105 posts categorized "Winning Him Without Words"

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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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 (Friday) and the follow up post, tomorrow (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. I even heard from a few atheists (hilarious). Anyhoo, I pray you are encouraged today. This was originally posted on April 13, 2012. I will post the follow up to this post tomorrow. It's good!

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Unequally Yoked and the Atheist Blogs

Okay, Yep. I’m bugged. Warning: This is a very blunt post. Proceed with caution and forgiveness if some of my annoyance seeps out.

A few weeks ago I Googled a common term used in Christianity. The results came back and I clicked on the top result. The website loaded and to my complete astonishment I was looking at an atheist blog.

I started to read the post. To say I was ticked was an understatement. P-off, anyone???

BrainsfalloutNow I don’t normally read atheist blogs. I don’t normally read anything that will skew or slander the inerrant truth of the Gospel. Let me be clear here. I DO NOT have an open mind about many things. I don’t succumb to the societal poo that I am intolerant because I don’t embrace every cockamamie thought out there.

I have done my study. I have tested my faith. I believe in the Lord and His son Jesus.

Period. The end.

Okay, back to the story. So I’m reading this guy’s post and it’s not about science. It’s not about Islam. It’s not about Hinduism, nor any other faith or deity, no it solely a rant about Christianity.

So, I clicked off the blog.

But since then I have been bugged by the thought that many atheist blogs aren’t about their doubts or proof against any and all faith and deities but are in fact, a direct attack against believers, that would be all of us. And why this bugs me so much is that many of our own spouses read this crap.

I will tell you now that I’m fortunate in that my spouse doesn’t participate in this arena but a number of you who I am praying for and who have written to me are dealing with a souse who reads atheist blogs and books. And the fact of the matter is that many spouses are not only unbelievers but they are pouring hatred, misinformation and all matter of hostility into their souls from these sources. Indeed we have a very threatening road to walk in some of our mismatched marriages.

I know that one of my friends who is married to a very hostile unbeliever feels the constant attack and pressure. She feels like she must always be on guard to not say the wrong thing in order to avoid the constant conflict that comes from her hostile spouse. I grieve over these situations and I know right now I am talking to a great many of you.

In the early years of my marriage when my husband was extremely hostile, he would go at me with a vengeance throwing all kinds of arguments and weird statements and questions at me to rattle me. I didn’t know at the time that his questions weren’t coming from his own mind and thoughts but were being placed there through some atheist materials he was reading.

The pain we feel when our own spouse attacks us, the shame they place on us, the doubt that it can create can set us back years in our faith walk. How do I know, I lived it. I remember my husband saying something to me one time about God and the devil that rocked my faith so hard it took me months years to get over.

Now I know that Dineen and I wrote a book, Winning Him Without Words, based on 1 Peter 3:1. And the more I live out my faith the more that this passage proves its power in my life. However, there are times when remaining silent is wrong. It’s harmful to you, your spouse and your kids. In fact, chapter seven is titled: Pick and Choose Your Battles; When to stand up or shut-up. My friends, in this case, in my marriage, I finally decided to speak up and when I did things changed.

I will share that conversation with you on Monday as this post has already gone on too long. There are two components that will prepare you for meeting an atheist blog reader. I will share both of them next week.

For today I need your input to help me next week. If you live with a spouse that reads atheist blogs or books, please leave a comment and share with me some of the experiences when confronted by your spouse.

Looking forward to the conversation today. 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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Back To School - Conclusion

Mom & Dad: I hope you found the Back To School series helpful and encouraging. Please know that Dineen and I are standing with you in faith for the salvation of your entire family. 


I would like to thank my writing partner, Dineen, as this was her fantastic idea. Thanks girl! You know I love you. 

Now as for next month. My friends, I'm so excited. September holds some pretty BIG stuff for us. Rosh Hashanah is only a few weeks away. I have so much to share with you! Get ready because I'm convinced that we are living on planet earth at one of the most important and astonishing times in history! Ever!

Wanna hear more? Stay tuned! Hugs, Lynn

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One more thing. Winning Him Without Words and Not Alone will only be on sale for a few more days. If you know someone who would be encouraged by these books, please let them know. The sale ends Monday.

Both books

 

Not Alone Contributors names

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Not Alone - The BEST Parenting un-Advice

SUMites, have you ever wondered why I am in ministry?

I'm convinced if I'd been stronger in my faith-walk as a young person, I wouldn't have slipped down the slimy slope into my prodigal years. When I finally emerged from those dark years, by the Sovereign hand of God, I became dedicated to a singular passion.

Equip the Saints!

I'm driven to help people to NOT live in, or as long, in satan's camp as I did. This passion and God's purposes have come alive in many aspects of my faith throughout the years. I served for years in a local church Bible study. The SUM ministry was born out of my heart to equip believers who are married to unbelieving spouses. 

The books on marriage and parenting were birthed because of the Lord's grace and the heart He placed into me to equip His people to not just survive but to THRIVE! It is our Papa God's will that we live well on earth and further the Kingdom of Christ.

Train up a ChildAs we close our Back To School series, I leave you with chapter 10 of Not Alone. This chapter is about passing to our children a legacy of faith. I hope you read this chapter because I focus on a legacy of faith recorded in the Bible about a man who was raised in an unequally yoked home. His name was Timothy. Once again I'm overwhelmed by God's compassion and love because this story about Timothy, his mother and grandmother appears in His Holy Word. The Lord is encouraging all of us who are living with pre-believers to have faith, courage and assurance that we can raise World changers within a spiritually mismatched home.

Do you know what Timothy's mother's name is when translated from Greek to English? VICTORIOUS! 

We are victorious and we are standing in faith the same as Timothy's mother and grandmother. All of heaven is watching. They are cheering us on as we lead our children in daily life with Jesus. 

