24 posts categorized "Kids Faith"

A Tablecloth of Thanks 2016

I started a Thanksgiving family tradition a few years ago, quite by accident. This tradition has become my absolute favorite. I'm sharing it today, as I do every year so that our new readers can begin this tradition in their home. This is also a Family Faith Tradition I share in our new book, Not Alone.

I have a story to share and a photo. I also want to give you a chance to share some of your holiday traditions or giggles.

Join in today and share a Thanksgiving holiday tradition from your home or share a funny holiday hiccup.

My Hiccup: Like many newly married young women, I didn’t realize the turkey was stuffed with bagged giblets. Yep, I cook the turkey with the plastic bag and the giblets still inside. We ate it anyway.

Also, three years ago, I set the oven on fire when I moved the giant bird around. I freaked out. My husband came running. The house was crazy, people were yelling, crying and freaking… Perhaps it was only me doing the yelling, crying and freaking. My calm man put the flames out and to this day, I don’t know how he did it because we didn’t own a fire extinguisher.

The next morning I rose before dawn and went shopping at The Home Depot. NO NOT FOR CHRISTMAS… For a fire extinguisher. And now, every year BEFORE I bake the turkey, I check to make sure the extinguisher is charged and ready.

Sheesh!

Today, I'm sharing one of my most favorite family traditions. Here is a post I wrote five years ago for the Internet Cafe. Hope you start a family tradition this year. It's NEVER too late to have a Tablecloth of Thanks.

Tablecloth of Thanks 

Many of you know that I am married to an unbeliever. This past May we celebrated 15 years of marriage. Our unequally yoked marriage has had its challenges, to say the least. Over the years, however, our ingenious God has maneuvered us through many touchy issues. 

Our disparity becomes more apparent during the holidays. Giving thanks to our Lord in November is a treasured time for me. I name my blessings one-by-one in prayer, thanking God for His lavish abundance poured into our lives. 

Like most wives living in an unequally yoked marriage, I long for my spouse to understand there is a God. To know He is intricately involved in our lives and everything we have is the provision of our creator. I have also learned that forcing God upon my husband is a surefire way to push him away. I am careful to respect my husband and simply trust Jesus to reach him in his perfect timing. 

In spite of my husband’s unbelief, I discovered a unique way to draw him into the celebration of thanks, besides through his stomach. He loves turkey. 

Four years ago, I threw a new, pristine white tablecloth across our dining room table two weeks prior to Thanksgiving. I purchased several colored pens and placed them on top. A new tradition was born, a Tablecloth of Thanks. It began with my daughter. I told her, “I WANT you to write on this tablecloth.” She looked at me with skepticism in her eyes, wondering if her mother had lost her mind. 

“Really,” my smiled reassured. “Write down what you are most thankful for this year. Then write the year, 2004, near your name.” 

She grinned and began to write using several different colors. I joined in and wrote my thanks directly on the beautiful tablecloth. 

Later that evening my husband noticed the scribbles on the tablecloth. I watched as he walked over to read our words. I walked to his side and took his hand. I subtly asked him if he would also write down his thanks. He smiled and said maybe later. 

Finally, on the evening of Thanksgiving Day, my husband picked up a pen and wrote; I am thankful for my wonderful family, great friends, and a very happy life. 

Wow! Was he giving thanks to our Lord? I am not sure. However, every year since he has continued to write a thankful list. Last year’s entry reads; I am thankful for all of my blessings…family, friends, and the dogs. 

Imported Photos 00001What? Did he use the word blessings? Small steps such as these lead to the Savior. I can’t wait to read his thankful list this year. 

The Thankful Tablecloth is one of my most prized possessions. Everyone who visits our home during the Thanksgiving holiday contributes to this permanent memorial of thanks. It is a visible praise to the King displayed in our unequally yoked home each November. 

One of my favorite thanks is this: 

2006
I am thankful
to be able to sit
on the couch and have
my people pet me.
Peanut 

Hmmmm, I wonder how the dog grew fingers and learned to write???? 

Psalm 69:30 (NIV)
I will praise God's name in song and glorify him with thanksgiving.

 

Lord God, I will name my blessings one-by-one….. Jesus… eternal life…. clean water to drink…..capacity to love…..empowerment to forgive….. just for a start….. 

It is never too late to start a new tradition. If you want to start your Tablecloth of Thanks, I have a few helpful hints.

  1. Place a sheet of butcher paper under your tablecloth. (I have a permanent smiley face on my dining room table from the year 2005)
  2. Use colorfast fabric pens.
  3. Store your tablecloth in an airtight Ziploc bag. 

Thank you, my friends, for sharing this Holiday treasure with me. I wish you were with me today and could share your thankful heart on the Tablecloth of Thanks.

(My friends, if you could, share this post on Facebook and Twitter. It's truly a wonderful tradition and I want so much for families to have an opportunity to share faith in this way. Thanks, Lynn  - click on the buttons below to share. Hugs)

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Today At Church I Looked Down The Row And Was......

image from www.spirituallyunequalmarriage.comHi Gang,

Well today it’s my turn to write about chapter four of Not Alone.

Churched Kids

My heart and head is full of thoughts and emotions when I consider raising our kids in church. I share a number of my thoughts and experiences in chapter four about kids and church, youth group (to go or not to go), the conflict within our homes with Dad and so on….

But in this moment as I write about our kids and church, the faithfulness of God overflows in my spirit and stirs my heart.

It’s Sunday afternoon and I’m pondering an ordinary, yet profound moment. You see, everything I’ve done to raise my daughter, all the words I’ve written about parenting culminated in this morning. I was humbled to watch the faithfulness of God unfold in front of my eyes in a beautiful moment.

I will tell you that my daughter, who was raised in a spiritually mismatched home all of her life, has been walking through a season of crisis and doubt about her faith. Several circumstances have contributed to this season. I have prayed with faith for her. I’ve talked with her. I’ve argued and there may have been moments of loud conflict between us *sheepish grin*. However THIS MORNING God showed me how very powerful “my faith and my prayers” have been in the life of this child. AND interestingly, in the lives of her friends.

Following one of our long discussions several weeks ago, I decided not to push her to attend church with me while she is home on her college summer break. So, on Saturday night I set my alarm and was heading to bed. My cell phone buzzed. It’s my daughter calling me from someplace in town where she met up with her friends for ice cream.

“Mom, I just wanted to catch you before you go to sleep.”

“Okay, I’m still awake.” She knows that I go to bed really early.

“Well, Mom, I want to go to church with you in the morning. Oh and I want to bring my friend who I plan to pick up and bring him to our house in the morning. Then can we swing by and pick up Gina because she wants to go with us too.”

“Sure thing Sweetie. I love you. See you in the morning.”

“Nite, nite Mom.

As I write this I’m an ordinary and thankful mother because God is so faithful. I sat in a row of chairs at church with my daughter who worshiped with her full heart. Her BFF, and two other young men who are her good friends were sitting with us. A row of young people who wanted to attend church. Young men and women who want to know Jesus and to walk in real faith.

I looked down the row and was overwhelmed by God’s love as I watched them all worship together.

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Mom and Dad, our kids watch us. They are looking to see if WE believe. They are looking to us to show them the way in a world that is confusing and brutal.  

We have two powerful weapons to war for our children.
We have profound influence in their lives.
AND we have the ear of the King!

Mom and Dad, your kids will choose one day to attend church on their own because you were faithful to love Jesus out loud before them. Day after day, moment after moment. Faithfully reading God’s Word. Daily praying for them by name.

THAT is what legacy is all about. That is what loving Jesus with our full heart will yield. That is what chapter four is all about…. Churched Kids, who will one day walk into a life-long faith in Jesus.

And if you are not seeing that right now, never stop praying! I believe the prodigals will be running home!

I would love to hear your thoughts about chapter four. It would bless me greatly if you would PLEASE share your stories of how you are impacting your children for the Kingdom. Please, please share because there is another mama or dad out there that needs your wisdom and your story to help them in parenting their children to faith.

