life. Put the enemy on notice that your home and everyone in it belongs to Jesus. 

Can I get an amen?

I will praise the name of the Lord. Be blessed, Lynn

Tomorrow on The Intentional Marriage Show Dineen will be answering questions from our Facebook page and she has a really, really great story to share. Tune in on Friday at 11:30 ET 8:30 PT for our live streaming tv show. Check out our page here.

Also Dineen has a story to share at Laced With Grace today: The Promised Land

 

My long time friend Lori who I met through our amazingonline community, posted a review of Winning Him Without Words on her book review site, Lori's Book Reviews. Take a peek. Hugs. Lynn

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Surviving to Thriving

IStock_000012742786XSmall I’m sure by now you’re tired of hearing about Valentines Day. I hope the day was special for you, even if you and God were the only two celebrating it. A dear lady I’ve come to know on Facebook called God her “sweetie.” I thought that was so precious.

And I will share that two nights ago my heart was aching over the emotional and health issues of my daughter. Add to that a “lostness” I’ve never seen in my husband before. He’s definitely struggling too, to figure out his place in this world. To us, the answer is so simple! But for him, the foundations of his world are being torn down and he’s not sure what direction to go.

As I said, two nights ago, my heart was aching over all this—seeing my family struggle and knowing full well this is in God’s hands and in His plan for both of them. I snuggled into my pillow and imagined it was Jesus’ shoulder and He had me firmly in His hold. He was my greatest comfort and “sweetie” in that moment. I am so grateful we serve a God of comfort.

It’s not easy to watch those we love struggle. We want to hop in there and fix it, fix them! But sometimes—a lot of times actually—God’s using that issue to bring change, growth, and even to plant the seeds of salvation.

In the meantime, we have to trust and hang on, right?

Well, yes, but what if we can do more than just hang on? What if we can actually thrive in our marriages and relationships despite all the challenges and issues whirling around us?

This is the heart of our message here at S.U.M., that God wants us to thrive in our marriages, not just survive in them. In my own marriage, that meant letting go of my husband’s salvation and leaving it in God’s hands. That meant letting go of my expectations of what I thought my marriage would be and allow God to show me what He had planned. That meant shifting my focus on the deficit—my husband’s unbelief—and focusing on the benefit—an opportunity to love my husband just as he is and enjoy this man I’d made a promise to love until death parts us.

This is the thriving part, when we see our roles in our marriages as one of the most important ways we can serve God. When we do, we experience joy, and we begin to thrive in our relationship with our husband because we’re thriving in our relationship with God. That’s a life transformed—our life. And that’s a powerful witness to our unbelieving spouses.

There will be difficult times. That’s true of any marriage. But this is a journey you will never walk alone. God wants to do great things in our marriages, one of which is to bring our unbelieving spouses to know Him. He wants that even more than we do! And being a part of that process, to walk along side God and join Him in the journey is a worthy mission.

You are not alone. God is right there. Let Him carry the burden of your spouse’s salvation. Ask Him to show how to love your husband like Christ loves us. Then you will begin to experience new freedom in your marriage as will your husband.

Then you won’t just be hanging in there. You’ll be thriving and enjoying your marriage in ways you never imagined!

Praying and believing,
Dineen

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A Day for Love

So, I kissed my boyfriend goodbye today. Then he left to fly out on business for the week. I hope you have enjoyed the "Boyfriend" theme this February.

It's Sunday evening as I write this post. Our Valentine's weekend didn't turn out as planned. Isn't that just like life?

Like marriage?

But, it's through my maturity in Christ that when things don't go as "I" planned, I can stand up, take the hand of Jesus and take one more step toward heaven. Val candle

I want to tell you that my husband was the best boyfriend ever. He had dinner planned for Saturday night. But it was me who wrecked the plans. I have been terribly sick and just couldn't generate the energy to let my boyfriend take me to dinner.

My daughter said to me Saturday afternoon, "Mom, you NEED to go to dinner with your husband. I would give one of my internal organs to be taken to dinner for Valentine's Day by my boyfriend (which she doesn't have)." *giggle*

.... I love teenagers....

Well, my husband instead held my hand as I coughed, sniffed, blew my nose. I went to bed at 8:30. Yep, a real fun date. 

THAT'S what real marriage is all about. 

THAT'S romantic love.

THAT'S commitment.

THAT'S growing old together.

and THAT is one of the greatest gifts God gives to a man and a woman.

