102 posts categorized "Winning Him Without Words"

Chronicles of the Donovan Clan - God Never Relents

SUMite Nation!

Gang, can I just tell you…. I MISSED YOU. I finally am home. It’s great to travel and I have some stories to share but it’s awesome to be back at home.

I am refreshed now and feel as though God has cranked up my passion to a brand-new level for our community. Since returning, my heart is filled with the thoughts of you. I’ve been praying like a mad woman for marriages, for your hearts for you to rise up in hope and to see how Jesus is working all around you. I have prayed to defeat depression, fear and weariness. I’ve been praying for restoration, redemption and to cancel all the lies of the enemy in the homes and spouses of the SUMites… And I’ve only been home for a week!

Right now I’m in a serious season of intercession. Take comfort and hope and know that God sees you. He loves you and I’m interceding for you along with Jesus through the Spirit.

Today, I want to share a story with all of you who feel that God has disappeared or doesn’t see you. He does.

Most of you know that Mike and I traveled to Europe to celebrate our 25th wedding anniversary. The only way I could convince Mike to travel overseas was to add a cruise to the equation. He agreed. So, we cruised on the biggest boat I’ve ever seen. Our room was on deck 15 and wow, what a view. 3,000 guest and 2,000 crew. THAT’S a crowd.

Mike is a traditional sort of guy, so nightly we would eat dinner in the formal dining room. The first night we were seated with a young couple. But they had been separated from their family and joined them for the remainder of the cruise at their table, thus we sat alone.

But…. On night three we walked in for diner and there sat two new couples. And this is where the story becomes a God thing.

You see, the women we met have been friends for more than 40 years. The two couples are great friends. And within minutes we were chatting and laughing and having a great time. And with me around, I can’t help it but conversations always move to areas of faith. I’m sorry, I just can’t help myself.

Wouldn’t you know it, out of all the thousands of people on our ship, we were now seated with a Nazarene pastor, his wife and their best friends. After a few nights of talking, Wes, the pastor looks over at Mike and asks, “Mike can I ask a personal question?”

“Yes, sure.”

“What is it that keeps you from accepting your wife’s faith?”

I sat motionless staring at Mike. He responded honestly and with great respect for me and the pastor. And his answer was not what I expected and yet it was. 

“I believe in God. I believe in Jesus. I just struggle with organized religion.”

My mouth hung open as I took in this conversation. Mike went on to explain a bit more. Pretty much what you might expect. The evil that has been perpetrated by religion, etc.

I love Wes’ rely, “What your saying isn’t anything that I haven’t thought as well. But it is also true that when people organize, pool their resources, their manpower, they bring so much good to the world. Bringing the Gospel to those who would never hear it and helping people in multiple ways.”

Gang, can I just say, Wes was born to be a pastor. His love shined from his eyes. His concern for Mike was genuine and you could just see him loving Mike without judgement. Man, when I grow up I want to be like Pastor Wes.

A funny thing about these God-incidents. One evening I didn’t attend dinner because I was still full from lunch (eating is the main sport on a cruise – sheesh, I gained five pounds) an Anglican Priest was seated at our table along with the Nazarene pastor, his wife, their best friends and Mike. HILARIOUS!!  Mike is surrounded on all side, all the time, by believers.

Don’t think for a second that God isn’t working in your life and marriage. He is. He ALWAYS is at work to bring men unto His heart through His kindness.

Keep praying. Keep believing. Keep growing in your faith. Our God is all powerful, faithful and He is moving in our lives.

I love you. Have a great week. Lynn

 

25th Wedding Anniversary Cruise
Mike, Lynn (Photo bomb), Sam, (front row) Mary, Wes, Elizabeth

 

 

 

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Survey: TRANSFORMATION

image from www.spirituallyunequalmarriage.comSUMites,

Here are a few more responses to the survey.

Q: What have you learned or experience through SUM that has transformed your life?

  • I was searching for your website to find out how my husband can change. What I really learned is that the relationship with Christ needs to start with me.
  • I've learned about my identity in Christ, and how to use that authority in my prayers.
  • Reading other people's stories shows what God can do and gives me hope
  • Praying the word with bold faith. Covering my family...1cor7:14 (I can’t tell you how many different people and how many times I have referred people to Chapter 8 of Winning Them With Prayer. This scripture changed everything for me – Lynn)
  • Overall, I would say just the experience of being with a community of like circumstances has transformed my life the most. Up until 5 years ago, I knew no one unequally yoked---my friends all had Christian husbands and did not have a clue about this type of circumstance.  I always got the impression they thought because my husband was a good man, the spiritual side didn't matter.
  • That God can still use anyone even if they are struggling in some area of their life
  • That I'm not alone. There are literally thousands of us called to this lifestyle and blessing of having a mission-field right in our own living room!
  • A community of people going through the same circumstances and thriving; and even when they hit bumps, being transparent-asking for prayer, having dialogue with folks that truly care about them. This has caused me to be more transparent in life; to take that step out there when talking to people. It has made me brave, as I never walk alone. 
  • Trust God in the hard
  • The weekend Lynn came to speak at our church! God's love became so overwhelming!!
  • The first time I read Winning Him Without Words - I was joyfilled! It was the first book I read on SUM that lifted me up and made me want to share it with others like us.
  • That I'm not alone and Lynn, Dineen and the SUM community are my home and safe place.
  • I am not responsible for my husband's salvation, that will be in God's timing. I, however, can draw closer to God.
  • I now know that God still loves me!!
  • Too many things to narrow it down. I have been in regular contact with a new friend in Texas, however, through SUM as a prayer partner for the last 6-8 months. That has been such a blessing to share life with her and pray for a sister in similar shoes.
  • My faith has grown

I think as I read this last entry, My faith has grown. I pray this for all of us. I know that for Dineen and I, our faith has grown as we have grown up with all of you. I wish I could share each of your replies. SUMites, we are helping each other. We are learning to pray, to have powerful faith, to BELIEVE that mountains will move and to cheer on others as they battle the demonic and WIN!!!!

