9 posts categorized "Reader Question"

Reader Question

Hey ladies, 

You mentioned in your book together about how you handle media choices. Could you share some advice? Music, tv, entertainers (comedians), too much screen time overall? Also praying that pornography is not an current or future issue. 

Thanks! 
Jen

Jen’s question is such a good one, my friends, and she graciously gave me permission to answer it here on our blog.

What Choices?
My friends, as we walk in closer intimacy with Jesus, we become more sensitive to the Holy Spirit’s leading. Don’t be surprised if you are finding yourself unable to read, watch and listen to things you used to. 

For example, I used to love to read thrillers and watch shows like Criminal Minds. I can’t anymore—haven’t been able to for a while. In fact, just the other night, my hubby and I were watching one of our shows together (we have a handful we both can agree upon) on Hulu, which still has commercials, and an ad came on for the show “The Following” (yes, the one starring Kevin Bacon). 

I didn’t even think about my reaction, my friends. My hands flew up and covered my face and I blurted out something like, “Oh, I can’t watch that. Nope, can’t watch that.” I think I kept saying it too so I couldn’t hear the dialogue either. I’ve no idea what my hubby thought as I couldn’t see his reaction, but he did let me know when it was over. Whew! (And what a bummer that I can’t watch Kevin Bacon!)

Now if something disturbs you, it’s going to disturb your children. And saying it’s just me or it’s not a big deal is hedging away from the truth that it does make a HUGE difference as to what we allow ourselves to watch, take in and assimilate. We have more wisdom and experience than our children so it’s crucial we stand in the gap for them too. Our minds and hearts are precious to God and need to be protected as this is also where our battles begin.

This is one area that I will even go as far as to say, stand your ground no matter what. Stand for yourself and stand for your children. I know these are the times that can really create havoc in our marriages, but ultimately we are influencing our pre-believer as well. Trust God to work that out and don’t be surprised if, over time, you find your spouse’s choices influenced by yours as well. As we protect our children’s viewing choices, we can influence our spouse’s as well with love and grace. (My friends, please share what you have experienced in this area as I think it would help us all.)

Let’s look at a great Bible verse that speaks to this topic of what we put into our minds:

And now, dear brothers and sisters, one final thing. Fix your thoughts on what is true, and honorable, and right, and pure, and lovely, and admirable. Think about things that are excellent and worthy of praise. — Phil. 4:8 NLT

Summing it all up, friends, I'd say you'll do best by filling your minds and meditating on things true, noble, reputable, authentic, compelling, gracious––the best, not the worst; the beautiful, not the ugly; things to praise, not things to curse. — Phil. 4:8 The Message

Once the imagery goes into our minds it’s hard to get it out. I’ve had ask the Holy Spirit to actually remove images in my mind that came from books I read and movies I watched as a teenager and young adult. He’s very good at that and you can even ask Him for positive imagery to replace it.  

Now how and where do we draw the line? I believe some of this is obvious but some isn’t as what may be okay for one person isn’t for another. For example, I’m very sensitive to things to do with the mind (evil) and sexuality. My husband is very sensitive to violence. We work together to makes choices that we both can enjoy while being sensitive to the other person.

“All things are lawful,” but not all things are helpful. “All things are lawful,” but not all things build up. Let no one seek his own good, but the good of his neighbor.” — 1 Cor. 10:23-24 ESV

“All things are lawful for me,” but not all things are helpful. “ All things are lawful for me,” but I will not be dominated by anything.” — 1 Cor. 6:12 ESV 

NotAlone3DThis goes for music and books as well. In chapter five (Peaceful Kids) of our book Not Alone, I share how my family and I handled the Harry Potter books when they entered the scene. My husband wanted to read the first one to my oldest daughter who was around 12 at the time, but I was very concerned and expressed those feelings. We agreed we’d all read the book at the same time. This gave me an opportunity to discuss different aspects of it with her and reinforce the truth of good and evil. This option wound up working very well for our family.

And what I love especially in what Paul says is that he will not be dominated by anything. This is profound wisdom, my friends. For that is one thing we must be on guard for, that nothing would dominate in our minds and hearts to becoming an idol in place of Jesus. That which we fixate on we give control to.