Do not fear. Do not be discouraged. Stand strong and do not waiver for GREAT is your reward. Your love, prayers and example will win them all, even without words!

As I finished up the book, Not Alone,  the Lord down loaded a letter to my heart. It is a letter from Him to every mother. You can read it here. Take time to read this because it's worth it. "My Chosen Mother" at our Mismatched & Thriving website.

Finally, thank you moms and dads. Thank you for your courage and your faith. I know deeply in my soul that your years of parenting will be remembered and hailed in the heavenlies for all eternity. I can't wait to one day, witness all that you have done to raise your little ones to faith.

I love you. I bless you and I call you amazing. Beloved of God. Lynn 

 And now mom and dad, this is for you!

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Part 4: The End of the Story

Gill Intl LifeGillian Russell - The Conclusion


God had now reassured me of His faithfulness in this journey, but it was already midsummer and still no baby. The due date I had been given was August 28th, so I had expected baby several months earlier, such that it would be clear to everyone by the baby's size that it truly was that same child. Now, with everything He had led me through I still expected baby to come early. I was still sure God would do things how I expected all along-that was what He had asked me to believe and I could see the possibility for so much good this way! And honestly, I just couldn't imagine waiting five more weeks and I felt I shouldn't 'have to after everything.

I fought that due date for months but now with a little over a month to go I realized that by holding God to my expectations of baby coming earlier, the whole thing was becoming twisted into my demanding it from God. I'd found myself in this place just once before and it terrified me that I had let myself be talked into treating God that way. So I knew I had to let all my notions go once and for all, and surrender to God's way alone.

And so I kept waiting. 

I waited. And waited, and WAITED.  All throughout the pregnancy I had fought that August due date with everything I had. My labor began on Aug 27th, and  after waiting so long I was excited to have baby come even one day early, but God clearly had a point to prove, and a sense of humor. I labored gently all though Aug 27 and on into August 28th, and my miracle baby finally came about 11 minutes to 9 pm ON the due date.

Part 4 Gill

I finally started to feel those characteristic first tightening the morning of Aug 27. But even with a few hours of walking and a check up, things didn't pick up enough and my contractions continued fairly regularly through the night, while I slept in between. Finally after a lot more walking the contractions started to get more painful and we headed to the hospital.

Having my husband there in the delivery room, he got to see prayer in action. There was no other way, I knew I needed it. And he watched me walk through this labor, watched me struggle through something so hard- after everything this pregnancy was- and he was there by my side, and he saw me lean on my Jesus, hard.

And then baby was out and they said, it's a boy and I started to tear up, and I said gently, ' hey Matthew,' the name that we had somehow agreed on should baby actually turn out to be a boy! Shortly after (first) greeting my littlest son, I also said out loud, 'this is still our miracle! '

They asked us his name and my husband said 'Matthew', Then they asked his middle name. My husband said he didn't have one yet and I knew in an instant who he was meant to be and said, 'Augustine.' I didn't really even realize what had happened until after I'd said it, the Holy Spirit just took over! And in that moment, the last unresolved details of God's plan for this journey became clear.

All spring and even summer I had been so sure God was going to work a miracle and wow everybody, but I discovered later this certainty came from my own understanding, God had never actually promised such a thing. The same was true with my certainty that this child would be the little girl I've been waiting for. All along I was meant to have a boy.

Aug 27 was the feast of St Monica, the unequal yoked mama who prayed her wayward son into sainthood, and who also prayed for her husband, just like us! :) I had thought maybe baby would come then but instead he was born the next day, Aug 28th - the feast day of her son: St Augustine.
The timing was clearly God and I'd just been saying a nine day prayer for my husband too. Everything else aside, God had said this was our miracle, and so, he was. -Gill

Thank you Gill for your amazing story of faith and how we can watch God create beauty from ashes.

Isaiah 61:1-3

The Spirit of the Sovereign Lord is on me,

    because the Lord has anointed me

    to proclaim good news to the poor.

He has sent me to bind up the brokenhearted,

    to proclaim freedom for the captives

    and release from darkness for the prisoners,

2 to proclaim the year of the Lord’s favor

    and the day of vengeance of our God,

to comfort all who mourn,

3     and provide for those who grieve in Zion—

to bestow on them a crown of beauty

    instead of ashes,

the oil of joy

    instead of mourning,

and a garment of praise

    instead of a spirit of despair.

They will be called oaks of righteousness,

    a planting of the Lord

    for the display of his splendor.

Gillian and Noah

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Part 3: He is Faithful!

Gillian Russell - Part III

Part 3 Gill
God had asked me, in the depth of my soul, to trust Him to bring my unborn baby back to life. And although everyone else said this had to be a new baby, I trusted God that it wasn't, and now that I was most definitely pregnant again, I waited for God's miracle to become visible to the world. 

The official due date I was eventually given was 2-3 weeks earlier than what it should have been, given the blood test I took at the clinic that came back 100% negative. But most of all, God never once told me otherwise (directly with words to my heart or without words in that deep secret place in my soul). Indeed, it would have been much easier if He had. Continuing to hold onto this baby in my heart was the hardest thing I've ever had to do. Yet every time I began to think this could be a new child and would ask God about letting go of Annabelle so I could grieve and move on, I found no peace. The only path for me was compete trust there in the dark.  

A good friend also told me to keep trusting, because this was all so much bigger. She would encourage me to hang on to my boys, to my husband and to the baby, and to keep hang on to God, trusting what He had spoken to my soul, no matter what facts or evidence I might see. God had asked me to walk by faith alone. And she kept assuring me often that there was more to this than I could see, that no matter how it ended, it would be a miracle.

At the time I struggled with seeing it that way if things didn't go how I had understood and was expecting. As time went on I realized I really didn't know what would come of all this, and that was okay. I discovered a whole new depth of wonder as I learned to surrender to the utter mystery of His sovereignty.

