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21 entries from July 2011

Weekend Devo — REACH OUT!

BetterTogether Earlier this month I shared how God had answers our prayers for one of our kitties, who had gone missing. (Read “The Smallest of Prayers” here) I’m sad to say that Suzy passed away yesterday. It was clear yesterday morning when we woke up that the old girl wouldn’t live more than a day. At 18 she’d had a good life.

Needless to say we were heartbroken to say goodbye to this fuzzy critter who had brought comfort in time of tears, laughter at her cuteness, and amazement at her perseverance. We’ve had all our cats (once five and now down to two) since kittenhood and they have traveled everywhere with us. Even to Europe and back.

In my sadness, I reached out on Facebook because I know the body of Christ is alive and well there. Let me just say, I was not disappointed! The comments that came to my status update uplifted, encouraged, and even made me cry at one point because the words this one person shared struck my heart with deep comfort straight from God.

All this to say, and what I truly want to say, to you our readers, whether you visit here regularly or today is your first visit, you are not alone. God is not confined to the doors of our churches in bringing His people the comfort they cry out for. He heard His people’s cries in the Old Testament, and He hears our cries now.

The first thing we often hear from the spiritually mismatched is that we are lonely. That is why the first chapter in our book is titled, “Know That You’re Not Alone.” In the community we have here at S.U.M., on our Facebook page, at our 1Peter3Living Yahoo group, and in the small groups forming to minister to the unequally yoked, God is working to make sure we know this truth.

You are not alone.

In fact, all these avenues are His answer to our cries that we are lonely. So, dear one, reach out. Reach out to those who share your journey, here and in your community. If there’s isn’t a group you can join, form one (Lynn and I are happy to help). Don’t hide your loneliness in the darkness where the enemy had free reign to use it and make it a stronghold in your life.

Walk in God’s light. A struggle shared is a burden lightened and the beginning of God’s healing and peace. Don’t miss out on experiencing His amazing love and comfort shared through the Body of Christ.

Praying and believing,
Dineen

*****

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Our Soul and the Natural World ~ Article IV - Our Sense Hearing

Spiritual Warfare - How We Fight Back

A few months back, I began a series on the natural world and how nature, the world God created, can bring healing and joy to our soul. We started with light. If you missed that post, you can read it here. Then we looked at darkness and how we are adversely affected. You can read that post here. In a bad mood? How are soul and body can be refreshed outdoors, read that here.

Today is post four in this series. I’m completely convinced the natural world was created for our health; physically, emotionally and spiritually. The environments where we spend time affect our lives and they impact the spiritual realm and impact the spiritual warfare going on around us.

TURN ON THE MUSIC.

This morning I read in my Daily Bible this passage:

2 Chronicles 20: 22 (NLT) At the very moment they began to sing and give praise, the Lord caused the armies of Ammon, Moab, and Mount Seir to start fighting among themselves.

I know many of you are living in the thick of spiritual warfare. I received several emails just this week asking for prayer to fight the spiritual battles. The warfare IS REAL. Don't ever doubt that. Also remember that your enemy is NOT your spouse but the lies and the influences of the demons that are at work around him.

But, we have power over those forces in a very real way. All of the posts in this series, I am convinced aid us in spiritual warfare. I don't pretend to understand why. I just know that regular practicing of the suggestions I share, make a profound difference in the spiritual realm surrounding my home.

Musical Staff There is a power in praise. In Worship. In Song. This passage in Chronicles alone, speaks to this truth. God dwells in the praises of His people. Therefore, the enemy must flee.

My friends, if you lived with me you would know that I have praise music playing whenever I can. The worship music fills my home and the enemy flees. I sing along with it. I blare it through my Ipod when I jog/walk in the morning. In the car, when I'm not praying and even when I am. I listen to it often as I sit in my office writing.

Now I get it. Playing "church" music at home is a recipe for a fight when you live with an unbeliever. But this is how it often plays out with us around our house. I play music through my television in the kitchen when I'm in there puttering around. If I leave the room, I leave it on. I will often come back later and my husband has turned it off.

At first this kind of music would send him into a frenzy. I get it. So, I am respectful but also remember, you are a partner in this marriage and there are times it's okay to listen to what you want. When my husband is away on a business trip. My friends, music blasts...

all

day

long.

Music selection in a marriage actually turns out to be a really big deal. I know we have argued over stations in the car. After many discussions fights about it, we have agreed just to leave the radio off. 

I don't understand why playing words of worship makes such a difference in the spiritual realm but it does. Uplifting music and praising God empowers my soul, stirs my prayer life and simply, it makes me happy.

So turn on the music as often as you can. Let it play, sing along and I will assure you the enemy is in retreat and confusion, just like the armies in Chronicles.

Be blessed, Lynn

PS. I need some new songs for my Ipod, suggestions? 

