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18 entries from August 2011

Chronicles of the Donovan Clan -
NEVER The Same

I will Never Be The Same. 

I hope after these word I share with you that YOU will never be the same. 


Warrior wives in riverside 005 Last week two women arrived at my home. They are from a town about an hour away where I recently went to speak to their group. They call themselves the Warrior Wives and they had completed the study of Winning Him Without Words. I was privileged to join them to talk about our book and to hear their thoughts about how the book influenced their lives. 

I can tell you I was deeply humbled to be among them. 

During this time one of the women told a fantastic story about her marriage. I loved her story so much that I invited her to share it with all of you. Shelly arrived to my home along with Liz, another great friend and a Warrior Wife, to sit with my and share her adventure. 

Watch for that video in October on The Intentional Marriage. YOU WON’T WANT TO MISS THIS ONE. 

After our recording, we went to lunch and chatted another two hours. 

And that is when it happened. 

Shelly was recounting her unequally yoked journey and how at one point she wanted to divorce. She looked at me and said that divorce was NOT an option because, and I quote, 

“I love God more than I love myself.” 

That is obedience. That is love. 

It was as if the words from her lips were spoken by God directly to my soul. I heard in that instant the Lord say this, “Lynn, you don't love me more than you love yourself.” 

And in that moment I knew the Lord was right. 

I thought I loved my God more than me but in a flash, instances of sins arose in my mind that said I love my convenience, my pleasures, my selfishness and……. my pride, more than God. I think I justified that selfishness, “I’m not hurting anyone or causing another to stumble.” 

But, God said to me, “Lynn, do you not, refrain from talking about me to people you think will ridicule you? Are you embarrassed to speak about your faith on Facebook or in certain social settings? Lynn, why do you hesitate to worship me in front of your spouse? Why are you allowing your stomach to be an idol in your life?” 

Okay, brutal honesty….. And it may not sit well with you that I am sharing from a vulnerable place today, but I know there is someone who is reading this that also needs to hear some tough truth spoken into their heart. Someone to whom our God is asking, 

“Do you love me more than yourself?” 

God is calling me to tame my stomach, to worship in reckless abandon, to get over my pride and to talk about Him to my neighbors, to my unsaved Facebook friends, and to whomever He sends to me. He is telling me, “Lynn, love Me more than yourself because what I have is so much better than your silly conveniences, your love of food, your pride in front of people.” 

I surrendered over the weekend, with tears and with such enourmous joy that I can barely contain it. Do you want to know what that feels like. The kind of overwhelming love that God will pour over you when you love Him more than you love yourself?

Then allow our God to speak to you right now.

Is God asking you, “Do you love me more than yourself?”

*****

Share your voice, heart and love in the comments. 

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

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Weekend Devo — A Picture Says It All

DishCluster I went to visit a friend recently and as I left, I noticed this cluster of sattelite dishes on one of the buildings. I know each dish is for a residence but doesn't this say a lot about where are interests and focus lay in today's world? It really struck me as pertinent.

So, let's make a game of it. What caption would put with this picture? Let's get creative and witty. The winning caption will receive a special gift! Have fun!

Praying and believing,
Dineen 

*****

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

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The Intentional Marriage ~ August 2011

Join Dineen and I for this months broadcast of the Intentional Marriage.

This is a shorter program today. We answer a question from one of our guy readers. Also, we talk about a powerful scripture. 

What words of wisdom or thoughts would you share with John and what scriptures speak to you?

Be blessed, Lynn

And now... The Intentional Marriage.

 

*****

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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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Still an Atheist?

1009935_question_con_3 Something interesting happened last week. My youngest daughter and my husband were watching a TV show featuring Penn Jillette. My daughter explained how Jillette spoke of his atheism as not knowing if God existed—not a surety that He didn’t. She asked her dad if that’s whet he believed.

He said yes. He just didn’t know.

I confess, I didn’t know what to make of that. I still don’t. I wasn’t there to hear the conversation first hand, so I could ask more questions. And something in my gut says to leave it alone for now.

But I keep asking myself (and God for that matter) if that means he’s not an atheist anymore. Atheism is the rejecting of the belief in the divine. Atheists do not believe that a higher power, so to speak, exists. Agnostics, however, believe the existence of a God (or any other form of a higher power) is unknown.

So, is he still an atheist, or is he now agnostic?

I just don't know.

This has been my journey since my daughter told me about this. I started praying for guidance and wisdom naturally, but also for guidance on how to pray for my husband. Did this shift of belief (if that’s truly what it is) warrant a change in how I prayed for him?

