81 posts categorized "Disappointment"

How God Spoke to My Heart About My Husband

Dear friends, I am on "vacation" this week. It's actually my oldest daughter, Rachel, who is on vacation and spending the week with Mike and I. We won't get to see her at Christmas this year so I am making the most of this week with my girl. I'll be back next next week.

In the meantime, this testimony from Alissa is so beautiful and powerful, of how God met her, reassured her, and even gave her revelation and insight to understand what was really at the heart of her husband's choice to be an agnostic. When I asked her if I could share her testimony here, this is what she said:

Absolutely you can use this. One thing I learned on my missions trip was the power of testimony. We learned that the word testimony, literally means 'God do it again'. So if my testimony can give someone else hope and encouragement that is really the ultimate goal, God do it again!

Thank you, Alissa! 

Be encouraged, SUMites. God has you and your spouse, right in the palm of His hand. He never lets go. Hugs! ~Dineen

 

How God Spoke to My Heart About My Husband
by Alissa Berglund

Alissa BA little back story first...  A couple of weeks ago I went on a missions trip to Romania while my husband stayed back and took care of the kids. While I was on my trip he got together with some of our friends (all unbelievers) and they got into a discussion about faith and God. Fast forward to this week. I went on a walk with my best friend who isn't a believer but is open to God and she was telling me that this discussion and taken place but didn't offer up any details, and I didn't push for the whole story, just listened to what she offered up.
 
After the walk on Wednesday night my hubby Andy and I got talking and I asked him about the conversation that had taken place. He told me that him and some of the other had arrived at the conclusion that they didn't know where they stood in terms of faith, but that he felt like he is searching for answers and "proof" of God's existence. Then he blurts out that he identifies as an agnostic.
 
I don't know what that was so hard to hear... but having him label or identify himself with a certain set of beliefs just pierced me. I started reading about agnostics and the more I read the more defeated and beat down I felt. It's like a huge mountain is before me that I have no clue how to conquer. Yesterday I was mowing the lawn and just pouring out my heart to God, just pleading with him to move in Andy's life and bring be peace about this. God was oddly silent, but just kept telling him I trusted him and it's not my job to save Andy but his. I almost got on the Summite website to ask you all for prayer because I was so discouraged.
 
This morning I was running late and I got into my car and Faith Radio was on. Usually in the mornings they talk politics so I was about to change it, when all of a sudden the host starts talking to his guest about agnostics.... WHAT??  I perked up. This guys starts explaining how some agnostics become the way they are.  He said a lot of times deep pain is the beginning of unbelief. Wouldn't you know it... Andy lost his mom to cancer at age 9 and he has always wondered why God didn't answer his prayers and heal her. Then he starts giving practical steps to impacting an agnostic for Christ, loving them, being in relationship with them, listening more talking less, not pushing the gospel on them, getting into the Word and other resources about apologetics... but most of all trusting that the Holy Spirit will move and there will come a tipping point when they experience the realness of God.
 
It was as if God was speaking directly to my heart, saying... see I heard you last night...  I haven't forgotten your struggle or where Andy is. I just was so encouraged and lifted that this isn't my battle but God's. I feel like God is preparing a prayer strategy for me that is very specific to my husband. I've been trying to pray for him consistently every day on my drive in to work since I started a new job. I just want to up my game and do my part to cover him in prayer.
 
So that's it!! Just wanted to share that with someone :)  Just remember it's not our battle alone, but God's.
 
-Alissa
 
About Alissa: 
Married to my high school sweetheart and a mom to two energetic boys. Lakeville MN is where I call home, most summer days you can find me outside taking pictures of sunsets or collecting rocks.

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Reaction Mode

Dear friends, the following is a post I did a few years back. The Holy Spirit has continually reminded me of this post the last week or so, but I wasn't sure if it was a needed subject at the moment. Then on Thursday as I was working on the registration details for the Hope Ignited conference our healing rooms and my church were hosting, I heard the Holy Spirit say over and over again throughout the day, "Don't take offense."

I assumed it was for me, specifically something the Holy Spirit knew I would encounter at some point over the weekend at the conference. Then our worship leader gave a word on this very subject Friday evening. I knew then it was a corporate word. And then Lynn's post yesterday confirmed that! Wow! Don't you just love how the Holy Spirit speaks to us?

God is on the move, my friends, to restore this nation to peace and righteousness. I truly believe we will be astonished in how He does this through His amazing love.

So, I present to you, "Reaction Mode," originally posted in September of 2011. I pray it speaks to your heart and encourages you. I've updated it just a bit for our community needs right now.

 

Reactions Mode

6a00d83451ee9f69e2014e8b804fe8970d-320wiAre you in reaction mode in your marriage?

I remember to this day when I made this revelation about my marriage. I stood in our home office, about to react to something my husband said. I believe at that moment the Holy Spirit stopped me and then gave me a complete picture of the situation. And it wasn’t pretty. If this pattern didn’t stop soon, my marriage would soon crash and burn.

And even more sobering (i.e. convicting)? I was the heart of the problem, because my heart was in a bad shape. Years of resentment toward my husband and unmet expectations had created a barrier between us.

What I call “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.

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 one another. And where there is contempt, respect and love no longer exist. They simply can’t coexist. For example, a husband reacts back to his wife harshly, because he’s not receiving his deepest desire, which is to be respected. The wife then retreats or closes herself off, feeling unloved when her deepest desire is to be loved.

Do you see the 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. Be Careful What You Speak.

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. 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

We can also seek the Holy Spirit for the right words to speak as well. If we choose words that are honest and without an agenda to prove we’re right or place blame, we can be instrumental to restoring peace to our marriage.

  1. 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 about your spouse.

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

A negative thought feeds the enemy and breeds more negativity. This can even evolve into scenarios playing out in your mind of how your spouse could potentially hurt you. Then you wind up hurt and defensive over something that never even happened.

A positive thought feeds the spirit and releases the Holy Spirit to work in your mind for transformation (Romans 12:2). He also works in your heart to help you forgive and allow God’s love to flow more freely to and through you.

Which one do you want to grow “fatter” in your life?

  1. Respect Him Even When You Don’t Want To, Love Her Even When She’s Unlovable.

Our hubbies 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

And loving someone when they are unlovable is one of the most powerful and sacrificial things a person can do. I have watched a woman be astonished by the fact that my church was assisting her out of our own desire to help and we weren’t getting paid by the government to do it. I have been deeply humbled by my husband's love when I was in pain and cranky. Love speaks louder than anything. Anything! Love changes hearts, marriages, families, cities and nations.

God is love so when we love, even when a person hasn’t “earned it,” we display His heart and presence in the most powerful way possible by revealing His very nature. Love (1 John 4).

  1. 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 requires 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 we feel our spouse isn’t. God sees our heart and our efforts. Your actions to honor Him in your marriage are never wasted!

Don’t quit the team. Be the one who stands strong and keeps Christ in the middle—your faith and prayers do that (1 Cor. 7:14). 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).

SUMites, I want to leave you with one final thought here (and this is a new part I'm adding). No matter where we are in our faith journey, God sees us the same way through His love and according to who He created us to be. We are His righteousness through Christ Jesus. And He never changes for He is the God of today, yesterday and tomorrow. He doesn't function within time as we do. He is present in all places—past present and future.

Now this is where it gets really interesting and may blow your mind a bit. Just as He sees us in this way, as who He created us to be, He sees our spouse the same way. He does not define them by their lack of faith but according to the measure of faith He has set aside for them. He sees them as they are intended to be, His children. I believe that is the heart of Eccl. 3:11 too. 

Father God, give us Your eyes, Your perspective of our spouse. Help us see them in the potential and in the light of eternity that You've placed within them so that we can love them according to that image and be part of releasing the truth of Your love in them. Thank You, Lord! Thank You! In the amazing name of Jesus, amen!

Love you so much, SUMites! And God loves you even better. ;-)
Dineen

 

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Dealing with Disappointment

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You know when you’re in church listening to the sermon and you feel the pastor is speaking specifically to you and only to you? Well I had that experience a week ago. The message was all about disappointment. But I also sensed the Lord wanted me to share some of it with us.

Yes, leaning on my pastor for inspiration once again. I trust you don’t mind.

Misplaced Expectations

We’re often disappointed aren’t we? Things aren’t turning out the way they should be or how we hoped they would? Our spouse still hasn’t made a commitment to the Lord even though we’ve been praying for it for however many years. In fact, they appear to be even more opposed to it. Our kiddies are struggling too which grieves us so and increasingly sends us to our knees.

What about our dearest friendships? The intimacy we once shared has disappeared. Why, we don’t know. There’s an open wound in our heart that brings us to tears most weeks.

Why God why? It wasn’t mean to be like this!

We want our situation resolved now. We get disappointed when it doesn’t. Our hope fades. How many times have you wondered whether your spouse will ever come to the Lord? Me, too many to count!

The Road to Emmaus

We’re all familiar with the story of the two disciples who have left Jerusalem on their way to Emmaus. I’d encourage you to read it again today (Luke 24:13-32).

