24 posts categorized "Thrive"

Was I Really Lamenting?

Acts 16 31I was tired. Weary. Drained.

I thought I heard from God that my spouse’s salvation was supposed to come last year. When God told me to be more specific with my prayers, I was more specific with my questions. I asked when, Lord, when?? I heard two years.

Well, those two years came to pass…nothing.

I waited a couple weeks. A couple weeks turned to two months, and two months turned into eight months.

The thing was…I did not give up on God’s promise – but I did give up my fight. I was in a stage of utter disappointment.

“Well, God! If you told me it’s going to happen, it will and I’m just going to trust it! I’m DONE praying! Done! I’m tired of being the only spiritual leader in my household. I’m tired of being the only one spiritually guiding my child! It’s not supposed to be me! I’m tired of leading! I don’t get it Lord! Whatever, it’s on You now. When it happens, it happens. After all, it’s YOUR TIMING.”

That was my justification with the Lord. I was justifying why I should stop praying.

If this is you. I urge you…DON’T stop PRAYING.

The endurance we go through praying for our spouse, the dry seasons we go through with the Lord…it’s for His glory. It’s for us to recognize the hole in our faith where we need to glean from His Strength.

The spiritual shield I once had, turned in to a cloak. I felt defeated.

Yes, it feels like a lonely battle. Yes, I have envisioned seeing my husband and I worshipping in the pews together. Yes, I want my husband to pray for me for once!

The thing is…we are not defeated. Remember if God is for us, then who can be against us?

Knowing my bitter heart, God sent me someone to tell me not to GIVE UP. This woman gave me her testimony of living through affairs, long fights, and drunkenness in her marriage. And who am I to lament or complain? The battle is not over!

“Let us not become weary in doing good, for at the proper time we will reap a harvest if we do not give up.” Galatians 6:9

My God, I repented. I repented for my bitter heart. I praised Him for healing that hole in my heart.

It’s okay to feel disappointed. It’s okay that every once in while we feel weak. Maybe you are going through stuff in your marriage. Maybe there are times, where you are asking, “why me?” Patty Tower and Family 2017

I was in a place of losing hope! What would it be like if God lost hope in us? What would it be like if our spouses stopped fighting for us? I can’t explain the why, but I do know YOU are instrumental to your household.

They replied, "Believe in the Lord Jesus, and you will be saved--you and your household." Acts 16:31

If we lost hope, we wouldn’t have a reason to live. Hope is what keeps us sustained.

Are you in a season where you’re on your spiritual shield is dropping? What is helping you get by?

Sumite, Patty Tower

Patty Tower resides in Seattle, WA with her husband and 2.5-year-old son. She loves Jesus and aspires to help women thrive in their Godly lifestyle. She ministers to women of all walks of life, and helps them learn their prophetic gifting by leading a women’s prayer group. She is a blogger of pattytower.com

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Celebrating 10 Years: Waiting for Lynn and Dineen to Grow Up

“Mama, you are the Christian in your marriage, but you are not showing respect to Daddy,” my two daughters said to me,” as they detailed times, places and events that covered several years. 

And with that, my two grown daughters, Crystal and Heather, shoved a book in my hands, called Love and Respect, and said, “You need to read this, and get your act together!”

In that moment, I started having hot flashes (not from menopause, but anger) and I silently whispered, “Girls, I brought you into this world, I am a-fixing to take you out!” After their monologue of disciplining their Christ-like mother, I picked up my halo, walked out of the room and pouted with them for two months. 

During my two months of pouting, I walked my neighborhood crying and sometimes yelling, scaring the dogs and leaving people gazing at me in bewilderment. My heart became like a water pitcher pouring out years and years of complaints stored up inside of me about raising two girls in church without my husband, along with other things “HE” had done. When I had coughed up everything I could remember about him, I then poured out how angry I now was with “Daddy’s precious little girls” for confronting me about not respecting him, of all things.

“God, my husband doesn’t deserve respect for putting me through all of this.  Don’t you agree?”

Instead of agreeing with me (does He ever?) He gently nudged me to go to the internet and see what I could find out about living with an unbeliever.  Say what?  Never in all my years of reading books on marriage had I ever read anything on that subject. But, somehow, I found a site advertising a book called Winning Him Without Words, so I decided to order it.

My first night’s impression with “the book:” Not bad.  Pretty interesting.  Finally, I came to Chapter 4 - The Essentials of Love: Hope, Joy, Peace and Trust (Oh, Yeah, and Respect)

Oh, my goodness!  Now, I have some author, what’s her name, Dineen Miller, telling me to have respect for my unbelieving husband.  What does she know?  She is probably married to a Christian.  Oops, no!  It says right here she is married to an Atheist! And her co-author, Lynn, is married to one, too.    

My heart slowly began to melt as I kept reading through the night.  It was as if these two authors were seeing into my heart something that nobody else had ever seen.  They understood what it was like being married to a nonbeliever, but were also providing ten keys to thrive in the midst of this type of situation.

By morning, I fell on my knees and repented of not living up to 1 Peter 3 in the midst of an unequally yoked marriage.  I also knew I was to start a group at my church in Orange, Texas for women “like me,” which is now in its 5th year.

 “Where had these two women, Lynn and Dineen, been all my married life?  Why had I not heard of them before,” I wondered on that first night of meeting them on the pages of their book. Well, duh!  They were just babies when I got married; I had to wait years for them to grow up to teach an older woman like me how to live with this man I married!” 

Meanwhile, on their website, I started meeting women from around the globe (and Ian, too) as Lynn and Dineen pulled us all together as a community to walk through the maze of a spiritually mismatched marriage according to God’s Word. Wait! Wait! We can’t leave out what The Chronicles of the Donovan Clan has taught us, too.

In fact, everything that I have learned from this ministry has so impacted my life that I have decided to keep my husband around a few more years, and “Oh Yeah, Respect Him, too.”

As I think back to that night in 2011 when I had my first encounter with Lynn and Dineen on the pages of Winning Him Without Words, it reminds me of something Sister Mock, my childhood Sunday School teacher of long ago used to do.  When things got to going really good in a church service, she would stand up, whip out her handkerchief, wave it in the air, and shout:  Whooooooopeeee!  Glory Hallelujah! Thank you Jesus!”

Knowing Sister Mock like I did, I know she is on her feet in heaven right now, ready for us to join her in a shout-out.  Are you ready, Sumites?  If so, get your hankie out, and start waving it. 

All together now------ 

“Happy 10th Anniversary, Lynn and Dineen!!

Whooooooopeeee!  Glory Hallelujah! Thank you Jesus!”

 

About Martha Bush: 

Martha-031-Lite-WebMartha's love for teaching led her into areas outside the school system as she began teaching Bible study courses in jails, prisons, and at her local church. She also writes a monthly inspirational post at Created Woman and is a contributing editor for Created Woman Magazine.

In addition, Martha is a contributor to Girlfriends Coffee Hour and a member of the Orange County Christian Writers Guild.

Through her years of teaching, as well as being an avid reader of human behavior and grief counseling from noted Christian psychologists, she recognized how a team effort can help build a foundation in children at an early age that will enable them to cope with the losses in their lives. Modified-Front-CoverShe believes this team, made of up parents, grandparents, educators, and spiritual leaders, can guide a child to healing from losses he or she might experience. They can do this simply by recognizing his pain, listening to his pain and then teaching the child how to apply the principles of God’s Word to his hurting heart. This led her to write Helping Hurting Children: A Journey of Healing.

 

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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-

SUM Books 4


Broken In A Thousand Pieces But..... Jesus..

SUMites, ANOTHER profound email. What is happening in our community? Ten years of praying, believing, trusting. The fruit is ripe and I celebrate every victory in our SUMite Nation. And I continue to pray and trust for those yet to come.

Today, please meet Kim Valentine. Her story is TRULY miraculous!!!!  Thank you Jesus. (Read to the end because this story is astonishing!)

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One day after 18 years of marriage my husband informed me he was moving out.  As soon as the words left his lips, I knew this time it wasn’t an idle threat. God immediately began revealing to me every sin I committed that degraded, emasculated and disrespected my husband. Every time I blamed, criticized, condemned or withheld intimacy was before my very eyes. The blinders were ripped off and the ugliness of my sin was repulsive to me! Here I was a Christian for 16 years, playing the part, talking the talk and holding the church positions. I felt so valued by my Christian “family” as one of Christ’s ambassadors to the world, but the witness to my own husband was like filthy rags before God.