I love you so much. Mom and Dad you are more powerful than you know. You are walking in a path of eternal impact. So WARRIOR ON and let’s lead our children by our love for Jesus.

Have an amazing week. Now go hug your kids and tell them that Jesus loves them!!! (An unexpected text works too) Hugs, Lynn

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Did God See That Coming?

Listen In!!

 image from www.spirituallyunequalmarriage.comToday's message is straight from my heart for every SUMite. 

Truth.... Perspective.... Courage.... No Fear.... Power.... AND Declaration Prayer at the End. Join me and be inspired and encouraged. I LOVE YOU.... LYNN

 

 

 

 If you can't see this video in the news feed, click here.

 

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Making GOoDly Choices

NotAloneStudyImageMy friends, this week I'm drawing from chapter 5 (Peaceful Kids) of our book, Not Alone. I find more and more that our choices are the starting points of success, whether that be in attaining goals or pressing in for breakthroughs. One of the greatest gifts we can teach our children is to help them understand that they have this ability and to help them cultivate and use it wisely. And choice is powerful.

Part of that process is being very careful to listen to what our children are saying and often reading between the lines. Because above all else, our children need to know that we, their parents, and their homes are safe places. Some kids are great about just telling you exactly what happened during their day. Others, not so much. 

My girls fell into the latter category. Their sensitivity tended to make them more inwardly reflective to process their day or a challenging situation. Initially they’d seem cranky and difficult. Or they’d react unreasonably to something I would mention they or we needed to do. 

That was my clue to ask, “What happened today?”

Our children need to know they are valued and heard. They need this foundation, to know they have a voice, starting at home. When we build this place of safety for them, we do two things in our children: 

  1. We give them confidence in who they are and are created to be.
  2. We give them a safe environment to figure out who they are and are created to be with permission to fail in order to learn. No fear of failure.

With this building foundation, they are more equipped in their classrooms, playgrounds and with friends. We want to give our children this sense of peace and grounding in who they are so that they will make choices from a place of confidence and safety, not insecurity and fear. This is the foundation that will make a difference for them in situations where they are faced with peer pressure, temptations and persecution for their beliefs. 

My friends, we want to pour the truths of God’s Word into our children to inspire them to greatness. It’s about building a legacy, not legalism. Legalism will tell them what they can’t do. Legacy inspires them to overcome and walk in faith and integrity. These are the future world changers who will bring Christ to the nations.

How do we do that? 

  1. Give your child a voice. Teach them to understand their opinion matters and that they can share these opinions in respectful and loving ways (Colossians 3:12). The choice here is, when to speak and when not to. Each challenge your child deals with in school—whether it be with a teaching that is clearly contrary to their biblical beliefs, dealing with bullies, or making friends—will present choices. When we listen first, we can walk our children through these situations and help them see the right way to go. Along with a lot of prayer! Remember, God’s Word says if we need wisdom to ask for it. So ask (James 1:5).
  2. Give your child a reason. Our children need our help to see the bigger picture. Why can’t they watch and do all they same things their friends do? If they were hanging out with Jesus, would they ask Him to come along to watch that movie or to do that activity? What’s really at stake? One, our children’s minds and hearts. When we help our kids understand that we are called to walk in integrity, humility, love and mercy (Ephesians 4:2), they will make more thoughtful choices. Especially if we are modeling it. Even as a adults now, my daughters know I’m very picky about what movies I watch. There are places I just can’t go with mind and heart. They’ll even tell me, “Mom, you won’t want to watch that movie.” And now I’m seeing them make similar choices. The choice here is about about discerning and choosing wisely, along with not being afraid of what others will think (Galatians 1:10).
  3. Give your child a cause. First reactions are often judgmental ones. We are quick to assume a person’s ill temper toward us is personal when that isn’t the case at all. So many people, including children, are walking this planet bereft of hope. And we are just a convenient target for them to vent their frustration. Helping our children to see beyond what they “see” is part of teaching them to see and love people like Jesus did. That’s our cause. It’s a delicate place to teach because our children can mistake our attempts to help them see beyond their own pain as taking sides with the one who hurt them. Our challenge is to make it clear we understand they were hurt, but let’s not stay there. What can we do about it? How does Jesus want us “see” the situation? Work together with your child to find the answers. The choice here is to do what is right according to God’s truth. And right choices build a lifestyle of forgiveness, integrity, humility and honor (Micah 6:8). 

The amazing thing is that as we help our children to learn and grow in these ways, we wind up influencing their friends when they are in our homes, and our children influence their friends at school. It builds and lives are changed!

My friends, I will stop here before it becomes another book! On Thursday, we will talk more about godly choices in a tougher area—helping our kids to choose between what is good and God’s best for them, especially in today’s culture that offers so much with the added implication that we have to do it all. This is challenging for us too, yes?

Question: In what situation have you helped your child that required a choice—what did you do and how did you help them reach the right choice? Or didn’t. Sometimes our kids wind up learning some things the hard way, just like we do.

Love you so much, SUMites! As school has started and is starting, please know that I am praying for you and your children. Hugs!

All in His love!
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Parenting Supernaturally

image from www.spirituallyunequalmarriage.comHow is our parenting supernatural?

We find the answer in a powerful passage of God’s Word…. And this paragraph was written specifically for all of us who are married to unbelievers.

For the rest of you who are in mixed marriages—Christian married to non-Christian—we have no explicit command from the Master. So this is what you must do. If you are a man with a wife who is not a believer but who still wants to live with you, hold on to her. If you are a woman with a husband who is not a believer but he wants to live with you, hold on to him. The unbelieving husband shares to an extent in the holiness of his wife, and the unbelieving wife is likewise touched by the holiness of her husband. Otherwise, your children would be left out; as it is, they also are included in the spiritual purposes of God. — 1 Corinthians 7:14

Our love relationship with God and the promises of His Word are how are children are affected for the Kingdom.

In REAL LIFE: This plays out in my life in my prayers. If you read through my disappointment series, you will remember how much warfare surrounded my family on a single day. I became so mad at the demonic and the harm the enemy was inflicting, that I began to pray something like this:

Prayer: In the name of Jesus, I declare that my family and me are off limits. My children and my spouse are sanctified and a part of God’s plans according to my Lord’s purposes in 1 Corinthians 7. I cover myself and my children with the blood of Jesus and ask for the forgiveness of our sins and for the love and redemption of God’s mercy in our lives.

My children and my spouse are covered by God and are included in his plans for me and my family. I stand as a spiritual authority over my family through the power and love given to me by Jesus and through the promise of sanctification. Nothing can touch them. No weapon formed against them will prosper. I say that God has plans for us to prosper us and not to harm us. It is God’s will to give us a hope and a future.

I will stand against the enemy and speak love into their lives. I will live with faith and conviction and I WILL NOT RELENT IN PRAYING FOR THEM EVERY DAY. Devil you cannot have them. They belong to Jesus. It is in my Savior’s powerful name and by His authority that I bring my children before the mercy seat and declare them sanctified, holy, and covered by the plans of God. This day Jesus do everything possible to reveal yourself to my spouse and children. It is my heart’s cry that they come to full salvation through the Holy Spirit. In Jesus name. AMEN

 

When we grasp this truth of sanctification and pray in faith through the Holy Spirit for our children, we need not live in fear for their salvation or for their lives. It’s not a guarantee for their salvation but we do not need to fear because Jesus will do absolutely everything to bring them into the Kingdom of God.

Of this I have zero doubt. AMEN.

Q: What does it mean to you to know you have the spiritual authority to pray with power and watch God supernaturally move for your children?

Q: Share with me an example of how your faith impacted one or more of your kids? I want to celebrate with you.

image from www.spirituallyunequalmarriage.com

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Back to School: Equipping Our Kids in a Contrary Culture

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

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

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

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

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

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

All in His love,
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Update and A Mother's Day Challenge

Hello SUMite Nation: (Challenge is below the update - read on!)

