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21 entries from March 2012

The Focus on the Family Experience

Hello dear friends! Since so much happened during the week of our Focus on the Family broadcasts, we thought we'd put all the links and information in one place in case there was something you missed. 

We absolutely loved talking to Jim Daly, Juli Slattery and John Fuller about how God has shown us how to thrive in a spiritually mismatched marriage! You can order or download the program in its entirety from the Focus on the Family/ChristianBook.com site. If you know someone struggling in their spiritually mismatched marriage, please consider purchasing a copy for them. Or send them here to listen online.

Thriving in an Unequally Yoked Marriage, Part One

Thriving in an Unequally Yoked Marriage, Part Two

When You Can't Compromise in Marriage

 

Along with the broadcasts, Focus had some wonderful resources available as well, including an article Lynn wrote for ThrivingFamily.com, another resource from Focus on the Family.

Read Lynn's Article: Parenting When Married to an Unbeliever

Mismatched Marriage by Lee Strobel

 

Check out the Focus Community Forum held the day of the broadcasts. We received so many great questions from spiritually mismatched women and men. 

Focus Community Forum: Thriving in an Unequally Yoked Marriage

 

And we were delighted to find out that The Christian Post wrote reviews on each day of the broadcasts:

Christian Wives Talk Thriving with Nonbelieving Husbands by Brittany Smith

Can a Woman Lead in a Spiritually Unequal Marriage? by Brittany Smith

 

That's it in a nutshell, or a post. We pray it blesses you even more than it blessed us.

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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God Said What????

 

Prayer request cards
Prayer Requests

 

Over the past several days I have been praying for so many of you. As I have been working through the prayer requests left here, I write down names and the things for which you have asked me to pray. In fact, this photo represents a fraction of the many prayer cards I have written in the last few years. Each prayer card can have as many as 30 names and requests scribbled upon it. 

I earnestly pray for you. So does Dineen. 

Several days ago, I took the current requests I’m praying through from this past week to God. I literally lifted the pink cards, cupped in my hands, up as an offering before the throne of grace. I remember praying something like this. 

“O Lord, see these names. They are some of the many who are broken. Their marriages are difficult. They are dealing with horrendous problems from addictions to anger, to indifference. Lord, many of these whose name I bring, need your hand of intervention.” 

At the moment during my prayer when I lifted the cards, I heard or was impressed in my spirit a reply from the Lord, “Lynn, I see the names you have brought before me. But there are a few who are unwilling to fight for their marriage.” 

*Gulp* 

Not what I expected to hear. 

However, in an instant I realized what God was leading me to understand.  God is standing ready to FIGHT for us and to bring all His power to bear in our lives. But God also expects us to do our part. Now let me be clear. God can and will intervene in lives. He will arrive when we are too weak to do battle, when we are utterly lost and when we can’t see our way through. 

My friends, God works through people. He wants us to join Him in His work in our homes. He wants us to commit to healing our marriage, to love our spouse with the love of Christ. God works through people and WE ARE HIS PEOPLE. So the question to ask yourself today is this: 

Am I going to commit to fight for my marriage, for my spouse’s salvation, for my kids? 

There is much at stake.

If you have been sitting on the sidelines waiting for God to move, this is your invitation. God wants to move in your life and He will. But you are part of the plan so let Him in. Let Him change you. Let Him reveal His great love through you. 

Do you want to see the miracles? Do you want to live the abundant life? 

Today everything can change. Tell God. I’m in. I’M ALL THE WAY IN. Now work in me and let my life reflect your supernatural power and love. 

I will tell you this, when I decided to join God and not to give up, my life changed. And you can bet God will do the same in your life. I’ve seen the miracles. I have fought the demons and gained victory. I’ve watched God protect my teen daughter. God provided in miraculous ways through our year of unemployment. I have grown to love my husband with depth I didn’t think possible. I have walked in the very presence of Jesus. 

Oh my friends, I want all of these experiences for you and you can have them. But God wants all of us not a partial commitment. All of us. Our entire life, our marriage, our thoughts, our hearts our souls. 

So what say you? 

Be blessed, Lynn

*****

Share your voice, heart and love in the comments. 

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

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Thankful Thursday - Marriages

Every once in a while we give thanks on Thursdays here at SUM. And considering all that transpired in the past few days, Dineen and I have so much in which to be thankful.

As I think over the opportunities we had to reach out to people who are unequally yoked, I'm undone. Let me just share just a few of the miracles and praises. Please celebrate with us.

From the Forum on Tuesday at Focus Communities: Hello Ladies, my name is Mark and I heard the announcement about this FOTF program while on the way to pay for a divorce with my wife....... The Lord stayed my hand on divorce yesterday, so I know He's up to something.

From 1 Peter 3 Living: Gill ~My mom was married to an unbeliever for 19 years. She prayed and prayed of course, but she didn't push, just lived her quiet example. In 1999 we were at a baptism or a first communion celebration for some family friends and for the first time in years he went up for communion, and when he came back and knelt down beside her she could tell he was really praying. A week or so later he had a stroke and died 2 days later.

With God, as long as our spouse is alive there is time, there is hope!

From Facebook: Tisha ~I realize now that I can do this, that I am not alone, and my faith has been strengthened by letting the truth sink in that my God will never forsake me, no matter what circumstances I find myself in. I also have renewed hope that my marriage can be everything I have always dreamed it could be, and that I TRULY need to get out of the way, not just say it, but do it!

From the comments: Brenda ~ I want to be sure to give God all the glory for turning my life around when He did... the light dawned for me that IT'S OK TO STAY WITH MY HUSBAND! IT'S OK TO HAVE A HAPPY MARRIAGE! IT"S OK TO GO TO CHURCH ALONE!

Juliane ~  I left a little later for work today and caught FOTF in its entirety. I cried all the way to work. I believe the message you both delivered today was God's way of telling me that there is always hope and that I am never alone with Him. Thank you for sharing your story!

CamDon ~ Hearing you guys on FOTF this morning gave me hope and reminded that we serve an amazing God that has everything planned out. Like one of you ladies said this morning, "God does NOT need our help" That simple phrase convicted and humbled me at the same time! I just wanted to say thanks for being obedient to God and giving a woman like me hope!

