40 posts categorized "Conflict"

Offense

I'm Offended

SUMites, in the last 30 days the enemy has come like a flood and with a specific weapon, offense.

In the last four weeks, I’ve had to fight for my heart with all the faith I possess in a way I haven’t in a long time. I’ve battled, fighting against pain and fear and worked relentlessly to move into joy and healing. And after walking through this season, I believe the Lord is asking me to share what I’ve learned with you. So, I think we need to chat about how to walk with Jesus through emotional pain and how to keep our hearts from moving into offense.

What do you think, is this a good idea???

The devil will use physical pain to open the door to more sinister issues such as resentment, depression and fear. The enemy also uses emotional pain in the same way but with emotional pain, the demonic will employ bitterness and even do his best to paralyze us with inaction, shock and anxiety.

The Lord is well aware that the devil uses pain, wounding and especially offense as one of his primary assaults to invade our life and spew his destruction. What I’ve come to learn is that our thought life is especially vulnerable and can lead us into defeat while in the midst of emotional pain and offense.

Today, I want to chat about how to defeat the darkness of offense.

Let me start with a story:

Not long ago, a friend of mine was searching for some healing for her life. She asked me how to receive the kind of healing she was searching for and because she lived out of state, I suggested she contact her church and ask for some healing prayer. Well, I followed up with her about a month later and she told me that she contacted the church for a session of prayer. However, because they asked her to fill out a questionnaire to facilitate her session, and the questions were quite detailed about her past, she was offended. She never went for prayer and likely still struggles with issues that could have been given to Jesus in prayer.

My friends, I need to ask you a question: WHAT OFFENDS YOU?

Sometimes we are easily offended? We can watch television and be offended. We can be offended because a stranger parked their car in front of our house. We are offended because the Women’s ministry leader didn’t include us or ask us to participate. We are offended when the train is late, someone forgets to pick up their socks, when we are cut off in traffic, etc., etc. And these are just the little things that will raise an offense in our heart.

THEN there are other offenses. We are emotionally knocked out by words from our mother, father, sister, brother, children, boss, best friend or others. And how about when our spouse speaks something hurtful and you feel like the air was knocked from your chest.

These moments of pain are even more devastating when the words spoken are released with intent to harm, humiliate and are without truth. And hurtful words are especially upsetting when spoken by those we love and trust.

In years past, following a moment of hurtful exchange my gut reaction is revenge. I want to say something to hurt back. I want to rush to my defense and just set this person back a step. I want to react with a blow to their life that would give me satisfaction.

All the years of walking with Jesus, I’ve learned it might feel good in the moment to respond at that level. However, later it never feels good to respond in revenge and give pain to the one who wounded you. But boy howdy, it is hard to respond like Jesus and turn the other cheek.

However, it IS possible. And when you work through the pain and realize that you handled the situation with integrity and maturity, you will be filled with relief and there are some amazing things that are the result when we offer a wise response.

I think in order work through offense there are two processes that are needed.

In The Moment: You may have more to add to this, but for me, in the moment of a hurtful exchange when emotions are roiling, it’s my intimacy with Christ and my years of practicing grace and restraint through the Holy Spirit that saves me from escalating a situation and restrains me from speaking words that will wound others. I remain focused on words like redemption, hope, reconciliation and grace.

Remaining conscious of who I am and whose I am, reframes conflict. I don’t need to stoop to untruths or verbal mud-flinging. I don’t need to speak words that intentionally harm, control or silence.

(Side note: There are situations when it’s appropriate to remove yourself from the conflict, i.e., hang up the phone, leave the room, etc.)

After The Moment: How we process and handle the aftermath of an emotional wounding and conflict is utterly crucial for our emotional and spiritual health.

Join me next time for After The Moment, as I will share the process of how to keep our heart and soul from falling into offense.

Today, I have some homework. In your quiet time this week, I want you to take out paper and pen and pray: Holy Spirit, I give you permission to show me where and with whom I am offended. Write down what you hear then ask the Holy Spirit how to begin to move out of offense.

If you can, share with me areas of offense where you struggle. I hope to write about how to work through them in the next few posts.

I’m in Philadelphia and NYC this week, so I’ll be in the comments sporadically. But I will check in and we will walk this out in Holy triumph my friends. Hugs, Lynn

“You have heard that it was said, ‘Eye for eye, and tooth for tooth.’ But I tell you, do not resist an evil person. If anyone slaps you on the right cheek, turn to them the other cheek also. 40 And if anyone wants to sue you and take your shirt, hand over your coat as well.” -Matthew 5:38-40 (NIV)

*****

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-

Covers Three Books


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

*****

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-

Covers Three Books


Anxiety's Remedy

My Friends,

I will confess that I experienced an upside down week. On several occasions I was pulled into anxiety (fear). Can I just tell you I don’t dwell in the land of anxiety often and as I look back on the two incidents that threw me off my game, I’m now mad.

The enemy comes to kill, steal, and destroy our peace and joy. And many times in our unequally yoked marriages, he schemes to use our spouse and our children. Sheesh!  Does that somehow seem unfair to you as it does to me? Well, today SUMites. Let me share some truths and this next week, we will not live in anxiety but in peace and joy; the atmosphere of heaven.

Are you in?

Happiness- The root word is happenings. Our circumstances.

When our circumstances (happenings) overwhelm us and we feel all alone, isolated, distant from God. The enemy is aimed straight at your life and his goal is to keep you in anxiety fretting over all the “happenings” in your life.

Joy- is rejoicing in the Spirit. Rooted in God. The goodness and faithfulness of our Papa.

When we remain in the posture of joy, we DEFEAT the enemy. So how do we do that? It’s on our face crying out and it’s a life of thanksgiving. I’m telling you that if you spend even 20 minutes thanking the Lord for all that you have, you will change the atmosphere of your heart, your day and dare I say, even your spouse and kids.

So I challenge you. Every morning this week, take out your journal, write down in any random order the gifts, blessings and abundance you have in your life. Then watch as all of heaven rejoices with you and hell trembles.

Thankfulness is the key to open heaven’s gates and to rest in the reality of our Lord’s Presence.

Now here is your promise:

Rejoice in the Lord always. I will say it again: Rejoice! Let your gentleness be evident to all. The Lord is near. Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus. —Philippians 4:4-7 

Now the challenge: In the comments we are going to break anxiety. Praise the Lord with Thanksgiving there. I will be praying along with you and I want to know on Friday that you experienced the power, love, peace and joy of our Father and the Kingdom of heaven.

*****

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-

Covers Three Books


Line by Line: Do I Divorce An Atheist?

image from www.spirituallyunequalmarriage.com

So Gang. Before we leave the verses from Monday’s study. I want to expand upon them. The questions I’m asking you to ponder address a very REAL scenario in SUMite homes today. I think we need some honest conversation about the topic. 

Let’s get started. 

On Monday we read: To the rest I say this (I, not the Lord): If any brother has a wife who is not a believer and she is willing to live with him, he must not divorce her. And if a woman has a husband who is not a believer and he is willing to live with her, she must not divorce him.—1 Corinthians 7:12-13 

Let’s place this verse into “real life” today. 

Lisa married her husband twelve years ago. She was raised in church and because she didn’t have a deep and abiding relationship with Jesus, she fell away from church and lived in the bad lands of the Prodigal Nation for an extended time. (ahem, this sounds familiar)

She married her husband who wasn’t raised in church during those years. In fact, Lisa’s husband was highly intelligent and regarded all organized religion as ridiculous, a fantasy, and absolutely the worst thing to happen to an educated society. In the early years of their marriage, Lisa didn’t pay too much attention to her husband’s caustic remarks about believers, God, Jesus, and the Bible. But as the years passed, their marriage was difficult.

Two children arrived. They both held down careers and the pressure to pay bills, manage kids and to work more than eight hours a day was overwhelming. Lisa, like most of us, was wooed back to Jesus because of her great struggles. And she secretly started to listen to podcasts, worship music, and read books about faith, never allowing her husband to catch her or find one of her books. And she absolutely hid her Bible carefully as she knew her husband’s growing atheism would bring his wrath of words down upon her.

Lisa continued to grow in her love for Jesus. But also her fear of her husband’s great hatred of religion paralyzed her. She lived in constant fear to be “found out”. She mentioned God to the kids in the car but they never attend church nor would she ever share anything about God in front of her husband.

 

Okay…… I think I’ve described this marriage enough for you to grasp an understanding. So, my friends, although we are instructed that we are not to divorce our unbelieving spouse, scenarios such as this are very real. If you are a wife and are completely terrified to talk about Jesus to your spouse, is this verse applicable? 

And if so, how do we help this young woman to find a balance between Christ’s presence in her life, home and children and her commitment to her husband? 

Now be very careful with your words my SUMite family because there are many of your SUMite sisters who are currently walking this very path. I’ve been heartbroken for so many of you who live in this very place. Confronting a hostile-atheist husband is a terrifying aspect. Don't be quick to judge but quick to love and support. How can we help women/men living in this unique aspect of the unequally yoked? 

Please, please add to this conversation as I believe the Holy Spirit want to bring some practical help, advice and encouragement to believers walking this path. Also, if you are a man/woman in this place, have the courage to add your story here. Share what you HAVE done to encourage another woman on the road behind you. Even comment anonymously if you don’t want to use your name. 

Lord Jesus, today there is someone who needs to know they are not alone walking this very difficult and painful path. Lord, give courage to have them share their story and to ask for prayer from their SUM family. Lord, I ask you to grant upon them a spirit of Joshua and Caleb courage that they will find a way to be able to express the love of Christ in their home with freedom. 

Father, I ask that you bind the spirit of atheism and the hatred that is directed at Your Children. Lord, free husbands, wives to see that the love of Jesus in their home actually brings, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control.

Lord, release a fresh hope for these spouses and let your Holy Spirit fill them. In Jesus name. Amen.

image from www.spirituallyunequalmarriage.com

*****

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-

Covers Three Books


God's Preparation: Time + Honor = Fruit

10724044_sMy friends, this series about God’s Preparation continues. Last week we talked about trials and challenges, along with three key points in how Jesus moves in us and our lives during these times. If you haven’t read that post yet, click here to catch up.

This next part continues to build upon how God prepares us for the trials and challenges in our lives. We may be caught off guard by these situations that either occur as consequences of our own decisions and actions, the decisions and actions of others, and/or the enemy’s targeted attack, BUT God is not. (I’m totally getting this “but God” movement now.)