Very truly I tell you, whoever believes in me will do the works I have been doing, and they will do even greater things than these, because I am going to the Father. And I will do whatever you ask in my name, so that the Father may be glorified in the Son. You may ask me for anything in my name, and I will do it. —John 14:12-14

I release the truth and power of this verse over your life, faith, marriage, home, finances and family. It is for the SUMites today. By the power of the Holy Spirit, the blood and name of Jesus Christ and by the love and affirmation of our good Father. AMEN

If you agree, type AMEN in the comments. SUMites. Today we walk in VICTORY!!  Hallelujah. AMEN. Love, Lynn

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Salvation Story. God Talked With This Husband!

Hoverson
Sam & Molly Hoverson

I have been a servant of our Lord and Savior since December of 2007. The man I now call my husband was instrumental in God’s plan to bring faith and the grace of God to my heart. My husband grew up in a Christian family and is well studied on the scriptures. I relied heavily on his guidance and understanding of the Bible for my own spiritual health rather than read the Bible myself, and so I remained childlike in my faith for many years.        

In 2009, shortly before we were to be married, tragedy struck and my husband. He became afflicted with a life-threatening illness while serving overseas in the Air Force. I was in college across the country at the time and unable to support him in his time of need. During this time, he struggled with his faith and felt that God had abandoned him. Soon he began to doubt even God’s existence. It was a very dark time for both of us as we struggled to maintain our long-distance relationship, school, his eventual medical retirement, and me becoming the spiritual leader of our house.

God never left us. He showed His undying love for us in many unexpected ways. After our first child was born He brought family to us to guide us (mostly me) to the church I now call home. Whenever I was weakened spiritually He always lifted me up. God softened my heart to my husband’s spiritual struggles and to give him space to grieve his lost career and find his new path in life. I was guided to Lynn Donovan and Dineen Miller and the books they wrote, which were very helpful in guiding me to be a Godly wife, as imperfect of one as I am! All the while I knew God was working slowly in my husband's heart. The scriptural questions I once asked him he would pose to me. Our fights about God, scripture, and going to church faded to respectful discussions. My husband’s borderline atheism softened to a mere uncertainty of a higher power.

Fast forward to a few months ago; we found ourselves struggling with worldly stresses. While I felt I was able to place many of my doubts and fears in our gracious Lord, my husband felt no such comfort. He was crippled by what he felt was insurmountable obstacles in his life, our house, and various other things giving him sleepless nights and stress filled days. His blood pressure went up, which caused more even more stress and I felt helpless to support him, and so prayed fervently to God to give him relief. That’s when it pleased God to answer my eight yearlong prayer for my husband!

My husband is a mailman and is often on his feet walking mail routes. One day, late in March, he finally looked to God and said, “You used to talk to people, You used to show Yourself to people, why do You not do that anymore?”

He felt God answer him “I’m still here.”

My husband told me he spent a good part of the morning in tears communing with God. He came home in the middle of the day (which never happens) to quickly tell me everything that had happened before he had to get back to his route. He said he wasn’t sure if he was losing his mind or if God was actually speaking to him. We were both pretty sure he wasn’t losing his mind. He also told me while normally he sees many people while delivering mail, that morning there was no one in sight, and he and God walked peacefully together on his route.

Ever since then we have gone to church as a family; us and our two children. We’re looking to God for our salvation, guidance and needs. I’m actually reading the Bible all the way through for the first time. We’ve stopped drinking almost entirely as we used to turn to that for stress relief. My husband is working on quitting tobacco, which has been a habit for over 20 years. We’re praying together as a family. We’re reading the Bible together. It’s truly miraculous. We’ve felt the attempts of the Devil as he tries to sneak in and create turmoil and chaos in our lives, but our protective Lord has thwarted all his advances. We are in safe hands now!

Lord willing, my husband will become a member of our church at the beginning of next month. I feel like he’s the man I met so many years ago, but wiser, calmer, and so full of faith and hope! I feel like our story is a testament to how having just a little faith, even as small as a mustard seed, can make anything possible. Amen! —Sumite, Molly

UPDATE: 

Just wanted to share our joy with you today! Sam confessed his faith and became a member of our church this morning. He also got to partake of his first communion with us. God is so good and continues to shower us with blessings! Have a blessed day!!! ❤️

Molly Hoverson 

Sam Hoverson

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Winning Him Without Words

Prayer
Lord, thank You that I am never alone. You promised
You would never leave me nor forsake me, and I will rest in
this truth. Today I am committed to restoring happiness and
hope to my marriage. Teach me to take my eyes off
my circumstances and focus completely on You. I seat You
firmly on the throne of my life.
Father, today I recommit my life and my marriage to You.
Create a powerful yearning in me to meet with You every
day. Teach me Your truths to live by and reveal Your desire
for my life and the life of my spouse. Restore optimism in my
heart for our future. Empower me to cling to my faith
when my husband is unfriendly toward You.
Bring into my life other believers who are Jesus with
“skin on.” Lord, lavish Your love on me that I may pour
it into my spouse, my family and a world desperate for a
Savior. In Jesus’ name I pray, amen.

Winning Him Book Cover

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25 Years

SUMite Nation,

This date on March 14, 1992 was the day we married. I looked through some of the photos. A couple of crazy kids. Wow, twenty five years passes quickly.

Wedding pic 1992

We have come through much and I tell you this from the bottom of my heart.

I love this man. 

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Thank you for celebrating this special anniversary with us. Mike and I will be traveling to Europe later this summer to celebrate our love and marriage.

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Stay strong SUMites. It's the journey that makes us holy! Love, Lynn

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Defending the Bible

A few days ago, I received a prayer request from a new reader. As I answered her email, I realized that her situation is also similar to many of us. So, I want to share her question/prayer request and my answer.