Jesus (out of nowhere) comes alongside and asks them a question:

“What kind of conversation is this that you have with one another as you walk and are sad?” (v17)

The two disciples were “restrained” from recognizing it was Jesus in their presence.

Remember this is on the day Jesus is resurrected. The greatest day in history.

They had heard (whether firsthand or from other disciples) that Jesus wasn’t in the tomb and that angels said He was alive! (v23)

But they were sad! So sad in fact they were getting out of town.

Seriously?

Why?

“But we were hoping that it was he who was going to redeem Israel.” (v21a)

They had expected someone else; someone like Moses who was going to free them from the Roman rule. Jesus brought something far better: freedom from sin and death so we could enjoy relationship with the Father.

Misplaced expectations.

“When your hope is misplaced you are guaranteed disappointment.” (Phil Pringle)

This disappointment also blinded them from Jesus’ Presence. They couldn’t recognize Him. Ever felt that when you’re so upset with disappointment you struggle to draw close to the Lord? Even when He’s right there? I have.

The Power of the Word

Jesus proceeds to give them the best bible study they (and anybody) have probably ever heard. They so marveled at His words they asked Him to dine with them when they arrived in a village.

They still didn’t know who He was.

It was only when He had blessed and broken bread that the duo’s eyes were opened, “and they knew Him.” (v31)

Then He vanishes. They now believe. So they return to Jerusalem and tell the other disciples all about their experience with Jesus.

I’m sure some of the eleven would have asked the question, “But you didn’t recognize Jesus for how may hours while He walked with you?”

Disappointment can do that. It steals our hope and blinds us.

“Hope deferred makes the heart sick. But when the desire comes, it is a tree of life.” (Proverbs 13:12 NKJV)

If you’re struggling with a particular disappointment right now please share it with us in the comments if you feel comfortable doing so and we can pray over you. Grab a hold of the Word and draw close to Him. Let His Word minister to you. Remember He has never left you and is always working in the background. Just as He is with all of our spouses.

Grace and peace, dear friends.

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Powerful Prayer To Defeat Anger

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This photo CRACKS ME UP!

Continued from Friday's post....


BUT…. This is what I learned from that experience.

I believe I was wrestling with a spirit of anger. I believe it was demonic in nature and it erupted in very rare moments as to keep me from recognizing it. And just like a volcano, when eruptions happen…. Devastation.

Later that evening when the eruption cooled and I knew things were in a bad place, I fell on my face and I begged God to forgive me. I asked Him to remove this spirit of anger from me and I promised Him I would never again let this anger be part of my life.

God did just that.

I haven’t felt that weird surge of ferocious anger since. And out of His great love, he healed everything in our family. Everything.

Our Father is so good that He delivers us, heals us even when we screw up everything in our own lives. He loves us through it and is protective.

Now I know not everything turns out like this. I look other areas of past resentment and anger with my spouse, yet my husband remains an unbeliever. God hasn’t move in him…… yet….

But what God did was reveal this area of oppression and He has completely freed me from that beast!

Hallelujah and Amen.

I’m sharing this story with you because I believe that are SUMites who are dealing with an angry spirit. Either it strikes you and/or your spouse. And if there is anger in you or your spouse, your children are vulnerable to become angry as well. Just sayin.

HOWEVER, You can pray to defeat anger.

Pray with me out loud:

In the name of Jesus, today I break any and all agreements I have with anger. I say that anger no longer has a place in my heart, soul, body, mind, will and emotions. I will live in the peace of the Kingdom of God. I declare that anger is hereby banished from my thoughts. No longer does anger have access to my mind. It must leave immediately and go into the pit and cannot return. My home is now a safe zone from the enemy and especially from the spirit of anger.

Also, in the name of Jesus, I declare the spirit of anger in my spouse must leave right now. I stand in authority over it by 1 Corinthians 7:14. My spouse in now protected and anger has no hold on my husband/wife or my children. The spirit of anger must go directly into the pit and never return. In the powerful name of Jesus. And I declare the blood of Christ over me, my spouse, my children and home. AMEN

Pray a version of this prayer every day, out loud for as long as it takes, (days, months, perhaps even a year). Personalize it with names. Pray the scripture verse out loud as well, claiming it’s truth and power over your faith and life.

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And do not bring sorrow to God’s Holy Spirit by the way you live. Remember, he has identified you as his own, guaranteeing that you will be saved on the day of redemption.

Get rid of all bitterness, rage, anger, harsh words, and slander, as well as all types of evil behavior. Instead, be kind to each other, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, just as God through Christ has forgiven you. -Ephesians 4:30-32

Okay, the next post is about dealing with ongoing annoyance, anger and our perceived unfair treatment. Then we will tackle disappointment and finally the granddaddy of them all... Fear of Man. Can't wait to get to that one.

I love you. Is this prayer helpful? Is this series helpful, let me know your thoughts about dealing with anger in your life in the comments. 

I bless you with Shalom today. In Jesus name. AMEN I love you, Lynn

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Want Some Gold?

image from www.spirituallyunequalmarriage.comWe have been contemplating loneliness and marriage. And wow, some great comments following the last post. Go read them!!!!

I’m in a place of contemplating – Suffering. Gulp!

I think I struggle to even speak this word aloud. I wrangle with the implications and shrink back.

I consider the life of a Christian in the Western world as compared to a believer who lives where Isis roams the land and kills even children who profess Christ. Do we truly suffer in the Western World for our faith? Do we suffer in our marriages to unbelievers? Geeze, these thoughts mess with your head. 

The answer? Yes and no.

It’s never an easy answer, is it?

Yes, we suffer for our faith. No, we don’t suffer the threat of death for our faith today. But tomorrow, who knows? Yet the anguish in our lives and marriages over our faith in Jesus is very real.

I remember a long time ago I met an older woman once a week at a tiny little diner in our town. We met for breakfast and she poured her love and wisdom into me over hotcakes and steaming coffee. I remember carrying on and on about my sad and difficult marriage. Oh how I complained about every little offense committed by my unbelieving husband and I moaned about some insignificant injustice in our relationship (sarcasm intended.)

That was until one morning when it dawned on me that Jenny buried her teenage daughter. Her daughter died before she graduated from High School of Cystic Fibrosis. I stopped short in our conversation, ashamed, and said, “Oh Jenny, here I am complaining about this stupid stuff and you buried your daughter.” Tearily I said, “Please forgive me. If anyone here has a reason to be complaining, it’s you.”

Jenny smiled so gently at me as she always did. Her eyes twinkled when she smiled and she speaks one of the wisest and helpful sentences I’ve ever heard. “Lynn, your pain and what you experience is just as difficult. It’s not worse or better. It’s just different.” In those words, she gave me permission to have pain. I didn’t need to pretend it wasn’t there just because it wasn’t the same as someone else.

So my suffering may be different than yours but to the Lord, it’s suffering and He feels it along with us.

Sometimes it’s easy for us to forget that Jesus was a man. He experienced suffering. And when we think about Jesus’ suffering, our mind usually goes to the cross. And the Cross WAS TERRIBLE. But have you thought about what it felt like to Jesus when He was betrayed? Betrayal is at its core -pain. It is rejection, dismissal, a knife in the back all rolled into one. He was betrayed because of His faith. He suffered and was persecuted because of His faith. 

We as the mismatched also walk this path of suffering. We are ridiculed because of our faith by the very person or persons who we should expect to always defend us. We feel betrayed and rejected by the one person on the plant who was supposed to love and honor us always. Ouch. Praise the Lord Jesus because forgiveness overcomes all betrayal.

My friends, we walk our fair share, or maybe more than our fair share, of suffering in this world.

But…..

In the suffering is where we find the gold. And it’s the gold that is spoken of in Revelation. We are earning our gold that will make us rich. Don’t believe me? Read it for yourself. Revelation 3:18-19

So, could it be our suffering is by design? Could it be that we were placed into our unequally yoked marriages with purpose? What do you think? See you in the comments. This is gonna be good. Also, what did you think of that passage in Revelation? Read to the bottom of the chapter. It ROCKS! Hugs, Lynn

*****

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I Kick Disappointment To The Curb!

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

I'm mad!!

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

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

I kid you not.

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

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

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

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

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Fight The Demonic

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

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

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

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

I will pray something like this:

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

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

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

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

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

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SUM Books 4


Take Six Steps Out Of Disappointment

SUMite Family:

image from www.spirituallyunequalmarriage.com

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

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

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

Process to overcome Disappointment in God.

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

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

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

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*****

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SUM Books 4


When God Disappoints - Chronicles Continuing

Hello SUMites;

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

The spiritual warfare has been relentless.

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

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

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

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

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

I missed the window.

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

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

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

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

Am I alone in this?

Anyone?