 “Those who consider themselves religious and yet do not keep a tight rein on their tongues deceive themselves, and their religion is worthless.” James 1:26

I felt stripped bare to the core that day, but in that process God miraculously transformed my heart for my husband. I experienced an infilling of unconditional love for him that was beyond human comprehension. The persistent nagging inside my being that had to speak up and criticize my him was miraculously gone. So many things that irritated me in the past were washed away.  I began to see him through God’s eyes as a precious human being created and loved by Him.

“Behold, I am doing a new thing; now it springs forth, do you not perceive it? I will make a way in the wilderness and rivers in the desert.” Isaiah 43:19

We had become strangers in the same house living separate lives. We were more like roommates than a married couple and our lives rarely intersected. We hadn't shared a bed for over eight years but I was comfortable with that arrangement, so I didn't care to change.

Had I not realized over the years I was not treating my husband well? I could say “no” and blame other men who had hurt me, other people or society. I have to confess that deep on a spiritual level I knew my actions were damaging to my husband and our whole family.  All factors may be reasons for my behavior but no excuse to treat him with disrespect he didn't deserve.

This new love for my husband welled up inside me and overflowed. I had never felt this way and I wanted him to receive this love from me, but was it too late? I had taken control and removed him as head of our family where God intended him to be all along. Would he think that my actions were nothing more than a ploy to make him stay? Regardless, I started to treat him with respect and submission the way I should have all along.

But I was not completely obedient and trusting God. I fought for control of the situation by plotting and intervening like an amateur detective. I intercepted emails and monitored his bank account justifying it because I was trying to save our marriage. God began to convict me of my intrusion and I realized it was actually an invasion of my husband’s privacy. The harsh reality was, he was leaving and there was nothing I could do to control or manipulate that outcome.

After he moved out I withdrew and began to focus on my own pain.  I started to dwell on my husband’s contribution to the marriage breakdown in my own private pity party. I remember lying on my kitchen floor weeping and begging Jesus to take me Home. I felt like my heart was broken and I was in a thousand pieces. I now believe it was my own sin and lack of “control” eating me alive. One morning I woke up in tears telling the Lord that I couldn't go on any longer, I was too weak.

I turned to my devotional and the scripture verse was from 2 Corinthians 12: 8-10:

“But he said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ’s power may rest on me. That is why, for Christ’s sake, I delight in weaknesses, in insults, in hardships, in persecutions, in difficulties. For when I am weak, then I am strong.”

God wanted to heal my heart and life before He could ever heal our marriage. This journey of reconciliation wasn’t only about our marriage but also about my disconnection with the Lord. I took my eyes off Him and lived life my own way.

God used prayer and study to open my eyes and discover I was the contentious or quarrelsome woman of Proverbs. In the message Proverbs 27: 15-16 reads: A nagging spouse is like the drip, drip, drip of a leaky faucet; you can’t turn it off, and you can’t get away from it.

 “It’s better to live alone in the desert than with a quarrelsome, complaining wife.” Proverbs 21:19

God now had my complete attention and I wept in brokenness. Even though my heart had been transformed, I continued to hold on to control. I had to be obedient to the Holy Spirit, renew my mind, be accountable to the Lord for my own actions and not blame anyone else. My obsession with control destroyed our marriage.

A week after this epiphany, my husband contacted me out of the blue and asked me to go out for coffee. I hadn’t heard from him in months. The first meeting started as a casual meeting between “friends “but was actually the beginning of our restoration journey.

My husband had a new softness to him I had never before seen, so I knew his heart was changed. He is back home now and we don't just have a marriage restored but a one that's transformed. I tell people I have the husband I’ve always wanted but never allowed him to be. We are blessed to fall into a deeper love with each other. I am witness as he grows in confidence as the head of our household. There are days I still struggle with wanting control, but being aware helps me learn to surrender it to the Lord.

Learning to be a wife as God intended is counter cultural as the world dictates women be independent. We are supposed to take control in marriage and family instead of depending on the Lord but this is so counterproductive. I have new joy embracing the role God has graced me with as wife and help mate for my husband. I know that after God, my husband is my priority. This is how I honor the Lord.

“Do not conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is—his good, pleasing and perfect will.” Romans 12:2.

I have had the privilege of watching the Lord draw my husband to Him.  It has been more than two years since our reconciliation and my husband has recently become a follower of Jesus Christ. I stand in awe at how the Lord is developing him into the spiritual leader in our home. It’s all about Him!

The Lord is not slow in keeping his promise, as some understand slowness. Instead he is patient with you, not wanting anyone to perish, but everyone to come to repentance. 2 Peter 3:9

For many years I sought to find my identity and affirmation in education, positions and career but these pursuits became my gods. I had built my foundation on sinking sand destined to wash away. It gave me a feeling of superiority over my husband. I lost focus that my true identity is found in only in Jesus Christ and the role he has for me as His child, a wife to my husband and a mother to our children.

Kim Valentine 2016I am a  50-something  daughter of the King, wife to one awesome husband, mother to two amazing children and one special "son in love", future grandmother and nurse.  I strive to be a woman after God's own heart and walk in His steps.

"To this you were called, because Christ suffered for you, leaving you an example, that you should follow in his steps"
1 Peter 2:21

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Share your voice, heart and love in the comments. 

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

SUM Books 4


Conference At Merriman in Garden City, MI

Perhaps for a moment in time, just perhaps, we stood upon holy ground.

 

Matthew 16:19 I will give you the keys of the kingdom of heaven; whatever you bind on earth will be bound in heaven, and whatever you loose on earth will be loosed in heaven.”

 

I bet many of you know these ladies. They like to hang around SUM! 

SUMite Pillars
Gillian, Teresa, Melissa, Heidi, Joanne

 

Ohio Sumites
Some of the Ohio SUMites: Left to right: Judy, Mindy, Laura, Dawn, Chris

 

Fran Green
This is Beloved, Franie. This conference started in her heart last summer.

 

Lynn Donovan
The Holy Spirit moved. We laughed, cried and we were loved on by our Lord!


Skit
The skit was hilarious. I was cackling. Well done Merriman!
Conference Team
This is the amazing team of leadership that made this day possible. Thank you is inadequate but THANK YOU!

More photos are posted on our SUM Facebook page, click here.

 

The best part of the day is: WE PRAYED. I wish I had a photo to show you what happened at the end of our day. Can anyone who attended share what happened in your heart as you stepped out?

I'm overwhelmed at how the Lord moved on Saturday. Dineen was unable to make it due to her shoulder. So on Thursday I knew that I would speak the entire day. My friends, I can't perform. But I prayed and prayed that our Papa God, Jesus and the Holy Spirit would walk among us and I believe we honored our Lord and He showed up with love and power! I believe lives were touched and I'm teary reading the email messages such as the one at the bottom of this post.

If you were unable to attend, don't feel left out. You are loved and we talked about our amazing community on the web. And now let's pray that Jesus arranges another conference in your area. It would be my humble privilege to meet you, to pray with you and to love on you with our Daddy's love.

Breakfast in the gym
Love these ladies. They were on the front row!!

DSC00088

From Jen:

Lynn,

I do not even know where to begin to thank you. 

I attended your workshop this past Saturday and I am moved beyond words.

When my pastor’s wife invited a small group of us to attend this together I admit I was a little apprehensive.  Not knowing whom she invited I assumed it was only sent to me (or a couple of people) and the other couple of people were nowhere close to my unequal marriage, (so I thought).  I immediately went online and bought your book and WOW!  By the end of just the intros of the both of you, I was in tears, so moved and so motivated. I thought I was the only one in this position, I was alone, I thought nobody understood my marriage, my life, I even questioned my position in my faith and how I possibly could continue to follow Jesus with an unbelieving husband, a daughter 20 years old whom has walked away from Christ and a 13-year-old daughter loving Christ, how could I keep going?