Foundational to this journey is trust in God, ever increasing trust in God. And in order to trust God more and more with all areas of our lives, we must believe that He is good. I’ve written about this before, but felt God nudging me to review this, because if we do not believe that God is good, that His purposes and plans for us are always for our good, and that He is always working for our good, then we cannot trust Him.

This is the truth of Romans 8:28:

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.

"All" means ALL in the Bible and encompasses everything. Even in the worst areas of our lives, in the worst challenges, in the worst sufferings, God is working for the good of those who love Him. That is His promise and He never breaks His promises and He never fails in keeping them.

God is not capable of lying (Titus 1:2) and He never has an impure motivation. He is good, He works for our good, and His plans are good. That is His unchanging character.

If you find this is an area that you struggle with (and we all have or will at some point), I urge you to seek Him for His promises in the Bible, write them down and pray them. This is so foundational and again, connects to the transformation of our minds (as I shared in that series earlier this year).

Remember these key points all found in Romans 8:28

  1. God is good. ALWAYS.
  2. God is sovereign and has a PLAN and PURPOSE for ALL things.
  3. God is an equipper and will provide what we need to walk through every trial and challenge.
  4. God is a redeemer and will bring purpose out of every trial and challenge and will restore what we have lost in His way and His timing.

My friends, I truly believe it comes down to this. How we perceive God and His character will directly affect how we look at our circumstances. The more we seek Him in truth to know Him more, the more we will see we can trust Him, and the more we trust Him, the more we can let go and have child-like faith. I know I want that more than anything, to know Him more and to trust Him with all of my life. He is worthy and loves us so much! It amazes me that He longs for this even more than we do, and not for His gain but for ours.

In this year of intimacy, I’ve had to let go of control, or more factually, the idea of control. I do not like pain and I do not like not knowing what lays ahead of me. Can you relate?

As I have shared in the past, God told me He was preparing His vessel. I believe He is doing this in many of us right now. The more I walk in this time of preparation, the more I understand how challenging it can be. I want to walk through this stuff with a heart to learn whatever it is that God is showing me so that “at the right time, He will lift me up in honor, as I give Him all my worries and cares (1 Peter 5:6-7).

I sought God for more understanding and this is what He showed me. We are like fruit trees and if you are familiar with fruit trees, they start off small and take several years to grow and strengthen before they begin to bear fruit. The growth part is crucial to the tree's ability to produce and carry the fruit. If fruit comes too soon, it is often inedible and the branches are not ready. Or the tree tries to overproduce and the branches are weighed down and can’t hold it all. Our struggle is often our desire to produce certain fruit or quantity of fruit before our branches have grown enough. We are impatient. (I know this to be true of me!) Preparation takes time. To grow, to prune, to be fed and strengthened. To become vessels the Lord “honors.”

Let me show you a funny little “truth” that God showed me. Take a look at the Scripture below:

Now in a large house there are not only gold and silver vessels, but also vessels of wood and of earthenware, and some to honor and some to dishonor. Therefore, if anyone cleanses himself from these things, he will be a vessel for honor, sanctified, useful to the Master, prepared for every good work. — 2 Timothy 2:20-21

The word “honor” in this verse in Greek is ti. Do you see what I saw? Looks like the English word “time,” doesn't it? And that was God's point in showing me this. Honor takes time and preparation and is done by the Master. I don’t know about you, but when I saw this, I smiled. God has an amazing sense of humor.

My friends, I know it’s hard to believe and even accept at times, but our trials and challenges DO have a purpose in them—God’s purposes that we can seek and look for if we are willing to let Him show us. This requires us to take our eyes of the “bad” and to seek the good. To seek God (and again I find it interesting that good and God are only different by one letter).

Remember these Scriptures from last week?

So humble yourselves under the mighty power of God, and at the right time he will lift you up in honor. Give all your worries and cares to God, for he cares about you. — 1 Peter 5:6-7

In his kindness God called you to share in his eternal glory by means of Christ Jesus. So after you have suffered a little while, he will restore, support, and strengthen you, and he will place you on a firm foundation. — 1 Peter 5:10

At the right time, God lifts us up in honor. This is part of His preparation so that after we have endured, He will can restore, support and strengthen us so that we are placed on that firm foundation, and bear every kind of fruit. And amazingly again, this fruit winds up being exactly what we need for the next trial or challenge.

I can think of no better way to end than with this truth:

Then the way you live will always honor and please the Lord, and your lives will produce every kind of good fruit. All the while, you will grow as you learn to know God better and better. — Colossians 1:10, NLT

Amen!

SignatureGraphic2 Fruit

Copyright: kudryashka / 123RF Stock Photo

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

*****

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-

Covers Three Books


Let's Talk About Lies

Greetings My SUM Family, 

My heart has received such encouragement and joy from your words and prayers on Monday. God has worked out some amazing things in this difficult time. We are now moving forward. I’m excited to see what the Lord has for my son and our family. 

I Heart you! 

DonotlieToday however, I want to talk about lies. In the last month I’ve had to deal a lot with lies and deception. And what I’ve learned is how easily lies can trip and flow from lips. Fortunately for me God has given me a powerful discernment when someone is lying to me. I quickly recognize when I’m not getting the full or correct story. It’s like a spiritual gut check and I immediately know some things are just not right. 

My daughter has even said to her friends, in front of me, “I never lie to my mom. She ALWAYS finds out.” Well, I don’t know if she has never told me a lie but most of the time we have a very honest and open relationship. I have given her permission to tell me anything, no matter how horrible, and I will not get angry or punish her. I’ve promised that if she is honest I would want to approach the problem with full truth and would help her through it. Same goes with my son and husband. 

I also know that so many people don’t have this kind of trust. And so many of us were raised in environments where lying seemed the only way to keep yourself safe or out of trouble. So we learned as youngsters to lie to keep the peace. We lie to save ourselves from pain and difficulty. 

But, as believers we must step into God’s calling for us. He is a God of truth. Lies are from the enemy. 

So today can we be honest here? Can we have a real conversation of how we escape a lifestyle of lies? Can we ask the question is a white lie really a lie? Is it possible to break a lifetime of deceit and live in truth and peace? 

My friends, I have some thoughts to share on how I’ve escaped lies. For example, the phone rings. My husband says, “I’m not home.” I answer the phone and say hello. The caller asks for Mike. What do I reply? 

Do I say, “He’s not here?” Does it matter?? 

I would be really interested to hear someone’s story that grew up in a household where everyone lies to one another. I’ve come to realize this is actually common in family dynamics. And if you are in this kind of dynamic and want to stop the cycle of lies, will someone who has had victory in this area, PLEASE HELP US. What did you do? 

I’m looking forward to some great comments of wisdom and help. There is NO judgment in this House of SUM. If you are struggling in this area, tell us, tell me and I will earnestly pray for your transformation. 

See you my friends in the comments. Should be a really great conversation. 

image from www.spirituallyunequalmarriage.com
 

*****

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-

Covers Three Books


Chronicles of the Donovan Clan

Stacked RocksThe Chronicles of the Donovan Clan began as a continuing story line of my husband’s faith journey as well as my children. As I think back upon some of the outrageous events God has orchestrated in my pre-believer’s life, I giggle and I ponder them in my heart as Mary pondered thoughts of Jesus in her heart. 

It’s been a while since I gave an update but something curious happened yesterday that I believe is a worthy story that will encourage you as you wait for your unsaved family to find faith. 

For those of you who are new to our community, let me bring you quickly up to speed. My son, daughter-in-law and one-year-old granddaughter recently moved in with us. They are relocating to California from another state. So our house has been crazed with one year old antics, crowded living and the stresses of two married couples trying to figure out boundaries. Actually I think the transition has gone way better than expected. And this little girl… Oh my heavens, she is hilarious and a blast. But atlas those are stories for another day. 

So with this in mind, let me set the stage. Many of you know that I go on a walk-n-pray every morning for about an hour. I walk in the wine country among vineyards and open spaces, by homes and pastures. It’s divine and I meet my Papa out there and we chat, I worship, I talk with Him and He with me. It’s the best part of my life. 

Also to set the stage my husband received a new work assignment that begins Monday. He will be traveling every week until the end of the year. Out on a Monday, home on Friday. This assignment has been described to my husband as very difficult, the work environment is hostile, and the project is off course. Oh yea! (sarcasm intentional) So of course, I have been praying for my husband and this new assignment. And as I was praying yesterday I clearly heard the Spirit impress on my mind this thought. Yes, this assignment will be difficult, especially in the beginning, but your husband will make friends there and it will work out. 

Wow! 

Later that morning I found myself sitting at the kitchen table with my husband and my daughter-in-law. The chit-chat was casual as we sipped coffee. But all of a sudden the Holy Spirit reminded me about my husband’s work assignment. 

I gathered myself and I said this, “Mike, I wanted to tell you that God said to me this morning that Yes, this assignment will be difficult, especially in the beginning, but your will make friends there and it will work out.” 

NOW… This may not be a big deal to some of you. But for many who are married to unbeliever’s even mentioning God can open a door to conflict. But in our house this kind of conversation has now become common place. 

I often share with my husband what God speaks to me. Or share what happens when I go to pray at the healing rooms. I also turn on worship music in the kitchen and it plays all day while I’m in my home office and he’s in his. 

Say what??? 

I mean even ten years ago I would never do this. I was afraid of the fights. Afraid of the conflict over our music choices. Fearful and weary of battling for my faith. I wonder if any of you can relate? 

Part of my fear and hesitancy to stand in my faith at home stemmed from my own doubts. I wasn’t certain about a lot of things. And it is likely that if we are honest, many of us live in this place right now. And that’s okay. Faith is a journey. But there are two central questions of faith that when you settle them firmly in your mind and heart your mismatched journey will begin to change. 

Do you believe who God says He is?
Do you believe who God says you are? 

After may years I feel confident that I’m firmly rooted in the truth of the Word of God and I know that I know what it says about God and about me. When I settled this matter in my soul, my fear of condemnation by my spouse, by anyone fled. I’m not worried about an eye-roll from my spouse or a cruel word he might speak when I mention my faith. 

I’m sharing this change in the Donovan Clan house because if God brings about a softening in my husband’s heart, He can and will do it in your home. This process is long and patience and prayer is your ally. But I promise you that when you are consistent and filled with the love and power of the Holy Spirit, you too will sit at your kitchen table one day and share the miraculous with your spouse. 

So, you might ask how do I settle these two questions in my heart? It’s relationship. Spend time with God. Come to Him like a child and chat with Him. Carve out time and read His Word. Allow the Word to challenge your doubts and silence the voice of the enemy. Replace those old doubts with God’s love and truths. Pray and ask God to settle these questions in your soul. 