The journey was like nothing I'd ever walked before. God had always come through with whatever He had asked of me in the past. By summer I was convinced this baby had to come any day now. I even started to feel mild contractions which I hadn't had early on with any of my other babies. But they came and went and nothing happened, and God remained silent on the issue.

As time went on like this, the truth of what God was really up to grew more mysterious. A wise friend listened to my story and then spoke right into the darkness itself, that God was letting me walk in this darkness now because He knew the joy and the strength and the good that would come out of it. God knows that it is in the darkness that we find our strength (and especially our strength in Him!) And so He was lovingly allowing this trial of my faith.

He was making me holy. 

I was so in awe of her words, and they were utter transformation in my soul. I had felt this struggle in my spirit many times before, especially when God felt absent. Practically at least, I often thought it must be something I had done  when God felt distant, like I had forgotten about him and now He was waiting for me to come wholly after Him again.  And yet the darkness itself, was a gift! For so long I had felt the need to fight against the darkness, the overwhelm, the heaviness, the helplessness, whatever felt wrong to me in my soul when they were a good thing, a gift, the real path TO holiness, and to Him! 
 
The pregnancy itself was also unlike any other I'd experienced before (who else has ever waited EXPECTING a baby for 12 months?). It was really hard on me, both physically and spiritually. The physical challenges, of course, my husband understood but it was impossible for him to have any concept of what walking through this was like for me spiritually. It was the hardest thing I ever had to do, holding onto this baby in my heart. There were what felt like many days, when I would be so tired by lunch time I'd have to go have a nap instead of getting food for my family. And by the end of the day I usually wasn't up to doing too much in the kitchen, or all that pleasant to be around either. As this went on, I began to notice that my husband had been stepping up with the housework to help fill in the gaps. I also realized he seemed to be a whole lot more patient with me lately through all my tiredness and upsets and I discovered this seemed to have started right after I specifically thanked him for being extra patient at my priest's instruction.

I began trying to find something to thank my husband for each day, and began to have some real success from the awesome marriage tips that Shaunti Feldham shares. In particular God helped me understand that I don't have to be ruled by my emotions; He gave me new perspective to see them as fleeting, and taught me to let go of my negative feelings and frustrations quickly, which helped take more stress off of my husband (stress that I had been contributing).

One night my oldest son was telling me something about bad guys and how (like I've tried to teach him) they aren't really bad guys (usually) just misunderstood or they don't understand the real truth etc...(Take the baddie cars from the 2nd movie- they were all lemons and never felt appreciated) And for some reason as I was reminding him of this it hit me so clearly: that by pushing me so hard with all of this- God was also giving my sweet husband greater opportunities to extend grace to me- as he saw me struggling. Through this journey God was giving my husband opportunities to grow in that beautiful, selfless love! It was such a profound moment to suddenly realize how God was working on my husband's heart with this too!

And in that way, I discovered that even though I was still waiting to meet this special baby, God had already been faithful! He had spoken to my heart right from the beginning that this miracle baby would bring change to my husband's heart and even with the baby still snug in my tummy, I could already see that it was! Truly, this was our miracle! While I still believed it was the same baby, as God had still not given me any indication otherwise,  I began to accept that it could be a boy and that either way,  the baby might not come before the due date or possibly not till after it sometime, and so it might not look anything spectacular to anyone- unless they are living close.  Close enough to see the miles that this man has come this last year- while I've been walking this journey alongside him with all the faith God has given me. Boy or girl, this was our miracle because it was alr Gill Intl Lifeeady changing his heart.

Come mid August I was still waiting. I knew that only God could know the timing and maybe there would be no great manifestation of God's power- ( for the world even) because God was working something much more hidden, in the depths of a soul. And maybe, that was the real miracle. 

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Part 2: Trusting God for the Impossible

Gill Intl LifeGillian Russell - Part II

Later that summer I discovered I was pregnant again. To be honest, I had not been so excited about a baby since my first child, who we had lost to miscarriage. After confession one evening I was praying in thanksgiving for my faith and my family, and absolutely thinking about this new little one that would join our family, when I heard in my heart, 'This is our miracle.' In my soul I understood that this child would be the thing that would begin to change my husband's heart, that God would use this child to bring about my husband's conversion! And hope just blossomed wild!

In my heart I just KNEW this baby was a girl, because a girl can soften a man's heart in a way that boys just can't. And God knew I had been patiently waiting for a little girl of my own-while living in a house with three little boys! I hadn't felt so happy and excited for a baby since my very first pregnancy!

Shortly after that God let me know clearly in my spirit that something bad was about to happen in my life, and then less than a week later I started bleeding. It was just a tiny bit and I still had confidence in God and His promise. But then on Wednesday it was heavy and I had to go to the hospital where the doctors determined I had had a miscarriage.

I didn't understand!

Why would God tell me this child was our miracle and then take that baby!?! I was completely broken the next day, until Lynn and Dineen sent me what God had been speaking to them as they were lifting me up in prayer through it.

Lynn's message was that God had taken the child to protect me and my family because there would have been severe complications with the pregnancy, and almost immediately I had peace. I was still terribly sad, but I trusted God to know what was best and this alone brought great comfort.

Then when I read Dineen's message, God led me in a strange and unexpected direction. In the message God said the child was not dead but dormant, sleeping, and His last words were: 'so I will restore the child to Gill, the miracle is still to come.'

With this I began to wonder if maybe God had meant 'miracle' in a completely different way! The most I came to understand in my heart was that God wanted to bring my baby (a girl!) back to life and He was asking me to trust Him to do it. Up till that point I had trusted God with a trip, a house and even my heart, but to trust Him to bring my baby back from the dead, this was just, BIG.

And yet in a way, I already did. He is the God of the impossible, and He'd already proven His faithfulness to me over and over again. That night on my prayer hill, still feeling broken, I reached and picked a purple fall flower and the second I pulled the stem I heard the name 'Annabelle' in my heart. Little baby Annabelle in God's hands.