Let me know if you are in this season of marriage and struggle and I will be so glad to pray for you. Hugs, Lynn

Provers 3  1-6From B:

My husband says he believes but every time that I open my Bible or talk about God he makes me feel like I'm wasting my time and brings up controversial issues in the bible to try to prove it’s not true. It weakens my faith because he makes really good points and it then makes me feel stupid for believing it. I don't want to feel this way and I know it's Satan trying to steal my joy and my faith and he’s using my husband to do it. So, I'm asking my sister's in Christ to be in FERVENT prayer over my husband. Thank you all.

Dear B:

Girl, do I ever know how you feel. Indeed, this was my life as well in the early years of my marriage. I will assure you it’s all real. Jesus is real and the more you grow in your faith the easier it will be for you  to walk in confidence in the truth of the Word. Also, do not feel as though you must defend your faith or the Bible to your husband. It’s impossible to make them see the truths in the Word without the Holy Spirit. It’s not a book of logic. It’s a book of faith. Faith is believing. But right now, I will be the voice to tell you it’s all real. Hold on to those words when the enemy uses your husband to shame you.

Keep walking in joy and hope because you will not be disappointed. You may need to have a conversation with your husband. Pray first for wisdom and timing. Let your husband know that you don't have every answer he is looking for but your experience and the joy in your heart outweighs the questions you have. And over time you will receive answers because God loves to reveal himself to those who are diligently looking for Him.

Ask your husband to just respect your faith because it makes you happy. Ask him not to tear you and your faith down and then promise him you won’t push your faith on him. Prayerful and hopefully this kind of conversation will develop into peace in your marriage.

In the meantime, pray…. Your prayers are utterly powerful. Claim your husband and marriage with 1 Corinthians 7:14. It is our power passage. Read about there here.

I pray for your husband and I bless you with love, a peace that passes all understanding, joy, forgiveness and more faith. In Jesus name. AMEN

Hugs, Lynn

SUMites, have you struggled like this? Do you have any words of encouragement to give to B? See you in the comments. Lynn

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What Do We Do With Halloween?

PumpkinsEach year when October 31st rolls around I find it fascinating how many of us in the Christian community struggle, trying to figure out what to do with this day. Is it a holiday? Should we celebrate it? Do we allow our kids to participate in Trick-or-Treat? Is it a sin if they do?

I’m not going to jump into the debate over the real reason for Halloween. And I’m not ignorant of the fact that there are some very evil practices of the occult centered around this night. However, I think I want to share some perspective. We, as unequally yoked Christian parents, are burdened with guilt.

Churches tend to point us to their carnival night as the only right thing. Some believers are adamant that any participation at all is a slight to God. At some point, we as parents can worry that our children will be influenced or intrigued by the “dark side” if we allow them to trick-or-treat. There are a lot of different influences, ideas, and traditions that come to bear upon our minds over this one night.

My perspective is this:

Release your guilt.

I was raised in a Christian home and I also went trick-or-treating every single year. It was one of the highlights of my childhood. My siblings and I had an absolute blast and still today, Halloween brings back many fond childhood memories. I loved watching, It’s the Great Pumpkin, Charlie Brown and bobbing for apples, we even constructed a few spook alleys. We would have a contest between my siblings when we were older to see who would come home with the most “loot.” We would eat candy until we puked. Okay, too much information, I know!

My once a year candy quest did not turn me to the dark side.

So relax.

Make this a time to reach out to your neighbors. It’s a great experience for your unbelieving husband to walk the neighborhood with the kids and to chat with the other dads. Don’t worry if your husband objects to the church carnival and wants to take the kids out. Let him.

I will add that it's good and necessary to chat with your kids, age appropriate, about Halloween and it’s absolutely necessary we make sure they are safe, supervised, and have a candy check before they snack. But, don’t stress out over trick-or-treat.

Pray over your babies, kiss them on the cheek. Dad too! And then let them have fun! 

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When Caitie was 13 she hosted a party in our garage. She decorated, made the food, (everyone brought something), played Tween music a bit too loud, cleaned up and had a blast.

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Stay tuned as we move into November, December and January. Fun stuff ahead for our family of SUM!!!  Love you, Lynn

PS. My favorite is Snickers grin And thank you for all the loot you have sent me over the years!!!!

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And the Adventures Continue!

SUM10Anniversary
Hello SUM Nation!

We’ve had a blast this month walking down memory lane, doing a LIVE Webcast, announcing our ordinations and celebrating YOU! Did you enjoy the stories? Lynn and I have had some crazy adventures together, and we have taken you with us in our hearts every time.

WHWW&NotAloneWe’ve written two books together—Winning Him Without Words and Not Alone—Bible studies you, the SUMites, asked us for. Which then led to invitations to speak at conferences, to be on Focus on the Family, FamilyLife Today, Dr. Dobson and INSIGHT on The Miracle Channel. Lynn even did an interview on the 700 Club! She’s the big adventurer in this duo, that’s for sure. 

Lynn and I have talked a lot about our adventures this month and laughed—a lot! She has said I was the one who gave her the gift of saying “yes,” when she said “let’s go!” Honestly, I believe I’m the one who was blessed more. She keeps me from getting too comfortable, you know? We all need someone like that in our lives.

And the adventures continue, SUMites! We are a family. A church without walls. The SUM Nation. God has brought us all together these last ten years for a reason, for such a time as this, and that time continues. His plans are still unfolding for us, my friends.

This weekend is Memorial Day Weekend, and Lynn and I have decided to take next week off. We have some planning and catching up to do. My hubby is off Monday so I’m looking forward to some beach time with him! But be sure to catch Ian’s post on Wednesday. And Lynn and I will be back June 6th.

With a surprise…

What kind of surprise, you ask? Well, we’ve been up to something—been planning the next adventure. And this one includes you, SUMites. A surprise that we think you’re going to love being part of. So be sure to stop in June 6th for all the details.

Until then, have an amazing Memorial Day weekend with your family. Enjoy next week with friends and family in whatever adventures you happen to be on. 

