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18 entries from July 2015

Introduction: Back to School Starts Here

NotAloneStudyImageMy friends, the Holy Spirit has been speaking to my heart the last couple months about the challenges moms and dads are facing as school starts back up. So many new teachings are being implemented in the public school systems that are complete contradictions to the truths of the Bible. Sadly, we feel helpless much of the time in how to deal with these things, as if our voice has been silenced. And the enemy has fed us the lie that we are powerless. 

The truth is, we are not. Is our God not big enough to help us with this too? I want to propose to you that just as we are mismatched in our homes, we are mismatched with our schools and culture. And the Holy Spirit has also lit a fire in my spirit for how we can help you get ready for school starting back up.

For the next five weeks we are going to pull key aspects from our book, Not Alone, and talk about how we can use the very same principles we suggest to raise Godly kids in a mismatched home in the schools they attend as well. We are raising the next generation to impact the world for Jesus just by living their faith. Now is the time to train up these future “world changers” (as Lynn so beautifully calls them) right. 

Moms, Dads and Grandparents, I firmly believe that just as we bring the aroma of Christ into our homes, we can do the same in our schools as well. We can display the love of Christ in how we handle these challenging areas to our children, to their friends, to their teachers and to those watching. I believe we are being called to rise up for such a time as this to bring kingdom atmosphere with us every time you step foot on that campus and every time you pray over your child’s day, friends, tests, challenges, etc.  

My friends, you are the voice of authority in your child’s life. What they are learning at church is great and can be built upon as well, but during the week, you’re the one who can help your child learn the truths in God’s word and how to apply them effectively to their daily world. And not only will you be helping them learn to navigate school, you will be teaching them the very skills they will need as adults too. We want our children to grow out of our faith and into their own relationship with Jesus. And during the most challenging years of teen and young adult, this foundation will help them stand strong in their faith and for Jesus.

Over the next five weeks we will: 

  • Strategically pray for our children to be equipped spiritually, mentally and emotionally for school each day.
  • Ask God for kingdom perspective of your school so you can begin to see how you can partner with your school instead of seeing it as the enemy.
  • Pray for divine appointments with your child’s teachers, other parents and the school faculty.
  • Look for ways to begin creating an “open-door” atmosphere for your child and his or her friends.
  • Pray for opportunities to show the love of Jesus and bring the Holy Spirit’s presence to the classroom.
  • Seek godly wisdom to know what battles to fight and how to speak in a way that displays the love and integrity of Christ. 

My friends, we can do this. You can do this. God is for us and has our backs. This is His heart for you and your children. If possible, get a copy of our book, Not Alone. Starting next week, we will cover key points from two chapters each week and have a coinciding discussion question to share our thoughts, strategies and opportunities 

In the comments, share the names of your children and their grade, the name of their school, principal and teachers. Lynn and I will be praying with you for your children and the people impacting their lives this year. Jump in and pray for each other too. 

My friends, I sense that this will have so much more impact on our schools and our children than we will ever fully know. Let’s be the righteous moms and dads our children need and let our prayers and faith be the greatest game changers and life builders in our children’s lives.

Today, this very hour, back to school starts here. SUMites, let’s get ready for an amazing year!

All in His love,
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Praying For Our Kids

image from dineen.typepad.comPapa God, Lord Jesus and Holy Spirit,

You are our Lord and our God. We come together as a united community, a family joined together by Jesus Christ. We love you. We adore you. We worship you and are your children.

Papa God, we ask that the Holy Spirit would lead us through this next several weeks. Let Jesus teach us and fill us with wisdom and compassion. Help us to be kind in our discussions and impart into our hearts truth. Give myself and Dineen Your words to share in our community. It’s our heart’s desire to equip mamas and daddies so that we can raise our children to become strong believers in Christ. We pray they will walk in strong faith for a lifetime.

We know our children must walk in public schools where curriculum contradicts your Biblical principles and truths. Lord, equip us firstly with the love of Jesus for our children. Love casts out fear. Then Lord, help us to make our home a safe place to land for our kids and a place where we share with them the truth in love. Equip us with every gift of the Spirit that will impart love and wisdom into their lives. In this way Lord, they will come to trust our voice and Your voice over all others that are screaming at them to turn away from You.

Teach us to love unconditionally and not to fear. Teach us to bring up our children in Your ways that they become world changers for the cause of Christ.

In Jesus name, AMEN!

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Back to School: Equipping Our Kids in a Contrary Culture

NotAloneStudyImage
Hello, SUM family! I'm so happy to be back! As Lynn shared yesterday, we are getting ready to kick off a new series on Friday.

Let's face the facts: We live in a contrary culture that ignores sound biblical truths. But that doesn't mean God's truth is outdated or irrelevant. Now more than ever, our children need this kind of teaching to navigate new curriculums and teachings that are becoming part of the school systems. We need to equip our kids. 

Moms and Dads (and grandparents!), we want to help you. Join us on Friday, July 31st for the launch of Back to School: Equipping Our Kids in a Contrary Culture. For five weeks we will take the principles from our book, Not Alone: Trusting God to Raise Godly Kids in a Spiritually Mismatched Home, and apply them to equipping our children to navigate their schools and culture without compromising their beliefs.

We can do this, my friends! And not only do this, but do it well. We are about to impact our homes, schools and neighborhoods in ways we can't even imagine yet and can only be done through God's Spirit, and not our strength. So, let's get ready! Invite your friends—everyone you know who will benefit from this series and anyone the Holy Spirit places on your heart to share it with. God will do the rest.

And, be sure to check out our latest resource on myKLOVE about the "Sanctified Believer." Download the app to your smart phone if you haven't already and join the discussion!

I love you, my SUM family. I am so moved by the Holy Spirit to help all of us navigate what's ahead. I truly feel God's calling to be part of this equipping and I am honored to be a part of it. Lynn and I love you all so, so much. You are precious to us! We pray for you, we contend for you, and we walk with you. Always.

All in His love,
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Back To School.... And A New Series Begins

SUMite Nation:

Train up a ChildWe are shifting gears.

Following the SCOTUS Ruling last month I quickly realized that many of us were staring “Fear” straight in the face. As mamas we were grappling with questions such as.

How do I handle it when little Johnny asks, “Can I go to my best friend’s house to play. Oh and by the way, his dads will be by to pick me up?”

How do I help my child to remain strong in his/her faith when the world says we are haters?

Is there a way to guide them in our new and contrary world today? 

How do I guide them through public school this year?

Moms and Dads, the answer is, YES!

