73 posts categorized "Parenting"

Consuming Fears About our Children

2 timothy 1 7On Friday I shared some truths about stepping out of this curse of the fear of man. Growing in our faith was the first truth I shared and leads to victorious living. Our faith growth, learning and living out of God’s Truths is what I stand upon every day. I’ve become a ROCK, a house built upon stone and not sand (Matt 7:24). Day after day, week after week, month after month, year after year, I spend quality time with God. There is no agenda, like completing a Bible study assignment. It’s just me, my Bible, a journal and my Lord. Ahhhhhhh, bliss!

I will never stop preaching about the absolute need to spend time alone with the Lord. It is out of my intimacy with the Trinity that I can walk in victory, laughter, adventure, joy and hope…. Every… single…. Day. Hallelujah!

With that said, I promised last week to share a little about fear we hold as parents. When I speak or pray for moms who are parenting small children, I hear this over and over again., “I’m so scared something is going to happen to them. I’m afraid they will get hurt or that I’m not doing a good job raising them. I’m terrified they will die.”

Oh how my heart breaks to see their faces distorted by this kind of fear.

This is what I say to them.

Do you believe that God loves your children more than you do?

Of course they do, however if we are being honest, they also doubt.

I can promise you that God has amazing plans for your children. Each of them. He delights when they wake up every morning and it’s God who stands with them when they are playing on the playground or in their room or at preschool. I want you to pray with me this prayer:

Jesus, today I truly place each of my kids in your hands. I ask you to surround them with warrior angels that will travel with them all of their lives to protect them and also to guide them. Jesus, today I release this fear I’ve held in my heart that something terrible will happen to them. I say I will trust you and I ask you to give me wisdom and discernment when I do need to step in to protect but that I would also know through Your Holy Spirit when I can let loose and allow them to explore, create, take risks and discover this amazing world and life You have given them.

They are your children and I will pray protection over them every day, by name. And then I will trust you to walk with them and give them the abundant life. In Your powerful name, Jesus. AMEN

You may ask me, “Lynn, what if something does happen to them?”

My friends, we can always find a million reasons to fear. But why pick up anxiety, nurse it and nurture it when we don’t need to. If a day comes and my children suffer, you can bet this praying mama will ring the ears off my Papa God in intercession for them. Listen to what Jesus says about this:

Therefore, do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own. —Matthew 6:34

My friends, some of the worst things we will ever have to deal with are the fears about things that actually never happen. Don’t waste your time in fear. Today, pray and commit your children into the care of Christ. Then laugh with them, take them for ice cream, go outside and make mud pies or play in the sand or just be silly. Take them on adventures that they will never forget.

That’s the kind of life I live every day with my Father. Every day is a wild adventure with the King!

Have a blast. Love you, Lynn

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Tablecloth Of Thanks 2015

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

Enjoy.....Lynn

I'ts Never Too Late!

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

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

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

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

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

Sheesh!

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

Tablecloth of Thanks 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

One of my favorite thanks is this: 

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

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

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

 

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

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

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

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

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

Also, if you have started a tablecloth already in your home, PLEASE, take a photo and share it in the comments. I would love to see them. Hugs, Lynn

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Not Alone - The BEST Parenting un-Advice

SUMites, have you ever wondered why I am in ministry?

I'm convinced if I'd been stronger in my faith-walk as a young person, I wouldn't have slipped down the slimy slope into my prodigal years. When I finally emerged from those dark years, by the Sovereign hand of God, I became dedicated to a singular passion.

Equip the Saints!

I'm driven to help people to NOT live in, or as long, in satan's camp as I did. This passion and God's purposes have come alive in many aspects of my faith throughout the years. I served for years in a local church Bible study. The SUM ministry was born out of my heart to equip believers who are married to unbelieving spouses. 

The books on marriage and parenting were birthed because of the Lord's grace and the heart He placed into me to equip His people to not just survive but to THRIVE! It is our Papa God's will that we live well on earth and further the Kingdom of Christ.

Train up a ChildAs we close our Back To School series, I leave you with chapter 10 of Not Alone. This chapter is about passing to our children a legacy of faith. I hope you read this chapter because I focus on a legacy of faith recorded in the Bible about a man who was raised in an unequally yoked home. His name was Timothy. Once again I'm overwhelmed by God's compassion and love because this story about Timothy, his mother and grandmother appears in His Holy Word. The Lord is encouraging all of us who are living with pre-believers to have faith, courage and assurance that we can raise World changers within a spiritually mismatched home.

Do you know what Timothy's mother's name is when translated from Greek to English? VICTORIOUS! 

We are victorious and we are standing in faith the same as Timothy's mother and grandmother. All of heaven is watching. They are cheering us on as we lead our children in daily life with Jesus. 

Do not fear. Do not be discouraged. Stand strong and do not waiver for GREAT is your reward. Your love, prayers and example will win them all, even without words!

As I finished up the book, Not Alone,  the Lord down loaded a letter to my heart. It is a letter from Him to every mother. You can read it here. Take time to read this because it's worth it. "My Chosen Mother" at our Mismatched & Thriving website.

Finally, thank you moms and dads. Thank you for your courage and your faith. I know deeply in my soul that your years of parenting will be remembered and hailed in the heavenlies for all eternity. I can't wait to one day, witness all that you have done to raise your little ones to faith.

I love you. I bless you and I call you amazing. Beloved of God. Lynn 

 And now mom and dad, this is for you!

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This Challenging Culture

NotAloneStudyImageHello, SUMite family! Lynn and I decided we should wrap our study up this week, because we have other things we want to move onto next week. Thus we will conclude our Equipping Our Kids in a Contrary Culture on Friday with Lynn’s post about Legacy Kids. I’m sure it will be amazing too! 

My last chapter, “Challenging Kids,” that I wrote for Not Alone is one of my favorites. I share more of the story of my daughter’s recovery from cancer and two other stories from SUM moms who dealt with challenging questions and situations. I’ve been praying over what to bring out of this chapter and relate it to equipping our children and the Holy Spirit light bulb went on.

Moms and Dads, here’s where your children’s questions may become part of the challenges in your mismatched home. Your sons and daughters most likely will come home with questions about the new things they’re learning that will open up some controversy for you right in your own home if you and your spouse don’t agree on these issues. 

How do we navigate this? How do we keep biblical values in place when the school is teaching the opposite and your spouse agrees with it? How do we continue to stand in faith in our challenging culture.

My friends, we keep doing what we have been doing—trusting God. Yes, the challenges and “playing fields” may seem a little bigger, a little broader, a little more intimidating at times, but none of this is beyond God’s ability or reach. In fact, I believe He is standing ready to move with us, but He wants us to move in agreement and alignment with what He sees even when we can’t see it. 