How Much?
Again, I think the same principles apply as above. What works and is appropriate for you and your family? I do tend to think less is better as we can more than likely “think upon” better things. But content needs to be considered as well. There are many documentaries available today that when chosen wisely, can offer a wise use of time. Another example, my husband and I took our time watching a series about the Roosevelts and found it very enjoyable. We learned more about our country’s history and enjoyed doing this together.

I’m also a big believer in redirection. Let me explain. I find much more success in suggesting an alternative option than arguing against the current one. Too much TV watching? Suggest that you and hubby go for a walk, or suggest a game to play with the kids, indoor or out. These are great ways to stay together as a family instead of defaulting to everyone going their own way. We can be creative in how we handle these situations with the leading of the Holy Spirit, my friends. Don’t limit yourself or the Holy Spirit to give you and your loved ones another way to go. 

About the “P” Word
Jen is wise to pray against the presence and influence of pornography. Very wise indeed. My friends, follow those nudges from the Holy Spirit. He may be showing you something to pray for or against that could happen tomorrow or two years down the road. Remember, the prayers of a righteous person are powerful and effective (James 5:16), so follow those leadings and pray. Don't be afraid or fearful, just pray and trust Him. The more you do these things the more you will recognize your Shepherd’s voice and grow more and more sensitive to the Holy Spirit’s leading. It just takes practice. 

Thank you, Jen, for sending in your question. My friends, I would love to hear your thoughts on this as well. I’m sure many of you have some great ideas and words of inspiration for this important topic. I’m so thankful for this loving and supportive community! You all are amazing!

Love you!
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SUM Books 4


I'm Pissed Off!!!

Can I say that on a Christian blog?

Well, at least it's a righteous anger.....

Read with me and then share with me your thoughts. Hugs, Lynn

Believing Wife – Agnostic Husband (names have been omitted for privacy) 

IMG_2524[1]Earlier in the week, Dineen and I received an email from a reader who was seeking some perspective about her husband. When Dineen and I read it, almost simultaneously on different sides of America, the same thing happened. We both were filled with emotion. Heartbreak for our sweet SUMite and also a righteous anger. Here is a portion of her email and then a portion of my reply: 

My husband, a life-long believer, has become agnostic/atheist  after reading about evolution and every book & lectures from a (well-known agnostic author), and has also become very politically liberal in his worldview.  He has been sharing with our pre-teen (still believes) and teen (says she doesn't anymore and that God isn’t real) his reasons. 

My husband says he has vastly researched, is very sure he has the truth, and will never go back to Christianity and that it is important that our kids know his view point and "the truth" because he doesn't want them to have false hope, guilt, etc, and because while the bible does have some good things to say, it is not true and Christianity (along with other religions) can be dangerous.  This is a huge change in our almost 2 decade old relationship. 

I am trying to "not fear anything frightening" but this has been very difficult on me and our marriage.  I am extremely concerned for my children as they hear these things, and for myself, and of course for my husband….. Sister Sumite 

First of all my heart breaks for you (name omitted). I am so sorry you're in this place. But I'm so glad that you reached out to me and Dineen. And I will also tell you that Dineen received this email at the same time I did. I spoke with Dineen this morning and the same thing happened to her, she rose up in a righteous anger about your situation. 

So I want to share my thoughts about your husband leaving Christianity and choosing to be agnostic. As clear as I could hear it from the Lord himself, I heard this: This man, this atheist author, may write his little atheist books but they will not be around past 50 years from now. And he may be deceiving people through his writing; however, these silly little books propagated by the demonic realm will come to nothing. And most of them will never be read after 20 years from now. 

But My Holy Word has been around for not only several centuries but two millennia. Great armies have come against My Word but they cannot stop it from reaching into people's lives and bringing my love, hope, and freedom. 

(My friend), when you put this into perspective I hope the truth of God's word rises up before you and becomes very powerful. Your husband has not treated you fairly either as a wife and mother. For him to lay down rules that everyone in the family must follow, according to his belief system, I find that absolutely reprehensible. Marriage is a partnership not a dictatorship. You and your children deserve, and should be enabled and empowered to practice and speak about your faith in your own home. I have very strong convictions about this so please read my words and pray about them. I'm praying for you to have courage to go to your husband and bring some balance back into your relationship with regard to faith matters. 

