39 posts categorized "loneliness"

GOING TO CHURCH ALONE

image from www.spirituallyunequalmarriage.comToday, I want to chat about another big issue that was mentioned back in December when we began this journey.

GOING TO CHURCH ALONE.

Gang, can I just say – Grrrrrrrrr

This is so hard. I know that for me this was an area that was of intense and great struggle. Even today, I truly desire my husband to join me for church on Sunday. I’ve had to wrangle through all of the different aspects of church non-attendance with my husband. I’m certain many of you have as well.

First, dealing with the whole couple thing. Grrrrrr, again! Our Western society is significantly “couple” focused. Learning to do anything alone takes a ton of courage and prayer. At least it did for me and I’m usually a courageous person. But after remaining a floundering believer at home, there comes a day when your need for community outweighs fear and you timidly cross the threshold of a church.

Once conquering that fear, you then must overcome disappointment as you see other couples together in church. True that. Anyone???

My friends, I want to assure you that if you are currently in this season of walking unequally yoked and attending church alone, it does become easier. 

Think about this. As you consider your life, most of us find that God has been amazingly faithful. Even in our periods of doubt or in my case, spiritual rebellion. God never left me nor did He forsake me. EVER. Even when I ran away from Him. As I slowly returned to my heavenly Father, I realized His faithfulness and it became the strength and my backbone. I made the decision to be faithful and return to church. And I’m so glad I did.

It was within my church community, women’s Bible study, that my healing began. I know I wrote about this our book, Winning Him Without Words. But it’s good to remember that God made us for community. At the core of all we are, we are designed for community, membership, authentic living, to be known and to know others in truth.

Knowing this, church became vital. It was my weekly re-charge. And when children became part of the family, they needed church too. That foundation of training in their early lives will live on in the next generation.

I’ve attended church alone for nearly 25 years. It’s been hard and it’s been glorious. Churches are challenging. You must remember they are filled with broken and needy people who are just like you. Attending church requires us to wear forgiveness like a cloak and to cry out for God to fill us with love, every, single day that we may love people like Him.

But at the end of the day, church is a hint of our future. One day THE CHURCH, will gather in the great assembly, with pure love in our hearts and will join as one people, one voice in worship. I promise we can’t imagine the depth of love we will feel and experience. I can’t wait.

So focus on Jesus and love even the broken and messy at church. And allow others who truly care about your life, to love on you. Be authentic and allow them to serve you.

Here are some lessons I’ve learned through sitting alone in church. One, I’m not the only one. My spiritual mismatched allowed me to see many others who don’t fit in. My heart is drawn to those who are alone, even those who feel alone but ARE sitting with a spouse. And my friends, churches are filled with these kinds of people who pretend their marriage is perfect. It’s simply not true. Every marriage, including your pastor's will struggle, even greatly struggle at some point. It’s just different from yours.

Allow yourself to set aside your loneliness and pain and truly look around you. It’s likely your training here at SUM and through the Word will allow you to speak love and truth into some other misfit who is sitting in the sanctuary. And that my friends, is exactly what delights the heart of God.

BTW: Ultimately we will discover we are all misfits and that is exactly what God intends!!!

Next up: Spiritual leadership

Hugs, Lynn

*****

Share your voice, heart and love in the comments. 

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

Covers Three Books


First LOVE

image from www.spirituallyunequalmarriage.comWe have been chatting about suffering. It can truly blow up your mind to consider the reasons of God for suffering.

Not too long ago the Lord spoke to me about my unequally yoked marriage. It was likely in a challenging season when I was complaining to God about His delay in saving my pre-believer. (To even write that causes me a degree of shame. Sheesh.)

This was the Lord’s unexpected but powerful reply. Hosea 2:14

But then I will win her back once again.

    I will lead her into the desert

    and speak tenderly to her there.

15 I will return her vineyards to her

    and transform the Valley of Trouble into a gateway of hope.

She will give herself to me there,

    as she did long ago when she was young,

    when I freed her from her captivity in Egypt. —NLT

The Lord then spoke to me, Lynn, do you see? Can you comprehend this story?

My friends, I understood in that moment how beautiful was the love relationship between God and His people. When the people of God were freed from Egypt they were utterly dependent upon the Lord’s Presence. He walked among them. He fed them. With the exception of the “golden cow” incident He adored and protected them. After the mad cow mess, they quickly came to their senses and loved Him with their full hearts for decades in the desert. It was priceless. It was a beautiful, fulfilling relationship for Him and for the people. I’m not surprised, as I think about it, that God delayed their entry into the Promised Land. He knew what would happen.

The easy life would cause them to pursue independence. Comparison to other peoples of the land would woo them away from God as their King thus enticing them to desire an earthly King. They would grow fat and distant from God because their lives would become easier. All this became true. Thus, the Lord’s broken heart cries out through Hosea. He longs for the years of their desert suffering because in the struggle, she (fully) gave herself to Him.

I wonder if the Lord tarried or delayed the Israelites crossing into the land because He knew they would leave Him? The sweet love and utter dependence upon Him in the wilderness was everything to Him…. AND He knew that people are their highest, best and blessed when they are in utter dependence…..

Things that make you go….hmmmmmm.

Is our Promised Land, our spouse’s salvation, the same? Does the Lord tarry because He is in love with you and me? Does he believe that our desert experience will diminish because we aren’t so persistent in our prayers for our spouse? Does He know that we may become lax in training up the children to faith?

Is the Promised Land really of any value if we leave the lover of our soul in the desert years?

The passage in Hosea calls to us. It’s the Lord’s broken heart. He speaks to us who walk in the desert years. Don’t forget the suffering that birthed our love. More often than not, it’s the suffering that draws us to the heart of God.

*****

Share your voice, heart and love in the comments. 

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

Covers Three Books


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

*****

Share your voice, heart and love in the comments. 

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

Covers Three Books


Loneliness and What Jesus Says

LonelyCan I just say: Amazing!

Our annual fast never fails to disappoint. So many great testimonies were shared of how the Lord moved in our lives. Many of you received a “word” for their year and I know many of us were loved on by our Lord through this community experience. I’m convinced our fast is powerful and one day as we are in heaven, we will fully comprehend the impact our prayers and fasting had upon people and this earth. Neat!!! (Thank you Rosheeda Lee for starting this annual tradition.)

In the next several weeks I want to turn our focus to loneliness in marriage. And you know, as I contemplated this issue, a bunch of different emotions rolled over me. Also, the Holy Spirit sprang up with some perspective that I want to share that I believe is truth for all of us.

I will tell you that as I considered returning to this particular topic and thought about writing about it again, my heart filled up with dread, anxiousness and aversion. I HATE thinking about my feelings and experiences when I’m walking in the seasons of loneliness in my spiritual mismatch. It’s not that I’m in denial that I have challenging periods of marriage but I just believe that by dwelling on the pain and injustice of it all, only brings me more sorrow, woe is me attitudes, and I lose the ground I gained from the enemy.

Moving through this topic, however, it’s okay to share your frustrations and the difficulties you are enduring. As I stated in December: A little bit of commiseration is needed and understandable. Sharing our thoughts about our struggles allows for honest and authentic conversation, which is needed especially is you are new to the unequally yoked walk. But there is a fine line between the commiseration and focus on our troubles.

I’m choosing this New Year to refrain from focusing on our troubles to focusing on what Jesus says about our situations. Some of the topics which I want to write about, I’ve not covered here at SUM prior to now. But I believe looking straight into the Word for our truths, even the tough truths, is what ultimately will prove to be our victory and our joy.

In all my years of living unequally yoked have proven to me that God’s Word is absolutely true, even the hard stuff. When I fully embrace the teachings, I live better, love wholly, and discover more and more of God’s Kingdom here on earth.

What say you?

Up for this adventure?

Let’s look at some hard truths and make them real and powerful in our lives. Let’s start with this one:

“Do not suppose that I have come to bring peace to the earth. I did not come to bring peace, but a sword. For I have come to turn “‘a man against his father, a daughter against her mother, a daughter-in-law against her mother-in-law— a man’s enemies will be the members of his own household.’—Matthew 10:34-35

Yikes!!!!

How do we wrangle with this in an unequally yoked marriage? BTW, I don’t know the answer. And let’s have grace with one another as we share our thoughts in the discussion. I’m seeking truth for us. And God’s truth does what?