A few days later I came to this verse in 1 Corinthians 2. Paul is speaking about a person’s thoughts being known only to the spirit within them. He also explains how a person without the Spirit cannot accept the things that come from the Spirit of God. He then finishes the chapter with this:

But we have the mind of Christ.

As I read this verse, I believe God showed me that I had been praying for my husband’s heart, which is good. But my husband is a deeply intellectual and logical man. The true battleground is his mind. God was telling me to pray for my husband to have the mind of Christ.

Honestly, I still don’t know what to make of this. And I’m beginning to see that God probably planned it that way—that I not be there. I would have overanalyzed (more than I am now) and questioned instead of trusting that God is in control.

Praying and believing,
Dineen

*****

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

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Unicorns and Football

WOO HOO! 

This Thursday launches our Fantasy Football draft. At 9:00 a.m. PT all of the team owners in our league set out to claim the best football players in hopes of winning the Super Bowl of our Fantasy league. 

Yep, I bet most of you just tuned out. (yawn) 

Stay with me. 


Unicornrainbow If you have read our book, Winning Him Without Words, you know the story of the Pink Princesses. That is the name of my fantasy football team. My mascot, the rainbow unicorn, of course. 

I go on to share a story about my husband and playing in a masculine fantasy football league. The reason I joined was to connect with my spouse. But there's more to the story. I hope you read it.

When you are spiritually mismatched we erect walls around our hearts to shield ourselves from pain. But what we also do is cut ourselves off, often times unknowingly, from our spouse. 

As believers, we must be intentional. (yep it's up to us)

We must intentionally create and enjoy recreational companionship with our spouse. 

This is the perfect time to think about making time for play with your spouse. Kids are returning to school and life is returning to a repetition. Think about the hobbies or interests of our spouse and make a point to join in. Or take it a step further this fall and start a new adventure together. 

But, be intentional. It is worth every effort to be the one to show love to your spouse through play. 

And now, I leave you with one final thought. 

GO PINK PRINCESSES! 

Have a great week, Be blessed, 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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Weekend Devo — Purple Turkeys

IStock_000007920614XSmall My daughter and I have this code word when one of us upset or discouraged. The other will say “purple turkeys.” It never fails to make us laugh and break the down moment. (And special thanks to her 6th grade, Ms. Ward, teacher for this wonderful tool.)

Now I really believe God has the best sense of humor (how could He not since He created it, right?). One day last week, my daughter and I were on our way home. This route I take is hilly and beautiful. We often see a fair amount of wildlife on our way too.

Well, this particular day, my daughter pointed out these two large birds in a tree. They had to be about 3 to 4 stories up this tree. I thought maybe they were vultures or something similar. But my daughter, who is a wild life aficionado, said they were turkeys. (No they weren’t purple.)

I asked her how that was possible. Turkey’s fly a little but not that high and certainly not easily. She told me they go from one branch to another.

My quirky brain immediately made a connection to our lives as children of God and as spiritually mismatched spouses. I even said to her, “That’s a blog post!” She promptly laughed at me.

So, how do two turkeys in a tree relate to our spiritual and marriage walks? When I saw those two birds, my first thought was that it was impossible for them to get that high, yet there they sat as happy as two large gangly birds could be.

Don't’ we do that in our lives and in our marriages? We see the big picture of whatever challenge we face, whether it’s a calling, a trial, or spouse’s staunch unbelief and we think it’s just not possible to get from where we are to where we’d like or want to be. Yes, we’re looking at it from our own power but it’s more than that.

We’re also only seeing on possibility. Like the turkey’s, I only saw the distance from the ground to their lofty perch. My daughter pointed out the steps in between.

That’s it! That’s what clicked. God knows the big picture and we may have an idea of what that is (like our spouses coming to faith), but there are steps to take and branches to climb, one by one, to reach that goal. We can’t bypass them. Like the turkeys, we’d fail if we tried to reach that end goal without following God along the steps to the branches in between.

Our biggest hindrance is our impatience. So let’s be like the turkeys and look for the where God is working to reach that goal. Then we can join Him on what I’m sure will be the most amazing and rewarding journey we can ever take.

Praying and believing,
Dineen

*****

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

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Our Ministry Partners - We Love These People

Well it's been a crazy week. Dineen and I attended a CLASS Seminar this week. It was fantastic. It was intense. It was filled with Godly women who long to serve our Lord. We talked, took notes, spoke, made new friends, laughed a lot and cried too. 

