73 posts categorized "Unequally Yoked"

I Created Bitterness - A Weird Confession - Chronicles of the Donovan Clan. Ouch!

So, I kinda feel like today is my confession.

This post is likely to be raw and vulnerable but someone needs this word. Or perhaps it’s only me?

Many times when I’m speaking people will ask me if I discern what God is doing in my husband’s faith life. I reply that unfortunately or perchance fortunately, God rarely gives me insight into my husband’s heart journey.

However, I pray for him every day, covering many aspects of his life, career, health, salvation, protection, etc. etc. I believe the Lord has instructed me through His Word to pray unceasingly for Him and to cover him with the promise of 1 Corinthians 7:14, which holds great power and authority as a believer married to an unsaved spouse.

However, on Easter Sunday morning, God opened up a big ole pile of revelation to me.

So weird.

Why on Sunday morning and especially why on Easter.

A rare event to be sure both the revelation and the fact that my husband attended church with myself and our daughter, Caitie. This is our selfie before church began.

Family photo Easter 2016

There are so many things I love about this photo. But the light shining directly on our heads is crazy and filled with brilliance. It’s actually dark in our rather large church auditorium.

Once again…. Weird. But wildly cool. Could this photo be reflecting the glory of God’s children? I don’t know but these are things I love to think about.

Anyhoo, moving along.

It was nearly the end of the service, the worship team took the stage and in an unusual event our pastor invited anyone to come forward who wanted to be touched by God. And many went forward. I stood, as the awesomeness of the music compelled me to worship. A minute later, my daughter stood.

My husband did not.

He remained seated…….

AND THAT’S WHEN IT HAPPENED.

I began to sense the Holy Spirit speaking to me about Mike. And Yikes, it was revelatory and profound and difficult.

It took me a few weeks to process what God revealed in that moment. I have wrestled with the information and I have grieved. And I have apologized.

A week or so ago, I was on the loveseat and my husband on the couch. I looked over at him and started our conversation, “I need to tell you something.” Most men panic when they hear this.

“Don’t panic. I just need to say something and can you just hear me out?”

Hesitantly, “O, -kay.”

“I recently realized that I have caused you to become bitter toward God. I didn’t mean to do it and I’m grieved that this has happened.” I watch his face; he’s listening but guarded.

“I’ve come to realize that it could be due to the ministry in which I’m leading or perhaps because of my need for healing and turning fully to Jesus in our early years of marriage, I made God the problem in between the two of us. In our early years, like most marriages, we had struggles. Unfortunately, we didn’t seek marriage counseling and in my frustration and pain, I turned to God.”

“Jesus healed me from so much and I in error believed that if only you would come to Christ, everything in our marriage would magically be made better. Sheesh! What an idiot.” I rushed on as I didn’t want to lose my courage to own and act on this revelation.

“Our problems were rarely about faith. And somehow, I may have made God the only answer. I was naive or immature, likely both. But on Easter Sunday the Lord revealed all of this to me and I’m greatly grieved over it. I ask your forgiveness. But more importantly, I ask that you would see my part in this, came out of immaturity and please, please don’t be bitter at God.”

“God loves you so much, Mike. And in spite of having a block-headed wife, please, please don’t look at God with eyes of bitterness.”

Gulp!

Okay, there it is.

I’m still processing and praying through this revelation, our conversation and the implications. Geeze. I even had to call my daughter and share and apologize. She said, “Mom, this isn’t news to me. I’ve actually talked about this very thing with a few friends.”

Good Lord, Almighty!

Why am I sharing this with you today? I want other SUMites who are on this long journey to receive a word of caution through my story. I don’t want you to become a bitter root in your spouse’s faith journey.

So, the great thing about this apology was the ensuing conversation between Mike and myself. It’s was honest, clarifying and it was hopeful. We talked about his thoughts about God and he was very honest with me. He remains undecided about it all. And my confession broke the bitterness that may have held power in our marriage and in his faith journey.

Okay, I hope all this isn’t too much. Sometimes I feel as though I must be brutally honest about my struggles as well as my victories. And in the telling of this story, healing happened and perhaps healing will happen in another marriage.

Jesus, I pray with all that I have within me, in faith, this is true. In Your name, Jesus. AMEN

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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. 

Winning Him Without Words

Not Alone; Parenting Kids To Faith


Are You Weary In The Waiting?

Hello SUMite Nation,

I’ve been traveling and so has Dineen. So Monday’s post is waaaaaay late and likely to show up in mail boxes on Tuesday. But, I’m moved to share a quick word of encouragement.

Kathy Sweetman group two
Winning Him Without Words Study Group


Over the past several weeks, I’ve been privileged to meet many of you face-to-face. Kathy Sweetman’s church in San Diego has two groups each are studying our books. I visited their study group night and it was simply amazing. I SO wish I was able to do this with every group. (Lord, provide the money and this girl will travel *grin*)

I have been speaking quite a bit locally, and everywhere I go lately I am meeting women who are unequally yoked. Even this weekend a young woman sitting next to me at a retreat mentioned her unbelieving husband. My heart is deeply moved as I see the pain in their faces.

I hug their neck. I look deeply into their eyes and say, “I get it. I know what you are living through. I know how very difficult this walk truly can be. But, I will be the voice to tell you that YOU CAN DO THIS.”

Kathy Sweetman group one
Not Alone Study Group


Of late there seems to be a common issue within our community. I even remember a young woman at our Detroit retreat mention this issue.

“I’m weary.”

Right now the weariness of the loooooong journey is upon many shoulders here and feels like an unrelenting 20-pound sack of pain and burden. My heart breaks over the faces that look at me with tears just about to roll down cheeks, “I’m so weary of the waiting. I’m so tired of the conflicts. I’m so weary that there isn’t any change in my husband.”

I will be the voice to all of you today. The voice of the Holy Spirit as He SHOUTS, “He is worthy of it all! Change will come. I’m working things out behind the scenes that you cannot begin to conceive. My plans are in motion but I’m depending and preparing other people in this process. And moving people and events into place takes time. And I’m preparing you in multiple ways as you step into your Kingdom identity and destiny.”

What do we do in the waiting? We cry. We tell our Jesus all about it. We stay in the Word! We write our prayers in our journals. We read some good books. (I have suggestions, leave a comment and I will offer recommendations.) We reach out. Leave me a comment that I may carry you in prayer. Reach out to your small group at church. Be willing to be honest and tell them you need intercession. Then pray for someone else.

I discovered that when I changed my prayers to focus on another’s needs, my prayer time was much more fulfilling. We need to pray for ourselves and our family. Every day, each person by name. But then pray for others who are feeling weary. Suggestion: Pray for them now in the comments.

I will remind you that our unique journey is very difficult in seasons but it is also filled with riches of the Kingdom that other married believers will never experience. I’m reminded of the story of Carol who married her husband who was a believer. She seemed to have the life I always wanted. They attended church together, raised their kids Christian, etc.

BUT….. There is so much more to this story and I will share it again on Friday.

I love you. I’m praying for you and we are seeing breakthroughs. Press into the Father’s heart and keep contending for yours. Hugs, Lynn

Galatians 6 9

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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. 

Winning Him Without Words

Not Alone; Parenting Kids To Faith


An Open Letter To The Unequally Yoked

 This is a re-post from April 9, 2012 I shared over at the Internet Cafe. I pray it touches your heart. Email it to someone you know who is just learning to walk this path. Hugs, Lynn

I'm posting this on Friday as I'm traveling this weekend. Be back on Monday. Hugs, Lynn

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The Lord impressed upon me to share a post I wrote for Focus on the Family -The Live Forum two weeks ago. I pray you are encouraged and hear God's voice as He speaks to all of us, the Unequally Yoked.