Be blessed, Lynn

_____

At the Cafe today:

Last week my teen daughter and I sat down and watched the movie Valentine’s Day. The gist ~ A Romantic Comedy about flowers, engagement rings, dates with champagne and of course….happily ever after. This was an odd sort of story in that, not all of the couples ended up happy.  

When the movie was over, my daughter and I just sat silent on the couch. I turned to her and said, “Sometimes I hate Valentine’s Day.”

She looked at me quizzically.

“For so many women, this holiday, only punctuates the pain that they are unloved, unmarried, unhappy, and forgotten.”

...read more of the story today at The Internet Cafe Devotions, The Marriage Channel.

Forgotten On Valentine's Day.

_____

Dineen and I have to amazing privilege to share our story of God's amazing miracles in our marriage with several Radio stations today. Please hope over to www.winninghimwithoutwords.com to listen in online. 

We love you our friends. We are praying your Valentine's Day surprises you.

May you be overwhelmed with tiny love notes from our Savior. Lynn

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Winning Him Without Words

To read today's post, scroll down.

New cover WHWW  July 27, 2011, Mary Wrote: 

Your book is amazing, I have laughed, cried, and then laughed some more.  My post-it notes have come down and all my books are neatly placed on my bookshelf instead of randomly left opened for a certain someone to see (LOL).  I loved the stories your readers shared.  

Reading your story on going to church alone was like replaying many of my Sunday mornings.  I have never felt so alone in a room full of people as I have on some Sunday mornings, but this past Sunday I walked in with a confident heart. 

I am learning to depend on Jesus, and you know what? It's a great feeling!  I feel like this huge weight has been lifted off of my shoulders.  I don't have to worry about my husband being saved, I don't have to worry about my marriage....God's got it!  He's handling it and I am thankful and praising Him  through it.  I am so thankful that I will no longer have a marriage full of anger, resentment, bitterness and worst of all loneliness, instead I look forward to a marriage full of love, forgiveness, understanding, a marriage full of God's grace.  

Lynn, last night I finished the questions for key#3, and this morning I gave thanks to the Lord for the things I most admired about my husband....I didn't realize how,ugh I don't even have the words to explain what happened as I went down my list. This was such an eye opener, so many things, so many moments went through my head, I have taken this wonderful man for granted.  I have been so busy focusing on all the pain that I have missed out on a wonderful husband. This was really a great exercises, I needed to be reminded why I married this man and this did it. 

I am now a regular on you website.  I look forward to reading your daily message.  You and Dineen are wonderful!  Thank you for all that you guys do.  Your prayers have also become a part of my days.   

I know there is a lot of work ahead of me, but I'm willing to do it, my husband and my marriage are worth it.  ~ Mary

Visit: Winning Him Without Words for Freebies, Register for our Newsletter and share your story with us. Lynn & Dineen

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10 Valentines Day Ideas to Rock His World

IStock_000015212699XSmall I hope you all are having as much fun with our husband-to-boyfriend theme as Lynn and I are. We put our heads together and created a list of 10 ideas (you know how we love lists of 10!) to WOW your spouse on Monday. Many of these turned out to really bless our hubbies and we hope they’ll be helpful to you. Have fun!

  1. Buy his favorite magazine or a book he’s been meaning to buy and put little love notes in between the pages.
  2. Order chocolate cover strawberries and have them delivered to his work. Makes them look really good to the other guys drooling over his special love treat.
  3. Surprise him with a complete evening designed to focus on him. If possible, have a friend or relative take the kids, make his favorite dinner and dessert, shower him with attention that takes the evening right into the bedroom.
  4. Write him a love letter. Tell him you’re still crazy about and for him.
  5. Buy his favorite treat and hide in a place for him to “discover” it. Hide multiple items or little gifts and tell him you’re saving the best surprise for later.
  6. Text him love messages throughout the day and tell him you have a surprise to model for him later.
  7. Buy him tickets to his favorite sporting event and tell him you’re going too so that he can watch the game uninterrupted while you run to the concessions to get his favorite drink and snack. The night’s about him!
  8. Take him bowling at midnight and act like teenagers!
  9. Surprise him with a long should rub or massage with no strings attached. He’s the one who gets spoiled this time.
  10. Give him a handmade coupon for a free day to do whatever he wants, guilt free.

Here’s an article packed with great ideas by Bill and Pam Farrell. Prepare to be inspired!