We love you, SUM family, with all our hearts. We love being a part of your lives as we continue to walk this great adventure with God together.

BIG hugs!
Dineen & Lynn

P.S. I (Dineen) will have a small post up this Saturday with a little announcement that I hope you’ll enjoy. XOXO

 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

All together now------ 

“Happy 10th Anniversary, Lynn and Dineen!!

Whooooooopeeee!  Glory Hallelujah! Thank you Jesus!”

 

About Martha Bush: 

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

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

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

 

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The Second Time We Met in Person

Imported Photos 00033Welcome back, SUMites, to our 10 Year Celebration and a walk down memory lane. In my last post I mentioned that it would be nearly three years before Lynn and I would meet in person, and the circumstances leading up to that started with you.

But let me go back a little farther in time before this second meeting. In the fall of 2008 my daughter Leslie was diagnosed with a malignant brain tumor. Things happened fast those first few weeks with surgery dates, recovery and radiation treatments. 

During this time, Lynn was part of my support team and so was this blog and community. I found writing to be so helpful, and amazingly, it was during this time that I wrote The Soul Saver. God put that book on my heart and it was birthed out of my own life, marriage and the SUM ministry. I wanted to write that book for our community, and the front page bears a dedication to you, SUMites. I’m so thankful that was God’s plan all along too.

Not long after I finished that book, you started asking us for a Bible study about being spiritually mismatched. We listened, prayed and, boy-howdy, did God move. 

I remember being on the phone with Lynn, working out our chapters. By this time I’d written several fiction books and had an agent working on selling The Soul Saver. I’d never written a book with someone else and only dreamed of writing nonfiction at this point.

My friends, God again put all things into place. Lynn laid the foundation of the ten keys and we shared from our hearts what we felt most passionate about to write for the book. I’m still floored at how God basically placed half of that book on each of our hearts—different halves to make up the whole! 

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Our editor and dear friend, Kim Bangs

The chapter subjects came together seamlessly, and we put a book proposal together. Then came the waiting. And hoping. We knew God had given us that book, but the industry just didn’t seem quite ready. Until God connected Lynn with Kim Bangs, an editor at Regal Books.

Little did we know then that Kim would champion our book, we’d receive a contract, and by the grace of God, we wrote Winning Him Without Words in about four months.

Keep in mind that Lynn and I still lived hundreds of miles apart and had only met that one time. Yet we wrote a book together without any hitches! God was all over that, my friends. His Holy Spirit kept us unified and inspired us with the words.

Then in August 2010 the invitation came from our publisher to meet the team and join their marketing meeting at the offices in Ventura, CA. I flew into Ontario Airpot and guess who picked me up?

Yep, Lynn. I remember walking to her car with my suitcase, wondering how it would feel to finally spend time with her. We had a two hour car ride to the publisher’s offices, and then I would be staying with Lynn at her house overnight. Would it be weird? Awkward? I know a bunch of you out there are nodding your heads with the same questions, right?

Guess what? We didn’t stop talking the entire trip to the meeting and afterwards on the ride to her house. We didn’t stop talking at her house, or the next day when she took me back to the airport. God sure knew how to put two very different women together in a fit that’s just about as perfect as you can on this earth.

My friends, I declare today that I’ve no doubt Lynn’s and my friendship was ordained and I humbly believe it is anointed, too. For this ministry and for each other. The enemy has tried to come against us and break our unity, but we have stood together through it, and God has protected us. He’s also grown us in that friendship too, in ways that just make my heart burst. She and I say frequently that we would not want to walk this journey of the spiritually mismatched and ministry without each other. 

And that’s the heart of this community—to walk together in faith and to honor God with our lives and marriages. As Lynn shared in her video on Friday, the secret to an abundant life and a thriving marriage is about love:

Jesus replied, “The most important commandment is this:‘Listen, O Israel! The LORD our God is the one and only LORD. And you must love the L ord your God with all your heart, all your soul, all your mind, and all your strength. ’ The second is equally important:‘Love your neighbor as yourself. ’ No other commandment is greater than these. — Mark 12:29-31

And SUM Nation, I have to say we do this so very well here in our church without walls. God is in the SUM house! 

Love you!
Dineen

*****

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Celebrating 10 Years - God works in Mysterious Ways

IMG_0369It was September 2012. I had always wanted to attend the American Christian Fiction Writers (ACFW) conference and having a publisher for Angelguard I thought it a useful way of building some momentum for its release a few months later.

Fiona and I combined it with a holiday to the US with the plan to attend the conference in DFW on our final leg before heading home. The conference had started and I was having a ball meeting lots of fascinating authors including some of my heroes plus gaining a lot of useful information. There was one particular workshop titled “How to Market Your Fiction Like a non-Fiction Pro” that featured four presenters: an agent who I knew of, an author who I was a fan of and two other authors who I didn’t know.

It was an excellent workshop spread over two sessions. One of the non-fiction authors shared a little of their journey on writing a non-fiction book about being married to a pre-believer. All of a sudden this workshop now had added meaning.

Yes, you guessed it that author was none other than our own, Dineen. Dineen, of course, is a rarity in publishing, being both an author of non-fiction and fiction. Her award-winning novel, The Soul Saver, is tremendous.

On the workshop ending, I was on my way to an appointment with an editor when I happened to notice Dineen waiting in the same area. She was by herself so I introduced myself and shared how I too was married to a pre-believer. We chatted very briefly, Dineen mentioned the SUM community and to my delight gave me a copy of “Winning Him Without Words”. She only brought two to the conference and I was the fortunate one to receive the second one. Talk about a blessing.

The Lies of the Enemy

Up to that time, one of my struggles in church life and faith was a belief that any ministry I undertook including through my writing would not be blessed because I was in a spiritually mismatched marriage.

As I sat in the workshop listening to Dineen, I was struck by the revelation that what I’d believed for so long was a lie. The scales of deceit shattered on reading the first few chapters of Lynn and Dineen’s book.