All Scripture is God-breathed and is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness, so that the servant of God[a] may be thoroughly equipped for every good work. — 2 Timothy 3:1-17

I believe God is sending us on this journey because a shift in our heart is required. What do you think? See you in the comments. Love you my friends. I’m so deeply blessed and humbled that you walk this difficult road with me. THANK YOU. Hugs, Lynn

*****

Share your voice, heart and love in the comments. 

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

Covers Three Books


Moments of Delight and Moments of Despair

IMG_4580
The Christmas tree at Rockefeller Center.

My friends, it’s great to be back with you! I had an amazing week in New York City with my mother and dear friend Sally, who is also my son-in-love’s mother. Definitely a family trip filled with special surprises and blessings that I know came from God’s heart to delight us. And I am moved and impressed by the heart of this city and and what it has endured. There is a sense of strength and unity there.

I was profoundly moved by the 9/11 Memorial and took significant notice that majority of those around us on that particular day were from other parts of the world. They traveled to our country, to New York City, to specially see this memorial and museum. The most emotional part for us was to listen to our tour guide describe this day from her first hand experience. At the time she worked in one of the buildings behind ground zero. 

Then we were dazzled by the lights of the city and the Christmas windows at Macy’s, Tiffany’s, Saks and many others. The Christmas tree at Rockefeller Center took my breath away as it stood tall and sparkled. I felt like a kid at again at the Radio City Music Hall Christmas Show featuring the Rockettes and Santa Claus.
What surprised us there was the how the show concluded with the true Christmas story, the birth of Jesus, with as much beauty and detail as the rest of the show. And the audience response was outstanding.

I’m so grateful for this experience, dear friends. And yet I am about to write the most difficult part of this post. After coming home from all this excitement, I’m now facing the reality of spending this Christmas without my daughters. I truly am struggling with this, to be completely honest. I’m realizing how much I’ve loved sharing the true meaning of this holiday with my daughters and how much that filled that lonely place in my heart that we’ve been talking about here.

Several of you talked about expectations and letting them go. I believe that is part of the journey I’m on right now is to readjust my expectations of doing Christmas without my daughters with us. Just about every ornament on our tree has a story and a sentiment behind it to our family. So you can imagine how decorating the Christmas three last night without them was a teary-eyed event.

My morning walk was more like a walk and cry. LOL! I miss my girls so much. I shared that with God, pouring out my heart to Him. I know He brought us to Sarasota and has plans for us here, some of which I am watching unfold, but I was honest with Him. What I didn’t expect was how He would share His heart with me.

“Lord, this is hard. I miss my girls so much.”

As I let the words flow honestly, this is what I felt He said to me.

“Trust Me, I know that pain, that ache. For every one of my children who don’t know Me yet and aren’t walking with Me, I ache. I hurt. I long for them to come to me. Dineen, I feel your pain and even more so.”

Wow! Talk about putting things into perspective! In that moment I felt His comfort as well as a renewed fire to share His love with everyone I can in this hurting world. It didn’t diminish the ache in my heart for my girls to be with me for Christmas, dear friends, but it did comfort me to know my Papa God understands my heart and shared His with me. 

So, including the negative ones that have a way of becoming self-fulfilling, I’m letting go of all expectations for this Christmas. Except for one.

I am making room in my aching heart with the expectation for God to fill it with His presence, His comfort, His peace, and even something special. I don’t know what—I want to just let that unfold  in an unexpected delight, much the way several moments did in New York.

My friends, please know that I am praying for you and this community and I would like to thank you for your prayers for me and my family too. My youngest daughter Leslie was just diagnosed with pericarditis (inflammation around her heart) and the doctors are trying to figure it out why. I will have surgery next week on my shoulder and hope (and maybe a little expecting too) to be back to fully capacity quickly. 

I love you, my friends. I’m so thankful for you, for this community. Lynn and I marvel at our love and unity here and praise God for it. We are so thankful and grateful to be a part of your lives, especially at Christmas!

I leave you with a few more images... Hugs! ~Dineen

 

IMG_4277
Last piece removed from ground zero.


IMG_4295
One of Macy's Charlie Brown Christmas windows.


IMG_4525
The Rockets!


IMG_4350
Me standing on the Bow Bridge. Finally saw this beautiful and romantic bridge in person!


And finally...

IMG_4698
The Miller Christmas tree in Florida! (No palm trees were harmed in the decoration process.)

 

*****

Share your voice, heart and love in the comments. 

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

Covers Three Books


Holiday Aloneness

Holiday LonelinessChristmas is only two weeks away, let’s begin our discussion about loneliness and take a look at aloneness during the holidays. And SUMites it’s not only our community that feels alone during this time of year. For different reasons, The Holidays punctuate loneliness in many hearts.

Those of us who walk through life with a spouse that navigates life from a different world view, the Christmas season brings a new set of challenges into our homes and hearts. I know for me, there were many years in our marriage that this was the one time in the year that my husband would attend church, the Christmas Eve Service. In fact, his entire family would attend…

I had tremendous expectations that each of them would be overwhelmed by the story of the birth of Jesus and thereby be saved. Yep, didn’t work that way. In fact, I think that the holidays usher spiritual warfare into our homes. Our dysfunctional family members get together, mix in alcohol and a few failed expectations and…… Tempers flare, people say things they shouldn’t and tears sting our eyes. Disappointment pounces.

Am I alone in this?

My friends, I experienced this very thing over Thanksgiving. It was interesting how I literally sensed the enemy walk in the door along with visiting family members. I feel like I battled all week long to fight off, despair, anger, frustration and I had to keep a tight rein on my tongue. I was desperate to keep the peace in my home. That week I was intentional to spend an hour every morning, in deep prayer fighting against the enemy who wanted to disrupt the peace in my home.

I wasn’t going to let that happen.

My friends, in this busy season it’s easy to forgo prayer time because we are overwhelmed with tasks and exhausted by the demands of preparation and holiday events. I’m convinced that it’s imperative that we pray protection over the atmosphere of our home especially when you know that extended family will be in your home.

Take authority over your home and tell the devil he can’t have it. Pray to bring protection around your family and children. As a believing spouse, your prayers are powerful in the spiritual realm (1 Corinthians 7:14).

Secondly, hold your expectations loosely. This is easy to write but difficult to do. I wonder if we could share in the comments just how we can do this and do it authentically. How do we surrender the idyllic image of a perfect family Christmas?

On Friday, I’m going to share some insight into what the Lord is asking of us in our disappointment and confusion. It is truly a Great Word of encouragement.

Okay, this week, please, PLEASE share how you have overcome disappointment and loneliness during the holidays.

Also, I’ve read every one of your comments and the emails that have arrived in the last week. Please forgive me as I haven’t been able to write back or respond to each. But know my heart, I read, pray, my spirit is stirred for you and I pray all the more for you and your heart. Thank you for your grace and understanding as I try to keep up.

I love you my family on the web. Our community’s breakthrough is near. Truly. Lynn

*****

Share your voice, heart and love in the comments. 

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

Covers Three Books


Yep, We Are Lonely

 

image from www.spirituallyunequalmarriage.comHi SUMites,

Well it looks as though I hit upon a deep need. The responses to Monday’s post, asking all of you about loneliness in marriage were vast and passionate. The comments on that post as well as the private emails that arrived, are filled with tremendous emotions.

I sat down and wrote down the issues, the emotions the coping suggestions and I filled four hand-written pages with notes.  There were many common themes from all of you. Such as attending church alone, the lack of intimacy with our spouse because we are unable to share our heart, our passions and thoughts about Jesus.

From my note taking, there are SUMites in all spectrums of the unequally yoked journey. There are some of us at the beginning of this walk where we learn to forgive ourselves and decide to stick this marriage thing out. There are others who have discovered peace and yet after 43 years, challenges still remain.

What I also discovered were the emotions that went along with our journey. There are some of us who are just flat-out, pissed off about our marriage and spouse. There are others who are experiencing a deep sadness. There is alone-ness, disappointment, shame, fear, anger, self-pity, negativity and boredom.

There were fantastic suggestion on how we cope. I was teary-eyed reading these. SUMites you are truly amazing people of faith. Some of those suggestions were, look for ways to pour love into others, focus on the good and not what I don’t have. Have safe people in your life who understand you and don’t judge.

What we didn’t talk about are the ways we cope that are difficult to discuss. How do we cope with our broken heart, our disappointment, pain? I can tell you that many of us cope through our faith but we also cope through food, wine, television, prescriptions, shopping, uber-involvement with our children’s lives, hours at church, social media, gaming and gambling, etc. I’m not casting stones, these are just the ones I’ve used to cope. Okay not really, but many on this list have been comforts to me in the past. Just being real here.