Love-Wise: Romance to the Rescue

Have Small Children?
Let me just add one more idea here. If you have small kids and no family to take them for an evening or not enough funds for a babysitter, consider planning a special evening WITH the kids there. Let them see you make a fuss over your spouse. What a wonderful way for them to see what love looks like in a marriage. Get them involved and help you decorate or set the table and plan a menu. Valentines Day can be a family event to celebrate the love you all share for each other. You can even turn it into a valuable lesson that will keep giving throughout the rest of the year. Have fun!

Praying and believing,
Dineen

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A New Web Site, Prizes, and Hope
for those who live Unequally Yoked

We want to share our brand new website with you today. You, our faithful readers, are the first people we wanted to invite to see our newest sister home: www.winninghimwithoutwords.com

Jump over and take a stroll around. There are wonderful prizes and new offerings we pray this place will enrich your life and provide practical help and encouragment to thrive in your spiritually mismatched marriage.

Also, we are giving away to five copies of our new book this week. All you need to do is to copy the code below, paste it on your blog, tell us in the comments that you are sharing our message and you will be entered to win. One winner will receive the trio of marriage books. Find out what they are over at our new site. Also we will be sharing your blog address with all of our readers here next week. So, help us get the word out. Someone you know lives unequally yoked and needs encouragement.

It's been quite a journey these past five years and our message always points to Jesus. It's our greatest passion to help others thrive in their crazy and mixed-up, mismatched marriage. That is what our book is all about. If you know anyone who needs encouragement, send them to us. We will pick them up, dust them off and then all of us will walk arm-in-arm toward heaven. Loving our Lord and our spouse.

Okay, come back here in a minute and tell us what you think. We would love your thoughts and we welcome you, our dearest friends, to winninghimwithoutwords.com

 Hugs, Lynn and Dineen

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Thankful Thursday

 

Thankful Thursday is at Laurie's of Women Taking A Stand and then over to Grace Alone for March and back here in April.

Hi Everyone! Dineen here...Lynn's sick with a bad cold (please pray for her speedy recovery!) so I'm filling in for Thankful Thursday.

We have so much to be thankful for...Lynn and I are delighted and overwhelmed by all the support we are receiving to get our book out there and helping others. We're counting down the days to the official release.

Friday, we have a huge surprise for you, but you have to come back and find out what it is. LOL! Oh the suspense! We promise you won't be disappointed.

I would like to give thanks myself today for surviving our first radio interview. Oh, if you could have seen me before the call, pacing my office, trying to breath! LOL! And I did it! God gave me the words and helped me stay focused and composed. I didn't pass out or thow up on the phone. :-)

If you want to listen in, Daybreak with Dave & Deb will air it Thursday at 7:40 a.m. CST. They'll also have it posted at the SITE this week. It's a short 10 minute spot.

Please keep us in your prayers. As I said, Lynn is sick but needs to have her voice for Monday to do some radio interviews too. One we are both so excited to do together. 

We are so thankful for the S.U.M. community here! We love sharing every bit of all this with you. We wouldn't be here if it wasn't for you. You've walked this journey with us and we have just delighted in the privilege to walk it with you. God's message is clear—He wants us to thrive in our mismatched marriages and rejoice in what He does in the midst of them. Amen?

Much love!
Dineen

 

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What’s His Idea of Romance?

933344_i_love_you Over the weekend, I went out with my husband, and as we were talking, I suddenly had the thought, “I know what I consider romantic, but what’s his idea of romance?”

Valentine’s Day seems to pretty much revolve around us women, but I wonder if we miss out on some great opportunities to connect with the man in our life because we don’t consider their want or need to be romanced too. Maybe not like we do, but I do believe that we’re missing another chance here to show our love and Christ’s love for our unbelieving spouses. After all, doesn’t God pursue and woo us? Romance us? Check out Song of Solomon if you’re not sure.

So I asked my husband what he thought was romantic. At first he was a little confused by my question, thinking I meant it in terms of movies and such. I explained further and here’s what he told me.

He said he found unsolicited gestures and gifts, without any occasion or holiday, to be romantic. He loves thoughtfulness. He likes it when I buy him his favorite ice cream. He likes it when I buy him a little something special. He likes it when I do the dinner dishes for him when I notice he’s tired or is tied up taking care of other stuff around the house. They’re such little things but they communicate that I was thinking about him and concerned about his happiness and well being.