*****

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Thankful Thursday - The Miracles

Welcome to Thankful Thursday. Hosted here at Spiritually Unequal Marriage each Thursday in July. August- Laurie and September- Iris. Remember we are at Laurie's next month.

Wow, my month to host Thankful Thursday is over. My friends, time is rushing forward. Prepare yourselves as the days hasten when every knee will bow and every tongue confesses that....

JESUS IS LORD!!!

Earlier today I sat in my favorite Fresh-Mex restaurant with four of my Bible study gals. We caught up on life and as always, our conversation turns toward what God is working out in our lives. I love that. I hope you have friends who love to talk about the Lord.

Taco I listened to one of the gals share that once again her husband is unemployed. We have prayed for their employment situation for over two years now. I felt moved by this unexpected turn in the employment situation in her life but as I listened and watched her face I saw something.

There were no tears. There was no mention of "poor me." She actually glowed. She looked better than I have ever seen her. You know why? Her spirit was soaring. She was still a little fearful of what their future holds and earnestly prays for full-time employment for her and her husband.

BUT, she sat at the table today and said this:

"I have watched all the tiny miracles of God all around me."

"I have seen His provision in crazy and the most unexpected ways."

"And my husband has even started to take interest in the things of God."

She went on to say that their budget is so tight she was wondering where she would find the money to get her son a hair cut. She said she even mentioned it to her mother. Then the next day, in the mail arrived a coupon for a free haircut.

You should have seen her face where she shared this story. Glowing, rejoicing and absolutely filled with belief in her God of provision.

Now, this may seem like a silly coincidence but I assure you, God KNOWS exactly what we need and He is faithful, if we are faithful, to give us exactly what we need. And if you ask anyone who is utterly dependant on God, He gives you just enough. Not too much, not too little. Just enough. She needed a $10 haricut. Not much to many but it was a lot to her and God sent her that coupon exactly when she needed it.

Many of you know that we, The Donovan Clan, were unemployed for nearly a year in 2009. I, too, have witnessed these tiny miracles. You can read about some of those miraculous accounts in the archives.

As the four of us sat around the table we rejoiced because we have discovered how to open our eyes and see the miracles all around us.

I pray that you also learn to see God's miracles all around you. Every. Single Day.

On this, my final day of hosting for July, share a miracle that the Lord revealed to you. I can't wait to read your posts on your blogs and if you don't blog, leave your story in the comments.

Happy TT. Be blessed, Lynn

*****

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Enlisting Our Kids

Hand-prayLet’s talk about older kids.  

I’ve been sharing with you about the battle I sense coming with my husband. A new aspect has developed that I’d like to talk about here because I think it’s an area we haven’t really touched upon. And some of you out there reading this may have some inspiring wisdom and stories to share. I’m betting you do.

My daughters are mostly grown. One is 21 and the other 17. The oldest is in college and the youngest (our cancer survivor) is trying to figure out what to do with her life. If you have kids this age, you probably know this can be a time when they are mostly focused on themselves because it’s a huge time of transition for them. They are crossing the line between dependent children to independent adults. I think we all remember our own struggles during this time.

Last week a morning of prayer prepared me to have a conversation with my oldest daughter about the spiritual battle going on around her dad. She can’t see this right now. She only sees how it is affecting her on a visible level. I needed to help her understand that what she saw on the surface is only symptomatic of the battle waging for her dad’s soul.

As I said to her, maybe this sounds dramatic, but it is the truth. More is at stake than how we are inconvenienced or misunderstood. The very next day, I wound up having to say nearly the same things to my youngest, at her initiation. For the first time I’m having to enlist the understanding, prayers and support of my daughters.

This is a challenge I hadn’t anticipated, thus why I thought it would be wise to discuss it here. It’s not the same as when they are little and ask why Daddy doesn’t believe in God or go to church. I think I preferred that challenge to this one. When they are little, their hearts are a bit more willing to pray and understand what’s more important. Their innocent hearts are quick to accept what they don’t see but know to be true.

As young adults they see more of what they have to sacrifice and that challenges them in unexpected ways too. Good ways that I believe God wants to use to increase their faith and trust in Him, but challenges none-the-less.

This is the conversation I had to have with my daughters—to explain to them that more love and understanding along with prayers are required in this time of spiritual warfare, that it can’t just be about our own lives and what we’re struggling with or trying to accomplish, but it’s a time to join a common cause or mission, if you will.

I know this is stuff they need to hear and know. And I praying for wisdom and guidance to help them navigate this new territory that perhaps I should have seen coming or prepared them better. As the first believer in my family and an only child to boot, I'm navigating untried waters here. Thank goodness God is patient and merciful!

So, my dear friends, let’s hear from you. How are you or would you navigate waters like these? Right now, for the Miller crew, we are truly walking by faith and not by sight.

Praying and believing,
Dineen

*****

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Chronicles of the Donovan Clan -
A Setback or a Step Forward?????