Well, you may have noticed if you are a regular subscriber that we changed our email provider to Mail Chimp. And do my great disappointment, Mail Chimp was unable to create our emails with photos and paragraph breaks. Grrrrr

So as of today, we are with Feedblitz our old service. How does this affect you? It doesn’t unless you subscribed or unsubscribed within the last three days. So, if you are a new subscriber, please subscribe again using the “Never Miss A Post” button in the sidebar -----. Thank you.

Also, a few of you have made donations toward these expenses. Your heart for this ministry and support mean the world to Dineen and I. I will be sending out an email thank you later this week. God bless you! THANK YOU!

As for other changes, in the next week or so we will be uploading our redesign to make SUM mobile friendly. Be patient if things still are wonky. We are working on it. Send me an email if you notice something that isn’t working in a week if it persists.

Funny that so many things happened in the last two weeks that required my “Tech hat.” I prayed God would give me the brain power to do all this myself. Guess what?

HE DID!

Other News:

Please, please visit my video CHALLENGE on MyKLOVE radio app. I have a unique Mother’s Day challenge that’s another opportunity to share your faith with your kids! In fact, I’m going to do this for my grown children. So, look up the app on the store and download it.

I still shake my head in wonder at the gates the Lord opens for Dineen and I. The “MyKLOVE contributor” privilege utterly moves my heart to unending thanks to my Father. My friends, the Lord has many gates for us to walk through and we need only take the keys from His hands.

Tomorrow watch for a post from Dineen about her own mother and on Friday, tune in for something hilarious! I love you so much. In my prayers the past two days, I have been storming the heavens in petitions for you and your families. I love you, Lynn

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Let Them Cry by Joanne Kraft

Joanne Kraft is offering a snippet into her newest book today. Joanne and I have been friends for a long time. Our lives have been interestingly and divinely intertwined. She is a good friend who loves God. I was able to read her book and endorse it. Today, she shares some of her parenting wisdom. Thanks Joanne. Love you girl. Hugs, Lynn

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image from joannekraft.comMy teenage son walked down the stairs with a frown on his face. College classes have gotten the best of him.

My pep talk with him yesterday apparently wasn’t as good as I thought it was and my future as a motivational speaker went down in flames.

When I brought my first child home from the hospital their cries were immediately met with a soothing rub and my full attention until the whimpers quieted. From baby tears to teenage sulking, I want to make my child happy. I’ve exhausted myself trying to make this happen. 

Here’s what I’ve finally realized– I can’t make any of my kids happy. 

            Here’s the clue you may be doing something wrong—when you exhaust yourself doing it. 

Years ago, when my mom watched me try to stop tears from my four children, she gave me my first golden bit of wisdom, “Let them cry. I promise they will be okay.”

When Mary and Martha sent word to Jesus that their brother Lazarus had died, Jesus didn’t come that very day but waited two more days before heading back to them in Judea. When he arrived he discovered the funeral had already taken place, Lazarus had been dead four days now, and there were two very heartbroken sisters in deep mourning who had been crying for days.

Not only were Mary and Martha in tears but it’s in this passage of scripture where we find the shortest sentence in the Bible—Jesus wept. Two words packed with incredible meaning. Even our Savior shed tears. Even He felt sad. 

Let Them Cry 

Let them hurt. Is there anything more contrary to mothering than allowing a child to cry or hurt? Still, it’s much needed for their development. Come alongside and give them a hug.  Sympathize and validate their hurt, “Yes, I know you’re sad.” Or, “It’s okay to be sad. Sometimes mommy is sad, too.” And if a child is older, maybe you can empathize, “I understand how hard this is for you.” Or, “I’m sorry you’re going through this. I’ve been there, too.” Follow up with a personal story of your own about a past hurt or grievance.

Let them heal. Give them a little time. Don’t let their hurt sabotage your life or manipulate joy in your home. Scripture reminds us there’s “A time to cry and a time to laugh. A time to grieve and a time to dance.” (Ecclesiastes 3:4) Give them needed space but look for signs of healing; interest in friends, playing again, laughter, an appetite, and conversation.

Let them lean. When a child is young they lean on mom and dad for everything. As they grow older we need to let go so they can lean on God. I can’t expect my adult child to have BIG FAITH if they have little experience in leaning on a BIG GOD. If I answer their every whim and whimper, I become God in their eyes. Do you want to grow their faith? Let them lean on the only ONE who can meet and exceed their expectations. (Psalm 62:5)

As a mom, I’m not a magic joy-fairy called to sprinkle pixie-dust over my child’s every moment. I have to remind myself that my daughters and sons must feel pain while in my keep. God grows us through pain. How else will they know how to navigate life’s storms as adults?

image from i1298.photobucket.comAs a mom, I’m not a magic fairy called to spread joyful pixie-dust over my child’s every moment. I have to remind myself, my daughters and sons must feel pain while in my keep. God grows us through pain. How else will they know how to navigate life’s storms as adults?

Let your child cry today. Let them hurt and let them heal, but make sure through it all to let them lean on God. Like I said earlier, scripture reminds us there’s “A time to cry and a time to laugh. A time to grieve and a time to dance.” (Ecclesiastes 3:4) Maybe, today it’s time to let them cry. I promise they’ll be okay.

Joanne Kraft is a mom of four and the author of Just Too Busy—Taking Your Family on a Radical Sabbatical and her recent book The Mean Mom’s Guide to Raising Great Kids. She’s been a guest on Focus on the Family, Family Life Today and CBN. Her articles have appeared in ParentLife, Today’s Christian Woman, In Touch, Thriving Family, P31 Woman and more. Joanne and her husband, Paul, recently moved their family from California to Tennessee and happily traded soy milk and arugula for sweet tea and biscuits. 

 

Website http://joannekraft.com/

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Throw Back Friday?

Gang, Lynn here. I'm STILL feeling under the weather. On the couch again today. Ugh!!!!! 

Not feeling up to writing much so I want to ask a couple of questions. I hope to be in my office later today to join the conversation.

Q1: How do you deal with prayer at meal times? 

Q2: How do you model prayer to your children?

I recently heard some interesting teaching about the blessing over our food. What do you know about blessing our meals that you can share?

Let's share what has worked in our spiritually mismatched homes. Perhaps your life experience will profoundly help another SUMite reader. See you in the comments. Hugs, Lynn

image from www.spirituallyunequalmarriage.com

 

Steps of faith

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Prayer Day in Canada

Thank you for your prayers, God has answered wonderfully and beautifully. 

We were able to share the Gospel with so many kids today at the Oakville's children festival. We were making beaded bracelets on our blankets, and sharing the Gospel at the same time. After the kids finished the bracelet, each one got their copy of Jesus Christ story and sometimes also the Gospel of John and an adult tract for their parents and a ring pop candy:-) We were in the park from 1:30-4:30 and at the end estimated that we made about 90 bracelets, gave out the same number of Jesus story books and Gospel of Johns and some New Testaments. We prayed with maybe 15-20 of the kids to accept Jesus into their hearts as their Savior. 

There was no major opposition, only three parents returned the booklets and the materials to the blanket but the kids kept their faith bracelets on! "Some parents were staring from the distance as if kept by some force from entering and interrupting, although they did not look happy about what their kids were doing:-)" God put a hedge of protection around our craft area:-) 

God used our kids as they were bringing other kids to the blankets and asking them "Would you like to make a faith bracelet?" :-) Little fishers:-) 

In one of the pictures the bright light was shining in the middle as Kerri took a picture when kids were accepting the Gospels and listening to the story of Christ. 

The pictures are worth a thousand words to me...Also, the Lord held off the rain and the thunderstorm until after the event. There was a massive downpour, lightning and thunder all through the night, but there was a huge party in heaven! 

I also read this passage last night after the event, and I believe the Lord fulfilled it in the park yesterday so beautifully, as we were sitting down under this huge oak tree next to the lake and kids were tying faith bracelets on their wrists: 

Is 44 

For I will pour out water to quench your thirst

    and to irrigate your parched fields.