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

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

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

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

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

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

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*****

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SUM Books 4


July 4th: Renewing Our Hope and Trust in God

4thJulyDear SUM family, Lynn and I hope and pray the series on the Books of Peter has encouraged and strengthened you. We enjoyed sharing this journey with you, and Lynn and I both feel so honored to be a part of this community and to be praying for you. Your requests Monday have moved our hearts so deeply, and we know they have moved our King Jesus' heart too. He died for us, He lives for us, He cries with us, He heals us. We believe this in the Name of Mighty Jesus, and as His Word stands,

But I will reveal my name to my people, and they will come to know its power. Then at last they will recognize that I am the one who speaks to them. — Isaiah 52:6 NLT

My friends, this is the truth we stand on and right now as many of are grappling with the recent supreme court ruling. Lynn and I want you to know that we are too. We have felt our own grief along with a heavy grief that we can only describe as coming from the spiritual realm. We are processing this with hearts and minds turned to Abba for wisdom and guidance, and we are determined to stand on the truth and in the great love and hope of Jesus above all.

He is faithful, my friends. As I walked and prayed on Monday, the Holy Spirit whispered to my heart that the Lord is releasing hope for His children right now. And as I looked up into the sky, I heard His still soft voice say,

"I reign supreme."

Things are shifting and changing, yes, but Our God is the same as always. 

So as we celebrate Independence Day in America, my friends, let's renew our hope and trust in God. He reigns supreme and nothing changes that. I know it's challenging right now, as many of us are walking in places of disappointment and defeat. Next week, Lynn and I have some very encouraging words to share with you, things the Holy Spirit has impressed upon us to share to encourage, uplift and strengthen you so we can persevere and run this race well together as God's family.

Lynn and I are taking the rest of the week off, but we'll still be hanging out in the comments. As of next week, I will be switching my posting days to Tuesday and Thursday and Lynn will continue to post on Monday and Friday. We feel this will better serve our community. We hope you think so too.

And just a heads up. We have something very special planned for August. Our Lord is so good. He is working to put things into place to equip you, my friends. Lynn and I are excited to share this study that we believe will help you to equip your children in navigating the waters of this changing world and stand for God's truth. Right in their schools. We will be using our book Not Alone as reference to do this.

Lots happening, SUMites. Lynn and I truly believe our SUM family is here for such a time as this. Have an amazing holiday, hug your hubby and kiddos tight and tell them how thankful you for them. Perhaps the face of freedom is shifting in this country, but our freedom in Christ is the same as ever, my friends.

We love you, SUMites! See you on Monday!
Dineen and Lynn

*****

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SUM Books 4


The Pit - The Books of Peter

image from www.spirituallyunequalmarriage.comToday's study post comes from Sumite, Pam O. Thanks Pam for your great words of encouragement. 

SUMites, our community is, and has been, under a lot persecution.  I just recently posted some of my woes on this forum.  It is so uplifting to receive words of encouragement from others in the battlefield.  However, the Lord has placed these thoughts and words on my heart and I hope you don’t mind if I share these insights with you. 

It started with a passage from John 12:27 where Jesus is in the Garden and struggling with what lies ahead.  He says, 

“Now my soul is deeply troubled.  Should I pray, ‘Father, save me from this hour’? But this is the very reason I came!” 

These words just jumped off the page at me.  In essence, why am I praying to be delivered from the very reason God put me here? 

In contrast to my thinking, Jesus submitted to the Father’s will.   His mission was to advance the Kingdom. He did not waver in fulfilling the purpose for which he came. 

I find myself too often praying in earnest to be delivered from the pit instead of stopping to look around the pit.  What is it in the pit that I need to see, what is it that I need to learn, what did I not learn the first time?  

Is being in the pit about me at all or does it serve the advancement of the Kingdom.  Is my pre-believer, my children, co-workers, small group members, or online community watching me during my time in the pit and do I reflect the fruits of the spirit.  While the pit is no surprise for God, I still find myself questioning, “How did I get here”, “Why am I in the pit?” and “Why am I in the pit and (s)he isn’t”? 

How can I speak of having faith, perseverance, humility, and obedience without having any firsthand knowledge of being in the pit or knowing how it feels to be pulled out of it?

Do I say I am a follower of Jesus, but only as far as the edge of the pit? Am I truly willing to follow his example and die to myself to advance his Kingdom? Do I not trust that he knows how stinky, unjust and painful it is in the pit? 

The image of Jesus sitting at the right hand of the Father with nail pierced hands has humbled me, and I am reminded of this verse from our study of I Peter 5:10. 

“And after you have suffered a little while, the God of all grace, who has called you to his eternal glory in Christ, will himself restore, confirm, strengthen, and establish you.” 

Yes, I am in the pit.  Yes, God knows I’m in the pit and has been preparing me for this time here.  Yes, Jesus has gone before us and has paved the way.  He has come out victorious and fulfilled his purpose.  

After this downloading from the Holy Spirit, I have a different outlook on being in the pit.  Although it is not a fun place to be and I don’t want to live here, I will not be in as big a hurry to leave it.  I’m going to sit here a while, look around and pray for God to show me what I need to see.  I am going to be more willing to be in the pit for the advancement of His kingdom and not the advancement of my kingdom. I am putting my full Faith in the one who has already been in the pit and will pull me out when my mission is finished to bring honor and glory to his name.

*****

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SUM Books 4


The Day the “Sun did NOT Stand Still!” by Martha Bush

Martha F. Bush
Martha Bush grew up on a farm in Donalsonville, Georgia. She graduated from Valdosta State College, Valdosta, Georgia, with a BS degree in Business Education. After graduating from college, Martha began her teaching career that spanned grades 5-12 in both public and Christian schools. She also taught adult vocational courses in the Atlanta school system. Her love for teaching led her into areas outside the school system as she began teaching Bible study courses in jails, prisons, and at her local church. She also writes a monthly inspirational post at Created Woman and is a contributing editor for Created Woman Magazine. In addition, Martha is a contributor to Girlfriends Coffee Hour and a member of the Orange County Christian Writers Guild. Through her years of teaching, as well as being an avid reader of human behavior and grief counseling from noted Christian psychologists, she recognized how a team effort can help build a foundation in children at an early age that will enable them to cope with the losses in their lives. She believes this team, made of up parents, grandparents, educators, and spiritual leaders, can guide a child to healing from losses he or she might experience. They can do this simply by recognizing his pain, listening to his pain and then teaching the child how to apply the principles of God’s Word to his hurting heart. This led her to write Helping Hurting Children: A Journey of Healing. Martha resides in Orange, Texas, with her husband, Glen. They are the parents of two grown daughters who have blessed them with three beautiful grandchildren.

SUMite, Martha Bush, wrote to me privately and I asked her to share her story. I wept with hope upon reading her anointed words. I love you Martha! Hugs, Lynn 

 

“Better get your praying done, because we are moving from this house December 15!”  And with those piercing words to me, my husband started packing.

Did you ever just feel in your bones that something is just not right, that what is happening is not a God thing? No, the feeling goes deeper than the bones; you feel it way down deep in your spirit.

That’s the way I felt about this move.  It was just not the right thing to do, nor was it the right time.  Even my pre-believer husband, who had been so adamant about this move, had said to me, “I don’t understand you; you have never been a materialistic person, why is this move from your large beautiful home into a smaller one bothering you so much?” 

As you know, you just don’t say to your pre-believer, “Sweetheart, I just don’t feel the peace of God about this; can we pray about it more?”  Coupled with that, I felt as though he was mocking God and my faith by saying, “you had better get your praying done, because come the morning of December 15 at 9:00 A.M, the moving van is coming.”

And so, I put on the whole armour of God, and I rebuked, commanded, spoke the word over it, and exercised all the Biblical calisthenics that I knew to do.   But, alas, December 15 came, and right on cue at 9 o’clock, the moving van pulled into my driveway.  

And that’s when I pulled the Joshua thing.

Sun stand still!

God is about to place himself in front of that moving van

and turn it around; there ain’t no move taking place here today.”

But, to my dismay, the sun went down and the thing I had believed in my spirit was wrong, happened.

As the moving van was pulling out of my driveway hauling my cherished belongings to another house, I stood on the driveway saying, “Where were you, God; what didn’t you arrive before the sun went down?”  Prior to this day, I had prayed for many things, and saw God move in miraculous ways, but the day I prayed for the sun to stand still, I felt that I was at the height of my spiritual growth and faith level, but it didn’t happen.

I could just hear the old devil laughing and saying, “Commanding the sun to stand still?  Really, Martha, who do you think you are? It only happened one time in the Bible.  Did you think you were going to make it happen a second time?”

Let me hasten to say that moving to another house is nothing compared to what some of you are going through.  

  • Some of you have had to face separation and divorce from your spouse, and yet you have faithfully been the believing spouse who has honored your marriage vows. 
  • Some of you have struggled financially.  You may even faithfully pay your tithes, do the Bill Ramsey book on----and got your cards all lined up..Yet, you barely can live from pay check to pay check.
  • Some live with addictions, devastating health problems, depression, anxiety, chronic pain, fear, and rejection.
  • My own beloved pastor, David Berkeheimer, preached Luke 4:18 for over 30 years.  Upon his retirement, he made many trips to California to consult with Bill Johnson and was in the process of establishing a school of supernatural ministries in Jasper, Texas, modeled after Bethel.  Yet, cancer invaded his body, and he died, leaving his life savings tied up in a healing ministry that never came to pass.  (Say what?)

Why, why, why???? Why did God not arrive before the sun went down for me, as well as for you?