From email: Dave ~ I just wanted to thank you for articulating so well what many of us in unequally yoked marriages feel and, more importantly, reminding us that God still has a plan for us, our spouses and our children.

My friends, Dineen and I are in the trenches with you. We are only servants. But we are servants of the MOST HIGH God and His son, Jesus. It's all about our Lord. Every word of honor belongs to Him.

Giving thanks and praising our Lord can change everything. 

What are you thankful for today?

And tune in tomorrow because a few days ago when I was out on my walk and pray God gave me a question to ask every single one of us who is in an unequally yoked marriage. Your answer to this single question will determine what God will do in your marriage. Stay tuned.

Be blessed and let's storm heaven's gates with praises. Lynn 

*****

Share your voice, heart and love in the comments. 

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

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We Are Stronger Together

BetterTogetherIf you found your way here from the Focus on the Family broadcast, the first thing you heard yesterday was a quote from us.

“Isolation steals our joy.”

That’s why the first chapter of our book is titled, “Know That You’re Not Alone!” Our marriages are under attack by an enemy who wants to keep our unbelieving spouse in his or her unbelief and the best way to do that is to keep you—the believing spouse—discouraged and feeling as if you are completely and utterly alone in this journey.

We want you to know right here and now, that is a lie. If you are here, it is because God has heard your prayers and brought you here to be a part of a community that understands your marriage, your heartache and your struggles without you even saying a word.

We understand because we are living it too. All of us.

When I lived in Europe, I joined a small group of women in my church who were spiritually mismatched like I was. We all spoke different languages except two—our faith in Jesus and our ache over being mismatched. I will never forget those women and our group because it was a turning point that took me from surviving to thriving in my mismatched marriage.

God never intended any of us to walk alone in this life. Though we may try to tell ourselves it’s easier to just stay home, to not go to church, to not share our lives with other believers who don’t understand because they’re married to a believer (trust me, I’ve done this), this only isolates us and keep our light hidden.

We are stronger together.

And no matter how you wound up in your marriage, God has a plan for it. The more I read and search God’s Word, the more evidence I see of this. He has a plan for everything in our lives. Take for instance the story of Joshua and the Gibeonites (Joshua 9 and 10). Joshua walked into this agreement without consulting God first. Yet God wanted him to honor his agreement (God takes covenants very seriously!) and reassured him that the battle to defend these people would be victorious.

“The LORD said to Joshua, ‘Do not be afraid of them; I have given them into your hand. Not one of them will be able to withstand you.’”

God did not abandon Joshua, and He hasn’t abandoned you.

God moves in our mismatched marriages too. A soul is at stake and we are on the front lines (like missionaries) to fight for our unbelieving loved one. Read 1 Cor. 7:12-17 and be assured that God has placed you where you are for such a time as this.

We are the Esthers in our marriages! Never read the story of Esther in the Bible? She was spiritually mismatched just like you and me. Read her story and be encouraged.

Yesterday morning before the broadcast, God whispered this in my ear as I prayed for those who would be listening to the broadcasts and coming here.

“I can do much with a willing heart.”

DineenWhen we surrender our lives to Jesus, He does amazing things in our hearts and minds. Do you believe He can do the same in your mismatched marriage if you surrender it to Him, too?

The first steps to thriving in a mismatched marriage start with us, the believing spouse. How about it? Are you willing?

I hope you'll join today at the Focus on the Family Community Forum. Lynn and I will be there from 2-6pm PST (3-7pm MST, 4-8pm CST, 5-9pm EST) to aswer questions and offer encouragement. We want to hear your heart and pray for you my friend. Remember, we are stronger together.

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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Messy and Broken Could Be The Best Place To Be

image from www.spirituallyunequalmarriage.comIt’s Sunday afternoon as I write this post, I know I should be asking you to listen to Dineen and me on the radio today. But, right now I just can’t. My heart is heavy.  

In a rare moment, this morning at church at the request of our Pastor, I went to the front of the church to be available to pray with anyone who needs prayer. I’ve never done this before and wouldn’t you just know God KNEW there was one woman, a wife, who needed me, whom I could so relate. As I looking into her face, I could see a not-so-distant reflection of me only a few years ago. 

She was struggling in her marriage. 

My heart is broken for her. 

My heart is truly broken for all of our messy marriages. 

I am broken for those of us who are married and yet lonely, who are sad, angry, disappointed. My heart breaks for us who are isolated even at church because we don’t fit the typical church family shape. My heart hurts for those of us who are desperate to share intimacy with our spouse and to know a marriage where Christ is the center and not ridiculed by the very person who was supposed to be our soul mate. 

My heart is broken. But….. (With God there is always a but.) 

My sweet friends it’s when we are broken that God can do His best work. It’s when we have finally reached a place that we just can’t do “it” anymore. That is when we finally surrender our pain, our expectations, our marriage, and our spouse’s salvation to an all-powerful and good God. 

I am an ordinary woman. A 5’4” blonde who doesn’t have this walk with God all figured out. I don’t have all the answers but I have one thing and it’s all I need. 

I have Jesus. 

I love Jesus with every part of me. And Jesus loves me. And that is the simple key to living in peace and to loving my nonbeliever. The transforming love of Christ and His Word has changed everything. 

My friends, you CAN do this messy marriage thing. You can thrive in your spiritual mismatch. You can raise Godly kids in the midst of different world views. You can laugh, OUT LOUD with praises on your lips. You can experience peace that surpasses all understanding. You can love profoundly and with passion. 

Dineen and I are ordinary wives but we serve the Extraordinary God of the Universe and His son, Jesus. And our marriages have been redeemed, our kids are safe in our Savior’s hands and we are on the most amazing journey any believer could hope to travel. 

Oh please, travel this crazy, mixed up road with us. Learn to hear the Father’s voice. Watch as He astonished you with unexpected and fantastic answers to prayer. Let Him comfort you and teach you new ways to live. 

Walk with us and behold…… His desires for your life will be the greatest thing you will ever experience. 