And I will pour out my Spirit on your descendants,

    and my blessing on your children.

4 They will thrive like watered grass,

    like willows on a riverbank.

5 Some will proudly claim, ‘I belong to the LORD.’

    Others will say, ‘I am a descendant of Jacob.’

Some will write the LORD’s name on their hands

    and will take the name of Israel as their own.”

 

and Kerri also shared this Scripture with me which was fulfilled before our eyes:

 

Deuteronomy 6

6 “And these words which I command you today shall be in your heart. 7 You shall teach them diligently to your children, and shall talk of them when you sit in your house, when you walk by the way, when you lie down, and when you rise up. 8 You shall bind them as a sign on your hand, and they shall be as frontlets between your eyes. 

God bless you and thank you so much for your encouragement and prayers!
Olga

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Olga 2

Olga 3

Olga 4

Olga 8

Olga 9

Olga 6

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Abijah - Godly Mother of Hezekiah (Part 2)

My friends, here is the conclusion of Olga's beautiful post. Moms, I pray this encourages you to keep on trusting God with your little ones (and big ones like I have!), because He faithful through the generations. And that is a promise straight fromt the Bible! Hugs! ~Dineen

Abijah - Godly Mother of Hezekiah (Part 2)

"My Father is Yahweh"

859675_book___We left off at:

After that Hezekiah rededicated the Temple unto the Lord...

So the Temple of the LORD was restored to service. And Hezekiah and all the people rejoiced because of what God had done for the people, for everything had been accomplished so quickly. — 2 Chronicles 29:35-36

Next, Hezekiah gave an order to celebrate the holy feast of Passover which the nation had not been able to celebrate in many years:

Hezekiah sent runners to gather people into Jerusalem for celebration. The runners went from town to town throughout Ephraim and Manasseh and as far as the territory of Zebulun. But most of the people just laughed at the runners and made fun of them. However, some people from Asher, Manasseh, and Zebulun humbled themselves and went to Jerusalem.

At the same time, God’s hand was on the people in the land of Judah, giving them all one heart to obey the orders of the king and his officials, who were following the word of the LORD. So a huge crowd assembled at Jerusalem in mid spring[c] to celebrate the Festival of Unleavened Bread. — 2 Chronicles 30:10-12

Hezekiah encouraged people to serve the Lord and to trust in His goodness, Hezekiah prayed for his nation and the Lord healed them:

Since many of the people had not purified themselves, the Levites had to slaughter their Passover lamb for them, to set them apart for the LORD. Most of those who came from Ephraim, Manasseh, Issachar, and Zebulun had not purified themselves. But King Hezekiah prayed for them, and they were allowed to eat the Passover meal anyway, even though this was contrary to the requirements of the Law. For Hezekiah said, “May the LORD, who is good, pardon those who decide to follow the LORD, the God of their ancestors, even though they are not properly cleansed for the ceremony.” And the LORD listened to Hezekiah’s prayer and healed the people.

Hezekiah encouraged all the Levites regarding the skill they displayed as they served the LORD. The celebration continued for seven days.

There was great joy in the city, for Jerusalem had not seen a celebration like this one since the days of Solomon, King David’s son. Then the priests and Levites stood and blessed the people, and God heard their prayer from his holy dwelling in heaven. — 2 Chronicles 30:17-27

In Chapter 31 of 2 Chronicles we read that Hezekiah continued the religious reforms in the country.

In all that he did in the service of the Temple of God and in his efforts to follow God’s laws and commands, Hezekiah sought his God wholeheartedly. As a result, he was very successful. — 2 Chronicles 31:21

Now remember, who Hezekiah’s father was and what kind of life he lived? Remember also who Hezekiah’s mother was and how God had used her to shape this young man into the king of Judah who would bring back the nation to Himself?

I hope God has touched all the single moms and the moms in spiritually unequal marriages through this incredible story just like He touched me, just like He always touches – with His Fatherly love, boundless power, and ever amazing grace! God has reminded me once again that He is the real Father of my child and He is in total control and He enables me to co-parent with Him leading me and empowering me by his Holy Spirit. Never underestimate how great God’s plan is for your kids raised in spiritual mismatches!

Thank you, Olga, for sharing this wonderful insight from Scripture! Such great encouragement!

Get to know Olga...
IMG_8027My name is Olga, originally from Russia, I now live in Oakville, Canada with my daughter Elizabeth. I accepted Jesus at a Campus Crusade for Christ in 1993. But in the last couple of years after a painful divorce, I have gotten to know Jesus even closer, not only as my Savior, but also as my Husband, my closest Friend, and the Heavenly Father to my daughter. 

 

 

 

 

 

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Is God Good?

My Friends, 

I don’t even know where to start. So much has happened in the last seven days that I feel like every morning I wake, God has another “Holy Mind-Blow” in store for this ordinary, 5’4”, blonde girl. 

Do you remember back several months ago that I promised breakthrough. Well, boy howdy, I’ve had one. Probably SEVERAL. And likely the biggest thing that has yet to happen to me in the Kingdom is still coming. Woo Hoo!! I will be sharing this new adventure with you, step by step, as I move forward. 

But today, I have a word for all of you who worry about your kids. 

I worry about my kids. I pray, A LOT, for my kids. Today’s story has been more than a decade in the making. 

I’ve written before about my years of praying for my son who lived in Las Vegas. Since 1999 I’ve prayed years and years for God to move him to California that I may lavish God’s love upon him and help him to grow in his faith. And in February he, my daughter-in-law and my granddaughter moved here. They have lived with us since then. Well as they have stayed with us, God has revealed the areas in their lives that He is desperate to bring healing. What an astonishing answer to my mama’s prayers. But God’s not done. 

I also have been praying like a mad woman for them to find new jobs with a livable wage, jobs that they will love and have opportunity for growth. 

Now to set the scene, my son had an interview for an awesome job several weeks ago. For more than a week following that interview, I prayed with every fiber of my being, soul, heart and mind for my son to be the candidate that the company wanted. I prayed, scriptures, I prayed in faith. I prayed with conviction, belief and prayed for hours. 

My son didn’t get the job. 

I was saddened, of course, and my son was affected. However, for me, I was baffled and I will admit confused and disappointed with God. “Why, God, didn’t he get this job? Please grant me understanding as I prayed in alignment with your word and as Jesus taught.” 

Well this week the kindness of the Lord and in His tenderness, He explained the reason. 

This week I will be attending a conference in San Diego. And while out walking, God said to me, “Ask your son to go with you.” 

“But God, the likelihood he would say yes and attend is ridiculous. He would never go to a conference like this with his mother. And Lord, what about child-care. Someone needs to watch the little one. And then Lord, on top of that, my son’s wife needs to be on board with all of this because she is affected and will also need to watch the baby when she gets home from work.” 

The list of reasons why this was impossible surged in my head. But I prayed and said, “God I will ask and I trusting you to make all of the details fall into line.” 

I came home from my walk-n-pray. Sat down in the playroom with my son and with my granddaughter on my lap, I simply asked him to go to this conference with me. 

“Sure, Mom, I would like to go.” 

SAY WHAT??????? SAY WHAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAT!!!!! 

Every detail fell into line and this Wednesday my son, Brad and I are off to a conference that God has promised will be the beginning of his healing.

As I sat in my office later that morning, the Holy Spirit whispered to me, “Lynn, this is the reason your son didn’t get that job. He would have been working and unable to attend this conference.” 

God is SO MUCH MORE interested in this young man’s heart, his soul, his healing and the rest of his life. 

I cried. 

Tears of love and thankfulness. 

God has good gifts for His kids. Many, many good gifts. And God is so much more concerned for our heart, our soul our emotional health and our healing than any old job. God has a million of jobs and when the time is right, my son will receive the perfect job. 

I know this because I know the tender love and faithfulness of our Lord. 