Dear Spiritually Mismatched,

Sometimes people misunderstand our ministry by thinking we are in opposition to God's Word as it commands in

2 Corinthians 6:14 Do not be unequally yoked together with unbelievers. For what fellowship has righteousness with lawlessness? And what communion has light with darkness? (NKJ)

As a woman who has been unequally yoked now for more than 20 years, I understand the truth behind God's desire in this passage. The life of the spiritually mismatched is difficult. There were days I didn't know if I would survive the spiritual warfare.

So let me be clear here. Dineen and I believe that the calling to all unmarried believers is to marry a believer. However, we also know that many arrive unequally yoked because of different paths. Such as my prodigal road or when someone becomes a believer after they marry.

Within these marriages, we want to honor our covenant to God for our marriage and we want to honor our husband. So, we determine that we love God more than we love ourselves and commit to pray the dangerous prayerLord do whatever it takes to save my spouse. We then set out to live a life that honors God even in the midst of two different world views. I can only simply say...it is hard. But,

BUT, we serve God Almighty and His Son, Jesus. All things are possible. I absolutely believe Scripture and what God tells me about His love, grace, power and provision. There have been many lessons I've had to learn on this crazy, mixed-up and bumpy road about surrender, expectations, love and forgiveness but every lesson has been my opportunity to grow closer to God.

For my husband's unbelief has been the cradle to grow my faith and for that I am truly thankful.

We, the unequally yoked, may struggle, hurt deeply, but we will experience God in profound and life-transforming experiences. Today, I wouldn't trade my journey for any other road. God knows what He's doing. He knew it would take a mismatched marriage to breakthrough all my stubborn pride.

I'm so glad He loves me that much. I have found freedom, built character, experienced profound and deep love and have laughed with absolute delight while watching the astonishing supernatural happen around me...because He loves me and I love Him.

I will forever praise the name of God and His Son, Jesus, my Redeemer.

I love Jesus and I love you my friends. Let the Lord of light overwhelm your heart this very hour. Be blessed, Lynn

If you haven't read out book, Winning Him Without Words, the link is below. Be encouraged because our journey is profoundly important in the Kingdom! Hugs, Lynn

Winning Him Small

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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. 

Winning Him Without Words

Not Alone; Parenting Kids To Faith


My Unsaved Spouse and Church This Easter

HandsI am wondering if any of you will be asking your spouse to attend Easter services with you?

Are you feeling anxious about asking? About Him attending?

Let’s talk about that today in the comments. I’m looking for suggestions and ideas to share with our community to encourage our spouses to attend church and yet preserve the peace in our home and at church, if our spouse decides to join the family.

See you in the comments. Hugs, Lynn

 

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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. 

Winning Him Without Words

Not Alone; Parenting Kids To Faith


How Do You "Speak" God?

MouthMy friends, as I listened to a very gifted teacher at my recent healing rooms training I attended teach about our words, I knew right away this applied to our "how do we hear God" series, thus my title "How Do We "Speak" God?" It seems the natural progression, as Scripture says what we hold in our heart is what comes out of our mouths.

A good person produces good things from the treasury of a good heart, and an evil person produces evil things from the treasury of an evil heart. What you say flows from what is in your heart. — Luke 6:45 NLT

God's Word also says we are created in His image, therefore we are creative beings, like our Creator. We just have different ways of expressing that creativity. God's Word shows the power of His words to create, bless and curse. And as image bearers of Christ, we are warned about the power of our very own words to give life or death:

The tongue has the power of life and death, and those who love it will eat its fruit. — Proverbs 18:21 NIV

The more I walk this path of faith and understand the importance of studying God's Word to put truth into my heart so that it will flow from my mouth, the more aware I have become of the words I think and speak throughout my day. Our thought life is a very powerful entity, one that when full of lies and not controlled, leads to bad decisions and hurtful words. This is the heart of where our words pour out, so we must guard our hearts and minds well.

Guard your heart above all else, for it determines the course of your life. — Proverbs 4:23 NLT

Think about that verse for few minutes. I intentionally chose the New Living Translation because of the last part of its wording—determines the course of your life. That also means it can determine the course of our marriages, of our relationships with our children, our friends, our co-workers, etc.

Let me say that again. What we choose to think and speak can determine the course of our marriages, my friends. And let me tell you, that is powerful. I will never forget the day I stood in my husband's home office and realized the words I just spoke had created a negative atmosphere between us. The thought hit me—most likely the Holy Spirit—that if I didn't change my heart and my words, my marriage would fail.

That's when God began opening doors for me to the resources I needed—books like Beloved Unbeliever and a small group for the spiritually mismatched. It started with my recognition of need and God's answer to that prayer. You are a part of the SUM family for the very same reasons. God knows your need, wants you and your marriage to thrive and has answered your prayer with support, resources and encouragement from this amazing "church without walls."

My friends, as God changed my heart, my words began to change. What I spoke to my husband became more about edification and unity. The Holy Spirit worked very hard, I'm sure, to help rein in my tongue that had learned the wrong kind of fruit to bear. And guarding my heart is something I must do constantly for I know who is prowling around with the intent to destroy my family (John 10:10). You know that too.

I once heard a woman speaking to her husband at a grocery store that brought home this truth in such a powerful way. That not only do our words "speak" but also our tone. I am sure the Holy Spirit placed me there that day to see this picture, because I've never forgotten it. With each contempt filled word, this man's head sunk lower and lower.

SUMites, we have the choice each day to use our words to build up or tear down. I have come to the place now where I am constantly looking for ways to build up my husband and our marriage. The amazing thing is this has increased my gratitude for my husband and our marriage dramatically, which has drawn him closer to me and brought more opportunities to share my faith with him. And I am eating the fruit of this in ways I never even thought possible. As a child of multiple divorces, this has changed me profoundly—in a wonderful, God-intended way. Thank You, Jesus!

And this has rippled into every area of my life. My relationships with family, friends and even strangers. This is how we become these open doors for the Kingdom of God to burst through, carrying the love of Jesus. That just blows my mind to a whole new realm. How about you?

My friends, share how you have used your words to bring change to your life, your marriage, your family, etc. Let's encourage and inspire one another right here with our words. SUMites, I've seen you in action and you are GOOD at it!  

I have a special post for Thursday in honor of Easter. I am also flying back to California on Thursday to help my daughter move and help my hubby get our house there ready to be sold (Sniffle. That house was a true gift and blessing from God, as is our new one we are building—more on that soon!)

I intend to continue this speaking series next week to expound upon the power of our words as we speak Scripture and God's promises over our lives and marriages. Pray for the Holy Spirit to help me do justice to that post! That could be an entire book right there. 

I love you, my friends. I believe in you and your hearts for your marriages. I stand with you in prayer for your marriages to be healed, to be restored and to be places of prosperity and thriving. And I am standing with each and every one of you for the SALVATION of your spouse and loved ones. That is my heart for you and the Father's too (2 Peter 3:9)!
SignatureGraphic2

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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. 

Winning Him Without Words

Not Alone; Parenting Kids To Faith


He Became A Believer But It Wasn't What I Expected

SUMite Nation, it appears there is a lot happening in our community. I am so thrilled to share the emails that are arriving and pray they encourage us in our faith. Today, I bring a powerful message from Janet Sommer. Janet has written for us before in the years of her unequally yoked marriage. But today she has a fantastic message that is..... well, unexpected but filled with hope and faith.