That weekend I went away on retreat and everything God was speaking to me was confirming this course of action, and finally He had me make a bead cross and bring it up to the altar, not as a memorial for my baby in heaven, but as a concrete sign of my trust. And, even after I did this and was sitting in the cafeteria for snack afterwards I realized I was still holding back, my heart still wondering, 'but what if He doesn't?' 

I remembered what God had taught me in Texas: that true surrender means being willing to accept the possibility of what you don't want to happen. So I went back into the room with my toddler and, letting a little child lead me, promised again, telling God that this time, for better or worse, I was all in.

And so began a journey like no other.  

That was that. I was decided. I knew it was crazy but I believed because I know I serve an awesome God, a God of the impossible! I'd walked through these valleys of trust before and I know My God! He has always been faithful. Where He leads I will follow, because He loves me, and He always has the very best for me and for those I love.

As the days and months went on, many people tried to tell me I was wrong about this and I cried out to God over and over asking if I was still on the right path, His path. But He never said anything to the contrary, just kept asking and encouraging me to keep trusting Him. Several people suggested I take a pregnancy test, but I didn't feel there was much point, I knew even if it came back negative it wouldn't change anything.  I was still going to trust God to do what He had said and had complete faith in His promise, but I have to be honest, this kind of faith is NOT easy, and it is nothing I could ever do.  It is a gift, to Him and to share with the world- and the fact that I can trust Him, like THIS- it's ALL His grace. 

I did end up having a true blood-test at the clinic eventually, and when it came back negative this trust became a real struggle. Then one morning about a month and a half later I felt incredibly nauseous and had been really emotional the day before; my hormones were clearly all over the place. The feeling was characteristic morning sickness, but the next day it was gone again for good, and a few weeks later a test confirmed I was pregnant. To me it was as if the pregnancy, like a computer, had just booted up again exactly where it had left off. And in my heart I knew, this had to be that same baby. 

Everyone else said it must be a new baby, especially after the ultrasound concluded we were having a boy, but I would smile inside and tell them they could think what they wanted, God would decide. (This whole thing wasn't up to me anyway!) And so I waited patiently, expecting a new baby girl in the spring, maybe even close to Easter; oh what a resurrection that would be! 

I was so sure God would want to do things this way- to finally give me my little girl in such a special way, and what an impact it would have on the skeptics around me when suddenly my baby came much earlier than the due dates expected! Then everyone would know it was the same child, and that God is Lord over all the earth! I refused to confine God to a box where these things couldn't happen.

He'd asked me in my soul to trust Him to bring my baby back, and so I would continue to hold onto the hope of that glorious resurrection.  And so, even though the ultrasound indicated I was having a boy, I trusted God that this was still that same special baby (girl) that God had told me would impact my husband, and as the weeks turned to months and it got harder to have faith in this, deep down, I still believed that it was, and we would all see it in time.

Part II Gill

 

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Part 1: The Journey to Complete Abandonment

SUMites, Lynn here. I will be traveling this week. While I'm away, one of our long-time readers and Sister, SUMite Gillian Russell will be sharing a portion of her story. You may remember her and her astonishing story of traveling to meet me and Dineen in Texas. You can find her story about that adventure, here

Thank you Gill for taking time to share your faith with us. Hugs, Lynn

Although I came to my faith for the first time as a twenty year old, somehow God grabbed hold of me very early on in my journey: within a month I was completely sold out on God and I never looked back. While I struggle with many things, trusting God has rarely been an issue for me. (By this I mean for big stuff, trusting God in the little interruptions and frustrations in my day is a completely different story). Maybe it's also that I've always been impulsive, but when God says jump, I jump, (and think and ask questions later!) Honestly, it doesn't matter what it is, all I need is to hear from Him. 

So what does that mean for a mismatched marriage? It has certainly created some odd discussions but there are so many blessings that have flowed into all our lives from this obedience, because after all, God always works only for our best. 

A few years ago, while praying on my way home from a church event I heard these words CLEARLY in my spirit: 

Until your husband sees you, visibly different, (like my best friend saw the change) truly submitting to him, he’s not going to believe.’ That’s what it will take for him to come on board etc, radical humility. ‘Only when you are willing to lay down your will, will he be able to know Me.’ 

Gulp. 

Part 1.JPG Gill
Since then God has been helping me, one little step at a time, to lay down my wants, my desires, my way. In Texas God had taught me that I didn't need to try to run the show because He was in control, and of course He knows what's best. I was reminded of what God had told me about letting go of my will, and it was clear God needed me to stop controlling my husband, trying to get him to live his life how I wanted. 

In fact, God took it a step further by showing me clearly that as long as I was doing this, God would never be able to reach him. Like the prodigal son, my husband had to be able to live free, even free to make mistakes, and that would require my cooperation. This actually made perfect sense, so I trustingly said yes to God. 

A few days later I began to see just what that yes meant.

You see, my husband was invited to a party I did not want him to go to. Besides the fact that it was overnight and shouldn't a husband and father be home with his family, I knew that part of the festivities included strippers (Bachelor party). I knew this situation was not going to be healthy for him or for our marriage...and I wanted to put my wifely foot down, that he was NOT GOING.

Instead I had to lay that urge down, and let him make the decision himself, and look to God to get me through it. So I trusted my heart to God, only to have it broken when he chose to go anyway. I clung to God through the fears and hurt that followed, and offered up the pain I felt to God, together with the cross of Christ to win graces for my husband. Even though I couldn't see any real changes, I had to trust that God was using this to humble my husband, as he saw how his decision affected me.

I had never been so broken, but The Lord stood with me. Truly, I'd never felt so close to my Lord as I did those few days. I had given Him everything I had. 