Our struggle is Identity. And today our Lord God says, “I want you to believe who I say your that you are.” 

My friends, your identity is key to thriving in your mismatched marriage. And God’s Word is full of confirmations of who you are in Christ. Visit our Resource page on Mismatched and Thriving (click here). Print this out and when you feel weak in faith, or facing conflict with your spouse, when you have doubts, or just need to feel the love of our Father wash over you, go into your room, shut the door, and read this card out loud. I’m betting you will feel a change in the atmosphere. 


As I conclude this Chronicles update, I will tell you that I don’t know what my husband does with all of the things I share with him. Does he believe I’m wacked? Does he file the miracles I share with him away in a mental file to deal with them later? Does he listen but not hear? I’m not really sure. God doesn’t allow me to see into his faith journey. But for me……. 

If I don’t share the astonishing God encounters I have with my best friend on earth, the very rocks would cry out!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! 

"I tell you," he (Jesus) replied, "if they keep quiet, the stones will cry out." ~Luke 19:40 

And I believe that as I grow in my confidence to share my faith, God is moving in my pre-believers life. 

CONVERSATION:           

Can you share with me a time you gathered your courage and shared your faith with your pre-believer? What happened. See you in the comments. 

I love you my friends. Have an amazing week in His Presence. Hugs, Lynn

*****

Share your voice, heart and love in the comments. 

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

Covers Three Books


Special Guest Today! Please Welcome Suzie Eller!

My precious friends, today I want to introduce you to Susanne (Suzie) Eller. She's been a great support to the SUM ministry and now we get to share her with you! Suzie's message of forgiveness in her book, The Unburdened Heart is desperately needed today and by so many. I hope you find answers and comfort in her words below. 

Feel free to leave comments and pray for each other. This is a tough topic. And we'll do a random drawing from the comments for a book winner, who will receive a copy of her book.

Love you all dearly and know you are in my heart and prayers!
Hugs!
Dineen

SE13-1060-682x1024Suzanne (Suzie) Eller is a Proverbs 31 Ministries speaker and author. She’s written six books, hundreds of articles, and writes devos with Encouragement for Today that reaches over 500,000 women. Suzie is a radio co-host with Luann Prater at Encouragement Cafe Joy FM. She encourages women through two Facebook communities reaching over 20,000 five days a week. She’s been featured on TV and radio such as Focus on the Family, Aspiring Women, 100 Huntley Street, KLOVE, MidDay Connection, The Harvest Show, and many others. Most importantly, she is a wife, mom, and “Gaga” to four beautiful grandbabies. Connect with Suzie at www.tsuzanneeller.com

 

Suzie, you’ve been listening to many stories from women who struggle to forgive. How many women struggle with forgiveness in their marriages?
 
Nearly 50% of the women who share their stories on my blog, or in person, say that their biggest struggle to forgive is in their marriage.
 
For many, it’s when a spouse is continually unkind, or says words that diminish her.
 
In this instance, many women bear their soul and are told either to get out, to seek counsel, or to submit.
 
The first leaves a woman who desires to stay and work things out because she loves her husband and wants her marriage to succeed, with a heavier burden. 
 
In the second, seeking counsel is wise advice, as long as it’s counsel that is skilled in helping a couple, with God’s help, find new ground in their marriage. Many times “counsel” can be someone who do not have those skills.
 
The third, to submit, is often shared without proper context. The word “submit” is thrown out without the beautiful framework of instructing husbands to love their wives as “Christ loved the church”. This is why wise counsel is key. Submission is respect, it’s great love, it’s working through the harder spots.
 
So, how do you begin to forgive in this instance?
 
It’s a blend of truth, grace, and confidence.
 
Forgiveness doesn’t mean that abuse is allowed to continue. However, he’s not yours to fix, and that’s where we often spend our energies.
 
What can you do then? You can speak the truth. Truth is shared, perhaps in the setting of a counselor’s office, or perhaps in a moment where it’s not heated, after prayer and with love, and with the intent of working toward a healthier relationship. Truth is coated with grace, knowing that we all fall short. It’s shared with wisdom and without accusation. And in some instances, it’s shared with healthy boundaries, not to punish, but to work toward the healthiest relationship possible. (A great book on boundaries that is both healthy and filled with wisdom is Boundaries in Marriage by Cloud and Townsend.)
 
What about unfaithfulness?
 
A percentage of that 50% wrote in that they struggled to forgive because of unfaithfulness. I shared Carlie’s story, a woman whose husband left her after 29 years of marriage. In this case, the word forgive meant that God moved into the broken and raw places of His daughter. He knew her. He knew her heart. She intentionally walked into a relationship with God during that painful time so that He could fill up her “temple”, residing in Her, healing her, moving in her in those moments when she wanted nothing more than to take revenge, or lash out. In Carlie’s case, her husband went on with his new life, but she also had new life that filled her up in the harder months ahead. She was redefined in so many ways – single mom, single woman. But her role as God’s daughter was made that much more clear and concrete.
 
Unburdened-Heart_GrassSky_smallFor those whose spouse asked for forgiveness and who desired to change, forgiving is key as you rebuild trust. But give yourself permission to be honest with your heavenly father, with the understanding that there is nothing in scripture that condones unfaithfulness. It’s not in God’s plan or His character. If He grieves over the fallen sparrow (Matt. 10:29), then He grieves over your marriage. He is big enough to handle your honesty while leading you to a new level of spiritual intimacy with Him and even tender vulnerability in your relationship with Him as you work through this harder aspect of forgiving. At this moment, it may seem impossible to forgive on your own, but are you willing? That’s the only question that you need to answer. God is a Healer, and my prayer is that your marriage goes to a new place, but also that you sense God’s hand over you as you work through this difficult place, and that one day you look back and see His tender touch over you and your marriage.
 

Read chapter one of Suzie's book.

Listen to Suzie share her journey to forgiveness.

 

*****

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-

Covers Three Books


Conflict In Marriage - I Bet You Didn't Know THIS

image from www.spirituallyunequalmarriage.comI heard the most astonishing story this past week. And as I’ve thought about it, I’m compelled to share it with you. I was engaged in a discussion with a few people about marriage. You can imagine this particular subject will come up often because I’m so fascinated by God’s design for marriage.

The gist of the story was about conflict in marriage. What was fascinating is what one woman said about conflict with her husband. I’m going to share the story but I don’t remember it word-for-word so here is my adaptation.

A husband and wife were in the middle of an argument. (In the Donovan house, this would be called a fight. A heated verbal exchange would be accurate around here.) Well as this exchange began to elevate between this woman and her spouse, the husband and the wife became completely at odds and couldn’t understand one another’s perspective. The yelling heightened and then…..  all of a sudden the wife could see something, like a vision in front of her.

As she looked at her husband who was angered and speaking strongly to her, the vision opened up and she saw in front of her husband a demon who was grabbing and twisting the words of her husband as they came out of his mouth. These twisted words then landed on her ears. It was at that moment she realized she was hearing something entirely different than what her husband was intending.

I stood there listening to this story and it was as if I could see this happening in my own life. It was like a slow-motion replay. Mike talking at me. Evil twisting his words as they left his mouth and then the words landing on my ears twisted and angry, carrying along with them evil intentions.

Can I just say, “YIKES.”

My friend went on to say that she stopped the conversation with her husband and said, “I think I’m hearing you say…..”

“No, that’s not at all what I meant by that..” he replied.

That was the day they realized how the enemy can deeply entwine itself in the conflicts of marriage. That was also the day the couple agreed that in a time of conflict they would begin to ask each other for clarification. They would say something like this, “I’m hearing you say….. I think you are telling me….. I didn’t understand you exactly can you tell me again….”

Wow, imagine if we stopped and thought about what is happening around us in the supernatural realm during conflict. I hope this story changes how you have an argument with your pre-believer in the future.

On Monday, I will share with you another thing we discussed. And it’s something that has happened to me in the past. Now that I see it for what it is…. It ticks me off to know I was manipulated in marital conflict. Stay tuned.

So tell me… What do you think about this story and do you think this has ever happened to you in your marriage? See you in the comments. Live in love my friends because the devil is clueless to fight against you. BIG hugs, Lynn

*****

Share your voice, heart and love in the comments. 

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

Covers Three Books


I Cried For You, Sunridge

So, this is a difficult post for me to write. However, I’m following the Lord’s lead as there must be one other person, in addition to me, who needs this word. 

My home church where I have served and worshiped for 12 years is teetering on the precipice of a split. And I am grieved deeply in my spirit over this. The thoughts of people whom I love possibly now hating another person in our church stabs my heart in searing pain. 

Grief has sat heavily on me now for several days as I have prayed and ponder over the people of God. So this morning as I left for an early walk in the frosty wilderness, I was contemplating our church. I was carrying the heartbreak on my soul. 

Geese in DecemberI began walking and noticed the geese feeding in the field. Such beauty. And as I turned to head down a different road, that is when all of it hit me. The full spectrum of grief I’ve been carrying over this split came upon me with such a force that I started to bawl. I full on cried, out loud, while walking by the horse pasture. Big heaving sobs complete with snot bubbles and tears dropping from my cheeks. 

As I cried, I prayed, “O Lord, I am so sorry. I am so sorry this is happening to your people. I am so sorry.” 

I walked a little further, gathering myself down to sniffles and nose wipes and it was at that point, in that moment, I thought of Paul and how he grieved over the people of Israel. And I said to God the same thing Paul said and in that moment and I was genuinely sincere, “Lord, I would die to save the unity of these people.” 

And out of the blue I heard God immediately respond, “Lynn, My Son already died to save their unity.” 

Full on bawling again. 

“O, Lord, I am so sorry. Jesus died for our unity.” At this point, it’s complete blubbering. 

Through my tears God said to me, “Unity in my people is vastly important. It is in this corporate environment that my power is amplified. Miracles, healings, restoration happens. Remember the scripture, where two or more are gather, there I am also? Well, it’s in the united hearts and souls which brings my Kingdom power to earth and hinders the devil. That is why the enemy works so hard to destroy believers who unite to serve Me. 

Then I felt the Lord calm my spirit and speak directly to me again, “Lynn, you keep your eyes on me. You are to stay so intensely focused on me that you can’t be distracted by the dialogs and discontent happening around you.” And God went on, “Lynn, don’t you ever lose perspective that any ministry given to an individual to lead, including a church, has been given by Me. 