What have you been praying for that wasn’t answered how you wanted or expected. Ask the Lord to help you have understanding. Then wait. It may take a while to get the answer to you but I absolutely believe God wants us to understand He is good. He has good for His children and He wants us to have wisdom and understanding. 

Okay, gang, Brad and I are off on Wednesday. I’m expecting miracles, healing and more. Pray for this boy. I will keep you posted. 

I love you. 

And I promise, I still have so much more about Joshua and the Walls, so keep walking with me. The journey is exciting and breakthrough is ahead for all of us. I love you. I really love you, Lynn

Ephesians 1 17
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Another Audio Book Giveaway!

51hVx1L21JL
This time it's for Not Alone! We love it when we can share with our SUMite family. Enter for yourself, enter for a friend, enter for a family member! No doubt Abba will lead your heart to someone who needs it. He's so good at that. :-)

Enjoy!
Dineen

 

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Weekend Worship — Share Your Testimony!

Image

My friends, Lynn and I had a fabulous time at FamilyLife Today with Dennis Rainey and Bob Lepine last week. These two men have such HUGE hearts for families and marriage. What a privilege it was for us to share our hearts with them. And they asked us some really challenging questions! Good questions. As soon as we get the details of the broadcast, we will share it with you. 

SUMites, you know our hearts desire is to encourage wives and moms in their mismatched places, in ALL walks of life and circumstances. And I see that desire in so many of you too. Abba has given us so much! So much hope and strength in our mismatched places. It just bursts out of us. That's why we wrote Not Alone. And let me say how grateful we are to our publisher, Regal Books, who believed in our message and ministry. These people are dedicated to Jesus and sharing His saving hope. Amazing!

In greatest honor to our sweet Jesus, I have a couple testimonies for you. My friend, testimonies are POWERFUL (Rev. 12:11). The enemy knows this and wants to keep us quiet and will even squelch us down if he can. Trust me, I know (and will hopefully share more on this soon). That's because he knows that testimonies increase faith and hope, and release God's power in our lives, our marriages, our children and the world! As Lynn and I sat on the plane on the way home, she turned to me and said, "We need more testimonies." And I agreed.

Yesterday as I walked and prayed I asked Abba for this, for more of His miracles to be released in this community and to bring us more testimonies. He will do it!

This first one is from our book and you'll recognize Gillian's name too. She is a righteous mama contending for her kiddos! I love how she used her children's toys to teach her children! Moms, don't be afraid to ask the Holy Spirit to inspire you with ideas like this. It's fun!

1531631_10152189985277280_674821193_nI read a short story from a children’s Bible, and we sing a praise song or hymn each night at bedtime. “Jesus Loves Me” has become a favorite. Because they are very young, I sometimes use figurines and toys to act out Bible stories—it’s simple, but it really holds their attention and makes the story come to life for them—and for me. 

This is what I pray on the nights when I put my young boys to bed:

Dear Lord, thank You for _______, _______ and _______. Thank You for Your love for them and Your special plan for each of their lives. Please bless them and keep them, and lead them all their days. May they always know Your great love for them.

The last line I find especially important. That is the one thing everything hinges on, because it is when we lose sight of how much God loves us that we tend to fall away from Him. But even when life’s not fun, if we can still feel His love, it makes all the difference.

—Gillian Russell Meisner

This next testimony is one sent in by a reader. So amazing! As you read it, claim that this kind of miracle is possible for you too, becaue with God, ALL things are possible (Luke 1:37).

Hi Dineen,
I'm so sorry I missed the opportunity to join the week of fasting with the community, but I have no doubt that all will be blessed as a result.

We exchanged emails last year when I was going through a tough patch in my marriage and you gave such encouragement and wise words to me through that time.

Well, I wanted to share briefly with you the latest to encourage that God does hear our heart's cry and moves on our behalf, but He also looks for us to actively get involved too. Obedience and His power seem to go hand in hand - Father is so gracious that way, He loves to do things with us.

2013 was a tough year and continued to have challenges in my marriage right up to the end. But even I wasn't prepared for the conversation 2 weeks before Christmas that saw my husband announce the end of our 12 year marriage (and a relationship of 18 years). I was devastated but I knew that God had given me the strength to finally say no to something that was tearing us apart and was unbelievably unhealthy for our marriage and our souls.

Now my husband is a man who, when he makes his mind up, does not bend even if he is in the wrong. When he said our marriage was finished, I had no reason to doubt him. But only 5 days later he took my hand and said that this situation was very wrong, a waste of 18 years and that he didn't want to be without me.

I was stunned. Was this possible? Only with God, I would have to say! I knew that the prayers I had been praying and those of supportive Christian friends had been heard.

Then my second shock that night - I once again asked him to consider counselling. He has never agreed to counselling as he doesn't think it does any good. However, as he began his protestations, God directed me to say that surely if we wanted to save an 18 year relationship, counselling as a last resort was worth a try. He said, amazingly, that he would agree to "consider" a selection that I would provide him with. Again, this is a huge step forward.

So instead of the expected disaster of Christmas and the New Year, my beloved was just wonderfully kind to me, loving and sweet. It was the best Christmas present I could ever have.

Then, as if to add a cherry on this wonderful "cake", God brought another present to me. My husband has a sharp mind with an ability to debate and contest. I'm far more a feeling, sensing person, so he runs rings around me usually on the rare occasions we discuss Christianity.

However, the first Saturday into the new year, out of the blue we meandered through topics of conversation and ended up talking "religion." As mentioned above, I'm not very good at debating, certainly not compared to my husband but, this time, the Holy Spirit just dropped words into my mind and unbelievably my husband was arrested by them to the point that he was nearly speechless. A first in my experience!

The key moment was when, in response to one of his statements, I said I largely agreed with his comments on religion, but that faith in Jesus was actually about a relationship with a personality rather than an organisation. I was even able to share Psalm 139 with him.

Trust me when I say this was a big breakthrough. I'm not expecting my husband to become a Christian tomorrow, but I truly believe that something has been loosed in the spiritual realm to open his heart further to God. So whilst we still have a way to go, still need to get that counselling sorted and deal with our issues, I know that my Father has this marriage in His hands and that He will withhold no good thing from us for it's renewal and healing.

Amazing, amazing, AMAZING! And so GOD! As this dear woman said, God loves to do things with us. Have an amazing weekend bathed in the promises of our Lord and Savior, Jesus. He is mighty to save—ALL of us!

Be shiney for Jesus!
Dineensig

 

  

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Audio Books For Busy Wives and Moms

Hi Everyone: 

I have one more story to share about our book, Not Alone, before we launch into our next series. On Monday we are going to have a discussion about contending with the Orphan Spirit. And my friends, I can almost guarantee we have all faced this demon in some way or another. This is a must read! 

But today, as Dineen and I end our week sharing our hearts about parenting, I’m moved to share the words of our friend, Steve Smith. 

IMG_1289[1]
Steve represents Oasis Audio. Oasis Audio published our books in audio and they were released about two weeks ago. Steve went way beyond inconvenience to allow Dineen and I to record the books in our own voices. The audio team worked with a couple of ordinary moms and put together audio books so that some mom out there, who is driving to work and doesn’t have time to read, can hear a word of encouragement from the Lord. 

Steve writes: 

Lynn and Dineen,

I have to tell you, I do popular big-selling inspirational books because they make money and keep our employees in jobs. When Elaine at Gospel Light showed me you titles, I thought about my mom, who fifty years ago was abandoned by my dad. My sister was five. I was two. She was fortunate enough to be a college educated woman and eventually climbed her way to the top of the corporate world, but our lives weren't easy and she did her best to be both mother and father to us. We were not aware of God in our lives until I was in junior high and my mom enrolled me in a Lutheran school because she didn't want me exposed to a public jr. high. When I saw NOT ALONE, I thought of my mom and how this book would have been very helpful to her. 

