5 posts categorized "Angela Smith"

Thankful Thursday -

I'm so excited that Thankful Thursday is back here at Spiritually Unequal Marriage for the month of April. I put up my TT posts around 5:oo PM PT on Wednesday so the gals who live on the other side of the world, can join the fun while it's still Thursday where they live.

First, I have missed all of you so much. I can't wait to catch up on what's happening around your place. The Lord has been up to BIG things and I can't wait to read about them.

Please post your thankful post on your blog/Facebook or in the comments here and join the community and let's be intentional about giving thanks to God for our abundant blessings. Be sure to visit at least five others and share their praises.

Let's get going.

 One of the greatest blessings of our internet community is to FINALLY meet you face-to-face. And last week after knowing my friend Angela for nearly five years through this blog, we met... Face-to-face. Here she is between Dineen and me.

  Lynnangdineen
I about hurt myself getting out of the car to hug her neck when I first saw her. Anyhoo, I'm so thankful for our online community here. And, I look forward to almost hurting myself again getting out of the car when it's my turn to meet you, face-to-face. Sure hope it's this side of heaven. 

What are you thankful for this week. Let's give praise to the LORD for He has done great things. Be blessed, Lynn

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

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The Power of a Three-Stranded Cord in an Unequal Marriage

The Power of a Three-Stranded Cord in an Unequal Marriage

. . . a three-stranded cord is not easily broken.   (Ecclesiastes 4:12, CJB)

Cordring In the verses prior to this, Solomon is speaking of how two are better than one because if one falls the other can help them up.  They can keep one another warm when it is cold and they can defend one another against an attacker.  Then in the last part of verse twelve, he changes things up a bit and speaks of three instead of two. 

This verse is often spoken of in regards to marriage.  It describes how a successful and strong marriage is one in which there are three participants, a husband, a wife and God.  I’ve also seen it illustrated as a triangle in which the bottom corners represent the husband and wife operating in a horizontal (physical) relationship and God being the top point operating with both husband and wife in a vertical (spiritual) relationship.  Regardless of the picture drawn, it makes sense.  Anything we bring the Lord into will become stronger as He has strength far beyond anything we can ever begin to fathom.

The illustration of the three-stranded cord though makes even more sense when you speak to a rope maker.  They will tell you that this is the strongest cord you can make because all three strands are touching each other.  If you add more strands, the rope becomes thicker but not necessarily stronger because not all the strands are touching at the same time. 

If one or even two of the strands becomes frayed or broken, the cord will remain intact as long as the third strand does not break.  This gives time for the other strands to be mended.  God works in this way in our marriages.  During those hard times when both spouses are at a breaking point, God holds the marriage together until He heals the other two.  And the good news is that God is a strand that can’t be broken.

So then why has an illustration regarding marriage that makes so much sense and should give so much hope, only saddened me in the past?  The answer lies in the fact that I am in an unequally yoked marriage.  My beloved does not share my faith, does not believe in the God that I so love and believes if there truly is a God, He doesn’t really care about us.  So in my mind the three-stranded cord can’t happen as one of the strands does not “touch” or acknowledge the one unbreakable strand.

However, God in all His wisdom whispered a secret to me recently, a secret that caused that beautiful flower of Hope to once again blossom in my heart.  He said, “Angela, my beloved, what makes you think that just because one strand does not acknowledge Me that I suddenly no longer exist?  Since when does the unbelief of one person negate the Truth of my Existence and keep Me from working in their lives?”  At that moment I realized, that even if my husband does not bring the Lord into our marriage, that does not mean that I can’t and it does not negate the presence of the Lord in our marriage. 

Regardless what my husband chooses to believe, I can still commit to follow the Lord and to plead on behalf of my marriage and my husband at the Throne of Heaven.  I can commit to love my husband unconditionally and to pray for him – his health, his success, his life (physical, emotional and spiritual).  I can commit to respond to him in kindness and forgiveness even if he does not always respond to me in the same way.  And if (when) I fail, I can go to him humbly and ask for his forgiveness.  My commitment to the Lord and my marriage brings God, that third unbreakable strand, into our marriage cord whether or not my husband himself acknowledges it, because by doing so I am sharing God’s love and strength with my husband.

And as 1 Peter 3:1-2 says, by doing this who knows but our husbands may actually acknowledge for themselves the Lord and be won over to Him by how we have treated them – by the love, respect and submission we show to them and which strengthens our marriage.

I will be honest, in the end our spouse may still choose to walk away and break what God has joined.  Our Creator has given us all free will, and our spouse may choose to exercise it by walking away from our marriage.   However, by bringing God into our marriage through obedience and submission, we will make that break harder for them to accomplish.  The strands of a cord not only touch one another, but are also entwined and woven amongst one another.  Our spouse’s strand must be broken and disentangled in multiple places before they can truly and completely get free of the cord they have been woven into. 

