“Mama, you are the Christian in your marriage, but you are not showing respect to Daddy,” my two daughters said to me,” as they detailed times, places and events that covered several years.
And with that, my two grown daughters, Crystal and Heather, shoved a book in my hands, called Love and Respect, and said, “You need to read this, and get your act together!”
In that moment, I started having hot flashes (not from menopause, but anger) and I silently whispered, “Girls, I brought you into this world, I am a-fixing to take you out!” After their monologue of disciplining their Christ-like mother, I picked up my halo, walked out of the room and pouted with them for two months.
During my two months of pouting, I walked my neighborhood crying and sometimes yelling, scaring the dogs and leaving people gazing at me in bewilderment. My heart became like a water pitcher pouring out years and years of complaints stored up inside of me about raising two girls in church without my husband, along with other things “HE” had done. When I had coughed up everything I could remember about him, I then poured out how angry I now was with “Daddy’s precious little girls” for confronting me about not respecting him, of all things.
“God, my husband doesn’t deserve respect for putting me through all of this. Don’t you agree?”
Instead of agreeing with me (does He ever?) He gently nudged me to go to the internet and see what I could find out about living with an unbeliever. Say what? Never in all my years of reading books on marriage had I ever read anything on that subject. But, somehow, I found a site advertising a book called Winning Him Without Words, so I decided to order it.
My first night’s impression with “the book:” Not bad. Pretty interesting. Finally, I came to Chapter 4 - The Essentials of Love: Hope, Joy, Peace and Trust (Oh, Yeah, and Respect)
Oh, my goodness! Now, I have some author, what’s her name, Dineen Miller, telling me to have respect for my unbelieving husband. What does she know? She is probably married to a Christian. Oops, no! It says right here she is married to an Atheist! And her co-author, Lynn, is married to one, too.
My heart slowly began to melt as I kept reading through the night. It was as if these two authors were seeing into my heart something that nobody else had ever seen. They understood what it was like being married to a nonbeliever, but were also providing ten keys to thrive in the midst of this type of situation.
By morning, I fell on my knees and repented of not living up to 1 Peter 3 in the midst of an unequally yoked marriage. I also knew I was to start a group at my church in Orange, Texas for women “like me,” which is now in its 5th year.
“Where had these two women, Lynn and Dineen, been all my married life? Why had I not heard of them before,” I wondered on that first night of meeting them on the pages of their book. Well, duh! They were just babies when I got married; I had to wait years for them to grow up to teach an older woman like me how to live with this man I married!”
Meanwhile, on their website, I started meeting women from around the globe (and Ian, too) as Lynn and Dineen pulled us all together as a community to walk through the maze of a spiritually mismatched marriage according to God’s Word. Wait! Wait! We can’t leave out what The Chronicles of the Donovan Clan has taught us, too.
In fact, everything that I have learned from this ministry has so impacted my life that I have decided to keep my husband around a few more years, and “Oh Yeah, Respect Him, too.”
As I think back to that night in 2011 when I had my first encounter with Lynn and Dineen on the pages of Winning Him Without Words, it reminds me of something Sister Mock, my childhood Sunday School teacher of long ago used to do. When things got to going really good in a church service, she would stand up, whip out her handkerchief, wave it in the air, and shout: Whooooooopeeee! Glory Hallelujah! Thank you Jesus!”
Knowing Sister Mock like I did, I know she is on her feet in heaven right now, ready for us to join her in a shout-out. Are you ready, Sumites? If so, get your hankie out, and start waving it.
All together now------
“Happy 10th Anniversary, Lynn and Dineen!!
Whooooooopeeee! Glory Hallelujah! Thank you Jesus!”
About Martha Bush:
Martha's love for teaching led her into areas outside the school system as she began teaching Bible study courses in jails, prisons, and at her local church. She also writes a monthly inspirational post at Created Woman and is a contributing editor for Created Woman Magazine.
In addition, Martha is a contributor to Girlfriends Coffee Hour and a member of the Orange County Christian Writers Guild.
Through her years of teaching, as well as being an avid reader of human behavior and grief counseling from noted Christian psychologists, she recognized how a team effort can help build a foundation in children at an early age that will enable them to cope with the losses in their lives. She believes this team, made of up parents, grandparents, educators, and spiritual leaders, can guide a child to healing from losses he or she might experience. They can do this simply by recognizing his pain, listening to his pain and then teaching the child how to apply the principles of God’s Word to his hurting heart. This led her to write Helping Hurting Children: A Journey of Healing.