Whew! I was wiped. I came home and slept through Thursday. Yikes.

But, I'm awake this Friday. I am full of the Holy Spirit and excited for whatever the Lord has for our ministry, our lives and for the world. Let me at 'em. It's all for Jesus.

Dineen and I had a wonderful time and we were able to spend three whole days with three of our ministry partners.

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In this photo, Roger Lipp, Lynn (me), Kathi Lipp, Dineen, and Joanne Kraft.

I can't begin to tell you how much richer our lives are because of these people. Roger and Kathi have done so much to grow our ministry. I stand amazed at the Christian community and how we help one another. Joanne and I have been friends since our early days blogging and we met at She Speaks.

So, today I may be a bit behind on Thankful Thursday but I am thankful for God's people who have a burning passion such as mine, to serve the Kingdom of God and to help others find hope, help and healing through the power and love of Jesus Christ.

Hugging all of you today. Have a fantastic weekend. 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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Saving Michael by Debra Brand

(Debra's story is amazing and so encouraging! Read to the end and be inspired!)

I met Mike in 10th grade, he was a senior. Our relationship had its ups and downs. But before he left for the Navy we decided to spend the rest of our lives together.

Two days after graduating high school, I married Mike on June 9, 1971. Three weeks later, he was deployed for 4 months on a tour in the Mediterranean. I got my first job at a nursing home. When he came home at Christmas we went to live in Connecticut at the submarine base. As his duty came to a close, we were blessed with a beautiful baby boy. We came back home moved to Kirkwood.

My sister-in-law started to share the true gospel with me more and more. She was a little too radical but I got the idea that I needed Jesus to forgive me of my past. My life, even though it was full of love, was not complete. Financial difficulties and family splits piled on more stress.

So, on December 18, 1978, I watched a Billy Graham Crusade on television. I responded to the call to commit my life to Jesus. The nightmare disappeared as peace with God invaded my heart. My life began all over again…alone in my spirituality.

I got a job to help out with income. They hired me because I had no plans for more children. What did I know of God’s plans! My husband had not wanted any more either so he went for a vasectomy in late 1979. The procedure was botched, so I became pregnant.

When your husband doesn’t want any children, their first response is to say, “Get rid of it.” I told him that this was a life that we shared inside of me and that I would sooner get rid of him than the child. That didn’t make things easier. I leaned on God. Then one day, out of the blue, we were with a group of friends and he announced that we were having a baby.

God eased me through the delivery with flying colors. My favorite Scripture at the time was “I lift up my eyes to the hills—where does my help come from? My help comes from the Lord, the maker of heaven and earth.” (Psalm 121:1-2) After two generations of boys in Mike’s family, God blessed us with a little girl. She has been the ‘apple’ of his eye ever since.

Mike and I had some very successful businesses and some that weren’t. He sold all his companies and went to work for a highway dept. My last endeavor, a bridal shop, was the reason for a lot of tension between us.

Since I was churchless, my seamstress often invited me to the gospel mission. I finally went one Sunday and never left. My eyes and ears were opened to receive the Word of God as never before. I felt as if I knew the gospel but knew nothing of His Spirit, like it says in Acts 19: “There he found some disciples and asked them, “Did you receive the Holy Spirit when you believed?” They answered, “No, we have not even heard that there is a Holy Spirit.” And as a child of the 60’s rock and roll, Christian rock helped me to release the feelings of my heart.

My shop had become unstable financially. It seemed that when I took one step forward I would fall back ten steps. Finally, God was able to get through to me and He said ‘If it meant that Mike would come to Me, would you close the shop?’ The decision was very hard but I surrendered to the will of God. And I had peace.

I closed October 30 and the following June, in the flood of 2006, the building I had leased flooded with 3 feet of water. What a mess all those white gowns would have been! God’s urging saved me from sure economic disaster.

Through this period I waited. I watched to see what God would do in Mike’s life and music seemed to be the answer to unite us again. He became interested in playing guitar, so I learned to play bass guitar and now we have a trio with our harmonica player, who has since recommitted his life to Jesus.

But I was still unsupported spiritually. I knew God was working on Mike and my impatience was getting the better of me. The past prayers on his behalf seemed to go cold. I knew in my heart that he was a good man, a man of integrity. Even his name means ‘anointed’.

Years of standing in the gap at the altar for him seemed to go unanswered. Tons of prayers by the church, deacons and pastor seemed to go unanswered. Advice from books, naming and claiming, laying on of hands over his pillow at night, all seemed to go unanswered. I ‘called things that were not as though they were’. I had even taught a class that focused on unsaved husbands based upon 1 Peter 3. I had all of the right answers. Two of the other ladies’ spouses accepted the Lord.