I read the first half of the book in one day and then started over so I could take notes, pages and pages of notes. Ready to register for this workshop, (alone because I figured nobody else in my bible study, church or small group of friends would ever be in the same position I am), the pastor’s wife emailed me again asking if I wanted to go and let me know there were a few others interested. I attended our bible study the next week to tell these women everything I had read and learned up to that point (which was 66% as I am an e book user 😊) and was floored to discover five out of ten women there that night were somewhat in the same position.  Then in our plans for carpooling across the border I find out there was eleven of us going from our church...eleven!!!! Seriously???? I am not alone!!!! So as soon as I got home from the workshop I went directly to your website and signed up, pinned my location and when I looked at all the other pin locations around the world, my heart swelled to see and feel the common love from all over the world.

You were not even five minutes into speaking and I was in tears.  I have come out of this past week with a new light, a renewed hope and joy that is just spilling out of my heart. I went to church this morning and together we found five women sitting alone and we all filled half a row, held hands, hugged, sang to the high heavens and supported and loved on one another like never before. One woman even had an argument with her husband before church today because he did not want to attend anymore and guess who had some loving words of advice for her?  ME!! Little old me! I walk into church today and out of church today with a new song in my heart, a skip in my step and a feeling like I belonged, and better yet, God wanted me there, He loves me! He loves me! He loves me!

So from the bottom of my heart thank you! Thank you for leading me closer to God, thank you for opening my eyes to the women near to me in the same unique position, thank you for introducing me to the thousands of women near and far that feel my pain, my joy, my love and have my back!

Forever indebted and much love, Jen

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Share your voice, heart and love in the comments. 

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

SUM Books 4


Are You Lonely In Your Unequally Yoked Marriage?

LonelyHello SUMite Family,

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

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

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

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

What say you?

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

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

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

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

I love you. See you in the comments. Lynn

image from www.spirituallyunequalmarriage.com

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Share your voice, heart and love in the comments. 

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

SUM Books 4


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

image from www.spirituallyunequalmarriage.com

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Share your voice, heart and love in the comments. 

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

SUM Books 4


What Gods Love Looks Like

SUMite Family, 

Taste and see psalm 34 8I have to share that the word “family” has taken on an entirely larger implication in my life this past week. So, to say that you are my family, please know that I’m overwhelmed with authentic love and hope for you. Let me explain. 

I’m working on a new writing project and praise Jesus, the downloads are now flowing. It’s been astonishing. I’ve waited nearly a year for this past week and the few weeks that are ahead to hear the voice of God and His heart for the assignment He’s given to me. And this week in particular, I’m writing about the love of God. 

The love of a Father. 

Well, I don’t know how in the world you can encapsulate the love of God into a single chapter. However, I’ve asked the Holy Spirit to write this out because God will figure it out for me and then, I can’t wait to read it myself!!!! *grin* Really! 

So as I’m trying to figure out what specific attributes to share and asking myself, How do I explain the love of God, the Lord decided that I need to experience His love through profound experiences all week. I am so full of the love of our Father today that when I arrived at church, I hugged everyone I could get my hands on. The Father’s love poured off of me onto people. I just couldn’t help it. And wouldn’t you know it; almost all of the worship were songs about the love of God. I just can hardly stand up under the relentless expressions of my Daddy’s love this day. 

Today I feel I am to share what I’m experiencing and learning. I pray you are wrecked by our Daddy’s love this week too. 

Last week as I prepared to write on this topic my prayer and conversation with God turned into cries to experience His love. I cried out, “Father, I want a baptism of love. I want to be overwhelmed by your love. I want to experience a love so grand, so profound that I see (things, people) as you see them.” 

Let me share some insights of my week. They are not in any particular order:

  • I’m no longer an orphan. I’m a daughter of the King.
  • I don’t need to strive for His love. I need only to rest and receive His love.
  • I am His happy thought.
  • I am His smile.
  • I’m the one He waits for in the morning when I wake because He’s missed me while I was sleeping.
  • His love is abundant living.
  • He has good gifts for His children. That means me…. and you!
  • He is fun.
  • He is hilarious.
  • He is protective.
  • Because of the love of God my finances look different. My health is different. My relationships are different. My perspective, hope, and future are different.
  • I’m released into my creative calling. I thrive living in what I was created to do since before time began.
  • I have a destiny.
  • My value, my identity, dignity and dreams are restored.
  • I am His treasure.
  • I hear His voice.
  • I know God will bless what I’m doing instead of asking God to bless what I’m doing.
  • I’m His favorite. (So are you.)
  • I have a family. 

Do you know what it means to others and unbelievers when I truly understand that I am loved by our Father?

  • People are safe with a daughter of God.
  • I view other sons and daughters as someone with whom I used to compete and now I see them as someone I can complete.
  • I look for the gold in people and their holy destiny thus I stop treating them based on their history.
  • I celebrate sons and daughters instead of tolerate them.
  • We are lovers, warriors and ambassadors.
  • We are moving from a church (organization) to a family. 

God is love. —1 John 4:16

God is good. —Psalm 136:1 

My friends, when we truly believe these scriptures guess what happens. We see God differently. When we see God differently we then see ourselves differently. When we see ourselves differently we then see others differently. 

My family, my dear adored family, I know that our Papa’s love can touch every deep fear in our heart and leave us forever change, healed and restored. We need only to cry out and ask to see ourselves as our Father sees us. 

Taste and see that the Lord is good. —Psalm 34:8  I’ve come to believe this is one of the most powerful scripture verses in the entire Bible. Oh what a different life we can live when we step out of unbelief and truly know that we know in our knower that God is love, God is good and God has good things for His kids. 

Thoughts? 

I pray that when you read this phrase today: I love you, that you somehow hear the Father whispering the words directly to your heart. 

And finally, imagine what our pre-believers might experience if we begin to see ourselves as God sees us. A Holy mind-blow!!!!!!!!!! 

image from www.spirituallyunequalmarriage.com

 

Thanks Lief Hetland. You inspired the many affirmations of this post.

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Share your voice, heart and love in the comments. 

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

SUM Books 4


God's Preparation: Recognizing God's Preparation

GodisgoodWelcome back to the God’s Preparation series, my friends. I hope you are finding this encouraging and enlightening. God’s ways are so beautifully intricate and simple at the same time. I know that probably doesn’t make sense, but that’s how I’ve begun to see Him. Lynn and I speak often of this and how we, His children, tend to complicate things. I sense part of this year of intimacy with Him is also about simplicity.

To review, the first week we talked about how God works in and uses our Trials and Challenges. Last week we talked about how Time + Honor = Fruit. As I said last week, the fruit from one trial becomes the strength and preparation for the next. This week, let’s talk about recognizing God’s preparation. We have some amazing examples in the Bible.

God is all about preparation. With the help of the Holy Spirit, we can see many examples of this in His Word. I’m just going to pick out a few of my favorites. Feel free to share yours in the comments! I can’t wait to hear yours.

One of my favorite stories is of Joseph. We are introduced to Joseph in Genesis 37 and watch him walk a path full of trials and challenges that span his entire life, right through to Genesis 50 when he is reunited with his family and they bury his father, Jacob.

All that Joseph suffered—from a pit, to a prison, to a palace—he summarizes like this:

You intended to harm me, but God intended it all for good. He brought me to this position so I could save the lives of many people. — Genesis 50:20

And Paul sums it up like this:

And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose. — Romans 8:28

Joseph's preparation was specific to God's purpose and calling to his life and according to God’s plans and purposes to save the lives of many people. Joseph’s trials and challenges show us each step of his preparation to ultimately be ready and able to handle a place of such authority so that he could fulfill God’s plan to save the Israelites. (Read Genesis 37-50 to get the full picture.)

Another story is in Genesis 22 when God calls Abraham to sacrifice his son Isaac. I believe this was part of God’s preparation for the coming Messiah. As I’ve said in the past, God seems to always have more than one purposed for everything. Just as this event tested Abraham’s faith (and can even be symbolic of not making idols out of those we love), I believe it also served as a foundational depiction of what was to come—specifically the sacrifice of Jesus Christ, God’s only Son.

Yes, Abraham had Ishmael, but that was not technically part of God’s plan for Abraham’s offspring to be as numerous as the stars. Isaac was always the intended “only son.” And I believe this sacrificial model is exemplified when Abraham answers Isaac’s question about the sheep:

“God will provide a sheep for the burnt offering, my son.” — Genesis 22:8

The generations proceeding Abraham and Isaac would have this story as a prophetic picture of what was to come—Jesus’ sacrificial death to save us all.