I will share another thing with you. I’m not something special or unique that I do this stuff. No, I prayed a long time ago and continue to pray that God would help me to love my husband the way He needs me to. God has definitely answered that prayer, because on my own, I can be pretty oblivious at times. God is the King of romance and creativity. Who better to go to for ideas on how to romance our spouses, right?

I hope you’ll have fun with this as Valentines Day approaches and beyond. Being intentional and purposeful in our marriages is key to building loving and lasting relationships.

Praying and believing,
Dineen

 

Adphoto On a side note, I'd like to share this interview with you. Bonnie Calhoun, the publisher and owner of Christian Fiction Online Magazine did a feature on our book, Winning Him Without Words. I share some tidbits about how the S.U.M. ministry and book came to be.

I hope you'll take a moment and read it HERE.

For Bonnie to open her doors to do a feature on a nonfiction book is such an honor and a blessing. I’m in awe of how God is touching hearts with this book and it’s not even out there yet! The outpour of support for this message for the spiritually mismatched from you and unexpected places in the publishing industry is amazing! God knows what we need, amen?

 

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The Super Bowl and the Best Gift Ever

Cheese-head-dog The Super Bowl is now history. So is my Fantasy Football Team, The Pink Princesses, at least until next year.

I hope your team won. We spent the afternoon with REAL Packers fans. Our next door neighbors are from Wisconsin. 

Cheese heads.... Need I say more.

Valentine's Day is a week away. Today I promised to share with you the BEST gift you can give your husband. 

Last week I was reading some statistics provided by Sharon Jaynes, who writes devotions for Girlfriends In God. She states:

According to an analysis of the National Survey of Families and Households, 86 percent of unhappily married people who stick it out find that, five years later, their marriages are happier. In fact, nearly 60 percent of those who rated their marriage as unhappy in the late 1980's, and who stayed married, rated their same marriage "very happy" or "quite happy" when re-interviewed five years later ( Linda J. Waite and Maggie Gallagher, The Case for Marriage (New York: Doubleday, 2000) 148).

There are times in every marriage that one or both spouses feel unhappy. But God's call to us as believers is to press into Him and wait for the reward.

So pray.

The ABSOLUTE best gift you can give to your spouse, believing or unbelieving, is to bring him or her before God. Have you ever noticed that if you earnestly pray for someone over many months, you can't stay mad with them?? It's a phenomenon I don't clearly understand but it proves to be true every time in my life.

Pray for their:

  • Salvation, Romans 10.10. Not just to be saved but radically overcome by the Holy Spirit.
  • Pray over his/her employment or work. Ask God to bless him/her and make them a man or woman of character, who is respected by others, strong ethics, an example for your children.
  • Parenting. Ask God to make your spouse sensitive to your children. Respectful of their faith discovery. To be firm, fair, a great listener, to spend time and laughter with them.
  • Ask God to show you your spouse's love language and to act on that knowledge. Love him/her with a full heart.
  • Pray for their health.
  • Ask for specifics that are of importance on that particular day.
  • Pray they are faced with God in a continual way through out their day.
  • Pray down protection from evil people and evil spirits.
  • Pray to love your spouse as Christ loves the church. (see the video)

I'm often astounded to find many of us believing spouses know we have the power of God available to stand for us, our spouse and our children, but we don't use it.

Pray.

Pray every day.

THAT is the best gift you can give. It lasts an eternity.

Now for some practical and fun gifts for Valentine's Day, stop back on Friday.

Dineen and I are compiling some prayers for husbands. Please write one and let us share it with others. Pray now in the comments a pray for your spouse. BIG hugs, Lynn

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Made to Crave - Book giveaway, Again.

If you remember I gave away a copy of Lysa's Book last Monday. Well, let's do it again this Monday. Also, Tune in tonight to the live webcast as Lysa is going to give SUM a shout out. Woo Hoo.

Many of you know that I was able to sit with my friend Lysa TerKeurst this past spring. We enjoyed a delightful talk. She gave me some helpful advice about writing and such. And, we talked about some of her current writing projects. 

At that time she was finishing up her new book Made To Crave. This book hit the market place early January and has been a great help to so many of us who struggle with conquering our eating missteppes.

I am reading the book now and it's not a diet plan. It's a plan to help you succeed to eat healthy and to support you on whatever eating plan your are following. 

If you struggle in this area, pick up here book. 