And Janet, I LOVE that you call us her at SUM, precious siblings!

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Some people have such grace and joy that reflects in their words, actions and face.  The ones who hear God’s power or see it, quickly they begin smiling and praising God.  Not me.  I first have to pick up my lower jaw off the floor, have a few rounds of recovery time and then can join the rest who are applauding God’s amazing power, mercy and grace.  Even a year after my husband encountered God and accepted Jesus as his savior I still regularly am in shock and disbelief.  I am confident the heavens sit back and prepare to enjoy the show my face displays.

Concert Selfie - Tobymac
Concert Selfie - Tobymac

After an exhausting year of relearning marriage and transitioning into an equally yoked marriage, I found myself at a concert with my family.  Not only were we attendees, but my husband and I were volunteers too.  (Cue a face show for the heavenlies!)  It was surreal to stand there this time with my husband.  At a Christian concert.  For a genre that isn’t exactly his first choice.  Trust me, by now the heavens are ordering extra rounds of popcorn. 

The last time I saw the Tobymac it was an answered prayer I wrote about here: God Is In The Details.

And to make it even better, I unexpectedly experienced at that concert, my daughter with hands raised, and dancing the whole night away.  She earned the moniker “Spirit Dancer” as she repeatedly told us she could feel something in her making her body dance. 

Both my husband and I continue to keep the SUMite community in prayer.  (Did you know he even joins the corporate fast? Cue an encore face show for the heavelines!!) As Tobymac performed “Move (Keep Walking)” God spoke greatly to my heart and gave me words for you, the SUMites, whom He sees, hears and knows. 

I am fairly confident this is your battle cry.  Your war anthem He is singing over you.

Another heartbreak day

Feels like you’re miles away

Don’t even need no shade

When your sun don’t shine, shine

 

Too many passin’ dreams

Roll by like limousines

It’s hard to keep believin’

When they pass you by and by

 

I know your heart been broke again

I know your prayers ain’t been answered yet

I know you’re feeling like you got nothing left

Well, lift your head, it ain’t over yet, ain’t over yet so

 

Another Thanksgiving. Another Christmas. Another new year.  Another week of corporate fasting.  And now Easter is on the horizon bringing a holy holiday facing the struggle of finding balance keeping God honored and at the center.   The longing and heartbreak is truly immeasurable as the same prayers are, yet again, expressed with such faith and hope. 

Move, keep walkin’ soldier keep movin’ on

Move, keep walkin’ until the mornin’ comes

Move, keep walkin’ soldier keep movin’ on

And lift your head, it ain’t over yet, ain’t over yet

Day in and day out it is so tiring to keep enduring this walk of an unequal marriage. The Lord does not want you to stop walking.  It’s a trick—a whisper from the enemy manipulating the truth. The real truth is that God is indeed your promised strength, and His strength is made perfect in our weakness. (2 Corinthians 12:9) Even the running community even knows if you stop for a rest, you will not finish the race.  

Precious siblings, keep walking.  Keep growing in the Word.  Keep drawing in close to the Lord.  Keep making room for quiet time.   Keep teetering the balance beam of honoring God and your spouse.  I promise He will catch you.

This year has not been the hallmark movie I thought it would be.  Far from it.  My rock solid faith has been tested and shaken.  I stood on days I wanted to crumble.  I had ongoing quiet time when I didn’t want to.  I continued with bible study when I had no desire to learn let alone open the bible.  And many considered me strong in the Lord.

We have and are still facing many challenges—physically, emotionally, financially, and spiritually.  The hardships and persecutions have come with rapid fire. Spiritually battles came as quite a shock to me.  Gifts and manifestations that awed me and left me desiring them, were immediately deposited and displayed in my husband. 

While some may rejoice over this obvious confirmation of transformation, I stood watching him have what I wanted.  As if that didn’t rattle me a bit, daily I heard the enemy whisper to me “Look at that.  You’re not really saved, but he is.” 

I knew God’s character.  I believed and knew Him by many names—translated and Hebrew names.  I knew He was for me. In my wait I saw many miracles and answered prayers.  Yet just as the enemy did to Eve, he crept in and tried every manipulation of doubt targeting my belief of salvation and God’s goodness to me. 

You must move and keep walking because the enemy will come back to steal what has been gained, and even attempt to take above and beyond.  And SUMites, I want nothing more than to see you wear out the enemy with your knowledge, readiness, willingness and His strength.  This time, right now, is your training ground.  This now is where the foundations of faith and truth are built, solidified and tested.  Precious siblings, move…. Keep walking

These lyrics could not be more fitting.  We must choose to lift our head, and keep it lifted, at all times.  There are days it will be a choice and not a feeling.  Anytime we take our focus off Jesus we will sink just like Peter.  It is not over yet.  Do not let your hope get poisoned.  (Proverbs 13:12) I promise it is not over yet.  God promises it is not over yet. 

Hold on, hold on

Lord ain’t finished yet

Hold on, hold on

He’ll get you through this

Hold on, hold on

These are the promises

I never will forget

I never will forget 

He will get you through this.  Just as the Israelites were fed and cared for in miraculous ways, He has miracles placed along this journey for you too.  He has many promises for you.  Never forgot the promises and what He has done for you in the past.  (Deuteronomy 8:2, Psalm 77:11, Psalm 105:5, Psalm 143:5) Remembering the past will be essential to your ability to keep walking, to shield your ears from the deception and lies of the enemy and to keep believing His promises made over 2000 years ago are still very much alive and active for you personally today.

God spoke that some hearts have tremendous hurt.  He knows.  He sees your heart is broken.  He knows your prayers aren’t answered yet.  The Lord gave me a vision of this community locked arm in arm standing in a triangular formation.  And He said, “stay in formation. Do not be distracted by who is ahead, behind or next to you.”

There are these “suddenlies” in scripture and our lives.  Suddenly an earthquake shakes the prison doors loose for Paul and Silas (Acts 16:25-26). Suddenly an angel appears and gives Mary a message.  Suddenly Joseph is given a message.  Suddenly a cloud covered and the glory of the LORD appeared. (Numbers 16:42) Suddenly Jesus met them.  “Greetings” he said. They came to him, clasped his feet and worshiped him. (Matthew 28:9)  And suddenly your spouse is a believer.  Suddenly.  Suddenly you’re catapulted to the front lines.  Those of us ahead of you, as well as Lynn and Dineen, will gladly hold your arms up to win this war.  (Exodus 17:11-12) 

Fight bravely and solider on, warrior. 

As we continue to pray for you in great anticipation of your suddenly, please pray for us too. ~ Janet

JanetJanet resides on the East Coast with her high school sweetheart turned husband and their three daughters. She begins and ends her day with God and strives to still be in constant dialogue with Him between. 

 

 

 

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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. 

Winning Him Without Words

Not Alone; Parenting Kids To Faith


A Single Decision Can Change Everything

Today I welcome SUMite, Holly Boone who wrote me this amazing account of her life. Today she shares it with all of us. I pray you are encouraged in your decisions. Hugs, Lynn

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I had a decision to make tonight.