Cross blue sky Yesterday I had a breakthrough. And it happened in church.

During the summer months, translate – not football season- my husband will attend church with me on occasion. Yesterday my man and daughter went to church with me. Woo Hoo.

But, why is it I’m still not happy? Sheesh. I mean really. More than anything, I have yearned for my man to sit with me in church. Now after many, many years of praying, there I am seated between Caitie and my husband.

This is a strange journey, the unequally yoked.

What I think happened yesterday morning is something many of you have faced and what many more of you will deal with down the road. There are times in our lives when our unbelieving spouse will attend church with us. And when that day arrives, it should be one of the happiest days of our lives. However, I’m finding sitting with my spouse terribly challenging and emotional.

Why?

I am uber concerned over the experience my husband will have and what that experience means for his future salvation and his future church attendance. (Please, someone tell me I’m not alone here).

Anyway, for years I have believed and have made a solemn commitment that I would change churches or go anywhere (Christian) if only my husband would attend. Well yesterday morning God hit me upside the head and this is how it went down.

Right from the beginning, I should have known something was up. Every sentence out of my mouth during the car ride to church was met with an immediate counter argument from my spouse. After the fourth incident I said, “Are you trying to have an argument with me this morning?” After all, the topics of conversation weren’t confrontational and I will add my daughter piped up and replied to her dad after he said, “I’m not trying to argue.”

Her response, “Ya,,,, you are.”

Okay, typical on the way to church whether believing or non-believing, arguments will breakout. This is a clue that the spiritual realm is in full battle. I smile because I “get” what is really going on. I say a quick prayer and the conversation is light for the remaining ride.

We shuffle into our seats and the praise team is in full chorus. We hadn’t been there more than two minutes and my man leans over to me and says, “The music is loud this morning.”

This is a common complaint. This followed his demanding question earlier in the car on the ride in, “Who is teaching today.” Translate – I only want to hear one specific teacher.

Two minutes into the service, I’m completely stressed out. I’m concerned about who the teacher might be. I’m concerned about the music. I’m concerned about …. whatever the current week’s complaint might be.

I snapped.

At that moment.

And it wasn’t anger or frustration or concern or worry.

I actually smiled and I found freedom.

I leaned into my husband and said, “Our pastor said that our church plays the music a little louder on purpose. It reaches an audience that is desperate for Christ and if it’s too loud for you then this church isn’t for you.”

He turned to me and said, “Well then this church isn’t my church.”

My smile grew as the freedom grew in my heart, “Well there is a blue-hair church off Highway 79.” I turned back to the worship leader and just smiled.

In years previous, this exchange would leave me crushed and bleeding. But I was smiling inspite of my glance in his direction where I see his typical hostile stance, arms on his hips, elbows jutting out and glaring straight forward.

As I stood there, peace overcame me. It’s as if the Lord said, “Lynn he is not going to go to another church. He will always go with you. So don’t you worry about it.”

Then I prayed while standing there, “Lord, you deal with him (I’m blunt that way with the Lord). He is looking for every excuse to nitpick church to death and I won’t have it anymore. I can’t make church be the perfect experience. Lord, you deal with him.”

My smile grew.

I knew God would deal with him. I just knew.

Within minutes after giving my husband to God to “deal with him,” I noticed his arms relax down to his sides and his posture unwind.

He even reached over later in the service to hold my hand.

Well, I’m not sure where this pivotal change in my universe will lead but I have asked God to deal with him. If my husband is looking for any excuse to stop going, he got it yesterday. But in my heart I’m not worried. God will deal with it.

After 19 years of marriage, I realize that my husband’s church attendance isn’t going to save him. Jesus Christ is going to save him and my husband will come to a place where he wants to attend church because… And only because, he wants to.

And I’m okay, really okay with that.

Be Blessed, Lynn

*****

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Weekend Devo — Praying Scripture

IStock_000001262149XSmall For God is working in you, giving you the desire and the power to do what pleases him. ~ Philippians 2:13, NLT

Sometimes God calls upon us to do some pretty difficult stuff, especially in our mismatched marriages. More importantly, we face a daily battle within ourselves to do what pleases God and what pleases ourselves. I don’t know about you, but sometimes I have a hard time distinguishing between the two.

That could be a good thing if my desires and God’s are closely aligned, but I’m human and that is not always the case.

So this is the Scripture I’ve been praying for myself this past week and will continue to do so. There are lots of new challenges ahead and I need fortification and reassurance. I love having Scriptures I can specifically pray to meet each new challenge.

Lord, I’m so grateful that You are working in me and giving me the desire and the power to do what please You!

Are you praying a specific Scripture right now? Do share!

Praying and believing,
Dineen

*****

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Tears and Beauty

Carhand Her eyes brimmed with tears as she listened. She sat in the passenger seat of the car. It was dark outside and we sat together in the car in front of her home. Our conversation on the long ride home finally brought us to our destination. Her home, yes, of course but it was that deep and raw place in her heart that was in need of healing and we were touching upon that secret place not many open up.