The night before, after my husband had left for the party, I felt like Jesus alone in the garden of Gethsemane wrestling with the Father's will as my heart wrestled with surrendering this completely to God, for better or worse. Now God had taken my heart, and I had nothing left to give Him. In that place I found myself completely abandoned to His will, whatever it might be, from that moment forward.  There, kneeling by the water in full view of the cars going by, I raised my hands to the heavens in humble surrender. 

Three days later I watched God do a work of redemption in our marriage that only He could do. Afterwards I even shared with my husband a little of how God was responsible for it, because it was only because I was following God's directions that this new breakthrough happened. 

Only God could turn that place of darkness into a new dawn. Truly, the Almighty works ALL things for our good. 

Gill Intl Life
--- Stay Tuned, Part II is next--- Gill

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FREE RESOURCE

SUMite Leaders:

All of us are leaders by the way. But for all of you who the Holy Spirit has been nagging to start a small group in your area, this is for you. Fall is around the corner and churches are starting to put their fall Bible studies and small groups together. Perhaps you are to step out a lead one.

Leading a small group in this area that you know well, is one of the most rewarding experiences in your faith walk. 

So pray about starting a small group. Read the booklet in the sidebar. Pray... Pray again. Recruit a friend to lead with you. And use the many resources that are here to help.

Note Alone Cover Art Book coverStudy Winning Him Without Words for marriages and follow that up with Not Alone, a parenting book that will truly help your children find Jesus even in a Spiritually Mismatched home.

Here is a new resource that is adapted from Winning Him by a small group in California. My friends, we can do this unique marriage thing and do it well. Then we can help others to thrive and live in the love and power of the Kingdom.

Hugs, Lynn & Dineen

PRAYER CARDS - New Resource.

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Submission - The Books of Peter

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

image from www.spirituallyunequalmarriage.com Winninghim

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A Testimony by SUMite Holly Boone

Dear friends, Holly Boone (a different Holly from the one I shared about in my last post) shared this with me in an email and I asked if I could share it with our community. I pray it blesses you as it did me. I remember being in a similar place in my marriage years ago and knew that if I didn't begin trusting God to change me, my marriage would not survive.  And He did, so lovingly and with great beauty as Holly shares with us here. God is so good. Our hope and future rest in Him! Thank you, Holly, for sharing your heart with us. We love you! —Dineen

Confession 

Image1I decided to try a worksheet about sin I’d received from a faith based conference. I wasn’t sure what sin I was going to write down until I sat down and prayed about it. God began to open my eyes to an area I wasn’t even focusing on. I wrote, “I need to put to death the sin of belittling my husband and second guessing his work and parenting decisions.” 

Then, it happened. The floodgates opened from His Word and God laid out a step by step plan of how He was going to conquer this sin in me. It is so good, HE is so good. The passages He used to convict me and even the order of how I read them was a perfect plan of how to accomplish this. Amazing! 

First I read Proverbs 21:23, one of the first scriptures I memorized, He who guards His mouth and his tongue, guards his soul from trouble. After my confession my soul WAS troubled. It was deeply torn apart about what I was doing to my husband under the guise of “helping” him. I wasn’t helping, I was tearing him down each time I gave “advice” or my opinion that came from a prideful spirit and not a humble spirit. I wasn’t speaking harshly or out of anger so I didn’t think I was doing anything wrong. But God!!! He opened my eyes to another sin that I committed with my mouth and reminded me to guard it closely and for me it boils down to… listen more, talk less. 

The second verse was Ephesians 4:29 – Let no unwholesome word proceed from your mouth, but only such a word as is good for edification according to the need of the moment so that it will give grace to those who hear. I know this verse well too, but this time when I read it I was reminded of how God had cleansed unwholesome words from my mouth before. I used to have a filthy mouth. A vulgar, dirty, mouth. Once God brought me to salvation that was a big change He did in me. Those words are no longer a part of my vocabulary, they don’t even come to my mind, and when I hear them at work they make me cringe. 

Most people at work try to be respectful of me and not say things around me, but I still hear it every day. The fact that they are offensive to me now just shows the POWERFUL cleansing God can do and will do in ALL areas we give to him. So the way I was speaking to my husband when we talked about his work or issues with our daughter was not edifying and were not necessarily needed for the moment. But God!!! He can and will cleanse me from that. So step two in the plan is ask myself, are these words needed in this moment and to ask God to remove all the words from my mouth that are not good for my husband just as He removed all of the filthy words from my mouth I used to say.

Verse three is 1 Peter 3:1 – In the same way you wives be submissive to your own husband so that even if any of them are disobedient to the Word, they may be won without a word, by the behavior of their wives. The Holy Spirit is so powerful, because I again, knew this verse well but yesterday was shown a whole new part of the word “submissive.” I need to be submissive minute by minute, not just in the big decisions. I need to be submissive about all aspects of our marriage by my attitude of humility. I wanted to be submissive except in the areas I felt I was better. Pride. 

Oh the damage pride can do in a heart. I was being rebellious, the opposite of submissive. I thought I was being submissive, because I wasn’t badgering him about our spiritual differences. I wasn’t trying to change him, so I thought. But around every corner I was there to second guess his decision and let him know what I thought he SHOULD be doing instead. How he made a sandwich, how he fed the dog, how he dressed our daughter, his relationship with his boss, his relationship with his students, when he should be on his computer, when the TV should be on, what he left in the car, what he forgot to do—so many things I point out to him about what I think he needs to do differently. The biggest area I can show my submission to my husband is how I speak to him and support his decisions, and when it is time for me to help in a decision or give some insight, it HAS to be done prayerfully and with God guiding my words, not letting my flesh guide me and spitting out all that I want to say.