Another story is in the New Testament, the story of Lazarus (John 11). As I read this story one day, God strongly impressed upon me the understanding that the resurrection of Lazarus was to be a reference point for the disciples for when Jesus died and was then resurrected.

Again, Jesus was preparing the disciples to understand what was to come:

So he told them plainly, “Lazarus is dead. And for your sakes, I’m glad I wasn’t there, for now you will really believe. Come, let’s go see him.” — John 11:14-15

God is all about preparation, and it seems it is never just for our own benefit. Our preparation often serves not only us as individuals but those around us as we share our testimony and blessing with individuals, communities and even nations. Our end results can be preparation for others!

I’m learning to be aware of the Holy Spirit’s “call to attention” when I see, read, or hear something that will be significant to something that I will soon experience or walk through. How often have you looked back and can identify things that played a key role in the bigger event? The more in tune we are with the Holy Spirit, the more we will sense these things before and recognize them as preparation.

And let me also say, God is not random. He fits and works everything perfectly together, whether good or evil. This is one of the most amazing ways He thwarts the enemy’s plans in our lives. He will take something the enemy intended to used to destroy and use it to create life and redemption (like Joseph’s life). This is where the power of our testimonies lays, to release hope and the power of the Holy Spirit into the lives of others.

The SUM ministry is a testimony to this. God used mine and Lynn’s mismatched marriages to lead us closer to Him and to teach us how to thrive in this type of marriage—all in preparation to create a ministry to help others in mismatched marriages. Our lessons, blessings and victories are meant to be shared.

Okay, now it’s your turn. How do you see God’s preparation working in you life? What do you think He’s preparing you for? Can’t wait to hear your stories!

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And The Walls Came Tumbling Down

SUMite Nation: 

Matthew 24Let’s finish this journey of Walking The Walls of Jericho. 

Remember, we are in the seven times around. I’m not sure exactly where I am, five, six, seven times around but I’ve come so very far and will never relent. There are promises behind those walls. There are captives to be liberated and plunder to be regained. Everything that was stolen. And there is a devil to be defeated and cast into the lake of fire. We, the saints, are the chosen to defeat the enemy with our worship. 

This is who we are. And you know what awaits us?.... The sound of the Shofar... 

The Shofar: 

When the trumpets sounded, the army shouted, and at the sound of the trumpet, when the men gave a loud shout, the wall collapsed; so everyone charged straight in, and they took the city. —Joshua 6:20 

The walls crumbled. Now get this, the walls fell and the People of God didn’t lift a finger to topple this shut-tight fortress. God spoke. The Walls Fell. Period. The end. 

But my friends, there remains another blast of the Shofar. It’s the trumpet sound of the Redeemed. God speaks and His Word goes forth with power, reducing the enemy to an impotent and silent foe. 

And he will send out his angels with the mighty blast of a trumpet, and they will gather his chosen ones from all over the world—from the farthest ends of the earth and heaven. —Matthew 24:31 

The great day of the trumpet blast is ahead. It is a promise we can believe and trust and pursue this promise. In the meantime. We walk. We love. We help others. We love others. We trust. We see the miracles and we train up the generation behind us. 

As we conclude this series, I’m moved to ask you again. What is the most important verse or component of this story? Do you remember?

His Voice. 

The voice of God. It matters not what lies behind those walls. It pales in comparison the plunder, the victory, the riches, the abundance. At the end of our long journey (our years of wondering in the wilderness) only one thing matters. His Presence. 

Everything, all that we do, is in pursuit of His Presence. So consider a few thoughts with me as we continue to walk out this journey: 

  • My goal in life is not to figure out who I am, my goal in life is to figure out who He is.
  • God is always good. Always. Always. Always.
  • God has good gifts for His kids.
  • My victory is at hand because it was finished at the Cross.
  • It’s easy to pray general prayers to avoid disappointment. The Lord is looking for those who know they are servants and pray dangerously.
  • God makes me BRAVE!
  • Fear is faith in Satan.
  • The enemy loves to get us to look at ourselves either in self-criticism or self-discovery in order to keep us from looking to God.
  • Keep asking for The Spirit of Wisdom and Revelation that we may know Him better.
  • Our brokenness is also our pathway to His heart.
  • People matter.
  • Perfect love casts out all fear.
  • Healing is for everyone.
  • God lavishly gives Spiritual gifts that we can give them to others.
  • Grace, grace and more grace.
  • Walking together we overcome all hindrances.
  • Peace, I give thee. I receive His peace and I thrive.
  • The Promised Land? His Presence. 

I love you so much my friends. Share your thoughts, scriptures, prayers in the comments. Our worship silences the enemy. Your sister in the Kingdom, 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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Your Breakthrough Is Here - Passover

Hi SUMite Family, 

This week I’m departing from our Joshua and The Walls series. Today I want to share my thoughts and prayer about Passover. And on Friday, I’m sharing a glimpse I had of The Wedding of the Son of God and His Bride. (It’s way cool and perfect for Good Friday. Be sure to stop in then.) 

What is Passover? Passover is a festival of freedom. It commemorates the Israelites’ Exodus from Egypt, and their transition from slavery to freedom. The main ritual of Passover is the Seder, which occurs on the first night. 

As believers we know we are not under the Old Testament law. We are living in the age of grace because of the blood sacrifice of the Lamb of God, Christ Jesus. And as a person who loves God and ponders His ways and thoughts, I’m thinking that many of the ancient feasts and celebrations that He originated still hold meaning and expectation. 

This year’s Passover holds significance to me personally. You see, since December I have been praying for many of you in this SUMite family. Many of you by name. And I mean ALL of you, even if you have never made any personal contact with me nor left your name in a comment. I have prayed for you. 

And this is why. 

Breakthrough is coming for many of you with THIS Passover. 

At the end of last year many of my brothers and sisters in Christ were in the midst of enduring and trying to just survive tremendous spiritual warfare. Many of you have battled a life that seems to have run over you. Circumstances have left you defeated and bereft of hope. And you have been in this dark pit for months now. Many of you are specifically facing crippling financial stresses. There are many who are wrangling with overwhelming anxiety, dark depression, abusive spouses and heartbreak because of wondering children and a litany of other demonic tortures. 

Well my friends, I’ve been praying for you. I’ve been contending for you. For months. I’ve sacrificed in the quiet of the early morning as I beseeched the God of the universe to silence the enemy and bring freedom to the many of you who are held captive and as prisoners of this life’s evils.

My prayers began in December and as I marched through January I began to hear the Lord tell me they will lift. There is a change, a shift, which is ordained of heaven that will happen at Passover. 

THAT’S TOMORROW! 

I’ve been praying for a breakthrough. A breakthrough for many. I’ve been contending for this shift over the home of _________________________ (insert your name because I’ve prayed it.) My breakthrough, although contended for in private and sacrificed in prayer, over the past months will also bring breakthrough to many others. MANY OTHERS. 

THAT’S how our God’s Kingdom rolls!!!!!! 

The honest prayers of one can bring breakthrough for hundreds. I earnestly believe this with all of my heart. So today my friends, if you need this breakthrough to move into a new season with the Lord, declare it now and out loud. 

Father God, I receive this breakthrough on this day. This is the day that You Passover this earth and free me from the grips of the enemy. Lord, and free others from the terror of the evil one. Today, Lord, I receive my deliverance just as you delivered our ancestors long ago. You freed them from the tyranny of slavery and gave them a land flowing with milk and honey. Today, Lord, I too declare in front of the Kingdom of God my freedom day. 

I will promise to seek you with all of my heart from this day forward. I make a new and lasting covenant to pursue you with a relentless hunger. I will also step out of my bondage and make it my life’s purpose to free others who are on the road behind me. 

Today, I rebuke and break off any stronghold or bondage of the enemy that has kept me from stepping into my rightful inheritance as a child of the Most High God. And I slam the door shut on any lies I have believed that the devil has used to tell me anything that is not truth about myself and my circumstances. 

Lord, My Holy God, I receive my freedom by the holy blood of the Passover Lamb, Jesus Christ, Your Son. And I will live all of my days from this day forward, pursuing peace, joy and love. I will choose to love you with my whole heart and spend the rest of my life loving people. 