Psalms 37:4 Delight yourself in the Lord 
and He will give you the desires of your heart. 

I bear witness to the truth of God’s Word. 

Today, if you are brokenhearted, leave your prayer request in the comments. We will pray for each of them. We have a prayer team that will pray for you by name. Take a step forward in your walk toward heaven and watch all that our Great God will do in you, around you and allow him to amaze you this very week. 

FocuslogoBe blessed my friends, Lynn 

To listen to our Focus on the Family interview, click here. We pray that every word reflects Jesus. To God be all honor and glory. 

And, if you are new to our website, visit our New Hear page. Step off on the path to healing this very hour.

*****

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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Beauty from Ashes

On Friday we shared about the upcoming broadcast on Focus on the Family. This is an amazing culmination of a dream birthed from depths of pain. Can you believe that? Lynn and I are continually in awe of how God does that. 

Beauty from ashes...

We are gearing up for whatever God has in store for us next. Right now our hearts are focused on those who will be coming in search of hope and prayer. This community right here, right where you are sitting right now, has proven to be one of love and prayer and encouragment! You all are so amazing! 

Now we have a chance to welcome more men and women into our midst who are looking for answers and help for their mismatched marriage. This is why we are here!

To pray for you, to encourage you, to help you too discover what we have. God has a plan for your marriage, to bless you and to help you thrive right where you are.

Join us on Monday and Tuesday for the Focus on the Family broadcast (listen online or find a station near you). Come take part in the Focus forums on Tuesday as Lynn and I converse with others in mismatched marriages with the goal to encourage and help them keep fighting for their marriage.

Whether you are New Here or a regular visitor, we want to hear from you, encourage you, and pray for you. 

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Please take advantage of our FREE resources on our WinningHimWithoutWords.com site as well.
Be sure to check out our small groups page to find out if a group is meeting near you. And we have poured all that God has taught us into our book, Winning Him Without Words: 10 Keys to Thriving in Your Mismatched Marriage.

We are stronger together! Join us and see what God can do!

Praying and believing,
Dineen & Lynn

 

 

Isaiah 61:1-3

 1 The Spirit of the Sovereign LORD is on me, 
   because the LORD has anointed me 
   to proclaim good news to the poor. 
He has sent me to bind up the brokenhearted, 
   to proclaim freedom for the captives 
   and release from darkness for the prisoners, 
2 to proclaim the year of the LORD’s favor 
   and the day of vengeance of our God, 
to comfort all who mourn, 
 3 and provide for those who grieve in Zion— 
to bestow on them a crown of beauty 
   instead of ashes
the oil of joy 
   instead of mourning, 
and a garment of praise 
   instead of a spirit of despair. 
They will be called oaks of righteousness, 
   a planting of the LORD 
   for the display of his splendor.

*****

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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It's A Tweet Up! Let's Get Ready to Rumble. I mean Twitter.....

Join Dineen and me (Lynn) today as we join with @FocusMarriage a discussion and questions about thriving in a Spiritually Mismatched Marriage.

Use the hash tag #WinningHim.

Tweet using the hash tag and join the conversation and watch your tweets pop up here. We will randomly select five Tweets who will win a copy of our book, Winning Him Without Words, at the end of the day Friday. Everytime you tweet until Friday, midnight Pacific, using the hash tag #WinningHim will enter you into the drawing.

Here are sample questions that @FocusMarriage will ask the Twitter community:

  • How do you handle praying at the dinner table?
  • What unique ways do you flirt with your spouse? (Keep it G-rated!)
  • How does your relationship with Christ help you love your spouse?

Tune in around noon-1 p.m. Pacific. So that’s 2-3 p.m. Central and 3-4 p.m. Eastern. Join the fun. Win a book for yourself or for someone you know who is struggling in their unequally yoked marriage. 

 

Thank you my friends for your continued prayers for the Monday and Tuesday broadcast. I'm getting butterflies in my stomach as my nervousness and excitement builds.

Happy Friday. Hugs, Lynn

*****

Share your voice, heart and love in the comments. 

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

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Focus On The Family Broadcast - March 26 & 27

 

Donovan Lynn  Miller Dineen 2011_12_14 (2)
John Fuller, Juli Slattery, Lynn Donovan, Dineen Miller, Jim Daly

Dineen and I are humbled and thrilled to be guests on the Focus on the Family broadcast, Monday and Tuesday, March 26 & 27, 2012. 

We will be sharing how we are thriving in our Spiritually Mismatched Marriage through the transforming power and love of Christ in our lives and marriages. If you are unequally yoked or if you know someone who is, please join us for a word of hope and encouragement. Visit Focus on the Family to find a station in your area or listen online.

Also, please join us LIVE on March 27th at 5:00 p.m. EST and 2:00 p.m. PT where we will be answering your questions through the Focus on the Family Community. We will be fielding community questions for a block of four hours. Request membership and ask us the hard questions.

We welcome all of our visitors and if you are new here, click on our "New Here" page (see the sidebar) for more information and encouragement.

We hope you are able to listen to the broadcast and join us in the online forum. Mostly, may the Lord Jesus Christ be honored through our words and our lives. Be blessed, Lynn and 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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#WinningHim and @FocusMarriage Unite! Woo Hoo!

Are you ready for a little fun?

Before that however, let me just tell you that I have been reading the prayers you left for Dineen and me. I promise you, I burst into tears, sobbing at times over the love and caring you poured into our lives. I will be printing them out and saving them in my Daily Bible and as you know, that is where my most precious memories live. ~Thank you, Lynn

Okay now.  

Are you ready for a little fun?

 

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Tweet... Tweet... #WinningHim

Well tomorrow Dineen and I along with the Twitter guys at Focus on the Family, @FocusMarriage, are going to have a Twitter Forum.

 

Say what?

Well, I’m glad you asked. *giggle*

For all of you who Twitter and Tweet and even those of you who don’t, join in the fun as we Tweet along with Focus Marriage on Friday, March 23rd Noon-1 Pacific. So that’s 2-3 p.m. Central and 3-4 p.m. Eastern. We hope to peak a little curiosity in our upcoming broadcast on Monday and Tuesday.