We can raise kids to faith in a Contrary Culture. And in fact, I believe that the SUMite Nation is an unrecognized and unlikely leader in this area already. We have been living and thriving in marriages to spouses who support a humanism world view, gay marriage, evolution, etc.

We have everything we need to lead our children to become world changers for the cause of Christ. So beginning July 31st we are launching a new series… The series title will be announced tomorrow.

TELL YOUR FRIENDS. Let other moms know about this series because so many are living in fear about their children and their future faith.

Okay, this is a teaser….. More to come tomorrow. Tune in as we share some encouraging words that will inspire you as you parent and lead your children in faith. 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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I Kick Disappointment To The Curb!

I began this series on disappointment from a place of victory. Last week I have shared my defeat, struggle in captivity of the enemy and my escape. I have told you that we face a very real enemy who is continually looked for ways to derail our faith and life in God. The enemy will work relentlessly in one area, which has proven to be quite successful. The demonic realm will try to drown you. Not in water but in problems. And if he can’t get to you directly, he will overwhelm your family.

I'm mad!!

My disappointment and oppression ended while I was visiting my mother in Colorado. Finally, the day prior to my departure, the Lord began to talk to me again. I felt the oppression lift. The Dove came home. Hallelujah! Praise the Lord!!!!

I prayed with people that day with power and God showed up. But wouldn’t you know it, that day my daughter called from Cambridge bawling her eyes out about something. I was stunned. She should be having the time of her life. I spent an hour encouraging her, praying assuring her through FaceTime. Later that evening, I’m praying again with others, my son texted me with bad news and my husband told me an hour later that he had one of the worst days ever, at the office.

I kid you not.

If the enemy can’t get to you, he will come at you through your vulnerable family. I became furious. I began to pray with power and vowed that every day for the rest of my life that I would pray with power and protection around my family. I told the devil he can’t have me or my family. I walked around the vineyards, my house, on the phone with Dineen, with my prayer partners. My family is no longer open to attack because by God’s Word they are covered and sanctified through me. (1 Corinthians 7:14

I’ve been praying every day and will for the rest of my life for their protection, favor and covering. I saturated my prayers with passages of truth and promises of God’s Word. The devil must bow to the power of God’s Word and Jesus. So quote The Word of God to him my SUMites. And then I let Jesus loose on his head!!!!

My friends, I’m convinced God is raising up a great company of woman. We have been prepared for such a time as this as we enter in to the “End Times.” Our men are stressed, deceived, over-worked and broken. They NEED us gals. And at just the right time, Jesus will raise us up. The men will welcome us and we are going to do battle with powers of darkness. But we, who have been fighting in the trenches for decades, will be ready. We are already powerful. Full of faith. We swing a sword of such great power that the demonic realm trembles. When we arise, this great company of women, we will startle the world with our determination, our wisdom, love, kindness and our convictions. Our convictions and the love of Jesus in our hearts will conquer nations, restore homes, heal the people and bring the greatest glory to our Lord Jesus Christ.

So BATTLE ON WARRIORS!! We are in the trenches now. Jesus is teaching us as fast as He can so that we will walk in victory in our lives. And soon, very soon, we will bring victory to our communities, towns, our cities, to our friends and neighbors. Literally, we will be looked to for wisdom, healing …..  hope… And we, this great company of women, will point people to: The One.

The Holy King of Kings and Lord of Lords, Jesus…. Our God, The Great I AM and the Holy Spirit. The powerful and loving Triune God. AMEN.

Let these words come forth and set us in motion Jesus. All for your Kingdom! In Jesus name. Amen.

 

Many interesting perspectives, truths and revelations have come out of this season. I realized I truly have a powerful faith. I REALLY, really believe the Bible. I also sense that the Lord is giving me a new dream:

How about a retreat or a camp where we all meet and learn to walk in the gifts together? A place where we meet and allow the Lord to have all of us. A weekend together where we let God have His way and He raises up “A Great Company of Women.” Can you imagine what will happen in our world after a weekend such as this? It’s in the planning stages. Let’s pray about it because it will take a community to make it happen.

I love you so much. Get ready, the Kingdom is advancing. And always remember this: Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding. In all your ways acknowledge Him and He will direct your paths. Proverbs 3:5-6 ~Lynn

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Fight The Demonic

image from www.spirituallyunequalmarriage.comIn fighting against the tide of the demonic there is nothing more powerful than our words.

The tongue has the power of life and death —Proverbs 18:21a

I literally believe this. So I speak two kinds of words. Words of life - faith, belief, affirmation and truth from the Word of God over my life and family. And second, I speak words that bind, cancel, blind, silence and cast out the enemy.

If you could walk with me one morning in the vineyards, you would likely think I’m wacked. I pray out loud. I shout, wave my arms, raise my arms and let the Holy Spirit inspired words flow. The spoken Word in prayer wields great power. I tell the devil he is a liar and my God who is in me is greater than he who is in the world.

I will pray something like this:

In the name of Jesus, I command the demonic spirit of fear, confusion, sadness (any others that have been revealed to me by the Holy Spirit) I cast you into the pit. I silence you and you have no voice. I command the warrior angels sent to protect me to take you to the pit and to cut off your head. I have the authority of Jesus, my Savior, to cancel all assignments of the enemy. No weapon formed against me will prosper.

Angels, I have been given authority to trample of the enemy (Psalm 91). This very moment I trample on him and all his works and effects assigned to my life. I command the demonic into the pit along with all their works and effects. This spirit of fear, anxiety, sadness cannot go to my children nor follow any of my family line. I rebuke it and command it to leave me and my family forever. I plead the blood of Christ over my home and my family. In the name of Jesus and by His authority.

Jesus, I ask that you would surround me and my family (I name each one by name) with a hedge of protection. Place your holy angels around us. Prosper me and my family. Protect our hearts, soul and bodies. I ask for more of Your Presence and your anointing of the Holy Spirit in our lives. Let our homes be a place of safety, freedom, love, security, peace and joy. Lord, help me to bring heaven into our home.

Papa God, thank you for your faithfulness (I name several specifics). Thank you for your blessings and your provision. I will live to publish your deeds among the nations. Let everything I do, say and think, be anointed and inspired by the Kingdom. Thank you for Your Word. I believe it. I will proclaim it. I will use it as a powerful sword to bring freedom and healing to people.

Keep me humble and always looking to You. The only thing important in this world is Your Presence. I praise you. I worship you. I will always be loyal to you. I am your daughter. In Jesus name. Amen.