I have been putting it off all week, assuming as the day drew nearer I could make a decision. This wasn’t a big deal, no major crisis, no one would really care either way what I decided. I had been invited to two different gatherings on the same night. So I had to decide which one I would go to. At first I was just trying to decide on which to attend. One was a girl’s night, some at-home shopping at a friend’s house. The other was a dinner with those from a ministry I’m involved in. Both inviting, both I wanted to attend. I mentioned it to my husband, that I had two things going on Thursday night and I had to choose one. Mid-week I still just couldn’t make a decision, I wanted to spend time with all of the people involved and didn’t know how to pick which group. The night before I realized there was a third option; stay home with my family. I know that was God showing me I needed to put my family first tonight.  As the day progressed, the decision was being made, yes, I will stay home with my family. Now this is not to say there is anything wrong with a girl’s night or a night of spurring each other on with a dinner and encouragement. There have been nights that I of course have done those things and there will be more in the future. What is so cool is that God steered me in the way I should go.

I will instruct you and teach you in the way you should go; I will counsel you with My eye upon you. Psalm 32:8.

Up to this point I was thinking about what I would miss out on if I didn’t attend one of the gatherings but now I was looking forward to that chosen time with my family, and let me tell you the fruit of my decision was bountiful!

We have been going through an intense time of teaching boundaries and discipline with our daughter as she pushes back and struggles with obedience. Progress is being made and my husband and I are working together (the snow days gave us some extra time of full days of parenting together which was good!) and I just saw that staying home tonight would help since I have to go back to work for three nights in a row starting tomorrow. I texted my husband at 3:00 today that I would be staying home tonight and told him what was on the menu for dinner. He replied back with a smiley face :) Just that simple little gesture reassured me I had made the right decision. It meant something to him that I made a choice to stay home.

When my husband arrived home Sophie set the table and dinner was served. Right before I sat down Sophie said “Mommy can we pray first and can I say the prayer?” Now Sophie has prayed before. She prays at night or after we’ve had a moment that needed forgiveness, and sometimes when I ask she will pray at dinner but she never has asked to say the prayer at dinner on her own. She reached for my hand and her daddy’s hand and started her prayer.

“Dear God, thank you for this wonderful day, thank you for this family dinner, and thank you for my mommy and daddy, in Jesus name, Amen.”

Behold, children are a gift of the Lord, the fruit of the womb is a reward. Psalm 127:3 That moment right there was worth every contraction or labor pain times a million. My husband looked at me and asked if she always prays like that. I told him she does pray but has never asked to do it at dinner without my prompting.  He told her that was a really sweet prayer. Usually when he is home for dinner I say it really quickly with her before he is in the room or we don’t say it at all. I think Sophie may have just changed that.

She then asked if we could turn the lights off and light the candles so we could not only have a family dinner but a “candlelit family dinner”. So we did. We proceeded to the living room after dinner for ice cream and games. I asked my husband how much work he had to do tonight and what did he need to get done and he replied “I’m not doing any work tonight”. I believe he was honoring my decision, my choice, to stay home when I could have had a night away, by making his own choice to put work away and savor this sweet time we were having. And above all these put on love, which binds everything together in perfect harmony. Colossians 3:14.

My home was in perfect harmony tonight. Each one of us loved the other well. God showed me to put my family first tonight and His mercies and gifts showered us the rest of the evening. Sophie bowed her head to God in thanksgiving and sweet blessings flowed from that. My husband, by God’s grace, saw the importance of a puzzle and games over TV in the background or work.

God works like this every day. This was a beautiful picture tonight but He also reminded me that there are moments that aren’t this beautiful that are still filled with His mercies and that we are to Rejoice always! May I remember to rejoice always even in the disobedience, because it brings me closer to seeing my own disobedience and a closer relationship with the Lord. Rejoice always even when the boundaries are pushed because I see her as my little arrow then and the gifts and strengths God will use in her future to bring Him glory. Rejoice always even when I wonder if I am teaching her enough to prepare her for the battles and decisions she will face in the future because tonight she showed me it is sinking in, she is hearing me and she CHOSE to thank God tonight, in front of her daddy and it hit a sweet spot with him.

Therefore, as you have received Christ Jesus the Lord, so walk in Him, having been firmly rooted and now being built up in Him and established in your faith, just as you were instructed and overflowing with gratitude. Colossians 2:6-7.

I am overflowing with gratitude for the union I have with Christ, that rock, that firm root that allows me to abide in Him which results in being able to make a decision that seemed to be small and not important but that was part of God’s plan to pour love on us tonight and draw me closer to Him and bring him much glory.  Praise God!

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Holly BooneI love studying God's Word and encouraging others through it as I write what God is teaching me. I have been married ten years to the kindest man I know and anticipate the day his heart is opened to God's truths.  God pursued me relentlessly and in my mid 30's after living with devastating decisions and a lifestyle of debauchery I accepted Christ as my savior and I have been on fire for the Lord ever since. We have a four-year-old girl and are awaiting how God will grow our family through adoption. I am the director of the M.O.M.S. Ministry in my hometown and have a heart for encouraging women to meet God in His living and perfect Word. 

 

*****

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Healing The Heart Of The Spiritually Mismatched

Over the past several weeks we have covered many topics about loneliness and suffering. We have looked at these through the lens of God’s Word and our unique marriage struggles.

I feel as though it’s time to wrap up this series. So, how do we find healing?  And how do we maintain our healing as our struggle continues in a marriage between a believer and unbeliever?

Well, way back in December many of you shared exactly what has brought healing to your life. I want to share them here today. I also want you to add to this discussion in the comments. What brings healing to our hearts?

Here are the thoughts SUMites left in the comments:

  • Focus on the good and not what I don’t have.
  • Look for ways to pour love into others.
  • Set with other “married, singles – misfits. (Bible study, time at a coffee shop, on the phone, etc.)
  • Start a small group. Share, pray, study.
  • Join a Bible study.
  • Have safe people in your life who understand and don’t judge.
  • PRAY
  • Focus on Jesus.
  • Trust God for family’s salvation.
  • Visit SUM – Read an email. Read a comment left by another SUMite. Comment back and forth and encourage another SUMite and be encouraged.
  • Consider how my loneliness is actually a blessing. I’m encouraged to see other couples at church. I am believing God desires this for me.
  • Seeing Jesus as my husband – My One true love!
  • Walk in the fruit of the Spirit.
  • Recognize lies of the enemy. Example: SUMites don’t fit in anywhere at our church.
  • Cling to the promise of 1 Peter 3:1.

These are amazing and all of them are true, powerful and WORK in our lives. Amen Jesus, AMEN

When you begin to walk in the truths and power of Jesus Christ this is where we live everyday: Peace, joy contentment, hopeful expectant.

I love all of you so very much. I’m deeply encouraged every day by your love, devotion and pursuit of the Kingdom of God and the love of Jesus Christ. You are MY FAMILY. I love and adore you forever. Hugs, Lynn

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THRIVE in your Spiritually Mismatched Marriage and raise your children to faith. Our books are filled with practical experience and Biblical advice. 

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GOING TO CHURCH ALONE

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

GOING TO CHURCH ALONE.

Gang, can I just say – Grrrrrrrrr

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Next up: Spiritual leadership

Hugs, Lynn

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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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Specifics of the Spiritually Mismatched

Well I realize that that past few posts have challenged us as we consider suffering. We also looked at what Jesus clearly told us. Jesus said:

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

Sometimes I find that Christians only want to read the passages that affirm. But becoming a mature believer, means that we must wrangle with these difficult and challenging passages. When I read this scripture, it offered me two things. One, I realize my life with an unbeliever is actually not surprising to God. And two, it relieves me of guilt or condemnation that somehow I’ve failed because my husband hasn’t come to faith.