“You must hold your own ministry very loosely. There will come a day, possibly even as early as tomorrow that I will demand the surrender of your ministry. This ministry that you started is not your empire. This ministry is and always has been Mine. There will be a day when a younger woman will come along and she will take the reins and you must step away. You may lose the leadership of your ministry through deception or it could even be stolen from you. But, you are not to fight but to depart with all the dignity and honor of which I have bestowed to you.” 

“Lynn, and if you never serve Me again in any public manner, then you MUST KNOW that I AM all you need.” 

“I Am the Great I Am. I will always take care of you.” 

I finished my walk today with understanding and yet still with a broken heart.

However, I am firm in my commitment to hold this ministry in which the Lord allows me to serve with a very lose grip.

And one thing I know that is for certain. Dineen and I WILL ALWAYS BE all about what we are “FOR” in this ministry and not what we are against. And what is it that we are “for” you ask? The two things that matter the most to God. 

We love God.
We love People. 

Thank you for allowing Dineen and I to serve you. We love you more than mere humble words can say. And for those of you who live with unbelieving husbands or wives, a church split is devastating to their salvation. It affirms every lie they been told about church, faith and God. So armor up my friends because the enemy is prowling and the wounded and bleeding are falling everywhere. 

But, we serve THE GREAT I AM. 

So enemy, you are hereby put on notice.......   Expect some serious butt kickin’. 

We are going to step into the realms of the Spiritual battles in January. I hope you plan to be part of it because we are literally going to terrorize the devil. Love you so much, Lynn

Comments have been turned off on this post.

*****

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-

Covers Three Books


It's a Weird Journey That We Are Traveling

Hi Everyone, 

Radio1So, it’s kinda weird for me to listen to myself talk on radio. 

But it’s even weirder to listen to myself talk on the radio with my husband standing right next to me. Sheesh! But, my guy did listen to the portion of the broadcast where Dennis spoke to him over the airwaves. 

Dennis said something like, “Hi Mike. It’s pretty cool that you are not threatened by your wife’s faith.” 

Then Dennis followed up with a few more statements. As I watched my husband’s face while Dennis was speaking, I felt strange. So, I stopped the recording and asked, “So what do you think about what Dennis said that there is a book titled Winning Him Without Words and that “him” is you?” 

Well my low-key husband replies, “Well it certainly is much better than badgering me.” 

Vintage Mike Donovan, folks!!!! 

I just had to laugh. I then pressed a bit further and asked him about where he is on his faith journey. THAT is always scary and I rarely ask. And as you might imagine I received a non-committal shrug. 

Ugh!!!!! 

This journey of the unequally yoked is sure an emotional one. Some days I’m convinced it’s only a matter of hours and then some days, his salvation is way, way off in the distance. 

It’s a back and forth between convinced hopefulness and disappointment. 

And I’m finding I’m not alone in all this.… There are those who have emailed me recently who are so discouraged by the victories they read about in other’s marriages. Then there are those who have emailed me recently who are discouraged because they are not reading about many victories in other’s marriages. 

I understand both and I want to hug every one of you. I think at SUM we must be real enough about the real struggles and yet we MUST continue to focus on the victories. We need people who are finding power and authority in Christ to lead us forward. In this place we will always have some at both ends of the spectrum. 

For example, a few weeks ago Dineen shared a wonderful story about her family Thanksgiving. For her it was as if she was able to catch a glimpse, a reward, for all of the hard years of pouring into her children. She experienced a new level of peace and love with her husband. Well, honestly, that was difficult for me to read. And you know why, because after my son left on Wednesday, Thanksgiving Day dawned and my husband and I launched into a fight, complete with me screaming and lots of tears. Sheesh! 

I have to say that it’s been a long, long time since we have struggled in that kind of a conflict. It surprised me. It hurt. It was awful. Thankfully, we’ve moved forward. 

Anyhow, all this to say that there is a place here for all of us. Dineen and I are far from perfected. We still struggle with our marriages, with raising our kids to faith, even in our own faith journeys at times. But, it does get easier. The pain doesn’t last as long. Mistakes are forgiven more quickly and more than anything we learn to love better, deeper through the power of Jesus Christ. 

So, today I want you to receive this special encouragement. I want you to own it. To KNOW it. To let it live inside of you with such truth and passion that the fiery darts of the enemy just bounce off because of it. 

Say this with me now:

I am treasured by God.

I am beautiful to God.

I am loved by God, His son, Jesus and the Holy Spirit.

God always has His best for me. I will lack nothing. I will rise above all things and soar on wings like eagles. I will taste of the good life just because I am His. I will live in victory, love, peace and will fulfill my purpose and His plans. I will be happy and will proclaim the gospel is the living hope of the world. 

My friends, we are so loved by our Lord. And I’m convinced that we must truly KNOW this in our bones. So, for the next few weeks we are going to be talking about love. It is a power that can conquer all things and we have it within us. 

Come back Monday because it’s time to talk about an area so many of us struggle with. How do we love ourselves? Ooooooh, it’s going to be good. Because when we figure this out, our husband’s unbelief loses all power and authority over us. 

And then stay tuned for January because we are going to be on the F.B.I. watch list…. *grin* More to come on that. You will love it. 

I love you my warrior friends. Choose love this day and tell someone you love them. Hugs, Lynn

*****

Share your voice, heart and love in the comments. 

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

Covers Three Books


God's Unexpected Healing, Part 2

WorshipMy friends, last week I shared the first part of my unexpected healing at Bethel Church and God’s gift of truth from a dear woman named Helen. Now for the rest of the story. Or rather, the results of this dramatic healing in my life that keeps playing out on a daily basis. Wow!

I really didn’t understand everything at the time that it happened. The full reality didn’t unfold immediately. With this kind of internal healing, it’s like a walk of discovery. Only as you move forward do you see the changes.

I remember when I worked as a youth minister, I loved the verse Galatians 5:1, “It is for freedom that Christ set us free.” I craved that verse, wanted it to be true in my life more than anything but after a while I doubted it was possible. Seemed like my faith walk and life was an emotional roller coaster ride most of the time.

But over the years, as I submitted more and more of my heart to God, He has entered and healed as much as I allowed Him. Go back and read that sentence and see if that’s true for you. Do you limit what God has access to in your heart? Why? Keep reading and see if your answer is the same as mine was.

The conference at Bethel was the near completion (I say near because I believe we are constantly being perfected in our faith, and I in no way want to assume God is done in this area of my life) of a process that started in 2002 to free me of a past full of hurts and rejections that I’d allowed the enemy to use to hold me in bondage.

As I submitted more and asked for more freedom in my life, God was and is faithful. The process is ongoing! I am so radically changed! Sometimes we think we’ve completely submitted to God but He shows us more that He wants access to in order to show us who He created us to be through Jesus Christ, who we always were, are and are meant to be in our identity in Jesus. And very often to restore what the enemy has taken away.

My immediate proof was in the security and peace I felt. Then I noticed that I could look people straight in the eye. I didn’t dart my glance away out of shyness. I WANTED to look at them and I didn’t fear them looking back at me.

Then came our evening worship. I stood, anxious to worship God. My heart was so full of gratitude for what He’d done in me, even though I didn’t fully understand it yet, I knew He’d freed me. The music started and I can only describe it as if my spirit were dancing inside of me. I literally wanted to twirl like a little girl! Where I once used to hesitate out of fear of what others might think, I had not a care of what I looked like. It didn’t matter to me anymore.

At one point I shed the thin black jacket that I wore. Lynn was standing in the aisle a couple rows behind and says it was like witnessing my freedom come to life as I shed a mantle of darkness for God’s freedom. (I’ll let her tell that story if God leads her to.) I only know that I felt like I was dancing before God. I even remember the way I felt as a girl taking ballet lessons and losing myself in the joy of the movement. And now it was again like that elegant dance but this time, all to worship God. More proof of God’s unexpected healing.

And more kept coming. When I returned home and back to my office, all those things I’d been striving for didn’t matter anymore. And I don’t mean that they weren’t important—they are and they have their place in what God is calling me to do. They just didn’t define me anymore. My work for God no longer defined me. My relationship with Him and who He says I am now does. The rest is extra for Him and I to share together and my chance to give to others what He has so generously given me.

My entire world has changed. I used to structure my day by first starting with God, my quiet time of course, and then the rest of my day was about my work. My agenda. Now God is my agenda. I can’t figure out a better way to say it. All the work stuff—what matters gets done. But whatever God has planned for the day comes first.

I used to dread interruptions because they took me away from what I needed to get done. My agenda was priority. I truly wanted to be available to God but didn’t want it to be inconvenient. Now, as I walk through my days, I look for those interruptions! They are sweet times to see God at work in OUR lives (Not just mine. Yours too!) in a very real and tangible way and to be a part of that. To co-labor (love that word!) with God to reach the broken hearts He sets in our path at the most unexpected times.

And I will share one other place in my life that is radically changed. My fear is gone! Yes, that is the most radical area of my healing. Was your answer the same? Does your fear of what God might do or ask you to do limit Him? I know mine did.

My prayer life is very different now as well. I didn’t realize how big of a hold fear had in my life. The enemy had worked layer upon layer of fear in my life since I was a child. And that fear is what kept me from praying boldly and from understanding my authority in Jesus Christ.

Now I am learning to pray boldly in the Holy Spirit and I am seeing breakthroughs and answers to prayers. Areas of conflict in my life in which I normally would avoid rather than face, I now confront confidently and insist it be dealt with. This is an HUGE area for me!

My friends, let me emphasize that I did NONE of this! This is all God. He did this and is doing all this in me. I didn’t work at it, make a plan of action, set up a prayer regiment, or anything like that. I had been praying for God to make me bolder, like Paul. I wanted to be confident in Him and not afraid to step forward or to take a risk. I told God I was tired of being insecure and lacking confidence. What I didn’t realize is that was also part of God’s process in exposing what He wanted to heal in my life.

Please understand, this is about complete submission. My biggest prayer had been for more of God. I wanted more of Him in my life. I wanted Him to BE my life. The amazing thing is, God WANTS to do this in us and give Himself to us.

So I say to you: Ask and it will be given to you; seek and you will find; knock and the door will be opened to you. For everyone who asks receives; the one who seeks finds; and to the one who knocks, the door will be opened.

Which of you fathers, if your son asks for a fish, will give him a snake instead? Or if he asks for an egg, will give him a scorpion? If you then, though you are evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your Father in heaven give the Holy Spirit to those who ask him! — Luke 11:7

The emphasis in this verse is mine because this truth just stood out to me this week. We miss this last line thinking we get what Jesus is saying, that we are to ask God for what we need. But hear me right how, Jesus is saying the Father wants to give us something better.

Himself.