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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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Take Six Steps Out Of Disappointment

SUMite Family:

image from www.spirituallyunequalmarriage.com

I struggled in my prayer time so I made myself write down the many past encounters, blessings, provisions and favor the Lord has poured into my life over the past 20 years. My undeniable encounter, with the power and love of Christ was on October 12, 2012. That moment changed me and everything about my life and faith. I would cling to that truth as the anchor in this dark period. Then I would write down the love notes God sends me. I wrote about some of them here and here

I would then pray.  And I’m still praying today. I walk in the vineyards, walk and pray. I sing worship songs to the King of Kings. Worship is essential to keep us from losing more ground to the enemy. I would pray honest prayers and I would keep practicing what I have always done even if my heart wasn’t fully in it, even in my doubt I continued to practice what I knew was right.

I walked through a process and I’m thankful it only took me 30 days. It is my hope that by sharing what I walked, others will walk through their struggle quickly and /or become unstuck and reach the end of their captivity.

Process to overcome Disappointment in God.

  1. Grieve – your loss, your expectations, your disappointment, your faith, your confusion.
  2. Surrender – Give Him your plans, hopes, expectations, and again your confusion. Ask for understanding even knowing you might never receive it in this life. Forgive God.
  3. Pray – begin to pray again. Gather others around you to pray. Rely on scriptures. Psalm 91 became very powerful to me. I listened to it in a song so I could memorize it. I studied it. Looked at the Greek, Hebrew translations.  I believed!
  4. Listen and wait. – I waited. I’m not patient. But I began to perceive that God wanted me to enter a season of rest. He also wanted my focus and attention in an area of my life for which I'd been asking for healing for years. So I started to understand His intent in this season was to heal ME and just be with ME. My healing was more important to Him than another book.
  5. Choose to believe - I also thanked God and remembered and relied on my past experiences with God. His faithfulness in so many areas. Years and years of faithfulness in my life is what i leaned on in my confusion.
  6. Allow Time – In the rest and waiting I discovered that He never left me. He began speaking to me about four weeks after my disappointment. I haven’t nor do I expect an explanation. But God’s not finished with me and the healing and new dreams I’m receiving are unexpected and amazing.

My friends, tomorrow I am going to share a prayer that I prayed and I continue to pray that defeats the demonic.

Through my experience can it be that God is shouting to you in your dark place? DON’T GIVE UP. Don’t listen to the lies of the enemy. Fight back with everything you have. Put on the full armor of God. Remember and trust in your past history with the Lord. Focus on every good thing Jesus brings to your life. Choose to look up and not at your circumstances. And my friends pray even when you don’t feel like it.

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Disappointment -Part II

Proverbs 3 5 6Job Loss

Financial ruin

Divorce

Death

Years of sitting in church alone.

Disappointment, fear, anxiety

Rejection, pain, confusion…….. sadness

Whether we know it or not, following an unexpected disappointment, we will find ourselves at an intersection. Before us lies two paths and we choose which one to walk down. Faith or doubt. And In mid-June I was turning down a path that was purposely cultivated by the devil. My confusion turned to distrust and out of my pain I allowed an oppressive spirit access through an open door to my life.

Sigh!

Even my husband noticed I was in a really bad place.

I wrestled with, “Why Lord?” Anyone?

And once I allowed that demonic oppression in, it was hell to kick it back out of my life. (A post for later. I want you to know how to do the same.)

My friends, I will own my failings in this moment. Because what I needed to do is to focus on two “Key Truths” that I know deep within my heart.

  1. My God is good. Always!
  2. I have a lifetime (years and years) of experiencing the faithfulness of God.

It bugs me that I caved to doubt in a moment of confusion. And can I just restate very clearly. My disappointment was not about being published. Not at all. I was struggling with a lie the enemy was telling me. He wanted me to believe that God told me to do something and then He pulled the rug out from under me. The root lie: God is not good nor is His Word reliable. Just to be clear, I’m truly not needing affirmation of a published book. This was much deeper.

Even before all this went down in June, I began to hear the Holy Spirit speak this verse to me. It came in the middle of the night with whispers in my dreams. I would wake with the verse on my lips. This verse arrived in email. It was in the articles I read online. It came through many different venues.

Trust in the LORD with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways acknowledge Him and He will make your paths straight —Proverbs 3:5-6 (1984 NIV version. This is how I memorized it.)

God knew what was coming. He was preparing me. And because of this verse, it made it so much easier to flee the path of doubt and return to my vibrant faith walk.

But how do we pull ourselves out of the pit? I was truly under demonic oppression. I remember walking around the park and all of a sudden a great wave of sadness settled over me. I knew in the moment exactly what it was, I allowed this demonic spirit access. And even though I didn’t want it near me, I had to fight against it with all that I am.

My friends, to start climbing out of our oppression, we need prayer partners. People who will hold us up. We need community and we need people in our lives who really know us, the good, bad and ugly. We must be in transparent and authentic community. I have several people I reached out to and those women held me before the throne. They dragged my sorry butt with them every day in their intercession. They picked up my broken heart and placed it before Jesus with tears and pleading.

I THANK GOD for the Saints. I don’t often need this kind of prayer support but I’m so grateful God gave me prayer warriors. And you can bet that I have been on the other end interceding for many. I have interceded for so many of you my SUMite friends. I bring your brokenness before our Jesus with tears and pleading. I really do. And I count it a privilege to do so. And I will NEVER stop praying for those who call SUM home.

In addition, we need to have cultivated a strong faith walk over the years in order to persevere through trials. We must remember a lifetime of faithfulness and begin to give thanks, even in the confusion.

Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding. In all your ways acknowledge Him and He will direct your paths. Proverbs 3: 5-8

Sometimes we won’t receive an explanation, at least right away. But I have experienced 30 days of life full of pigeons instead of The Dove. And can I just say….. That kind of life, well, it sucks.  

On Friday, I will share with you how I battled for my faith and how you can too.

I want to be the voice for your life today and encourage you to take a step out of fear, pain, disappointment then determine yourself to choose to remember and trust the faithfulness of God and reject the lie of doubt.

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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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When God Disappoints - Chronicles Continuing

Hello SUMites;

Isaiah 55 8 9My friends, where do I begin? I have experienced tremendous defeat and disappointment in the last 30 days as well as amazing breakthroughs coupled with providential appointments, miracles and more.

The spiritual warfare has been relentless.

My friends, now I’m mad. I want to punch satan in the face and I promise you this, my mission for the rest of my life is to hurt the devil and destroy the demons.

But before I bring you to this place of war, what I found is that God needed to teach me about surrender. And man, can I just say, bummer! It’s hard.

Most of you know that I’ve been working on a new manuscript for over a year. My ability to write came under intense warfare last year through my son’s arrival in California. His family moving in, baby and all. His marital separation shortly after and what followed was six months of illness. Both myself and the baby. I kid you not, I was ill every two or three weeks, on the couch, in the doctor’s office, ill. I couldn’t pull myself out of bed let alone try to be creative and write. A entire year of warfare in one form or another was at hand.