Lysa has generously offered a book to give away here at Spiritually Unequal Marriage. So, to enter the drawing, please leave your name and "enter me" in the comments.

Check out the Madetocrave.org website to order a book now.

Love you Lysa. Thank you for all you do to serve the Lord. Hugs, Lynn

Enter once until midnight on Tuesday, February 8th. Winner will be chosen by drawing.

 

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Weekend Devo — God Rocked My World with a Hook!

Did I ever tell you the story of how God provided shoes in the exact color I needed?

It's a story I hold close to my heart because it reminds me how He truly cares about every detail in our lives. I'd searched all over the place for a pair of shoes in a certain color for an outfit and in my size, which can be hard to find (long, narrow feet...). I'd also given up trying to find a Christmas wreath door hanger.

Went to visit a friend and she had both! Shoes my size and an extra hanger! That was years ago and at that stage of my faith, it spoke volumes to me of God's provision.

Well, I think God wanted to give me a reminder yesterday. I was so inspired by Lynn's hummingbirds that I bought a feeder. My daughter Leslie was with me and suggested I get one. My only dilemma was finding a hook for it. The feeder didn't come with one and I wasn't sure we had something at home that would work. But I was determined to have a hummingbird feeder!

I adore hummingbirds. Always have. To me they are one of God's most precious and amazing creations. These tiny birds go into near death hybernation every night to live another day.

So, out the store I went with my hummingbird feeder, loaded the car with our purchases, and then pushed the cart to the cart corral.

Feeder Something shiny caught my eye. I looked down and there was this hook, just laying there by the cart. I kid you not! Do you see it in the picture? It's the perfect fit and size for my feeder and the hook on my porch.

I grabbed it, got in the car, and held it out to Leslie. I wish you could have seen her face. Eyes huge and mouth open, she gasped.

"Is God not good or what?" I asked her. We left the parking lot with goofy grins on our faces and praise for God in our hearts.

I love our Lord. He blows me away again and again. I hadn't even prayed for that hook, but God knew what I needed and delighted in giving it to me. And He truly delighted me!

Isn't He awesome? Lord, you rock my world!

Praying and beliving,
Dineen

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My Married Boyfriend

On Monday I told you about my new boyfriend. How my chance orneriness created a fun exchange between my husband and me. So, let me continue the story.

Hand holding After the impetuous hand-holding in the car, (yes, I can drive with one hand especially if my boyfriend wants to hold the other) I was delightfully surprised when two days later I had another errand to run and my husband says, “Hey, do you want your boyfriend to come with you and hold your hand?”

Say what?

I’m sure I looked like a deer in headlights.

Now remember, this man never goes on non-essential errands.

“Well, yes,” I stammered.

The man jumped up from his desk, sat in the passenger seat and we held hands.

Again.

That is when it hit me…. This man likes to be my boyfriend. He’s finding the sweet endearment a fun thing. So, I really bought into the whole idea. I started calling him my boyfriend on a regular basis.

“Hey, my boyfriend, you are really cute and I like you a lot.”

*giggles*

Last week in Wal-Mart, we stood together in the checkout lane. Another errand (yeah baby). He bends toward me and spontaneously kisses me right there like we were high school kids in love. We are not bashful about sharing a kiss from time-to-time in public but my man is shy. I don’t ever remember him kissing me while we stood in a line of people, in a store.

I look at him with a smile, he says, “A kiss from your boyfriend.”

Wow.

Of course all this recent boyfriend talk at home has my teen daughter in a constant state of embarrassment as her old parents carry on this romance. Which of course, just makes me giggle all the more and add to the boyfriend frenzy.

My husband is loving it and so am I.

Here are a few boyfriend hints for you to try.

  • Look over at him from across the room and say, “You know, I have a really cute boyfriend.” Smile largely. 
  • Sunday is the Super Bowl. I will tell you now, my husband LOVES it when I just sit with him, hold his hand, watch the game together, and enjoy it. 
  • Make some really great tasting “game” food also. 
  • Slowly deliberately unbutton his shirt. One little button at a time. (preferably out of sight of the teenager *grin) 
  • Text him at work: I miss you, my boyfriend.

Okay, on Monday I have more to share about the BEST gift we can give to our spouse this February, the month of love. Stop back then.

What are your plans for the Super Bowl? I always anticipate the commercials. How much is a 30 second spot this year????