The last verse Proverbs 31:10-12 – An excellent wife who can find: For her worth is far above jewels. The heart of her husband trusts in her, And he will have no lack of gain. She does him good and not evil all the days of her life.  THIS is the sweet promise I received yesterday.  If I follow God’s plan He has promised that my husband will have “no lack of gain.”  And that I will do him “good and not evil all the days of my life.” I thought this was my desire before, I thought I was living that out, but I was so off the mark. I thank God for giving me this new desire. I WANT to do my husband good and not evil. I WANT him to have no lack of gain and God has opened my eyes on how to do that, truly. I have often described my husband as the best unbeliever there is. He supports me in many ways that a lot of husbands don’t in spiritually unequal marriages. That is a gift from God. 

But even though I say our marriage is good I think I am really thinking, “it is good enough.” For the situation I am in, it is good enough. In spite of our spiritual differences, it is good enough. Compared to others in my situation who have it a lot worse, it is good enough. But God!!! 

Yesterday after confessing sin, asking him for nothing except forgiveness what He gave me was a promise of MORE! He has so much more for my marriage than just “good.” If I follow His plan He has shown me that He has something far greater waiting for me and my husband. What a loving God we have. When I thought that we were in a good place and I had settled in to this place in our marriage, God said, “Oh no dear child, you just wait and see what I have in store for you.”  

My submission to my husband is submission to God. That is what I desire more than anything, even if I receive nothing. But God still continues to give and give and give blessings to me. A wise man recently was writing of his trial, but in the middle of it still thinking “why me God, why are you so good to me and generous with your blessings? I do not deserve it.” I often think this as well. Why me God? You are so good to me and shower me with blessing and goodness and always bring my perspective back in focus when I have wandered. The answer to why He is so good to me is because He is God. A perfect Father. A perfect example of love.

 After this encounter I could only do one thing. Get down on the ground on my knees with my head down worshipping God. I sang the chorus to one of my new favorite songs:  

Holy Spirit you are welcome here, 
come flood this place and fill the atmosphere. 
Your glory God is what our hearts long for, 
to be overcome by your presence Lord.

I was overcome by His presence. It was a glorious afternoon of worship and tears as an offering to God, and, other than the words of the song, all I could say was thank you God, thank you Father.

If we confess our sins He is faithful and righteous to forgive us our sins and cleanse us from all unrighteousness. — 1 John 1:9

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Testimony Time by Noely Watt

Hello Lynn, 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

In Christ,
Noely Watt

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

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Pray With Power

image from www.spirituallyunequalmarriage.comI believe. I’ve decided that I believe the Bible. I believe the sun and moon stood still and there has never been a day like that before or since then. But I believe that if God tells me to command the sun, He will surely do it. And He will send the hailstones as well if that will serve His purposes.

What is mind-blowing about all this revelation in the past week about locks, lockers, keys and such is the GIANT breakthroughs in my life that came with it. Personal breakthroughs such as losing weight, a long area of defeat for me. Breakthrough in writing and other areas. I finally found a new church for which I had been praying for months. My husband attended church. I’ve prayed over him, literally saying, “I blast you with the Holy Spirit.” And this past week, in church, he raised his hand toward the platform as we prayed corporately over a family. Say What? Who is this man?

I tell you he is a man for whom I will never stop “loosing” the Kingdom over his life. I remain hopeful through the Resurrection power that one day SOON he will step into the Kingdom of Jesus Christ. And I will never stop praying for that glorious day!

My friends, I’m convinced in the depths of my soul and so is Dineen that we are living in a unique period of time never seen before nor again. We as believers are positioned to be part of the greatest outpourings of His love and power on earth since the time of Christ.

If you are a reader here, you have been sent here by design. (AMEN!) I’m convinced that the Lord is holding out your key of invitation to step into this time of great preparation. Jump in with both feet. No, I say: Jump off the cliff and BELIEVE He will catch you. Take the keys from His hands and together we shall loose on earth His love and healing. We will bind lies, death, disease, marriage troubles, relationship difficulties, tears, cruelty, fear, depression, sickness and frailty as well as every other mission of the demonic realm. In Jesus name.

So let’s begin right now. Pray with me:

Lord Jesus,

Today this family on the web, who by design is strategically disbursed throughout the planet arises with Joshua courage to fight and DEFEAT the enemy. We are honored that you have trusted us with the keys of the Kingdom. Give us now your Spirit of Wisdom and Revelation to use these keys to open gates that must be opened and to shut those that must be shut upon the demonic realm.

Lord, make us fearless.

Papa, God, make us strong as we stand in faith.

Papa, Almighty God, fill us with a fierce love that knocks down every wall and releases your kingdom here on earth.

Lord, we thrill to see the daily miracles which we will be apart. We expect You to speak to us so that we know your thoughts and wishes. We pledge you our time, our heart, our life, loyalty, worship and love. Forever and ever. We ask you to heal us quickly that we may then bring your healing to the world. And they will know we are Christians by our love.

We adore you. Thank you. And stand in faith… of a mustard seed. In Jesus name. Amen.

PRAY WITH POWER. Hugs, Lynn

image from www.spirituallyunequalmarriage.com

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Keys To The Kingdom - Part I

SUMites:

I have a thing about keys.

Last week I believe the Lord poured out revelation upon me regarding keys and their significance in the Kingdom. I also believe that the revelation was not only specific to myself but also to others.

Way back in 2009 I penciled together an idea for a book. That book was centered on 10 keys. Winning Him Without Words, was the result and the keys became profound in my life and by default, in a lot of other lives who have read the book and will read the book. Then last year I had a dream. I rarely remember my dreams but on this particular night I dreamt that Jesus handed me three keys. I could clearly see bronze skeleton keys. It was obvious to me they were tarnished and ancient. I knew somehow they were large and weighty.

That’s all I remember about the dream. I called Dineen and told her about it and that I didn’t know the purpose of the keys. It’s one of those things that you hold in your heart, just as Mary held special thoughts about Jesus in her heart. Months passed. The picture in my mind remained of these three keys. Then one day I read a passage in Romans. This passage has nothing to do with keys or at least that’s what I thought. However, the minute I read it, I just knew. These were the keys Jesus placed in my hands.