But there are great answers to prayer even in the midst of spiritual warfare. My son’s wife returned to her marriage nine months later and the family is doing well. This was an outright miracle! Truly! Time marches on. I finally complete my book proposal and four chapters of the book.

Then on June 16, 2015 my manuscript was turned down for publishing. My title and content were now old and many new manuscripts with similar content and title were already in the process of coming to market.

I missed the window.

Disappointment doesn’t come near to describing the feelings that swirled within. I have learned to release offense and disappointment which I experience at the hands of people. But my friends, what do you do when you feel disappointed by God?

You see, I KNOW the Lord gave me the outline for this book. He spoke the title to me, clearly during my prayer time. I had several people, who don’t know me, speak prophetically over me about it. So, what do you do when you feel like God set you up for a great disappointment?

I truly struggled with trust for the first time in a long while. During the past year, I believed scripture promises and I spoke them over myself and my writing. I believe so fully that this book would come to market, that I had set a number of things in motion in support of the future book launch. I was that confident in my faith and in hearing the Lord.

Devastated, I wrestled with confusion. My prayer time faltered. I felt a terrible and great distance come between myself and God. I cried. A lot. I asked Dineen to pray for me. I tried to understand why God would tell me to do something then allow the warfare to ensue to keep me from completing the assignment.

Am I alone in this?

Anyone?

In this season that I experienced beginning mid-June through early July, faith was difficult and the core of my belief was challenged. But ………

Praise be to Jesus because He will not leave us in this place.

I have so much more to tell you, so stay tuned, as you have me all week. (Dineen is traveling this week) Get ready for some blondeness, some crazy antics, and get ready as we learn to deal with “our stuff.” Do you truly want to walk in freedom? Do you want to walk in powerful faith? Well stay tuned as we walk through the valley of the shadow of death. There is something waiting at the end. And can I just tell you…. Everything is going to be okay.

Today, in my heart I’m moved to pray for you. Perhaps you are also dealing with faltering faith or great disappointment, let me pray for you. Tell me how to pray and the specifics in the comments. Because our God is not dead. He will bring beauty from ashes. We are on the road to learn all about His redemption of disappointment. We need to know how to walk fully in this kind of tried and true faith because it’s going to take every bit of our conviction to walk in the months ahead in this world that is growing increasingly darker and more evil.

I love you, SUMite Nation. You are more powerful than you know. You are braver than you think. God has not abandoned you. He will, in due time, explain all things. He loves you WAY TO MUCH to leave you where you are.

See you in the comments. Love you so much, Lynn And stay tuned because there is MUCH more to come. Hugs.

image from www.spirituallyunequalmarriage.com

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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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Part 4: The End of the Story

Gill Intl LifeGillian Russell - The Conclusion


God had now reassured me of His faithfulness in this journey, but it was already midsummer and still no baby. The due date I had been given was August 28th, so I had expected baby several months earlier, such that it would be clear to everyone by the baby's size that it truly was that same child. Now, with everything He had led me through I still expected baby to come early. I was still sure God would do things how I expected all along-that was what He had asked me to believe and I could see the possibility for so much good this way! And honestly, I just couldn't imagine waiting five more weeks and I felt I shouldn't 'have to after everything.

I fought that due date for months but now with a little over a month to go I realized that by holding God to my expectations of baby coming earlier, the whole thing was becoming twisted into my demanding it from God. I'd found myself in this place just once before and it terrified me that I had let myself be talked into treating God that way. So I knew I had to let all my notions go once and for all, and surrender to God's way alone.

And so I kept waiting. 

I waited. And waited, and WAITED.  All throughout the pregnancy I had fought that August due date with everything I had. My labor began on Aug 27th, and  after waiting so long I was excited to have baby come even one day early, but God clearly had a point to prove, and a sense of humor. I labored gently all though Aug 27 and on into August 28th, and my miracle baby finally came about 11 minutes to 9 pm ON the due date.

Part 4 Gill

I finally started to feel those characteristic first tightening the morning of Aug 27. But even with a few hours of walking and a check up, things didn't pick up enough and my contractions continued fairly regularly through the night, while I slept in between. Finally after a lot more walking the contractions started to get more painful and we headed to the hospital.

Having my husband there in the delivery room, he got to see prayer in action. There was no other way, I knew I needed it. And he watched me walk through this labor, watched me struggle through something so hard- after everything this pregnancy was- and he was there by my side, and he saw me lean on my Jesus, hard.

And then baby was out and they said, it's a boy and I started to tear up, and I said gently, ' hey Matthew,' the name that we had somehow agreed on should baby actually turn out to be a boy! Shortly after (first) greeting my littlest son, I also said out loud, 'this is still our miracle! '

They asked us his name and my husband said 'Matthew', Then they asked his middle name. My husband said he didn't have one yet and I knew in an instant who he was meant to be and said, 'Augustine.' I didn't really even realize what had happened until after I'd said it, the Holy Spirit just took over! And in that moment, the last unresolved details of God's plan for this journey became clear.

All spring and even summer I had been so sure God was going to work a miracle and wow everybody, but I discovered later this certainty came from my own understanding, God had never actually promised such a thing. The same was true with my certainty that this child would be the little girl I've been waiting for. All along I was meant to have a boy.

Aug 27 was the feast of St Monica, the unequal yoked mama who prayed her wayward son into sainthood, and who also prayed for her husband, just like us! :) I had thought maybe baby would come then but instead he was born the next day, Aug 28th - the feast day of her son: St Augustine.
The timing was clearly God and I'd just been saying a nine day prayer for my husband too. Everything else aside, God had said this was our miracle, and so, he was. -Gill

Thank you Gill for your amazing story of faith and how we can watch God create beauty from ashes.

Isaiah 61:1-3

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.

Gillian and Noah

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Part 3: He is Faithful!

Gillian Russell - Part III

Part 3 Gill
God had asked me, in the depth of my soul, to trust Him to bring my unborn baby back to life. And although everyone else said this had to be a new baby, I trusted God that it wasn't, and now that I was most definitely pregnant again, I waited for God's miracle to become visible to the world. 

The official due date I was eventually given was 2-3 weeks earlier than what it should have been, given the blood test I took at the clinic that came back 100% negative. But most of all, God never once told me otherwise (directly with words to my heart or without words in that deep secret place in my soul). Indeed, it would have been much easier if He had. Continuing to hold onto this baby in my heart was the hardest thing I've ever had to do. Yet every time I began to think this could be a new child and would ask God about letting go of Annabelle so I could grieve and move on, I found no peace. The only path for me was compete trust there in the dark.  