And now Sweet Sister, I want to share my thoughts about your teenage daughter. And I ask that you would read through this and take these thoughts to the Lord in prayer and ask him about what I'm going to share. When I read the sentence that your daughter, your 15-year-old daughter, has now lost her faith because of her father, I was deeply grieved in my spirit. Because teenage girls, especially a girl your daughter’s age, face some of the most difficult challenges to their identity during the teenage years. They are under a barrage from every direction that challenges their hope, their identity, and their self-worth and many other things that have lasting, lifelong, effects on their lives. And what I see your husband has done to your daughter through his doubt in God, he has stolen her hope. And right now more than ever a 15-year-old girl needs to have hope. She needs to know there is a higher power that has got her back, that will never leave her nor forsake her, that loves her for who she is and not what she looks like. I'm deeply grieved that the hope of the living God has been stolen from your daughter by her own father. Please forgive me if this seems harsh, but this is really how I felt deep in my heart. And I know this is exactly how Jesus feels right now about your daughter. And he feels the same way about you. 

My friend, let Dineen and I be the voice from Jesus that you need to hear today. God is absolutely real. I have experienced him personally and so has Dineen. He loves us. He will take care of us. And he is our hope. Every. Single. Day. My friend I ask that you might go speak to a pastor to have someone help to shore up your faith and learn to walk in this situation with courage and to stand your ground on what you know is true. Also, if your husband pushes these books by this author at you again, you can simply say I've made up my mind. I don't need to read these it doesn't make me less of a person, if I don't have an open mind to every book that you shove at me. Personally, for me, I told my husband that I don't need to explore any other faiths, religions, or books. I know in my heart that the living word of God is the absolute truth. And millions upon millions of people throughout centuries and centuries have discovered the same thing. The Bible is the blueprint for living a happy and joy filled life. 

I promise you, in 50 years, no one will be reading this atheist’s books. But in 50 years from now, millions will be reading the Bible. Love you much, Lynn and Dineen 

I wrote more to her about praying for her and I hope and pray my words encouraged her. I hope and pray now that these words reach deeply into anyone else that is walking in a journey similar.

image from www.spirituallyunequalmarriage.com

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SUM Books 4


Reader Questions: What About Tithing?

This is a reader question from April, 2009. It's still applies today. Hugs, Lynn

This week's question is from Amanda:

788824_dollar_bill"I would love to hear how you handle giving (financially) in a SUM. I don't think it would be accurate to say that my husband is an unbeliever exactly, but he is less inclined than I am to dedicate this life to living for God. The biggest struggle we have is regarding tithing and offerings- he generally feels that the 10% is an arbitrary number that has no bearing on modern life. Any thoughts on how to handle this is greatly appreciated!"

 

Lynn's Answer: Tithing: This is a controversial issue in any marriage but this is one area where unequally yoked couples tend to be at odds frequently. What does the Bible say about tithing? Let’s take a look.

Actually the Bible has much to say about money. Jesus taught us to use our money to influence friends.

Luke 16:9 (NIV) I tell you, use worldly wealth to gain friends for yourselves, so that when it is gone, you will be welcomed into eternal dwellings. 10"Whoever can be trusted with very little can also be trusted with much, and whoever is dishonest with very little will also be dishonest with much. 11So if you have not been trustworthy in handling worldly wealth, who will trust you with true riches? 12And if you have not been trustworthy with someone else's property, who will give you property of your own?

He also said, Luke 12:48b (NIV) From everyone who has been given much, much will be demanded; and from the one who has been entrusted with much, much more will be asked.

There are many scriptures in the Old Testament which address tithing. Look in the first book of the Bible, Genesis: And blessed be God Most High, who delivered your enemies into your hand." Then Abram gave him (Melchizedek, king of Salem) a tenth of everything. Chapter 14:20.

But I want you to remember, we live in the new Age. The age of grace given to us by Christ Jesus. We are no longer subject to the law.

With that said, the following scripture is what speaks to me about tithing:

2 Corinthians 9:7 (NIV) Each man should give what he has decided in his heart to give, not reluctantly or under compulsion, for God loves a cheerful giver.

So how does this play out in real-life with our spouse. From my own marriage I can tell you that my husband can get worked up about tithing. Because of the years of televangelists pleading for money then misappropriating it, my husband has a jaded view of “giving to the church.” Can I get an AMEN?