A few weeks later having read both books and explored this community’s blog, I genuinely felt a changed man. Have you ever experienced that? Having a lie that you convinced yourself of for years being zapped.

“Trust in the Lord with all your heart
 and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways submit to him, and he will make your paths straight.” (Prov 3:5-6 NKJV)

The above verse took on new meaning and continues to. Our perceptions can be so misleading. Hey, I’d carried that chestnut around for many years. In some ways I had come to believe my marriage and I didn’t deserve to be blessed. But no longer! 

God is good. Meeting Dineen and the Lord using her in that workshop and enabling us to bump into each other so soon afterwards was one of those moments I so cherish.

He certainly is mysterious.

10 Years

I joined (do we join?) the SUMite gang less than four years ago now. I’m a little envious of all of you who’ve been with Lynn and Dineen for longer. Our two dear friends are anointed. They share their anointing with us each and every week.

Reading the posts through the week is like an oasis. We all experience that loneliness of being the “single” one, not only in our church communities, but also often within our other various friendships and associations. Even though we’re mostly a virtual family it’s always special being able to hang out in a warm and safe place where there is much love, understanding and discernment.

On behalf of your SUM family, dear Lynn and Dineen, thank you. Thank you for honoring the Lord through your obedience in caring for us these ten years. We love sharing this journey with you both and each other and look forward to what the future holds.

And to all the SUMites, thank you for sharing your heart with us all. This family wouldn’t be what it is without all of our contributions.

I so look forward to reading more of your stories in weeks ahead.

*****

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Resentment Turns Into THIS... And it will hold you captive

Anger1Part I
Part II
Today is: Part III

So the weird anger explosions transpired a few years ago. And I can state fully that I haven’t had a moment of raw anger since then. Hallelujah. That doesn’t mean I don’t get mad or angry at times. Just not to the extent of a few years ago. Jesus is and was my deliverer.

So why is the Holy Spirit pointing me back to anger? Geeze. I would really like to get out of this classroom.

Remember my phone and the two words that I Googled, resentment and indignation? Well, God was pointing out unresolved anger I held that I perceived as unfair treatment.

Ugh!!

The Lord was revealing that I still had some areas of forgiveness to work though. And as difficult as it is to admit to all of you that I have issues to work through, I do. But I’m so glad the Lord is pointing out this area in my heart. Indignation is a door that if opened fully, the enemy will hurdle through to cause more havoc in my life. 

So how do we deal with resentment, indignation and anger?

Anger, especially unresolved anger when it cools hardens slowly in to resentment. Resentment is a weapon in the arsenal of the devil that he deploys through our self-talk. The devil will roll “that tape” in our heads over and over to fester in our soul, mind, heart, will and emotions to feed our resentment to birth: disgust, loathing, etc hoping we will spiral toward …. hatred.

After the resentment erects a number of emotional and spiritual walls the enemy will work hard to add layer upon layer until finally there is a castle constructed of bitterness.

BITTERNESS.

Bitterness is a cancer of the soul. And I’m convinced that bitterness held in the heart of a human can manifest as physical illnesses. (Oy vey, a post for another day.)

To rid ourselves of bitterness, resentment and anger we must start down the road of forgiveness. I wrote about this in our first book, Winning Him Without Words. It’s a journey but it is necessary for our healing and to throw out any blockage of the Holy Spirit in our lives.

I had to start praying, Lord, help me to want to forgive. And this applies to everything in our past, not just our marriages.

Then you begin to ask Jesus to flood your soul with His love, tenderness, compassion, grace and mercy. When this happens He can walk you through honest and real forgiveness.

In my life I find that ongoing forgiveness is my challenge. I don’t struggle too much with a one-time offense and usually don't hang on to resentment with people whom I don’t know very well. I can see their wondedness and it’s easy for me to have empathy. But forgiving those whom we live with day in and day out, who continue to offend or hurt us in the same manner, well that’s another realm of forgiveness.

But it’s absolutely achievable. Jesus said to forgive, seven times seven.

Do you know why He said that?

It’s not to prove our spirituality or to give us an assignment to grow our faith. It’s not that our love and forgiveness will draw others to Christ, however, it often does. No, Jesus says to forgive because when we forgive we receive healing.

Our spiritual and often physical healing comes when we truly forgive.

I see it like this. In the Spiritual realm my resentment and bitterness forge giant chains of steel around my faith life. I can’t breathe well. I’m constricted and greatly uncomfortable, maybe even in pain so I can’t hear my Father’s voice. I’m weighed down with a heavy burden that I can fully comprehend as to why. I feel sluggish spiritually and physically. I suffer for long periods of time because the weight becomes so intense. And yet because the chains grow so seductively, secretly and slow I become accustom to them. Dare I say, familiar and they can comfort me in some weird way.

Anyone???

Honest forgiveness freed me. I spent a lot of time in prayer and surrender. Bending to the scripture and to love of my Lord. I’ve received prayer from others and we need others to pray for us and with us.

I don’t want to make forgiveness appear to simplistic. In my ministry I’ve prayed for people who have been horrifically abused. Terrible, unspeakable sins were perpetrated on many who were innocent, who were children.

You can be free and forgive even the worst person on the planet. This requires some prayer that takes time. And usually you need to pray with someone who knows how to lead you into Freedom through prayer and forgiveness. If you need this kind of help, search out a healing room. Find a trustworthy pastor or friend who is strong in faith to spend time praying with you. If you live in Southern California and would like to come to my house for healing prayer, email me.

Also, I can pray for you in the comments. I’m astounded that the Holy Spirit shows up and results happen. I kid you not. The Spirit moves through this online community in ways I cannot fully comprehend but they are miraculous.

Forgiveness leads to our freedom.

Next up……. Disappointment.

How are you doing? Everyone okay? Can we pray for one another in the comments today? I love all of you so much. So very much. My heart swells as I consider your difficult lives and how in spite of it all, you press on to prize that awaits you. And your faith is strong and shines the light of Christ in this dark world!