Follow or join the conversation using the hash tag #WinningHim.

Take a peek at this hash tag now. There are already some tweets singing. (Do tweets sing such as birdies or do they only post???) I’m not sure?

We plan to have a lively conversation and work our way through some great questions. For example:

  • How do you handle praying at the dinner table?
  • What unique ways do you flirt with your spouse? (Keep it G-rated!)
  • How does your relationship with Christ help you love your spouse?

I’m looking forward to hearing from you. Dineen and I would be so thankful if you are a Twitterer (is that a word?) and would join us on Friday for a few minutes or even the whole hour. Help us reach out to those who use this social media. We also will have the live feed up on our site Friday.

So tune in, join Twitter, get ready to tweet, retweet, and answer the questions. We will be looking for you our community and will give you a special shout out in the future.

We can never express fully how your love and prayers have filled our hearts. Thank you with eternal love and gratitude, Lynn and 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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We Need YOU!

My dear friends,

Lynn-Dineen

Lynn and I just had one of our lively phone conversations—this one in preparation for our Focus on the Family broadcast scheduled for March 26th and 27th. There will also be a Twitter "party" on Friday—stay tuned for details on that.

But we need your help. God is throwing open doors to this ministry that we never imagined possible. We hoped, we prayed, but did we dare to dream? Yes, but not on this level. God is AMAZING!!! 

So, how can you help?

We need your prayers. This community has proven to be a huge blessing for all of us—a place of safety to seek prayer, encouragement and understanding. We are expecting the upcoming events to bring new people into our midst as they find out they are not alone in their mismatched marriage, that there are others walking this path who care and can come along side them in prayer, and that God is showing them the way to thrive (not just survive) in their mismatched marriage. 

Will you start praying for them now? Ask God to bring the men and women He wants to hear the Focus on the Family broadcast and to this site for more resources. Ask God to strengthen them and to show them His wild hope. 

And finally, Lynn and I would like to ask you to pray for us and our marriages. We need protection. You above all else understand the spiritual warfare that surrounds all of us, especially when we are fighting for our marriages and for God's kingdom. The enemy would like nothing better than to discredit our testimonies by tearing our marriages apart. Please pray for our protection.

Leave your prayers in the comments for us—we'd love to read them and be encouraged by your precious words as we prepare for the upcoming events and seek God's leading in all of it.

All of this is because of God and for His glory alone. We are so grateful for every one of you. You are the reason we are here—to share God's comfort and strength. Now it's your turn. Let's make God proud.

Love you all so much,
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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What A Weekend

My friends, as I type this post, it’s late Sunday afternoon. I have just returned from my church’s Women’s Retreat. Every year I can’t imagine the retreat could be better than last year. But God never disappoints and this weekend exceeded every expectation. 

Healing happened, friendships formed, Jesus was present and God Almighty was worshiped. We tasted a tiny bit of heaven as we spontaneously formed a circle, hand’s clasped and worshiped Saturday night. And as I looked around the room of almost 90 women, I saw The Body of Christ. One day I hope I can describe what happened in that few short moments of time. 

My friends, as customary, God chose to keep me humble and the most hilarious and kooky, yet absolutely amazing way. It’s a story I will have to tell here soon about how I became, ahem, Balaam’s Ass. I promise you will laugh just as the entire room laughed… ahem, yep, at me and with me. So stay tuned. I’m too tired today to write it all down. 

Retreats are a tricky business. Some are failures in that walls remain up and real growth is stifled. Many find retreats a difficult place to make friends but after several years of refining, my home church, Sunridge has a recipe for a life-changing weekend. I can promise you it’s life-changing and the women there will never forget it. I know I won’t. 

Throughout the weekend I sat at a table with seven ladies I had never met before. And within only a few hours, we were fast friends, the Kleenex was flying, tears were brimming and God was about His healing. It was utterly humbling to watch it all happen before my very eyes. 

I have brought home with me some fantastic stories to share with you filled with new life lessons and a fresh anointing of hope. I will be sharing more through the weeks ahead of how we can expect Jesus to show up, show off and change everything. 

For now, I want to share just a few photos. It may not be of interest to you but humor me and share in my joy…… 

The joy of the Lord! Love and hugs, Lynn

 

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We Laughed...
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A LOT!
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We played.....

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...as snow starved Southern California girls will do when it snows.

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We made great friends.....

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We cried. Tear of laughter, joy, sorrow, healing.

 
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We encountered Jesus.

And we are forever changed. 

*****

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 — THE Dress

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For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the LORD, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future. — Jeremiah 29:11

When I prayed for my oldest daughter during our SUM fast the first week of January, God gave me this above verse for my oldest daughter. I wrote it on an index card and gave it to her. And I've been praying it over her ever since.

I shared last Thanksgiving that my daughter was officially engaged to the wonderful young and godly young man she'd been dating for four years. Yesterday marked another special moment in my her future.

We found the wedding dress. Yep, THE dress.

I can remember clearly the day I got my wedding dress. I remember how I felt. Now I understand how my mother felt. Seeing my little girl try on these beautiful gowns—so glad I brought tissues.

Last week I confessed how afraid I was to get married. Now I see the joy and excitement brimming in my daughter's face as she takes these steps to marry the man she loves. I am so thankful to God for helping me overcome my fears. This has enabled me to share wonderful stories with my daughter, laugh over funny tales about her dad and me, and realize that God has worked all this to not only deliver me from my fears (Psalm 34:4) but to show my daughter a future of hope and love.

And faith.

Often times we have to wait a long time to see the fruits of our labor and faithfulness. This was truly worth the wait.

Praing and believing,
Dineen 

*I took this picture of my two girls as we looked at dresses. What a day!

*****

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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What Happened on March 14th? I Still Ponder it All.

SPOILER ALERT….. SPOILER ALERT….SPOILER ALERT 

I know that there are many of you reading and working through the questions of our book right now. There’s a story I share in the book that I have never told here on the blog. It’s the story of a glimpse into the miraculous and it happens in chapter eight. Well actually it happened on our front driveway. *grin* 

 

Wining Him Cover New 2011

I won’t retell the story here but today I want to share with you that this particular encounter continues to fill my heart with hope. Like Mary, she treasured the small things of Jesus in her heart. I too, treasure this day and I ponder it often. 