Angela smith Asking the Lord into our marriage will only strengthen, not weaken it.  It will only strengthen, not weaken us.  In the end we will know that we have been obedient to the Lord and can leave the rest to Him, the One who created us and knows us best.  Regardless of our spouse’s choices and the final outcome of their faith or our marriage, we will be strengthened by that unbreakable strand and we will have given our beloved spouse a glimpse of what that can look like in their own lives.  What better gift can we bestow upon the one we have committed to love for the rest of our lives?

~Angela Smith

 

Thank you Angela. You have inspired me. Hugs, Lynn

Dineen and I also want to give a "SHOUT OUT" to our blogging friends who are profiling our book today at their place. Many are offering a free copy as a giveaway. If you keep entering, you are bound to win one eventually because there are many to give away.

A BIG THANK YOU to:

Noreen - Life Blessings

Angie - The Knightly News

Debbie - Debbie's Homeschool Corner

Angela - Thankful Heart

Bonnie Paulson - Bonniepaulson.com

Mary Lu Tyndale - Cross & Cutlass

Jeanette - Making This House Our Home

Patty - Adding Zest to Your Nest

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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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Friendship with a Jealous God

For thou shalt worship no other god: 

 for the Lord, whose name is Jealous, is a jealous God. 

Exodus 34:14 

Names mean something, especially in the Kingdom of God. As you read through God’s Word, notice how often we are told the meaning behind the different names people give to their children. God even tells the parents in some instances what they are to name their children. And in some cases He changes a person’s name to represent something significant in their lives. Abram meant “high father” in Hebrew, but when God made a covenant with Abram and promised him to be the father of many nations, He changed his name to Abraham which means “father of many.” Jacob meant “supplanter” however later in his life when he wrestled all night with the angel of the Lord in order to receive a blessing, the Lord changed his name to Israel which means “God contended” or “he struggles with God”. 

I have a bookmark that I use frequently which lists the different names of God and what they mean. The names of God are important because they reveal to us His Character. Anything in this world that is good, is good because it is consistent with His Nature and Character. Anything that is evil or wrong is so because it contradicts the very nature of God. 

Ancient-Hebrew-Text  One name of God that I’ve discovered recently though is not listed on my bookmark – El Qanna. That is the word used in Exodus 34:14. God is telling us not only is He a jealous God, but His very name means Jealous. This posed a problem for me the first time I put much thought into it. We’ve been taught that jealousy is wrong. In fact, further down in the Ten Commandments, which this verse is a part of, it specifically talks about coveting what is not yours – being jealous! So then how can one of God’s names (El Qanna) mean Jealous? How can He be named Jealous when jealousy is wrong and we know that anything that is wrong is so because it contradicts the very nature of God? 

As I pondered this question, prayed and studied Scriptures about God’s jealousy (and there are a lot of them!) I began to notice something - two little words that pointed to something huge – the words OF and FOR. When we think of jealousy, the jealousy that is “bad” we are referring to our being jealous OF something or someone. We are coveting what they have or what we perceive them as having. This type of jealousy leads only to hatred and bitterness. Even when it seems to be for something good, for example, when I see a couple praying together and I begin to feel jealous of what they have. Whether I mean to or not, bitterness begins to creep into my heart because I’ve perceived them as having something which I desire. This is not to say I can’t desire to pray with my husband one day as I see them doing, but if I am not careful the enemy will plant a seed of jealousy in my heart that will flower into bitterness and anger – towards them, towards my husband and even possibly towards God Himself. 

However, when God is described as being a jealous God, He is jealous FOR us. You may ask, what is the difference? Beloved, the difference is huge and it is critical. God is jealous for us and the relationship He has with us. When Scripture refers to God as a jealous God, it is talking about His Jealousy to remove anything that hinders the relationship for which He created us. God’s jealousy is a righteous jealousy that arises when sin threatens the covenant relationship we experience with our Creator. 

In all cases where Scripture describes God as being jealous if you look closely you will see this jealousy has arisen because sin of some shape or form has attempted to break the covenant relationship the Lord has with His people. 

One song which has a very strong meaning for me is Nicole C. Mullin’s “Call on Jesus”. The end of the chorus says: 

When I call on Jesus 

Mountains are gonna fall 

Cause He’ll move heaven and earth 

To come rescue me when I call 

This overwhelms me with emotion when I think of a love so great that Jesus would actually move heaven and earth to come rescue me. Think of the bond between a mother and a child and how women have been known to have superhuman strength to rescue their children when needed. God loves us even more than a mother’s love for her children. 