And then I looked at my own years as a youth pastor and the struggles single moms were enduring. You thanked me for serving the kingdom. I can't accept that noble honor. I made the choice because I wanted to serve women like my mom. But I think Jesus is very happy that you two wrote these books, and I am honored to publish the audio. I don't care if they aren't NY Times bestsellers. I want them to reach and help the people who need them.

 

IMG_1277[1]I about wept when I read this a few months back. I think of the years I spent working full time, driving children to school, feeling exhausted, and struggling with the demands and fears we face when raising children. Wow… 

So, today, Dineen and I humbly unveil the audio recordings of, Not Alone AND Winning Him Without Words. Please think about someone, who is a single mom who needs a word from the Lord to inspire her to stick in there and kept living her faith out in front of little eyes. A woman who needs to know she can come through the loneliness and pain of a spiritually mismatched marriage. Then if you are able, share this audio book with her. Let her know it exists and that all of us here exist to love one another and pray for each other. Buy her a CD if the Lord moves you to help her. Perhaps this woman is you? 

Thank you my friends. THANK YOU STEVE. Please know that Dineen and I continue to pray for you, your ministry and your mom. Thank you for opening another door with our message of hope and Jesus  and the value of a mother to her children. 

Hugs, Lynn & Dineen 

And, now for one more question….. Are you ready for some football strike….. Some warfare? I will make a bold promise. You are going to pray differently for yourself, your family and your marriage after we get started in the new series on Monday. And I promise… We start Monday. 

If you want to read some great posts about spiritual warfare that we wrote last January, visit the sidebar of the blog or click here: Spiritual Warfare: Terrorist Training Boot Camp

Note Alone Cover Art
Not Alone - Audio Book
WinningHim
Winning Him Without Words - Audio Book



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700 Club Interactive

{Lynn} On Wednesday I will get on a plane and head toward Virgina. On Thursday I will be interviewed about our book, Not Alone. Gang, I would be so thankful to have a word whispered to our Lord for me.  

700 ineractiveHere is some information from Molly who is the Senior Guest Coordinator for the 700 Club. She has been so great to me. Thanks Molly:  

700 Club Interactive is a live web-cast we produce from 11:00 – 11:30 am ET (10:00 am CT, 9:00 am MT and 8:00 am PT) so your friends can log onto www.cbn.com to see you live.  Then it will be broadcast nationally on the ABC FAMILY cable network on Monday, December, 11 at 9:30 am ET/PT and at 8:30 am CT.  Mountain time depends on the local cable system.  If the cable system takes the ABC FAMILY East coast feed, it will be seen at 7:30 am MT.  If the  cable system takes the West coast feed, it will be seen at 10:30 am MT.   After this program is broadcast on Dec 11, it will be posted on www.700ClubInterctive.com.  ~Molly

 

Thank you from the bottom of my heart because I truly am a bit nervous. I hope to post photos and updates on our Facebook page of the ziplocks or the random acts of kindness or the opportunities to share the Kingdom Gospel while on my travel across America and back. Love you. Taking each of you with me in my heart. Hugs, Lynn

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Moments in a Storm: A SUMite Testimony

My friends, today I want to share a wonderful story from one of our readers. Many of you know Dawn from the comments on our posts and see her heart's pursuit of Abba and His peace and hope as she walks through a storm right now. She mentioned a wonderful story about one of her children in a comment recently, and I knew it was a story to be shared. So, here is Dawn telling us this beautiful story about her daughter's growing faith in the middle of a storm. 

 

9d75ed1220210301607672080bd6200a-bpfullIn the last 15 months, God has placed me square in the middle of a class five hurricane storm – Hurricane Separation with pain gusts of 100 mph.  While yours may not be the storm of separation, many of you can relate to a storm of this magnitude. 

Even on my darkest, cloudiest, windiest days, God shines rays of blessings through the clouds.  The biggest blessing that has come from this has been watching my children’s faith grow.  I’m talking seeds to oak trees, indescribable faith that I believe only a child can have.  I was raised going to church every Sunday, but prior to our separation I did not bring my children to church.  In fact, outside of nightly prayers, Jesus wasn’t a common subject at our house.  My husband is a non-believer and I never wanted to rock the boat.  Not a good excuse, but it was my poor reasoning.

Fast forward to our separation after 10 years of marriage and the first place I turned was back to Jesus, who had never left my side even when I had left His.  In fact, He was right there waiting with open arms and nothing but grace and forgiveness.  This was also a turning point for my girls, 8 and 10 at the time.

The three of us rallied together for support.  We began going to church again and submerged ourselves in The Word of God and His promises.  We began praying for and continue to pray for their dad’s heart of stone to be turned into a heart of flesh.  Ezekiel 36:26.

The amazing thing is that my kids who had not been raised in an openly Christian household embraced all of it immediately.  Their faith alone makes this storm worth every minute.

One of my favorite examples of this comes from my oldest daughter, Lily, who is now 11 and in the 6th grade.  One day, Lily got in the car after school and announced how excited she was because someone at school had finally been rude to her.  I was very confused and asked why that made her so happy.  She said it was because she had been praying for God to send her an enemy that she could be nice to.  Talk about make a mama’s heart soar.  In dealing with their dad, we talk a lot about loving people because God calls us to and not because of how they treat us or what they do or don’t do.

These trials are so hard, but there are so many teachable moments in them.  Opportunities to teach our children things that they can’t learn from smooth sailing.  My kids have learned more about the love and faithfulness of Our Father and about the love He calls us to show each other than I could have ever taught them when the sun is shining.  Never forget that our kids are watching us in these situations and God is using these trials to show these sweet babies HIS amazing love.

God alone has given me the strength to endure this storm with grace, love and forgiveness (most of the time.)  To Him all the Glory for not only, every teachable moment that He gives me, but for the wisdom He gives me in that moment.  It is through nothing in me that I am able to attain these things.

I regret not wanting to rock the boat all those years, but I am forever grateful for the second chance God has given me to give my children the gift of faith.  It’s never too late to give them that gift.

 

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Tablecloth Of Thanks 2013

I started a Thanksgiving family tradition a few years ago quite by accident. This tradition has become my absolute favorite. I'm sharing it today, as I do every year, so that our new readers can begin this tradition in their home. This is also a Family Faith Tradition I share in our new book, Not Alone.

Enjoy.....A Tablecloth of Thanks

It’s never too late to start a new tradition in your home, especially one which brings honor to the Lord. I have a story to share and a photo. I also want to give you a chance to share some of your holiday traditions or giggles.

Join in today and share a Thanksgiving holiday tradition from your home or share a funny holiday hiccup.

I will share with you that like many newly married young women, I didn’t realize the turkey was stuffed with bagged giblets. Yep, I cook the turkey with the plastic bag and the giblets still inside. We ate it anyway.

Also, three years ago, I set the oven on fire when I moved the giant bird around. I freaked out. My husband came running. The house was crazy, people were yelling, crying and freaking… Perhaps it was only me doing the yelling, crying and freaking. My calm man put the flames out and to this day, I don’t know how he did it because we didn’t own a fire extinguisher.

The next morning I rose before dawn and went shopping at The Home Depot. NO NOT FOR CHRISTMAS… For a fire extinguisher. And now, every year BEFORE I bake the turkey, I check to make sure the extinguisher is charged and ready.

Sheesh!

Today, I'm sharing one of my most favorite family traditions. Here is a post I wrote five years ago for the Internet Cafe. Hope you start a family tradition this year. It's NEVER too late to have a Tablecloth of Thanks.

Tablecloth of Thanks 

Many of you know that I am married to an unbeliever. This past May we celebrated 15 years of marriage. Our unequally yoked marriage has had its challenges to say the least. Over the years, however, our ingenious God has maneuvered us through many touchy issues. 

Our disparity becomes more apparent during the holidays. Giving thanks to our Lord in November is a treasured time for me. I name my blessings one-by-one in prayer, thanking God for His lavish abundance poured into our lives. 