I declare and decree my deliverance, my future that is abundant, and ask today that you show me now where you have made my path straight that I may get on with bringing Your Kingdom to earth. 

In the most powerful name in all creation and the heavenly realms, Jesus, The Christ. The Passover Lamb of God. AMEN.

 

I have contended for you. I absolutely believe many of you will begin to see hints of the freedom that has just been released upon your life today. My friends, now give thanks to our Papa, Jesus and the Dove for you are been released to receive your full inheritance. In Jesus name. 

I love you. I will always contend for your lives, marriage and children. I will never stop standing in the gap when you are weak and unable. I am your friend and your prayer warrior. Your sister in Christ, Lynn

Psalm 23
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Two Powerful and Practical Words To Thrive In A Spiritual Mismatch

Good Monday Morning. We have some new friends joining us this week. Welcome to our family everyone who found us through the FamilyLife Broadcasts last week. AND... 

Welcome to the friends from the House of Women Living Well www.womenlivingwell.com

You have found a humble and hopeful home here in our little spot on the web. There are many of us who make up this amazing family and we have two things to tell you. You are safe here. You are family here.

So join us today and find a home where we ordinary wives and mothers, far from perfect, often goofy, filled with the love of Jesus and in relentless pursuit of the Presence of God.

I thought it would be really great if we could share two things that we have discovered in our faith walk that has impacted our spiritually mismatched marriages and brought about positive change and hope. So in the comments, SUMites and visitors, tell me what God has shown you that makes walking this kind of faith journey a little bit easier and joyful.

I have two thoughts I want to share.

One) Don't save your husband. Save yourself.

Say What??? 

I spent way too many years thinking that it was my personal mission to save my husband. I thought it was completely up to me to see that my man found Jesus. Sheesh! What an idiot. I don't need to save my husband. Jesus is completely capable of reaching my man at any time in any way. I need only to trust in heaven's timing and to love him as Christ loves him.

Ahem!... What a bunch of wasted time and effort in my early years of marriage..... *grin*

Two) Love God...

Yep, it's that simple. When you love God with all of your heart, mind, soul and strength, loving others becomes, oh so much easier. Forgiveness comes easier. Laughter, joy and adventure follow closely behind. (Spend time with His Son and the Spirit. read His Word and talk to Him all day long.)

I started this lil' ole' blog eight years ago hoping and praying that others will find healing for their unequally yoked marriage years before I did. I don't want one person to waste as much time and frustrated effort as I did. 

Believe the truth of God's Word. Ephesians 2:6-7 God raised us up with Christ and seated us with him in the heavenly realms in Christ Jesus,7 in order that in the coming ages he might show the incomparable riches of his grace, expressed in his kindness to us in Christ Jesus.

It's all in the viewpoint. And my friends, I'm seated with Christ. I have a bird's eye perspective on my life and marriage. Changes everything.

Conversation: Share two things that your faith has brought to your marriage.

I love you my friends. I really love you, Lynn

Sky and clouds By pakorn, published on 01 February 2014By pakorn, published on 01 February 2014
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Terrorist Training Camp 2014

image from www.spirituallyunequalmarriage.comGood Monday morning SUMites! 

Every January it seems to happen. Right after our annual fast my spirit is burning to do some spiritual, butt kicking. And this January is no exception. So, I would like to welcome you once again to the “Spiritual Terrorist Training Camp.” And once again I would like to welcome the FBI who will likely be reading this series because their computers have just detected a blog using the words Terrorist Training Camp. Welcome back guys! Hope you enjoyed last year’s posts! 

In last year’s series we dealt with recognizing spiritual warfare, discovering who are the captives and who are prisoners in the spiritual and how we can recognize our captivity and find freedom. (Find a link to that series in the sidebar) This year I want the SUMites to join me as we explore some different aspects of spiritual warfare. I want us to shine the bright light of heaven upon some very real spirits that wreak havoc in our lives and in our world. I’m praying with fervor and passion that this series leads us to two breakthroughs. 

One, we must first experience a personal breakthrough. When we recognize an enemy spirit and its work in and around us and then combat it with truth, love and the power and authority of Christ, we become free. Thus we can then begin to free others. 

Two, as newly anointed Hope-Restorers, assigned to change this generation, we are contending for our homes, and our cities and collectively our nations. We truly are going to learn to be empowered to bring change at that level. 

Before we step off into some pretty deep research and topics, I want to take a minute to address a few things and answer some needed questions. 

  • Spiritually Unequal Marriage is a marriage blog devoted to providing hope and practical tips to thrive in a spiritually mismatched marriage. Why in the world should we study spiritual warfare?
  1. Research indicates that more than half of believers don’t believe there is a devil, or hell or demons. So, many of you want to really know, how do you know there are demons, hell or a devil?
  2. Can a Christian be possessed? Can a Christian be oppressed? What does that mean anyway?
  3. How does an ordinary 5’4” blond mom stand up against and defeat the legions of evil? Is that even possible? 

Answers 

  1. We, the Spiritually Mismatched, are actually on the front lines of the spiritual battlefield. We stand alone to pray, to speak scripture and declare God’s power and authority in our lives. Often our very own spouse is a gateway that opens the door to evil presence and activity. However, we are so much more powerful. 

As I sit in front of my computer the Holy Spirit is flooding my soul with scripture after scripture that screams of this truth. I will share one right now and more as we work through this series. 

1 Corinthians 7:12 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. 13 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. 14 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. 

 

There is great power and authority contained in an ordinary believer. And this verse brings enormous power into our lives. 

Think about it. Verse 14…… The unbelieving husband has been sanctified. That means made Holy and brought under the umbrella of God’s covering and love because we the wife are sanctified. 

Okay… I just realized this post is ALREADY going long. So, I promise we will get to some more in the days ahead. 

CONVERSATION: 

So today, let’s discuss in the comments the four questions above and your thoughts about how 1 Cor. 7:12-14 play out in our marriage and everyday living. Do you sanctify your home? Do you know what that looks like? If you don’t, how do we bring this passage to reality in our marriage? Do you think demons are real? Have you contended with evil and prevailed? I will be in the comments with you. 

We are stepping off now into a great adventure. When we emerge on the end of this series, you can bet that you will have a knowledge and power that absolutely terrifies the dark realm. So, rise up Hope-Restorers because we have families to fight for, marriages to revive and cities to contend for. I love you so much. Lynn

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Marriage Challenge No. 1

So, I’ve been inspired by a friend of mine Courtney Joseph who has a new book coming out, Women Living Well. I will share more about that later. It’s a really great book. I was privileged to read it before its release and she has a couple of chapters that are Marriage Challenges. 

One of the challenges is a kissing challenge. Okay, for many of us who have been married a number of years there are statistics out there that indicate that 40% of married couples will go an entire week without a kiss. I’m not sure about this but I do think that as we settle into marriage, are raising children, working and become increasingly busy and distracted, we miss the opportunity to connect with our spouse through an intimate kiss. Yikes, I know this is true in my case. 

CoupkSo, this week, I’m throwing down the gauntlet. It is your challenge to kiss your spouse on the lips for five seconds or longer, every…. single ….. day this week. 

I can bet some spouses are going to freak out. Some may be put out but I am hopeful that this small gesture releases a gentle, kind and loving spark in your relationship with your spouse. 

Okay, take the challenge and pop back in here and let me know how it went for you today? 

SUMNation: Practical help and encouragement to THRIVE in your Spiritual Mismatched Marriage. 

Dineen and I love you. Have a fun and playful week. Break out the lip gloss and pucker up. *grin*

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Returning To Our Roots

Hello my Friends, 

Greetings this Friday! Dineen and I are both on the road, traveling to different events. But before we jumped on the plane, earlier this week we had a great talk about where we want to go with our writing here and at Mismatched & Thriving in the coming months. 

After a lot of thinking, praying and discussion, we were reminiscing about how all of this ministry was started. Years ago, two ordinary wives who, only by the power and love of Jesus Christ, came through the lonely, difficult and challenging years of marriage to our pre-believing spouses. Our triumph became our passion. 

We didn’t want one other person to waste another minute stuck in the lonely and struggling years of marriage when we knew our faith could pull us out of that place. 

It became our hearts purpose to help others on this journey with us. 