My Dear Sumite friends, please spare me your Chrisitnese answers.

  • It must not have been God’s will.  (But, it says so right here in the Bible; look let me show you!)
  • If you had had faith.  (Oh, please, give me a break.  It only takes a grain of mustard seed, surely we have that.)
  • You should have spoken the word every day.  (Holy cow, I spoke it and I spoke it, and I spoke it.  How many times to you want me to speak it.  I spoke it until I am blue in the face.  Come on)

I am a former school teacher.  I stood in front of my classes many times and spouted off to students:  “If you had done steps #1, #2, #3 like I told you to, you wouldn’t have missed the problem.  You are goofing off and just not using the “right steps.” I then laid a guilt trip on them for not paying attention and focusing.  (Please tell me we don’t preach the “step plan” to our friends when things seem to follow apart in their lives?)

Can we just sometimes get real and answer the “why” question simply by saying “I don’t know why,” as Robert Koke, pastor of Shoreline Church, Austin, Texas, did when his 17 year old son was killed in an automobile accident.

In working through his grief, Pastor Koke tells the story of how he kept asking “Why, God.You could have spared his life.  I don’t understand why you didn’t.” 

Finally, he tells of the day, he came to the conclusion that helped him start moving forward:  “I don’t know why.  But, I wouldn’t exchange the things I do know about God for the things I don’t know about Him.”

  • I know He died on the cross for my salvation.
  • I know He was resurrected and rose from the grave.
  • I know I have a home in heaven and will see Him one day.
  • I know, if I allow Him, He will still give me the peace that surpasses all understanding in the midst of my trials.

Well, Pastor Koke’s answer is good enough for me, but I have to confess. I’ve got this little mischievous thing about me.  When I get to heaven, I still may just sneak up to God and try to kid with Him a little bit and say:  “By the way, God.  Not that it makes any difference now, (ha, ha, ha) but I was just wondering why didn’t the sun stand still for me like it did for Joshua.”

On second thought, I got a feeling that all my why’s will vanish and there will be only one thing I want to do.

Please take a few minutes and listen to the words of this song.

*****

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SUM Books 4


Where's My Breakthrough?

Jerimiah 31 3 The Great I AmMy friends, 

Well, I’m here. After a bout with the stomach flu. Sheesh, it’s a mystery. I experience miraculous healing in my wrist yet I continue to fight on this challenging front of colds and flues. Can I just toss this statement out there. 

The Kingdom of God is often times mysterious. 

I want to write more about the mysteries of God and how he answers prayer but today, I feel compelled to speak to all of us about breakthroughs. Last week Dineen and I shared our testimonies of answered prayer and healing and last Friday, Penny, shared her astounding testimony. If you missed it, click here and watch it. I’m still amazed. 

But how do we walk through seasons where everyone is receiving breakthroughs, answers to prayers, even miracles and yet you remain, what appears to be forgotten? Can we talk about that today? Because I know that there are some of us walking in that place right now. 

This has rested heavily on my spirit since last week. And I’ve asked Jesus to teach me about this. I think I have two thoughts I want to share. 

1)    Recently I was listening to a pastor and he asked a question specific to this issue:  “We all can praise the Lord when it’s our turn for blessing. But, can we praise God when He blesses someone else while we are still waiting for ours?”

It’s learning to truly rejoice when another receives that builds our character. Is this easy? NO WAY. Is it possible? Of course. 

I love the honesty of our SUMite Nation as this was some of our conversation last week. Thanks Lynette for saying what many were thinking. She said: “Going to be transparent here and say that while I rejoice in her miracle, part of me is jealous.”

And I love how Jim replied: “It's how you handle that, that positions you for your own breakthrough... If you can simply rejoice with Penny, and give thanks to Papa for what He's done for her, then you are positioning yourself for your own breakthrough - which will be just as wonderful, but almost certain to be different.... Just because He can! Lol!” 

I agree Jim. I agree Lynette. (And Lynette, I know, that I know, in my knower *grin*, your breakthrough is in process and when you begin to see all that God has, you will be utterly astonished. Because it’s better than you could ever dream up or hope for. I absolutely believe this for you, even if you don’t or can’t see it.) I know our Daddy loves you that much. 

2)    Prayer. I’ve been praying, pleading and declaring until I’m blue in the face that I will not be sick again. Yet stomach flu. So badly I woke my husband up crying and begging him to drive me to the doctor. Sheesh. The doctor visit helped a ton! Yet, I’m miraculously healed of an injury that a few months ago required surgery. Say What??? Why does this happen? Healed and yet sick….. 

Was I not praying correctly? Did I do something wrong? Man, I have a lot of questions. And in the last few days I’ve really questioned my many years of praying for my unbelieving spouse. 

So what do I do with all this? Well I do have some thoughts to share that I think will bring hope and light. Stay tuned and we will visit this mystery of heaven… 

… this thing called prayer. 

I love you my friends. Stay kind, in a world that is harsh. Walk in hope, in a world that lives in despair and shine your light, because Jesus is just getting started and we are in for a ride, unsurpassed in HIS-story.

image from www.spirituallyunequalmarriage.com

*****

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SUM Books 4


The Three Deadly Ds: Disparaging Disbelief

27165685_sDear friends, before Thanksgiving I started a series on the Three Deadly Ds: Dubious Doubt, Debilitating Disbelief and Disparaging Disappointment. In Part One of Dubious Doubt we talked about how the enemy comes in and plants seeds of doubt, as he did with Adam and Eve, and in Part Two I shared some examples of breakthroughs that came as a result of pushing doubt aside and re-establishing God's truth firmly in its rightful place.  

Today, let's talk about Debilitating Disbelief. And that is exactly what the enemy's intention is, to debilitate (weaken, enfeeble, enervate, devitalize, sap, drain, exhaust, weary, fatigue, prostrate; undermine, impair, indispose, incapacitate, cripple, disable, paralyze, immobilize; informal knock out, do in) our faith. Once doubt has come in like a ravaging worm, disbelief moves in to fill those empty places like a fungus or mold. 

  • Your mind is riddled with questions and you may even feel tormented at times.
  • You try to read God's Word but find yourself questioning its truth or thinking it's true for other believers but not for you. 
  • Praise and worship become difficult.
  • Your attitude of gratitude has fled the scene and his unwanted cousin, grumbling negativity, has moved in.
  • Fear subtly increases and can even move into physical manifestations such as anxiety and health issues.
  • Guilt and shame move show up like uninvited guests and make you think you've messed up and that God will never be pleased with you again.
  • You cry out to God but feel like He's abandoned you.

This is why it's so crucial to to seek God in prayer and in His Word, especially in these dark times, and in a mismatched marriage as we don't have a believing spouse to uphold us in prayer and encouragement. And, despite how we feel. The enemy will use your feelings against you to keep you from running to Abba, to our Lord Jesus, for the truth.

But don’t just listen to God’s word. You must do what it says. Otherwise, you are only fooling yourselves. For if you listen to the word and don’t obey, it is like glancing at your face in a mirror. You see yourself, walk away, and forget what you look like. But if you look carefully into the perfect law that sets you free, and if you do what it says and don’t forget what you heard, then God will bless you for doing it. — James 1:22-24

Community becomes even more important because the enemy's final tactic is to isolate you so you'll forget who you are and Whose you are. God's Word and those who carry it are our greatest source of healing, hope and restoration.

My friends, a burden Abba seems to be asking me to carry right now is for those of you whose spouse used to walk in faith with you but has recently walked away. I've received several emails from many of you in this place and have had divine appointments with several dear women who find themselves in this painful position of betrayal. 

Let me say that I get why some walk away. Much of what I've shared today is from my own experience. The enemy tried to destroy me earlier this year and now I understand why someone would walk away, or be tempted to walk away, especially if their faith foundation is shaky or built on sand (Matt. 7:26-27).

Part of my journey to freedom came one night when the demon assigned to torment me finally revealed himself. Amazingly (to me, not God) Abba had prepared me the day before, even though I didn't realize it until after the encounter. He'd shown me more about my authority in Jesus. That night this enemy revealed himself in the darkness, with oppression and hissing. He tried to make me fearful and afraid in my semi asleep/awake state. As soon as I realized what was happening, I rebuked him and went back to sleep! To God be the glory!

What I have learned is that disbelief opens doors to the enemy, who tries to steal our divine destiny and destroy our peace and joy in the Lord. These are the tools that brought me through this dark night of the soul and taught me so much. 

  • Read the Bible every day and write down key Scriptures that speak to your spirit and soul. Go back and reread them later in the day and to start your quiet time the next morning. You’ll be surprised at how much more you receive out of God’s Word by doing this. Our bodies sleep at night but our spirit doesn’t. Give the Holy Spirit a chance to work God’s truth into your heart, soul and mind. Believe His Word—it’s true for you too!
  • Worship and worship more. There are many ways one can worship. With music, by reading Scriptures out loud (the Psalms are great for this), by speaking out praises to God about His character and who He is. Take a walk and praise Him for His creation. Pet your dog and praise Him for putting the fur baby in your life.
  • Invite that attitude of gratitude back home and boot his ungrateful cousin out!
  • Rebuke the spirits of anxiety, fear, oppression, depression and confusion (and any others the Holy Spirit brings to mind). In the name of Jesus, they must go! 
  • Plead the blood of Jesus over your mind, your thoughts and your feelings and speak God’s Word against guilt and shame (no condemnation in Jesus—Romans 8:1).
  • Know, believe, profess and remind yourself that no matter how things seem, God loves you, He always has loved you and He always will love you. His word says He will not abandon you, so believe it. He is with and for you!