 

The reason I speak of it is because this week, I opened my daily Bible to March 14th and written there in the margin at the top of the page it reads: 2008- Mike ….. (okay, I can’t tell you what it says or it will spoil the book). But just let me say that it all starts with a landscape contractor named Joe. 

What makes this date uniquely intriguing is that March 14th is our wedding anniversary. I had completely forgotten that this event occurred on the date we were married. Isn’t that just like God to go to the ridiculous degree of detail to surprise, astonish and love on us? It freaks me out sometimes. 

But this year, 2012, this March 14th is our 20th wedding anniversary. 

Wow…. Twenty years. My friends. I had my doubts at times. But I wouldn’t trade one minute of my mismatched marriage because it’s been the very frustrations and struggles that have brought me into this fantastic love relationship with Jesus and with my husband. 

So, celebrate with us. Twenty years and counting. 

And for all of you who are reading or have read our book, allow me to share some of my pondering about this particular day in 2008. I wonder what you might think about it all. 

I had no idea that Joe was a Christian when I hired him. When Joe sat in my kitchen he told me he couldn’t write English so I filled in the contract and signed it. I thought it odd at the time. I think it very odd now indeed. 

Joe was Italian. He spoke English and Italian. And Spanish now that I come to think of it. He had a tiny bit of an accent but not too heavy. I can't stress enough how odd it is that I came to hire an Itialian contractor in Southern California where the trade is predominately, Hispanic.

Now get this. Joe sported a modestly curly head of BLONDE hair and he had blue eyes. Not your typical Italian. He was filled with the spirit and in my mind; Joe was on assignment to the Donovan house. I’ve never heard from Joe since that time but every time I think of him, I smile. As I ponder all the things the occurred in that two weeks back in 2008, I wonder, maybe, just maybe, an angel???? 

I will never know for sure but in my heart, I treasure the thought. 

-----

March 14.

Two newly married young people.

One extraordinary God. 

I wonder, what God has planned for the next twenty years? Whatever it is, I KNOW it's going to be one awesome ride and I have a fantastic front row seat.

Be Blessed, Lynn

*****

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It Had to be Him...

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I love my husband. No, I really, really love my husband. And it’s not the same as when I married him.

It’s better.

I can’t take credit for it either. At all. It’s totally God. I started praying years ago that God would help me love my husband the way Jesus did, to love him with a godly love.

And He answered that prayer bigger and better than I ever imagined.

Now this is coming from someone who almost canceled her wedding a month before because I was scared to death! Every marriage in my family had ended in divorce and most of my relatives had married and divorced multiple times.

My fear went even deeper than that. I will confess to you that the first time my husband told me he loved me, I told him to go to heck (not the word I used but you get the idea) and drove away. I was scared to death of walking the path I’d seen so much of my family go through. That was the norm for us.

But not for my husband. Quite the opposite for him. Everyone in his family except one person was still in their first marriage and had been married for years. That was the norm for them.

You know what? God isn’t about “the norm.” He’s about the impossible, about the miraculous, about doing what we can’t (and can) in even bigger and better ways.

Like loving my husband with a humanly impossible love.

A few posts ago, one of you shared that you remind yourself in that God loves your husband too when faced with times that make it difficult to love. That’s the norm for God, to love us in our best and worst states.

He loves us despite ourselves so we don’t have to go to hell.

Jesus came for you and me. And He came for our unbelieving hubbies too. He loves our men with a fierce passion that makes our love look feeble and weak.

Having trouble loving your guy this week? Ask God to help you love that man the way He does. Pray it constantly. This delights God and He will do it!

Now get ready. Bigger and better love than you ever imagined is coming your way.

Praying and believing,
Dineen

*****

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Focus On The Family Broadcast

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Hi My friends, Lynn here.

I don't know how many of you receive our monthly newsletter but in December I shared a significant event in my life. At the time I felt as though my unequally yoked journey came full circle. To read that story, click here.  To sign up for our monthly newsletter, which will be going out this week, visit our book website, here.

The story recaps a time in my early marriage where I felt alone, sad, hopeless and confused just like many of you have felt or feel. I sat at my kitchen table and tuned in the local Christian radio station to a broadcast that saved my life, my marriage. It was Focus on the Family and Nancy Kennedy was sharing her unequally yoked story.

I found hope. 

Well in two weeks from today, I come full circle in that it’s my turn to tell some young married woman who is sitting sad and alone at her kitchen table that she can thrive in her spiritually mismatched marriage. That she can fully place her hope in our life-changing God.  

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Dineen and I are humbled and thrilled to be guests on the broad cast Monday and Tuesday, March 26 & 27, 2012. We will be sharing thoughts from our book and other stories. (We talked for over an hour with the broadcast team. Can you believe it? Us two girls can talk *grin*) 

And my friends it thrills me to tell you that the people at Focus on the Family greatly understand and have sincere compassion and concern for those of us who live mismatched. So much so that they have invited Dineen and me to be guest contributors to a LIVE EVENT through the Online Focus Community. 

This is where anyone in the community can post a question and we will be online to answer it. We are hoping to receive questions about tithing, church attendance, raising kids in an unequally yoked home, etc. 

So this is where we need you, our community. We want you to also help us by answering the questions and asking them as well. It’s in this kind of community that real help and healing happen. 

Please, please save a few minutes for us on Tuesday, March 27 from 5-9 p.m. Eastern, 4-8 p.m. Central, 3-7 p.m. Mountain, and 2-6 p.m. Pacific. Click on: Relationships and Marriage under the Community Directory. And ask us a question. Join one of the streams of conversation and share what you have learned. Give someone hope. 

You will need to sign up to participate. It takes only a few minutes. Please visit Focus on the Family, Online Community – RIGHT NOW- and sign up. We need to show Focus and the world that there is an enormous need for ministry to men and women like us. And we also want Focus to know that all their time, effort, and funding they invested in our community is meeting a need and is successful. 