Well done my good friends. WELL DONE!

Hugs, Lynn

*****

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

So, I kinda feel like today is my confession.

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

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

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

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

So weird.

Why on Sunday morning and especially why on Easter.

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

Family photo Easter 2016

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

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

Anyhoo, moving along.

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

My husband did not.

He remained seated…….

AND THAT’S WHEN IT HAPPENED.

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

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

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

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

Hesitantly, “O, -kay.”

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

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

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

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

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

Gulp!

Okay, there it is.

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

Good Lord, Almighty!

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

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

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

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

*****

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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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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

*****

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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When I See You In Heaven - Chronicles Of The Donovan Clan

It’s today, March 14, 2016. Twenty-four years of married life. As I pondered my husband and our marriage this week, the Holy Spirit revealed something utterly unexpected and peculiar…. a letter. A letter to my husband as I see him in the future.


Mike When I see you in heaven...When I See You In Heaven

Mike, when I see you in heaven, will there be tears in my eyes?

Will I glimpse your face across the expanse of the Great Assembly of worshipers? Will I run to you? Will you run to me? When I see you in heaven, I believe we will both run, full-out, with every bit of intention and intensity, to reach one another.  

When I see you in heaven, will you have tears in your eyes? Will you wrap your arms around me in a fierce embrace? Will you pull away and place your hands on both sides of my face as you draw my eyes unto yours?

When I see you in heaven, will you whisper into my eyes through gulps of love and emotion, a breathless thank you.

At that moment will your heart expand as you fully grasp the impact of the years I prayed for this very moment? Will you utter deep groanings of intense joy knowing that I tarried for you in earnest prayer year after year?

When I see you in heaven, will you look upon my face and gently brush away the drops of joyful tears falling on my cheeks.

When I see you in that moment, I will place my finger over your lips to hush your words of thanks. I will tell you, “It’s our Father’s love that saved us. It’s our Father’s love that walked with me through our many years of married life. It’s our Father’s love that held me in the lonely moments and it’s our Father’s love that stood with you when you felt alone and weary of our quarrels.”

When I see you in heaven, I will join my hand in yours as we turn toward the throne. In that moment, our Father will look down upon us both with profound joy and love upon His face. In that singular moment, a life-time of battling the enemy will be revealed. The days and nights I called out to Jesus to protect you, to keep you from the lies of the enemy and to save you from his evil intentions, they all will flash before you. In that moment we will comprehend God’s purpose which placed me at your side as your life-long partner on earth. Under His full understanding we will comprehend that this tiny, 5 foot 2 blonde, girl was a commanding intercessor for your health and prosperity. In that instant you will bear witness to the relentless combat I engaged for our children.

When I see you in heaven, we will share in the greatest joy- your full salvation. Every harsh word ever spoken will be erased instantly, lost in the glory of our King. We will look upon one another’s face and realize that every hurt and disappointment is forever forgotten and forgiven. Our brokenness is instantly covered by the crimson blood of Jesus our King.

When I see you in heaven, I will lead you by the hand to the steps of the throne. With utter sobs I will look up into the face of my heavenly Father and tell Him, “THANK YOU. You gave me this man and I did not fail my assignment. I walked out many years of hope deferred and I did not stop for one moment and give in, give up or lose hope.”

“Father, I couldn’t have done any of it without your love, grace, mercy, kindness and wisdom and power. I’m utterly undone, Father, the faithful love You poured into my life over and over and over is evidenced today, as I see Mike in heaven.”

When I see you in heaven, I will turn toward the vast expanse of the saints and I will honor, celebrate and declare for all eternity the fathomless love of our Father before them as I grasp your hand. And Mike, when I see you in heaven standing there beside me, you will do the same.

When I see you in heaven, Mike Donovan, my heart will be full and we will have all of eternity to discover, recover and uncover things that were left undone or unfinished on earth. I’m so excited to take your hand and step into our eternal life in Jesus Christ, when I see you in heaven.

Happy Anniversary,

I love you, Lynn

Mike and Lynn 2 Nov 2011

*****

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Healing The Heart Of The Spiritually Mismatched

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

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

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

Here are the thoughts SUMites left in the comments:

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

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

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

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

*****

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

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GOING TO CHURCH ALONE

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

GOING TO CHURCH ALONE.

Gang, can I just say – Grrrrrrrrr

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Next up: Spiritual leadership

Hugs, Lynn

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Conference At Merriman in Garden City, MI

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

 

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

 

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

SUMite Pillars
Gillian, Teresa, Melissa, Heidi, Joanne

 

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

 

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

 

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


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

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

 

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

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

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

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

DSC00088

From Jen:

Lynn,

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

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

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

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

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

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

Forever indebted and much love, Jen

*****

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Christmas and the Spiritually Mismatched Conference

Hello SUMites:

I’ve come to realize that I’m in a struggle to keep up with holiday demands, writing and serving this community. My heart is to really be available to all of you as we work through the series on loneliness. And December is proving to be impossible to do – well, everything. So Dineen and I talked and decided that we are going to delay the series until after our week of fasting which is January 4-8, 2016. I still want to reply to all of the comments and emails and will do my best to do so.

Dineen is having surgery on her shoulder tomorrow so we have decided to take a writing break through Christmas, the end of next week. We will have a few random posts that may pop up but mostly we are going to spend some time in rest and quiet. Boy howdy, don’t we all need that.

In fact, I truly felt like the Lord impressed upon me that this Christmas needs to be protected and be a time of family, laughter, quietness and living in His Presence. So, let’s all do that.

Dineen and I will be back right after Christmas. And as usual you can bet I will be fired up about our week of fasting together as a community. Amazing breakthroughs ALWAYS occur in that week within our community. Stay tuned.