For the kingdom of God is not eating and drinking, but righteousness and peace and joy in the Holy Spirit. —Romans 14:17

The three keys are Righteousness, Peace and Joy.

Do you know what the keys unlock?

Well, it was months later after a season of prayer asking the Lord to reveal their meaning that I came to know these specific characteristics; peace, joy, righteousness, are attributes of heaven. The atmosphere of heaven! Now, I don’t fully understand the profound significance of all this. I believe I’m still uncovering how to use the keys and learning what they unlock specifically and such. But, I am living more and more in this kind of atmosphere here on earth.

Finally, in my new book I write about the combination lock which I also shared in a post here in November. And guess what? Yes, the new book is about keys!

Yep, locks, lockers, keys, unlocking and locking are prominent in my growing faith. Finally this past week, I was out in the vineyards on my walk-n-pray and that was when the Holy Spirit downloaded the revelation. I called Dineen and practically wore her out with my excitement over this revelation. But what I forgot is the reason this revelation finally came about was because of a lock I found back in January. I shared a photo of it on Facebook that day and I shared the photo again in the SUM comments on Monday. Here it is for you to see.

Master unlocked

Last week as I walked along the vineyard road, the Lord revealed the meaning of the clues. And what I failed to remember was Dineen and several others found locks around the same time that I found mine. (Side note: I found this lock sitting on the fence post, unlocked. Notice it’s old and also notice the word: Master. Joanne pointed out that little bit of intrigue to me. I hadn’t noticed it said, Master. Hmmmm) Okay, onward.

At the center of Becoming Brave is the passage Matthew 16:18-19

Jesus said: …”Upon this rock I will build my church, and the gates of Hades will not overcome it. 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.”

MY FRIENDS!!!!! The implications of how all this comes together, simply freaks me out.

I came home supercharged with faith. Now let me tell you about the passage I read that morning before my walk. I’ve read the Bible through since 1999 and I haven’t remembered reading this specific passage until that morning. This passage blows my mind and was the final piece of the revelation.

Read Joshua 10:1-14 and we will pick up this story on Friday. It’s a mind-blow. And this story is for us. I will explain.

This week I want you to pray over these particular passages of scripture, Matthew 16:18-19 and Joshua 10:1-14. I’m praying along with you because I believe these passages are for us, believers right now, today. The implications are staggering and so exciting.

Leave your thoughts in the comments. See you there. Hugs, Lynn

Signature Lynn SUM

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Easter and our Faithful God

image from www.spirituallyunequalmarriage.comOh He is faithful.  If you’ll spare me some time, please let me share some of my story with you all.  I pray God will use it to speak life into just one of your dear hearts.

I have a confession.  I had a problem, a big problem.  This problem was masqueraded by me being responsible and wise.  I didn’t trust God.  I trusted myself, my ability to budget and plan.  I trusted in financial security.  I trusted in money.

I was blinded by this truth through college and through the first nine years of my marriage.   But God awakened me.  God has greatly used this journey of being unequally yoked to teach me how to trust and believe HIM.  HIM alone.

This story is unique to me.  But maybe there’s a parallel to you.   God allowed whatever it took to show me HIS faithfulness.   My husband and I went from being debt free (everything but the house) with a cushion in savings to barely making it paycheck-to-paycheck with accumulated credit card debt.  Oh the whirlwind!!  It was hard.  So hard!  But in the midst of all the pain, lack of control, confusion, fighting against my flesh – GOD was faithful.   

The very things God was using to break this stronghold of my trust in money, He most certainly used to pursue my husband.  It was in the beginning of this journey that I felt God speaking to my heart, saying, “I need you to trust ME and I need you to trust your husband.”

And that’s the truth.  I didn’t trust my husband.  I didn’t trust his decisions.  I wanted to control him, especially with our finances.  Me not trusting my husband was keeping him down, holding him back.   Not letting him lead.  And, it was killing our marriage.  When I shifted this budgeting and doing everything by the book burden over to God and my husband, I had peace.  Overwhelming peace.  The fruit of the Spirit – peace.    

God had work to do in me.  He showed me that I was the older brother in Luke 15.  I was a Pharisee craving a black and white faith.  I longed for control to figure it all out, instead of clinging to, and trusting in the God of the universe.

This was a radical change for me, and an unfamiliar road.  There were rocks and many unknowns.  And the u-turns frequently called me back to my place of comfort and control.  But I knew TRUSTING GOD was the most excellent way.  His Word spoke this truth to me over and over.

In 1 Timothy 6:10, “For the love of money is a root of all kinds of evil, for which some have strayed from the faith in their greediness, and pierced themselves through with many sorrows.” (NKJV)  Oh how I knew the first part of this verse, but the second part pierced my heart with truth.  I was in the middle of feeling the sorrows.  There’s no way I wanted any more.

In Mark 10:23-34, “Then Jesus looked around and said to His disciples, “How hard it is for those who have riches to enter the kingdom of God!” 24 And the disciples were astonished at His words. But Jesus answered again and said to them, “Children, how hard it is for those who trust in riches to enter the kingdom of God!”  (NKJV) Oh how I knew this verse was for me.  I was without a doubt, trusting in riches.

Oh and Psalm 52:7 “Here now is the man who did not make God his stronghold but trusted in his great wealth and grew strong by destroying others!”  Ouch.  I was greedy.  I was couponing to save.  I cringed if someone needed new shoes.   The old me had the money.. but held onto it tight.

And 1 Timothy 6:17 “ Command those who are rich in this present world not to be arrogant nor to put their hope in wealth, which is so uncertain, but to put their hope in God, who richly provides us with everything for our enjoyment.” (NIV) What had I been doing?!  One bad accident and everything we had could be gone.  The striving, controlling and my trust in money had to stop.  God had to be my source, my supplier, my everything.