And honestly, I can understand why he might feel that way. I have been careful not to push tithing as an issue in our marriage. I give a small portion of our income. Very small. So small that it does not create discord in our relationship. Do I feel bad about this or desire to give more? YES! However, I trust God to see my heart. He knows what I would like to do. More importantly He does not want tithing to become one more issue to drive my husband away from Jesus.

So, I give of my time. I volunteer in ministry. A lot! But not so much that I neglect our home, or him or our daughter. God honors this in our life.

What God really wants is not our money. He wants our heart. First and foremost. Period. The End.

Look at the scriptures below and discover what God really wants. Hint, it is not your checkbook. Be Blessed, Lynn

Revelation 19:7 Let us rejoice and be glad and give him glory! For the wedding of the Lamb has come, and his bride has made herself ready.

Psalm 29:2 Ascribe to the LORD the glory due his name; worship the LORD in the splendor of his holiness.

Matthew 22:37 Jesus replied: " 'Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.'

 

Dineen's Answer: Tithing is a very difficult issue to settle clearly, and I think Lynn's advice above is sound and the Scripture references are perfect. What I'm about to share is what worked for me.

About 12 years ago, the tithing issue came up big time in my marriage. I'd just recommitted my life to Christ and had joined a church I adored. And my precious hubby had made the decision for atheism. Talk about a couple going in opposite directions!

The tithing issue weighed heavily on my heart though. I wanted to do our part and worried what it would mean if we didn't. At the time I was reading a book called The Wonderful Spirit Filled Life by Charles Stanley. He tells you do this exercise where you write whatever decision you're grappling with on a note card or piece of paper. Then find a quiet place to pray uninterrupted. Ask God to make you absolutely neutral in this decision. Once you've prayed, tear it up, acknowledging your willingness to become neutral and continue praying until you are convinced you're neutral about it.

I wrote on a card that I would ask my husband what he felt we could tithe each month and that I would accept whatever he said. Once I'd prayed and felt I'd reached this place of neutrality, I went to my husband and asked what we could do. He told me a figure. Amazingly, I was fine with it. And though it was not the 10% I thought we were supposed to give, it was more than I'd hoped for. Every year since, I've asked my husband what he feels we can handle, and that's been the commitment ever since.

No, it's not 10%, but I know I'm honoring God and my husband by doing it this way, and that I can give in other ways as well, like using my graphic design skills and programs to do the church newsletter.

And as time has progressed, I've found that I'm the one tested in this. For example, roughly three years ago I started doing freelance graphic design work again. From the start I made the decision to tithe 10% of the extra money I earned. And my hubby was fine with it.

My income has slowly but steadily increased. When we've needed the money, the work has come in. When God had something more important for me to do, like take care of  my daughter when she was diagnosed with a brain tumor, the work literally stopped until the very last week of her treatment. I was faithful, therefor so was God. And you'll notice this had to do with me, not my husband.

So, Amanda, if we were sitting down with a nice cup of coffee and some girl-talk, I would tell you not to worry about the amount but the heart and motivation behind it. God wants us to tithe our resources happily as a way of giving thanks, and a reminder that we what have—money, skills, resources—are from his hand anyway. Ask your husband what he's comfortable with and honor it. That way he's not grumbling and neither are you. Then let God do the rest.

Praying and believing,
Dineen

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SUM Books 4


Reader Question: My Friends Want To Save My Husband

Subject: What to do when your friends want to save your husband

Dear Lynn:

I have an interesting concern; one I have yet to hear about in the comments and posts throughout the SUM Nation community. 

I have a community of Christian friends who are "Jesus with skin on." These women (and men) have taken a particular interest in my husband’s unbelief.  Several times they have said to me "I invited so and so from my church to such and such event so they might have an influence on your husband." Or "I have taken Robert (my husband’s name) on as my personal salvation project." I wonder how I, as Roberts wife, have never thought of him as "my personal salvation project." 

I don't purposefully invite Christians into my home just so they might have an impact on Robert.  I am very much alright with handing Robert to God.  In fact, several times God has told me to "let go." (I have interpreted this to mean God has Robert...He has everything taken care of).  My goal right now is learning how to thrive in our mismatched marriage.  I am practicing powerful prayer and fully trusting God to help me respect Robert, and to keep my eyes focused on Jesus when they want to focus on something else.  

I am concerned for my friends and don't know what to say when the tell me these things without sounding condescending.  