A good friend also told me to keep trusting, because this was all so much bigger. She would encourage me to hang on to my boys, to my husband and to the baby, and to keep hang on to God, trusting what He had spoken to my soul, no matter what facts or evidence I might see. God had asked me to walk by faith alone. And she kept assuring me often that there was more to this than I could see, that no matter how it ended, it would be a miracle.

At the time I struggled with seeing it that way if things didn't go how I had understood and was expecting. As time went on I realized I really didn't know what would come of all this, and that was okay. I discovered a whole new depth of wonder as I learned to surrender to the utter mystery of His sovereignty.

The journey was like nothing I'd ever walked before. God had always come through with whatever He had asked of me in the past. By summer I was convinced this baby had to come any day now. I even started to feel mild contractions which I hadn't had early on with any of my other babies. But they came and went and nothing happened, and God remained silent on the issue.

As time went on like this, the truth of what God was really up to grew more mysterious. A wise friend listened to my story and then spoke right into the darkness itself, that God was letting me walk in this darkness now because He knew the joy and the strength and the good that would come out of it. God knows that it is in the darkness that we find our strength (and especially our strength in Him!) And so He was lovingly allowing this trial of my faith.

He was making me holy. 

I was so in awe of her words, and they were utter transformation in my soul. I had felt this struggle in my spirit many times before, especially when God felt absent. Practically at least, I often thought it must be something I had done  when God felt distant, like I had forgotten about him and now He was waiting for me to come wholly after Him again.  And yet the darkness itself, was a gift! For so long I had felt the need to fight against the darkness, the overwhelm, the heaviness, the helplessness, whatever felt wrong to me in my soul when they were a good thing, a gift, the real path TO holiness, and to Him! 
 
The pregnancy itself was also unlike any other I'd experienced before (who else has ever waited EXPECTING a baby for 12 months?). It was really hard on me, both physically and spiritually. The physical challenges, of course, my husband understood but it was impossible for him to have any concept of what walking through this was like for me spiritually. It was the hardest thing I ever had to do, holding onto this baby in my heart. There were what felt like many days, when I would be so tired by lunch time I'd have to go have a nap instead of getting food for my family. And by the end of the day I usually wasn't up to doing too much in the kitchen, or all that pleasant to be around either. As this went on, I began to notice that my husband had been stepping up with the housework to help fill in the gaps. I also realized he seemed to be a whole lot more patient with me lately through all my tiredness and upsets and I discovered this seemed to have started right after I specifically thanked him for being extra patient at my priest's instruction.

I began trying to find something to thank my husband for each day, and began to have some real success from the awesome marriage tips that Shaunti Feldham shares. In particular God helped me understand that I don't have to be ruled by my emotions; He gave me new perspective to see them as fleeting, and taught me to let go of my negative feelings and frustrations quickly, which helped take more stress off of my husband (stress that I had been contributing).

One night my oldest son was telling me something about bad guys and how (like I've tried to teach him) they aren't really bad guys (usually) just misunderstood or they don't understand the real truth etc...(Take the baddie cars from the 2nd movie- they were all lemons and never felt appreciated) And for some reason as I was reminding him of this it hit me so clearly: that by pushing me so hard with all of this- God was also giving my sweet husband greater opportunities to extend grace to me- as he saw me struggling. Through this journey God was giving my husband opportunities to grow in that beautiful, selfless love! It was such a profound moment to suddenly realize how God was working on my husband's heart with this too!

And in that way, I discovered that even though I was still waiting to meet this special baby, God had already been faithful! He had spoken to my heart right from the beginning that this miracle baby would bring change to my husband's heart and even with the baby still snug in my tummy, I could already see that it was! Truly, this was our miracle! While I still believed it was the same baby, as God had still not given me any indication otherwise,  I began to accept that it could be a boy and that either way,  the baby might not come before the due date or possibly not till after it sometime, and so it might not look anything spectacular to anyone- unless they are living close.  Close enough to see the miles that this man has come this last year- while I've been walking this journey alongside him with all the faith God has given me. Boy or girl, this was our miracle because it was alr Gill Intl Lifeeady changing his heart.

Come mid August I was still waiting. I knew that only God could know the timing and maybe there would be no great manifestation of God's power- ( for the world even) because God was working something much more hidden, in the depths of a soul. And maybe, that was the real miracle. 

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Part 2: Trusting God for the Impossible

Gill Intl LifeGillian Russell - Part II

Later that summer I discovered I was pregnant again. To be honest, I had not been so excited about a baby since my first child, who we had lost to miscarriage. After confession one evening I was praying in thanksgiving for my faith and my family, and absolutely thinking about this new little one that would join our family, when I heard in my heart, 'This is our miracle.' In my soul I understood that this child would be the thing that would begin to change my husband's heart, that God would use this child to bring about my husband's conversion! And hope just blossomed wild!

In my heart I just KNEW this baby was a girl, because a girl can soften a man's heart in a way that boys just can't. And God knew I had been patiently waiting for a little girl of my own-while living in a house with three little boys! I hadn't felt so happy and excited for a baby since my very first pregnancy!

Shortly after that God let me know clearly in my spirit that something bad was about to happen in my life, and then less than a week later I started bleeding. It was just a tiny bit and I still had confidence in God and His promise. But then on Wednesday it was heavy and I had to go to the hospital where the doctors determined I had had a miscarriage.

I didn't understand!

Why would God tell me this child was our miracle and then take that baby!?! I was completely broken the next day, until Lynn and Dineen sent me what God had been speaking to them as they were lifting me up in prayer through it.

Lynn's message was that God had taken the child to protect me and my family because there would have been severe complications with the pregnancy, and almost immediately I had peace. I was still terribly sad, but I trusted God to know what was best and this alone brought great comfort.

Then when I read Dineen's message, God led me in a strange and unexpected direction. In the message God said the child was not dead but dormant, sleeping, and His last words were: 'so I will restore the child to Gill, the miracle is still to come.'

With this I began to wonder if maybe God had meant 'miracle' in a completely different way! The most I came to understand in my heart was that God wanted to bring my baby (a girl!) back to life and He was asking me to trust Him to do it. Up till that point I had trusted God with a trip, a house and even my heart, but to trust Him to bring my baby back from the dead, this was just, BIG.

And yet in a way, I already did. He is the God of the impossible, and He'd already proven His faithfulness to me over and over again. That night on my prayer hill, still feeling broken, I reached and picked a purple fall flower and the second I pulled the stem I heard the name 'Annabelle' in my heart. Little baby Annabelle in God's hands.