Now add to that a righteous jealousy that burns within His heart anytime something attempts to come between us. I for one am stunned by this. He would do absolutely anything necessary, even dying on the cross to defeat the sin that attempts to destroy the relationship we have with Him. Can you even begin to imagine the love that is behind this righteous jealousy? 

There is a battle going on all around us Beloved – a battle raging because of jealousy. The enemy was jealous OF man whom God loved and created in His own image. This jealousy consumed him until he was filled with anger and bitterness and in rebellion against God he became determined to destroy the very thing that God loved. God is jealous FOR us and will arise against anything the enemy in his anger and bitterness tries to use to tear apart that covenant relationship. The enemy’s jealousy is rooted in bitterness and anger. God’s jealousy is rooted in His righteous love for us, His creation. I am so very thankful to be friends with and loved by a righteous God who is jealous for me. 

As we begin to develop our friendship with God by beholding Him through his Word, worship, prayer, and confession we should also strive to be jealous – jealous for our friendship with God. We should develop a righteous jealousy which arises within us whenever sin threatens to harm that friendship. Beloved, let’s become a people who are jealous FOR our friendship with God.

Angela Smith

(Angela, Dineen and I adore you and thank you for adding your wisdom and love for Christ in this series. You always inspire us to see Jesus and His love in ever amazing ways. BIG 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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Friendship with an All-Knowing God

In my first post for this series I mentioned that one of the keys to any friendship is not only knowing the other person, their character, desires and emotions, but also in revealing your own heart to them. Friendship with God is no different. In fact, in order to truly begin to understand Him and His emotions we must first open ourselves up to Him and allow Him to change us. This is done by pouring out our hearts to Him. However, you may wonder, if God is omniscient, why do we need to pour out our hearts to Him? He already knows our desires, emotions, and character. In fact, He probably knows our heart even better than we do, so why go through all the effort? Isn’t it redundant? 

To answer this I first want to go back to an example that Dineen gave on Tuesday. While talking about confession she used the example of our children. I would like to do the same. Young children are just beginning to discover the world around them, all the beauty and sometimes all the heartache. We already understand many of these things, but as they make new discoveries in this world they come to us with enthusiasm, wanting to tell us all about what they just learned. Not one of us would dream of saying to our children, “I already know that, I don’t want to hear about it.” Instead we listen with rapt attention, soaking in their joy and excitement while describing something to us that we already know. Their reaction actually renews a sense of wonder within us as we listen to them. 

If we love to hear our own children tell us about their discoveries and their dreams (no matter how outlandish), how much more joy do you think our Heavenly Father experiences when we come to Him with the same openness? 

In the same way, our heart goes out to our children when they come and share their fears and pain with us. We long to take them in our arms and comfort them. We are warmed that they trust us without thought to listen and take care of them when they are hurting. I loved Dineen’s post because I felt it truly went along with what the Lord was putting on my heart to write about today. She spoke of confession and how coming to the Lord to confess our sins actually frees us and allows God to show us things in our lives and hearts we may not have seen otherwise. 

Beloved, this is the same for all areas and emotions in your life. Not only the sins that burden your life, but all the hurt and pain, the anger and bitterness and even the joys you experience. Even when these emotions are directed at God, we should be sharing them with Him. 

I know of individuals who are very angry at God for things that have happened in their lives, but because they see Him as their Sovereign Lord they will not share these feelings with Him. They believe it would be a great sin to admit to the Lord that they are angry with Him. After all, He is God! 

What they miss is the fact that God knows their heart, He already knows they are angry with Him. It is true that their anger is misplaced because God can never do anything to truly justify our anger. Our anger always comes from misunderstanding what God is working to accomplish in our lives. We miss the big picture so often and it is usually because we’ve begun to focus on ourselves instead of Him. However, when that does happen, if we go to Him in our quiet time and pretend that those feelings are not there we are really just lying to Him and to ourselves. In doing so, we are shutting off our heart to Him. 

Now don’t get me wrong, I don’t agree with going on a rampage, screaming and yelling at God if our focus is just to scream and yell. That does not benefit us at all and is not respecting and fearing our Creator as we should. However, if we go to God with our true feelings and pour out to Him what is really in our heart, we open ourselves up to Him. At that point He can begin a work in us to reveal more of His Heart and He can then begin to heal ours. 

As we begin to honestly share ourselves with God – the good, the bad and the ugly – we actually begin to understand ourselves and Him in a deeper way. We begin to trust Him in new ways. We open the doors to healing and understanding. 

