77 posts categorized "Unequally Yoked"

Fear of Husbands - The Prescription For Fear

1 john 4 18 smallI was deeply moved by many of the comments on Friday’s post about the fear of man. Can I just say  - BLESS YOU, SUMites because of your courage to voice your real struggles. I want to share a comment as this is the crux of many of the comments last week:

The first thing that struck me was fear of my husband, his reaction to different things I might say or do, I fear I will push him farther away from God or me even by saying or doing the wrong thing.

I understand your heart, as I lived in this very place. Three years into my marriage, after a terrible night where my husband and I argued about faith, I woke up the next morning and realized, I am unequally yoked. O Lord, help. I don’t have a clue what to do now.

I lived for a long time in fear of my husband’s comments or reactions to any discussions of faith. And even more difficult was the rejection I felt when I would invite him to church or other faith centered events and he would decline. In fact, I think I still have moments where the rejection can pang my heart.

In the last several months I’ve been utterly fascinated with the developments in the presidential election. My husband and I often are at odds about politics. And years ago discussion about, politics, religion and social issues that conflicted with Biblical truths were sure to ignite WWIII.

However, I have come so far from those early years in my marriage and faith walk. And those of you who are walking years behind me and Dineen, let us be the voices to SHOUT, “IT WILL GET EASIER AND BETTER.”

God wanted to remind me and encourage you in several things today if you are walking in fear of your husband’s reactions.

  1. Over the years both my husband and I have come to peace about our different world views.

In the early years of our marriage I think I was very insecure and lacked wisdom and knowledge about my faith. I think my only grounding came from what I heard on Sunday morning. My lack of Bible reading added to my confusion and fears.

I also believe that my husband suffered the same. He wasn’t really sure what he believed and formed his convictions from sources that he wasn’t even sure he believed. When people are insecure or uncertain and feel threatened, they often react in anger. This is exactly what our early marriage looked like.

As we mature in years and faith, fears over our husband’s reactions diminish and your husband also reacts less. I’m convinced that my solid, year-after-year, commitment to grow in my faith has been the most powerful statement to my husband. It's brought us both peace.

  1. Choose love over fear.

Also in the comments from Friday, Gill reminded me of this: Most of our reactions or actions are motivated out of fear or love. Think about this for a minute. Hundreds of decision you face every day are fear based or love at the core.

Perfect love cast out all fear. —1 John 4:18. SUMites, this verse, well, it’s a journey. I believe throughout most of our lives we are in training to cast away our fears and learn to love God and people. Choose love my friends. I will share more about this on Monday. I see so many mothers live in fear as it comes to their children. I believe the Lord is directing me to share how to step out of that. Stay tuned! 

And finally the most powerful source to escape fear is:

  1. Identity……

Most of my fear of man was blown out of the water when I truly began to walk out of my identity as a child of God.

What does this mean? How do we walk in your identity? Can we grasp what it means to be an image bearer of Christ? Do we know our purpose in this life? There are awesome promises and great revelation ahead my friends. I can’t wait to get to this topic!

 See you in the comments. 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. 

Both books


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

All together now------ 

“Happy 10th Anniversary, Lynn and Dineen!!

Whooooooopeeee!  Glory Hallelujah! Thank you Jesus!”

 

About Martha Bush: 

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

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

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

 

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

Both books


The His-story of SUM

SUM10AnniversaryMy SUM family, I have felt a nudge from the Holy Spirit to share how God has worked in very subtle ways to progress this ministry and the SUM family. This part of this story is probably one of my favorite parts because one, it shows how clearly God is in the smallest details and two, how subtly He can work to bring change.

When this blog first started, it was just that, a blog. Lynn and I wrote for the growing readership God was drawing here, and we referred to our spouses as unbelievers

As time progressed and readership grew, God began to change our perspective and thus our words. I remember clearly one day writing a post for the blog and sensing the Holy Spirit’s nudge to begin referring to this blog as a community. Though I didn’t understand it at the time, I found it so interesting and faithfully obeyed.

Then God lifted up our dear friend Rosheeda to lead our yearly fast in January, and it was during one of those times she dubbed us the SUMites. From this also evolved the term SUM Nation.

And yet, God wasn’t finished. Holy Spirit nudged again and I found myself using the term “pre-believers.” It was a statement of faith and trust in God to do the very things His Word says.

The Lord isn’t really being slow about his promise, as some people think. No, he is being patient for your sake. He does not want anyone to be destroyed, but wants everyone to repent. — 2 Peter 3:9

And remember, our Lord’s patience gives people time to be saved. This is what our beloved brother Paul also wrote to you with the wisdom God gave him… — 2 Peter 3:15

They replied, “Believe in the Lord Jesus and you will be saved, along with everyone in your household.” — Acts 16:31

And yet again, God wasn’t finished. He’s evolved this community to become a family—the SUM family. We have become a “church without walls,” my SUM family.