I still have much to learn and continue to press forward into more of God (Phil. 3:12). My faith is stronger and I am better equipped to recognize the enemy’s darts. And this translated into helping others to be released from this spirit of torment when I’ve prayed with them in the healing rooms. The places we find freedom and victory will be the places God calls us to pray for and help others find that same freedom and victory (2 Cor. 1:3-7).

My friends, the next and last part of this series will be about disparaging disappointment. I’m waiting on Abba to give me the words and message He wants conveyed for us, His children. Please pray that I hear Him clearly amidst all the hustle and bustle of this move and Christmas. 

Remember, Jesus came to heal, to set the captives free and release prisoners. He is always on our side and always fighting for us. Amen!

And MERRY CHRISTMAS, SUMites! Love you!
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SUM Books 4


The Three Deadly Ds

21139604_sMy friends, today I want to begin a series about the three deadly Ds: Doubt, Disbelief and Disappointment. Gods’s been showing me some very sobering truths about these three and how the enemy uses them very subtly to kill, steal and destroy our faith. I’ve been a victim to these three—perhaps you have been too. So let’s take our time and explore these three deadly Ds so that we can learn to recognize them in our life, learn to defeat them, and even learn to discern the enemy’s attempts to shoot these arrows at us so we can raise our shields of faith in defense (Ephesians 6:16) and deflect him like the fly that he is. Let’s begin where it starts…

 

Dubious Doubt

Doubt is subtle and makes its entry slow and stealthily. This is the birth of sin. Lets go back to Genesis 3 a moment and take a look at the first entry of doubt into mankind’s existence.

The serpent was the shrewdest of all the wild animals the Lord God had made. One day he asked the woman, “Did God really say you must not eat the fruit from any of the trees in the garden?”

“Of course we may eat fruit from the trees in the garden,” the woman replied. “It’s only the fruit from the tree in the middle of the garden that we are not allowed to eat. God said, ‘You must not eat it or even touch it; if you do, you will die.’”

“You won’t die!” the serpent replied to the woman. “God knows that your eyes will be opened as soon as you eat it, and you will be like God, knowing both good and evil.” — Genesis 3:1-5

The enemy enters shrewdly and begins his dialogue with a question—“Did God really say…?” That is the seed of doubt he plants with the intent of making his target question and doubt God and His truth. God told Adam and Eve clearly the truth about the tree of knowledge. The enemy cast doubt upon this truth, but even more subtly, the enemy made Eve doubt whether she could trust God. This is the subtext here, my friends. Read these and tell me if you relate to any of them:

  • God is withholding something (His goodness) from me.
  • Therefore, God doesn’t really love me.
  • So, I must not be good enough.

As Eve stood there, I can only imagine how these played out in seconds in her mind. That’s all it takes for doubt to implant and sprout.

  • She now perceived God’s protection as keeping her from something better.
  • She now perceived God’s stipulation as Him not loving her completely and she has somehow been rejected.
  • She now perceived a lack within herself that would only be solved by taking matters into her own hands and doing what she thought best. She doubts God.

My friends, the enemy’s tactics have not changed since the beginning. He uses the very same strategy he used on Eve to try to destroy us. And when we begin to entertain doubt, everything thereafter is affected from this tarnished perspective.

Let’s take a look at James:

"But if any of you lacks wisdom, let him ask of God, who gives to all generously and without reproach, and it will be given to him. But he must ask in faith without any doubting, for the one who doubts is like the surf of the sea, driven and tossed by the wind. For that man ought not to expect that he will receive anything from the Lord,” — James 1:5-7 NASB

"If you need wisdom, ask our generous God, and he will give it to you. He will not rebuke you for asking. But when you ask him, be sure that your faith is in God alone. Do not waver, for a person with divided loyalty is as unsettled as a wave of the sea that is blown and tossed by the wind. Such people should not expect to receive anything from the Lord.” — James 1:5-7 NLT

I want you to look at both of these translations to see the full meaning behind them. And I encourage you to do your own study as well. In the NASB translation I’ve bolded the part that so clearly shows the meaning of James’ words about God’s generosity. Our God does not give according to our ability or perceived worth. If He did, He would not have sent His Son Jesus to die for everyone. And the Bible—which He gave us as His Word and truth, to learn from and grow in—is full of wisdom. God desires to give us wisdom.

In the NLT translation, the bolded statement is clear that our faith must be in God alone, not ourselves. Almost as if to say, “No back up plans.” When we do this we’re not trusting God. We’re not believing what His Word says. We doubt God and the truth of His word.

At the end of last year and early into this year, the enemy hit me so hard that this doubt crept in and began to attack my faith. I even began to doubt the truth of Romans 8:28! If you’ve been hanging out her for any length of time, you know that is my life verse. I’ve lived by it for years, have taught its truths and have built my faith upon it.

Yet there I was in total chaos doubting what I had once known to be true. The enemy had found an opening and snuck in asking, “Is God really good to you?”

If you look at the verses earlier in James 1, you’ll see he’s talking about our faith being tested. This leads to our need for wisdom. What James is saying is that when we ask for wisdom, we must believe we will receive it. And I believe this truth applies to all of God’s promises. He’s given us His Word and He is faithful. Instead of tossing back and forth like that wave looking for answers, we need to be still and wait upon Him to give us the answers, wisdom and grace that we need. And believe that He will.

I have danced around the truth of James’ words for years, my friends, not wanting to be that doubter tossed by the wind and sea—it’s very humbling and sobering to realize I’d allowed the waves of doubt to rock my boat. But now that the shrouding clouds have lifted, I’m learning to recognize doubt and eradicate it.

I love this quote from Jennifer LeClaire:

“The battle is in the mind but the war is for your heart. Believing in our mind is mental assent but believing in our heart—having pure faith in our heart—is where the miracles happen.” — Jennifer LeClaire, author of Heart of the Prophetic

God’s Word tells us that:

For though we live in the world, we do not wage war as the world does. The weapons we fight with are not the weapons of the world. On the contrary, they have divine power to demolish strongholds. We demolish arguments and every pretension that sets itself up against the knowledge of God, and we take captive every thought to make it obedient to Christ. — 2 Corinthians 10:3-5

What are those weapons of war that we wield? God’s Word, prayer, faith, truth—our spiritual armor (Eph. 6:10-17). My friends, the battle truly is in our minds first, thus why a transformed and renewed mind is crucial to a doubt free walk of faith.

Doubts diminish as faith increases.

I will stop her for now, but be sure to come back Friday for the rest of this revelation God gave me about "dubious doubt" and the stunning proof He gave me of what happens when we shift from doubt to belief. It's a story about miracles, my friends. I can't wait to tell you the rest!

Grateful to be on this journey with you!

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SUM Books 4


Intimacy Through Worship

9063688_sMy friends, your comments on Wednesday's post, Worship is More Than a Song, were amazing! You all had such great things to share about what worship means to you. Some of you even shared links to articles you had written on this very subject. I absolutely love seeing things like this, because it shows our Great God's hand moving in synchronicity through His children to bring His loving plans and purposes into place for us individually and the body of Christ. And what blows me away is that God doesn’t need our help, but by His great love and delight in us, He chooses to work His plans out through His children.

I love this line from Amanda’s post on her blog: "True worship is a kaleidoscope of every color in the spectrum that combine to make one shining, brilliant white!”

And this one from our very own Heather Passuello’s article:
 "The worship team is here to lead you into a worship experience, not prepare you or make it happen for you. You cannot be lead where you are not willing to go.”

And precious SUMite, Stacey S. shared this beautiful comment about communion:
 “He gave us Himself, to consume in the Spirit through the sacrifice of His Body and Blood in John 6:52-69. To me, every Sunday, receiving and consuming this gift of life is the most fulfilling and awe inspiring worship I can give him.”

In reading all your comments, I was so struck by the many ways we have discovered to worship God (Tanya worships as she jogs. Merlene spoke of studying God’s Word and encouraging someone) and connect with Him and hear His voice. Please keep sharing in the comments. Our sharing makes this community rich and blesses us all.

Today I want to explore more of this intimacy in worship, because I believe that this place of intimacy one-on-one with God is foundational to every other area of our lives. Let me say that again:

This place of intimacy one-on-one with God is foundational to every other area of our lives.

This is the area I'm coming to draw into more deeply as I get to know God better. This is about giving God our time and ourselves. It's about coming before Him in quiet stillness and expecting Him to be there as we wait. Not doing. Just being.

Let all that I am wait quietly before God, for my hope is in him. — Psalms 62:5 NLT

“Be still, and know that I am God! I will be honored by every nation. I will be honored throughout the world.” — Psalms 46:10 NLT

This is about going into the inner sanctuary of our spirit and meeting Jesus there.