So, I worked harder. I made sure that ‘our’ tithes were in Mike’s name. I would speak togetherness in the Lord even if we weren’t together in church. I read the Bible out loud to dispel any darkness that might be hanging around the house. I was looking to save Mike with my strength and God doesn’t work that way. So, I figured it must be God was waiting for me to change. So I did a spiritual checkup and worked on a make-over.

I finally just stood on my faith. I boldly told God, “This is the year, 2007. This is my year. I’ve tried everything I could think of. I only have Your promises to hold on to. You said that ‘Me and my whole household would be saved’. It’s Your Word, Lord. I’m tired. It’s up to you. It’s my turn.”

January came and went. In February, Mike decided that he would move from a town highway job to the county highway department. He asked me to put his application in on a Tuesday. I dropped it off and the girl said it would go into the system. She said that he needed to submit a new one every six months, because it’s hard to get in the county government.

On Thursday, the highway supervisor called Mike for an interview. He was able to make an appointment for Monday. The interview went well and they told him they would make a decision in a couple of weeks. They called him three days later and asked him to start within two weeks.

His fellow workers wanted to know who he knew to have gotten the job. I had no doubts that it was God. At this point, Mike said it was coincidence but I could tell that he was baffled.

He came to church a few more times. Pastor had started the membership classes and Mike told me that he might join. The next Sunday he came to church and I directed him to the office. God worked it so that it was only him and pastor. He came out after service and then we went home.

Later that evening, pastor’s wife called and asked me if I was on cloud nine. I said “For what?” She told me that Mike had committed his life to Christ that morning. Unbelievable! God did it without any fanfare or tears. It was as normal as breathing. I missed the ‘hallelujah moment’. I had told someone that he would just ‘slip into the Kingdom’ and he did.

My whole life has changed…again. I have a priest in the house, a confidant in the Lord, someone to share Scripture, sermons, teachings, books and fellowship.

My testimony as ‘the wife of an unsaved husband’ has become ‘learning to live with a believer’. I’m still in awe. Just going to the Christian book store with my husband and seeing him interested and shopping is surreal.

So what does the future hold?…God’s promises. They are ‘yea and amen’ to those who believe. If the last 30 years are any indication of God within my life, I can’t wait to live the rest. God holds the future and if I stay in God’s light, the best is yet to come because of Him and there’s a lot in me to work on.

Sometimes the ‘hallelujah’ moment isn’t tears, shouting and singing. It’s as normal as breathing in and out…just like the Gospel.

*****

Share your voice, heart and love in the comments. 

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

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I'm Not Strong Enough

.....To be the spiritual leader of our home.
.....To be a consistent Godly example to my spouse – to my children.


.....To bare the physical demands of a career – raising the children – cleaning my home – cooking and the sum total of all the expectations placed on me.


I ‘m at the end of my rope…….. and I feel like a failure.

If you ever feel like me, I'm not strong enough, this story is just for you. Join me at the Internet Cafe Devotions - Marriage Counter for I'm Not Strong Enough.

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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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Prayer Is Where Our Power Lives

Rejoicing

"We must begin to believe that God, in the mystery of prayer, has entrusted us with a force that can move the Heavenly world, and can bring its power down to earth." Andrew Murray

Today I'm sharing a post from a series I wrote about prayer that I originally shared back in 2008. It remains, still today, the same and just as powerful.

Breakthrough Praying:

This is the last post in this series.  I could probably write for the rest of my life and still not scratch the surface of all that we know and can practice in prayer. This series did not have time to look at spiritual warfare in prayer. But there are numerous post in the archives. To read one such encounter, visit: Spiritual Warfare and my Unbelieving Husband.

What I know about prayer is this:

Every Monday the Lord brings new people or at least new or repeated requests before me. I pray faithfully for each request each morning for seven days. May I pray for you?

I would be deeply honored to bring you before the throne of the Most High and ask for His hand to move in your life. Leave me your prayer request. I take each one very seriously and I promise you this, God will hear about your life.

Thank you for stopping in here today. I am humbled you would spend your valuable time with me. Be Blessed, Lynn To view this entire series, click here.

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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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Raising Kids and Back to School

Caitie Junior First day of schoolSchool started today (Wedsnesday) at the Donovan Clan home. As I write this, I just watched my daughter get into the car and drive off for her first day as a junior. 

I waved.