Words of advice? Have you been in a similar situation? 

I appreciate my friends concerns and love, love their prayers and sweet spirits.  I just want them to know that, as with everything, God has it taken care of! If I can let go, why can't they? 

Your loving friend and fellow SUM, 
Stacey

 

Answer: Lynn 

Hi Stacey, 

Let me tell you that I KNOW exactly how you feel. I think you have exactly the right perspective and are living out what God has asked you to in your marriage. Often well-meaning Christian friends say and do stupid stuff. It's hurtful and they truly don't understand what we are living through. It's difficult to tell them not to take your husband on as a personal salvation project. They won't understand. What you should do is pray that God let's those kinds of words just roll off your back and not become offended. 

I think it's beautiful how you are protective of your husband and how you are sold-out believing God's promises for him. Wow.... Girl, you are way ahead in this crazy journey. 

Pray for wisdom from the Lord to know how and when to talk with your friends. Ask God to open doors for conversation to talk with your friends about how their intentions are good yet sometimes not always helpful. Keep praying and praying for your husband. Mostly Stacey, you just press into the love of our Father. He has you in the very palm of your hand. Love you my friend. BIG hugs... (and well done girl) Lynn

I'm so glad you are part of our amazing community. Love you my friend. 

*****

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SUM Books 4


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
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SUM Books 4


Reader Question: I'm the Daughter of an Unequally Yoked Marriage

Thank you for your ministry. I am the daughter of an unequally yoked marriage. My mom has recently (within the past 10 years) tried to seek godly Christian women to find support/encouragement but so far she has found none. As a result I have been the one to hear my mom vent about the struggles and pain.

My parents have been married for about 40 years and only about three years ago did my dad claim to profess faith in Christ. Today's (April 26) reader question along with listening to your interview on Focus on the Family aired on March 26 has motivated me to write this email. How can you love someone for who they are when he has told you several times over the course of the marriage and continues to say to you (even with his profession of faith) that you are the cause of his unhappiness and blames you for why he gets upset and angry? How can you love someone who unleashes his wrath and anger against you with verbal assaults and in his fits of rage will throw things towards your direction? 

There are other baggage/sin that each of my parents bring into their marriage that complicates things (of course). Regardless, you remind me of the foundational place of where we all should begin. You are right when you said on the Focus on the Family interview aired on March 27, 2012, "we need to love God more than we love ourselves. Our commitment to marriage is our commitment to Christ." 

It is hard to see past the fog. Thank you for your Biblical counsel to spouses who are in spiritually unequal marriages. Would appreciate some encouragement to pass along to my mom. I plan on sending my mom the link to your website as well as giving my mom a copy of your book, Winning Him Without Words

My friend, I am so touched by your heart for your mom. I know it hasn't been easy for you to be her sounding board. I truly believe she will find the support and encouragement she needs in our community at SpirituallyUnequalMarriage.com. Lynn and I are there blogging almost everyday and interacting with the community of believers who are walking this very same path. Yes, please direct her to our site there and here is a link our interviews page that has many of our broadcasts. I'm praying that your mom will listen and be encouraged as she listens. She is not a lone. There are many of us out there and we are stronger together.

You ask how can we love someone who does these things? We can't, not without Jesus, and the love the He has for us and our spouse flowing through us. I know I can't love my husband as I do without God's help and he's a pretty lovable guy and easy to get alone with! So with such a challenge as your mom faces, she needs Jesus even more to do this through her. The Word tells us God IS love so when we ask Him to love for us, to flow that through us, especially to those who are difficult to love, we are also transformed. I find it astonishing how God does it as I've watched Him do this in my own life.

But let me also say, my friend, that it sounds like the issues your mother is dealing with are not due to a spiritual mismatch. These are issues that can be present in even believing couples. I strongly encourage you to encourage you mom to seek Christian counseling. God doesn't desire us to live in that kind of treatment (and please forgive me if this sounds harsh but your dad's behavior toward your mom could border on being emotionally abusive) and if we don't know how to set boundaries that tell even those we love that their behavior isn't appropriate, we can become enablers for it to continue.