What is fascinating to me is that reading through my pages of notes, my head just nodded in agreement. I have felt what you have felt. Dineen and I have walked were you are. We have lived for decades with the pain, disappointment and challenges that are unique to our kind of marriage. And I will be the voice to tell you that it can be better. You CAN be married to an unbeliever and live a full and whole-hearted life.

I will also tell you that I still have difficult moments. But now I mostly enjoy fantastic days filled with hope, adventure, grace and fun. Because of this hope, that is why I write. If Jesus will show me how to do this marriage well, He will show you how to do it well. And it’s in the showing that the most astonishing things happen.

It’s the journey. When we arrive in heaven and reflect upon our life here, it will be in the ordinary and extraordinary moments of our journey where we will have experienced the miracles, the faith, the transformation. I can’t wait to see your journey as I hold your hand one day in heaven.

But we need help. We need wisdom. We need encouragement. We need a place where we are safe to be real and to learn to walk this out. We need each other. So together let’s take on a few of these issues that cause loneliness in marriage. Let’s share our frustrations, our hopes, our fears, our victories. We need one another and together we WILL THRIVE. It is our Father’s will!

Are you up for helping one another, help me and Dineen. Are you willing to pray for each other, your spouse, and your freedom?

Monday, we will chat about what to do, feel, process our inability to share part of our authentic self with our spouse.

If you have more to add to this conversation, please do in the comments.

image from www.spirituallyunequalmarriage.com

*****

Share your voice, heart and love in the comments. 

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

Covers Three Books


Are You Lonely In Your Unequally Yoked Marriage?

LonelyHello SUMite Family,

I want to talk about loneliness in marriage. I may be off in my thinking. Do we, the unequally yoked, live in a kind of perpetual loneliness? I know for me, I’ve battled against loneliness for years. I’m coming to understand some common denominators that are present in our kind of marriages. I’m coming to see how and what we use to cope with our feelings of rejection, the pain, —boredom.

I’m not sure right now what specifics to write about yet. Or even if this is an area we, as a community, need instruction or discussion.

So, today, I’m asking all of you. Do you experience loneliness in your marriage to an unbeliever? What does that look like in your life? What are the triggers or are there triggers which allow loneliness to creep in?

Do you want to talk about how we cope? Do you want to talk about the best way to cope? Can our faith help us to live —thrive— in unchangeable circumstances, of our unequally yoked marriage?

What say you?

I need to hear your voice. Is this a topic that would help you? Is this an area you have found freedom in your marriage and your voice can help the rest of us? Please share.

I will wait to read your answers and then we will see where we go with this on Friday.

My family, SUMites. We are entering into the most beautiful and loving season of the year. We KNOW the Son of God who was born of a virgin. Who heals, saves, delivers, and prospers His followers. I pray through the next few weeks, our conversations fill us up to overflowing with hope, expectancy and that we see miracles within our lives and family.

I have faith for this and thus I say, “Jesus, we believe! Bring the miracles in our homes. Salvation, healing, wholeness and whole-hearted living. In Your powerful name, Jesus. AMEN.”

I love you. See you in the comments. Lynn

image from www.spirituallyunequalmarriage.com

*****

Share your voice, heart and love in the comments. 

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

Covers Three Books


I'm Lonely In My Marriage

On Saturdays we will post relevant articles from our archives that will address common spiritually mismatched issues in marriage. This is a re-post from July 19, 2010 at the Internet Cafe. This post over at the Cafe remains one of the most viewed posts of all time. So many people are lonely. Praying for your heart today. Hugs, Lynn

*****

I'm Lonely In My Marriage - Internet Cafe by Lynn Donovan

My mother is visiting this week from Colorado. She turned 70 years old earlier this year. She is as sharp as a tack and on Tuesday we went to Disneyland along with my teen daughter and her friend. My Mom jumped on the California Screamin' roller coaster without hesitation and we all shrieked in unison as our train launched from zero to 59 miles per hour in four seconds and sent careening down the track with our hearts racing.

My mother surprises me often. She hasn't let decrepitude (as I call it *grin*) slow her down much. In fact, she completely shocked my sister and I a few weeks back when she announced she "Googled it" when she was searching for information about a medical term.

Mom has discovered the verb, google. Her broad smile of accomplishment was too cute and I hugged her with delight to know she is still living and growing and praying for God's Kingdom. Now I can't get overly excited because she still thinks Twitter is what birds do as they look for seeds in the back yard and Facebook is a photo album I am always working on and My Space is of course, a term you use when you need a break, "Give me my space."

*Grin*

As my mom told me her story about her first Google search it caused me to think about how many times I use a search engine and about the people who search and discover our web ministry, Spiritually Unequal Marriage.

The most common word search, which brings readers to our site, is unequally yoked. However, what astonishes me more is the second word search, which lands people on our site:

Loneliness in marriage.

There is an epidemic of loneliness in our world. And more staggering is the number of people who are married and feel alone. Does it strike you as a strange paradox, to be married and be lonely? How can that happen? How can we live under one roof, share the same bed, live together, and feel utterly alone?

For the spiritually mismatched marriage, this is our one common denominator. We have felt alone or feel alone and are married.

It does not matter how our marriage became mismatched, we all travel this strange path. We begin to grow in our faith and our spouse reacts. Let me give you a scenario:

~ She begins to learn more about Jesus and she stops using swear words.

He thinks she has gone temporarily insane.

*They argue over this development.

~ She starts to attend church on Sunday morning.

He is mad she doesn't sleep in with him anymore.

*They argue, pressing home their disappointment with one another.

~ She is upset he won't go to church with her.

He feels like he didn't sign up for this "religion" thing when he married.

*They argue. Frustration mounts.

~ She is growing in her faith and her life is changing. She wants to share it with her best friend, her husband.

He feels threatened by this invisible "new man" in her life and is almost panicked at the implications.

*They both hide their feelings in an attempt to avoid the fighting. Walls go up. Tears are shed in silence and loneliness sets in.

This is a dangerous time in a marriage but this is also a time where God calls us as the believer in the marriage to live out: commitment. Since the 1980's our societal values towards marriage commitment have vastly changed. Cohabitation along with sexual freedom and multiple lifestyle options eroded away determination to make marriage work more than previous generations.  Marriages, which are supposed to be the source of stability and intimacy, often produce uncertainty and isolation.*

What I want to share with you today are three truths from God's word to apply to this very real issue of living lonely and living married.

1.  As a wife living with an unbeliever, the first truth you need to bury deep in your soul is this:

God has said, "Never will I leave you; never will I forsake you." So we say with confidence, "The Lord is my helper; I will not be afraid. What can man do to me?" Hebrews 13: 4-6 (NIV)

In the lonely years of my marriage, I clung to this promise when I felt abandoned by my spouse. I KNEW without doubt, Jesus would never leave me and He stood at my side through those years of conflict and loneliness. He will do the same for you.

That was my foundation.

2.  Next I had to learn that my calling was to love my husband and not force Jesus upon him. In the early years of our marriage, I was the one in our marriage who placed tremendous pressure on my husband to attend church. I was always the instigator when we would argue over my faith views and I would condemn my spouse's behavior I once thought was okay.

Let's give our men a break. We can't be the Holy Spirit. Let Jesus take his time with our husbands. When we love our husbands like Jesus, it's irresistible. A man can ignore a nagging wife but he can't deny the truth of a transformed life.

When I let go of my need to win arguments about faith. When I surrendered my personal mission to deliver my husband to the foot of the cross. When I recognized and repented of my selfish desires for his salvation and began to pray in earnest for him to meet Christ, that is when the loneliness subsided and we both discovered peace.

Oh my friends, let Jesus be Jesus and you be a wife. This is the truth behind 1Peter 3: 1-6 (NIV)

Wives, in the same way be submissive to your husbands so that, if any of them do not believe the word, they may be won over without words by the behavior of their wives, when they see the purity and reverence of your lives. Your beauty should not come from outward adornment, such as braided hair and the wearing of gold jewelry and fine clothes. Instead, it should be that of your inner self, the unfading beauty of a gentle and quiet spirit, which is of great worth in God's sight. For this is the way the holy women of the past who put their hope in God used to make themselves beautiful. They were submissive to their own husbands, like Sarah, who obeyed Abraham and called him her master. You are her daughters if you do what is right and do not give way to fear.

3.  And when we live this passage out in real life, look at our reward. Verse 7

Husbands, in the same way be considerate as you live with your wives, and treat them with respect as the weaker partner and as heirs with you of the gracious gift of life, so that nothing will hinder your prayers.