If you ever feel like no one sees you, the real you, this is your story.

Laced With Grace: Tears and Beauty

Be blessed, Lynn

*****

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Thankful Thursday - Random Abundance

Welcome to Thankful Thursday. Hosted here at Spiritually Unequal Marriage each Thursday in July. August- Laurie and September- Iris.

Dineen did such a great job last week with the Thankful Thursday topic. Thank you my friend. 

I'm back home from Wisconsin and we have another Thursday.

Jack in the Bean stock has nothing on me. I returned home from Wisconsin and in just a week my garden exploded.

Take a look at this:

  Imported Photos 00004I'm in there somewhere. Can you see me?

That sunflower is at least 16 feet tall. Sheesh. It's a beauty.

And look at this tomato bush. 

Imported Photos 00006
Mercy!

This is a yellow pear tomato plant. I have three words to say about that. 

Yum and eee.

I write about my garden in our book, Winning Him Without Words, it is a special place. And gals and guys may I say, God has blessed it abundantly. I can't wait to see what kind of pumpkin shapes grow this year. Remember last years butt pumpkin? Ahem, *grin*

I am up to my elbows in zucchini that weigh more than a small infant. And tomatoes are abundant. It's salsa time.

I wish I could share my garden with you. That is where I meet with the Lord every morning, coffee and Bible in hand. That time is the best part of my day.

I'm thankful for God's grace in my ordinary and abundant life. What are you thankful for today.

I will be around to read your posts this next week. I can't wait to visit your place. Please leave a comment and a link if you have a blog. 

Also, Dineen and I have added several new free resources to our Freebies page at www.winninghimwithoutwords.com. Please use them. Share them with your Bible study friends. Email them to others who need encouragement. It is our desire to serve the community of God and to help others as others have helped us. Hugs, Lynn

 

*****

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The Battle That's Coming

HandHoldingCross “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. — Act 20:22-24

This morning I came across this passage in my Bible. Exactly one year ago today, I highlighted and made a note about it. The timing makes sense because I do the Bible in a year reading plan, but I can’t help thinking its timeliness is also God inspired.

Here is what I wrote on July 18, 2010 about this passage:

This verse speaks to me in light of 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 light and we are willing to commit and fight for our cause—our spouse’s salvation.

I needed to read this today—needed a reminder of what’s at stake. “Things” are heating up right now, and I say that based more upon what I sense God telling me than what I’m seeing. God knows what a wimp I can be so I know He’s preparing me for whatever is about to hit.

The next few months will be very telling, I believe. What I do see is the proverbial heat is being turned up under my husband. I see him stressed like I never have before and he’s reacting to it. My normally even-keeled guy is struggling to find his footing for the first time in his life. And all of this is playing out as God showed me it would.

It’s not easy to watch someone you love struggle and know you really can’t do anything about it except be there for them. But I know this is part of what God needs to do to bring down the walls of unbelief and reveal Jesus to my guy. That gives me huge amounts of strength and comfort.

I confess though that part of me is fighting some fear, because I know whatever is coming will affect my life as well the lives of our daughters. My desire is to be able handle it in a way that glorifies God, to partner with Him in this process. I want to truly be that aroma of Christ (2Cor. 2:14-16) for my husband through whatever happens.

We’ve talked about trust here a lot. I believe trusting God as completely as we are capable of doing so at any given time is key to walking through the fires of life successfully. So I’m trusting God on a whole new level right now and I find myself constantly praying for my husband.

Lord, bring him to faith. Do whatever you have to. Your will be done.

How about you? Is God nudging/pushing you to trust Him more in a particular area of your life? Your marriage?

Praying and believing,
Dineen

*****

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And She Treasured Them In Her Heart

Good Monday Morning Everyone:

I'm home.

Aaaaah, home sweet home. Most of you know that the Donovan Clan took a vacation to beautiful Door County, Wisconsin. Our next door neighbors, here in California, invited us up for a week of R&R. I'm exhausted. But what a blast. 

Door County is beautiful. I didn't know God could out do Himself in the creation department. 

Wrong again. Take a look. Here are some photos of several old barns and the silos I discovered while driving around.

Imported Photos 00112

Imported Photos 00122

Imported Photos 00100


Imported Photos 00093
I'm fascinated by these old barns. I'm told they are slowly disappearing because repair expense for a wooden barn far exceeds the cost to construct a new aluminum barn which holds up better in their frigid winters. Tragic really. I love them.

Anyhoo, on our last evening I witnesses a full orange moon rise over the lake. It was as if God said, "Lynn, this is just for you."

Orange moon rise clarks lake
Astonishing. I'm still struck by the beauty as I type.