That weekend I went away on retreat and everything God was speaking to me was confirming this course of action, and finally He had me make a bead cross and bring it up to the altar, not as a memorial for my baby in heaven, but as a concrete sign of my trust. And, even after I did this and was sitting in the cafeteria for snack afterwards I realized I was still holding back, my heart still wondering, 'but what if He doesn't?' 

I remembered what God had taught me in Texas: that true surrender means being willing to accept the possibility of what you don't want to happen. So I went back into the room with my toddler and, letting a little child lead me, promised again, telling God that this time, for better or worse, I was all in.

And so began a journey like no other.  

That was that. I was decided. I knew it was crazy but I believed because I know I serve an awesome God, a God of the impossible! I'd walked through these valleys of trust before and I know My God! He has always been faithful. Where He leads I will follow, because He loves me, and He always has the very best for me and for those I love.

As the days and months went on, many people tried to tell me I was wrong about this and I cried out to God over and over asking if I was still on the right path, His path. But He never said anything to the contrary, just kept asking and encouraging me to keep trusting Him. Several people suggested I take a pregnancy test, but I didn't feel there was much point, I knew even if it came back negative it wouldn't change anything.  I was still going to trust God to do what He had said and had complete faith in His promise, but I have to be honest, this kind of faith is NOT easy, and it is nothing I could ever do.  It is a gift, to Him and to share with the world- and the fact that I can trust Him, like THIS- it's ALL His grace. 

I did end up having a true blood-test at the clinic eventually, and when it came back negative this trust became a real struggle. Then one morning about a month and a half later I felt incredibly nauseous and had been really emotional the day before; my hormones were clearly all over the place. The feeling was characteristic morning sickness, but the next day it was gone again for good, and a few weeks later a test confirmed I was pregnant. To me it was as if the pregnancy, like a computer, had just booted up again exactly where it had left off. And in my heart I knew, this had to be that same baby. 

Everyone else said it must be a new baby, especially after the ultrasound concluded we were having a boy, but I would smile inside and tell them they could think what they wanted, God would decide. (This whole thing wasn't up to me anyway!) And so I waited patiently, expecting a new baby girl in the spring, maybe even close to Easter; oh what a resurrection that would be! 

I was so sure God would want to do things this way- to finally give me my little girl in such a special way, and what an impact it would have on the skeptics around me when suddenly my baby came much earlier than the due dates expected! Then everyone would know it was the same child, and that God is Lord over all the earth! I refused to confine God to a box where these things couldn't happen.

He'd asked me in my soul to trust Him to bring my baby back, and so I would continue to hold onto the hope of that glorious resurrection.  And so, even though the ultrasound indicated I was having a boy, I trusted God that this was still that same special baby (girl) that God had told me would impact my husband, and as the weeks turned to months and it got harder to have faith in this, deep down, I still believed that it was, and we would all see it in time.

Part II Gill

 

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Part 1: The Journey to Complete Abandonment

SUMites, Lynn here. I will be traveling this week. While I'm away, one of our long-time readers and Sister, SUMite Gillian Russell will be sharing a portion of her story. You may remember her and her astonishing story of traveling to meet me and Dineen in Texas. You can find her story about that adventure, here

Thank you Gill for taking time to share your faith with us. Hugs, Lynn

Although I came to my faith for the first time as a twenty year old, somehow God grabbed hold of me very early on in my journey: within a month I was completely sold out on God and I never looked back. While I struggle with many things, trusting God has rarely been an issue for me. (By this I mean for big stuff, trusting God in the little interruptions and frustrations in my day is a completely different story). Maybe it's also that I've always been impulsive, but when God says jump, I jump, (and think and ask questions later!) Honestly, it doesn't matter what it is, all I need is to hear from Him. 

So what does that mean for a mismatched marriage? It has certainly created some odd discussions but there are so many blessings that have flowed into all our lives from this obedience, because after all, God always works only for our best. 

A few years ago, while praying on my way home from a church event I heard these words CLEARLY in my spirit: 

Until your husband sees you, visibly different, (like my best friend saw the change) truly submitting to him, he’s not going to believe.’ That’s what it will take for him to come on board etc, radical humility. ‘Only when you are willing to lay down your will, will he be able to know Me.’ 

Gulp. 

Part 1.JPG Gill
Since then God has been helping me, one little step at a time, to lay down my wants, my desires, my way. In Texas God had taught me that I didn't need to try to run the show because He was in control, and of course He knows what's best. I was reminded of what God had told me about letting go of my will, and it was clear God needed me to stop controlling my husband, trying to get him to live his life how I wanted. 

In fact, God took it a step further by showing me clearly that as long as I was doing this, God would never be able to reach him. Like the prodigal son, my husband had to be able to live free, even free to make mistakes, and that would require my cooperation. This actually made perfect sense, so I trustingly said yes to God. 

A few days later I began to see just what that yes meant.

You see, my husband was invited to a party I did not want him to go to. Besides the fact that it was overnight and shouldn't a husband and father be home with his family, I knew that part of the festivities included strippers (Bachelor party). I knew this situation was not going to be healthy for him or for our marriage...and I wanted to put my wifely foot down, that he was NOT GOING.

Instead I had to lay that urge down, and let him make the decision himself, and look to God to get me through it. So I trusted my heart to God, only to have it broken when he chose to go anyway. I clung to God through the fears and hurt that followed, and offered up the pain I felt to God, together with the cross of Christ to win graces for my husband. Even though I couldn't see any real changes, I had to trust that God was using this to humble my husband, as he saw how his decision affected me.

I had never been so broken, but The Lord stood with me. Truly, I'd never felt so close to my Lord as I did those few days. I had given Him everything I had. 

The night before, after my husband had left for the party, I felt like Jesus alone in the garden of Gethsemane wrestling with the Father's will as my heart wrestled with surrendering this completely to God, for better or worse. Now God had taken my heart, and I had nothing left to give Him. In that place I found myself completely abandoned to His will, whatever it might be, from that moment forward.  There, kneeling by the water in full view of the cars going by, I raised my hands to the heavens in humble surrender. 

Three days later I watched God do a work of redemption in our marriage that only He could do. Afterwards I even shared with my husband a little of how God was responsible for it, because it was only because I was following God's directions that this new breakthrough happened. 

Only God could turn that place of darkness into a new dawn. Truly, the Almighty works ALL things for our good. 

Gill Intl Life
--- Stay Tuned, Part II is next--- Gill

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The Goodness Of God

FreeMy friends, I’ve shared many a time over the years that my life verse is Romans 8:28. I’ve built my faith life upon it and in 2014 went through a dark night of the soul that made me question that stance for the first time ever. I questioned whether God was really good.