God wants to give us HIS HOLY SPIRIT. Not just to indwell us as part of our salvation, Christ living in us. But his very presence!

Because He is all we truly need. The rest will come, just trust Him for it. And I promise you, that may seem like an impossible thing to do, but when we want God’s presence more than anything in our lives—I mean truly crave it—the rest just isn’t as important anymore or you are confident in God’s provision and care.

Let that truth sink in deep, my precious friends. I will have to finish this blog post next week as it seems God had so much more for me to share than I realized. And I dare say next week will have more revelations—one in particular, the mystery of God’s love.

Join me next week and I will tell you what fear and love have in common. The answer just might surprise you. I know it did me.

Know that I love you with the heart of Jesus!
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-

Covers Three Books


A Day in the Life of a S.U.M.

IMG_0017
Hello, my dear friends! How I missed you this past week. I shared in my last post that my hubby and I were off to a get-away to celebrate our 25th wedding anniversary and have some R&R. Our destination?

Kauai, Hawaii.

Yes, truly and for real. This was our first time to visit this tropical paradise. We loved every bit of our time there to reconnect, relax and recharge. Okay, so that’s three “R”s instead of just R&R. But we are talking about Hawaii here.

This not so brave girl did things like Stand Up Paddle Surfing (SUP), kayaking, hiking in the rainforest to a waterfall, swimming in aforementioned waterfall, and traipsing around a chocolate farm (I know, such a hardship to taste new-to-me fruits and chocolate, but I managed to plug through...)

We packed a lot in our 5 days there. Even managed to coerce my hubby to take one afternoon to sit in a lounge chair by the beach and read his Kindle. (i.e. let your wife catch her breath.)

IMG_1758
Mike and I standing on lava...

But there’s one day I want to share with you because it so closely captures what we walk on a daily basis in our mismatched marriages and how God can take our difficult moments and turn them into blessings.

On our first day out I made the mistake (can I call it that lightly?) of bringing up God and creation. I think I was just so enamored with Kauai and the sweet gift of a Zebra Dove God sent in my quiet time to coo and spread his tail feathers at me. Right at my feet! Okay, that’s a story for another day.

So here we are in our Jeep rental with the top down and the Hawaiian breezes blowing through our hair and the vibrant colors of tropical flowers tickling our senses—how could I not think of God, right?

I start sharing because I’m thinking this is an opportunity for me to move toward him. To show him I’m willing to keep an open mind about God’s creation and how it all came about. I’m expecting that we’ll have this amiable conversation that will draw us closer, which is the whole point of our trip.

Unfortunately, that’s not what happened. He politely shut me down, saying he doesn’t want to have an argument.

What just happened? That’s not what I expected. My feelings are now hurt because my effort to meet him part way has been met with a roadblock. I really and truly thought this would turn out so much better. I withdraw and try to explain why I brought it up and he now feels horrible for upsetting me.

Have you been there? Or is a better question, how often have you been there?

Perhaps my efforts were also about defending my faith, which I sometimes still feel I need to do, even though I don’t. Or more likely, was I trying to defend God as Lynn talked about in yesterday’s post?

These are tough moments in our mismatched marriages. They’re places we can get stuck and ruminate in our hurt and feel misunderstood. It’s not easy to move past them, but I was determined to not let this ruin our day or even our trip.

Because here is what happened later that day. My husband and I headed to the northern part of the island in Princeville and found new wedding bands. My husband wanted do what we’d done on our 10th anniversary—we replaced our gold bands for silver and turquoise to commemorate our trip to Arizona.

IMG_1835We now have new bands that are tungsten with a center band made of Koa wood, which stands for boldness, strength and fearlessness. We exchanged rings on the beach the next morning in front of a gorgeous sunrise.

What’s my point? In just a matter of hours, my marriage picture shifted from one extreme to another. The best way I can describe this is to think of these moments as pictures in a scrapbook filled with images and memories. The idea is to move among these pictures that are held in a book that binds it all together. Not one specific picture is the entire book, nor does it likely define the entire album. And those blurry and not so great pictures? I know I don’t include the ones that are out of focus, have a finger hanging in them, or my eyes are shut. I want to leave room for the best pictures. The ones that capture the heart and meaning of the moment.

When we focus on just one picture, one aspect of our marriage like our spouse’s unbelief or difference in belief or whatever that may be for you, we miss the moments of blessings that God so desperately wants to bring to us, to bless us, to bless our spouse, to bless our marriage.

This album—the binding and the pages—is God’s presence and spirit weaving in and around, bringing everything in our lives together in this collection of memories, experiences, spiritual growth, and everything that defines and builds our lives and marriages. He is the one who holds it all together, whether our prebelievers know it or not!

Doesn’t that just blow you away? Our loved one’s choice to not follow or trust God right now doesn’t diminish or preclude God’s power or presence in our lives and marriages. Let that truth sink in deep into your heart, my precious friends. I want so much to pour that hope into you more than anything.

A moment in my hands and control ended in grief, but God brought it full circle and turned it into what I’d hoped for—a moment of connection and meaning. It just didn’t need to be focused on our faith differences. One of the greatest gifts you can give to your prebeliever is to not define your marriage by your faith disparity. And in keeping your focus on God instead, you give Him the gift of trust, which is another way to worship Him. There’s even a gift in there for us—living in peace and even joy because we know who’s really in control and we’re not worrying about our spouse’s state of belief.

God is there. God is BIG! And God is working. Believe it! Trust it. Even when you don’t see it. Rest in the truth of God and His love for us. Nothing is bigger or stronger than that.

Like 1 Corinthians 13:13 says, “But now faith, hope, love, abide these three; but the greatest of these is love.”

God’s love always prevails. Always. And it’s always, always, always about His love. Jesus is our greatest testimony to that.

Amen?

Praying & believing, Dineen

*****

Share your voice, heart and love in the comments. 

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

Covers Three Books


Was Jesus a Democrat or Republican?

Christians-Democrat-or-Republican_2Yep, it’s that time again. Every four years the Presidential politics rise up around our nation and especially around the Donovan house. 

How about you? 

I’m daring to talk about politics today because if your house is anything like mine, politics is a deep chasm of which my husband and I stand on opposite sides. I’m not sure if you will agree with what I have to say but if you disagree, that’s okay, just do so with love. 

You will understand the significance of this story if I set a tiny bit of background before you. Most of you know I’ve been married twenty years. I grew up in a conservative place, Salt Lake City and was raised in an Evangelical home. My husband, well he did not. He grew up in a home without any kind of faith training and where “religion” was often mocked. He attended the University of California, Berkeley. 

Need I say more? 

Truly we are the ultimate odd couple. And our differences in our beliefs come bellowing to the front and center every four years when it’s time to elect a president. Now that I’ve walked this unequally yoked marriage for many years I have gained some perspective when it comes to politics in our mismatched home. 

What I find fascinating is how passionate I am about my beliefs. 

What I find fascinating is how passionate my husband is about his beliefs. 

Isn’t it curious that in order for candidates to obtain votes they need to be “right.” And when a candidate is “right about something” that makes the other guy automatically wrong. Hmmmmm, and in this paradigm, argument develops in the political theater and also at home. Which so bugs me. Perhaps neither guy is right or wrong. But it seems to me this effort makes for a lot of disagreeing on the airwaves, in the papers, and in our house. 

But this year something happened to change all that within the Donovan Clan. I’ve realized a few things and I want to share them with you. It is my hope that someone, even just one person, will read this today and save themselves years of frustration and quarrelling with your spouse. 

Firstly, I just stopped. I’ve learned over 20 years of marriage that becoming a talking head and spewing every kind of argument at my husband to convince him of his error in thinking (grin)….. DOES NOT WORK. It’s the biggest waste of time. So I just stopped talking. 

What does that look like? Well our arguments always erupt over the national news broadcast. One of us (me) would offer free commentary during a political story or a controversial social issue – )read  gay marriage, abortion, striking prayer from football games, the Ten Commandments, etc.) My observations always required a return volley of words and in the early years those words hit my heart like bullets. Ouch! 

What is astonishing to me is this year, all this political stuff just ceased to matter to me. Don’t get me wrong, I believe in the political process and we should vote. But, I’ve stopped watching all the news stories covering the candidates. I’ve read enough to allow me to cast an informed and prayerful vote. But, what a wonderful fall season I have enjoyed because I simply choose to miss the first half of the news broadcast. 

What peace, what joy. And now what is truly funny to me is that when I’m unable to watch the news because of another commitment, my husband will record the news for me. AND he only saves the personal interest stories at the end of the broadcast. He will even tell me, “There is a great story you will want to see tonight.” And he has the recording queued up for my viewing where he has skipped all the political stories and we start watching together the rest of the news. 

I LOVE it!!! 

Now, I’m just peeved I didn’t stop watching all those talking heads a long time ago. 

Secondly, I recognized a couple of things about politics. Down deep inside what was really going on in me was that I was defending God, His Holy Word and actually I was defending my self-worth. 

What has truly been profound in this political season is that finally this blonde-brained, girl recognizes just how truly powerful, Omniscient, and how utterly BIG is our God. He transcends the mundane political process and likely grieves that the world wastes so much time and money on all of it. 

Jesus does not need my defense; He is completely capable of defending Himself, thank you very much. 

Politics cease to matter when you look fully into the face of Christ. When you release your need to be validated, to be seen and heard and stand fully in the identity of Christ, politics are meaningless.

 

Jesus would likely be neither a Republican nor Democrat. He IS the Savior of the World. So what would Jesus want from me in this political season? The same thing He always wants. 

I think He would say something like this, “Reveal me to others. Show them my love by providing for their needs, one person at a time. Reach out and tell someone there is real hope. Show the world your love for me through your radical obedience. Be my advocate.” 

Be His advocate. Serving people out of the love for Jesus absolutely dumbfounds unbelievers. Caring for the physical needs of people opens up hearts and souls to hear the Gospel. Love, forgiveness, grace and empathy command more power and influence than the office of the President. 

Our Kingdom is not of this world. 

It’s the crazy, unexplainable, supernatural love within us that confounds the skeptics and brings great honor and glory to our Lord. 

So relax, God’s got this. He already knows who wins in November. So, let the talking heads roar and the political machine grind but you, my friends, YOU, the beloved of the Most High God can truly make an impact on this world…. 

Be His advocate. 

Have a wonderful day. Hugs, Lynn

*****

Share your voice, heart and love in the comments. 

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

Covers Three Books


It's a Dog Gone World

Let’s finish this tale (pun intended). To read Part I of the Hound from Hell, visit here

Is He a Nice Doggy? 