And have you asked your husband to be your boyfriend? Looking forward to chatting with you today. Be blessed, Lynn

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TT- Dangled Over Hell

Thankful Thursday is at Laurie's of Women Taking A Stand and then over to Grace Alone for March and back here in April.

Today I'm going to share a story from a woman who recently emailed me. This story is fascinating. So here is her email to me: 

Lynn, You are very welcome, and oddly enough, Lynn is the name of the friend I wrote about. I thought this e-mail was from her at first. One thing I did not share, because I thought some might find it offensive, is the last prayer I remember praying for her husband before he was saved. We were at a home meeting, and Lynn had been through a particularly bad episode with him...and was hurrying to get home at the time HE had appointed. If she was late, that meant no more prayer meetings! As different ones in the group began to pray for them...again...something just rose up within me.

When the others were finished, I prayed and simply asked God to hang him over hell and show him what his eternity would be like without Jesus! Everyone seemed a bit startled, and I was afraid I was definitely in the flesh on that one!

Long story short...not long after that prayer, maybe less than a month, it's hard to remember...he had a MASSIVE heart attack. Lynn was working at the time, and when she arrived at the ER, the first thing he told her was that he had been held over hell...and he could see the flames and feel the torment, and KNEW that's where he was going without Jesus.

He asked her to call our pastor, whom he absolutely hated, and have him come to the ER right then, not later, but NOW and pray with him! He accepted Jesus as his Lord and Saviour, became best friends with the pastor and his family [really], and his transformation amazes me still, so many years later!

Sadly, he's not doing well physically, he's a kidney transplant patient and Lynn's kidneys were a match for him...which is another miracle, because rarely is a spouse a suitable donor. But the transplant was over sixteen years ago, and his body is simply wearing out. He's in the hospital now, but when he and Lynn came to visit us for my birthday a few weeks ago, he had a request for me...

Would I pray for his son the way I prayed for Him? He has asked me many times over the years did I REALLY pray for God to hang him over hell? And, when I answer yes, he just smiles and says thank you.

I do apologize for such a long e-mail, and I hope you won't think I am a crazy woman! I truly have a great reverence for God and I do NOT take such things lightly, and I know some people might misunderstand such a prayer. Therefore, I don't share this testimony with many people...but it truly is a beautiful testimony of God's saving power and His faithfulness. May God strengthen and encourage you as you continue to stand in prayer for your husband and others.

---

I want to thank Marsha for sharing her story. It is bold of her to share it. I am so thankful this TT for the prayers of the Saints and more so for the power of God that is displayed through answered prayer.

So, do we dare pray such a prayer for our spouse??? This is indeed a truly dangerous prayer. Thoughts. Lynn

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Romancing the Man

1236084_love Did you read Lynn’s post yesterday? I don’t know about you but I’ve been giggling with her all the way on this one. Ladies, this is a chance to create some of that romance we love right in our own marriages!

So, along those lines, I will share that I asked my hubby on the phone yesterday if he wanted to be my boyfriend. He said yes! Woohooo! I guess this means we’re going steady. Now my girls are going to groan even more over their parents’ affectionate nature. I can see and hear it now. LOL!

Sometimes it’s so easy to lose site of what we love in a person because of the burdens of life, the conflict inherent in our types of marriages, and past hurts and wrongs.

Trust me, I understand completely. I’ve let things like this come in and nearly sweep away my marriage. Forgiveness is crucial to all our relationships.

But that’s not what I want to talk about today. What I’d like to do is challenge you to find one thing this week to do for your spouse. One thing that will rock his world. Maybe you take over a chore for the week that he normally does. Then let him discover it already done.

How about writing a special note to your husband for each day of the week he’ll be out of town? Then tell him he can only open one each day. One year I did this in a journal and I filled the pages with little message to him. By Christmas I had a special and personal gift for my husband.

Buy his favorite treat and stash it under his pillow (unless it’s ice cream, of course). Stick love notes in between the pages of his car magazine. Write a message on the mirror with your lipstick. Make his favorite meal or even plan a week of his favorite foods.

Ladies, I know we’re pretty much the ones who make the first move on this kind of stuff. Don’t hold that against your guy, just see this as an opportunity to inspire him. You never know what may come of it. Your actions may translate into an inspiration for him to do something extra special for you.

More importantly, this is a chance for us to speak with our actions and show our unbelieving spouse Christ.

Praying and believing,
Dineen

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