Also, we ask you to be in prayer about attending the Spiritually Mismatched Conference in January in Detroit, MI. Below is Dineen who shares her heart about the conference. Wouldn’t it be amazing to start 2016 together? And I’ve been receiving a revelation about our verse… You know our verse, 1 Corinthians 7:14. I will be talking about this and how it will change your prayers, thoughts and attitude about your marriage, spouse and home. Truly.

Have a blessed Christmas. Pray for the Lord to bring peace and joy to your home. I pray you are filled with His holiness and that this Christmas takes on a special meaning as we consider the miracle of the birth, death and resurrection of our Savior. Hugs, Lynn

 

If you can't view this in your email, click here.

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Hilarious - From The Archives!!!!!

Weekends we re-post from our archives, articles which remain relevant for the spiritually mismatched marriage. 

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Today, I'm going to share a quick, I mean really quick video. This is from our blooper reals. Yep, I can really be blonde. (Turn on your speakers or you'll miss it! :)

Dineen and I love you SUMite Nation!!  Thanks for being part of our family. 

Lynn and Dineen - The Blooper - Laugh with Us from Spiritually Unequal Marriage on Vimeo.

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Meet Lynn & Dineen In Person

Spirituallymismatched

Okay, our BIG announcement may not be a complete surprise but today we are making an official announcement and launch of a Spiritually Mismatched Conference. Wahoo!!!

THRIVING In His Presence Conference

Garden City (Detroit area), Michigan
Saturday, January 23, 2016 from 8:30 AM to 3:00 PM (EST)

Lynn & Dineen present:
THRIVING in His Presence Conference

*Revive your heart
*Restore your marriage
*Rejuvenate HOPE
*Recognize your divine destiny and live it fully
*Reach for the impossible
*Risk for the Kingdom
*Run in His Freedom

Register through Eventbright

Dineen and I are beyond psyched to be guests of the amazing team of Girlfriends of Grace Women's Ministry of Merriman Road Baptist Church. This is a group of women who are familiar with the unique and challenging circumstances of living with a pre-believer. They have a heart to bring hope to others and have organized a fantastic opportunity for us to meet together, pray together, learn together and allow the love of Jesus to change us all.

Merriman is located about eight miles from the Detroit Metropolitan Wayne County Airport. The team is working on bringing other believers together from the Detroit area. They also are hopeful many of our SUMite community can attend. 

So here's the deal. Pray... If the Lord is leading you to join this special day, then ask Him to provide the means and the way. You can book a flight in on Friday, January 22, 2016 and depart after the conference on Saturday, January 23, 2016. Book your flight later into the evening to allow time to meet us following the event. 

You can also book a hotel room. I've done a search of hotels that are near the airport as there is not a hotel near the church. Click here to see the options and information from reviews on Tripadvisor. I'm trying to figure out if there is a hotel that will shuttle to the church. Most of these hotels will shuttle you to and from the airport. I'll let you know if we can sort out some way to get you to and from the hotel to the church and then back to the airport following the event. Stay tuned.

Registration for the event is through Eventbrite. If you are attending, please register and then let me know. Dineen and I are going to choose two people to receive a free registration. We will choose two,   in a random drawing, in early January and then reimburse you for your registration. 

Additionally, we have formed a closed "travel" group on Facebook. I'm hoping that through this group we can arrange some travel together and save money. Ask me to join that group if you are planning to attend. Email me.

We expect this single day to change many. We expect the Holy Spirit to show up with power. We expect women to return home filled with fresh hope, a fresh anointing, fresh perspective and a powerful love. We expect you to be loved on and filled with scriptures that revive and restore. We expect Jesus to change us all.

Oh how I do hope that many of our SUM family can make their way toward a reunion in the flesh. January isn't all that far away and what a fantastic way to start your new year, with your SUM family the Lord Jesus Christ, the Holy Spirit, and our good, good Father.

Pray and let me know your thoughts. If I left something out that you need to know, please ask in the comments. 

A word of advice that the team of ladies who live in Michigan gave this southern California girl about visiting the grand state of Michigan in January: "Lynn, wear everything you've got!!!!"

Hilarious. I can't wait to wear my boots and gloves and throw a snowball at Dineen. (Love ya girl! *grin.*) Join the fun and let's have a cup of anything hot together in January! BIG hugs. Lynn

*****

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Unequally Yoked and the Atheist Blogs

Weekends we re-post from our archives, articles which remain relevant for the spiritually mismatched marriage.

This post is part III in this series. Click on Part I and Part II to read the precursors to this article. This was originally posted on April 20, 2012.

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Unequally Yoked and the Atheist Blogs  

Part III

A few months ago I was emailing back and forth to a friend of mine whose husband is a reader of atheist blogs. She was in such pain and in a quandary as to how to cope. Now I don’t pretend to have all the answers for each individual situation. I can only share what has worked in my life and marriage. 

Let me say that I love this young mom and wife. She is in the midst of fiery battles daily and is yet living for Jesus under tremendous persecution from her own spouse. And to add to the dynamics of her situation is how she is hard-wired, she hates confrontation. Many of us would go to great lengths to avoid confronting anyone let alone our spouse who holds a great deal of power to hurt us. 

I shared with my friend that there comes a time when we must say to our spouse that we are partners in marriage. That what our spouse believes does not diminish what we hold true. It’s appropriate to call them out and ask for our due respect as a spouse and a partner in the relationship. We must stand up and tell them that the words they speak against our faith are disrespectful and truly not what builds a marriage relationship. I know I advised her to tell her husband that she expected him to refrain from speaking about her faith and promise him that she would do the same about his atheist beliefs. 

Okay, that’s one take. For me, my moment of truth came unexpectedly. It was many years ago and I remember it clearly still today. 

My husband was angry. He was so riled up about my growing faith that he was constantly throwing arguments up for me to discount or contradict. He told me that I was foolish and that my faith embarrassed him. He was absolutely mystified that I, an intelligent woman, would ever even consider believing in a god. 

He was adamant and determined to “prove” to me God did not exist. 