The perfect example of this came as I’ve been reading the book of Joshua this week for very specific reasons, and one of them I believe was intended for this post, for this exact moment in our time and place as a unique community of faith in today’s culture. 

Now the gates of Jericho were securely barred because of the Israelites. No one went out and no one came in.

Then the Lord said to Joshua, “See, I have delivered Jericho into your hands, along with its king and its fighting men. March around the city once with all the armed men. Do this for six days. Have seven priests carry trumpets of rams’ horns in front of the ark. On the seventh day, march around the city seven times, with the priests blowing the trumpets. When you hear them sound a long blast on the trumpets, have the whole army give a loud shout; then the wall of the city will collapse and the army will go up, everyone straight in.”

So Joshua son of Nun called the priests and said to them, “Take up the ark of the covenant of the Lord and have seven priests carry trumpets in front of it.” And he ordered the army, “Advance! March around the city, with an armed guard going ahead of the ark of the Lord.” — Joshua 6:1-7

Scripture paints a clear picture for us here that Jericho was a fortified city—the first walled city the Israelites had encountered. And we’re talking about some heavy duty walls here too. This is what Joshua saw, but I believe that when God told Joshua to see, He was opening the man’s eyes to perceive God’s perspective, that the city was already conquered by His hand. It was done and finished.

My friends, let’s not look at the world today and see what the world sees. Let’s look at our schools, our workplaces, the places we shop, and every person we encounter with the eyes of God. Because just as the Israelites carried the ark of the covenant with them, which was the presence of God, we carry His presence with us every where we go. 

Let’s carry Him into this world and bring His presence with us every where. Let’s march our prayers around these places and bring God into the picture. Sometimes God will even call us to literally do this and sometimes it won’t make much sense. He told me years ago to march in prayer around my husband, more recently to march in prayer around a nearby park in San Jose for nearly two years, and now He has me doing this at another park where I live now. I can’t tell you why, but I know He’s laying down the groundwork and foundation for whatever is next. He wants to bring down the walls of hopelessness, unbelief, despair, pain, sickness, depression, oppression and even opposition.

SUMites, Scripture tells us over and over to pray for wisdom and knowledge. We can ask God to prepare this way for us and give us eyes to see, ears to hear and words to speak. Trust Him to be there with you when your child comes home with questions that call you to stand in faith and give the reason why you believe what you believe. And if that could potentially create conflict with your pre-believer, ask the Holy Spirit to intervene now, to soften hearts, to give you wisdom and peace about how to navigate it. You both have equal place in your child’s life to teach and influence them. Trust God to make His truth stand out more than what our contrary culture is saying.

Nothing this world reveals surprises God and none of it is beyond His power to change. We are His hands and feet to bring His truth and healing to a hurting and damaged world. And we are empowered and equipped with His presence, His power, His grace and His mercy. Nothing is impossible WITH Him. Let’s live it like we believe it, SUMites. With Him, we CAN!

Question: SUMites, what is your greatest concern for your children right now? 

Prayer: Lord, fill every SUMite with more wisdom and knowledge of You. Inspire them with words, creativity and strategies of how to pray and navigate these upcoming challenges WITHOUT ANY fear or anxiety. I pray that they would rise up every morning, convinced and strengthened by the truth of Jesus Christ, that He is with us and will not fail us. I pray that You would fill their minds and hearts with a vision of what You are doing around them and are calling them to partner with You to accomplish. Lord, I pray that Your peace would fill every SUMite home and an impenetrable wall of Your angle armies would surround and protect them. Lord, all things are possible with You! Give us eyes to see, ears to hear and words to speak wherever we go. In the name of Jesus, amen!

I believe in you, SUMites!
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Power Prayer For Your Child That Moves Heaven

Sumites:

Junior move in BIOLA Apts 2
Roommate and Caitie

Saturday my husband and I drove my daughter to college. She is a Junior this fall at BIOLA and has moved into an apartment off campus with her roommate. It’s the next step in her life toward independence and adulthood.

Wow.

It’s a profound truth, as things change, they stay the same. Although this is a season of great change in my daughter's life, I’m compelled to pray similar prayers to those that I prayed during the years she lived at home.

As I prepared to leave her in her new home, I embraced her on Saturday and pulled her head to my shoulder. I prayed protection over her. I blessed her in Jesus name and prayed for her mind, her heart and her spirit. I also blessed her roommate. They probably think I’m just a bit wacky as I also walked about the apartment and prayed the blood of Jesus over it and for angels to come and stand in watch. I don’t know if they saw me doing this but this mama leaves nothing to chance. *grin*

As I think of chapter eight, Triumphant Kids, in Not Alone, I’m moved mostly by the prayer in the middle of the chapter. It was a prayer I prayed fiercely as my daughter dealt with a bully in high school. I’ve adapted it to my daughter’s current season. So, today moms and dads, please pray this over your children and let this school year be the best ever for your sons and daughters:

Lord, my holy God, This very moment I’m asking for Your presence to surround Caitie. Lord, go with her into the halls of her college and in her apartment. Father, in the name of Jesus I take authority from the enemy who is speaking lies into my daughter’s heart and mind. I renounce any lies that my daughter believes, such as she is insignificant. I bind the enemy who has told her that she is ugly, stupid or a fool. O Holy Spirit, rush to my daughter and remove thoughts of insecurity or fear from her heart, mind and soul. Powerful Lord, my Father, Abba, now I hold up my daughter, Caitie, and in place of the lies, I ask You to affirm her.

Place Your truth in her. Let others say things about her and to her that are truthful and uplifting. When others hear her name, change their thoughts toward her to be good and not evil. When her name is spoken, prompt her friends and professors to affirm her and to build up her character. Lord, speak through her friends to break the lies and to pour Your truth into my girl. Father, speak gently into my girl, and remind her that she is beautiful. She is a daughter of the King. She is confident in her identity. She is a believer in truth and justice. Affirm her worth, and let her see herself as You view her. Affirm, protect, love on her with passion, and reveal Yourself to her daily. I pray this in the name of Jesus and by His authority and power. Amen.

I will join you in prayer for your children. Leave their names and we will stand unified under the Banner of Love for their identity and life in Christ.

I love you moms and dads. You are amazing and you are parenting better than you believe. God is standing right next to you. Now let’s help our children SOAR!!! Have a great week. I’ll see you in the comments. Hugs, Lynn  

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PS. Winning Him Without Words is also on sale for $2.99 (e-book) this week and Not Alone remains $1.99

Find me today at lynndonovan.org as I share the Power of Ephesians and my personal testimony.  Leave your kids names before you leave. Hugs.