Then on March 26 & 27 take 30 minutes to listen in to the broadcast, click here. Please pray for us. I was especially nervous and don’t remember at this point what I said. Just pray that the words we spoke bring hope and honor our Lord Jesus Christ. Pray that those out there who haven’t found our community, who are lonely and feeling defeated finally, hear Jesus telling them that they can do this thing. This unequally yoked marriage and do it well. Pray they will join us. 

Okay, head over and sign up now. Leave your name in the comments that you joined the community at Focus. We are thankful beyond words of all of you who walk this crazy, mixed up journey with us. And one day, we WILL all meet together for a victory shout and a giant group hug before the throne of glory. 

Thank you for loving Dineen and me in this way. Be blessed, Lynn

*****

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Wekend Devo — You and Who's Army?

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The LORD said to Gideon, “You have too many men for me to deliver Midian into their hands. In order that Israel may not boast against me that her own strength has saved her, announce now to the people, ‘Anyone who trembles with fear may turn back and leave Mount Gilead.’” So twenty-two thousand men left, while ten thousand remained.  But the LORD said to Gideon, “There are still too many men. Take them down to the water, and I will sift them for you there. If I say, ‘This one shall go with you,’ he shall go; but if I say, ‘This one shall not go with you,’ he shall not go.” So Gideon took the men down to the water. There the LORD told him, “Separate those who lap the water with their tongues like a dog from those who kneel down to drink.” Three hundred men lapped with their hands to their mouths. All the rest got down on their knees to drink. The LORD said to Gideon, “With the three hundred men that lapped I will save you and give the Midianites into your hands. Let all the other men go, each to his own place.” — Judges 7:2-7

 

Are you like Gideon, faced with an overwhelming challenge and dwindling strength and resources to overcome or even just deal with it?

Gideon started with an army of 30,000, yet God pared it down to 300 solely for the reason that the Israelite's victory would be clearly by God's hand and not men's. God desires to have this understanding—this trust—in our lives as well. We may look at our circumstances and see 'insufficient funds' but God purposed just the right conditions to show us his inexhaustible and ever reliable strength and presence.

With just 300 men Gideon overcame a vast army made up of several nations determined to oppress the Israelites. Correction--God overcame this menace through Gideon and his men. God could have done it on His own with little effort I dare say, but He again chose to use a mere handful of men.

It is when we have the least to work with that God accomplishes the most in and through our lives. And not only that, He gives us the opportunity to not only witness His power and strength in action. He allows us to be a part of it.

Gideon didn't start out convinced He could do any of this. In fact, in Judges 6 he asks God how He can save Israel. God simply says, "I will be with you."

God says that to us too. No matter how small our "army" (strength and resources) we have to work with and how large the "menace" (challenges and trials) we may be facing, God is with us.

God is with YOU.

Praying and believing,
Dineen

*****

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What Really Happens When We Worship. I Promise I'm Not Weird.

Chronicles of the Donovan Clan:

On Wednesday I experienced something with the Lord that I am still processing. It’s a bit unusual but as I lay in bed that night, I felt the same compulsion to share the experience with you. This is exactly how I felt on Wednesday evening when I shared it with the women with whom I was sitting.

Sharing these kinds of experiences is often a scary prospect for me but God has a way of keeping me humble by keeping me awkward. And my obedience and my joy in sharing this story trump my personal comfort and pride. I pray when you read these words you will forever be changed as you experience worship.

Here we go…..

 

 

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For several weeks I have attended a Wednesday night Bible study in preparation for our church’s annual Women’s Retreat. The study is comprised of the leadership and all the helping hands for the weekend. On Wednesday there were roughly 25-30 women, all sitting in the chairs that are positioned in a horse-shoe shape so we can see one another as well as the worship leader and speaker.

First let me describe a scene from the southwest. I live in a community in California that is considered somewhat high desert. The valley where my home is located is considered inland, a significant distance away from the coast. However, costal breezes make their way to us in the latter half of the day. On a hot summer’s day, as the rising temperatures blow out of the east off the Mojave Dessert toward our town, they mix with cooler costal winds and when the two meet, they really stir up a fight. Out in the middle of the fields you can watch the battle, a swirling, rushing whirlwind whipping frantically toward heaven and then they quickly disappear. See the photo. Now keep that image in your mind.

 

I love this annual study. Many of my long time sisters in Christ serve and are part of this eight weeks. The evening always begins with worship and our sweet, Ellie, sings and plays the guitar like a professional. She begins to play and we follow her lead and sing.

We worship.

The music builds, hands raise, eyes are closed. We are in full-out worship of our Lord. The third song this night is very familiar. Most of us know the words by heart. We sing. The harmonies and the sweetness of the unison voices fill the room and that is when it happened.

I opened my eyes as I felt the crescendo of the chorus. And as I looked around the room I had only what I can call as some sort of a vision. I couldn’t see anything with my eyes but in my mind I was watching the praises of God’s people begin to swirl in a counter-clockwise direction around the room over our heads. Like a whirlwind.

The praises swept along faster and faster and then spiraled wildly upward….. to heaven.

*gulp*

The power of the Holy Spirit was so prevalent that I immediately was covered from head-to-toe with what I call Holy goose bumps. And as I stood there, I completely was so overwhelmed by God’s presence that I could no longer even speak. I couldn’t sing. I felt as though I was going to lift off the ground.

As the music slowed, I began having a kind of conversation with God.

“Oh , Wow, Oh Wow. Lord… Lord… Lord… I love you.”

This is what I heard next, “Tell them.” Not what I expected.

What? Tell them (the ladies in the room) what I just saw. Are you kidding? They will think I’m whacked.

“Tell them.”

Me, “Okay Lord, but You will have to create an opportunity because this is weird.”

Then silence. I was freaked. I slowly sat down as our worship time ended. And then…. God moved.

Normally, after worship, Ellie prays and then the speaker takes the lectern. And I knew if that happened right now the opportunity to “tell them” will pass. And I KNEW I wasn’t going to blurt out to the crowd what I just witnessed. So I waited and then to my utter surprise astonishment, the woman sitting next to me said to the group, “I just love it when we sing and I can hear all your voices.”