I have a thousand and one stories. Most of them would likely bore you to tears but I have to share this one.

Last Sunday, our neighbor, Tom, with whom we were staying, was semi-considering taking his two kids to the local Catholic church.

I pipped up, "Can I come along."

"Sure"

So I rushed to shower and get ready. Now get this, by the time I arrived at the church the entire two families had dressed and we all sat down together for the service.

Including my husband. 

Hilarious.

My unbelieving husband attending another church service. You just never know what God might do to surprise you. He especially loves to toy with atheists.

It was a facinating service in a small country community. Absolutely charming. A first for all of us.

Imported Photos 00024

Sometimes I feel like I understand scripture just a tiny bit better. In this instance, I feel like I understand how Mary, the mother of Jesus, might have felt about tiny precious moments.

Just like her....I too treasured up all these things and pondered them in my heart. (Luke 2:19 NIV)

What will God do next in our Donovan Clan adventure? I can't wait to find out. It's sure to be facinating, inspiring, hilarious and it will ALL bring glory to Christ.

WOO HOO! Bring it on Lord. Bring it on.

Have a fantastic week. Breathe in the fresh air sometime this week and give HIM thanks. Be blessed, Lynn

Imported Photos 00165

*****

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Weekend Devo — The Smallest of Prayers

IMG_1194 My family and I took nearly a month to drive from San Jose, California to Sarasota, Florida to spend time with our families and then drive home again. A bit crazy, I know, but we love road trips. We have games we play, like finding all the license tags, (did you know they make a really cool app for that?), the bizarrest sighting contest (this one you wouldn't believe if I told you), and finding unusual places to stop for dinner that weren't national chains.

We had a blast just being together, having our spectacularly well-behaved and entertaining pooch with us, and making the most of the sometimes not so great hotel room.

On our way back, our oldest daughter Rachel, who was watching the house, called to let us know one of our cats was missing. This is an ooooooooold cat. She is 18 and nearly blind. Even the vet is surprised she's as healthy as she is. So for her to just disappear, we feared the worst. Racoons have been sighted in our neighborhood. One took a stand on our roof one night, claiming his domain!

I prayed. I could not stand the thought of this kitty suffering in any way. But we found nothing, no sign of her or what may have happened. I finally picked up her bowl and put it away. So sad.

Then Thursday, Rachel dropped by to visit. Our pooch suddenly got all riled up so she took her out back. Out of habit, she called for Suzy, who was actually her kitty. (The picture above is one Rachel painted of Suzy just recenlty and captures her perfectly.)

Low and behold, she heard a tiny mew.

Next thing I know, Rachel's running through the house, yelling that she found Suzy. I feared the worst, then was shocked when she said the cat was alive. And there she was in the neighbor's yard. We have no idea how this mostly blind cat got there, or how she survived for nearly a week on her own.

I have a theory that she wound up crawling under the fence through one of the holes the dog dug, but then couldn't find her way back.

So, Suzy is back with us, safe, sound and a little thinner. I asked God to show us what happened to our kitty, just so we'd know.

He answered with a whole lot more.

Praying and believing,
Dineen

*****

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A Perspective for those dating a nonbelievier by Martha McMillan

I am a 52 year old divorced mother of two mostly grown girls (age 21 and 18). I can  testify to being unequally yoked. I was married for 21 years. It was hard on many occasions and lonely as well. But I loved being married, even when it wasn’t good. I loved my husband and mistakenly thought that my love would be enough. I also mistakenly thought that God would heal my marriage after the separation. I fasted and prayed to that effect.

What I was not mistaken about were the horrible effects that divorce would rage on my family and my children. And I was not given a choice as to whether I wanted a divorce or not. The effects are lasting and deep on my children, even though they are greatly healed at this point.

I once heard a minister point out that there are other ways to be unequally yoked than just Christian/non-Christian. Those include how you spend money, raise children, work, save, play etc. I have tried to teach my girls to be "smart" about whom they date, as well as the definition of a Christian man. In other words, if he doesn't "walk the talk", maybe you need to leave him alone. In addition, if you can't pray with him on the second date, maybe you shouldn't go on a third. I have prayed for my girls, that God would provide the right man who would never leave them or forsake them.

Of course, they have seen firsthand the disastrous results of being unequally yoked. There are those who give great advice about the marriage relationship who have years of experience in both education and counseling. "The more you share in common, the better the marriage will be." (paraphrased Dr Neil Clark Warren) "Opposites may attract, but down the road opposites ATTACK" (also Dr Warren)

"Date for at least four seasons" says Dr. Laura.

"Marry your best friend." (Not certain which author penned this.)

"Commitment is what keeps a marriage together." (Chuck Swindoll? and others).