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For Every Mom Who Is Praying For A Prodigal

image from www.spirituallyunequalmarriage.comAMAZING stories were shared on Monday! SUMites, it is a privilege to be among you. Your love for Jesus and your family coupled with your wisdom, is truly a gift to me, Dineen and our entire family here on the web. 

Today I want to wrap up chapter four. I remain very passionate about the subject of raising our kids to faith and share many successful ideas in this chapter. If you listened in to any of the radio interviews I did this week, you heard me share some of them.

But today, my heart bleeds for all the mamas who are crying for their lost children. Those who have turned away from God. The adult children that cause our hearts to sting and our eyes to leak.

So this post is for those of you who are praying for prodigal adults. An excerpt from Not Alone, the Appendix 1: Rebellion and the Prodigal Adult:

Dry Bones

I shared in my story at the beginning of this book that I was a good kid. But I later spent a string of years as a prodigal, far from the God I had been taught to know. So I can tell you that even good kids choose to turn away from their faith. But I’m convinced that my return to God was brought about for two reasons.

One, the Lord of the universe, His Son, Jesus, and the Holy Spirit relentlessly pursued me with a powerful, redemptive love.

Two, my mother prayed and never gave up hope. She was my soft landing spot, even when I had screwed up my life and the lives of others. She always listened to me. She loved me even when I refused to follow her gentle words of wisdom. She was always an example to me of living faith and joy. In the darkest points of my prodigal wanderings, my mother always, always loved me. She affirmed me in a way that bridged the gap between her pain and my arrogance.

I called my mother to ask her for the first time what she had prayed during the years of my Nebuchadnezzar insanity (see Dan. 4). Before she told me, she reminded me that she had tried to help me see that I would regret the decisions I was making. She also acknowledged that she had felt hopeless as I politely listened to her but ignored her advice.

Ouch!

However, she added that she had never felt as if God had abandoned me or that He had ignored her pleas on my behalf. Mom told me, “I prayed with fervor for your protection from evil people and from evil spirits. I begged God to help you make some intelligent decisions, and mostly I prayed, ‘Lord, don’t let go of her.’ ”

My friend, God will bring to bear His great power and love in the lives of those for whom we pray. He is a God of redemption—He wants to redeem our lost kids and also our unbelieving spouses. We are called to trust with unwavering faith that God will save our lost loved ones.

Believe God with such conviction that you become completely certain there is no other alternative except for God to fulfill His promises. Our God moves heaven and earth to meet expectations and prayers such as these. Then watch and wait for the miracles. God gives life to dry bones:

“This is what the Sovereign Lord says: Come, O breath, from the four winds! Breathe into these dead bodies so they may live again.” So I spoke the message as he commanded me, and breath came into their bodies. They all came to life and stood up on their feet—a great army. Then he said to me, “Son of man, these bones represent the people of Israel. They are saying, ‘We have become old, dry bones—all hope is gone. Our nation is finished.’ Therefore, prophesy to them and say, ‘This is what the Sovereign Lord says: O my people, I will open your graves of exile and cause you to rise again. Then I will bring you back to the land of Israel. When this happens, O my people, you will know that I am the Lord. I will put my Spirit in you, and you will live again and return home to your own land. Then you will know that I, the Lord, have spoken, and I have done what I said. Yes, the Lord has spoken!’ ” (Ezek. 37:9-14, NLT, emphasis added).

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We need only BELIEVE & PRAY!

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You are Not Alone in the Dark

Arlene PellicaneGuest Post by Arlene Pellicane Giveaway: 
31 Days to Becoming a Happy Mom 

I was attending Dave Ramsay’s Financial Peace University when a not-so-peaceful thing happened.  On my way out of the restroom, I read a sign posted, “If you’re not using the lights, please turn them off.”  I thought I was alone so I flipped the switch.  Before the door shut behind me, I heard a shrill, fear-filled scream from inside the bathroom.  It sounded like a young girl. 

I hurried back in and turned on the light.  “I’m so sorry,” I said to the apparently occupied stall.  “I didn’t know you were in here.”  I thought about that little girl’s scream for a while.  The feeling of her fear lingered with me.  

She was terrified by the darkness and the uncertainty of being in the bathroom in the blackness. 

Are there things about motherhood that scare you stiff?  Toddler tantrums, potty training, boyfriends, girlfriends, and paying for college come to mind.  There are a lot of things for a mom to be afraid of.  You can worry about the distant future or about what will happen in the next minutes.  You can agonize about school assignments, questionable friendships, and stranger danger.

We’re afraid of what might happen in the future.  Many scenarios we fear as mothers are not really motivated by any clear or present danger.  We manufacture them in our own minds, like the time I pictured my children being abducted when they took a short walk around the block. 

Fear can muddle your thinking, keep you from using your gifts, and cheat you out of peace.  God knows we all struggle with fear.  Maybe that’s why the Bible tells us more than three hundred times not to fear.  In fact, “Fear not” is the most frequently repeated command in the Bible.     

Happy Mom coverWe can fear the inevitable disappointments in family life.  Your son might not make the basketball team.  Your husband could be laid off.  Your daughter’s BFF may find another BFF.  My friend author Karol Ladd told me about her friend who has five children, four of which are boys.  When she recognized life wasn’t going to be perfect and go according to plan all the time, she started saying to herself, “Oh well.”  That became her little go-to phrase.  Instead of succumbing to fear or frustration, she came to terms with her daily reality.  She trained herself to be flexible and to respond with “Oh well” instead of “Oh no!” 

I love what Karol told me,

We’ve got to recognize that life isn’t perfect.  People aren’t perfect.  I think a healthy, happy mom has to take that picture of perfection off the wall and throw it away.  Yes, we want to strive for excellence and do things well, but life is not going to be about having every duck in a row.  We need to be okay with that.  Often we want things perfect because we want safety and control.  We can make our plans but the final results are up to God.  A happy mom is one who has her eyes on a perfect God.  She trusts Him and relaxes.

Take heart my friend.  Look up to your perfect God.  Then trust Him…and relax.  Everything is going to be okay.  You’re not in the alone in the dark.  He is with you!   

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GIVEAWAY INFO:  We are giving away a copy of Arlene’s new book, 31 Days to Becoming a Happy Mom. 

Arlene Pellicane is a speaker and author of 31 Days to Becoming a Happy Mom and 31 Days to a Happy Husband.  She is also the co-author of Growing Up Social: Raising Relational Kids in a Screen-Driven World (with Gary Chapman).  She has been a featured guest on the Today Show, Fox & Friends, Focus on the Family, FamilyLife Today, The 700 Club, and Turning Point with Dr. David Jeremiah. 