Can I just say….. DOUBLE GULP.

God just set the stage for me to "tell them"as this woman was talking about the SINGING. So, I gathered my courage and followed up her sentence and explained what just happened to the room. I don’t remember what I said but I’m sure it sounded weird.

It was awkward but God wanted them to know something. And now God is compelling me to further awkwardness as He compels me to share this story with you.

God wants us to know how valuable our worship is to Him. It is so powerful, so spiritual that He personally sweeps our worship from earth. He carries our praises up unto Himself in a giant whirlwind just like He did on Wednesday as He swept that room with a Holy fury.

He impressed upon me as I sat there that night that there are many of His children who sing to Him in a crowded room and they don’t really understand the significance. They don’t realize just how very close He is to us. But He is near, within our very breath.

I know there are times I have sat in Sunday worship and I was just singing… In a crowd. The significance lost on me.

Well, never again. I will forever be changed as I worship because God is present. And my friends, the sheer euphoria of that experience will carry me on for a lifetime.

I’m sharing this experience today because God impresses me to tell His people that worship is priceless to Him. He draws near and he watches with a smile as broad as the sunrise. So this Sunday, step into your church and worship.

I pray you will also be forever changed by an amazing, loving, and all-powerful God.

Be blessed, Lynn

*****

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How Do We Reconnect?

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Staying connected with your spouse can be a challenge. I'm finding this to be harder to do as we get older. I shared recently that we'd become empty nesters, but our status is now back to three. Here we are again, adjusting to new and old dynamics.

Here I thought my greatest challenge would be keeping myself from falling into old patterns so that the new ones my husband and I had created would remain established. I didn't stop and think what his reaction might be—that he might be the one to fall back into old patterns. So, I'm facing the challenge of reconnecting with my hubby.

Inertia
I find inertia to be one of my greatest enemies in life. I know, I know. We're human and we like our comfortable areas. But that doesn't serve me well. The "easy" thing to do right now would be to just let it be and let it happen. I liken that to the wind and reeds analogy in Ephesians 4. I don't want my marriage and other areas of my life to be "blown about" by old habits.

Awareness
I will stop here and give myself a very short and brief pat on the back. I'm aware of the situation but I can't stop there (thus the very short and brief pat :-). But I do think that awareness is a huge part of the challenge. Once we can see and identify the problem or challenge, we can seek wisdom and guidance.

Intentionality
We've talked a lot here about being intentional in our marriages. This is truly where the "rubber meets the road." James spoke of not just being readers of God's Word but doers as well. If God gives us a direction to help us in our marriage, we're foolish to not follow that leading. Being intentional in our marriages means constantly being aware of what's working and what's not in our relationships and then doing something about it. And prayer counts as doing something! Just be sure to listen for God's answer and follow through.

What I am doing to reconnect with my husband? Small things right now since I'm still in that awareness zone. I'm praying for God to show me ways to stay connected to my husband now that we're a party of three again.

My daughter's actually been great about getting us together to play games in the evenings, so we're connecting as a family.

How about you? What have you found works for you to reconnect and stay connected to your spouse?

Praying and believing,
Dineen

*****

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An Open Letter to Celia

My Friend Celia,  

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Dearest Celia, Romans 10:10 For it is with your heart that you believe and are justified, and it is with your mouth that you confess and are saved.

God is a mystery and we will never fully understand or know everything about him. Even in heaven, we will continually discover new facets of His love, grace, and character. And I am truly thankful that we don’t have God all figured out.  

If we did, how bland and ordinary life would be. How utterly boring. 

Living life with God is anything but boring. We, the CHOSEN, live an everyday adventure. It’s often scary, many times uncertain; we face seemingly insurmountable odds in our struggles, and fight against demons and every sort of evil. 

But we live. 

We live; fully-alive, 3D, full-color, spectacular, even supernatural lives. 

I am an ordinary woman Celia, who has an ugly past, have hurt many, have felt pain just like you. But just like you I decided one day to seek God with an earnest heart. And I found Him. 

Celia, you will never have answers to all of your questions, this side of heaven. And God is intentional to remain somewhat of a mystery to us mere mortals. That is what Faith is all about. Belief. Not science or religion. 

Faith is more precious than gold and it is the only thing we possess as humans that we can offer to God. It is our love and relationship that we freely give and receive from God. 

When we take that singular step of faith and earnestly believe, God will join us.

  • And slowly, over time, you will discover you can face your past and live in triumph. 
  • You can forgive what you once through impossible to get over. 
  • You will find an authentic joy in your everyday living. 
  • You will see the miraculous. 
  • You will be astounded by His protection. 
  • You will see prayer answered in such an extravagant and unexpected way you will fall to your knees and weep. 
  • You will experience the supernatural. 
  • You will hear God speak to you, words of love, wisdom, direction and affirmation. 
  • Your fears will subside. 
  • Your insecurity fade. 
  • Your confidence rise. 
  • Your countenance change. 

You will be transformed. 

You will encounter the love of God and His presence that surrounds you in such a powerful way that you feel like you just touched heaven. 

O Celia, say goodbye to your doubts, look at the people who love God and be assured. We are His trophies, living proof, that God is real, powerful, full of love and righteousness. 

Today is the day Celia. Today is YOUR day. Decide now and forever, to step into the astonishing, amazing and eternal Kingdom of the Most High God. And live for 

El Shaddai, God Almighty, and his reigning son, Jesus.

Be blessed my sister, Lynn 

Celia, I also want to answer your question, Why do bad things happen to good people, in a future post. I’ve asked a pastor to help me with that one. I hope to share that with you in the near future. Thank you for sharing your heart, your honest thoughts and your life. It’s now up to you my friend. 

Celia, the path toward faith is this. Belief, reading God’s Word, prayer and community. Remain faithful to reading your Daily Bible and praying in your prayer journal. Become a weekly attender in a Bible teaching, Holy Spirit filled church. That is the path I followed and it leads to love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control. The fruit of the Spirit. 