Your sweet mom is not in charge of making your dad happy nor is he in charge of making her happy. This is something the world tells us and it's truly built on lies. Our joy, peace and contentment come from knowing Jesus, and happiness comes in those places as well. Yet to blame another person for our unhappiness, anger and discontent is not taking responsibility for ourselves. It's not easy to look in these places and realize this. Trust me, I know. Early in my marriage before I knew Christ I blamed my husband for my unhappiness, because I didn't understand that a human being couldn't meet the needs God placed in me for only Him to meet.

That your mom is seeking encouragement is wonderful! Tell her that for us and tell her we would love the chance to get to know her better and share our hearts with her. Our SUM community is built upon two things: the love of God and that we are not alone. 

Again, let me commend you for your heart for your mom. Know that all of this is God leading her to what she needs so that ultimately she will know Him better, trust Him more and walk in the truth that He alone will supply all her needs from His amazing love (Phil 4:19).

I'm praying for you and your family, my friend. God is definitely working here even if it may not seem so. He's working through you and all your years of praying to help bring your mom to a stronger place of faith and breakthrough so that both your parents can walk in the freedom Jesus died to give us. I truly believe that and I pray it encourages you too.

Much love and lots of hugs to you!
Dineen

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Gang, still waiting to hear back from Walmart if we are approved and what date. I will give the update on Monday, Hugs, Lynn

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Reader Question: I Don't Know What to Do

Hello Dineen and Lynn. 

My husband and I have been married for 15 years. He told me in January 2013 that he was no longer a Christian. He became an aetheist at 51 years old. I was and still am devastated. 

I married a Christian man and we based our marriage on the same religious foundation. We also decided to raise our children in a Christian home. To put it mildly, the past year has been hell! 

My husband grew up in a Christian home, went to Christian schools, and even went to seminary. He holds a masters in theology. 

We have been very active in our church for our entire marriage. He used to be a passionate worshiper, preschool worship leader, and leader of various small group ministries. 

I don't know what to do, how to survive, how to parent, how to be married to an aetheist. He is not the man I married or the man I was married to 14 years or the father I wanted for my kids. 

Please help.

My Friend,

I'm so sorry you are going through this. I know how devastated I felt when my husband made this decision years ago, but neither of us were following God at the time so I can only imagine how deeply this hurts you and the betrayal you must feel. My heart aches for you.

But I know God is with you through all this and He will not fail you. He will give you everything you need to walk forward in your marriage as He continues to pursue your husband's heart. Jesus is relentless that way. In the meantime, consider our books and see if they speak to your heart and will give you help as well. I'm not trying to sell our books to you, but Lynn and I have poured all we have walked through and experienced in our journey to from surviving to thriving in our marriages into those books. 

Ask God to help you see your husband through His eyes and pour His love through you. Your husband may very well be wondering if you can still accept him. I know my husband asked me that when he told me his decision to be an atheist. It made me realize how important it was to him to know I still loved him.

And until the time when your husband comes back to his faith, you will have to be the spiritual leader to your children. And you can do this with God's help. You are not alone—He's always there to help you and partner with you to raise your kids to know Jesus. He has a lot invested in them—His very life. :-) (Read Phil 4:19)

Do you have a group you can plug into, a women's group or a few friends who are willing to walk with you through this and pray for you and your family? I pray that Abba will surround you with wonderful and mature people of faith to speak into your life and your children as well. 

Don't give up the fight, my friend. Pray for the Holy Spirit to have authority over your husband's thoughts and feelings, his heart, his spirit and his soul. And plead the blood of Jesus over him. This is spiritual warfare. Your battle is not with your husband but with the enemy, and you have Jesus and a mighty army of angels on your side. Dig into the Bible for the promises that speak to your heart, then pray and claim them. God's Word is your sword (Eph 6), so wield it. Stand firm in Jesus and He will protect you, fight for you and work in your hubby and marriage.

Lord, I ask for a special annointing over this dear SUMite and every other SUMite reading this now who is saying in her heart, "This is me too!" That they are empowere to walk in this mismatched place with more power and grace than they have ever known. Give them wisdom and revelations on how to love their spouse, how to teach their children and how to pray against these spirits of unbelief and atheism that are trying to keep their spouse captive. Fill them with Your peace, King Jesus, and guard their hearts and minds. Give then fresh joy each morning that comes from the confidence of knowing You are with them, that You will never leave them, that You never fail and that You will continue to bless their marriage. In Your powerful name, Jesus, amen.