This hope is a strong and trustworthy anchor for our souls. It leads us through the curtain into God’s inner sanctuary. Jesus has already gone in there for us. He has become our eternal High Priest in the order of Melchizedek. — Hebrews 6:19-20 NLT

It is personal, intimate and intentional. It embraces the quiet soul seeking, the longing heart singing, and the child needing to know and be known in the presence of the Father (1 Cor. 13:12). Here is where we ARE truly anchored in Him.

This is about setting time aside to invite God's presence to be with us one-on-one. Here we find direction, growth and healing through His love and the power of the Holy Spirit and His presence. His Word, worship music, time, silence, prayer walking and journaling are the precious commodities I find the most beneficial here. How about you?

God is love and I’m realizing that His love is creative, healing, inspiring and transforming. The more we desire to be in, delight in and long to be in His presence, the more we understand and experience His great love for us and we get to know Who He is.

I love Amy’s comment about God’s love: “I felt God speak to that, that when we lay down our selfishness and pride at His feet and become more self-sacrificing in the ways that Jesus was, that is true worship and how all other means of worship can freely pour out of us. And let me tell you, that is an extremely hard thing to do if I cannot or do not fully accept the powerful love that God offers and that He wants to permeate every fiber of my being and aspect of my life. It all starts there.”

I find His presence rushes in to meet me when my worship is about Who He is, not what He does for me. Thankfulness is part of worship, but first and foremost, to worship God simply for who He is opens our hearts to Him selflessly and deeply.

He is so perfect, so holy, so good, majestic, mighty, and more than enough (Eph. 3:20). He is incomprehensible in His fullness, yet astoundingly present in the smallest of details.

My friends, I think I could go on and on here and still wouldn’t capture the fullness nor the capacity that worship brings to our intimacy with God. I can only pray that the Holy Spirit will fill in the places that I have missed.

Please understand there is no pressure or expectation to perform in worship. This will hinder intimacy faster than anything else I believe. God knows us, He created us. We have nothing to prove to Him. He only desires we be with Him. That is our greatest form of worship, to be with Him as He is with us. And it can be as simple as just sitting quietly and expectantly and speaking back to Him what He says to us.

I love You.

Resting in Him,
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SUM Books 4


Reader Question: How do I defend my faith?

Dear friends, here's another reader question that really challenged me in my answer to her. Sometimes there isn't a clean cut and clear answer. And as Scripture says, we don't understand God's ways, but we do know He is always good and always faithful. Pray for our dear SUMite sister in this situation. Hugs! ~Dineen

I've been reading the blog on and off for a year, and just started reading Winning Him Without Words. The website address prompted me to come visit again. I appreciate the honesty in Tamara's letter (see post here), and it lets me know I am not alone. I feel a similar frustration but for a different issue. Yes, my husband in not a believer but it has led me to seek His truth even more so than before. I know I am not with him in error, and I hold onto the words in the Bible that advise me to stay with my unbelieving spouse unless he no longer wants to be with me.

However, for 5 years I have been trying to conceive and have tried nothing and everything we could and could not afford. I don't know how to explain to my husband that "everything is possible if you believe" when I have believed so many times, and nothing. I don't know how to answer my husbands questions because, how can I honestly say that the Lord must have something better in mind? And so I just sound like a lunatic. Yes. God is enough. God can comfort and love me, but He cannot replace a baby in my arms. This makes it very complicated to defend my faith and I understand why my husband does not believe.

My friend, I'm so sorry you are in this position. I feel your disappointment and pain. I wish I had an easy answer or explanation for you, but I don't. I've recently had to deal with something in my own life in similar fashion that didn't make sense even to me, yet I knew my only recourse was to trust God. I couldn't explain it to my husband, nor did I try to defend God. I just simply shared what I felt God was showing me through it and how God was helping me walk through it.

Sometimes all we can say is, "I don't know, but I will trust God." It's essentially what Proverbs 3:5-6 is about, to trust God and not lean on our own understanding, to seek His will and believe He'll show us the way.

These are the times that we are challenged to truly believe and hold onto the truth of Romans 8:28, that God is always good and that He is always working for our good. I know how hard that is when faced with such unexplainable circumstances.

I will offer you no pat answer or cliché of words you’ve most likely heard over and over again. But I will say, don’t let go of God. When you are confronted with these difficult questions, ask the Holy Spirit to give you the words. You may find the answer He gives you to speak will bring you comfort and peace as well.

We don’t see the full picture, but we can trust that God does, that He is on the throne and is working for not just your good but your husband’s too. I believe God can bring something beautiful and amazing from every heartache in our lives. And I am believing this for you too.

Hugging you tight with love and prayers,
Dineen

Provers 3  1-6

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SUM Books 4


Donovan Clan Update

Hello My SUMite Family, 

It was my intentions to share a little about the book, The Five Love Languages. However, I’m just not feelin’ it. So I think it’s time to let you know what has been going on in the Donovan Clan House. 

As most of you know my son and daughter-in-law moved in with us in January to relocate from Las Vegas to California. And as of today our hopes for a new life for them have turned to disappointment. I will be brief in my explanation and perhaps you can understand why I’ve been somewhat absent from the internet in the last month. 

Thank you Dineen Miller, my BFF, for covering for me during this most difficult time. 

Out of respect for my son I will share just briefly. They have separated and it looks as though their marriage will be another casualty of this broken world. It has been a difficult walk as I’ve watched this relationship struggle for a long time. 

As a proponent and a believer who stands for marriage, I’m heartbroken for everyone. I haven’t cried this much in years and years. However, I’ve also prayed and prayed for God to show us the way forward and I believe He has. He has covered us with His love and grace. 

It will take some time for me and my entire family to process all of the emotions, pain and decisions of the past month. I hope I’m able to share with you in the future how the Lord moved with grace and love in the middle of this terrible storm. 

Why am I sharing this with you, my family? Because I see three things in all of this. I truly know how many of you are feeling as you struggle in your own challenges and difficult marriages in this life. I have cried many tears for all you in my prayer time this past month. 

Two, I think some of this is spiritual attack as this all started when I began to put together my next book outline. I’m convinced this next book will have a great impact on the Kingdom, thus the enemy has thrown everything at me and my family to distract and keep me from writing. Devil when I rise from all of this I’m gonna hurt you bad!!!!! 

And three, I STILL believe in God’s Sovereignty, His love and grace for my family and I KNOW He will reveal all the good that will come out of the tears and ashes. And perhaps, God wanted to me to know that I could walk through all of this and not become offended and still love people even while enduring deep, deep pain. 

I believe I have walked through this with grace, not perfection, but with the grace and the perspective of heaven. I have spoken Ephesians 2:6 … I am seated in heavenly realms with Christ… a million times in this past month. 

The separation will be final in two weeks. For now thank you for your love. I pray you will not be disappointed with me as your leader here at SUM and I thank you for allowing me to be authentic. Thank you for your prayers. 

I sign off today and clearly state: I believe God has our family in His hands and I remain an even stronger advocate of marriage today. 

Walking in His Supernatural grace, Lynn

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SUM Books 4


The Truest Words From The Heart of Every Believer In A Spiritual Mismatched Marriage

Today I'm sharing a letter I received last week. I haven known Tamara for a very long time. She is likely one of our very earliest readers. She has walked in her uneuqlly yoked marriage for many years. In her short email I think she captured the truest parts of our heart. I'm not sure how this letter will affect you but I know it was tender, difficult and yet an encouragment. Lynn

Hello Dear Friend,  Hello Dear Friend

As I read your excerpts in that message – in God Sized Dreaming – I thought yes, only we, who are in that situation understand it. 

I was so sure Jack wanted to accept the Lords calling. But I was wrong. We had some very good and difficult talks and he explained very clearly: I don’t want to change. I don’t need to change. I believe enough to get me into heaven. 

So I must go alone and still be married. I am sure God will carry and lead me and I am sure I shall experience wonderful God-moments but still..... 

My marriage is a disappointment. 

This is not why I got married. I wasn’t a Christian when we married but the vision was always the same: together we walk, work, fight for the same goal.....whatever it is. But this goal of mine: JESUS,,,,,,,Isn’t his goal. So I must walk alone or fall down and I don’t like falling. 

God touched me very clearly and deeply this May and I know He will bring me safely to His harbor. I know He will give me wonderful friends, He already has, to love and comfort me and have fellowship with. But He can’t replace not having a husband at my side. 

I hope someday I will understand and see why we had to walk this very disappointing walk. We can write all we want; it doesn’t change the fact that we are alone in faith in our marriages. I love how you support and encourage at SUM. That is very important. I don’t know where I would be today without that. And then......one matures and when the hubbie doesn’t accept Christ you have to make a decision: Do I still trust in the Lord even if my husband doesn’t? Do I trust the Lord enough to stay with a person who doesn’t love my God? Do I trust Gods word that He will take care of me and all of my needs even if it doesn’t look like it?  Am I willing to decide to love this person even if he doesn’t honor my way of life? And when you can say yes to all then you know: this is what grown-up in God is like. It is painful and yet it is freedom in Christ and true worship: I have decided to follow Jesus, even if this means going alone. 