It’s not complicated but it does require commitment and effort but living the abundant, believer’s life is OH SO WORTH IT. 

Okay everyone, what have you experienced with Christ that has affirmed your faith? Now is the time to proclaim what God has done, is doing, in the lives of His children? Leave your praise, your story, your testimony in the comments and let our God receive great praise.

To read all of Celia's questions and our replies, start here: Doubts About God.

*****

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Weekend Devo — Power of Prayer

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Another angel, who had a golden censer, came and stood at the altar. He was given much incense to offer, with the prayers of all the saints, on the golden altar before the throne. The smoke of the incense, together with the prayers of the saints, went up before God from the angel’s hand. Then the angel took the censer, filled it with fire from the altar, and hurled it on the earth; and there came peals of thunder, rumblings, flashes of lightning and an earthquake. —Revelatins 8: 3-5

 

Ready for a confession? Lately, I've felt like my prayers weren't making a difference. I didn't like that feeling because it started to affect my prayer life. I started to doubt and wonder if I should even pray at times.

See how the enemy loves to move in and make us doubt?

So I started praying, asking God to help me pray more effectively. I wanted to be a pray warrior! But I sure needed help to do that.

You know what God sent me? One of you. Lori sent me an email with the Scripture above, painting a mental picture of our prayers mixing with incense to be presented before God.

One, remember that the incense in the Old Testament that the priests of Levi were to use was very specific. They couldn't just use whatever they wanted. 

Two, I love the aftermath of this verse, that the incense combined with our prayers are hurtled back to the earth and cause the earth to shake and lightning to boom!

Now when I pray, I think of Lori's email (thank you, Lori!) and imagine my prayers in those censors before God, mixng with the prayers of so many other believers and shaking the world! Makes me also think of that verse that says when we speak God's Word to Him, it doesn't return void (Isa. 55:11).

I shared recently that I was praying Psalm 34:4 for myself: "I sought the Lord and He heard me and delivered me from all my fears."

I have prayed and spoken it aloud as prayer and praise. Guess what? That fear I was battling is gone. My prayers (and those of many others) came back to me in a powerful way and rocked my world!

Maybe I'll be a prayer warrior yet. ;-)

Praying and believing again,
Dineen

*****

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When They Are Stinkin' Mean ~Part II

“I try to read the Bible....but it doesn't sink in....I read it and I don't "get it".....I read it and I don't hear what other people hear....so I give up. I give up because I doubt....I give up because my husband is so stinkin mean about "religion".....” 

image from www.spirituallyunequalmarriage.com

Over the past few posts I have been sharing excerpts from a one of our new readers, Celia. Above she writes about her doubt and about lack of understanding the Bible. So many of you left comments filled with truth, prayers and encouragement. To read those posts, scroll down or start here with the first one.  

On Monday I shared with you the strange phenomenon of when we mature in our faith, even a little, our need to defend Christ and to argue the truth with our spouse diminishes. When we aren’t always on the defensive, our spouses tend to back off. 

Today I want to share the second truth. In every relationship and especially our marriage relationship there comes a time to: Stand up or shut up

I actually have very strong feelings on this matter. So much so that I wrote about this very thing in our book, Winning Him Without Words. Once again, it comes down to our maturing in faith and to understanding that we and our spouses see life from two different world views. Because our spouses don’t have the Holy Spirit to help them discern life, they often become hostile. Especially when you consider the bombardment of negative/hostile information about religion they receive via media and science*. 

I want to share this excerpt from chapter seven: 

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To read more, click on the photo

The man without the Spirit does not accept the things that come from the Spirit of God, for they are foolishness to him, and he cannot understand them, because they are spiritually discerned (1 Cor. 2:14).

They just don’t get it. 

Using the bullhorn approach with our spouse reminds me of the uselessness of a resounding gong or a clanging cymbal referenced in 1 Corinthians 13:1. Loving our husband and living out our faith consistently, in a manner that reflects Christ’s power of transformation, is possible. An unbelieving husband can’t argue with the fact that he is living with an authentically changed wife. And that’s the key: a transformed life. 

Pick and choose battles that are of lasting importance. Stand up for principals, for they keep you from sinning. Stand on the authoritative truths laid out in God’s Word. 

Agree to disagree on the small stuff. Don’t depend on your feelings for these choices, but look to guidance from the Bible, and pray, pray, pray. Consider the needs of others, yourself and your husband, and then decide if the issue at hand is truly worth conflict. Surrender your need to win. Let go of your desire to control. Be the peacemaker in your home, and let Christ handle the rest.

Jesus said, “Blessed are the peacemakers” (Matt. 5:9). 

A Transformed Life 

God is in the business of change. As long as we are breathing, He will be about the work of transforming our heart, character and soul. Our entire faith-walk is designed to conform us into Christ’s likeness. Within our unequally yoked marriages, God’s plan becomes remarkably apparent. The Lord will often employ conflict with our unbelieving spouse to bring about our transformation. Darn it! ~~~~~ 

Conflict or dealing with a mean spouse has a funny way of changing us. It’s not what we expected when we married but God will use our unbelieving spouse to show us His depths of mercy, grace, protection and unending love. 

I’m still amazed by this unexpected journey. 

One other thought. I recognize that there are people who are truly mean-spirited. There are spouses who turn mean because of unresolved pain and anger from their past. People can be mean when they drink, or when they are caught up in other addictions or they suffer from mental illness. All of these are issues that can pile on top of a spiritual divide in a marriage. There is hope even for people who are dealing with these. We have hope because our Great Big God saves. He restores. He redeems. He hears our prayers. 

If you need help with these other issues, there are fantastic resources available to help you and your spouse take a step forward. Seek out counseling, AA, online help through Christian organizations such as Focus on the Family. Perhaps today is the day God has called you to read this article and begin your new journey. 

Celia, I hope you find some encouragement to walk this path with all of us. It’s not always the easiest. Actually, I assure you, it’s not the easiest but wow, the experiences you will have with God and His son, Jesus, are so very worth it. 

Be blessed, Lynn 

*One day science will catch up with the theologians and we will discover that they were both on the right track all along.   

*****

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