I surely know why "God hates divorce." It’s like the never-ending wave that beats on the shore. You feel like you are in the "high tide," tossed and thrown about by the waves of insecurity, abandonment, loneliness and great change, to name a few. "How can I trust God again after He let this happen?" Slowly though, God in His infinite wisdom, mercy and grace, rebuilds that trust, and your faith, to greater than it was before, if we let Him. And to His glory, I might add. We reach the low-tide of divorce at some point but there are still ripples...when a child marries...grandchildren come....Hig school graduation...holidays, etc. And how do you handle the death of your ex-spouse who is the father of your children? Maybe the generations before us that stayed together, even though they lived in "mediocrity" were, in the long run, not so bad off. Maybe they learned that the grass is not always greener on the other side; and sometimes it’s not about "what I want."

It has been a journey (and still is) to learn that "God is all I need."  Not because I can physically touch Him and converse with Him like we humans do, but because HE is my source and my strength, even though that often comes thru others. I still have more questions than answers but know that in His time, I will have all that I need. I continue to look to Him to bless me "beyond what I could ask or think." and continue to be reminded it is "about His glory." ...not mine.

I would also be willing to talk with anyone who wishes to, especially those who are going thru divorce and the mountains of struggles that brings. Or just pray for them as the needs arise. One of my callings is a prayer warrior, and one of my spiritual gifts is mercy.  If you see fit to include any of that, here is my personal email nanabugg@ymail.com and Facebook: Martha Piper McMillan

Winston Salem NC

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Thankful Thursday — Dineen is in the House!

Welcome to Thankful Thursday. Hosted here at Spiritually Unequal Marriage each Thursday in July. August- Laurie and September- Iris.

Hi Friends! Lynn's on vacation and asked me to do Thankful Thursday this week. Woohoo! I get to play. :-)

So this week, let's talk about a turning point in your life that you are so very thankful for. Small or big, what event changed your mind, your heart, your life and took you on a unexpected path that turned out to be better than you could have imagined. Those are the moments I love because I know without a doubt that God was orchestrating them for a bigger purpose.

The book of Esther is a great example of this. Esther never imagined she'd wind up queen. We don't even know if she already had other plans for her life. I wonder if  her Uncle Mordecai wanted better things for his niece than being a concubine or throw away queen for King Xerxes. We just don't know.

So what's your moment? I can think of many but the one that stands out is when we moved back from Europe to the U.S. My husband's company had three places he could move to: two in Florida which would put us near both our families, and one in California in Silicon Valley. Both doors to Florida closed and the one for California opened wide!

Turned out to be the best place for us to be when our daughter was diagnosed with brain cancer six years later. We had access to the best doctors and pediatric neurosurgeon in the world. God knew in 2002 what we would need in 2008 and put it all in place. And you know the happy ending there—our daughter is cancer free now and healthy.

Does that not just shout how much God loves us? He knows what we need before we need it and plans it all out for us. To the smallest of details. I'm so very thankful for that!

Can't wait to read about your turning points! Or should we call them God Points?

Praying and believing,
Dineen

 

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Moments of Truth

GodisFaithful Sometimes I forget how far apart my husband and I are on the issue of faith. We are pretty much on the same page for most things except this one area. Every so often a subject will come up (usually political) and I'm reminded that we sit on very opposite sides.

Those are the moments that push me to the reality that there is nothing I can do or say to make him understand the difference between what’s perceived as truth today and THE TRUTH. They're also the times that tendrils of doubt try to creep in and steel my hope.

It's easy to give into that place of despair. Our minds imagine the worst possible scenarios. We give into our fears of nothing ever changing or even worse, that our spiritual disconnect will destroy our marriage.

I went to that place for a brief moment just the other day, and even had a moment of panic about my marriage. Would we come to heads over an issue where he couldn’t agree to disagree? We’ve hedged there before. I don’t feel the need to change his mind on these issues because one, I know I can’t and two, I trust God to do a much better job than I can.

Still, it’s not a pleasant reality to be faced with and I know I would be in this place more if I didn’t place my trust in Christ on a daily basis.

That’s our greatest challenge in our mismatched marriages, isn’t it? To trust God for the future of this person we love and for our own futures in the meantime.

I’m reminded of the Scripture in Matthew 6 that tells us not to worry about tomorrow because today carries enough trouble of its own. I used to think this verse was only about not worrying, but I think perhaps there’s a subtler message we can glean from it.

The here is now is the only place we can live. When we focus on what’s already happened or anticipate what could be, we run the risk of not being in the present. And I think that’s where Jesus is asking us to be in this life.

Yes, we are to have an eternal perspective, but not at the sacrifice of the present moment. Especially ones of significance. The ones that make you stop and take notice. The ones that subtly mark a transition or a transcendence of the ordinary and shout that God is present. Right there. Right now.

Whether our unbelieving loved ones take notice or not, God wants us to see. To notice when He is moving among our lives, through the interactions of loves one, or the “coincidental” connection to a stranger who seems to arrive at just the right time.