This month, get off the roller coaster of emotions, of fear, of loneliness and heartache. Love your husband with the love of Christ and let Jesus handle his salvation. Pray every day for wisdom, discernment, protection and a passion to love the man God has given you. Ask the Lord to help you see your husband through His eyes. Then wave goodbye to loneliness and say hello to a thriving and vibrant friendship with your husband.

I have so much more to share with you. Join me again next month. Please drop me a comment today and let's spur one another on to live, love, and thrive in our marriages. Jesus Christ is honored when we thrive in married love.

BIG hugs, Lynn Donovan

*****

Share your voice, heart and love in the comments. 

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

Covers Three Books


Reader Question: Struggling with Shame and Regret

Hi Lynn and Dineen,

I am writing this email because I feel an incredibly heavy burden. Right now I am struggling with a great deal of shame and an amount of regret over my decision to marry an unbeliever last year. It is tough for me to really believe that through this mistake, God will redeem any part of my situation. I love my husband, he is a good man and we have a wonderful little baby boy, but how am I really able to love him like I should when he is an ever present reminder of my disobedience? I know I am in for a long and lonely road and it seems as though every facet of my life will be affected by this.

You see, I struggled with this decision and decided to go through with it. I was incredibly confused and in hindsight I know the holy spirit was convicting me about it. But I had so many people telling me that he was the one that I should marry, and I loved him. We had a baby on the way, it was a long distance relationship of three years, and I thought that perhaps I could be a good witness to him (how many women get stuck in this trap?!?), even though my faith was and is relatively infantile despite having grown up in the church.

I see happy Christian couples everywhere and am burdened by the guilt that I am not like them. I often see warnings about dating and marrying an unequally yoked partner, and get overcome with shame and worry and fear. I do not know how to move forward.

I suppose I have issues with accepting God's love and knowing that He hasn't turned my back on me, although I know that is untrue. Any words of wisdom or advice?

My sweet friend, I so wish I could include a great big hug with this email. Lynn and I actually just talked about this the other day, how our hearts ached for those who carry shame, guilt and regret over their marriage when that is the last thing our Jesus wants for us. That's why He came and died for us, experiencing both physical and spiritual death so that when we read His Word that tells us He understands and loves us even when we fail, we can truly believe it!
 
I know that's hard to believe right now. Trust me, I've been in a similar journey of late, understanding the magnitude of God's love for us. The thing is, God has loved you passionately always—before you were even conceived. And nothing can change that or separate you from that love (Romans 8:38-39). Does Jesus continually remind you of what you did wrong? No, Scripture says there is no condemnation in Christ (Romans 8:1). Truly, go read Romans 8 in as many translations as you can. That one chapter alone has some of the best promises and truths from our Father God, including my favorite Romans 8:28, that He is always working things together for our good. Even the bad stuff, even our mistakes and bad choices.
 
My friend, you did not surprise God by marrying your husband, and I'm sure you have told Him already that you are sorry for disobeying Him, that you have repented of disobedience. So receive that forgiveness. If I can be that voice for you, YOU ARE FORGIVEN! And now know that God is still crazy about you! He still has a plan and purpose for you! And part of that plan is to bless you, your marriage and your husband and son. It won't be easy at times, as we still have to deal with the consequences of our bad choices. But God will even work in those to help you. You will find yourself drawing even closer to God if you let Him draw you close to Him.
 
These burdens you are feeling are from the enemy. He wants to keep you powerless especially now in your marriage so he can keep your husband in darkness. Take that power back, my friend (Luke 9:1-2). Tell the enemy to get lost and start claiming the promises in the Bible that are there for all of us. You can move forward in your marriage in the hope and great love that we have in Jesus. He will bring good out of all of this. He not only redeems us, He redeems our lives, every bit of them.
 
Don't compare yourself to others. Trust me, it's deadly and destructive. And what you see on the outside isn't always the truth of what's inside their hearts or inside their homes. There are challenges in every marriage, even marriages with two believers. And in some ways you will be more effective in your marriage because you will be more intentional to bring Jesus into your home with your love and actions, because you are there now for such a time as this (go read the book of Esther and ask God to show you the truth there for you).
 
My friend, basically in these kinds of places we have two choices: We can stay focused on what we did in the past and stay mired in the lies that we can't be forgiven, that we can't serve God, that God won't love us as much or value us as much, that the church won't want us anymore, that we are less than, that we've blown it, etc. All lies. Or we can choose to move forward in the truth of God's love and that He is the God of the impossible. That what we see as impossible, unfixable and unusable is ALWAYS an opportunity for His great love and power to shine and prevail. 
 
Go read Joshua 9 and 10. Joshua stepped into an agreement he wasn't supposed to. He made a covenant with a people God told him not to. But when Joshua was called to keep that agreement, God helped him do it and won the battle for them. Right now, God is more interested in your faithfulness to Him and to the covenant you have made with your husband. He will honor that and bless you for it as well. 
 
You see, for our great God, He is always more concerned in who we are (His children and our relationship with Him) than what we do for Him. That is why our greatest command is to love God with all our heart, soul, mind and strength. Because He loves us so much, He loved us first. Then we are to love others. It's always all about His love and our relationship with Him. And your mismatched marriage does not change that.
 
My friend, I want to encourage you to walk forward in the truth of God's love and promises. There are so many just waiting for you to claim and pray. Know that God adores you, delights in you and sings over you (Zeph 3:17). He always has and He always, always, always will.
 
Praying for you to walk in hope, love and promise!
Dineen
WHWW 3 copy
Share: Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, Instagram

*****

Share your voice, heart and love in the comments. 

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

Covers Three Books


Never Alone

IStock_000018235413XSmallI remember a day years ago, sitting in a restaurant with our church youth group. I watched and smiled as they talked and joked around. And as I sat there in the midst of this group, I felt totally alone.

I’d recently jumped in to church with gusto but my husband hadn’t. He’d decided to go quite the opposite direction—atheism.

So there I sat in a room full of people who knew me, yet I felt this loneliness, a longing to be known and understood. And a longing to share my growing faith with my husband.

Times of loneliness seem to enter our lives at times for various reasons, but in a spiritual mismatch it can be even more challenging as we wait for God to work in our marriage and on our pre-believer’s heart.

Something I found so comforting in years past is that this longing to be known is part of our faith DNA.

He has made everything beautiful in its time. He has also set eternity in the human heart; yet no one can fathom what God has done from beginning to end. — Ecclesiastes 3:11

God has a longing to be known. And just as we want to be known, He wants us to know Him. Thus our need to be known mirrors the Creators very heart for His children—us.

For now we see in a mirror dimly, but then face to face; now I know in part, but then I will know fully just as I also have been fully known. But now faith, hope, love, abide these three; but the greatest of these is love. — 1 Corinthians 13:12-13

Over the years that loneliness has diminished more and more in the light of Abba’s great love. He’s shown me that often times the thing I long for most is Him, to know Jesus as my best friend and to have that intimacy. I think my greatest challenge as been to truly believe Abba loves me that much AND to truly believe that NOTHING can separate me from His love (Romans 8:38-39), not even my mismatched marriage or my doubts.

God loves all His children vastly, deeply and completely no matter what kind of marriage or place we are in. And His heart is to know us because He longs for us to know Him.

Now no matter where I sit I know I’m not alone. We never stand (or sit) alone. Jesus is always there!

If you haven’t had a chance to listen to our broadcasts this week on FamilyLife Today, hop over and be encouraged! Our hearts and prayers are always for you, my friends.

And if you want a little chuckle, check out my post "The Spiritual Disconnect" on our MismatchedandThriving.com site. It’s a hilarious story of how I watched an episode of Big Bang Theory with my husband one evening and the discovery made that evening.

Love and hugs to you!

Dineen

*****

Share your voice, heart and love in the comments. 

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

Covers Three Books


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.

*****

Share your voice, heart and love in the comments. 

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

Covers Three Books


An Open Letter from Courtney

CourtneyAn Open Letter from Courtney:

Hi Lynn and Dineen, 

I never thought I would say this, but I'm going to miss this season being in a spiritually unequal marriage in some ways. 

It just dawned on me this morning during a very precious and tear-filled quiet time with Jesus. As the Lord has been impressing upon my heart more and more intensely over the past several months, and even more so, over the past ten days or so, my husband's salvation is days away. 