With everything in us, we want others to discover hope, help and healing for their spiritual mismatch. 

We are not professional counselors. We are only women who are living in the trenches that have gained much knowledge and hope through our experiences. Every week it’s our desire to help people thrive in their marriage. Our ministry is for every marriage where faith and spiritual beliefs are absent in a spouse or not faith growing at a similar pace in both the husband and wife. Our writing is to serve those who are committed to making their marriage better and for the believing spouse to grow in his or her faith walk. Our writing is directed toward the positive actions we can take in our marriages within the context of a healthy relationship that is outside of physical, emotional abuse, addictions and behavior such as uncontrolled anger, etc. 

So as we talked about our roots earlier in the week and thought it would be great to revisit some of the ideas and suggestions from the early years of our ministry. Things like Captivating Your Spouse. Going the extra mile to make his or her day easier. Spoiling them when they least expect it.  How to love your spouse with the love of Christ. 

I realize that for some, these topics feel uncomfortable as your marriage is dealing with some of these tough issues such as addictions and such. Please hear our heart. We will pray for you and love on you. But we also want to remain steadfast to the purposes of this ministry. 

We CAN THRIVE in a spiritually mismatched home. So beginning next week, we are going to do some fun stuff, some practical stuff and move into this wonderful fall season with some real tips to try at home to spice up the romance. Tips to affirm our spouse. Tips to show the love of Christ to our pre-believers and so much more. 

And over at Mismatched & Thriving we have decided to post once a week on Tuesdays, as we don’t post here on that day and once a week we will post Parenting tips there in preparation for the release of our new Parenting book, Not Alone. One of my favorite tips is up there now, Teaching our Kids Respect in a Social Environment. 

So, what say you? Are you up for some unconditional and sacrificial loving? Do you want to see your spouse respond to that kind of love? We become irresistible over time when we love our pre-believer with the love of Christ. 

And, thank you everyone for giving us ideas for future posts on Monday. We will work through those in the coming months as well. 

Thank you for being part of this family. Remain focused on the love of Jesus. Because love changes everything. Hugging you tight. See you next week. Lynn

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Same Sex Marriage

Psalm 2:1-4 Why do the nations rage? Why do the people waste their time with futile plans? The kings of the earth prepare for battle; the rulers plot together against the LORD and against his anointed one. "Let us break their chains," they cry, "and free ourselves from this slavery." But the one who rules in heaven laughs. The Lord scoffs at them. 

I was sitting on the bank of a river when The U.S. Supreme Court struck down Section 3 of DOMA, which limited the definition of marriage as between a man and a woman for the purposes of federal benefits, as a violation of the U.S. Constitution. This decision forces the federal government to recognize same-sex marriages in states where it is legal and paving the way for it in California, the most populous state. And as I sat there, holding a fishing rod in one hand and my cell phone in the other reading this news alert, I just felt…… sad. 

Disappointed. 

And I know many in our community have strong feelings and emotions over this paradigm shift in our culture. 

Since that day I have wrangled with the implications of this decision. After all, Dineen and I write about marriage. SUM is a marriage blog seeking to encourage men and women to thrive in a God-centered marriage. I called Dineen when I returned and we spent a few hours discussing and processing. I know for me I was disappointed and then puzzled as to how the voters of our state were hijacked in this matter as same-sex marriages have already resumed in California. 

And as I write to you today, however, I’m actually feeling excited. And later on in this post (which is likely to run long… stay to the end because it gets really good) I will explain why I’m excited and why you will be as well. 

But before we get there I’m compelled to raise some issues that we the SUMites need to camp on personally, privately and corporately, and with a fervent prayer. 

Firstly, let’s remember what is at the core of the House of SUM. We are always –ALWAYS – about love. The love of God and our love for people. We are always about what we are for and not what we are against. What are we for? Living in the Presence of our Holy and Righteous God. And striving to share His love with others. We are also a community who believes in marriage as ordained by God in Genesis 2. 

With love in the forefront of our hearts and minds, let’s consider the implications of redefining marriage. In the history of the United States, marriage has always been between one man and one woman. The door that opened last week, if you follow the logic out a number of years invites us to consider that marriage will continue to be redefined by the courts over and over again. In fact, CNN reports a Polyfidelitous union, a union between three people. I expect we will witness marriages between not only three consenting adults but between, five, six, seven… Dare I take this out to the ridiculous, between a dog and owner. I know that people want to pass their inheritance to their pet when the die, so why not? (said with cautious contemplation) 

Why do I bring this to your mind? It’s not to bring fear. Only to prepare you to expect it. 

My friends, we need not fear. We need only to love. I know my fears about this redefinition hit home when raising kids. How will this shift in our society change my child’s view on marriage and on gays? Well I can tell you kids in public school have already faced many aspects of homosexuality. My daughter has gay friends. I know her friends and I will tell you that I have embraced them. I say to their face, “I love you. You are always welcome in our home.” And I hug them every chance I get. We must have honest conversations with our kids about this issue but more importantly our marriages must be a shining example to our children. If our kids see mom and dad living in love with one another and honoring each other and mom or dad (the believer) loving Jesus, they will want that for themselves when they mature and marry. 

We live in a broken, hurting and messed up world my friends. And WE HAVE THE ANSWER. We have the love of Christ that trumps everything. 

The gay life style is not the ideal of God. Dare I remind you that being unequally yoked is not God’s ideal and best for people? However, in spite of our mismatached marriage, God shows up. He loves us, even in our messed up, sinful lives. He pursues us, shows us His power, purposes and invites us into the greatest adventure ever, living the abundant life. 

You may be disappointed and angry. And it may seem like a great defeat to the Kingdom but my friends…. My Friends, our all-powerful God isn’t worried. 

Let me share a story with you. 

Satan seethed with a blistering laugh. His great centuries of plotting, maneuvering and planning met their zenith. He screeched with elations along with the millions of demons as he stood in hell.

“We have killed the Christ,” he raged with glee. 

The crucifixion of Jesus was the darkest hour of human existence. And in that moment when Jesus died Satan really believed he had won. He was certain he’d defeated the Son of God who came to earth to teach us how to walk in the power and authority of God and how to live in abundance and communion with God. He danced and began to plan the very take-over of the entire world and to declare the world no longer belonged to God. 

But…. When all seemed that absolute darkest… Guess what? Out of this horrific slaying, God shows up and with the resurrection power brings Christ back to life. He splits time in two. And creates for all people, ALL people, the way to escape the devil, live in His Presence on earth and a way to live forever. 

Say WHAT????? 

Jesus rose out of what seemed like the worst thing that could ever happen to people. And gave us the BEST thing that could ever happen. Salvation! 

God says, “So long satan. What you intended for evil I have used for the greatest good for all men.” 

“HUZZAH!” (I think God would have said this *sheepish grin*) 

But, my friends, don’t you think God could do this again? And if He so desires, couldn’t He begin with the gay community? 

My friends, we are the believers who are are sitting on the precipice of one of the greatest revivals to ever grace the world. The spiritual realms are alive. Ordinary people are having encounters with God. Thousands every week are turning to Christ in faith. Let’s not get distracted by some mere law makers. Keep our eyes focused on God. Live your faith out in front of your family. Love people and watch what our Great God can and will do. 

This is only my humble offerings on a highly sensitive subject. Now, please share your thoughts and lavish them with love and grace. I love you. I love God and it’s my calling for the rest of my life to love all people. Hugs, Lynn

*****

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I Re-Sign!

 On October 19, 2012, Karen Williams wrote: I Re-sign! 

Dear Dineen and Lynn, 

I appreciated your post on Monday.  After reading it several times and understanding the seriousness of the commitment I prayed it out loud and mentally signed my name.  I know I am ready for this as God has been leading me down a similar path this summer.  

I had been praying and asking God to show me/teach me how to love my husband as He does, how to see Him as He does.  He answered that prayer by explaining how He saw me and sees me today.  Because He knows the beginning from the end He has always known what my potential is.  He created me with a plan and purpose in mind and sees the end result from the very beginning. If I truly believe this for myself (which I now do) then I have to believe that this is the way He looks at my husband (and all my family members).  He created Andrew (my husband) with a plan and purpose.  And He is in relentless pursuit of my husband, always working to bring that plan to fruition.  He sees my husband in the end result, knows what he is capable of (because He created him that way) and LONGS for my husband to become what He has in mind.  