When I see these moments, I take note. I remember them because they remind me that the impossible is indeed possible when it comes to God. He is not limited to only those who love Him. He can move and bring change wherever He wills. We are the ones who see limitations and failure where God sees possibilities and potential.

This is where I want to live in my marriage. In the now. In the moments that allow me to love my husband despite our faith difference and find ways to connect and nurture our relationship. I can do this only when I trust God and His strength to bring change to a situation that sometimes seems so unchangeable.

So I push away the panic and fear and replace them with the promises in God’s Word and I remember the moments of revelation that have spoken to me in the past of God’s presence. I sink into the all-comforting truth that God is truly and always faithful.

Praying and believing,
Dineen

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Is It Possible to Thrive?

In a word, YES!

Today we are sharing a recent interview where Dineen and I (Lynn) talked with Lynne Ford of the Mid-Morning Show at WBCL in Ohio.

Lynndineen2 The interview covered many of the common struggles we face living uequally yoked. Turn on your speakers, get out the ironing or wash the dishes, listen in on your lunch break at work and be encouraged. 

Dineen is returning from vacation and I am heading out to Wisconsin. Have a blessed week. I will catch up with you on the road. Hugs, Lynn

 

MidMorning with Lynne Ford

ALSO, THERE ARE NEW PRINTABLE FREEBIES ON OUR BOOK WEBSITE. Please take advantage of these. Share them with your Bible study groups, your small groups and any woman who needs encouragement in her marriage.

Visit www.winninghimwithoutwords.com Click on the Freebies and Resources tab. Lynn 

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Pavement?

I read this story recently and knew all of you would appreciate it too. Have a great weekend. Hugs, Lynn

I love the story of a wealthy man who prayed, asking for permission to take his earthly wealth with him when he died and went to heaven. An angel appeared to the man and said, "We heard your prayer, but I am sorry. You simply cannot take it with you." The man pleaded so passionately that the angel said, "Let me see what I can do."

When the angel returned, he reported, "Good news! God has made an exception for you. You may bring one suitcase with you when it is your time to go." Delighted, the man packed his one suitcase and went on with life.

Several years later, he died and appeared at the Pearly Gates where he was met by St. Peter who took one look at the suitcase and said, "I am sorry, sir, but you cannot bring that in with you." The man protested, "But I received special permission."

Just then, the angel appeared and said, "Peter, it is true. He has special permission to bring one suitcase in with him." Curious, Peter said, "Do you mind showing me what is in the bag that is so important to you?" With a smile, the man replied, "Not at all" and proceeded to open the suitcase to reveal stacks of gold bricks.

Peter's face said it all, "Pavement? You brought pavement with you?" 

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The Latest Miller Adventure

IStock_000008559596XSmall I have a cute story to tell you. My family and I were visiting our family in Florida. When we do this, we divide our time between my mother and my husband’s parents. Last week my daughter and I stayed with my mom for a few nights while my hubby stayed with his parents.

On one of these evenings we had plans to meet some friends for dinner. In fact, this was the night Dee (one of our long time readers here at S.U.M.) and I planned to meet for the first time face to face. We’ve known each online for years and talked on the phone, but just seeing her in person and getting to meet her hubby was an unexpected treat!

Okay, back to the story. The plan was that my husband would come and pick me up for our dinner with Dee and her husband and then drop me off at my mom’s on the way back. So I had fun with this and did what any wife would do. I teased my husband. LOL!

Our conversation went something like this (remember, I’m flirting with my husband here.):

I giggled. “So, is this like a date or something? You’re going to pick me up and then take me home?”

He smiled at me and gave me this cute look that borders on being shy. “Yeah, I guess it is kind of like a date.”

“Well, maybe I’ll let you give me a kiss when we get to the door.”

He fell right into my fun and then I left it at that. But my hubby didn’t. Get this. He shows up at the door the next eveing with a single rose! My heart melted. My daughter thought we were too cute for words, and I thought my mother would laugh herself silly when he told her he’d have me home before dark.

It was a precious moment, to say the least and so unexpected. I was so surprised! I really didn’t think much more of our flirtation but it showed me just how responsive my husband can be when I am intentional about our marriage and relationship. The smallest things can make a difference.

This isn’t something that happened over night either. God has shown me constantly how to love my guy the best way possible. Our marriage is better now and we are more in love than ever. All despite our faith disconnect.

Let me share one more precious moment that happened while in Florida. During our time there, I had the chance to do a booksigning at Living Word Christian Store. (They are an independent Christian book and novelty store, which like so many independent stores, need our prayers and support to continue being a presence in our communities.)

About half-way through, my husband comes into the store to see how I’m doing. I explained the store was pretty slow and not many people were stopping at the table, which was facing the café.

He suggested that I move the table on the other side of the aisle so people could see me better as they walked around. Brilliant idea! We moved the table and guess what? More people stopped to look at our book and something precious happened.