While I have been waiting and longing for this season to be over for four years now, crying and begging for the Lord to save my husband, there is a precious and sweet grace of Jesus being my husband that I will miss when Jesus dwells in my earthly husband. Can you believe I'm even saying that? I could never have known Jesus the way I've known him if it wasn't for this spiritually unequal marriage. As I know you've experienced too, He has been everything to me during this time--the One who made me strong when I had no strength, the One who loved me when my husband seemed to waiver in his love, the One who held me and wiped away my tears when my husband was reluctant to comfort me in my pain. This Jesus I'm going to miss. Please don't misunderstand me. I know His grace is infinite and multifaceted--it's not going away with my husband's salvation. And this is certainly not the best He has to offer--that will be in Heaven when I'm dancing with Him! But this grace, in my loneliness, in my isolation, in my despair, when I literally had no one else, this grace I'm going to miss. 

My husband’s salvation story is going to be too amazing for words. Jesus' glory is going to shine like the sunrise on a clear spring morning. I can't wait to tell you all about it very soon. 

Thank you so much for your obedience to the Lord. Thank you for your courage and strength to carry on this ministry for women like me who desperately needed the comfort of your words every morning in my inbox, to know that I'm not alone in my struggles. I praise God for you. I couldn't have gone through this without your help. I love you both so much. God honors those who put Him first. 

"But for you who fear My name, the sun of righteousness will rise with healing on its wings, and you will go out and playfully jump like calves from the stall. You will trample the wicked, for they will be ashes under the soles of your feet on the day I am preparing," says the Lord of Hosts.

 -Mal. 4:2-3 HCSB 

Love,
Courtney 

*****

Share your voice, heart and love in the comments. 

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

Covers Three Books


That Old Familiar Ache

PrayerIt snuck up on me again, that old familiar ache. The one I used to walk around with constantly early on in my mismatched marriage. I thought I’d made peace with it, made the choice to trust God with my husband’s salvation and the future of our marriage. I’d learned to bring that ache, that longing to share my faith with my husband to God and leave it in His hands.

But there it was again just days before Good Friday.

Why now and why so suddenly? Had I stopped trusting God somehow? Had I taken it back from God? Or was God trying to show me or remind me of something?

I did a mental review of the last few weeks and nothing came to mind that might have shaken my foundation of trust in this area. If anything, my marriage and my relationship was better than ever.

And there it was. I’d hit this place of contentment with things as they were. Now there’s nothing wrong with being content in my marriage. Paul even speaks of how he learned to be content in every situation.

I am not saying this because I am in need, for I have learned to be content whatever the circumstances. I know what it is to be in need, and I know what it is to have plenty. I have learned the secret of being content in any and every situation, whether well fed or hungry, whether living in plenty or in want. — Philippians 4:11-12

Though Paul referenced his physical needs, his meaning is deeper when he speaks of “every situation.” He trusted God for everything. He was content.

But my contentment made me question whether I was simply at peace with God’s plan for my husband’s impending salvation (I believe, I believe!) or had I started to lose hope in the waiting? Had my prayers lagged and desire waned to keep praying?

Every once in a while I think it’s good to take an inventory of where we are at in our faith. Sometimes life has a way of becoming so busy with the doing and the routines that we “do” without thinking “why.”

That's what I had done recently in my marriage. I’d prayed and asked God to show me the difference. Had I truly given Him that ache in my heart in exchange for His reassurances that no matter what happens, I have Him and I am His? Or, had I become complacent, living for the now with my husband because he is a good and moral man by nature, which makes living in a mismatched marriage a little easier? Had I allowed complacency to make me forget what’s at stake in the end?

But godliness with contentment is great gain. For we brought nothing into the world, and we can take nothing out of it. — 1Timothy 6:6-7

I’m being honest and authentic here because you deserve it, my friends. Our battles don’t always lie in the obvious conflicts and issues we face being in a mismatched marriage. Sometimes the enemy works in the subtle areas we forget to take notice of. Complacency can be his tool as well.

Do I have an answer to my question? No, actually I don’t. I don’t know why the ache returned. I’m begining to think there’s more than one answer to this question because God is never found in just one place or one level. Even the Scriptures are full of many layers and meanings.

Perhaps complacency is one factor. I do believe I have trusted God for my huband’s future and I do believe one day he will come to know Jesus because God gave me this reassurance many years ago. Maybe God allowed me to feel that ache again so that in this gift of reassurance, I didn’t become lazy or forgetful.

I also believe God gives us things like this so that we don’t lose compassion and understanding for others walking difficult paths. So I believe that is part of the ache I felt even more keenly as I sat in church Friday evening.

Because as I sat there, yearning for my sweet guy to know Jesus, not just for me, but to know this amazing and wonderful God who was willing to become man as well God and suffer a most horrible death for my husband, I prayed for him to understand that kind of love.

And I thought of all of you. How we walk this path on a daily basis, some days good, some days bad, but we walk it together as sisters and brothers in Christ.

I left the church that night with a prayer to leave that ache at the cross. I can think of no better place for it. God met my needs in many ways that evening. He met me in my heart, He met me in the nudge He gave to a sweet friend at church to invite me to sit with her instead of alone, and I know He is meeting my pleas and prayers for my husband—my need for this man I love so dearly to know the One who loves him even more.

I know this because God’s Word says so:

And my God will meet all your needs according to his glorious riches in Christ Jesus. — Phil 4:19

My dear friends, may God meet ALL your needs according to his glorious riches in Christ Jesus. He is faithful and He is good and you can be sure He will do this for you. Leave that ache at the cross and watch how our Great Lord and Savior redeems it.

Praying and believing,
Dineen

*****

Share your voice, heart and love in the comments. 

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

Covers Three Books


We Are Stronger Together

BetterTogetherIf you found your way here from the Focus on the Family broadcast, the first thing you heard yesterday was a quote from us.

“Isolation steals our joy.”

That’s why the first chapter of our book is titled, “Know That You’re Not Alone!” Our marriages are under attack by an enemy who wants to keep our unbelieving spouse in his or her unbelief and the best way to do that is to keep you—the believing spouse—discouraged and feeling as if you are completely and utterly alone in this journey.

We want you to know right here and now, that is a lie. If you are here, it is because God has heard your prayers and brought you here to be a part of a community that understands your marriage, your heartache and your struggles without you even saying a word.

We understand because we are living it too. All of us.

When I lived in Europe, I joined a small group of women in my church who were spiritually mismatched like I was. We all spoke different languages except two—our faith in Jesus and our ache over being mismatched. I will never forget those women and our group because it was a turning point that took me from surviving to thriving in my mismatched marriage.

God never intended any of us to walk alone in this life. Though we may try to tell ourselves it’s easier to just stay home, to not go to church, to not share our lives with other believers who don’t understand because they’re married to a believer (trust me, I’ve done this), this only isolates us and keep our light hidden.

We are stronger together.

And no matter how you wound up in your marriage, God has a plan for it. The more I read and search God’s Word, the more evidence I see of this. He has a plan for everything in our lives. Take for instance the story of Joshua and the Gibeonites (Joshua 9 and 10). Joshua walked into this agreement without consulting God first. Yet God wanted him to honor his agreement (God takes covenants very seriously!) and reassured him that the battle to defend these people would be victorious.

“The LORD said to Joshua, ‘Do not be afraid of them; I have given them into your hand. Not one of them will be able to withstand you.’”

God did not abandon Joshua, and He hasn’t abandoned you.

God moves in our mismatched marriages too. A soul is at stake and we are on the front lines (like missionaries) to fight for our unbelieving loved one. Read 1 Cor. 7:12-17 and be assured that God has placed you where you are for such a time as this.

We are the Esthers in our marriages! Never read the story of Esther in the Bible? She was spiritually mismatched just like you and me. Read her story and be encouraged.

Yesterday morning before the broadcast, God whispered this in my ear as I prayed for those who would be listening to the broadcasts and coming here.

“I can do much with a willing heart.”

DineenWhen we surrender our lives to Jesus, He does amazing things in our hearts and minds. Do you believe He can do the same in your mismatched marriage if you surrender it to Him, too?

The first steps to thriving in a mismatched marriage start with us, the believing spouse. How about it? Are you willing?

I hope you'll join today at the Focus on the Family Community Forum. Lynn and I will be there from 2-6pm PST (3-7pm MST, 4-8pm CST, 5-9pm EST) to aswer questions and offer encouragement. We want to hear your heart and pray for you my friend. Remember, we are stronger together.

Praying and believing,
Dineen

*****

Share your voice, heart and love in the comments. 