Arlene lives in the San Diego area with her husband James and their three children.  

To learn more and for free family resources such as a monthly Happy Home podcast, visit www.ArlenePellicane.com   

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Did God See That Coming?

Listen In!!

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

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

 

 

 

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Don't Over-Schedule Your Kids

NotAloneStudyImage

My friends, what are your thoughts about this study so far? Is it helping you? Are there areas you want to talk about that we haven’t addressed yet? Let us know if you have more specific issues that we can address through this study.

Today I want to talk about helping our kids choose between good and God's best. I noticed way back when we first moved to California (Silicon Valley) when my daughters were in elementary and middle school. My oldest daughter found her footing in her new school quickly and made friends easily, thank goodness. She’d had a rough time in this area while we were living in Switzerland. My youngest, who had an easy time doing this during our time there, found herself struggling in her new CA school. 

And part of the problem wasn’t even in her realm of control. It was the parents. Many of Leslie’s classmates went from school to homework as well as many other “scheduled activities” during the day, like music, language and even additional tutoring. These weren’t students who were struggling academically either. None had time to schedule a play date during the week and many weren’t allowed to do so on weekends either, because they had to keep to their work and studies. This was third grade and the pressure on these kids increased as they got older.

This phenomenon was a growing epidemic in Silicon Valley, which is very multi-cultural, and still continues as the norm. I believe it affects much of society today too as part of the “get ahead” mentality. Unfortunately, these kids are growing up knowing all work and no play. They have no concept of what it means to relax, play and rest. And they’re growing up to be adults who find it difficult to enjoy times of rest and challenging to enjoy life without constant activity. 

I’m not saying these activities are bad for our children. What I’m saying is, we need to leave some room for them to rest, to be in God’s creation, to be kids. And the younger they grasp this, the better they will be at finding balance in their lives as teenagers and adults. 

Just this week I listened to a speak say we’ve lost about ability to discern in the church. That nailed it on the head and it’s one of the enemy’s most successful tactics. If he can keep us too busy to listen to God, we lose our ability to discern too. When we forget how to relax and rest our mind, we have a hard time hearing God, making wise decisions and we even hamper our creativity. 

Our children need down time to understand and learn how to listen for God’s quiet voice. They need to know that God is responsive to those who seek Him with an open heart, and they need to hear and see examples of how God answers. Our children need time to be still and know God (Psalm 46:10).

In this day and age, our children seem required to do more in order to keep up with the world as they get older, but let’s not do that at the expense of their spirituality. More than anything they need in this world, they need to understand the value of eternity and kingdom living—that these are the better pursuit, which will ultimately provide in this life as well as the next.

As parents we are legacy builders. We want our children to launch into this world with a strong faith and a hunger for God that will continue to grow and impact those around them. I know a lot of this we have to discover as we go, but I’d love to see my daughters and grandchildren learn some of this a lot sooner than I did.

So how do we do this, you’re probably asking and wondering. First, Moms and Dads, you set the pattern. Are you doing this yourself? Do you have a time that you spend to just be quiet with God and pray? If you find your day is too packed, ask God to show you where to make room. Be willing to let go of something if necessary, but above all, trust God to show you time during your day to meet with Him. A wise woman once told me that if you “tithe” 10% of your time to Him, He’ll make sure you get the rest done in the 90% that’s left. 

She was right. Didn’t make sense at all at first, but over the years this has proven true time after time. God even told me once in detail how to change my schedule to make it work. He’ll do this for you too, my friends. And why wouldn’t He want to and do whatever necessary to help you make it work? He’s your Abba, Father, and loves spending time for you. He’ll move heaven and earth to do it too.

He’ll do this for your kids too. So as school starts and the list of activities begin to grow, as more and more opportunities present themselves, as your budding daughter and son seems to have a growing social life, help them see that even in the midst of a see of good things, we need to choose wisely so that we can enjoy fully what is God’s best for us instead of being spread so thin that we’re just tasting the tip of His goodness for us. 

Two great activities clearly shaped for our child’s unique gifting and design is WAY better than four okay activities that they do because they think they have to.

They’ll need your help to discern (there’s that word again) the difference, but if you’re setting the example of saying, let’s take a moment and pray into this and trust God to give us an answer by the morning—or the end of the day, week, etc.—you will be teaching your child to take time to pray, to seek wisdom and to discern God’s voice. 

And that is by far a greater gift you can give them than anything else they would attain in this world, my friends. Greater by far.

Question: Consider your child’s daily schedule (yours too, Moms and Dads). What seems to be the priority most days? Do adjustments need to be made? What do you think God is telling you about it?

Prayer: Lord, give me courage and guidance to follow Your leading as I pray for wisdom, words and strength to teach my children to make good choices. Equip me each day to walk faithfully in my calling as a parent, and show me how to rely on Your strength, Lord, and not my own. Show me the unique gifts that You have given my children, and help me lead them in how to use those gifts for Your glory. Help me to recognize the potential You have placed in my children and to inspire them to be who You created them to be. In the mighty name of Jesus, amen!

SUMites, hug your kids and tell them they are AWESOME! Tell them you are with them all the way and so is God! 

All in His love,
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Our Kids, THIS Culture

My Friends,

Lynn here. It's interesting to me that we are working our way through parenting our kids to faith and I'm in the middle of "parenting" both my "adult" children in different areas. I have a lot to tell you about in the weeks ahead.

But because of my hectic weekend, I haven't been able to prepare a proper post. So, I want to put forth a socially relevant question today. And let's talk with one another in the comments about how to walk through our contrary and perverse culture.

What do we do when little Johnny asks if he can have a sleepover with his best friend. And by the way, his dads will be picking him up. How do we explain gay marriage with love, respect and walk firmly in our Biblical convictions?

image from www.spirituallyunequalmarriage.comA few years ago the school curriculum discussion with my daughter covered: Creationism vs the Big Bang. I will tell you more about that later.

Today in the state of California, the elementary schools include the story of Harvey Milk, an openly gay elected official. If we love our kids, we need to help them be prepared when they study ideas, suggestions, theories and history that isn't consistent with the Word of God. Our kids are depending on us! 

Our kids need to hear our voice, our voice of love, over all the other voices that are coming at them at an earlier and earlier age. We can lead our children even through these challenging issues.

So chime in and don't be afraid. We need each other to help one another. And on Friday I will have several proven suggestions to help you be a profound and effective voice in your family. 

I love you my friends. Have a blessed week. Hugs, Lynn

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It's even MORE on Sale

Only $1.99 

(Read the excerpt below written by a 21 year old who was raised in a spiritually mismatched home.)