And now I find myself hesitating to use the word “pre-believer” since God declared our corporate word for 2016 to be SALVATION (read that post here). Dare I say that God has another shift coming to our nomenclature? I believe He does, and I am standing in prayer and faith for this shift because I’ve no doubt it will be a big one. How does believer sound to you? I’m right there with you…

My friends, this ministry started with the desire to share with others what God had taught us. God is the one who brought this beautiful progression of faith and unity to what it is today. 

And you, SUMites, have gone from being readers and spectators to full participants and members who pray and encourage each other, including Lynn and I, right in the comments! Many of you have even forged friendships outside of this ministry. Again, how amazing is all that?!?!

I find it astoundingly beautiful. Unexplainable except for the only possible explanation. 

God—Abba Father, Son Jesus and Holy Spirit—is love. 

No one has ever seen God. But if we love each other, God lives in us, and his love is brought to full expression in us. — 1 John 4:12

We know how much God loves us, and we have put our trust in his love. God is love, and all who live in love live in God, and God lives in them. And as we live in God, our love grows more perfect. — 1 John 4:16-17

26495595_sSUM family, that is what makes us so unique. Our desire is to trust in God’s love so that our love grows more perfect—love for our spouse, love for our children, love for each other, love for the world. We know it’s not easy, yet we make this choice every day.

For in Christ Jesus neither circumcision nor uncircumcision counts for anything, but only faith working through love.. — Galatians 5:6 ESV

So, my dear friends, never forget that when we aspire to love our spouses through and with the love of Jesus (agape) we are walking in faith. And may I say, SUMite Nation, we do it well.

I love you, SUM family, and pray the joy and peace of Jesus fills your hearts today and every day, to sustain and empower you for whatever our Abba Father is calling your heart to do. In the name of Jesus, amen!
~Dineen

*****

Share your voice, heart and love in the comments. 

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

Both books


How God Brought Lynn and I Together

SUM10AnniversaryGod, am I hearing You right?

That was my question in early 2006. For nearly two years I’d been writing fiction and pursuing publication along those lines and doing all the things a newbie writer was supposed to do to build craft and make connections, including blogging. Yet I felt this distinct nudge to share what God had done in my mismatched marriage to help others. That brought my next question. 

How do I do that on a blog and still honor my husband? 

During this same time I went to lunch with a dear friend and fellow fiction writer, Camy Tang, and poured out my heart and thoughts on the subject. My biggest concern was what could potentially happen in the comments. Could I handle that? And again, how did I do something like this and honor my husband and marriage?

Camy (who’s an amazing multi-published author now, by the way) listened with great care and made suggestions. I left our lunch date more committed to following God’s lead and belief that He would show me the way.

About a week or so later I received an email from Camy, telling me to check out this link to a blog. She’d just returned from attending the Mount Hermon’s writers’ conference that March and had met a woman there who wanted to know more about blogging. Seems she too felt the nudge and calling of the Holy Spirit to share about her mismatched marriage.

Bet you can guess who that was!

I clicked on the link and there it was. The Spiritually Unequal Marriage blog, newly started with a message of hope to encourage others living in a mismatched marriage. I was honestly floored and amazed that God was moving in someone else like He had me.

So, I crafted up an email to this Lynn Donovan and told her a little about who I was as a writer and feeling led to write about living in a spiritually mismatched marriage. I humbly (at least that’s how I remember it! LOL!) offered to write some posts for her blog on the subject. 

Then hit send. I figured she’d either tell me she had it under control, or she’d welcome me with open arms. And as you know, it was the latter. I was ecstatic! God had shown me the HOW of what He was calling me to do. 

My friends, when I think back to that time and my concerns over how the subject matter would be handled and comments from readers, I am even more astonished at what God has done in the last ten years. He’s created a safe place where we’ve had the freedom to be honest and grow together. God’s hand has rested mightily on our SUM Nation faithfully and continues to do so. 

Just…wow…

And we carry on, grow and have learned to thrive—the very intent of this blog all along. So, my friends, with you here today I want to say a very profound THANK YOU to my wonderful, amazing, inspiring best friend Lynn Donovan for inviting me to partner with her ten years in what would become an amazing family of God that gives Him glory every single day. And I want to thank you for allowing us to be a part of your lives. Lynn and I are so honored and amazed by that every single day. God is SO GOOD!

Woohoo! Let’s celebrate!

Love you!
Dineen

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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. 

Both books


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

*****

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. 

Both books


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

Both books


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. 

Both books


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

 

*****

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. 

Both books


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

*****

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. 

Both books


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. 

 

 

 

*****

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. 

Both books


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. 

 

*****

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. 

Both books


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

*****

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. 

Both books


GOING TO CHURCH ALONE

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

GOING TO CHURCH ALONE.

Gang, can I just say – Grrrrrrrrr

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Next up: Spiritual leadership

Hugs, Lynn

*****

Share your voice, heart and love in the comments. 

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

Both books


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

*****

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. 

Both books


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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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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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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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!
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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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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

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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

image from www.spirituallyunequalmarriage.com

 

 

 

 

 

 

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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