And by the way, most of us who have been unequally yoked have felt that guilt. Many of you have told me that your pastor or some other “well-meaning” person from church has asked you the stupid questions such as:

  • Didn’t you know he was an unbeliever when you married him?
  • Perhaps you haven’t prayed enough for his salvation.
  • Maybe if you just witness a little harder he will find Jesus.
  • Perhaps you aren’t living enough like Jesus in front of him.

Can I just tell you these irk me? Now hear me, THESE ARE LIES FORM THE PIT OF HELL.

You can’t save your spouse. Only Jesus can save him. Your responsibility is to love. Love God the Father, Jesus Christ and the Spirit first and obey His Word, then love your spouse the best that you can and finally believe that God will do all that is possible to reach your spouse.

So today I want to speak to your heart. I stand in faith and through the truths of the Word and by the power and blood of Jesus Christ, I speak over you truth. You are not responsible for your spouse’s salvation. Only Jesus saves.

I release you from guilt and fear over this issue. I say to you that your heart is made whole in Jesus and words of pain from others now lose their power. I speak to your heart and life and say that the condemnation you have carried over your marriage to an unbeliever is broken. I also refute and renounce the lie that God is mad at you or is punishing you because you find yourself in an unequally yoked marriage.

The truth is that God desires families to thrive and His plan to demonstrate love begins in marriage and family.

I understand that our unique marriages are very difficult and there are some marriage situations where oppression and abuse are present. Hear me clearly now as well. God doesn’t want us to cling to some ideal version of marriage where abuse and oppression exist. Get help and separate yourself from the abuse and find your healing.

Today, I once again want you to realize the great authority to pray and protect your family through the Word of God.

For the believing wife brings holiness to her marriage, and the believing husband brings holiness to his marriage. Otherwise, your children would not be holy, but now they are holy. — 1 Corinthians 7:14 NLT

This verse has become a powerhouse in my life. I hope to tell you one day all that has resulted in my family and marriage because God in His great love and mercy placed this passage in His Word. Stay tuned *grin*

Okay, how many of you have receive words of condemnation from other "well-meaning" believers? How did you process through their words? What passages of scripture have been life-changing in your marriage?

I will see you in the comments my family. Today, live in utter confidence because 1 Corinthians 7:14 is for us. Just as God is for us! Hallelujah! Thank you Jesus!!!!!  Hugs, Lynn

Romans 8 1

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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. 

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Yep, We Are Lonely

 

image from www.spirituallyunequalmarriage.comHi SUMites,

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

image from www.spirituallyunequalmarriage.com

*****

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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. 

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Not Alone; Parenting Kids To Faith


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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THRIVE in your Spiritually Mismatched Marriage and raise your children to faith. Our books are filled with practical experience and Biblical advice. 

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Not Alone; Parenting Kids To Faith


New Resource: Scriptures for SUMites

ScriptureforSUMHello SUM family! Forgive me for being absent Tuesday. I've been dealing with a shoulder injury since April that has turned out to be a bone spur and has become quite painful. Thankfully we know the cause and surgery is scheduled for mid December. 

But I do have a new resource to share with you today. It has my favorite Scripture promises for us to know and pray over our pre-believer and our family. I pray they bless you greatly! Just click on the picture and download your copy.

And thank you again, SUM family, for making my 50th birthday so very special and blessed with so much love! I love you so much, Lynn Donovan. Can't imagine doing life without you. And SUMites, you bless me every day with your love and courage. I love you so much!
SignatureGraphic2

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Our Unbelieving Spouse, The Kids and Halloween

I posted this last year, October 30, 2014

Greetings, 

Halloween 2014It’s a Thursday afternoon. I’m in my office typing, sorting and thinking. Worship music is playing softly, drifting down the hall from the kitchen. Rain is on the way. Oh, thank you Papa!!!! 

I have some thoughts about tomorrow. Halloween was always one of the highlights of my year as a child. I mean really. Come on. Free candy…. It’s a day to pretend you are someone else, costumes, parties, bobbing for apples, being scared (but not really). I know that there is disagreement about how believers should handle this day. I’m not going to judge. You need to follow the Holy Spirit as He directs your heart for your family. 

But today I want to share a prayer God has placed heavily on my spirit and with power. Because tomorrow after the kids are home sorting their candy, after the paint is washed from their faces and the jack-o-lanterns have long burned out, there is a reality. 

There is a very real enemy of God and His people. And on this night in particular as the midnight hour approaches, there is a furor of activity in the demonic realm. Witchcraft peaks and the purposes of evil are spoken over towns, cities, entire regions. 

But…… 

We are the SUMITE NATION. We are the light of God shining brightly into our realm of the Kingdom. Our light is so powerful and anointed that the curses spoken in the darkness cannot land in our home or community. I absolutely believe that because we are all strategically placed around the globe in different cities, we are those who will break the intended purposes of evil with the glory of our powerful Jesus that shines from our spirt. 

Enjoy the antics, face painting and the mounds of candy, Snickers is my personal favorite. Grace your husband with the freedom to take the kids out for trick-o-treat. But also, let’s stand together, as a united SUMite Nation of believers. We are the light that has been strategically placed into our communities around the globe. Let’s pray together and let’s pray with power. Hugs, Lynn 

Holy and all-powerful Lord, Jesus who holds the keys, and Holy Spirit who directs my words, I know that there is a very real enemy of your people and Kingdom. Lord, I also know that you are our Victorious King who sends your mighty angel armies at our request to stand for our homes and communities. 

Lord, Jesus, we are now standing with a powerful light that extends up from our spirit into the spiritual realm. We are speaking/praying against evil, witchcraft, and occult intentions that are spoken to destroy our peaceful and love-filled homes. We declare this work of evil is powerless and falls to the ground. Lord, we stand as your Royal Priests and decree that our faith and love is more powerful than all the devices of the evil one. No weapon formed against us will prosper. Curses spoken in the darkness are immobilized. They are cast back against those who speak them. Lord, release your Holy spirit with great power as we pray and shelter our valley, our city, our nation from the intentions of this night. 

And on the marrow, we will rise up into a season of joyous Thanksgiving. We will be the ordinary fathers, wives, husbands, mothers, who have a love that the enemy CAN NOT FIGHT. You reign. You are glorified. You are Holy and darkness cannot stand in Your marvelous light. 

In the powerful name above all names, Jesus. Amen

 

image from www.spirituallyunequalmarriage.com

Have a safe week and make this fun for your kids and not scary. Hugs, Lynn

On Friday I have another post on our Spiritual Armor and on November 2nd. Dineen and I have a BIG announcement. Stay tuned family. So much is going on in the Kingdom and we all get to be part of it. Woo Hoo!!!!

*****

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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. 

Winning Him Without Words

Not Alone; Parenting Kids To Faith


What About Tithing?

I stated earlier in the week that on Saturdays we will post relevant articles from our archives that will address common spiritually mismatched issues in marriage. This is a re-post from April 28, 2009. It remains true, relevant and powerful for the unequally yoked who yearn to tithe. Hugs, Lynn

******

For the next several Tuesdays we will be answering the questions left on last week's Open Forum. And we love your questions! So please feel free to ask more.

This week's question is from Amanda:

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

 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Praying and believing,
Dineen

 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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Not Alone Book Banner 2015

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Introduction: Back to School Starts Here

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

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

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

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

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

Over the next five weeks we will: 

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

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

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

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

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

All in His love,
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Joseph: Fruitful in Challenging Places (part 2)

Blessings
Yesterday we stopped right at the point in Joseph's story where things looked pretty good. God's favor had blessed Potiphar's house greatly, but then things took a turn to the worst. Joseph was falsely accused of trying to rape Potiphar's wife and Joseph wound up in prison. What happened to God's favor?