Do you know what I hope I will hear and understand too, Lynn? Why was it so difficult for our spouses to accept Christ? I look at your Mike, I don’t remember where you posted it, with your grandchild, and I thought: why is it so difficult for you to accept Christ with such a loving devoted wife? And then I realized, it is not about us it is about their own decision: Do I need Christ, or not?????     So very sad for all those lost years. 

That is also what makes me happy: either here on earth when they accept Christ or in heaven when we don’t need to think about that anymore we will look back and realize: it was only a blink of an eye in time .....in comparison of our Great God in Heaven. 

Be ever, ever, ever so blessed, you and the lovely Dineen for your loyal and great service in God, 

Loving greetings Tamara

Part II of our interview was on God Sized Dreams here. Thank you Christine Wright and team for allowing us to share the hope we have over at your home. PS. Christine is also a SUMite. I stand amazed to see all of the ministries that have arisen out of this body of Christ here in our SUMite Nation. I love you my family, Lynn

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SUM Books 4


God Answers Me. A Supernatural Encounter

Good Morning, 

On Monday we chatted about how to recover from enormous disappointment. And in the comments some of you shared how this unequally yoked life is filled with loneliness. I think I will have to write about walking alone because truly I found myself facing a future, perhaps the rest of my life, empty next and retirement, emotionally alone. So watch for that in the future. 

SuffFor today, I think we need an encouraging word from the Lord. So, let me give you the answers to the questions I asked of God. Do you remember last week I asked God, why?

God’s reply was this, “Lynn, my grace is sufficient for thee.” 

Oh Man, that was not the answer I wanted. I have really hard questions and I was desperate for the Lord to show me His thoughts and his purposes in my unequally yoked marriage. I want understanding so it would heal my pain. But, the Lord will not give me insight into the faith walk of my husband. 

Bummer! 

But and here is where everything changed, He did reveal Himself in perhaps the most astonishing way EVER in my life. 

Now this part of the story may be challenging for some of you but I have asked God about sharing what happened to me and He has given me permission to share. I know that for many believers we are desperate for a word from God. We are desperate to see miracles and signs and wonders. Because our faith is bolstered when we have an encounter with the Supernatural God. This is absolutely true for me. 

Well two weeks ago, Friday, I joined a small group of believers for a time of worship. I had been invited to this Friday night worship time for at least six months and finally I decided I would attend. I would attend because my heart was broken and I just needed to spend time with God. I went without expectation and received more that I could have dreamed. 

This worship time and a short message is hosted by a local church worship leader. It’s comprised of any believer, from any church, who wants to show up. I sat down on the second row in this room that held about 20 rows of chairs. The rooms was about half full when worship began. The music started at 7 p.m. I think we finished at 10:30 p.m.… A few songs into the worship set….. GOD SHOWS UP! 

I don’t know if you remember but when I have an encounter with God, I begin to shake. I quiver up and down and my right hand especially begins to vibrate. I can feel fire coming from my right hand at times. It’s like being electrocuted (in a good way). As the music continues, the Spirit of the Lord, comes upon me stronger. I’m shaking just a little at the time. The music set ends and the worship leader, Tim, stands and begins to speak to people in the audience. 

What I didn’t know at the time is this man Tim, is anointed and is prophetic. He was raised in this environment and has worked in the circles of pastors such as Bill Johnson. I will also mention that Tim does not know me. I met him as I entered the building and we only exchanged first names and the cordial, “nice to meet you” greeting. 

As Tim listens to God, he begins to speak to a man standing directly behind me. And as he is speaking words of declaration to him, I start to really shake. At this point I can’t stop the vibrations and my right hand is shaking so hard now that it’s completely noticeable by the people around me. Tim stops speaking to the man behind me and looks directly, points and says, “The glory of the Lord is upon you. Please come forward.” 

I step out and walk to the front. Tim begins to speak something, “Glory, Glory, Holy, Holy.” That was it. I hit the floor and sat down in a frozen weird position unable to move because of the power upon me. Now my friends, I can only share what I remember from what happens next. The encounter with God was so consuming and overwhelming I can’t remember everything that Tim said to me, but I’ve wracked my brain and I will share what I do remember. 

And recall here, Tim does not know who I am. And I am so overwhelmed by the power and love of God that is coursing over me that I can’t hardly keep my eyes open because the power literally is vibrating me. 

Now this is my recollection of what Tim prophesied over me. “Your ministry will increase. It will increase and you are in the place because someone in your past prayed for you. One of your ancestors prayed for you.” Okay, this makes me want to double the prayers for my children and grandchildren. He went on to say, “You will pray for people and they will be healed. They will be physically healed. You will lay hands on people and they will be healed from cancer and (he said something else but at this point I’m wreathing now under the anointing. Man, I wish I could remember.) He spoke a few minutes about the anointing of healing upon me. 

I’m overwhelmed and can feel more anointing pouring into me. 

Tears are rolling out of my eyes and I really start shaking. This is because I have been begging God to anoint me in this area of healing since returning from Bethel almost a year ago. I’m desperate to bring the Holy Spirit into people and bring healing to their hearts, their emotions and their physical body. 

Tim went on to say that I will greatly impact mothers and children. Specifically mothers. And that my faith and my anointing will have a profound impact on the Kingdom and this valley. Now remember Tim has no idea that we have a book for mother’s and a ministry planned for mothers to raise their children up in the Kingdom coming out in three months. He. Has. No. Idea. 

Tim said more but I just can remember. Why am I telling you this story? For two reasons. God is real. His power is for us. His heart is for us and He loves people. He wants to work like this through all of His people. Scripture is not just a book of moral good ideas to live by. NO. It’s an invitation to an experience, an encounter with the Most High. How do I know? I’m living proof. I’ve experienced the manifestation of the Holy Spirit. Also, remember this story I shared about healing (read it here)

I also share all of this because this encounter IS God’s answer to my questions, to my loneliness, to my pain. This encounter and the others I have experienced and the many that are ahead, is the answer. I would trade intimacy, wealth, property, status, my dignity, my everything to continue to have and be part of the supernatural workings of God. 

After this encounter. My pain was gone. My hope fully returned. I was reminded of my purposes on this planet and I was empowered. 

It’s been two weeks since that encounter and I’m now asking God, how to take these gifts He’s anointed upon me to the people. Daddy, how do I get in front of those who need healing to touch them and release You into their lives. How do I bring you glory, honor and worship? And I ponder, Dad, I’m an ordinary woman. Who am I? 

So, I’m still processing, praying and I’m waiting because I am certain, like Abraham was convinced, that I am part of this astonishing Great Harvest. And I will always hope. My hope is In Him who will move in my life and He WILL move in my husband’s in the fullness of time. 

I love you my friends. Thank you for staying to the end. I would love your prayers that doors are blown open for Dineen and I to bring our retreat of healing to the church (churches across America, do I dare ask, across the world) Love, Lynn 

Romans 4:20 Abraham never wavered in believing God’s promise. In fact, his faith grew stronger, and in this he brought glory to God. 21 He was fully convinced that God is able to do whatever he promises. 22 And because of Abraham’s faith, God counted him as righteous. 23 And when God counted him as righteous, it wasn’t just for Abraham’s benefit. It was recorded 24 for our benefit, too, assuring us that God will also count us as righteous if we believe in him, the one who raised Jesus our Lord from the dead.

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SUM Books 4


Disappointment Recovery

RecdisaptGood Monday Morning my SUMites! 

It’s Sunday afternoon as I write this note to all of you. I just went back and re-read the comments that you left for me last Monday on my post, Devastating Disappointment

I’m undone. 

By your love. Undone by of our shared tears. Humbled to the core for your prayers, your private emails, and the notes through Facebook. I’m moved by the Heart of God because so many of you also live in moments of devastation. So many of you live desiring intimacy, born of faith, with your spouse just like me. Many of you are facing life-altering changes in your home. For some, your kids are broken. Some face a spouse who is dark and seemingly hopelessly lost in the clutches of evil’s addictions, lies and self-centeredness. 

My friends, I truly KNOW how you feel. Over the past week I’ve had time to seek and discover the answers to the questions I asked of God on Monday. The answers I received were not what I exactly wanted to hear but they were the answers I NEEDED to hear from my Daddy, Father and my God. 

So, may I humbly share them with you and perhaps the answers will give you what they gave to me, hope. 

I will always hope. It is impossible for me to know God in the way that I know Him and not be hopeful, even for the seemingly impossible, my husband’s salvation and a desire for shared Sunday morning church experience. It’s impossible not to hope when I spend so much time in His Presence and I absolutely believe with everything in my heart that God’s purposes for me is to prosper me, that He desires to lavish His love upon me and to take me on an adventure that my marriage could never do in itself.   

My friends, I know all of this to be true. And I know, without doubt, that Our Lord wants all of this for you too. So before we get to the answers to the questions, I feel that some of you might be encouraged if I share with you how I have walked with God over the past two weeks as I wrestled with the pain, the loss of a dream and lost hope. 