She waved in return. 

Then she was off.

I stood in the driveway. I didn’t cry or worry about her day. I didn’t feel sad (well perhaps a tiny bit melancholy). 

I prayed. 

O Lord, 

Take care of her today. Protect her as she drives. Help her to get into her parking spot with easy. Lord, help her to locate her classrooms and be on time. I ask that she finds a friend in each class and I also ask that you have prepared new friends for her to meet. Father, please choose her friends wisely that they would be kids with Godly character and a good influence on my daughter. 

Lord, as always send angels to walk with her today. Protect her from evil spirits and evil people. Make her smile. Let her see You in some way today. Reveal your love to her in a profound and impactful way. Also Lord, more than anything remind her that she is a daughter of the Most High God. That her identity and security is solely in You. That you have her back. Show her the lies the enemy speaks and let her reject them soundly. 

God give her confidence, wisdom, and joy. Let her laugh out loud with joy and share a smile with someone who needs hope. 

Finally Lord, let this year be the best year yet. Open her heart more and more to You. Speak your wisdom into her and help her to make choices that are wise and that bring honor to the name of Your Son. Love on her with a passion that leaves her changed and growing ever closer to You. 

In the name of Jesus, I ask. Amen.

 

To all of the parents who stop in here, I have a few words about raising kids. 

Pray, pray, and pray some more. Then watch what God will do in the heart of your children. 

Happy back to school. 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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Answered Prayers Can Be Painful

698517_dancing I’m grieving. But in a good way. I know that sounds a bit crazy so I’ll explain. Two prayers that I’ve been praying for my family seem to be coming to fruition, but it’s not at all what I was expecting.

I will share with you the one about my daughter because so many of you wonderful prayer warriors out there have prayed for her since her cancer diagnosis in 2008, through her surgeries, radiation treatments and recovery. It’s been a bumpy road emotionally too.

In January God gave me Malachi 4:2 for her and I have been praying this Scripture for her ever since.

But for you who revere my name, the sun of righteousness will rise with healing in its wings. And you will go out and leap like calves released from the stall.

Things in my daughter’s life haven’t unfolded the way I expected, but God is showing me that now is the time for her to be like that calf. She’ll soon be moving to Florida to live with my mother so she can find a job and start beauty school.

She still has to conquer driving and getting her GED in October, but this is the path God has set before her. She knows it’s right for her and I see that it is too.

But it’s painful. I didn’t expect to have to let go of my youngest (17) so soon. I’d expected that this time of transition into healing and joy would happen while she was here with us in California. I didn’t expect this to happen now and in another state.

So I’m grieving the loss of my little girl—the girl who was forced to grow up so very fast three years ago and is now reaching for the independence that comes with this maturity.

Yet in many ways she has so much still to learn. I’m comforted by the fact that she’ll be with my mother (who is an amazing mom!) and I hear God’s call to trust Him with my baby. She really is His after all, right?

So my heart aches with this transition but rejoices that my daughter is stepping into her future, something I prayed for so desperately some days that it bought me to tears and to my knees.

Tears of worry to tears of joy. My heart is breaking and rejoicing all at once.

Here is a piece of Scripture that God used to direct and comfort this mother’s aching heart:

Trust in the LORD with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways submit to him, and he will make your paths straight. —Prov. 3:5-6

In reading a devotional and listening to a sermon (both on the same day but from different sources), God helped me see that I’d “leaned” on my own understanding. His plan is the best way, I know that. But now I have totally let go and trust Him despite the unexpected circumstances.

This is the “trust him with all my heart and lean not on my own understanding” part. It’s risky and scary but if we know God is faithful, we can trust Him for the right outcome, whether it’s for ourselves or for a loved one.

That last part of this Scripture is the promise of God’s faithfulness. I know we’ve talked about that a lot here but He shows this to us over and over again. In His Word and in our lives if we really pay attention. It’s not his choice, it’s his character. Who He is. Wrap your brain around that one. I’m still floored by it on a regular basis.

As for that second prayer…I’ll keep you posted. It’s the most dangerous prayer we can pray for our unsaved spouses. (Chapter 10 in our book). I don’t know how far the ramifications are going to reach, but I can tell this transition with my daughter is may just be a warm up for what’s to come.

Praying and believing,
Dineen

*****

Share your voice, heart and love in the comments. 

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

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Donovan Clan Is Dating

Some interesting things are happening in the Donovan Clan house. And today I want to share with you some of my thoughts about all of it. I also will acknowledge that some of you will disagree with me and some of you I might offend. However, I also know there a many of us moms and dads who are raising children in a mismatched home who are dealing with my situation or will be there soon. So let’s have a go at it shall we? 