But what I really ached to know without a doubt was this: Is God good to me?

At the time of this revelation, I didn’t feel like He was, but as the Holy Spirit helped me identify the lie that I’d mistakenly built my foundation upon, I realized I’d somehow connected His goodness to me. To who I am, to how hard I work for Him, to how good I was at being a Christian. 

It’s called a striving mentality and it isn’t pretty. I was striving to earn the very things God had already given me. Specifically His love and acceptance as His kid.

As much as I hated going through this process, and I don’t use the word hate lightly here, my friends, I know it was necessary to go through the transformation of my thinking as it says in Romans 12:2.

Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewal of your mind, that by testing you may discern what is the will of God, what is good and acceptable and perfect. — Romans 12:2 ESV

Amazingly, I think many believers are coming to this understanding, because God is focused on not only transforming His children but also His church. He is focused on the message of His love, clear and simple. And He wants that to be the message in the church as well.

I must say, I’m learning that these truths often take time to settle in and take root. I had one of those moments at church one recent Sunday, and I could even feel the shift in my mind. Here I’d thought I had this down finally, for the most part anyway. I can now recognize when the enemy tries to shoot the darts of those old lies, and I deflect them.  

But this wasn’t a day for the enemy’s darts. It was a day about God’s goodness. It was a simple phrase the pastor said, and I can’t even tell you what exactly he said. I do know that the Holy Spirit brought it front and center to my attention so loudly that I no longer heard anything else the pastor said. 

Here’s what I perceived this day—a truth that still overloads my brain to think about it. And maybe that’s because of the place I used to function in my belief system and can now clearly see it was just so slightly off center of the truth.

God is good. Just as the Bible says in 1 John 4:8 that God is love, God is good. That’s actually part of the definition of the Greek word used, agapé—goodwill.

The part that overloads my brain is that it has absolutely nothing to do with you, me, our pre-believers (though the good Lord knows they need to have something to do with it!), this planet He created, the work we do for Him, and not even our faith can affect God’s goodness. Nothing. At. All.

Even evil and worldly goodness world have no effect upon His goodness, because His goodness is completely dependent upon Him. His goodness simply is. It’s Who He is, Who He has always been and Who He will always be.

This causes me to look at a Romans 8:28 in a whole new way.

And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose. — Romans 8:28 NIV

God works for the good of those who love Him because He is good. Not because we love Him, but dare I say in spite of it. We are imperfect and can never love Him perfectly. Yet He works for our good, because in our love for Him we invite Him in to do so in order that His plans and purposes for us may grow and flourish in our lives. 

In other words, His love and His good plans for us were set in place way before we ever knew Him. We simply have answered the door to His knock when we said yes to Jesus.

And that brings me to a little experiment. Another verse that has meant so much to be in this last year and half journey of intimacy with God. Another verse from Romans 8…

And I am convinced that nothing can ever separate us from God’s love. Neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither our fears for today nor our worries about tomorrow—not even the powers of hell can separate us from God’s love. No power in the sky above or in the earth below—indeed, nothing in all creation will ever be able to separate us from the love of God that is revealed in Christ Jesus our Lord. — Romans 8:38-39 NLT

Let’s try a little change in wording to bring out this beautiful truth that is the final piece of my transformation in this area. 

And I am convinced that nothing can ever separate us from God’s goodness. Neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither our fears for today nor our worries about tomorrow—not even the powers of hell can separate us from God’s goodness. No power in the sky above or in the earth below—indeed, nothing in all creation will ever be able to separate us from the goodness of God that is revealed in Christ Jesus our Lord.

I don’t know about you, my friends, but this blows my mind. And brings God’s love and goodness into clear cut focus like never before. A focus that has no dependency upon my thoughts, beliefs, interpretation or acceptance. 

It simply is fact. God is love. God is good. Nothing changes that either. Absolutely nothing.

BUT…this truth changes everything…if we let it. How we see ourselves, our lives, our marriages, our children, and even our pre-believers. Even their unbelief can’t separate us from God’s love and goodness.  

My friends, walk in that reassurance everyday. Speak it out loud even if you don’t fully understand or believe it yet. I promise you, hearing the truth will change your heart and mind and set you free. And as you do this, everything around you will begin to shift.

“And you will know the truth, and the truth shall set you free.” — Jesus (John 8:32)

Praying for your freedom, my friends!
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Joseph: Fruitful in Challenging Places (part 2)

Blessings
Yesterday we stopped right at the point in Joseph's story where things looked pretty good. God's favor had blessed Potiphar's house greatly, but then things took a turn to the worst. Joseph was falsely accused of trying to rape Potiphar's wife and Joseph wound up in prison. What happened to God's favor?

But the Lord was with Joseph and showed him steadfast love and gave him favor in the sight of the keeper of the prison. And the keeper of the prison put Joseph in charge of all the prisoners who were in the prison. Whatever was done there, he was the one who did it. The keeper of the prison paid no attention to anything that was in Joseph's charge, because the Lord was with him. And whatever he did, the Lord made it succeed. — Genesis 39:21-23 ESV

God’s favor never left him. Despite the false accusation (sin of another person) and unfairly sent to prison (consequences due to the bad choices of others), God’s steadfast love and favor remained with Joseph, and did not change.  

A series of events (read Genesis 41) brought Joseph to the service of Pharaoh, where Joseph was given authority over an entire land and was given the name Zaphenath-paneah, which means treasure of the glorious rest.

Moreover, Pharaoh said to Joseph, “I am Pharaoh, and without your consent no one shall lift up hand or foot in all the land of Egypt. — Genesis 41:44 ESV

My friends, this struck me as so significant to the atmosphere we bring to our homes. As Lynn shared during our Peter Bible study, people have described her home is peaceful. I’ve experienced this as well. First, years back when we lived Memphis when I was a new believer, in our home in San Jose, and now in our new home in Florida—my husband’s family has told me this several times and that so encourages me that God is working for their good as well as my husband’s.

Just as God brought peace and order to all these places through Joseph, God does this through us! We walk in the favor and blessings of our Lord right in our own homes, and we become a conduit of blessings. Abba blesses our marriages, our pre-believers, our children, our finances, our work, our relationships—every good thing comes from Him (James 1:17). My friends, I know we feel lonely at times in our mismatched marriages, and we don’t always feel like our marriages are blessed, but they are. I imagine in ways we don’t even realize. God’s love and favor are not dependent upon our circumstances. They are part of His character and shared with us when we are in relationship with Him. In other words, we’re His kids! 