As he approached the last barrier I was a little nervous but because this was the main fence separating the property from the road, I wasn’t yet in full panic in that’s where most dogs out in this area are contained. I do know my heart was pounding likely from the brisk walking as my pace hastened to get past this dog and also from the increase in my blood pressure watching him break through barrier after barrier. 

I watched this pitbull come straight at me toward the last remaining barrier. At this precise moment is when God started to talk to me again. Say what? 

“Lynn, this dog has broken through all of the barriers in place to protect you. It’s the same in your walk with me. My barriers such as angels, the family, the home, your church, all of these things are what help to protect you from the evil one.” 

At this point I’m truly in sheer panic as I watch the dog meet the fence and then to my horror, yep, there was another hole under the last barrier. It was as if my life went into ultra-slow motion. I watched the dog start to dive down under the fence and I knew instantly what was about to happen. 

FEAR gripped me. I was breathing hard, my heart pounded in my ears. I was burning from exertion and panic. The dog skinnied up from the fence on my side and still seeing all of this in slow motion, I reached for the spray on my belt. 

I let go of a long spray in the direction of the dog who was about 20 feet away and coming directly at me. I missed the dog and obviously the spray did not deter him. In my utter panic. I screamed, 

“STOP!” 

He slowed down. 

God spoke.

I shouted stop again and then once more at the barking beast. 

God said, “You allowed this sin in Lynn. The evil one will use every advantage and weakness to break through the protections placed around you.” 

“O Lord.” 

“STOP.” 

Good grief. 

The dog paused in his approach on the edge of the dirt road a mere five feet from me, still barking but he stayed away. 

God again, “It was your words that stopped that dog Lynn. Your prayers are what finally stopped the enemy. But you didn’t need to go through this if only you had chosen to keep what you already knew was bad for you from your life.” 

Then silence. (except the barking dog and my panicked breathing.) 

I rushed to the top of the hill. The pitbull stayed behind sniffing at the repellant spray. And once my breathing calmed. I cried. 

Lord in Heaven, forgive me. And thank you for saving me. Again. And Again. 

I walked home. Then I grabbed this - no longer Grey area, trashy novel- from the drawer and tossed it in the trash. ~Apropos don't you think?

The very next morning as I was reading my Bible, I kid you NOT this was the verse from Proverbs: 

A wise person hungers for the truth, a fool feeds on trash. Proverbs 15:14 (NIV)

Gulp and shame. 

But from this shame came a lesson I will NEVER, EVER forget. Also, a deep lesson about God’s protections and a realization at the sheer numbers of barriers He builds around me and how it was me who allowed the enemy access. And finally, my shame is forgiven. For me personally, this trashy novel was sin. I’ve confessed the images it brought and the distraction that came into my mind. I’ve allow God to teach me that the best thing for me is to never allow the temptation a chance. And finally grace. 

The expanding, take your breath away, overwhelming grace of God still rests on me, even in my failure. How do I begin to understand a love like that? 

It will take ten thousand upon then thousand years to even grasp an inkling of the facets of God’s love for me…… and for you. But I’m looking forward to the years with great anticipation. 

My friends what is difficult to admit is that I have walked many years with God and I KNEW this book was bad news for me but I picked it up anyway. Darn it. But, this lesson is not lost on this blonde brain. I know my limits. They are there to protect me not to restrict me. 

Oh what freedom we have when we understand His ways. 

What is your pitbull, your weed in the garden? Can you confess it today and allow God to restore His barriers of protection,  grace and love. 

Your healing awaits! 

From a sweaty, (from walking) humble, thankful servant of the Most High God. I love you. Have a wonderful weekend and get out and walk. Hugs, Lynn

PS. Go hug a dog *grin.*

 

Peanut
Peanut... Nice doggy!!!!



 

*****

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-

Covers Three Books


Chronicles of the Donovan Clan - Fear

What is bizarre in all this is what happened inside of me. FEAR. 

After twenty years of asking for his willingness to attend a marriage class and receiving his rejection, I was terrified to say…… YES…… 

I literally didn’t answer him because I was overwhelmed by all the fears and feelings of rejection that ran over me as I sat dumbfounded in my chair. Let me share some of the thoughts that raced through my head in the few seconds that followed. 

If I say yes and he changes his mind, it will crush me.
I should just let him off the hook; after all, he really doesn’t want to go.
I’m not sure I want to go.
Can I handle taking my unbelieving husband to church where many judgmental Christians might make him feel embarrassed?
Will I be embarrassed if he says or does the wrong thing? 

Sheesh and GOOD GRIEF!! 

What a mess.

Continued….. 

So, I sat at my desk, fear flashing across my face, thoughts screaming, hesitation gipping my heart, my hope. I looked up at my husband. And can I tell you, my friends, on his face was an expression of pure vulnerability. He was filled with uncertainty and hesitancy as well. 

Looking at him in that moment, I felt the urging ever so softly by the Holy Spirit, to just say, “Yes.” 

“Yes.” I spoke directly into his face. “Yes, I really want you to go with me.” 

There. I said it. He agreed. Hello, what is happening around here? The Apocalypse surely must be at hand because I was convinced that I would NEVER see the day my husband willingly went to a marriage class, especially a class that was faith based. I felt light headed. He smiled slightly and disappeared to his office. I think we both were in need of processing. 

My friends, get this, I still can’t believe it. I ALMOST SAID NO. Please learn from me. If your husband is willing to go to a marriage class, say yes, don’t let fear keep you bound in chains. 

Well, the day of the first class arrives. Weird. I felt uncomfortable, so did he, I can imagine for all kinds of different reasons. However, we sat down at the table together, with might I add, four other couples and one couple with which we are friends. Weird again. How can you be authentic in this kind of scenario? I wasn’t sure what was about to happen. Let me tell you, I was praying under my breath, “O God, please just help us to get through this. Help me to keep my expectations out of this evening. Help Jesus, help. Amen.” 

The speaker took the lectern and spoke about marital conflict. Oh boy, nothing like jumping right into the real “stuff” we deal with. It was fascinating content. Our homes of origin, how we grew up, and how our family handled conflict, plays an enormous role in how we navigate conflict in our marriage. Duh! But, I hadn’t though specifically in these terms. 

You can likely guess that Mike and I handle conflict vastly differently. Duh! I did know this. In fact, as we sat through the evening, it started to hit me, I already knew this about him. I already know he’s wired like that. I know I’m wild and crazy and he’s reserved. I already knew this. I knew that. I really do KNOW this man and he knows me. We aren’t such a mystery to each other after all. So why have I believed that for so long? Whoa. 

We aren’t really struggling as I presumed. In fact, as I sat there listening over several weeks, I came to several conclusions. We are in a better place in our relationship than many the other two-believing couples in that room. We are mostly past many of our conflicts and differences and we truly in love and we are a happy. 

Enlightening. 

I still don’t really know how to process all that was revealed by attending this class. It wasn’t really the material of the class that changed my perspective, it was the realization I already have what I thought I didn’t. 

Now don’t get me wrong. My husband remains an unbeliever. We are still very much mismatched about many things. But, overall, on many levels and issues, we are resolved, at peace and truly happy. 

Who knew?

Okay, I have more to tell you about this and the original conversation that started all of this. However, I'm sorry, but it's going to have to wait for a week because beginning Monday, we have a special guest joining us.

You won't want to miss our mystery guest.

As I leave you today. Can I ask you this question? Could you perhaps be like me, you already have a better marriage than you think? Can you ask God about this. Ask Him to show you what you truly have and don't be a blonde-brain, such as me, and wait nearly 20 years to have God hit you upside the head and show you. Thoughts?

Love you, Lynn

*****

Share your voice, heart and love in the comments. 

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

Covers Three Books


Unequally Yoked and the Atheist Blogs

Part III

A few months ago I was emailing back and forth to a friend of mine whose husband is a reader of atheist blogs. She was in such pain and in a quandary as to how to cope. Now I don’t pretend to have all the answers for each individual situation. I can only share what has worked in my life and marriage. 

Let me say that I love this young mom and wife. She is in the midst of fiery battles daily and is yet living for Jesus under tremendous persecution from her own spouse. And to add to the dynamics of her situation is how she is hard-wired, she hates confrontation. Many of us would go to great lengths to avoid confronting anyone let alone our spouse who holds a great deal of power to hurt us. 

I shared with my friend that there comes a time when we must say to our spouse that we are partners in marriage. That what our spouse believes does not diminish what we hold true. It’s appropriate to call them out and ask for our due respect as a spouse and a partner in the relationship. We must stand up and tell them that the words they speak against our faith are disrespectful and truly not what builds a marriage relationship. I know I advised her to tell her husband that she expected him to refrain from speaking about her faith and promise him that she would do the same about his atheist beliefs. 

Okay, that’s one take. For me, my moment of truth came unexpectedly. It was many years ago and I remember it clearly still today. 

My husband was angry. He was so riled up about my growing faith that he was constantly throwing arguments up for me to discount or contradict. He told me that I was foolish and that my faith embarrassed him. He was absolutely mystified that I, an intelligent woman, would ever even consider believing in a god. 

He was adamant and determined to “prove” to me God did not exist. 

At this point in our marriage, we had been down all these roads. You know, the paths of trying to defend my faith from a science point of view. Defending the truth of the Bible. Discussing intelligent design. Debates about the fossil record. The discovery of the Dead Sea Scrolls. Etc. etc. etc. 

My friends, I’ve had every conceivable conversation so if you feel like you are all alone in this, I know exactly how you feel. 

Okay, after years and years of debate, conflicts and arguments with each of us trying to convince the other of the error in their thinking, I finally gave up. 

Whew! What a relief. 

What follows is the simple conversation that seemed to finally help my husband accept my faith. Here we go. 

Me: Honey, why does it matter so much to you that I believe in God? My faith doesn’t make me stupid.

Him: I does too matter. (He states in great anger and frustration I might add.)

Me: But why? Why does it matter?

Him: Because you are living a lie.

Me: But how do you KNOW that I am wrong? You don’t know for sure. And let’s say that at the end of it all, we die and nothing happens. No heaven. No hell. We just cease to exist like you presume.

What I know is that I lived a life that was morally strong. I lived a life filled with joy. I have many friends who I love and who love me. I have given of myself to this world to make it a better place. 

Honey, my faith makes me happy. 

Him: (silence) 

Now there is likely more to this conversation but I just don’t remember what happened after that. However, the dynamics in our marriage relationship changed upon that conversation. 

Honey, my faith makes me happy……. 

The key to this kind of conversation is waiting until they are truly ready to hear it. He was ready that day. 