I met these two ladies, mother and daughter, who stopped to chat and share a bit about their lives with me and my mother, who was there for moral support (Yay, Mom!). They started talking about their church there in Sarasota and even invited my mother to come. I passed this information on to my mother (she was talking to someone else at the time), unsure if she would even be interested.

You see, I’ve prayed for my mother to find a church she could really love and plug into. She’s still a bit of a newbie to the Christian walk but I know she loves Jesus. I was ecstatic when she called me later to say she’d already made plans to attend this church with a friend in a couple weeks and would look for the two ladies who so graciously shared their names along with the church information.

Without my husband’s brilliant suggestion to move the table, we may have never met these two dear ladies nor would this door now be open for my mother (please pray for her and this church to be a good fit!).

I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again. God never ceases to amaze me. I can only explain my husband’s complete support of my involvement in this ministry and our book as being God’s divine hand working in his life and heart. I honestly shake my head in disbelief. And not only that, God used my husband to bring about something I’d prayed for and to benefit my mother.

We just never know how God will work or who He will use to answer our prayers. But we do know that He is always working for our good. And I truly believe God loves to surprise us.

Let me tell you, this is one surprised and grateful woman at the keyboard writing this post. I may not have sold many books, but I know great things were accomplished for God’s Kingdom that day.

Praying and believing,
Dineen

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Thankful Thursday -

Welcome to Thankful Thursday. Hosted here at Spiritually Unequal Marriage each Thursday in July. August- Laurie and September- Iris.

WOO HOO!

I am loving summer!

And right now on my morning jog, I run by my neighbors house and see this.

 

Silk tree
Isn't it stunning. I giant beautiful tree in full bloom with wispy, tiny, silky-hair-like flowers. Take a closer look. 

Silktreebloom
This is a bloom on a Silk Tree. Spectacular hug? Now why do you suppose God created a beautiful tree that grows hair??? Such a sense of humor!!!! Such a sense of beauty and surprise.

There are days when I take in God's creation and it stirs me to the core of my being. In worship. In love. In awe of our Almighty Creator. 

Today was one of those days. I am loving summer and the beauty of God's world. Are you thankful for summer? Give your praises to the King. Join us for Thankful Thursday and let's rock heaven with our praises. Hugs, Lynn

 

 

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Disillusioned in My Marriage - Unequally Yoked

A few weeks ago I watched my friend Kelly walking through the foyer of our church. In tow, her three children. They passed by me smiling and saying, “Hello” to passersby who were heading out to eat or going home after church. But, as I looked into her face, I saw something no one else could see.

I bet you may have experienced what Kelly is living. Join me today at the Internet Cafe, The Marriage Counter for Married and Disillusioned.

Marriage counter (3)

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Weekend Devo — God Makes Us Competent

859675_book___ And you show that you are a letter from Christ delivered by us, written not with ink but with the Spirit of the living God, not on tablets of stone but on tablets of human hearts. Such is the confidence that we have through Christ toward God. Not that we are sufficient in ourselves to claim anything as coming from us, but our sufficiency is from God, who has made us competent to be ministers of a new covenant, not of the letter but of the Spirit. For the letter kills, but the Spirit gives life. — 2 Corinthians 3:3-6

This piece of Scripture is something God showed me the beginning of the year when I was praying and fasting. As the year has progressed, I’ve found myself becoming dependent upon its reassurance that my competence in this ministry, in my writing, and in my marriage and family all come from God.

I fall short on a daily basis but knowing that my sufficiency (or adequacy) comes from God is such and relief and comfort! I don’t have to be perfect in order for God to use me in the lives of those around me.

Jesus writes the story of salvation on our hearts. That is the story He asks us to live out and share on a daily basis. And God gives us everything we need to do it.

I know I need constant reminding of this. I have this verse written and bookmarked in my journal for frequent reference as a reminder of who’s really in control and to use in my prayers asking God to help me meet the challenges in my life. This is part of the hope we have in Jesus. He is everything and all we need.

What piece of Scripture reassures you?

Praying and believing,
Dineen

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Unequally Yoked Class

This Sunday, July 3, 2011 I will be teaching a Thrive class at my home church, Sunridge Community Church. If you live in the Temecula Valley or are visiting the area I would love to see you. The class is free and open to anyone who wants encouragement to thrive in their spiritually mismatched marriage.

Class discription:

Unequally Yoked

Is that really possible? Class discussion will center on several Biblical truths, which will renew enthusiasm for your marriage and enrich your relationship with your spouse whether he/she is a believer or has little interest in faith. As a participant, you will gain practical tools for breaking through a spiritual disconnect in marriage and discover you can thrive.

9:30 a.m at the Sunridge Campus. Directions are here. Register online here. The class is free and we are going to share some great scripture and leave KNOWING that Jesus is alive and working in your marriage. Hugs, Lynn

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