SUMite Nation, our book, Not Alone, which we're using for this new series Equipping Our Kids in a Contrary Culture is on sale for even less. It looks like the ebook for Kindle, Nook and iBook have lowered the price down to a buck, ninety nine. $1.99. 

That's as low as it's gonna go.

Read along with us through our series this month.

It's a great deal!

Excerpt from Not Alone

Page 74: The Payoff (Lynn)

My good friend Shelly has been married for 24 years. Her son, Rickey, recently shared with me a few words about growing up in a spiritually mismatched home. Rickey is 21 years old. He says,

I have to say that the most impacting thing that influenced my faith had to be my mother never giving me the “option” to go to church. It was mandatory. I didn’t want to go, because I would look at my father staying home on a Sunday watching television or whatever else he happened to be doing, and some days that’s all I wanted. However, because I was forced into that sanctuary every Sunday, I began to grow a love and desire for it. It became a necessity for me. I built relationships with the youth leaders and all the youth around me as well. Pretty soon, I was begging to go to church every opportunity I had. If there was an event at church, I made sure I was there. 

 

Rickey is living proof that Mamas can and do impact a child's eternity. 

Thank you Jesus. Give us boldness to speak love, mercy, grace and truth with compassion and passion into our children. In Jesus name. Amen.

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Parenting Supernaturally

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

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

Of this I have zero doubt. AMEN.

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

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

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How To Be The MOST Powerful Voice In Your Kid's Lives

Back To School: Equipping Kids in a contrary culture (Lynn) image from dineen.typepad.com 

Every, single, day our children are bombarded with voices. Social media and television shout continual messages of entitlement, moral ambiguity, hate, lust and fear, to name only a few.

Sheesh! With so much chatter coming at our kids we can fear our voice might be drowned out by voices sent from the darkness. And there are moments in our own home where our children receive conflicting messages from Dad about moral choices, (television, video games, and cultural issues).

I know as a young mom I experienced moments of doubt and fear and this upsetting question would flash into my mind: Will my kids go to heaven?

How do we help our kids find and follow Jesus in today’s culture? How do we as believing parents help our children listen to the right voices?

I have a very simple answer: The most powerful thing we can do to help our children love Jesus is to love Jesus ourselves.

Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind and with all your strength. —Mark 12:30

My daughter, Caitie, turned 20 years old this summer. Finally, the crazy teen years are behind us. Woo Hoo!! *grin* She is walking into adulthood. My daughter was raised all of her life in a spiritually mismatched home. But inspire of the disconnect about faith between her parents, she is walking into a faith-life that is her own. She and I have talked a lot about things she is still trying to sort out about God and she has discovered that living by faith is challenging on a college campus. But she knows the truth.

So much of her foundation in her faith came because she knew that I loved Jesus. She watched me reading my Bible in the early morning hours. She went to church with me every Sunday. I talked to her about the amazing things happening with me and Jesus in our everyday lives.

My love for God was THE most important “voice” in her life.

Mom and Dad, the BEST thing you can ever do to raise your children to faith, is to love God with all of your heart, soul, mind and strength. This kind of love is ultimately irresistible.

And one more thing happens in your family dynamic when you love God in such a manner. It’s supernatural and I will tell you more about that on Friday. For now, this week, I have a challenge for you mom and dad:

This week make a commitment to pray daily for each of your children BY NAME. Bring them before the Mercy Seat of God and petition for them. Their fears, concerns, their hopes, dreams. Intercede this week and then let’s watch the Lord answer our prayers. I hope to share some heavenly impact in my children’s lives on Friday. I’m praying for them by name.

Lord, help me to be filled with grace, overflowing with compassion and kindness. Shape everything I do with forgiveness and hope. Let me love my children, guide them faithfully and remember always that they are Yours, In the name of Jesus. AMEN.

One more thing, share with me and with other parents in the comments, what scripture verses bring you comfort and encouragement in your parenting? Hugs, Lynn

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Not Alone Sale $2.99

SUMite Nation, our book, Not Alone, which we're using for this new series Equipping Our Kids in a Contrary Culture is on sale for $2.99 (or less) on Kindle, Nook, iBook and more.

Read along with us through our series this month.

It's a great deal!

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Introduction: Back to School Starts Here

NotAloneStudyImageMy friends, the Holy Spirit has been speaking to my heart the last couple months about the challenges moms and dads are facing as school starts back up. So many new teachings are being implemented in the public school systems that are complete contradictions to the truths of the Bible. Sadly, we feel helpless much of the time in how to deal with these things, as if our voice has been silenced. And the enemy has fed us the lie that we are powerless. 

The truth is, we are not. Is our God not big enough to help us with this too? I want to propose to you that just as we are mismatched in our homes, we are mismatched with our schools and culture. And the Holy Spirit has also lit a fire in my spirit for how we can help you get ready for school starting back up.

For the next five weeks we are going to pull key aspects from our book, Not Alone, and talk about how we can use the very same principles we suggest to raise Godly kids in a mismatched home in the schools they attend as well. We are raising the next generation to impact the world for Jesus just by living their faith. Now is the time to train up these future “world changers” (as Lynn so beautifully calls them) right. 

Moms, Dads and Grandparents, I firmly believe that just as we bring the aroma of Christ into our homes, we can do the same in our schools as well. We can display the love of Christ in how we handle these challenging areas to our children, to their friends, to their teachers and to those watching. I believe we are being called to rise up for such a time as this to bring kingdom atmosphere with us every time you step foot on that campus and every time you pray over your child’s day, friends, tests, challenges, etc.  

My friends, you are the voice of authority in your child’s life. What they are learning at church is great and can be built upon as well, but during the week, you’re the one who can help your child learn the truths in God’s word and how to apply them effectively to their daily world. And not only will you be helping them learn to navigate school, you will be teaching them the very skills they will need as adults too. We want our children to grow out of our faith and into their own relationship with Jesus. And during the most challenging years of teen and young adult, this foundation will help them stand strong in their faith and for Jesus.

Over the next five weeks we will: 

  • Strategically pray for our children to be equipped spiritually, mentally and emotionally for school each day.
  • Ask God for kingdom perspective of your school so you can begin to see how you can partner with your school instead of seeing it as the enemy.
  • Pray for divine appointments with your child’s teachers, other parents and the school faculty.
  • Look for ways to begin creating an “open-door” atmosphere for your child and his or her friends.
  • Pray for opportunities to show the love of Jesus and bring the Holy Spirit’s presence to the classroom.
  • Seek godly wisdom to know what battles to fight and how to speak in a way that displays the love and integrity of Christ. 