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

Covers Three Books


Messy and Broken Could Be The Best Place To Be

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

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

She was struggling in her marriage. 

My heart is broken for her. 

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

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

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

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

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

I have Jesus. 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

FocuslogoBe blessed my friends, Lynn 

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

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

*****

Share your voice, heart and love in the comments. 

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

Covers Three Books


Our Place of Influence: Where do we choose to stand?


IStock_000015200654XSmallWhen I try to explain to someone the role of influence we hold in our husband’s lives, it’s almost too difficult to put into words what I sense so deeply in my heart. I will say it is something I feel very passionate about.

As women, we hold a very important place in the lives of our family. In many ways, as wives and mothers, we are the heart of our family. We influence the mood, the routines and the relationships of everyone in our home.

We have a wonderful biblical example in the story of Esther. Did you know she was unequally yoked? She was a Jewess married to a Persian King—a pagan. Talk about finding yourself in a mismatched marriage and a unique situation, right?

Yet if you follow the story, Esther finds herself suddenly in a position to influence her husband for the sake of her people. Yes, hers is a life and death situation but we can glean so much from her story.

At first she is afraid of the risk. If she approaches her husband and stands for her beliefs, she’ll ripple the waters. Yet her Uncle and mentor, Mordecai, reminds her that even in her place as Queen, she will not escape the fate of her people. He gently yet firmly shows her that this is most likely her time to stand strong in her faith—that it’s no accident she is where she is.

What I find so fascinating in this story is that God isn’t even mentioned verbally, yet He is very much present. Nor does Esther try to convert the King to her beliefs. Through fasting and prayer, Esther receives the strength and guidance she needs to help save her people. She influences her husband through her gentle spirit, her confidence in God and actions that garner her husband’s favor and trust. She puts aside her fear and concern for herself to achieve a greater goal than her own comfort.

As wives of faith, we stand on the front lines for our husbands. And like Mordecai asked Esther, “who knows but that you have come to royal position for such a time as this?” (Esther 4:13), and as Paul asks, “How do you know, wife, whether you will save your husband? Or, how do you know, husband, whether you will save your wife? Nevertheless, each one should retain the place in life that the Lord assigned to him and to which God has called him” (1 Cor. 7:16-17), where are we choosing to stand?

For me, I’m in this place by marriage and by calling. I feel called to stand by my husband to support him, to pray for him, to encourage him and affirm him. I want to be a reflection of Christ in his life. No, I don't go before an earthly king, but I stand before our heavenly King, petitioning for the soul of my loved ones. For me, this is a place of honor and one I want to do well—finish well. One day I will stand before Jesus, and I so want to hear him say, “well done!”

Walking in a spiritually mismatched marriage means leaving our places of fear and walking in courage and confidence that God has placed us in our marriages for a higher calling than our own happiness. I know that can seem overwhelming at times, almost as if it’s too much responsibility, but the beauty of it is, we are not called to function in this place of influence within the parameters of our own definition and strength. As I’ve said before, God never places us somewhere without equipping us. (And please understand that I’m not saying we must stay in abusive marriages—that is a very different situation.)

Finally, I want to tell you that in this place of service, which I consider to be so very noble, God meets our needs. Every one of them. This is the part I find difficult to put into the words. The lonely places, the disappointments, the heartache, the struggles—God has met me in every one of these places and has met my need, healed my heart and taught me how to walk the path of a mismatched wife.

All this still within the parameters of a mismatched marriage. Not after my husband came to faith. Now. This frees me to love my husband just as he is and allows me to enjoy our marriage. My focus isn’t on our differences, which often causes us to see our spouse as an enemy. My focus is on seeing my husband as my partner and friend. And I know if I’m feeling this freedom, he is too. That’s how I’m influencing him.

Next week I will talk more about this place of influence in our mismatched marriages and talk about what that looks like. In the meantime, start praying and asking God what place He’s calling you to in your marriage.

Dear Lord, I ask that you help me to understand my place of influence in my husband’s life. Let my heart be knitted to his as a conduit of your love and mine so that he may know who You are. In Christ’s name, amen.

Praying and believing,
Dineen

*****

Share your voice, heart and love in the comments. 

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

Covers Three Books


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. 

 

 

*****

Share your voice, heart and love in the comments. 

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

Covers Three Books


Baptism is Happy and Sad

Waterbap
Yesterday as I sat during church, I watched as five individuals gave their testimony and were baptized. I’m nearly always moved to tears when I watch someone become baptized. I pray with diligence as they go under the water, asking the Lord to protect them from the enemy and to grow them up in the ways of the Lord. As they rise from the water, I clap and I whisper words of praise and join the angels who are celebrating one more broken and lost person finds their way home.

At the same time, I find I’m can be overwhelmed with a deep sadness.

It’s such a bizarre roller-coaster moment. I truly am happy for these who obey Christ in water baptism but I grieve because that still small part of my heart deeply longs to see my husband participate in the believer’s baptism. What I find difficult is that I’m still battling this feeling of sadness in spite of all the distance I have come in my walk with God.

Why do I still have moments of deep sadness? Why after a few hours and I’ve returned home, I’m angry and short-tempered with my spouse. Why do I take it out on him knowing he is clueless as to why I’m behaving like a grouch?

I’ve spent a lot of time asking God about this today. What is frustrating, puzzling and yet reassuring and absolutely true of our Lord is this:

He says to me, “Lynn, there is still much I still need to teach you. Your husband’s salvation is at hand and will be according to My perfect timing. I do not delay to hurt you but only to make you so much more than you thought possible. Your waiting and longing heart is serving my purposes for your life and as well as your husband.

I know you feel sad that he is not at your side in church but you also know I will make you strong enough to walk this difficult path. I will never leave you nor forsake you. One day my daughter, you will see and understand the why of it all.

And, it will leave you breathless.”

So to you my friends, I know so many of you are in a difficult place and are also sad and waiting on the Lord. And although I have made giant strides through Christ to thriving in my marriage, I also don’t forget the real pain, sadness and all other emotions you feel.

Now let me tell you something you may need to hear today. It’s from the Lord:

“My Chosen One. There is still much I still need to teach you. Your spouse’s salvation is at hand and will be according to My perfect timing. I do not delay to hurt you but only to make you so much more than you thought possible. Your waiting and longing heart is serving my purposes for your life and as well as your spouse.

I know you feel sad that your mate is not at your side in church but you also know I will make you strong enough to walk this difficult path. I will never leave you nor forsake you. One day my child, you will see and understand the why of it all.

And, it will leave you breathless.”

~The Lord

*****

Share your voice, heart and love in the comments. 

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

Covers Three Books


We're in This Together

512171_shadow1 I want to share something absolutely precious with you! One of are readers has started a class for the unequally yoked at her church. We want to give a big "shout out" to the women attending Cindi's class at her church. Here's the info from Cindi herself:

"My church is The Rock San Diego and the Women's Ministry is S.I.S.T.E.R.S. (Spirit-led, Instruction, Sharing, Teaching, Encouragement for Reverent Submission to God). The Bible Study is on Spiritual Warfare titled "Standing Firm" by Karen Stevens (our leader). We meet in classes after Bible Study and the name of my class is "Uniquely Yoked." Book studying is Beloved Unbeliever by Jo Berry. Fall session meets Wednesday nights from Sept 15th - Nov 17th  6:30 - 8:30pm."

If you're in Cindi's area and looking for a group like this, email Lynn or myself (use that little button above with the "C" on it to get our email addys) and we'll get you connected to Cindi for details.

To the dear ladies who are attending her class, I just want to say WE LOVE YOU!!! Hang in there. You're not alone. Beloved Unbeliever is the book that began the transformation God wanted so desperately to work in my marriage. I will be praying for you all as you walk this journey with Cindi. Please feel free to let us know how you're doing!

Ladies (and gents), we are all in this together, and Lynn and I are so honored to be a part of your journey. We are dedicated to this ministry and to helping others find that "thriving" zone. We love you all so dearly and you minister to us too! Did you know that? You are all so precious to us, and we could not do this ministry without your help.

Cindi is such an inspiration in her desire to help others. That's where Lynn and I started and look what God has done! So if you're thinking about starting a small group, go for it. Let us know so we can be praying for you.

We had bookmarks made to help spread the "You're Not Alone" message we bring to this blog and our soon-to-be-released book. We would be delighted to send a few to whoever would like some to keep and share. Email me with your address and I'll send them out.

We are always here to help!

Praying and believing,
Dineen

*****

Share your voice, heart and love in the comments. 