Dating…. 

Teenhand My daughter turned sixteen in June. Yesterday she went to the movies with a boy (a guy, in her vernacular and a smart one too, she says *grin*) 

How do we guide our children through this critical period of growing up? This is an especially sensitive topic when you are living in a spiritually mismatched home. And to compound our confusion and angst, we receive little or conflicting teaching from our Christian leaders. 

I hold some great convictions about dating as you might imagine because more than anything, I desire my son and daughter to marry a Christian. 

But, what I’m going to share with you might be surprising. 

First, I find that most of us parents establish a mandate that dating can commence once a child turns 16 years of age. I disagree. 

Let me ask you this. Let’s assume that today your child is 15 and socially immature, painfully shy, or reserved. Tomorrow they are 16 and emotionally unprepared to date. What makes 16 a magic number? I would suggest that as parents, we should be so in tune with our teenager that we know when they are responsibly and maturely ready to date. If you aren’t, there is a degree of communication that is missing. 

Sixteen is a good target age but what really matters is that you “know” your child so well that if they are ready to go to the movie with a boy at 15 ½ you are okay with it or that you are not okay with it and your child understands your reasoning. Leading up to this decision time insure that there have been numerous discussions between you and your teen and a meeting of the minds. I found this to be true with my daughter and she was in agreement that she wasn’t ready. Also, if they aren’t ready at 16, don’t let them walk out the door into a situation for which they are emotionally unprepared. 

Secondly, I am not against her dating a non-believer right now. 

Shock and gasp! 

I know, I know…. But this is why. These are my daughter’s teen years. This is when she will step slowly and gently into developing her ideals for her perfect man. It’s in these years where she is not looking to marry that she will discover what kind of guy she likes. Uncover the character traits she values. She will discover that she is able to put down boundary lines in a relationship and at some point will understand the consequences when a boundary is crossed. 

She will learn about the vast differences between men and women and start to understand how it takes effort. She will also discover that belief systems affect so many, many choices. Such as movie and television selections as well as friends and the kind of parties she likes and those that make her uncomfortable. 

All of this discovery is supposed to happen when they still have us, parents, around to gently guide them. And may I stress the word, GENTLY. 

Before my daughter even started dating, I made it clear that any guy she really likes will be expected to come around the house and just hang out. Not so we can make snap-judgments or scare the poor kid but to just be together and get to know him and he us. You can learn so much from just being together. And even more critical, we usually can see if something isn’t quite right about the relationship. This is a starting place. Make your home a safe place so your kid’s are comfortable to bring around their friends. 

It's also in this period of teenaged years that we play a cirital roll to help our kids with choices, give gentle advice and even sometimes be sturn for their protection.

We have the privilege to guide our kids in this formative time so that when they leave and are seeking to marry, they have firm convictions of the character, goals, values and beliefs they want in their spouse. 

I know my viewpoint is contrary to Covenant Dating which was popular in the 90’s. But, over time and some experiences of friends, I’m not sold on that perspective. 

Third, I am convinced the years of praying for my children’s future spouse and the in-laws will be honored by my Lord. So, if you are not praying, by name, for each of your children every morning, begin today. 

So last night when my daughter came home I looked at her with a grin and said, “So, how was it?” 

“Fine.” (Typical teen response. I wanted to hear all the tiny details, so I pried further.) 

“Did you hold hands?” Her mouth tipped up on the ends into a shy smile. 

A nod. 

“Did you kiss?” 

Nod. She’s trying not to be embarrassed. I’m trying not to giggle. 

I smiled at her. She blushed. We hugged. You know what? At least she is sharing with me her experience. She trusts me. All is right with the world. 

I am far from the perfect parent and perfect wife. Let me say that again…. Far from perfect. But, I have a heart full of love, God’s Word and prayer power. That is all I need to guide this young woman through dating and to one day a marriage to a believer. (O, Lord, let it be so. In Jesus name. Amen) 

Be Blessed, Lynn

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Weekend Devo — Love Me

LoveMe I took this picture in a store the other day. The message is so indicative of state of mind, heart and soul that is prevalent today. My daughter and I talked about it and found two angles to look at it.

One, the obvious is the very selfish and self-centered message relayed here. The wearer makes it clear that it is all about her. But what if that’s just the surface we’re seeing? What if we dig a little deeper?