The answer Beloved, is that pouring out our hearts to God is absolutely crucial to being His friend and it is all for OUR benefit. With our earthly friends we share intimate things about ourselves so they can get to know us better. With God we share the deepest most intimate things of our heart in order for Him to reveal our true hearts to us and transform us. 

However, our God is a gentleman and He will not force His way into our hearts. He understands that true love and friendship is given willingly. He is waiting and desiring to be your best friend. He’s just waiting for you to trust Him enough with your heart to willingly reveal to Him what He already knows. 

Trust in Him at all times, O people; 

Pour out your hearts to Him, 

For God is our refuge. 

Psalm 62:8

 Angela

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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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What’s the big deal about Friendship?

A few days after Lynn asked me to be part of this series, I was having lunch with two of my friends at work when the subject of friendship came up.  Women at lunch  One of the ladies began to share how she’s never had any really close friends and how she often does not feel like she truly belongs in any group of which she is a part. As the two of us listened we had tears in our eyes. I’d like to say it was just tears of compassion, but in reality it was also tears of empathy because both of us knew exactly what she was talking about. We both felt the exact same way but had never had the courage to voice our feelings. This lunch was a turning point in the friendship the three of us share and I’m thankful my friend was willing to share her heart with us. 

This conversation got me to thinking about how many of us, especially women, crave a deep intimate friendship with someone, but seem to not be able to ever really find it. We begin to wonder what is broken within ourselves to keep others at such a distance. Or is the problem with everyone else, why don’t they understand us? Why can’t we find that kindred spirit that understands us, loves us and accepts us – the good, the bad and the ugly? Why can’t we find that special friend who we can pour our hearts out to, share our hopes and dreams with? Someone we can be ourselves with, someone with whom we can let down our guard? 

As I pondered this and prayed about it God revealed something to me. We can’t find this perfect best friend for two reasons. First, we are too selfish. Ouch! It is hard to hear, but so true. I would love to have a close friend like I’ve described above, but if I’m totally honest I just don’t have the time in my schedule to reciprocate what I’m asking for in a best friend. I’d like to think otherwise, that if I found someone like that I would be the same to them, but in all honesty that would just not happen. I need a best friend that has no life outside of me. (Be honest with yourself here, can you relate?) 

The next hurdle is that in order for this person to be what I’ve described above, they would need to know my heart (and my mind) pretty intimately. This requires a whole lot of energy, trust and raw emotional soul barring honesty on my part with another human being who I know is just as messed up and sin-ridden as I am. Who are we kidding – that is NOT going to happen! 

About this time you are saying, “Geez Angela. I was a bit bummed about this whole friendship thing before, but now I’m down right depressed! “ Not to worry though, because there is good news for us. I truly believe this desire in each of our hearts to have a deep trusting friendship is one that was placed there by God Himself. He wants this for us just as much as we do. In fact, He may want it even more. However, in order to obtain our heart’s desire we must find it in Him. That has been our first mistake – we are looking in the wrong place. This is not to say that we won’t or shouldn’t have close friendships in our lives, but that our closest, best friendship should be with God. All other friendships pale in comparison because He is the only one that can handle the expectations that come with this type of intimacy and openness. 

As I’ve continued to pray about this the Lord has whispered to me about what His design for this friendship is and what is necessary to gain my heart’s desire. That is what I want to share with all of you this month. What does it take to gain this desired intimacy and friendship with our Creator? 

I want to look at two things this month. First is focusing on getting to know God better. What are His heart’s desires, what are His emotions, what is His personality? Have you ever pondered these things? I want us to learn how to gaze upon His face and His beauty and spend time in His presence. Dineen has already started us down this path with Tuesday’s post. The second thing is how do we truly pour our hearts out to God? How do we reveal to Him the desires of our heart? Our emotions? Our personality? And why do we need to do this with a God who is omniscient and already knows us better than we even know ourselves? 

Unfortunately our human weaknesses, our society and the enemy are constantly bombarding us with lies to keep us from this intimate friendship. I don’t know about you, but I’m tired of believing these lies and wondering why I can’t attain this desire that is so rooted in my being. I’m ready with God’s Strength to take some ground the enemy has tried to convince me is not within my grasp. I’m ready to develop a truly intimate friendship with my Creator. What about you? Are you ready and willing to take a step of faith and become best friends with God? 

Dear Lord, We acknowledge that the desire for friendship that is so deeply rooted within us has been placed there by You. And we recognize that we have been looking in all the wrong places to fill this void in our lives. Please, show us how to be true intimate friends with You. Show us Your Face, Your Beauty and most of all Your Heart. And help us to truly open our hearts to You. We desire for You to be our best friend. In Jesus’ Precious Name, Amen


Meet Angela Smith

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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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