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

Covers Three Books


A Marriage Delivered from the Pit of Hell!

This is a day of great rejoicing and celebration. 

When I first started chatting with Deb, she was living in shall I say, a "difficult marriage." I watched and prayed over the months for her and her husband. There was a point where even me, the believer in marriage and the one person who believes any marriage can be restored, doubted this marriage could be healed.

Oh Praise be to Jesus because in our doubt, struggle and sometimes, hell on earth, Jesus can heal a marriage. Today it is my great privilege to share my friend Deborah with all of you. Many of you know her from our loop at 1Peter3Living on Yahoo. Many of you held her in prayer. THANK YOU. 

Already, at a young age of 26, she has lived through a marriage she never imagined could happen to her yet she discovered triumph through the power of Jesus Christ. Although her marriage story is still relatively new, it should be a story that encourages all of us to believe and to pray.

So now, I give you Deb. This story is worth the read. Be blessed, Lynn 

*****

First of all I want to say how privileged I am to be able to share my story on Spiritually Unequal Marriage. I never envisioned myself in this position, mainly because the struggles I have experienced over the last three years seemed unending and at times hopeless, but wonder of wonders, here I am to tell the tale and rejoice over what God has done. 

For all of you who haven't met me yet, my name is Deb and I have been married to my husband for almost three years. There were doubts in more than one quarter if we would ever make it to one year let alone three, but that would be jumping ahead of the story. : ) 

Following our four year engagement, (we weathered two and a half of those years apart in different countries) and subsequent wedding on September 2007, it was only three months later that I found myself Googling 'loneliness in marriage' in the hopes of finding help for my newfound struggles. This is how I stumbled across Spiritually Unequal Marriage. Through this website God has led me to a place where I have become strengthened and equipped through the prayers and support of people who have now become like family. Your posts and e-mails have kept me sane on the crazy days and grateful on the good days. I’m so thankful to know you. 

To backtrack, my relationship with my spouse had always been characterized by significant ups and downs. I would attribute this partly to our dysfunctional upbringings, partly to our equally intense and opposite personalities, and also to the fact that any marriage, especially one where believers are involved, is a favorite target of Satan. 

When we first met what attracted me most to my husband was his passionate love for Christ. He was absolutely radiant with the light of Jesus and I had never met anyone with whom I clicked so well spiritually. Throughout our engagement however, he had some negative experiences in the church we were attending at the time, and by the time we were married I was more or less holding onto what I had seen rather than what I was seeing regarding his walk with God. Despite this development, I was still fondly hoping that he would soon 'snap out of it', and become the spiritual leader that I had always wanted him to be. I knew that if he would only get it together in the spiritual department we would soon experience marital bliss on a near perfect scale and live out all my dreams together. I say this all with a wry smile, because you may be smiling too at my naiveté. (On a side note, I still very much believe in these dreams, but more on that later.) 

Needless to say, I unwittingly placed such a burden of my expectations for happiness on him, that with his own inability to handle some of his own issues, let alone mine combined, we began having conflict that only heightened as the days and weeks continued. For the first few months he was more or less strong enough to handle my anger and frustration, but it wasn't long before he threw up his hands in defeat and retreated into his shell. His words to me at the time were that I could no longer count on his support, spiritually or emotionally, as a husband or even a friend, and that all he cared to do from then on was find his satisfaction in online gaming. He participated in an online game, EverQuest, often shortened to EQ, which is a 3D fantasy-themed massively multiplayer online role-playing game. You can imagine how crushed I was to discover that everything I had wanted was now beyond reach. What doubled my anguish was the feeling that I was entitled to at least a measure of happiness. 

From the age of three I had dedicated my life to God and since then my best dreams culminated in a desire to serve Him with a husband who wanted the same thing. With that as my foundation, how was it possible that things could have gone so awry? 

For months we coexisted in an extremely tense and hostile environment. With the best I had I tried to cope with the new situation, but each day would find me in tears of despair. I have memories of walking the streets weeping, begging God to intervene. I still remember the nights and early mornings when he wouldn't come to bed but spent all hours of the night and morning gaming in his computer room. I can still recall his dark anger at my attempts to intervene. 

What I secretly hoped was temporary became solidly worse as five hours of gaming stretched into ten and ten into fifteen and my husband's obsession deepened into addiction. The disappointment and bitterness I carried had now become a weight I couldn't bear. At this point I was asking everyone I knew for help and prayer. I was unashamed in my needs, and I know that many of your prayers are what carried me through those initial troubled days. (A quiet thank you again for that.) 

It was only eight months after we married that I left home and took up residence elsewhere. This was decided upon after explaining my situation to pastors and friends who agreed that our situation had become so volatile that it was no longer safe. What I never conceived could happen was now a reality and I was separated from the love of my life and desperate and alone. From that point followed a year and a half period where our relationship fluctuated from okay to ugly and I was barely coping from day to day. 

Looking back it puts a lump in my throat to see how tenderly God cared for me over that time. I was extremely blessed to have an excellent church which gave me a lot of support and help. At every point I needed help, Jesus provided a friend who would send me a letter at just the right time, or a text when I thought I was going over the edge. In every possible way He was saying to me - 'I am watching over you. Don't despair.' 

Of course, being Deb, I did despair, even many times a day, but I also clung to Him like I never had before. This period, for me, was characterized by an intense and painful learning curve. Through it God was revealing to me areas of my life that He wanted to heal and transform. I didn't realize how imbalanced I was in my perceptions and thoughts about marriage, myself and even God. It wasn't until I was separated from Dans that I was able to see how needy and insecure I was and how much I had relied upon him to complete me. I had gotten to the point where I blamed him for all the unhealthy ways I expressed my frustrations and felt that if it wasn't for his lack of spirituality, I would be making better choices. 

God didn’t let me stay there too long however, and my anger with my husband began giving way to acknowledgement that he was not wholly responsible for our marriage breakdown. I began attending regular counseling with my pastor’s wife Connie, who walked me through inner healing and forgiveness. Together we asked God to reveal the root issues as to why I had become co-dependent and why I felt trapped no matter which way I looked. In answer to the most tormenting why question of all - 'why me?' God revealed that sometimes He allows wounds in our life to heal even deeper ones, and this was certainly true in my case. 

What broke my heart most regarding our situation was that my husband had renounced God and cursed Him to his face. I judged him in my heart for this, without realizing that God’s command for us to love our enemies and bless those that curse us (Matt 5:44) means that He also acts according to that same standard of behavior. This means that any of our spouses, no matter if they have never known God, or have known Him and then turned away, are still loved by the Father and blessed regardless. (Matt 5:45) 

About a year into our separation my husband began attending counseling with me which was in itself a huge miracle. He had become so resistant to any kind of help that I wondered if he would ever reach out again. From there we began to dialogue about our differences and slowly came to understand and forgive each other, bit by bit. Even the tiniest steps were huge, as we had so much ground to gain. I think because the progress seemed so slow, months later I was beginning to lose faith again that things would really improve. 

In January this year, however major things started to happen. I believe that as a result of many people's prayer and intercession, he lost the desire to play computer games. For those of you who don't know about gaming, for someone like my husband who played upward of 16 hours almost every day for two years, this is the equivalent to a heroin addict suddenly deciding they don't need the drug anymore. This decision was the catalyst for a completely brand new season for both of us. From that point on we have continued to heal and just two months ago we found a lovely apartment and moved in together! 

Thank you Jesus. 

Even more amazing is the continued newness that we are now experiencing in our relationship. We have actually had times of praying together, sharing our hearts about life and where we stand with God, and are finally discovering the ability to talk over even the toughest of issues without becoming enemies. 

You have to know how hopeless it seemed for two and a half years to grasp the fullness of how amazing this is. I know that we will continue to have our battles, but God has truly done amazing things in my marriage. 

By no means am I intimating that our struggles are over, or even that we have come through everything. In a real sense we are only just starting. What I am saying is that God restored hope where there was none, took us out of a muddy pit and placed our feet on solid ground. 

Debs and Dans (3)  I hope this story blesses you as much as I have been blessed to recount it. Through it I have gained a knowing that I never had before: no matter how tough a situation can be God will see us through it stronger than before. 

~Deb

Bio:   Hi I'm Deb. Born of Greek parents in sunny Perth, Australia, I now live and work in the not-so-sunny but gorgeous state of Washington. I met my husband in the Old City of Jerusalem in 2003 while completing the second year of my BA in English and Jewish studies. Following a lengthy four year engagement Dans and I were married in Tulsa Oklahoma on September 2007. I currently work for an airline which provides plenty of drama and 'scope for the imagination. Some of my best loves are traveling, reading classic literature, taking long road trips and eating chocolate.