My friends, we can do this. You can do this. God is for us and has our backs. This is His heart for you and your children. If possible, get a copy of our book, Not Alone. Starting next week, we will cover key points from two chapters each week and have a coinciding discussion question to share our thoughts, strategies and opportunities 

In the comments, share the names of your children and their grade, the name of their school, principal and teachers. Lynn and I will be praying with you for your children and the people impacting their lives this year. Jump in and pray for each other too. 

My friends, I sense that this will have so much more impact on our schools and our children than we will ever fully know. Let’s be the righteous moms and dads our children need and let our prayers and faith be the greatest game changers and life builders in our children’s lives.

Today, this very hour, back to school starts here. SUMites, let’s get ready for an amazing year!

All in His love,
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Back to School: Equipping Our Kids in a Contrary Culture

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

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

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

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

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

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

All in His love,
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Back To School.... And A New Series Begins

SUMite Nation:

Train up a ChildWe are shifting gears.

Following the SCOTUS Ruling last month I quickly realized that many of us were staring “Fear” straight in the face. As mamas we were grappling with questions such as.

How do I handle it when little Johnny asks, “Can I go to my best friend’s house to play. Oh and by the way, his dads will be by to pick me up?”

How do I help my child to remain strong in his/her faith when the world says we are haters?

Is there a way to guide them in our new and contrary world today? 

How do I guide them through public school this year?

Moms and Dads, the answer is, YES!

We can raise kids to faith in a Contrary Culture. And in fact, I believe that the SUMite Nation is an unrecognized and unlikely leader in this area already. We have been living and thriving in marriages to spouses who support a humanism world view, gay marriage, evolution, etc.

We have everything we need to lead our children to become world changers for the cause of Christ. So beginning July 31st we are launching a new series… The series title will be announced tomorrow.

TELL YOUR FRIENDS. Let other moms know about this series because so many are living in fear about their children and their future faith.

Okay, this is a teaser….. More to come tomorrow. Tune in as we share some encouraging words that will inspire you as you parent and lead your children in faith. Hugs, Lynn

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Update and A Mother's Day Challenge

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

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

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

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

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

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

HE DID!

Other News:

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

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

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

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Let Them Cry by Joanne Kraft

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Let Them Cry 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

Website http://joannekraft.com/

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This is Your Divine Destiny. Don't Give It To The devil!

The Ugly Word for 2014                                  Part I
The Key to Powerful Prayer                            Part II
Dream Big!                                                      Part III

Lynn here! I have some crazy but good stuff to share. Here we go!

I believed a lie about my creativity.

On my dream list for this fall I have penned a sacred dream that is precious to my heart. And over the last nine months the devil has done everything to destroy that dream. I became so overwhelmed by the lies of the enemy and spiritual warfare that I handed over my authority over this dream to the lie and it was taken from me.

It pains me to even type these words. Most of the time I believe and live in God’s truth and have been living there for a long time. So to realize that I allowed the devil to steal truth from me, and even worse I believed the lie over what God had to say specifically about this dream, has grieved me greatly.

I’m going to share with you this very private story in the hopes that you find your freedom through it as I did. And with a greater hope that you don’t waste as much time nor experience the heart ache, confusion and pain that I experienced.

My dream came to me on a Sunday morning in early spring of this year. I was at church and we had just finished worship. I sat down, took out my Bible and notebook listening intently to the pastor share his message. And suddenly (remind me to share with you later about … “And suddenlies.”)

And suddenly, a download straight from heaven hit my brain. My pen started whirring across my notebook. Words were flowing, chapters were forming. I drew arrows to connect ideas. I heard God tell me to include such and such in the appendix. He said He wanted a box where He spoke directly to the reader. Chapter content emerged and suddenly…..

…… a book was born.

But this book wasn’t like any other book that I’ve read or written. Oh Wow, Lord…. Just wow!

Today I’m compelled to share this story because the devil almost stole from me, my divine destiny. It wasn’t my brain that came up with the chapters and the appendix, nor the chapter outlines, it was truly God. And to top things off, one day while sitting in church back in May, a guest speaker began to speak. He stopped in the introduction and looked right at me I had only met him for a moment before church. I told him I was preparing to start a new writing project. He said:

 

Tctv050414 Abner lynn's word

 

What you just listened to is very personal to me. And as I just listened to it again, I broke down and wept. The grace of God is so overwhelming at times. His favor upon our lives is enormous. How could we be anything other than thankful and full of faith?

Listening to this again just shames me that I listened to the lie about the calling on my life.

BUT NO MORE.

SUMites, my sisters and brothers, what lie has the enemy told you. Where has he taken your creativity? Please, please let me now be the voice of Jesus and tell you to take back your dreams. Take your creativity and use it for His Kingdom. Help your children learn to use their gifts for His glory by watching you use yours. Let your creativity lead your husband and children to faith. Let the world see the greatness in you and they will bend their knee to the King of Kings.

You have more in you than you think. You are stronger than you know. You have angels standing beside you, waiting to fly into motion at your mere whisper of command. God has prepared you for a profound, life-fulfilling calling to impact the world.

It only takes a small yes. A Yes when he asks. An ounce of faith. The faith of a mustard seed and you will step into this new adventure that awaits you.

I’m convinced that we believers are living on the leading edge of the MOST profound time of God’s history….. EVER. I think we are poised to see God show His signs, and miracles.

I know this because I have already witnessed Jesus heal people through prayer and the laying on of hands. I have felt His healing power flow from my hands.(What??? This just still blows my mind) All of us can and will see miracles and more. It starts with one brave step. One small yes. This is our moment to take back what the enemy has stolen and use our God given gifts for the Kingdom.

Upon this day, Rosh Hashanah, Jesus we ask for Your great favor upon our lives. Show us where fear and unbelief has allowed the enemy authority over our lives. Show us how to close those doors to fear and unbelief and the devil. Teach us to say to you firmly with a supernatural faith, YES. I want my gifts of creativity back. I want to be used by you to impact people. I want to love so big, so lavish that I see every person who I meet as you see them. I want to never be offended by anyone again. I want to love You with all that I have and love people.

Lord, lead me and teach me to step into my divine calling and ministry THIS YEAR. I ask for you to place an unquenchable hunger in my heart, mind and soul to know You more. I want the More… More of you. More of you. More of You. I ask for Your gifts. Gifts of wisdom and revelation (Eph 1:17) Gifts of love, joy, peace…. (Gal 5:22). Lord, I want to see You move on this planet this next year in a way humans have never seen before. May all that I do bring honor, glory and love to Your heart. In Jesus powerful and redeeming name. Amen.