The second angle, and perhaps on the flip side of this selfish coin, is the need to be loved and accepted. To be known and understood. When we seek to fill that need with people and things, we can easily wind up looking like the first one—selfish and self-centered.

Dealing with individuals like this isn’t easy. They often repel the very love they seek by their behavior. Yet the truth is, we are all selfish and self-centered to some degree. Only Jesus working in us can overcome our self-serving nature and move us closer to the humble and servant-like attitude that defines His character.

I’m sure there are more angles to look at this, but I think in the end it still comes down to the same need God built into all of us and how we each choose to fill it.

Truly, He’ll tell you, there’s only one choice.

Praying and believing,
Dineen

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A Divine Parallel by Guest Writer: Janet

Heavenly Father, I’m emotionally exhausted and taxed beyond measure.  Don’t you see my tears?  Do they mean anything to You?

I too have felt great passion, loss and sadness causing me to weep. {Hebrews 5:7, Luke 19:41, John 11:35, Mark 15:37}

God how much longer?  I mean really, can’t my spouse see I’m not trying to steer them wrong or bring harm?  Why can’t she/he try, just try, to believe what I know to be true?

 I also know the bitter rawness of repeated betrayal, disappointment and hurt. {Mark 14:66-72}

Gracious Father, every time I turn around it’s like the enemy is pouncing me!  Can’t I catch a break?

In the wilderness I also endured trials and tests of the enemy, stealth-like twisted plays on My Father’s Word and promises. {Matthew 4:1-11}

Dear God, today is the day I just cannot do this anymore!  Don’t you see all of this?  Blessings abound?  How about chaos abounds!  Can’t you spare me a lousy minute to take a breather and regroup?

I too prayed for our Father to take this cup from Me. {Luke 22:42}

Father, just in case you forgot, I am here trying to navigate this path before me—a little bit of help would be nice!

Bcrownthorn I also know the feelings of abandonment and forsakenness. {Matthew 27:45} 

A mismatched marriage has us walk in some sort of daily emotional, spiritual or physical pain.  This sometimes lonely and painful road, is it not a higher purposed pain?   What can I learn from it?  What basic principles can Jesus teach me that I too will come out triumphant?  What hopes and promises does scripture want me to focus on and remember—in both the good days and painful days?

I’ m reminded of the famous motto: pain is temporary, pride is forever.  What if we replaced the word “pride” with rejoicing, glory… salvation?  Savor and taste the flavors that newly reworded motto offers. 

When I reflect on the trials of Jesus I can’t help but see a parallel to the mismatched marriage and how many of us share similar pains as His.  So what can Jesus’ perseverance teach me? 

  • To pray all the harder, never ceasing.  {Luke 22:44}
  • To armor myself in the Word and knowledge of God that I may stand strong in the face of adversary using my knowledge to reverse the sword aimed at me {Ephesians 6:11-18, Psalm 27:3}
  • To still myself in His presence and never stop being in communion with Him {Psalms 46:10, John 17:3, Isaiah 43:10}

And lastly, to trust.  Trust that while I do not have nor see the full picture, like Jesus I really do have access to the full picture—just not the details.  The full picture, similar to Jesus, is knowledge and faith that our pain will not be wasted or in vain, but that pain is temporary and salvation is forever

And dear friends, we know His sufferings was temporary and for a higher purpose.   We know Jesus was never forsaken by God and He never deafened His ears to Jesus’ prayers.  Not, for a moment did God forget the path and trials laid before Him.  Instead God gave Jesus everything He needed. 

And God is giving you everything you need to face the day-to-day struggles and joys of this walk.  Let’s agree to commit ourselves to run, not walk for the prize that lies ahead because pain is temporary, salvation is forever

 

Bio: Janet resides on the East Coast with her husband and three daughters.  She begins and ends her day with God and strives to still be in constant dialogue with Him in between diaper changes, church groups and meetings, PTA meetings, child refereeing and the relentless list of homemaker duties and chores. 

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Thankful Thursday -

Thankful Thursday is hosted this August- with Laurie and September- Iris.

It's been a crazy and filled up summer. Here in California, school starts next Wednesday. Sheesh. What happened to summer?

I'm so thankful for the adventures we had this summer. A trip to Utah. Then to Wisconsin, and tomorrow we are off for a beach adventure with my Mom and Sister. Last week, my husband family visited us here in Temecula.

Mercy!

God has been so very good to our family. After a year of unemployment and a year of catching up, we have enjoyed the fruits of our financial discipline and the love of family this summer season.