Love and hugs to you, my friend. My heart and prayers are with you.
Dineen

 

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Reader Question: How Do I Respect Him

Today I'm tackling another reader question:

Lynn,

Hi there, thanks so much for getting back to me.  I am worried because I feel that my marriage is more than just spiritually mismatched--it's all around mismatched.  Somehow, during a period of rebellion apparently, I got myself into a marriage with a man whose core values I don't agree with.  The best way I can think of it is being in an arranged marriage.  I know arranged marriages work sometimes so I need to find out how.  I need to know how to be respectful of my husband (since I know it's so important to men) when I don't respect his ways, basically.  What do you think?  A.

Dear A:

Girl, I KNOW exactly what you are feeling and saying. My husband and I are so opposite in our world views and belief systems. I don’t respect many of the choices he makes. It literally grieves my soul. He is very liberal and supports most of the social movements that are in contrast to God’s Word. 

Painful… Hard to respect. I had to stop looking at all that was wrong with him. I actually began to write out lists of the qualities that were admiral and worthy. When you begin to focus on what they do bring into your life and marriage it helps to move past the bitterness. I know I talk about this very thing in our book. It was hard and a long process for me. I’m stubborn. But, through it I’ve saved our marriage and we are both very happy now. And I’m so glad as we are entering into a new season in our life that we stuck with our marriage vows. I love how I just KNOW this man and that he knows me. It’s truly special to have someone know you at that depth of intimacy that they can finish your sentences. 

God healed me first. My healing was enough for the both of us to strive forward and find peace. If God will do this for me, he will do it for you as well. That’s a promise. It all started by my pursuit of God. My increasing love relationship changed everything. For the both of us. My husband still makes decisions about media that grieve me…. But I have peace and I am happy. 

Pray with earnestness to seek God. To know what He is wanting to show you in your life. Start reading every book you can get your hands on about intimacy with the Father. Face to Face with God is really good. It’s on our website. 

I will be your cheerleader and the voice that says ….. YOU CAN DO THIS AND DO IT WELL.

Love you, Lynn

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A Reader Question: Could I Be Unequally Yoked?

Let’s tackle a reader question today. Often I receive an email such as below. Today, I’m sharing this reader’s question and my reply. I hope for all of those in our SUM House who are walking this particular journey in marriage find encouragement. Hugs, Lynn 

Hello, Lynn:

I've been wondering about something: is it assumed that the spouse who is not a believer knows s/he is not a believer and is okay with the other walking the path of Christ?  I ask this, because I get the feeling, as I was watching your book promotional video, that both parties are okay with claiming "I am a believer" and "I am not a believer."  This is not the situation I have; I am married to a man who thinks he is a Christian but I see no spiritual fruit, no evidence that he is a true follower of the Lord Jesus.  Let's just say he would not be pleased to hear me say we are "spiritually mismatched."  Hoping this is not a unique situation and that you can speak into this area, at your convenience. 

Thank you again for you and Dineen writing this book.  I pray for you both, for your marriages and the ministry.

My Dear Sweet Sister in Christ: 

I will tell you that your situation is not unique. Almost half of our readership are spouses who are married to men who say they are believers. For example they attend church but at home it’s a different story. Or as in your life, there just isn’t any fruit. It’s truly heartbreaking the day you realize this is true as it’s not what you expected for your life and marriage. I am so sorry. 

And it is true that you are not alone in that you aren’t able to truly join a group at church or admit to people at church that you feel spiritually mismatched because your husband appears to all people as though he is a believer. That situations is painfully lonely. 

But my friend, you are welcome to be part of our family. There is some comfort in that it’s an online situation where our presence in your life doesn’t have to confront your husband directly. Please become a regular reader. Live with us. Allow us to pray for you. Let us love on you. You will learn much as we travel this road together. God will show up in you and all around you. And your love for Jesus will one day be one of the keys that changes your husband’s heart. Pray relentlessly and be hungry for more of God. Read His Word daily and allow the Holy Spirit to transform you. 

I love you my friend. You are now among friends who truly know the pain, fear, sorrow you feel. And we can be the voice to say you that you can do this crazy, spiritually mismatched, marriage and do it well with the love of Christ and with sisters who walk it out with you. Love you much. Let me know how to pray for you. Hugs, Lynn

 

If you have a question that you would like to be discussed here on SUM, please use the contact form and email me. 

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