I love you my brothers and sisters, so very much. It’s a divine privilege to walk with you into the months ahead and rejoice as we see and participate in what God has planned for our hearts, our homes and the world.

image from www.spirituallyunequalmarriage.com
 

Never forget: You are God’s Workmanship! How amazing is that?

Matthew 17 20

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An Escape Clause?

image from www.spirituallyunequalmarriage.com

 

Hello SUMites, 

My friends, I missed you while I was roaming the Rocky Mountains and all over the state of Colorado. What a crazy trip. I haven’t laughed so hard in a long, long time. I hope to share some of the many photos on my Facebook page soon. 

But I’m back in my office and I am refreshed and charged up. Let’s jump right into this study again. We are going to discuss a very interesting verse, its interpretation and implications. 

Are you ready??? 

But if the unbeliever leaves, let it be so. The brother or the sister is not bound in such circumstances; God has called us to live in peace. —1 Corinthians 7:15 

So let’s get our head back into our discussion of this passage. Remember the Apostle Paul is writing to the church in Corinth in reply to some of their questions. Many members of the Corinthian church were recently idol worshipers and now they are brand-new Christians. They find themselves all of a sudden in a marriage where their faith and their old life collides. And specifically, this is very apparent and difficult in their marriage where their spouse has not come to faith. 

Oh how things change and yet they stay the same even 2,000 years later. 

Many of us in this family of SUM are walking this exact scenario. And many more of us are living with a spouse who proclaims faith but there is little to zero fruit or transformation in their lives. It’s difficult and painful. We become a believer and our world-view shifts. Our spouse’s world view continues to be worldly driven and shaped often through the media. Am I right in this? 

I wonder if we can be honest here with ourselves. Have you ever wished this verse was written like this: But if the believer wants to leave, let it be so……. 

I bet if you are honest there were days when you peaked in your Bible hoping to find a possible escape clause. But can I ask you this: If God included an easy way out. If He allowed us to abandon our unbeliever, wouldn’t you be disappointed in God? Wouldn’t it make God small and powerless? 

Why would you want to worship and serve a God like that? 

You know, for me, every hard thing, every struggle, every maddening challenge in my life has been met with God’s power and love. It’s in these struggles that my faith grew, I saw miracles, powerful answers to prayer and His Presence proved strong in my life and relationships. Yes, our High and Holy calling of marriage and parenting isn’t supposed to be easy. I really believe these ministries of our home are difficult on purpose. 

Think about this: We live for only a breath of time on this planet. But eternity is forever. And I believe with all of my heart, so fully, so boldly, that I stake my life upon it; My husband, Mike, will be saved and he will spend eternity in God’s love and presence because I chose to do the HARD things. I chose to obey God. I choose every day to love this man even when he’s unlovely, to pray for him without ceasing and to live with grace, forgiveness and hope. To live with him as his wife for as long as we both shall live. 

Any you know why? Let’s look at the very next verse. 

How do you know, wife, whether you will save your husband? Or, how do you know, husband, whether you will save your wife? —1 Corinthians 7:16 

That’s why! 

Eternity is a very long time. And if you have ever read anything about the horror of hell, it will move you to pray harder. For our spouse, kids and friends. 

Now don’t heap condemnation upon yourself if you struggle with the “want to.” I don’t want to stay married to this man. I don’t want to pray for him. 

I lived in that season for awhile myself…. And there were days I didn’t want to either. But on those days I prayed something like this. 

O Jesus, today I’m so very heartbroken. My dreams of a life I have held in my heart aren’t happening. They may never come true. I hurt. I have pain in my heart. So I give it all to you. Jesus come and hold me. Just hold me. Take away my pain. Make me stronger than I am to walk into my marriage with hope. Grant me Your Presence and ability to see the good and the gifts I have in this relationship. Don’t let me compare but look fully into Your face. Help me to want to love this man and remain strong and hopeful. Let me see where You are working in me and continue to change me. I love you Jesus. Fill me with more love for You and for people, especially my spouse and children. In Your powerful name, Jesus. Amen.

image from www.spirituallyunequalmarriage.com

 

 

Gang, this concludes our study of this passage in 1 Corinthians. I'm still praying and seeking the Lord about what we should discover together this fall. See you Monday.

I want to add a statement: I absolutely believe that God DOES NOT WANT His children to remain in abusive marriages. And my writing above is specific to marriages where the main discord in the relationship is spiritual disharmony. 

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

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Line by Line - Precept Upon Precept - Unequally Yoked

Unequally Yoked Summer Study

Line by line. Precept upon precept…. 

Most of the time I write articles and commentary on topical subjects related to faith, marriage and parenting. But recently my love for the Word of God has grown exponentially. I am falling more in love with His Holy Word. I didn’t know that was still possible but that is how I’m feeling. And specifically I think it would be a great experience for us to study line by line the passages that are specific to living unequally yoked. 

Today I want to get started, line by line with 1 Corinthians 7:12-16 

To the rest I say this (I, not the Lord): If any brother has a wife who is not a believer and she is willing to live with him, he must not divorce her. And if a woman has a husband who is not a believer and he is willing to live with her, she must not divorce him. For the unbelieving husband has been sanctified through his wife, and the unbelieving wife has been sanctified through her believing husband. Otherwise your children would be unclean, but as it is, they are holy. 

But if the unbeliever leaves, let it be so. The brother or the sister is not bound in such circumstances; God has called us to live in peace. How do you know, wife, whether you will save your husband? Or, how do you know, husband, whether you will save your wife? 

I am using the New International Version translation above but we will also look at a few other translations through this summer study. 

If you have read either of our books, Winning Him Without Words or Not Alone, you will know that this particular passage has enormously impacted both my understanding and hope for my marriage as well as my children’s faith choice. So I would like to walk through this together here for a few posts. After this we will look at other passages such at 1 Peter 3 and other Biblical contexts in which we find specific information and teaching for those of us who are unequally yoked. 

Does this sound like a good idea SUMmers??? (Rosheeda coined this phrase too.) 

Let’s start then with some context. And please hear me now. I am NOT a Bible scholar. I am an ordinary wife and mom. I read the Bible and I ask God continually for the Spirit of Wisdom and Revelation that I may know Him better (Ephesians 1:17) So please, this study should be considered a general study where two friends, me and you, sit down at the table, read the Word, and just talk about it. We can look to other references but the most impacting study is where we share our lives, our experiences, and we receive through the Word of God from one another. 

Okay? Okay!! Let’s go! 

Who wrote the book of Corinthians? And why was it written and to whom was it written? Why do we need to know this information? Good questions. 