Pray that the Lord will give you several things to equip you to walk this journey. 

  • First, that He and YOU seal your mind, heart and soul in the truth of your identity. Know who you are in Christ. 
  • Second, pray for courage, Joshua courage to step up to the task of confronting immature behavior and words toward your faith. 
  • Three, pray for discernment and wisdom and for an opening to have a conversation with your spouse. God loves to honor those prayers. 

Identity
Courage
and an open door. 

And this very day, I also give you dominion over your delete key. Decide today that you will not allow your husband to be used by the enemy to create doubt. Reject the fiery darts of the enemy. Live in joy. As Beth Moore says, “JOY, is our birthright in Christ.” 

Live victoriously and let the enemy quake with fear and the atheist blogs go wild, because we are children of the Most High God and NO ONE CAN TOUCH THAT. 

Be blessed, Lynn

If God had picture

*****

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-

Covers Three Books


Unequally Yoked and the Atheist Blogs

Part II

As I ease into the second part of this series, I feel a compulsion to say something: To every unbeliever, including my spouse, I hold respect and empathy and love in my heart for you.

I have been writing here at Spiritually Unequal Marriage for almost six years. Over the years I have received many encouraging words from so many of you. Your thoughts and kindness are the jewels in my crown that I will toss at His feet one day. 

I have also received some not so nice comments. I have been confronted and there are always a few doubters and even haters out there that will try to rattle my resolve and commitment to this ministry and to my Lord. 

For example, several years ago I received some kind of notice through my Google Analytics or notices (I think) that my blog had been linked to another blog. I followed the link and low and behold, there splashed across the page on this prominent atheist blog was this: 

Moron blog of the week award: Spiritually Unequal Marriage 

I started cackling out loud. Woo Hoo. I wear that label with great honor. If our lil’ ole’ marriage site is stirring up the unbelievers, then Wahooooo! 

Moron blog of the week. It’s a badge I wear proudly. 

What you should know about this merely 5’4” tall blonde is that I’m not easily rattled. I have the first component that steels my heart and soul from the doubters, haters and nay sayers. 

I KNOW my identity. I KNOW without doubt who I am in Christ. 

LifeisshortMy friends when you understand that you are solidly in the palm of the Most High God, words intended to hurt, condemn or persecute will fire at you but they don’t penetrate. It’s like I see the words “moron blog” come at me and then simply melt into an impudent puddle on the floor. In fact, I actually find it’s humorous. 

My identity in Christ came about because I worked and pursued my personal relationship with Jesus with all of my passion and a deep commitment. Wow, my efforts have paid off. If you want to discover this kind of relationship with Christ, He eagerly waits for you. It takes discipline but that will soon turn to desire. You can read about how I went about it (here). And Dineen (here)

Knowing who I am in Christ has freed me from wavering in my faith while under attack. It has empowered me to see clearly and sift the ever changing values of our society through the lens of the Bible. Which by the way, never change. What freedom there is in that truth.

I have gained a strong sense of what is right and wrong. I am free to agree to disagree with my spouse because I am  confident in the truth of God. I am filled with compassion for those who are harmed by lies of the devil. I am brought to fervent prayer for the lost, broken and the nay sayers.

And one incidental side note: I also have dominion over the delete key.  *grin* 

Empower yourselves. Begin to believe who you are in Christ. Embrace it. Live it. Love it and watch as God builds your courage and the fiery darts of the enemy just melt in impudent puddle at your feet. 

The second part of responding to the Atheist blog reader is a conversation I had with my spouse years ago. Things changed for us after that. Tune in Friday for Part III Unequally Yoked and The Atheist Blogs. 

How has your relationship helped you to cope with the attacks of an unbelieving spouse?

Be blessed, Lynn

*****

Share your voice, heart and love in the comments. 

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

Covers Three Books


Messy and Broken Could Be The Best Place To Be

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

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

She was struggling in her marriage. 

My heart is broken for her. 

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

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

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

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

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

I have Jesus. 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

FocuslogoBe blessed my friends, Lynn 

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

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

*****

Share your voice, heart and love in the comments. 

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

Covers Three Books


When They Are Stinkin' Mean ~Part II

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

image from www.spirituallyunequalmarriage.com

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

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

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

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

I want to share this excerpt from chapter seven: 

Winninghim
To read more, click on the photo

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

They just don’t get it. 

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

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

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

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

A Transformed Life 

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

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

I’m still amazed by this unexpected journey. 

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

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

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

Be blessed, Lynn 

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

*****

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-

Covers Three Books


When They Are Stinkin' Mean

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

image from www.spirituallyunequalmarriage.com

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

Today I think it’s time we tackle her next statement:  “I give up because my husband is so stinkin mean about "religion".....”. 

What does this statement really mean? If I think a minute about this statement and my past experience with my unbelieving spouse, what I’m really hearing are these statements: 

  • My husband shames me with my faith.
  • I’m unable to defend my faith.
  • My husband belittles me because of my faith.
  • My husband is defensive when it comes to my faith
  • My husband is mean (is in general a mean person)
  • My husband becomes hostile when confronted in any way about Christianity. 

Well my friends, there is enough here to be addressed that I could write three books. But, for today’s purposes, let’s get to the crux of the issue. 

There are two things happening here. Both the wife and husband are grappling with a commonly held conception of God. They are asking/or asserting: Is God real? Or God is NOT real. 

The wife struggles to defend herself and her faith because in her mind she’s not entirely sure God is real nor is she certain that living as a believer is really doable. AND I get it. Celia, I lived for many, many years in this particular cul-de-sac, wondering around and around trying to figure out if I really believed in God or if it was all foolishness. And I bet if we are candid, there are many more of us who also walked around and around in that darn cul-de-sac with me. 

What I want to confirm for you again is that it is okay to have doubts. But it is also so clearly evident that God wants you to seek Him and to let Him show you how to put your doubts to rest. And if you need some ideas on how to go about this just go back and read the inspired comments that were left last Monday

When we are tossed and turned on the tide of public opinion of our society about the truth of God, we aren’t able to help ourselves with our beliefs let alone affirm truths to our spouse. When we aren’t convinced of what we believe, how can we expect our spouse to discover it? Now, as a woman I know what we would really like. We want our men to come to Christ, be the leader who helps us firm up our faith and pass along strong faith to our kids. But, in our unequally yoked marriages, that does not happen. 

When a spouse abdicates or refuses to fulfill the role of spiritual leader of our home, God is …. Now get this….. God is URGING us, the believing spouse, to step into that position. 

So what does that look like in this scenario? Let me share two truths with you. 

First: 

1 Peter 3:1 NLT 1 In the same way, you wives must accept the authority of your husbands. Then, even if some refuse to obey the Good News, your godly lives will speak to them without any words. They will be won over. 

The longer I live in this unequally yoked marriage, the more I see the truth of this passage in my marriage. I needed to mature my faith and when I really began to know what I know that God is real and living the Christian life is not only doable but the best life ever, I was set free from trying to convince my husband of anything. Jesus could be Jesus. All I had to do was to love Jesus and you know what? The love of Jesus flowed out of me and into my husband. When that happens, things change. I don’t understand why or how but the mean words my husband would say about my faith, bounced off. His accusations and his attempts to shame me because I believed truly did not penetrate my heart. 

Did that stop him from saying them? No. But words against my faith didn’t hurt as much and a funny thing about this change is that over time, my husband stopped saying them. 