What I find even more profound and inspiring though it what Joseph says a few paragraphs chapters later.

Joseph named his second son Ephraim, for he said, “God has made me fruitful in this land of my grief.” — Genesis 41:52

Did you know that the Hebrew meaning for Ephraim is “double fruitful”? Not only was Joseph favored and blessed, he was fruitful too. Even in the place he called his “land of affliction” (ESV), he saw what he was able to do in such a place. He was a man who entrusted his life to God’s hands not matter what it looked like. And even in the challenging places (prison) he walked in favor and bore fruit. 

Dear friend, Joseph’s story is our story too. We are overcomers, who carry the very presence, favor and blessings of God in our homes. We produce the fruit of the Spirit (Gal. 5:22-23) in these places that we stand for such a time as this. It’s up to us to decide if we will see only the “affliction,” or if we will look for the blessings and produce fruit. I want to encourage you to do the latter. Ask the Holy Spirit to help you do that. He’s a great perspective changer! 

In the comments, share your Joseph story. What blessings has God brought to your pre-believer through you? How has Abba made you fruitful in your mismatched marriage?

Can’t wait to hear your stories!
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Joseph: Fruitful in Challenging Places (part 1)

Hi SUMite family!

Lynn and I decided to change things up a bit over the next few weeks as she is traveling this week and next, and I'm traveling next week too—time to head back to Florida. I have lots of great stuff to share with you that the Holy Spirit has been showing me that is so relevant for us right now. And we have some guest posts next week written by women in our community. So let's get started...

Blessings
Have you met Joseph? 

He’s one of my favorite people in the Bible. I love his story. He inspires me every time I read about him. The entire story of Joseph in the last 11 chapters of Genesis can be summed up by Romans 8:28, my favorite verse in the Bible. Perhaps that's why I love his story so much.

But there's a specific part of his story that stood out to me this time, and I believe it's specifically for us, SUMites, because we deal with difficult places, challenges and disappointments in our marriages. And especially right now, as we see the body of Christ—His church—is more mismatched with this country than ever before, many of us are finding ourselves in tough places. 

Joseph found himself in some really tough places and times too. He was sold into slavery by his own brothers, taken to the land of Egypt that worshiped false gods, and had to live and serve in a foreign land that had no regard for who he was or who he worshiped. 

The pages of his story never tell of any moments of doubt or despair. We never hear him complain. I can't imagine going through the things he did without having some moments of darkness. Maybe God didn't feel they warranted a place in Joseph's written story. We simply see a man who seemed to make the very best out of every situation he was placed in. 

Yet there is definitely more. God had a plan for Joseph from the very start and that meant some preparation had to happen to get this young, naïve boy ready for the roll he would play in saving his family, the Israelite nation and millions of others affected by a seven year famine.

Joseph started off in a place of favor. As the firstborn son of Jacob and Rachel and held a very special place in his father's heart. This brought the resentment of his brothers, and thus the catalyst of his journey into captivity as a slave. His story of slavery to freedom was almost prophetic for what was to come for the Israelites in Egypt two Pharaohs later. 

But I digress. Back to Joseph. Specifically, how did he walk in these great places of challenge among strangers in strange places? 

The Lord was with Joseph, and he became a successful man, and he was in the house of his Egyptian master. His master saw that the Lord was with him and that the Lord caused all that he did to succeed in his hands. So Joseph found favor in his sight and attended him, and he made him overseer of his house and put him in charge of all that he had. From the time that he made him overseer in his house and over all that he had, the Lord blessed the Egyptian's house for Joseph's sake; the blessing of the Lord was on all that he had, in house and field. So he left all that he had in Joseph's charge, and because of him he had no concern about anything but the food he ate. — Genesis 39:2-6 ESV

At this point in Joseph's story he is a slave in the house of a high official. Scripture states clearly here that the Lord was with Joseph. Now look at those verses again and pay attention to what affect that had in this house of an Egyptian, who did not worship Yahweh.

His master saw that the Lord was with him and that the Lord caused all that he did to succeed in his hands. So Joseph found favor in his sight and attended him, and he made him overseer of his house and put him in charge of all that he had.

The Lord’s presence and favor over Joseph was visible even to Potiphar, an unbeliever. This was so evident and so impressed this man to the point that he put Joseph in charge of everything. He didn’t concern himself with anything but the food he ate!

This next part I found so interesting and so very relevant for us, SUMites.

From the time that he made him overseer in his house and over all that he had, the Lord blessed the Egyptian's house for Joseph's sake; the blessing of the Lord was on all that he had, in house and field.

Did you catch that? For Joseph’s sake, the Lord bless Potiphar’s house. SUMites, do you realize that the Lord does this for us too? Abba blesses our homes for our sake, because we are His kids and He favors us. 

My friends, I have even more to share and show about Joseph's story and how this is our story too. Be sure to come back Thursday for the rest of "our" story. It will most likely challenge you as it does me, and I know it will encourage you. Our God is bigger than any challenging place we find ourselves in, SUMites! 

Love you dearly!
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FREE RESOURCE

SUMite Leaders:

All of us are leaders by the way. But for all of you who the Holy Spirit has been nagging to start a small group in your area, this is for you. Fall is around the corner and churches are starting to put their fall Bible studies and small groups together. Perhaps you are to step out a lead one.

Leading a small group in this area that you know well, is one of the most rewarding experiences in your faith walk. 

So pray about starting a small group. Read the booklet in the sidebar. Pray... Pray again. Recruit a friend to lead with you. And use the many resources that are here to help.

Note Alone Cover Art Book coverStudy Winning Him Without Words for marriages and follow that up with Not Alone, a parenting book that will truly help your children find Jesus even in a Spiritually Mismatched home.

Here is a new resource that is adapted from Winning Him by a small group in California. My friends, we can do this unique marriage thing and do it well. Then we can help others to thrive and live in the love and power of the Kingdom.

Hugs, Lynn & Dineen

PRAYER CARDS - New Resource.

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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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New on myKLOVE

My friends, this week I have a video on myKLOVE that demonstrates our identity in Christ Jesus. This was truly a Holy Spirit inspired idea that I am blessed to share with the myKLOVE community and with our SUMite community here. 

If you haven't downloaded the myKLOVE app, go check it out here. Lynn and I are so thankful for the opportunity to contribute to myKLOVE. It's an amazing ministry.

So, let's be the glass God has created us to be, my friends. When we know who we are and Whose we are, we are secure and set on a firm foundation. And that is the most powerful message we have for our pre-believers, for our children and for a world that is desperate for hope and love.

I love you, SUMites! Hugs! ~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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