But the Lord was with Joseph and showed him steadfast love and gave him favor in the sight of the keeper of the prison. And the keeper of the prison put Joseph in charge of all the prisoners who were in the prison. Whatever was done there, he was the one who did it. The keeper of the prison paid no attention to anything that was in Joseph's charge, because the Lord was with him. And whatever he did, the Lord made it succeed. — Genesis 39:21-23 ESV

God’s favor never left him. Despite the false accusation (sin of another person) and unfairly sent to prison (consequences due to the bad choices of others), God’s steadfast love and favor remained with Joseph, and did not change.  

A series of events (read Genesis 41) brought Joseph to the service of Pharaoh, where Joseph was given authority over an entire land and was given the name Zaphenath-paneah, which means treasure of the glorious rest.

Moreover, Pharaoh said to Joseph, “I am Pharaoh, and without your consent no one shall lift up hand or foot in all the land of Egypt. — Genesis 41:44 ESV

My friends, this struck me as so significant to the atmosphere we bring to our homes. As Lynn shared during our Peter Bible study, people have described her home is peaceful. I’ve experienced this as well. First, years back when we lived Memphis when I was a new believer, in our home in San Jose, and now in our new home in Florida—my husband’s family has told me this several times and that so encourages me that God is working for their good as well as my husband’s.

Just as God brought peace and order to all these places through Joseph, God does this through us! We walk in the favor and blessings of our Lord right in our own homes, and we become a conduit of blessings. Abba blesses our marriages, our pre-believers, our children, our finances, our work, our relationships—every good thing comes from Him (James 1:17). My friends, I know we feel lonely at times in our mismatched marriages, and we don’t always feel like our marriages are blessed, but they are. I imagine in ways we don’t even realize. God’s love and favor are not dependent upon our circumstances. They are part of His character and shared with us when we are in relationship with Him. In other words, we’re His kids! 

What I find even more profound and inspiring though it what Joseph says a few paragraphs chapters later.

Joseph named his second son Ephraim, for he said, “God has made me fruitful in this land of my grief.” — Genesis 41:52

Did you know that the Hebrew meaning for Ephraim is “double fruitful”? Not only was Joseph favored and blessed, he was fruitful too. Even in the place he called his “land of affliction” (ESV), he saw what he was able to do in such a place. He was a man who entrusted his life to God’s hands not matter what it looked like. And even in the challenging places (prison) he walked in favor and bore fruit. 

Dear friend, Joseph’s story is our story too. We are overcomers, who carry the very presence, favor and blessings of God in our homes. We produce the fruit of the Spirit (Gal. 5:22-23) in these places that we stand for such a time as this. It’s up to us to decide if we will see only the “affliction,” or if we will look for the blessings and produce fruit. I want to encourage you to do the latter. Ask the Holy Spirit to help you do that. He’s a great perspective changer! 

In the comments, share your Joseph story. What blessings has God brought to your pre-believer through you? How has Abba made you fruitful in your mismatched marriage?

Can’t wait to hear your stories!
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New on myKLOVE

My friends, this week I have a video on myKLOVE that demonstrates our identity in Christ Jesus. This was truly a Holy Spirit inspired idea that I am blessed to share with the myKLOVE community and with our SUMite community here. 

If you haven't downloaded the myKLOVE app, go check it out here. Lynn and I are so thankful for the opportunity to contribute to myKLOVE. It's an amazing ministry.

So, let's be the glass God has created us to be, my friends. When we know who we are and Whose we are, we are secure and set on a firm foundation. And that is the most powerful message we have for our pre-believers, for our children and for a world that is desperate for hope and love.

I love you, SUMites! Hugs! ~Dineen

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Books of Peter: Secure in the Face of Opposition (part 2)

6a00d83451ee9f69e201b8d11ef502970c-320wiDear friends, on Wednesday we talked about how it was Peter’s intent to encourage his readers to be of one mind as believers, to place loving each other as brothers and sisters in Christ above disagreements and insults. 

Finally, all of you should be of one mind. Sympathize with each other. Love each other as brothers and sisters. Be tenderhearted, and keep a humble attitude. Don’t repay evil for evil. Don’t retaliate with insults when people insult you. Instead, pay them back with a blessing. That is what God has called you to do, and he will bless you for it. For the Scriptures say,

“If you want to enjoy life
and see many happy days,
keep your tongue from speaking evil
and your lips from telling lies.
Turn away from evil and do good.
Search for peace, and work to maintain it.
The eyes of the Lord watch over those who do right,
and his ears are open to their prayers.
But the Lord turns his face
against those who do evil.” 

Now, who will want to harm you if you are eager to do good? But even if you suffer for doing what is right, God will reward you for it. So don’t worry or be afraid of their threats. — 1 Peter 3:8-13

I also proposed that this is our model to follow with all those we encounter, whether they believe as we do or not, and that what we have learned in our mismatched places is exactly what the world needs right now. Launching from the truths I listed on Wednesday of what we have learned and are learning in our mismatched marriages, we can:

  • seek unity with those we encounter everyday, not to adjust our beliefs but show freedom of choice as God has given us and therefore show others they too have the freedom to choose Jesus, and not feel forced.
  • love others unconditionally with tenderness and humility so they catch a glimpse of Jesus’ heart for and acceptance of them just as they are. They don’t have to clean up their act first to earn salvation.
  • use our words to bring encouragement and love to those who need it and as we do this and earn their trust, we can speak the truth of Jesus into their lives in that same love.
  • practice hospitality so that others may see what a home filled with the peace of Christ looks and feels like.
  • stand before our God and lift up the ones we know need Him and ask the Lord to bring His presence and help.
  • be alert to opportunities to help others with whatever resources we have. God always seems to provide exactly what is needed for the present situation. Remember the fish and loaves. Look at what you do have and how you can use it help. God will multiply it.
  • be a blessing everywhere you go. At the grocery store, on the phone with the insurance company representative (that’s a challenging one for me!), at your child’s school, at church, shopping at the mall, at the restaurants you frequent. Even at the park or playground. Smiles and kind greetings open doors of opportunity for us to show Jesus. Most likely it won’t happen the very first time, but the more we do it, the more those divine appointments will present themselves and we’ll be ready. 

My friends, I am so moved to seek Abba for this place of security. I want to live what I picture in my mind. That when I am faced with opposition to my belief in Jesus and His Word, I can share the truth in love without feeling threatened or defensive, so that the other person will feel unthreatened and even shocked by what they see. As they see Jesus in me.

There is one final part to this, my friends, that I feel compelled to share. This place of security must be grounded in humility. As Peter says, “a humble mind.” The Greek translation uses only one word for this phrase, philophrōn, and it means to act kindly from a mind-set of personal affection.

For if pride enters in any way, then we become that clanging cymbal, because pride crowds out love. 

If I speak in the tongues of men and of angels, but have not love, I am a noisy gong or a clanging cymbal. — 1 Cor. 13:1

It is a fine line that we walk, my friends, but we have a great big God who equips and guides His kids well. The beauty of this has become my simplest prayer of simply living authentic faith. As we reach the end of our study of Peter, let’s pray it together.

Lord, help us be the people You created to be so that by just being who we are and secure in Whose we are, we show our pre-believers, our children and the world Your Son Jesus. In His saving name we pray, amen.

We live it. He does it. This is the kingdom of God on Earth.