What I began to see was a man who was listening to the world. He was unable to perceive the things of the spirit. (1 Corinthians 2:14) But I was assured through many promises in God’s Word that if I surrender to Jesus, He would take care of me. Things that once annoyed me, hurt me or even crushed, no longer held power over me. The lies of the enemy could not pierce the protecting love of Christ. 

~~~~~ 

Shoot, another post that has already run way too long. Sheesh, get me going and I could talk about what Jesus has done in an ordinary 5’4” blonde girls life forever. So on Friday, come back as I give you the second truth that is very practical taken from our book, Winning Him Without Words. I’m going to teach you how to rise above the meanness and to thrive. 

Okay my friends, what are your thoughts about 1 Peter 3:1 and how do you process the “Authority or submission” as it relates to living and thriving in a spiritually mismatched marriage. 

Looking forward to your thoughts on this controversial passage. Be blessed, Lynn

*****

Share your voice, heart and love in the comments. 

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

Covers Three Books


Effective Spiritual Warfare in an Unequally Yoked Home

Traffuc
So, ummm, yep, nothing like an eight hour car ride to challenge a marriage.

Yep, we traveled last week. In the car. With two teenagers, in heavy, holiday traffic in a car that barely seats four. First to visit four colleges in three days then on to northern California with my husband’s family. Finally, a long drive home in demanding and stressful conditions. Are we nuts?

It’s interesting how a change of venue compounded by stress of travel and family expectations will reveal the good, bad, and ugly in a relationship.

Overall our week went well but…… there was this one day. It was day three after a long college tour and we had another six hours on the road before we reached our next destination. And now as I’m home and can think back over the day, I’m able to view it through the eyes of the Holy Spirit.

After the tour we piled in the car and began the drive. Conversation was light but the tension was rising. We didn’t get on the road as early as my husband had wanted. He was a bit testy most of the day and now an hour into the drive I think the word that comes back to me is, mean. Now let me say here, my husband is not a mean tempered man. In fact, he is genuinely a kind and gentle spirit most of the time. But, now as I reflect back I can see something I didn’t see at the time.

A mean spirit.  

It was rising and after some words back and forth, I’m not totally innocent in this exchange, my husband’s temper rose up and hurtful words were spoken. It crushed me and I fell silent. I couldn’t speak and for the remainder of the long drive, I was silent. What was even stranger to me was his driving. It was so unusually cautious. SO not the norm. My husband is a safe and cautious driver to begin with but his driving was uncharacteristic, so much so that my teen daughter even asked me if dad was okay.

Now at the time, I didn’t see what was really going on but boy howdy, do I see it today.

This mean spirit was in reality an evil spiritual influence. The spiritual warfare going on in that car must have been intense. I can look back at the interactions now and even see how my husband’s normal demeanor changed in that period of time. I will also share that even his face, somehow, looked different. The best way I can describe it is a glint in his eyes and an air of confrontation (not normal), and a steel faced determination/dominance? Okay, I’m not finding the exact words. But, I’ve seen that look before and it's not good.

But why am I sharing this with you? Because when we get out of our normal protective boundaries of our home we are entering into a realm of spiritual battlefield where we are unprepared and unprotected. THIS is exactly what I believe happened on day three of this long drive. The spiritual battle opened up and I was unprepared for it. And zing, I’m hit full force with mean words which incapacitated me for hours.

Man.

What is hard about writing this is that I KNEW that this kind of thing happens to me when I travel and I even prayed asking for protection, a few weeks leading up to our trip. But, as I sat with God the next morning early with my Bible and journal praying about it, taking my hurt to God and asking Him about this odd and painful exchange, He revealed to me that I hadn’t prayed with a fervor and with the time I needed to put into it.

We live in the spiritual realm and our prayers are crucial to so much that God desires for us but we don’t pray it through. And I’m convinced as the Holy Spirit has impressed me that I needed to spend an hour every morning for two weeks leading up to the trip in prayer for protection, wisdom, to bind the enemy in the power of Jesus.

I wonder if you might be in the same place? Are you recognizing spiritual warfare in your unbelieving spouse? And are you at a loss as to why God doesn’t seem to do anything about it? I wonder if it’s time to ignite your prayer life? I wonder how much we leave on the table just because we are too lazy, to rushed, to self-important to pray. An hour a day, every day can change everything.

Perhaps this post will not resonate with anyone. Perhaps it’s only for me.  

But just writing it has made me determined that I’m not going to let the enemy slip past my protective boundaries again because I’m lazy or rushed. My spiritual life is too important and if you think about it, I allowed an open door for an evil spirit to come in and speak lies and influence my husband, which ended up hurting all of us.

I know better. As a wife of an unbeliever, God has called me to be the spiritual leader of our home. It’s my charge to pray for protection, Godly wisdom and discernment and to lead with the love of Christ. God wouldn’t have called me to lead our home on my own if He didn’t think I was up for the task.

I can and will defeat the enemy. The devil and his minions have nothing on me. I will pray for angels to surround us, to protect us, to lead us. I will ask God to help me recognize spiritual warfare more quickly and to pray with fervor against it. I will use the Word of God as my sword and the enemy will flee in screaming terror from a mere, five foot, four inch blonde girl.

Just imagine what else I can do just because I believe, I pray and I live for Jesus.

Have a great week. Live in victory. Hugs, Lynn

 

*****

Share your voice, heart and love in the comments. 

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

Covers Three Books


To Pray of Not To Pray. That is The Question for The Unequally Yoked

Thanksgiving rockwellFootball rages in the family room, the aroma of a roasting Bidzilla satisfies the kitchen, kids play outside, red cheeked and with hands frozen. Ahhhh, Thanksgiving.

This is my favorite traditional holiday of food, family and ……stress.

 

Read more at the Internet Cafe Devotions, Marriage Counter.

 

*****

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-

Covers Three Books


Out-Love your Spouse - Sowing and Reaping

Well how was the first week? 

I have to tell you that I have been on this journey for a few months already and I find it extraordinarily difficult. So don’t become discouraged. There are lessons to be learned and God surely had to teach me a few things this week. Sometimes He must show us how our words really affect our spouse. 

This is exactly what happened to me. Ugh! 

Last week my husband and I went for an early afternoon walk. We walk the dog several times a week when he is not traveling. We had little Peanut leashed and were just setting off down the street when God decided it was time. 

Lynn Donovan was about to discover you reap what you sow

You see, two weeks earlier, I’m ashamed to admit, I had a meltdown and zinged my husband with some unkind mean words. They were intended to hurt and to slam my point home over whatever we were arguing about. They did……. And similar to most men, he just quietly took the words in and didn’t rise to the bait. 

The next day I felt horrible about the things I said. I apologized. He said, “It’s okay.” But, you know what???? I said them. They hurt him and once they left my mouth, there was no taking them back. 

Well fast forward again to the dog walk. We rounded the corner and my husband was talking with me about something that happened during the day. I let out a tiny little comment (dig???) about the situation. 

He stopped dead in his tracks, right there on the street corner, pointed a finger at me, “I hate it when you do that. Don’t you ever say that to me again. You are out of line.” (I’m paraphrasing because I don’t remember the exact words.)

What I distinctly remember is becoming immobilized on the spot, completely stunned into silence. I felt like a hot knife had been plunged through my heart. Well needless to say, the rest of the walk was strained and very, very quiet. We didn’t speak a word. 

I walked and I began to process his unexpected and very emotional response. That is when God said in His still small voice, “Lynn, the pain you are feeling right now is exactly what Mike felt two weeks ago.” In fact, my little dig was about the very issue I zinged him with a few weeks earlier. 

I grieved as we approached our home. 

I looked up at my kind husband and just whispered, “I am so sorry. I have so much more work to do on this journey. Please forgive me. Please be patient with me. I promise to do better.” 

My friends, I have never been so convicted in my life that the area of my speech to my husband is a rotting, stinking pit that I MUST begin to pray and surrender every…. single….. day…. Sometimes hour-by-hour. 

But now more than every I am determined to do what is right. What is noble. What is pure. What is excellent (Phil 4:8).

Candle Marriage is all about a heart surrender. It’s about forgiveness. It’s about loving Jesus more than I love myself. 

O Lord, I want to love you more than I love myself. I’m asking you to remove my old heart, of unforgiveness, unkindness, selfishness, and pride. Please, Jesus, please put into me a heart of flesh and fill it up with your supernatural love, grace, goodness, kindness, peace, joy, self-control, and more. I humbly ask in the name of my Redeemer, The Redeemer of a girl with a speech impediment and a broken heart. Jesus, Amen. 

On Monday, I have a special gift for you to give to your family, marriage and your husband. Over the weekend, find/purchase a candle. It must be big enough to burn for eight hours. Don’t forget, you won’t want to miss this. 

Hebrews 4:16 Let us then approach God’s throne of grace with confidence, so that we may receive mercy and find grace to help us in our time of need. 

Amen, Lord Jesus. Amen.

Love, Lynn

*****

Share your voice, heart and love in the comments. 

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

Covers Three Books


Reaction Mode

IStock_000014218588XSmall
Are you in reaction mode in your marriage?

Reaction mode is this highly destructive and very draining place where you and your spouse are walking in your marriage more like adversaries than partners. Every comment is scrutinized under suspicion and communication has completely broken down.

Years ago I was in this place in my marriage and I will tell you that I was the heart of the problem because my heart wasn’t in a good place. Years of resentment toward my husband and unmet expectations had created this barrier between us.

Though not always true, I find this often starts with women. We stop communicating out of unforgiveness and resentment. Or, like me, we never learned to communicate in a healthy manner.

The saddest part of reaction mode is that it leads to contempt toward your husband. And where there is contempt, respect no longer exists. The two cannot coexist. Then our husband reacts back to us because they’re not receiving their deepest desire, which is to be respected. They retreat, leaving us feeling unloved when our deepest desire is to be loved.

Do you see this vicious cycle? That’s the first and most crucial step to breaking reaction mode—seeing this pattern in your marriage. Whether you are male or female, this pattern will not stop until you make the first move. What does this change look like?

1. Control the Mouth.
You know, there were times that I realized my reactions to my husband bordered on the behavior of a sarcastic teenager. Not a pretty sight but very convicting when recognized. We’ve talked before here about how our words have the power to build or break down. If you’re inclined to speak without thinking first, stop right now and ask God to help control your mouth. This is a biblical principle and He will help you. Trust me on that.

A gentle answer turns away wrath, but a harsh word stirs up anger. — Proverbs 15:1

2. Dwell on the Positive.
It’s easy to fall into this place where we think our spouse has an ulterior motive to his or her words. Even simple requests can turn into a battleground because we’ve somehow fallen into the lie that our spouse intends to harm us. This suspicion perpetuates the reaction mode and is its fuel. Suspicion can also be fueled by lies, so the best way to combat this is to counteract with the truth. What does your spouse do well? Make a list. My husband is great about making sure the garbage goes out every week. I appreciate this even more when he’s out of town and I have to do it. Yuck! He’s also great about going grocery shopping with me, and he’s quick to show his love and affection. Start with small things and your list will grow. Then study it whenever you fall into thinking those negative thoughts.

Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure,
whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable—if anything is excellent or praiseworthy—
think about such things. — Philippians 4:8

3. Love Her Despite Herself.
Let’s face it, sometimes we women can be downright unlovable. We get worn out from the demands of our work (inside and outside of the home), taking care of our families, and then feeling like we’re expected to be some kind of superwoman in the midst of it all. Add some hormones and you have one volatile mix of emotions. We’re not always at our best. This is when we need our husband’s understanding. You’d be amazed how these words, “Honey, you’ve had a rough day. What can I do to help?” will bring her to tears, appreciation, and a complete attitude reversal.

However, each one of you also must love his wife as he loves himself, ... — Ephesians 5:33a

4. Respect Him Even When You Don’t Want To.
Ladies, I want to get serious here with you. I see this happening so much and I have done it in my marriage too. Stop emasculating your husband. That’s about as bold as this nearly six-foot, soft spoken woman can be about it. Our men need to know we will still stand by them when they mess up. And they will mess up, just as we do. We need to extend that hand of grace and acceptance, just as we want it extended to us. I’ve never seen anything quite as destructive to a marriage as contempt. And it is subtle in its presence. This goes right back to number one in how we use our words. Add to that how you sound. What is your tone? Are you speaking in a way that solicits cooperation or are you condemning and accusing? This was the biggest area that I needed to change, and I know I could not have done it without God’s help. Sometimes we aren’t even aware that our tone and words hurt those we love. Pull out that list you made and go over it again. When it’s hard to show respect to your husband, find the things you can respect and show it to him. Then watch him bloom under your praise.

… and the wife must respect her husband. — Ephesians 5:33b

5. Keep a “We” Mentality.
Isn’t this really the truth we forget? We enter in to marriage as two “I’s” and suddenly have to figure out what it means to be a “we.” This means putting our spouse first, this means loving and respecting even when we don’t feel it, this means seeing our marriage truly as a team effort and pulling our weight even when our spouse isn’t. Don’t quit the team. Be the one who stands strong and keeps Christ in the middle, even if your spouse isn’t a believer. Whatever issues you’re dealing with, remember that you and your spouse are a team. Blame solves nothing. Teamwork always gets the job done.

For this reason a man will leave his father and mother and be united to his wife,and they will become one flesh. —Genesis 2:24

Finally, remember that we can’t make these changes on our own. We need God’s help. Start with prayer and trust that God really can work in you, in your spouse and in your marriage to bring change and healing. It takes time, but when we desire God’s will for our marriage—a partnership built on love and respect—He will give us the desire of our heart (Psalm 37:4).

Praying and believing,
Dineen

*****

Share your voice, heart and love in the comments. 

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

Covers Three Books