Like most wives living in an unequally yoked marriage, I long for my spouse to understand there is a God. To know He is intricately involved in our lives and everything we have is provision of our creator. I have also learned that forcing God upon my husband is a surefire way to push him away. I am careful to respect my husband and simply trust Jesus to reach him in his perfect timing. 

In spite of my husband’s unbelief, I discovered a unique way to draw him into the celebration of thanks, besides through his stomach. He loves turkey. 

Four years ago, I threw a new, pristine-white tablecloth across our dinning room table two weeks prior to Thanksgiving. I purchased several colored pens and placed them on top. A new tradition was born, a Tablecloth of Thanks. It began with my daughter. I told her, “I WANT you to write on this tablecloth.” She looked at me with skepticism in her eyes, wondering if her mother had lost her mind. 

“Really,” my smiled reassured. “Write down what you are most thankful for this year. Then write the year, 2004, near your name.” 

She grinned and began to write using several different colors. I joined in and wrote my thanks directly on the beautiful tablecloth. 

Later that evening my husband noticed the scribbles on the tablecloth. I watched as he walked over to read our words. I walked to his side and took his hand. I subtly asked him if he would also write down his thanks. He smiled and said maybe later. 

Finally on the evening of Thanksgiving Day, my husband picked up a pen and wrote; I am thankful for my wonderful family, great friends, and a very happy life. 

Wow! Was he giving thanks to our Lord? I am not sure. However, every year since he has continued to write a thankful list. Last year’s entry reads; I am thankful for all of my blessings…family, friends, and the dogs. 

Imported Photos 00001What? Did he use the word blessings? Small steps such as these lead to the Savior. I can’t wait to read his thankful list this year. 

The Thankful Tablecloth is one of my most prized possessions. Everyone who visits our home during the Thanksgiving holiday contributes to this permanent memorial of thanks. It is a visible praise to the King displayed in our unequally yoked home each November. 

One of my favorite thanks is this: 

2006
I am thankful
to be able to sit
on the couch and have
my people pet me.
Peanut 

Hmmmm, I wonder how the dog grew fingers and learned to write???? 

Psalm 69:30 (NIV)
I will praise God's name in song and glorify him with thanksgiving.

 

Lord God, I will name my blessings one-by-one….. Jesus… eternal life…. clean water to drink…..capacity to love…..empowerment to forgive….. just for a start….. 

It is never too late to start a new tradition. If you want to start your Tablecloth of Thanks, I have a few helpful hints.

  1. Place a sheet of butcher paper under your tablecloth. (I have a permanent smiley face on my dinning room table from the year 2005)
  2. Use colorfast fabric pens.
  3. Store your tablecloth in an airtight Ziploc bag. 

Thank you my friends for sharing this Holiday treasure with me. I wish you were with me today and could share your thankful heart on the Tablecloth of Thanks.

(My friends, if you could, share this post on Facebook and Twitter. It's truly a wonderful tradition and I want so much for families to have an opportunity to share faith in this way. Thanks, Lynn  - click on the buttons below to share. Hugs)

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A Letter From God To Every Mother

I want to encourage all of our new friends who found our community here yesterday. And I want to love and encourage those who find us today. 

Mostly I want to encourage our entire family who meets here every day to share life, love and our Savior. I adore you. Thank you for loving each other and our Jesus. 

Today, the Family Talk broadcast will talk about raising children in a spiritually mismatched home. I’m absolutely passionate about this issue. Truly, when I was a young mom, I feared that my husband’s unbelief would influence my daughter, perhaps even affecting her eternity. But....

Our faithful God loves to answer prayers of mother’s who bring their children before Him each morning by name.   <-- (Click to Tweet)

Our newest book that releases October 7, 2013 is all about this topic. And I promise you, God showed up while Dineen and I wrote it. Today, I want to offer you an excerpt from that book. 

While I was writing the last chapter, I discovered a profound passage in scripture that applies to all of us. And to find out what that is, you need to buy the book. (yep, sorry a teaser). But as I finished the last chapter, I remember being out on my walk n pray and feeling frustrated. It was as if the story wasn’t yet finished. So finally out of frustration I asked God, “Lord, what do YOU want to say to all mothers.” 

My friends, God was waiting for me to ask. And immediately He began to download to my mind…… 

A Letter. 

It’s a letter that God has written to all moms. And today, I share His love letter with you. 

It’s currently uploaded on our Ministry site. So click over there. Read it. Weep. I kid you not, I cry each time I read it. I really do. And I wrote it. Sheesh! Well I only put it to paper (so to speak). Anyhoo, click over when you have an uninterrupted minute and receive this word from our God who loves you.

 Beloved Mother 

Print a copy and let me know how you felt when you read this letter. 

I love you and a BIG welcome to all of you who found us yesterday and today through Dr. James Dobson’s Family Talk. 

Love & Hugs, Lynn

To hear the braodcast, click below. And there are also articles on the Family Talk website that Dineen and I wrote about marriage and parening.

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Teaching Our Children to Worship God

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Hello SUMites! One of our readers shared this precious picture with us. I love that she sent this because now I can show you a picture of almost exactly what I described seeing in my post on Monday. I look at this picture and wonder what this little girl is hearing from Jesus. 

I can imagine He's telling her she is precious and loved and cherished, because that's what the Bible tells us. So beautiful.

Let's keep sharing ideas and stories of how we're teaching our children a Kingdom mentality. I wish I had understood this better when my girls were little—I wish I'd understood it better as a child myself! 

But now I'm getting it and I'm giving it away to my girls now and look forward to being the person in this picture one day, holding my grandchild and watching them worship God with me. I'm putting that out there right now as my dream. 

Thank You, Abba! Thank you that we can commit our hearts and dreams for our children to Your loving care. Thank You that You hold our children even closer than we can imagine or hope for. Thank You for choosing us to be their mothers and fathers. And thank You, Lord Jesus, that You watch over our children and have designed them with such great care to be a vital part of Your kingdom, on earth and in heaven. And we ask that Your will be done in their lives here on earth exactly as it is in heaven. Let their destinies in You be released and let nothing stop them as they walk in that truth. In Your name, King Jesus, amen!

Love you, my friends!
Dineen 

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Our Righteous Trust Fund

9437891_sYesterday my daughter Leslie and I set out to handle transferring her trust fund into her possession. It’s such a small amount. I wish I could say as her parents that we’d managed our financial picture the best we could as there’s always room for improvement.

I didn’t think much of this small pittance. I only saw it as failure on our part. A failure to grow it more, add more, provide more. So I was totally caught off guard when she came to me in tears of gratitude. Didn’t matter that the amount was so small. She drew more from our love and intent behind the action than the result.

Sometimes we get so caught up on how things appear on the outside. Lately I’ve become very aware of how this manifests in our words and how we interact with the world. We worry about how we look in the sense of how others will perceive AND judge us. We worry about how our family appears to others, be they neighborhood or family friends or our church family—worrying how we are perceived AND perhaps judged there as well, especially when we are mismatched.

I’m learning that those things I’ve spent so much time worrying about often don't mean squat. In fact, when those thoughts or concerns creep in, I find myself saying, “I don’t care.” Or, “It doesn’t matter.” What matters is what God thinks.

And that’s what I felt like my daughter showed me yesterday. She showed me an unexpected perspective. God’s. Didn’t matter that the result hadn’t turned out the way I wanted it. She received something from it that I never expected.

Validation that she mattered..

And that’s truly what we want, isn’t it? As moms. As wives. As God’s children. We want to know that we matter, that our efforts makes a difference in the lives of those we love, like our children coming to know Jesus and walking in a faith relationship with Him that continues to grow and grow, right?

But what I’m also learning (and a bit painfully I might add) right now is that the results God has planned are so often different than what we think. At times they even seem counterproductive, like when God brings the most amazing fruit from our failed attempts.

Like when our weakness makes His strength all the more apparent.

My daughter received something much more meaningful than money from her parents’ meager attempts to provide. She received the intention in our hearts, to want only good for her.