Standing with you, my friends!
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Submission - The Books of Peter

image from www.spirituallyunequalmarriage.comWives, in the same way submit yourselves to your own husbands so that, if any of them do not believe the word, they may be won over without words by the behavior of their wives, when they see the purity and reverence of your lives. 3 Your beauty should not come from outward adornment, such as elaborate hairstyles and the wearing of gold jewelry or fine clothes. Rather, it should be that of your inner self, the unfading beauty of a gentle and quiet spirit, which is of great worth in God’s sight. For this is the way the holy women of the past who put their hope in God used to adorn themselves. They submitted themselves to their own husbands, like Sarah, who obeyed Abraham and called him her lord. You are her daughters if you do what is right and do not give way to fear. —1 Peter 3:1-6

When I was a young wife, this passage raised my hackles. But as I have now lived more than two decades with my unbelieving spouse, I testify to the power and truth behind this wisdom.

I know that there remains great confusion in the “church” over what Peter intends here. I’ve known women who were told to submit to men who were abusive and evil. Although I think in general, church leadership has steered away from this kind of demand in the past decade. I know that within homes, especially marriages of the unequally yoked, husbands have quoted this verse to their believing wives in order to manipulate and control them. Let me be clear, if a man quotes this to his wife he is speaking out of fear and arrogance. His intent is not love but to control.

A husband of integrity would never need to speak this verse to his wife. And a wife should never acquiesce to a man who holds scripture over her to control her. And wives you don’t get off easy either. Mutual respect and love should reign supreme in your relationship and thus a husband would never think of manipulating his wife in such a way. Love and respect must be the core of every marriage. Of course, people aren’t perfect and most of us are somewhere on the path learning to love and respect our spouse well.

Reading back through 1 Peter 3, I can only offer what I have learned in the two plus decades that I have tried to apply this passage to my life. Trying to win my husband with my words of confrontation, condemnation, conviction, manipulation, fear, and begging, well….. it just doesn’t work. Period. The end.

You know what works? The behavior of purity and reverence of my life. What does that look like? Well, my husband CANNOT deny that I believe. He sees the hours I spend with my Lord. He has witnessed my years of praying for him and our family. He sees that I am clothed with hope. He sees that I possess a relentless well spring of joy and that I am a person of profound faith.

I am adorned with a grace that allows me to forgive the unforgivable and I have modeled that to him and our children. I have been honored with an unfading beauty which is the Spirit of the Living God. My husband may not understand it, but our home is a peaceful place. It is a sanctuary that allows him, our children and myself to live authentically. I have friends who call and want to visit just because our house is and I quote, “so peaceful.” My faith changes the atmosphere of my home and often improves the atmosphere wherever I go. (More stories for another day)

I have willingly laid down many dreams and hopes in support of this one man because God said he is worth it. I’ve cried at times and then I’ve prayed with power. I’ve lived the best that I can within the love and power of Jesus. I have adorned myself with humility, most of the time *grin*, and have done the right thing by loving him with a full heart. The dreams I had as a young wife may have been lost but in return God has given me abundantly more than I could have hoped, conceived or dreamed. And God is not finished yet.

At the end of this particular passage Peter urges wives to do what is right and when we do, we will walk in the legacy of Godly women who have gone before us. How beautiful is that? I want to pass this legacy on to my daughter.

And finally Peter says, “Do not give way to fear.”

Submission is not fear. Submission is love and respect. And by the way, it goes both ways between a husband and a wife. Now, this is where the rubber meets the road: Submission is meeting the needs of our spouse. As a believer it means meeting his/her needs even when yours remain unmet. But do not fear because over time, just like me, you will discover that your husband  will begin to meet your needs and he will treat you with respect because you modeled it first. And my dear wives, if there are needs in your heart that are never met by your earthly husband, Jesus will more than meet them all.

I leave you now with a story of ultimate submission. I pray this story wrecks you in every good way because this man's submission was for us:

Jesus Christ, who, though he was God, did not demand and cling to his rights as God, but laid aside his mighty power and glory, taking the disguise of a slave and becoming like men. And he humbled himself even further, going so far as actually to die a criminal’s death on a cross.

Yet it was because of this that God raised him up to the heights of heaven and gave him a name which is above every other name, that at the name of Jesus every knee shall bow in heaven and on earth and under the earth, and every tongue shall confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.

Wives, do not fear, let Christ raise you up. Because when He does, your husband will fall to his knees and acknowledge that you were right all along and he will proclaim that Jesus is Lord! Never stop praying. Never stop hoping and never stop re-presenting Christ in your marriage, home, family and to the world!

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The Books of Peter: Secure in the Face of Opposition (part 1)

6a00d83451ee9f69e201b8d11ef502970c-320wi

Finally, all of you should be of one mind. Sympathize with each other. Love each other as brothers and sisters. Be tenderhearted, and keep a humble attitude. Don’t repay evil for evil. Don’t retaliate with insults when people insult you. Instead, pay them back with a blessing. That is what God has called you to do, and he will bless you for it. For the Scriptures say,

“If you want to enjoy life
and see many happy days,
keep your tongue from speaking evil
and your lips from telling lies.
Turn away from evil and do good.
Search for peace, and work to maintain it.
The eyes of the Lord watch over those who do right,
and his ears are open to their prayers.
But the Lord turns his face
against those who do evil.”

Now, who will want to harm you if you are eager to do good? But even if you suffer for doing what is right, God will reward you for it. So don’t worry or be afraid of their threats. — 1 Peter 3:8-13 NLT

My friends, these passages have come together with something I felt the Holy Spirit impressing upon me during my walk and pray the other day. We live in a time of opposition and daily see what that looks like all over the world. Yet it is more likely in places like our churches, on Facebook and social media, and the internet that we come in direct contact with opposition. And let’s not forget that we SUMites live with it every day as well. Whether it is spoken or not, we stand in places where our beliefs are not accepted in our very homes.

As I walked this particular day, the thought or pondering came to a question. 

What would happen if we were so secure in who we are in Jesus and what we believed that no matter what the opposition we faced, we did not feel threatened or the need to prove ourselves or God.

It starts with our identity and along with that knowledge, understanding that we are truly secure in Christ. The Bible says throughout the Old and New Testaments that God is our refuge and our safety. 

The Lord is my light and my salvation; whom shall I fear? The Lord is the stronghold of my life; of whom shall I be afraid? 

Though an army encamp against me, my heart shall not fear; though war arise against me, yet I will be confident.— Psalm 27:1 & 3

I will say to the Lord, “My refuge and my fortress, my God, in whom I trust. — Psalm 91:2

David faced great opposition, yet stood his ground in his faith and trust in the God he knew would not fail him. That didn’t make his path any easier but the truth sustained him to keep going, to keep believing and in the end, it was God who proved him.

I remember as a new believer feeling overwhelmed by my husbands questions about my growing faith and also feeling so ill-equipped to defend it. And I am thankful for that because it thrust me into the Bible to study its truths and truly understand what I believed. That is the foundation I have now that enables me to answer my husband’s questions without feeling threatened or the need to prove myself, because I trust God to prove His presence and truth in me. Even if I must risk my husband’s opinion of me, I know I must stand on God’s truth.

Peter’s intent in these Scriptures was to encourage his readers to be of one mind as believers. He encouraged them to place loving each other as brothers and sisters in Christ above the disagreements and insults that seem inevitable as human beings who interpret everything we perceive, read and see in our own unique ways. 

Peter calls us, challenges us, to rise above and agree to disagree when needed so that we can maintain the true focus of doing good out of love for one another. Let me propose that this is our model to follow with all those we encounter, whether they believe as we do or not. We know this better than most, SUMites, and what we have learned in our mismatched places is exactly what the world needs right now.