This really blew me away at the time because I had been so focused for so long on what my husband has been or is.  Things like....narcissistic, catholic, workaholic.  God showed me that these labels I had put on him were like putting him in a jail cell.  Not only was he not free to change, I had been the one to lock him into that place. There was also some work God was doing on forgiveness with me so after time in prayer working on forgiving my husband for not being who I wanted him to be and asking God to forgive me for how I had sinned against my husband all these years He helped me to set him free from the jail cell.  He planted His love in me in a new way that enables me to see my husband as He sees him and love him with the love of Christ.  

I thought that that was an amazing experience but the best was yet to come!  A few days after this time with the Lord was our 30th wedding anniversary.  In the past these were pretty uneventful, often very disappointing, days for me.  I really expected nothing different this time.  My husband was scheduled to be traveling on our actual anniversary so we planned to eat out for dinner after he got back. Other than that I thought it would pass just like it was any other day.  But God!  

First, my husband came home with two dozen roses and a card...three days ahead of time! (Sometimes he would buy a card and forget to sign it and I'd find it later or you knew he stopped on the way home for work as a last minute thing).  His cards up until then were always the funny type, never serious.  Frequently with sexual overtones. But this time it was serious!  The front said "Life isn't perfect but love doesn't care".  That got me right there!  It was as if God was speaking right to my heart...isn't this how He was asking me to live with my husband...to love him despite our differences?  I took it as confirmation I had been hearing God correctly.  

Then the inside said "Thanks for loving me through it all".  You have to understand my husband rarely apologizes for anything and isn't too good at acknowledging others for their contributions so this was VERY big to me!  Then he asked me for 30 more years!  My husband blessed me and God blessed me with that card that day.  He also surprised me with a very expensive piece of jewelry (also very uncharacteristic of him) so I was really blown away by it all.  

There was a dynamic shift in our relationship. When God dealt with me and I changed my thoughts and ways...somehow in His economy....it freed my husband at the same time it freed me.  I know that sounds weird but I think you will understand.  I stopped looking at him as the Unbeliever and more as someone who just wasn't a believer yet. This was just about the time you all were seeing a similar revelation!  God is so amazing and so wonderful!  I just love that you are where you are and I am here but He helps us reach the same conclusion!  

I prayed and fasted with you all back in January and the word God gave me was "expectant".  I have been sitting on the edge of my seat ever since!!  Something IS right around the corner. I felt it then and I still feel it now.  As the year has gone by I have read and heard others saying the same thing...it is very exciting!  

At this point I want nothing more than to be with Jesus.  I long to see His face.  Taking my eyes off of my husband, and my supposed lack, and keeping them on Him has eliminated the stress, the disappointment, the hardship.  I have been set free, free to love my husband and he is free to love me back.  Not sure he is aware there are any changes but I sure see them.  God has brought me to a place where I know I need nothing more than Him, and Him alone.  Everything after that is icing on the cake, the exceeding and abundant life He promises. 

I look forward to the coming days and weeks as you both share what happened at Bethel.   Won't lie, a little jealous, but I will continue to seek Him in my quiet time here and I know He will show up.  Blessing to you both and thank you for all you have done and all you do! Sure wish we lived closer so we could talk in person and I could give you real hugs!  

Love you sisters!
Karen Williams

*****

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Weekend Devo — Blow Away Again...By You

WriteLetterMy dear and precious friends, 

Yesterday I read all your comments on our post from August 6th about our visit with FamilyLife Today. I am blown away and so very humbled.

To read your stories and hear your hearts in each one...I cried. My daughter walked in and asked me what was wrong. I showed her the page on my computer screen and told her how amazed and humbled and honored and blessed I am, to be used by God to help others, to be a part of this community. 

She asked, "So those are happy tears?!"

Oh, yes, very happy tears. Grateful tears. Tears of joy.

So, today I want to tell all of you how precious each and every one of you are to us. I know Lynn and I have said this before but we really do pray over all of you. At times we cry, other times we laugh and rejoice with you.

You've heard me say God blows me away. Well, you blow me away too. You may think you're not doing very well; maybe you feel like you're failing in your marriage or in your relationship with God (I feel that way at times too, btw), but just the fact that you come here to share your heart openly, that you're seeking God for wisdom and guidance, that you desire to honor God and do what He asks for the sake of your marriage and your desire to know God better...

Well, that tells me you're far from failing, dear friends. You are thriving! Did you know that? You are flourishing. You are succeeding. Victory doesn't mean easy. It's means reaching that place of overcoming and knowing God's joy and peace right where we are.

And you are there! This is our shared journey and I am so grateful and honored and humbled and blessed beyond words to be on the path with you.

Love you all so very much,
Your sister in Christ,
Dineen 

*****

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More Than Just Waiting, Part 1

IStock_000000340142XSmallIn June of 2008 I wrote a series on waiting (has it been that long?!?!?). And we have talked about waiting on God in our marriages A LOT. I’ve come to believe that waiting is a constant part of our faith journey. We wait for prayers to be answered, we wait for God to open doors to new directions and opportunities, we wait for change within ourselves and wait ultimately for the time when we will meet our Lord and Savior in person.

We are always waiting for something, right?

About a week ago, God blew my mind again with another facet of waiting that I’d never considered before. Are you ready for your thinking to be turned upside down?

This concept has been ruminating in my mind as I waited for God to give me a clearer vision of what I was to share. Imagine my total surprise and delight when my pastor’s sermon yesterday was on the very same subject! He bought out points I was contemplating, which, for me, confirmed what I sensed God showing me.

Like I said, BLOWN AWAY!

Now, back to the subject of waiting. We often treat this time of waiting as our burden to carry. I know I have, more so in times of trial and challenge. But what if it's more? We've talked a lot about waiting patiently and waiting expectantly (go to the June 2008 archives if you want to go back and read them), but what if there was another aspect to our waiting that we're missing out on?

What if our time of waiting is intended to be a place of trust, which in turn is one of our most profound ways to worship God? Look at this quote from Andrew Murray:

“Let us resolve at once that is will be the one characteristic of our life and worship, a continual, humble, truthful waiting upon God. We may rest assured that He who made us for Himself, that He might give Himself to us and in us, will never disappoint us. In waiting on Him, we will find rest and joy and strength, and the supply of every need.”

Murray talks about waiting upon God’s provision as a characteristic of worship. As I read this, chills ran over me. Now let’s take a look at Isaiah 40:25-31:

25 “To whom will you compare me?
Or who is my equal?” says the Holy One.
26 Lift up your eyes and look to the heavens:
Who created all these?
He who brings out the starry host one by one
and calls forth each of them by name.
Because of his great power and mighty strength,
not one of them is missing.
27 Why do you complain, Jacob?
Why do you say, Israel,
“My way is hidden from the Lord;
my cause is disregarded by my God”?
28 Do you not know?
Have you not heard?
The Lord is the everlasting God,
the Creator of the ends of the earth.
He will not grow tired or weary,
and his understanding no one can fathom.
29 He gives strength to the weary
and increases the power of the weak.
30 Even youths grow tired and weary,
and young men stumble and fall;
31 but those who hope in the Lord
will renew their strength.
They will soar on wings like eagles;
they will run and not grow weary,
they will walk and not be faint.

We've talked about this piece of Scripture before, specifically the part about God being our source of hope. Not the things in this life, not even our pre-believers salvation. Our hope must reside squarely in God in order to know this kind of hope, to be renewed in our strength, to persevere—not just to survive, but to thrive in every aspect of our lives. Reread this piece of Scripture and look for these truths:

  1. Nothing is greater than God. He has created everything, yet He is not created.
  2. His great strength not only holds our world together, He does so perfectly.
  3. God sees everything we see, experience and feel. Good and bad. Nothing is hidden from Him. He knows us intimately.
  4. He doesn’t wear out. His strength and love never wear out. In fact, the weaker we are, the stronger He is. (2 Cor. 12:9 also says this.)
  5. We will not only survive we will rejoice, not run out of His strength, and we will also walk forward in that strength. This is victory.

What’s the key to all this? I will tell you in part two since this post has gone so long already. Come back tomorrow and find where I'm going with this. I think you will be delighted!