*****

Share your voice, heart and love in the comments. 

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

Covers Three Books


Bloom and Grow.... Forever

I was sitting in yet another class, at a Women’s Ministry, anticipating once again how I could learn something about surviving in a marriage with an unsaved husband. I’d been to many different kinds of classes on marriage and many different churches, searching and searching. There must be someone, some pastor, some ministry, someone that would help me to know how I could save my husband. I had been struggling for 25 years spiritually unequal in a 31 year marriage. Why was there never a sermon preached about it? I knew I wanted to live my life for Jesus. I just could not figure out how I could do that and also be with my husband. Oh how wonderful it would be to be able to do the Lord’s work together, after all we were a team. God what are you thinking here? How was I able to do this, if my husband is not onboard? We have to do this together. Please save him. 

Once again, I stated my name in this new class and told my story. How I was looking for spiritual intimacy with my husband and just how lonely I was. Everyone looked at me so sadly. I did learn about our different love languages and how it could make our marriage closer if we new each others language. It was fun but you see, that was not our problem at all. We couldn’t speak spiritual language. Our marriage is really great. We love each other very much. He’s my best friend on earth. Our wedding invitations read “ The more love that is shared, the more quickly it grows”. Well, it grew and grew and grew over the years. We’ve had a blast and still do. Raised a son, traveled halfway around the world living in a sailboat the whole time. Literally we are close. 

But I am lonely, Lord. How can I live for you and still live with someone who does not know You in his heart? I contemplated leaving, but I love him so. I don’t want to lose him. 

At the end of the class session, my leader gave me a book, “How to be the Happy Wife of an Unsaved Husband” by Linda Davis. WHAT? You mean there’s a book? Finally! Thank-you, Thank you! I went home immediately and started reading. It brought me to my knees in tears, sobbing tears. This book was exactly me. Oh no, Lord. Forgive me, please! I have been trying to control everything. Even trying to save my own husband and believing it was my fault he was not saved. 

Jesus taught me that day that I didn’t have to worry one bit about my man, that he was in His hands. It is His job to save him and that I was to let go and surrender him. And, “Cindi, I want you to just bloom. I have work for you, and I want you to just bloom into the most beautiful flower that I have created you to be.” In quoting Linda, “Your husband’s unbelief is no reason to hold back your own spiritual growth.” What I learned from that was not only surrendering my husband to God, but myself. It freed me up to grow and I’ve been blooming and growing ever since. God has led me to teach a class on the Unequally Yoked at my church. I love that others have the opportunity to share and know that they are not alone in this. The outpouring is amazing! God is amazing! 

I now see my husband through God’s eyes and love him how God wants me to love him. Our relationship is even closer than ever, different and more peaceful. There are changes in him and I believe it’s because of what God has changed in "me". God has a plan for my man as well and I relax and trust God to do His part with his salvation. I wait, but I bloom and grow....forever.

Cindi Valli Cindi Valli

My name is Cindi Valli and I am a born again Christian as of 25 years. I am married 31 years to the sweetest man ever. We have one son, who just turned 30 who we raised together on a boat. I home schooled him most of the time and we have traveled half way around the world on 3 separate sailboats. The most recent one we've had for 20 years and still live aboard. I have led a class in Bible Study Fellowship in the past and am currently leading a class called "Uniquely Yoked" at my church. I absolutely love Jesus and trust in Him with all my heart and I lean not on my own understanding. In all my ways, I try to acknowledge Him and when I do He always directs my path. Proverbs 3:5-6

*****

Share your voice, heart and love in the comments. 

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

Covers Three Books


I'm Lonely In My Marriage

There is an epidemic of loneliness in our world. And more staggering is the number of people who are married and feel alone. Does it strike you as a strange paradox, to be married and be lonely? How can that happen? How can we live under one roof, share the same bed, live together, and feel utterly alone?....

Read the entire article at Exemplify today: I'm Lonely In My Marriage.

*****

Share your voice, heart and love in the comments. 

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

Covers Three Books


I Have a Serious Question for You.

Are you ready for healing?

Do you think as Christians most of the time we think of heavenly healing as a cure of a physical ailment? I believe we do and I know God miraculously heals people of physical sickness and disease. I also know God heals us from their emotional and mental injuries.

What I am discovering right now is the Lord is calling me to a year of healing. Healing specific to my physical condition(s). But, it is actually healing of my emotional issues as well.

I was talking with Dineen on the phone today. We were discussing how our weight gain is attributed to stress. Mine; unemployment. Hers; her daughter’s cancer and resulting heath issues.

How many of us medicate ourselves with food. I will own up and admit, I DO. Now let me tell you something that is hard to share. My bad habits began many years ago. I have thought long and hard about why I find myself with the struggles I face today.

I will admit that when I moved to California ten years ago, I found myself in a deep loneliness. My husband was far away from God and he was also on the road five days a week. I moved to a new town, leaving my career, family, and friends behind. I became a stay-at-home mother without any idea what to do with my high-energy self. I found myself eating too much and drinking a glass of wine at night to mask my loneliness. You can see how easily and seemingly harmless our bad habits begin.

I don’t want to skip over this point… Every spouse I have ever talked with who lives in a spiritually mismatched marriage, has battled with loneliness. It’s an odd paradox to be lonely and married.

I must caution you to recognize your stage of a spiritually mismatched marriage. You will likely experience loneliness. Now please don’t do what I did. I ate and drank to mask the hurt in my heart. Please turn to Christ.

But how do we really do this?

Why Don’t Diets Work?

Diet’s don’t work because we don’t cure the spiritual maladies of our soul.

Let me be specific. I needed healing of bad habits from years ago. Although I am no longer lonely, I still struggle with the years of reinforced bad habits and cravings.

After praying for several months now, I have heard the Lord calling me to healing. He has helped me to see that the emotional and spiritual part of this healing is completely up to Him and Him alone. The scripture verse, 2 Corinthians 12:9 But he said to me, "My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness."

I don’t think I really understood this verse until now. His grace is sufficient. Nothing else is going to help me~ only His grace. Not only that, His power will be displayed through my healing. I will, without question, be healed through His power.

Whoa! Doesn’t that just blow your mind? Blows mine every time I think and pray about it.

Stripes I began praying 1 Peter 2:24 He himself bore our sins in his body on the tree, so that we might die to sins and live for righteousness; by his wounds you have been healed, as inspired by e-Mom. (read her post here)

Now get this: by whose stripes ye were healed. KJV.

We WERE healed. It has already been done. Past tense. Already healed!

I began praying every night as I lay in the quiet of my room. Lord, by your stripes I am healed of my eating cravings. I would also count each lash, repeating the sentence of healing over my cravings. For the first time I felt the pain Christ endured for my healing. How dare I not pray for my healing when the Lord suffered to give it to me?

So here is my challenge.

Do you need healing? What is it in your life will you lift up to God in 2010 and ask for healing?

Now remember your heart and relationship with Christ must be in the right place. If you are far away from God right now, the first prayers and efforts must be focused on time spent alone with Him. You can know God through His Word and in worship. God lives in the praises of His people.

Then begin to pray these scriptures nightly over your body, soul, and emotions.

My healing will also require some further steps. I will share more with you in my next post.

Please tell me your need. I promise you I will take your healing before the throne. As you write the words in the comments, make this your 2010 commitment. Remember your healing is declared and it can be accomplished because the power of God is made perfect in weakness.

Praying the scriptures over your life, Hugs, Lynn

*****

Share your voice, heart and love in the comments. 

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

Covers Three Books


Weekend Devo — We Are Known

933344_i_love_you Now we see but a poor reflection as in a mirror; then we shall see face to face. Now I know in part; then I shall know fully, even as I am fully known. — 1Cor. 13:12

1 Corinthians 13 is known as the love chapter. Yet at the end of this wonderful chapter is an amazing piece of truth that gives us the reassurance we are truly known by the One who loves us with unsurpassed passion.

One of the most difficult parts of a spiritual mismatch is feeling like our spouse doesn't understand who we are in Christ. But our precious Lord knows us completely and even went to the trouble to include this tidbit in a chapter all about love.

So when we face those lonely times, we have this Scriptural reminder that we are known to the depths of our spirit. And there's no better remedy for loneliness than that.

Praying and believing,
Dineen

*****

Share your voice, heart and love in the comments. 

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

Covers Three Books