I'm thankful today for our extended family. I'm thankful for all of you, our online family. I'm thankful that I am a child of the Most High God. 

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What I Do See

ColorfulEye Sometimes we get so caught up in looking for how God is working in our unbelieving spouses that we miss seeing the places that they are struggling. I’m becoming more and more aware of this in my husband’s life.

He’s a pretty even keeled guy with a very strong moral base. I’ve found that most atheists do have pretty high self-imposed standards. So I have to pay a lot closer attention to what’s going on in my husband’s life internally because it can be quite subtle. But this is what I’m seeing:

  1. About every 5 to 10 years, he reinvents himself. Changes his clothing style, the way he wears his hair (we’ve gone from ponytail long to completely shaved and everything inbetween), and his interests.
  2. He’s always looking for something more interesting to do that challenges him. Whether it’s reading, sports, or hobbies, he’s constantly exploring and looking for the next “thing to do.”
  3. Early on, the changes he’d make in his life seemed to bring him some contentment and satisfaction for a while. I don’t see that anymore. He’s constantly in a state of restlessness and discontent.
  4. Though he’s always been very steady emotionally and very independent of external encouragement, I see him struggling with some depression. If I didn’t know him as well as I do, I don’t think I would notice it because it’s so subtle. But I find he’s looking to me for strength and encouragement in ways he never has before.

These observations are helping me to pray for him. God has made it clear to me that the battle is on and I can’t stand on the sidelines anymore (time to get my hands dirty which scares me a bit to be honest). Thinking about these areas and observing them gives me windows into my husband’s struggle and guidance on how to pray for him, to ask God to use each of these areas to reveal His grace and mercy.

It’s not easy though, to watch this battle and to have the answer. Yet my husband still isn’t interested in knowing the Truth. In knowing Jesus. I confess it's hard some days not to get frustrated because I so clearly see what he needs, yet he's convinced otherwise. Some days I want to just drop kick him to Jesus and ask, "Can we be done with this already?"

I hope you're laughing. We need moments of laughter. Seriously. (wink)

So, I stand before you, dear friends, deep in the struggle of a mismatched marriage. The enemy seems to be hitting hard at the moment, and God is letting certain areas run their course. I understand the necessity of that. If it brings my hubby to Jesus, then so be it.

But some days...

How about you? What major area do you see God working in your unbelieving loved one?

Praying and believing,
Dineen 

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Stuck on the Edge

Perhaps you are curious.

After last Monday’s post about my husband and our church experience (read it here), I will let you know that over the weekend my husband’s family was visiting, thus he didn’t attend church. However, earlier in the week we had a discussion about church and our conversation that ensued that morning during the service. I’m still processing that conversation and am waiting for the Lord to show me where it all may lead. So stay tuned, God isn’t finished yet. 

However, I DID attend church yesterday morning and the message resounded with promise and truth. I want to share just a few highlights in hope that you are encouraged and that TODAY is your first step toward......

The Promised Land. 

For many of us who live with an unbeliever, I think we sit on the banks of the river looking across the vast and treacherous waters of the roiling river. We are just like the Israelites. Centuries pass but the human heart and soul still wrestles with many of the same problems. We look across the river and see the Promised Land. Our Promised Land is a life lived in peace with our spouse who is a believer. 

But just like the people of old, we sit at the bank and yearn for freedom and abundance. We see the giants. We know there is danger, heartache, possible loss and we become too fearful to take a step toward the promises. 

JordanSo, how do we get across the river? 

The answers are in Joshua, chapter 1 &3. Our answer and crossing is the same today as it was for the Israelites. 

  • Be strong and courageous. Trust God and take His courage.
  • Keep God’s Word. Keep it close by and obey what it says. Learn the promises of God and repeat them often to yourself.
  • Get your supplies ready. Be practical about being ready for life. Prepare your home, put in place your marriage boundaries, interventions, and mostly love out of giant heart.
  • Get a power greater than yourself. PRAY and do it often. Ask for God’s discernment and wisdom. You will then be equipped to understand what is really going on and can act in wisdom and love. This is also where you need Godly advisers. Men or women who will be truthful and prayerful with you.
  • Consecrate yourself. Surrender completely. When you finally, finally give up control, that is when God moves with power.
  • Get in the river and see what God does. This is scary but it’s oh, so worth it. 

Get up this Monday. Read Joshua chapters one through three and then get in there. The promises of God await. Salvation is at hand and there is a fabulous marriage to be enjoyed. 

Happy Monday. Hugs, Lynn 

*Inspired by Keith Potter. Thanks Keith!

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