Praying & believing!
Dineen

*****

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Chronicles of the Donovan Clan - God Hit Me Upside The Head

So what has happened in our marriage, in my husband’s faith journey? Well do you remember that conversation that started this weird journey? I shared that with you last week, read it here. Well, my husband started to attend church with me…… every week…… 

He has been attending church every Sunday since February. Interestingly, my man is not into the worship and music. So, get this, he rises from bed as I’m leaving for church with Caitie, showers, dresses, then drives to church by himself. He joins us as we sit on the right near the front just before the Pastor begins to talk. Not my perfect ideal but friends, he joins us for church of his own volition. 

The Four Horsemen surely must be riding because I NEVER dreamed my man would get out of bed on a Sunday to join me at church. The marriage class ended over a month ago. My husband has been at church. All is right with the world. 

Or is it? 

Darn it! Take a walk with me. 

My man attended a marriage class. I realize we actually have a pretty darn good marriage. He’s been at church with me every Sunday, willingly and rarely displays the “hostile stance.” 

But now these months later, I started talking with him about church attendance. I took great courage from our past breakthroughs and asked him to consider being baptized as a birthday gift for me. Shameless and manipulative, I know. (sheesh, I still make some big blunders in my faith walk with my unbeliever).

My sweet friends, he’s not there. Out of everything that has transpired, the class, the attendance, the faith and love I shower on him, he’s just not there. He told me he doesn’t believe. He told me he attends church because it’s the right thing to do for our family. He told me that it’s just not for him. 

Ugh! I could cry. The disappointment. The pain.

It's still not quite what I thought it would be. I asked him to join my life, as a husband, to be part of church. He did. I KNOW I should be so grateful. And I am. But, it's hallow. I want my husband to truly know the Lord of Lords. So, I keep praying. I keep hoping. And I am so utterly thankful that my man loves me this much to go to church when he really would choose to stay home. 

But astonishing further, from somewhere deep within, rises a hope in me that I can’t fully understand, nor explain. You see, I really, really KNOW God. I have dwelt in His presence and I believe with every part of my being that it’s all about timing. 

God’s timing. 

What God has shown me through this process are truths the enemy kept me from seeing. I have a great guy. Our marriage is in a beautiful place, it’s not perfect, but it’s us. It’s exactly what it’s supposed to be. Filled with love, trust, honesty, failures, yelling at times, mistakes, manipulation, and humanness. It’s the living experience of married love and relationship. It’s a marriage bathed in the love of Jesus because I’m the believer. It’s a marriage of hope, because I worship the God of hope. It’s a marriage of laughter, growth, and authentic relationship. 

I will continue to wait for my man’s salvation. I absolutely believe he will meet Jesus before he leaves this planet. I AM ABLE to even wait until a death-bed conversion if I must, because God is sovereign over my life. He has proven Himself over and over to me. He has provided, comforted, instructed (many times through my unbelieving husband), and He has loved me to distraction. 

I hope in Him.
I trust in Him.
I live for Him and his Son, Jesus. 

As the words of old say, “His grace is sufficient for me.” 

2 Corinthians 12:9 (KJV)
And he said unto me, My grace is sufficient for thee: for my strength is made perfect in weakness. Most gladly therefore will I rather glory in my infirmities, that the power of Christ may rest upon me. 

My friends, can you say these words today and let Jesus make them real in your life? Thank you for taking this long walk with me. I love you. I pray for you earnestly and for your spouse’s salvation. May the Lord bless you and keep you. 

Love, Lynn

*****

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The Focus on the Family Experience

Hello dear friends! Since so much happened during the week of our Focus on the Family broadcasts, we thought we'd put all the links and information in one place in case there was something you missed. 

We absolutely loved talking to Jim Daly, Juli Slattery and John Fuller about how God has shown us how to thrive in a spiritually mismatched marriage! You can order or download the program in its entirety from the Focus on the Family/ChristianBook.com site. If you know someone struggling in their spiritually mismatched marriage, please consider purchasing a copy for them. Or send them here to listen online.

Thriving in an Unequally Yoked Marriage, Part One

Thriving in an Unequally Yoked Marriage, Part Two

When You Can't Compromise in Marriage

 

Along with the broadcasts, Focus had some wonderful resources available as well, including an article Lynn wrote for ThrivingFamily.com, another resource from Focus on the Family.

Read Lynn's Article: Parenting When Married to an Unbeliever

Mismatched Marriage by Lee Strobel

 

Check out the Focus Community Forum held the day of the broadcasts. We received so many great questions from spiritually mismatched women and men. 

Focus Community Forum: Thriving in an Unequally Yoked Marriage

 

And we were delighted to find out that The Christian Post wrote reviews on each day of the broadcasts:

Christian Wives Talk Thriving with Nonbelieving Husbands by Brittany Smith

Can a Woman Lead in a Spiritually Unequal Marriage? by Brittany Smith

 

That's it in a nutshell, or a post. We pray it blesses you even more than it blessed us.

Praying and believing,
Dineen 

 

*****

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We Are Stronger Together

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

“Isolation steals our joy.”

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

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

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

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

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

We are stronger together.

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

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

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

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

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

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

“I can do much with a willing heart.”

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

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

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

Praying and believing,
Dineen

*****

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It's A Tweet Up! Let's Get Ready to Rumble. I mean Twitter.....

Join Dineen and me (Lynn) today as we join with @FocusMarriage a discussion and questions about thriving in a Spiritually Mismatched Marriage.

Use the hash tag #WinningHim.

Tweet using the hash tag and join the conversation and watch your tweets pop up here. We will randomly select five Tweets who will win a copy of our book, Winning Him Without Words, at the end of the day Friday. Everytime you tweet until Friday, midnight Pacific, using the hash tag #WinningHim will enter you into the drawing.

Here are sample questions that @FocusMarriage will ask the Twitter community:

  • How do you handle praying at the dinner table?
  • What unique ways do you flirt with your spouse? (Keep it G-rated!)
  • How does your relationship with Christ help you love your spouse?

Tune in around noon-1 p.m. Pacific. So that’s 2-3 p.m. Central and 3-4 p.m. Eastern. Join the fun. Win a book for yourself or for someone you know who is struggling in their unequally yoked marriage. 

 

Thank you my friends for your continued prayers for the Monday and Tuesday broadcast. I'm getting butterflies in my stomach as my nervousness and excitement builds.

Happy Friday. Hugs, Lynn

*****

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#WinningHim and @FocusMarriage Unite! Woo Hoo!

Are you ready for a little fun?

Before that however, let me just tell you that I have been reading the prayers you left for Dineen and me. I promise you, I burst into tears, sobbing at times over the love and caring you poured into our lives. I will be printing them out and saving them in my Daily Bible and as you know, that is where my most precious memories live. ~Thank you, Lynn

Okay now.  

Are you ready for a little fun?

 

Twitterbird600
Tweet... Tweet... #WinningHim

Well tomorrow Dineen and I along with the Twitter guys at Focus on the Family, @FocusMarriage, are going to have a Twitter Forum.

 

Say what?

Well, I’m glad you asked. *giggle*

For all of you who Twitter and Tweet and even those of you who don’t, join in the fun as we Tweet along with Focus Marriage on Friday, March 23rd Noon-1 Pacific. So that’s 2-3 p.m. Central and 3-4 p.m. Eastern. We hope to peak a little curiosity in our upcoming broadcast on Monday and Tuesday.

Follow or join the conversation using the hash tag #WinningHim.

Take a peek at this hash tag now. There are already some tweets singing. (Do tweets sing such as birdies or do they only post???) I’m not sure?

We plan to have a lively conversation and work our way through some great questions. For example:

  • How do you handle praying at the dinner table?
  • What unique ways do you flirt with your spouse? (Keep it G-rated!)
  • How does your relationship with Christ help you love your spouse?

I’m looking forward to hearing from you. Dineen and I would be so thankful if you are a Twitterer (is that a word?) and would join us on Friday for a few minutes or even the whole hour. Help us reach out to those who use this social media. We also will have the live feed up on our site Friday.

So tune in, join Twitter, get ready to tweet, retweet, and answer the questions. We will be looking for you our community and will give you a special shout out in the future.

We can never express fully how your love and prayers have filled our hearts. Thank you with eternal love and gratitude, Lynn and Dineen

*****

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