Corinthians was written by the Apostle Paul to the “believers” in the ancient City of Corinth that was located in Greece. I looked up Corinth on Wikipedia. It’s an interesting read if you have the time. It’s important to understand the culture and the climate of the times because you gain insight into the passages of scripture. You also understand the language and the person who was writing which helps to understand the writers intent. I know this is important because as a writer myself, I am misunderstood at times. It helps to know a person. When you understand their heart and motives, your perception of their writing becomes clearer and easier. 

The believers in Corinth were people who recently worshiped multiple gods and in fact the city was known for the temple of the goddess Aphrodite, the goddess of love. So the believers did not have an understanding of the Torah, nor the Jewish customs and the faith, Judaism. Paul’s background was Pharisaical and of the strictest sect.  They are relatively new converts to “The Way” as described by Paul. (Acts 9) 

There are some key differences in the people groups that Paul wrote to in his various epistles (letters). Paul sent letters to the Jews, the Romans and the Greeks. I suppose we could do an entire study about these different cultures and the means Paul uses to communicate The Good News to each. But alas, let’s not get that heavy. *grin* Moving on. 

I realize that our first line reads: To the rest I say this (I, not the Lord). So I think we need some context for this line study. Let’s look back to the beginning of chapter 7. 

The very first part of verse one reads: Now for the matters you wrote about: Paul is obviously answering a letter that was written to him from the believers of Corinth. And now Paul is answering their questions. Much like we ask our Pastor or teacher for clarification. 

Paul is specifically addressing questions raised about marriage. You can read the chapter in its entirety by clicking here.

Paul has addressed marriage issues, sex in marriage, widows, and the unmarried as well as divorce. Wow, a lot to cover in a few verses. Then he turns to our sensitive issue; Marriage to an unbeliever. 

Let’s ponder here. Don’t you think it’s interesting that believers who were alive way back when, were also grappling with this very issue. Paul, obviously has addressed this issue before because he includes it in his reply to the church of Corinth. I don’t know about you, but for years and years I always felt like I was the only one living unequally yoked. I thought that my marriage situation was rare and new to the church because they (church leadership) never talked about it. EVER. I often felt isolated and forgotten. Being a married single person can be a difficult road to walk in a church setting. 

However, here we are in Corinth at one of the original New Testament churches and they are dealing with what we live in 2014. Oh how I love the Lord that He knew all these years later we would need His wise counsel and encouragement right from His Holy and powerful Word. 

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Yikes, over a thousand words already and we are just getting to the good stuff. Okay, let’s pick up on Monday with the next line. And can you help me out? What are your thoughts about the precept upon precept study? Are you in? And can you help me with other scripture passages that are specific to living unequally yoked. Hint: There are more than you think. 

I love you my friends. Let’s let the LIVING Word change our hearts and our homes. See you in the comments.

image from www.spirituallyunequalmarriage.com

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Audio Books For Busy Wives and Moms

Hi Everyone: 

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

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

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

Steve writes: 

Lynn and Dineen,

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

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

 

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

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

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

Hugs, Lynn & Dineen 

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

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

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



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Hope For You, Mom!

Today I want to share a story with you that deeply touched me and Dineen. Below is a note I received from a young woman who is married and yet to have children. Her name is Stone. Dineen and I have come to know her and her story over the last several months as Stone lives near me here in California. Her story is horrific and also covered with redemption and love. She has faced great pain and fear and yet is finding hope. She is growing to be a Hope-Restorer. 

Let me set the stage. The note below was written to me shortly after Stone watched the 700 Club Interactive Broadcast where I talked about our new book, Not Alone. I shared the hope we have as believing mothers even in the midst of unfavorable circumstances (unbelieving father). Our hope is that we CAN raise our children well and raise them to faith in this challenging society and unconventional homes. 

She writes:

Wow Lynn!

You hit it out of the park!

That was amazing and so encouraging!

In my teens I decided that I would not have children because I did not believe that with the things I had experienced growing up that I could be a good parent and I feared bringing a child into such a fallen world. I often felt overwhelmed at the thought of having children someday because they would also have free will and would be able to choose for themselves what to believe. At that point I did not trust God enough with even the idea of having children someday. 

Now that I am married and at a place where I know Him better and we are discussing having children someday, those fears want to come in and take over again. But your chat today was so encouraging. 

I now know Him in a powerful way and I am encouraged by your words that when the time comes I can trust in Him and look for those teachable moments where I will be able to pour into their hearts and spirits, trusting in Him to work in their hearts. 

Thank you for sharing your heart and your story with us today. ~Stone 

I’m sharing Stone’s words because I believe there are so many young women who also fear raising children. There are mothers, right now, READING THIS POST, who are afraid they can’t do it. They can’t bring up kids with character and faith. 

That is a lie from the enemy my friends. 

Dineen and I have been talking a lot the last few weeks about our hope for mothers. And we feel like our book release in October was a bit swallowed up by the crazy of the holidays. So, we think we need to encourage every mother near and far with the truth: Ordinary moms who love Christ can and do raise good kids of faith. 

We are convinced that our book is filled with Holy Spirit inspired words, practical tips, parenting treasures and HOPE. We believe that the work, tears we shed, and life-experience we poured into the pages is anointed by our Lord and we want every mom to step into her high and holy calling. 

With that said, can you please help us to get the word out to moms? I’m not even sure what I’m asking other than God created this book to encourage. Just read this letter, titled Beloved Mother, which is an excerpt from the book. 

So, may Dineen and I humbly ask you to consider three things? One, if you’re a mom, please buy the book for yourself. Then pass it along to someone. Or start a small group and help other moms. 

Two, buy a copy for a mom who needs a word of encouragement. 

Three, share on social media. Help us get the word out. There are moms who need words that say, "You are enough and with God, you can raise Godly kids."

I promise we are not trying to just sell books. Dineen and I truly don’t make money on these and anything we do get is poured back into this ministry plus 10 fold. 

We are asking you, our family, who may need this word for yourself and know others who need promises that they can parent with God’s help to get your hands on a copy and share hope…. 

Why? Because we are the Hope-Restorers. And Dineen and I thank you from the bottom of our hearts.

 

Note Alone Cover ArtNot Alone: This is a parenting book, but it’s much more. It’s a love letter to all mothers—a message that changes our homes, our kids, and our lives. It’s about the Father’s love that impacts those around us and changes ordinary moms into women of extraordinary grace, beauty, and wisdom. 

We are ordinary moms who give Jesus to the generations.

 

Today, will you share with us how you have encouraged a mom or how you have been encouraged by someone who poured wisdom or love into you as a mother? Hugs, Lynn

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

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