In line with 1 Peter 3:8-13 we have learned and are learning to: 

  • seek unity in our marriages with our pre-believer.
  • love our pre-believer unconditionally with tenderness and humility in our acceptance of them just as they are, just as Jesus does.
  • hold our words with more care and speak with love and truth.
  • bring peace of Christ to our homes and maintain it through prayer.
  • stand before our God in the righteousness of Christ Jesus as we pray and seek the Lord’s face not only for ourselves but for our pre-believer and our children.
  • be zealous to do good even when we have felt limited.
  • be a blessing to our pre-believer and to bless them even in the face of opposition.

No matter what I am faced with, my friends, I want to be so secure in my knowledge of and faith in God that I can listen to another person share their beliefs and not feel threatened within my own. Because I believe when we are secure in such a place, that we can listen and not try to change their mind, they are more willing to hear what we have to say. 

It is not our job to change their mind or their heart. It is God’s. When we leave that to Him and simply share in an exchange of beliefs with another person, we allow the love of Christ to be present and begin that change of heart and perspective in a lost soul.

I will stop here for now. In the second part of this post I will share what these things we have learned look like when we apply them to the world at large and live our faith from this place of security in who are and Whose we are. My friends, it’s a place I firmly believe will have greatest impact on the world and those God is bringing into our realms to love and share Jesus. And there is an element to doing this that Peter mentions right in his words that I feel is crucial to the mix. Can’t wait to share that with you!

Love you, my friends. So thankful to be living this life with you!
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Testimony Time by Noely Watt

Hello Lynn, 

Last night I had the privilege to share my testimony in front of  a group of about 23-25 ladies in my neighborhood. I then shared an update on what God is doing in our family, especially how He has blessed us even though my husband and I are in a spiritually mismatched marriage. One of those ladies sent me your website, I am thankful. 

My story is very similar to yours and I find myself so thankful to God for how He has taken care of us and others in our situation in filling the gaps. I too made all of the typical mistakes and grew very unhappy at the fact that my husband wouldn't do what I wanted him to do, most importantly, he wasn't letting me save him, yes, I thought this way. My husband too, grew hostile of my faith and about the "new man" in my life. This changed once my attitude changed. Thank God! 

The Lord has so lovingly helped me change my outlook on things and has thought me to love my husband, to love him some more, and then to love him a little more :). It's a bit funny now when I think back at all of the things my husband had to endure because I still didn't understand many things about how God works. I eventually realized that it wasn't up to me to do the saving, Jesus doesn't need my help. I also learned that God is doing something awesome in my husband's life because God loves him more than I do. 

God continues to woo and pursue my husband and it just makes me smile knowing that in God's time, and in His way, something will happen. 

The Lord began to draw me closer to Himself, He began to enrich me with the Word and with His love to the point that my faith became alive as I saw God moving in our midst so powerfully.  

My husband has been the biggest blessing in my life because thanks to his unbelief, I had to run to My Abba Father and I learned to fully depend in Him, I found my support and refuge in Him. The Lord gave me this verse one day and I fell in love with Him all over again.

Isaiah 54:5 For your Maker is your husband- The Lord Almighty is His name- The Holy One of Israel is your Redeemer; He is called the God of all the Earth. 

We have two children who have accepted Christ as their personal savior and walk faithfully with Him which is a big joy in my life. Throughout our differences of opinion and faith, God stepped in the gap for our children and He became their Heavenly Daddy. Glory be to Him always! 

1 Peter 3 is my marriage verse I live by now, I rejoice in His word and in sharing that unconditional love with others. Apart from Jesus, we can do nothing and in Him, we can do all things through Him because He is our strength, what Joy! My job is to respect and love my husband. He is a wonderful guy and a loving dad to our children which I know pleases The Lord.  It just feels so wonderful to know that God has a plan for him and has him at the center of His will. 

So thank you Lynn for sharing your story through your books, Internet, TV, Radio etc. May God continue to bless you , your Family and your ministry. 

In Christ,
Noely Watt

"In their hearts humans plan their course, but the LORD establishes their steps."  Proverbs 16:9 (NIV)

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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. 

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Not Alone; Parenting Kids To Faith


20 Years of Parenting In Faith

SUMites,

Train up a ChildIt’s late in the day on Sunday, Mother’s Day. And it’s quiet now as my son and his family have left for home and my hubby of 23 years is having a Sunday afternoon snooze. I’ve waited years and cried many tears hoping for a day such as today. Mother’s Day was simple yet profound. My family attended church with me this morning and then lunch was at our house. Yep, Mike sat beside me in church again.

Yet as I’m alone in my hallway office, typing, my heart is stirring with some emotions and thoughts about you.

I know Mother’s Day can turn out to be a giant disappointment to many in our community. I want you to know right now, I’m praying for your disappointed heart, even broken heart. Often our family members don’t remember to send a card or phone. Often our husband doesn’t remember and we feel forgotten, taken advantage and hurt. We tend to have high expectations of this day that even a super human would be unable to meet. Yet, we want to be validated for the blood, sweat and tears of mothering. So, let me share some words I scribbled down about two weeks ago as I was thinking about mothering from God’s place of vision.

Two weeks ago my daughter, who will turn 20 years old next month was home from college. She was preparing an assignment for one of her classes in which she was to interview her father about his thoughts, his formative years, his beliefs and opinions. I wanted so badly to listen in but I refrained. I did hear one question from the other room however that struck a deep cord in my soul. She asked her dad, “Do you believe in God?”

I couldn’t hear his reply in the distant room. But as I sat there on the couch, 20 years of God’s faithfulness rush past my eyes. Here is my little girl, whom I prayed for like crazy, dragged to church, preached to, loved on, protected and begged Jesus to keep her heart in His hands, here is my little girl, all grown up… Now as a young woman, full of faith, brave enough to have a conversation with her Dad about faith.

It’s 20 years in the making but I’ve been blessed to see the validation of my years of mothering.

So, today, I will be the voice of hope for you today. I will tell you that the years of poop wiping, dragging kids to church, praying with them, crying with your kids, the years of soccer practice, play rehearsal, cramming for a Monday morning test, the cooking, cleaning, laundry, and on and on and on… All those efforts and thankless tasks, well mom. THEY ARE WORTH IT.

To watch this moment where my daughter, a believer in Jesus, interviews her dad about faith, this is what I poured 20 years of my life out to watch happen before my very eyes.

Faithfulness.

My friends, it’s not just God’s faithfulness but my faithfulness as a mother. We, the believing parent, absolutely impact our children’s faith decision. What we speak over them is powerful. What we model is the life they will live. What we pray matters.

So this Mother’s Day I want to share what I did as an ordinary mama beginning years ago. I prayed. I prayed for that child since before she was born. I pray for her now, by name, every day. I pray for her friends, her heart, her studies, her teachers, her mind, her faith, her concerns, triumphs and heartbreaks. I pray for her future spouse and I pray for her in-laws.

My dear SUMites, if we as parents aren’t praying for our children, who is?

We have the most profound opportunity to prepare our children for success in this world but even greater than that, we have the privilege to prepare them to live forever in the Kingdom of God.

Our prayers matter.

Our prayers are powerful.

God’s heart is moved by the prayers of a righteous mama.

Release your unmet expectations today and just know down deep, you are doing the right thing even if not one noticed today. God approves and is so very well pleased in you, Mom.

I love you. 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. 

Winning Him Without Words

Not Alone; Parenting Kids To Faith