And if that’s our hearts as parents, think about God’s heart for us, His children. When God shows up, we are validated as His children. We grow in our faith and trust, which brings us more boldness and freedom.

And His heart for our children is even bigger than ours. All those things we pray for our children—God wants them too. He wants them to know who He is. He wants them to know His goodness. He wants them to have a relationship with Him that rocks their world for Jesus.

I love what the second part of James 5:16 says:

The prayer of a righteous person is powerful and effective.

My friends, we are the righteousness of Christ. That’s part of our inheritance, part of the trust fund Jesus set up when He died on that cross for us. We receive it when we ask Jesus to save us and as coheirs with Christ, we bear His righteousness.

So our prayers are powerful and effective. Statistics will try to tell us how ineffective we are, and based upon our own ability alone, they are probably true.

But the prayers of the righteous are effective because they are powerful and ongoing. The Greek word for effective is the same as the word we get energy from: energeo. And if you pay attention to the law of physics, energy continues to work. It doesn’t diminish or run out in a defined system.

In other words, our prayers don’t just peter out and fizzle. Every prayer of the righteous is ongoing, present tense and working. So in God’s system of prayer, righteousness and energeo, we are effective and our loved ones will be affected.

Those are statistics worth noticing and caring about. Ones we can believe and trust because God is the fuel behind them. And I’ve never known Him to run out.

You have my heart and prayers!
Dineen

Image credit: sqback / 123RF Stock Photo

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Let Us Tell You a Story...

There once were two ordinary women who said yes to God and their lives have been an adventure ever since. Yep, that's the story of Lynn and I but the story I really want to tell you is about our publisher, Regal Books (aka Gospel Light).

 

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Lynn and I with our amazing editor, Kim Bangs, who is truly one of the most godly women I've ever had the pleasure to meet and learn from.
Lynn shared some of our adventures visiting them last week on our Facebook page as we met their sales team. Lynn and I were humbled and so blessed to meet this amazing team of men and women who see their jobs as part of their service to God and work tirelessly to bring the messages of the books they represent to stores. We also met the rest of the amazing Team Regal, who has caught our vision for this ministry.

 

Why am I telling you all this? Because Lynn and I can barely put into words what this amazing group of people have come to mean to us. Before we left on Thursday, they gathered around us (we were also blessed to meet two other authors whose work we hope to share with you down the road) and prayed over us, blessed us and made a covenant with us to help support us in our service to God.

They are part of our SUM community and Lynn and I stand in awe of how God has worked in all of this. That's why we want to share it with you, our SUM community because you are an integral part of all of it. You asked us for a Bible study about being spiritually mismatched and we prayed. God opened our hearts to the idea of a book and Winning Him Without Words was born, an unexpected part of the adventure.

And now we will start another adventure, one that includes you, our SUM community. You've asked us about a book about raising kids to faith in a spiritually mismatched marriage. Lynn and I started praying over this idea around the summer of 2011. Then God gave us the go just a few months ago and we brought this idea to Regal too.

That is why we went to visit our dear friends there, to bring God's vision of this book to their sales team so they know what our SUM community is all about.

NotAloneCoverMy dear friends, we are so excited to tell you that Not Alone: Trusting God to Help You Raise Godly Kids in a Spiritually Mismatched Marriage is slated to release next Fall. We have a lot of work to do and we need your help. Which is right and good because you are so much a part of this journey! We need your prayers that we listen faithfully as God gives us the words AND we need your input. Over the next three months we will probably be asking for your stories and thoughts about how we do this—trust God to help us raise Godly kids.

So here is our first question for you:

How has God helped you share your faith with your children and still respect Dad in doing so?

Answer in the comments because you will most likely help other moms as you share with us. So join us in this next chapter of the crazy adventure we call mismatchdom and let's find out where God takes us!

And finally, thank you, thank you, thank you! Lynn and I are so grateful for this community. We are truly just two ordinary women who said yes to God and the rest is all to His glory, praise and a testimony of how God provides when we cry out to Him in our time of need. And the truly beautiful part is that all of this is the overflow of His amazing love. This is what it means to be in a God-loving community. Can you imagine what Heaven will be like?

Thank You, Lord Jesus. This is truly You working with us to bring wisdom, hope, and healing to needs and hurts of others. This SUM community is Your legacy and we say "yes!" to whatever You are calling us to next. Thank you, Abba, we are so very grateful for Your love and grace. Holy Spirit, fill and guide us on this great adventure. We love You, Lord! Amen!

With all our hearts, gratitude and love,
Dineen & Lynn

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What Do You Say to the Kids and more....

Today we are answering your questions that were posted the week of January 18, 2012.

What do you tell the kids when they ask, "Why doesn't Dad go to church."

Why isn't there marriage in heaven?

How do you parent your kids when you and your husband see parenting so different.

The boundary between submitting and serving vs. enabling.

How do I keep hope alive when I my husband never responds.

Listen in. Then join the conversation in the comments. 

 

 

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Your Kid's Faith - From the Chronicles of the Donovan Clan

It was the best of times……

        It was the worst of times…..

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Last Saturday evening I sat in front of the television and watched the painful demise of my beloved Broncos as they were pounded by the Patriots in what can only be described as a massacre.

It was sad.

I sat around the family room with several of my friends and several of my daughter’s teenaged friends who showed up wearing Patriots Jerseys and waving blue and red Pat’s flags. Sheesh. No respect around here. *grin.*

In spite of my dashed hopes for a Superbowl birth, something fantastic was taking place that no one else knew about but me, my 16 year old daughter and God.

A decision point occurred.

Earlier that day, most of my daughter’s friends made plans to leave our house at half time. They were meeting up with other friends at a local theater to watch a play. My daughter was included in the plans. I didn’t think too much about this particular adventure because as you may know my daughter is very active in Theater Arts and she and I and her friends attend live plays frequently.

But, what I didn’t know is this particular play wasn’t a G rated production. In fact, the play included characters of moral question and some nudity. Yep, you heard me correctly.

Before the game started and friends began to arrive, my daughter stopped what she was doing in the kitchen. She was helping me prepare some snacks and was whipping up a light version of Con queso for later.

“Mom.”

“Hunh?”

“I don’t think I’m going to go to the play with everyone tonight.”

“Why not?”

“Mom, I just don’t feel comfortable about it. There is nudity and other things in that play that will bother me.”

“Oh Honey, I am so proud of you that you made this choice for yourself and not because it’s what I would have wanted."

I looked at this kid from across the kitchen in amazement. Would I have made the same choice under such peer-pressure at her age? I’m ashamed to say, likely no.

Will she always make choices like this? Likely no.

Later I overheard my daughter on the phone to one of the kids. She was responding to the obvious question, “Why aren’t’ you going with us to the play?”

“It just doesn’t sit right with my morals. So I’m not going.”

She was brave enough to be different and stand apart from her friends and face possible ridicule, mocking and be left out in the future. Wow, many adults don't have this kind of courage.

In this small moment, God allowed me to understand that all the years, tears and prayers I have poured into this child were now bringing forth fruit. My daughter is choosing for herself based upon her morals, values, and faith. She is grasping my faith and making it her own.

Even in the midst of an unequally yoked home.

To every mom and dad out there who worries over your kids, I share this story to encourage you. Don’t stop praying. Don’t stop grasping those teachable moments when they are younger. Live out your faith in front of your kids so when they are older they will know how to live their faith as well. Teach them how to pray. Help them to make choices and coach them how to talk to their friends. You be the out. Let them blame, “My bad-ole mother. She won’t let me go with you.” Give them every opportunity to choose right over wrong.

To choose Jesus.

Mostly you, mom or dad, love Jesus with all of your heart, soul, mind and strength. That is the best parenting advice anyone could ever receive.

Have a blessed day. Hug your kids today from Aunty Lynn

Matthew 12: 30-31 (NIV) (Jesus said) Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind and with all your strength. ‘The second is this: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’ There is no commandment greater than these.”

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

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