At this point in our marriage, we had been down all these roads. You know, the paths of trying to defend my faith from a science point of view. Defending the truth of the Bible. Discussing intelligent design. Debates about the fossil record. The discovery of the Dead Sea Scrolls. Etc. etc. etc. 

My friends, I’ve had every conceivable conversation so if you feel like you are all alone in this, I know exactly how you feel. 

Okay, after years and years of debate, conflicts and arguments with each of us trying to convince the other of the error in their thinking, I finally gave up. 

Whew! What a relief. 

What follows is the simple conversation that seemed to finally help my husband accept my faith. Here we go. 

Me: Honey, why does it matter so much to you that I believe in God? My faith doesn’t make me stupid.

Him: I does too matter. (He states in great anger and frustration I might add.)

Me: But why? Why does it matter?

Him: Because you are living a lie.

Me: But how do you KNOW that I am wrong? You don’t know for sure. And let’s say that at the end of it all, we die and nothing happens. No heaven. No hell. We just cease to exist like you presume.

What I know is that I lived a life that was morally strong. I lived a life filled with joy. I have many friends who I love and who love me. I have given of myself to this world to make it a better place. 

Honey, my faith makes me happy. 

Him: (silence) 

Now there is likely more to this conversation but I just don’t remember what happened after that. However, the dynamics in our marriage relationship changed upon that conversation. 

Honey, my faith makes me happy……. 

The key to this kind of conversation is waiting until they are truly ready to hear it. He was ready that day. 

Pray that the Lord will give you several things to equip you to walk this journey. 

  • First, that He and YOU seal your mind, heart and soul in the truth of your identity. Know who you are in Christ. 
  • Second, pray for courage, Joshua courage to step up to the task of confronting immature behavior and words toward your faith. 
  • Three, pray for discernment and wisdom and for an opening to have a conversation with your spouse. God loves to honor those prayers. 

Identity
Courage
and an open door. 

And this very day, I also give you dominion over your delete key. Decide today that you will not allow your husband to be used by the enemy to create doubt. Reject the fiery darts of the enemy. Live in joy. As Beth Moore says, “JOY, is our birthright in Christ.” 

Live victoriously and let the enemy quake with fear and the atheist blogs go wild, because we are children of the Most High God and NO ONE CAN TOUCH THAT. 

Be blessed, Lynn

If God had picture

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Winning Him Audio Book On Sale

MarriageSale_HERO2

SUMITE Nation,

Winning Him Without Words, the audio version is on sale this month through Christian Audio. 

If you commute to work or want to listen to our book while on the treadmill or just at night before bed, this is your day. You can click on the link below and download the Audiobook for $5.98. 

WHWW 1 copy

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Unequally Yoked and the Atheist Blogs

Weekends we re-post from our archives, articles which remain relevant for the spiritually mismatched marriage.

I'm posting today (Saturday) as I'm out of town attending the Open Heavens Conference.  I hope to share some amazing stories from the week on Monday and then we will pick up our Spiritual Warfare series after that.

This particular article had reaching and great impact. This was originally posted on April 16, 2012. I just realized there is a part III and it will be posted in two weeks. It's the best post of all. Stay tuned.

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Unequally Yoked and the Atheist Blogs 

Part II

As I ease into the second part of this series, I feel a compulsion to say something: To every unbeliever, including my spouse, I hold respect and empathy and love in my heart for you.

I have been writing here at Spiritually Unequal Marriage for almost six years. Over the years I have received many encouraging words from so many of you. Your thoughts and kindness are the jewels in my crown that I will toss at His feet one day. 

I have also received some not so nice comments. I have been confronted and there are always a few doubters and even haters out there that will try to rattle my resolve and commitment to this ministry and to my Lord. 

For example, several years ago I received some kind of notice through my Google Analytics or notices (I think) that my blog had been linked to another blog. I followed the link and low and behold, there splashed across the page on this prominent atheist blog was this: 

Moron blog of the week award: Spiritually Unequal Marriage 

I started cackling out loud. Woo Hoo. I wear that label with great honor. If our lil’ ole’ marriage site is stirring up the unbelievers, then Wahooooo! 

Moron blog of the week. It’s a badge I wear proudly. 

What you should know about this merely 5’4” tall blonde is that I’m not easily rattled. I have the first component that protects my heart and soul from the doubters, haters and nay sayers. 

I KNOW my identity. I KNOW without doubt who I am in Christ. 

LifeisshortMy friends when you understand that you are solidly in the palm of the Most High God, words intended to hurt, condemn or persecute will fire at you but they don’t penetrate. It’s like I see the words “moron blog” come at me and then simply melt into an impudent puddle on the floor. In fact, I actually find it’s humorous. 

My identity in Christ came about because I worked and pursued my personal relationship with Jesus with all of my passion and a deep commitment. Wow, my efforts have paid off. If you want to discover this kind of relationship with Christ, He eagerly waits for you. It takes discipline but that will soon turn to desire. You can read about how I went about it (here). And Dineen (here)

Knowing who I am in Christ has freed me from wavering in my faith while under attack. It has empowered me to see clearly and sift the ever changing values of our society through the lens of the Bible. Which by the way, never change. What freedom there is in that truth.

I have gained a strong sense of what is right and wrong. I am free to agree to disagree with my spouse because I am  confident in the truth of God. I am filled with compassion for those who are harmed by lies of the devil. I am brought to fervent prayer for the lost, broken and the nay sayers.

And one incidental side note: I also have dominion over the delete key.  *grin* 

Empower yourselves. Begin to believe who you are in Christ. Embrace it. Live it. Love it and watch as God builds your courage and the fiery darts of the enemy just melt in impudent puddle at your feet. 

The second part of responding to the Atheist blog reader is a conversation I had with my spouse years ago. Things changed for us after that. Tune in Friday for Part III Unequally Yoked and The Atheist Blogs. 

How has your relationship helped you to cope with the attacks of an unbelieving spouse?

Be blessed, Lynn

*****

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

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