I prayed. Yes, you knew I would say this. But, what did that really look like? 

Well, over the years I’ve learned to actually pray without ceasing. What does that mean? I enjoy an ongoing and every day conversation with God. I whisper prayers walking around the house. I mumble prayers in the car, some days when driving I have to pray A LOT because I find it difficult to love people on the road when they behave like idiots behind the wheel *grin*. Ahem…. Onward. 

So, I whispered, “Daddy, it hurts. I’m angry. I’m so disappointed. Dad, why.” 

I didn’t hear any distinct reply right away but I felt His Presence just like any other day. I also found myself out in the garden with my Daily Bible and my journal. I don’t journal too much anymore because I walk and pray after I read, however, on this particular day overwhelmed in my pain, I sat down and the words flowed on paper. Words of a broken heart. It was weird. I felt like King David when he was troubled and would write words about his enemies, troubles and then would find in his heart words of praise and thanksgiving. My words were likely to be ugly and looking back, I’m sorry I let them go for as long as I did which allowed the enemy a chink in my armor where he prolonged my pain and he tortured me with lies for a time. But they were how I felt at the time and our BIG God was up to handling my anger and disappointment. 

Currently I’m fascinated by the book of Ephesians and a couple of passages have fascinated me and become very powerful. So, I began to pray these passages to affirm my belief in the words. I prayed them morning, noon and night. I would repeat them over and over. I would say them as I drifted off to sleep and they tumbled from my lips as I woke. I was desperate to bring them into reality in my life and they were words that affirmed me and brought hope and comfort as I processed through my disappointment. 

I prayed, I proclaimed, I prophesied, I spoke aloud, “I am seated in the heavenly realms with Christ. I have the power of God, the same power that resurrected Christ. Seated in the heavenly realms, I have wisdom and revelation to see my marriage, my purpose on earth from God’s perspective.” 

The short version: I’m seated in heavenly realms. I have the power of the resurrection. 

I must have whispered this affirmation of who God says I am and literally the power I have available to me (the power that raised Christ from the dead) hundreds of times. I'm still freaked out that God has given to us the power that raised Jesus. Say What??? Freaked, I tell you. But I believe it.

Oh my friends, how speaking scripture is like the heaving of a mighty sword in the spiritual realms. Things began to happen…….. 

Amazing and fantastical, Supernatural things. Around me and in me. I’m still processing it all. 

And I will share that with you on Friday!

And I promise we will get to God’s answers to my questions. For today, please KNOW that I took every one of you with me before the throne this past week. Often and with passion, pleading for you individually and for your, life, your marriage, your spouse, your kids, whatever you asked of me. I brought you to our God seeking His favor and action in your life. I hope to reply to all of you if I have enough time this week. 

My friends, I leave you with a challenge. Read Ephesians, chapter one through chapter two, verse 10. This is a letter to the church that has overcome. This is a letter to the SUMites. We are living in the trenches and WE ARE OVERCOMERS! Let it empower you and I pray by Friday, you find you are seated in the heavenly realms and operating from heaven toward earth and not the other way around. That is our birthright as Kingdom children. 

And everyone said….. AMEN!! 

See you on our Facebook page and back here again on Friday. I love you. I truly love you with a full heart. 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-

SUM Books 4


Devastating Disappointment

DisvalHow do we walk through devastating – life-changing disappointment? I’ve been wrestling with this very issue in my life over the past two weeks. 

For the past year I’ve been certain that my spouse has slowly moved closer to embracing faith. I’m not even sure why I came to this conclusion over time. Perhaps I interpreted subtle comments or gesture for more than they were intended. That was until a week ago when suddenly, as if from out of nowhere, I was hit with a Mac Truck of realization. He hasn’t. 

A Mac Truck can level you. Ouch!

Living in these very real moments and seasons take every bit of my faith to rise up and keep walking. I think over the past two weeks I’ve lived through the five stages of grief….. at least twice. And for all of us who are hoping and believing for the salvation of your spouse, a dose of realism can wreck you. At least that’s how I’ve felt recently. 

My reality came in an instant where after almost nine months my husband decided to attend church with me. I’m at a point where I really believed that I no longer held expectation or hope about my husband and church. And that morning as we stood in the row while the worship band played, I discovered I did have hopes and expectations. This realization dawned upon me the moment my hope was crushed as I watch him posture himself in his angry stance, the typical stance I’ve seen so many times before. And then later in the day when I asked him about the message, his comment was so hurtful, I can’t write it here. 

365 days of hoping, prayer and believing came crashing down upon my tiny heart. My husband doesn’t believe and from his comment it appears he never will. Ugh!!!! 

When we, spouses of unbelievers, face this devastating disappointment, we wrangle with some very familiar questions. And we wrestle with them throughout our marriages because we are a people of great hope. It’s our nature to be hopeful because we believe in a Great Big God. We hope. 

The questions we have to bring back out of the past and muse over again and again are questions we hate to ponder. Questions I’ve asked God are: Why? How was I deceived? Am I going to live in a marriage like this for the rest of my life? God I know you hear my prayers but why aren’t you moving? And if we are truly honest we stare down the road of the years ahead and our heart aches because we may never have the intimacy we desire with our spouse because of our faith differences. 

I’m writing to you in my pain. I want you to know that I have an astonishing love relationship with God but there are moments when living in our everyday, ordinary are challenging, hope-crushing and painful. But I’ve learned a few things through the years that I need to remind myself about and I pray they bring encouragement to you, who are also feeling pain about your mismatched marriage. 

The way through the pain is to reach out to others in theirs. 

It’s in the pain – we can KNOW- truly know God. It’s in the hurt- we can truly bless others. It’s in this way where we reach out to others and we will see God. He picks us up and restores our hope and we can live authentically in joy. 

So for today, I’m reaching out. And I’m holding you who are hurting. Those of you who think no one knows how you feel. They don’t see the loneliness, the hurt. I see you and I love you. And I know that our God feels our pain. He sees us and He asks us to press in closer into Him. 

I ask that you leave me your name because I’m determined to take you with me to the throne room today seeking a fresh anointing of grace, hope and joy. I love you. I really love you… From an ordinary woman who truly knows your pain, Lynn 

Lord, Our Almighty God, 

Today I declare that this life-altering disappointment no longer holds power over the people of this community. I decree and announce that the enemy will not use our setbacks to steal away ground we have fought to take through perseverance and relentless prayer.

Lord, reach into our homes and restore your gifts: love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control. Today, I choose to take my pain and to press into you, seeking your wisdom and discernment for my marriage and my relationship with my spouse. Answer my questions kindly and satisfy my heart. Restore my hope and let me walk like a giant again in your power and authority. In King Jesus name. Amen.

*****

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-

SUM Books 4


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-

SUM Books 4


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-

SUM Books 4


A Change in Perspective

IStock_000016630204XSmallI sat in my favorite chair, devotional in hand and Bible open. Tears began streaming down my face. I sat before God, grieving over a hope that felt thin at best.

The evening before, my husband and I were on our way out to grab a bite to eat. I thanked him again for the wonderful set of darts he’d given me for my birthday. (We love playing darts and I love that it’s something we share and do together). Part of the gift was a set of flights (the things that attach to the back end of the dart and make then fly straight) which had a cross on them. I was touched that he thought to buy those for me.

He said that was actually a big step for him. I asked him why since he’s bought be cross pendants in the past. He explained that jewelry was different. He didn’t really see it as having a specific meaning. But buying the flights with the crosses mean that he accepted my faith as something that wasn’t going to change.

Our conversation continued over dinner. He further expanded that just as I probably hoped he would change his mind and believe in God, he hoped I would decide to believe like he does, that God doesn’t exist.

In my heart, I cringed a bit because I shared recently here that I thought he’d moved toward being more of an agnostic than an atheist. We continued to talk. That was the good part—we really talked. It was honest, open, and authentic. Nothing defensive or upsetting, even though it seemed like a step back.

Interestingly enough, at one point I got to share a perspective that surprised him. He said I probably thought that his life would be better if he believed. I said not necessarily better but richer. This gave me the opportunity to explain to him that my desire for him to come to faith had nothing to do with wanting to change him in any way. My only desire was that his eternity would be secure. I love him just as he is and I want to see him in heaven.

I explained the “richer” part with comparing the discovery of the world being round, not flat. New discoveries were to be made and perspectives enhanced and even changed. Like a whole new world (pun intended) being opened up before our eyes.

So, the reality of his unwavering choice to not believe God existed grieved me deeply that morning. I sat before God and asked what had happened? Had ground been lost? Had I misunderstood? Then I told God refused to stop believing his promises for my sweet guy. I know without a doubt God’s hand is on his life and I will wait however long it takes.

Then God’s loving and quiet voice came into my heart and changed my perspective. He showed me that this was not a step back but a step forward. That my husband’s acceptance of my faith was a crucial step in his consideration of faith for himself.

God helped me see what I could not on my own. My hope is restored. And renewed by a God who continually blows me away with His perfection and love.

No more tears. Just basking in the love of my Father. I will wait on Him and know joy.

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-

SUM Books 4