Oh to the glory of God, He did not leave me there to perish with many sorrows.  He gently led me through His Word to freedom.  And oh the freedom in Christ!  IF you don’t know it.. seek it hard!!  I highly recommend Beth Moore’s Breaking Free.   

Proverbs 2:4-5 "if you seek it like silver and search for it like hidden treasure then you will understand the fear of the Lord and discover the knowledge of God."

So this radical change.   This hard road of restoring my soul fully to Him has led to an amazing place.  And with such joy I share.   As God changed me, HE has saved my husband.   I proclaim, Jesus has pursued my earthly man.  This time the door of my husband's heart has swung open wide.  Welcoming a needed Savior.  Brad gave his life to Christ in February and is set for baptism this Sunday!  Raise to life with Christ our Savior.  Oh glorious day!  I cannot contain the tears of joy.  Of all the ways I’ve dreamed of this joyous time, God’s way FAR EXCEEDS them all.  HE IS FAITHFUL.

Please celebrate with me.  Please don’t stop praying for your husbands.  Thank you for all of your heart felt prayers.  This community is ALIVE with the love of God and I thank HIM – for each of you.

Please, I must share the biggest and most amazing lesson in all of this has been grace. 

GRACE – BIG GOD SIZED GRACE.

GRACE to my husband at all hours of the day, when his blinded selfishness caused such pain.

GRACE to myself when my have not’s wanted to breed into bitter resentment and snide remarks.

GRACE to my friends when they just didn’t understand.

The tears we shed, He catches.

The hurt we feel, He has felt.

The love we know in Him, HE CREATED.

How could anyone else come close?

 

TRUST HIM with your husbands.   

With so much love and faith in HIM to each of you,

Mandy, Sumite

Romans 2:4 “Or despisest thou the riches of his goodness and forbearance and longsuffering; not knowing that the goodness of God leadeth thee to repentance?” (KJV)

 

Thank you Mandy. This is such a glorious testimony to our King.

Finally SUM Family. For those who have been a part of our community for a number of years, please remember with me Rosheeda Lee. Two years ago today she went home to Jesus. Rosheeda was such an amazing part of our community. She named us SUMites & SUMers. She started our community and lead us each year in our annual community week-long fast in January. She prayed for hundreds of you and was a voice of hope, always. I adore her and miss her. I can't wait to see her again and I know we will spend thousands of years together in glory.

She loved Jesus with a full heart. To read her story visit the Rosheeda Legacy Page link in our sidebar. She was amazing.

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Happy Easter. TODAY IS WHY WE HAVE SO MUCH HOPE. Thank you Lord, Jesus for the cross, for your love, your examples, teaching and for the resurrection. We are looking forward to the greatest moment of all eternity the Great Wedding of the Bride and Prince Jesus. Amen.

Love, Lynn

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The Power We Have To Sanctify Our Spouse

SUMites. 

Matthew 18 19In the last week, through scripture, other books I’m reading, and email, I’ve been continually drawn to OUR power passage. 1 Corinthians 7:12-14. (See it below.)

I am coming into new revelation that this passage is even more powerful than we think. When combined with the passage from Matthew 18:19, which is also being hammered home in me, I’m in a place of powerful belief and prayer. 

So, I think I want to revisit this passage and re-inspire you with what the Lord tells us when we are in a mixed – mixed up *grin*- marriage. I know that we have a ton of new readers who perhaps haven’t found our writings on this passage. So while I’m busy working away on my next book, please let me share again from Winning Him Without Words: 

I’ve lived many seasons unequally yoked and only now am I reaping the rewards of the hard work of forgiveness. I am able to teach my children about Christ, to love my husband unconditionally, and to dwell daily in the presence of my Savior. But, because I have traveled through the difficult seasons where many of you are at right now, I have a heart for your pain and I understand the real struggles you face. I have lived where you are living, and I wasted too many years stuck on the path. More than anything, I don’t want one more woman wasting years imprisoned in a bad season. It is God’s desire for us to discover that marriage is fun, fulfilling, rewarding, and godly. 

Godly, you may wonder. How can a believer and an unbeliever have a godly marriage?

For the rest of you who are in mixed marriages—Christian married to non-Christian—we have no explicit command from the Master. So this is what you must do. If you are a man with a wife who is not a believer but who still wants to live with you, hold on to her. If you are a woman with a husband who is not a believer but he wants to live with you, hold on to him. The unbelieving husband shares to an extent in the holiness of his wife, and the unbelieving wife is likewise touched by the holiness of her husband. Otherwise, your children would be left out; as it is, they also are included in the spiritual purposes of God (1 Cor. 7:12-14, THE MESSAGE). 

Let this passage bring you comfort and security. You are a follower of Jesus and it’s by your faith he will bring about his good and perfect will in your home. Can I get an amen? AMEN! 

I was reading something recently from Smith Wigglesworth. This man astonishes me at his antics within the power and love of God. He paid a visit to a woman whose husband was an unbeliever and who had left her. Smith said the following to her: The situation is yours. The Word of God says that you have power to sanctify your husband. Dare to believe the Word of God. …. The situations is yours. Get down before God and claim him for the Lord. Get into the glory just as you have got in today, and the Spirit of God prays through you, you will find that God will grant all the desires of your heart. 

My friends, I don’t fully understand how our faith sanctifies our spouse, but I’m willing to learn. I’m willing to believe. 

PS. Wigglesworth saw the woman a month later. She told him how her husband had come home that night and she prayed through the night right through to victory then laid hands upon him. He cried out for mercy. The Lord saved him and baptized him in the Holy Spirit. The power of God is beyond all our conception….. 

Such a great story. Makes me smile to imagine my husband crying out for mercy… So let’s stand together today upon God’s promise of Matthew 18:19 and pray together for our spouses full, Holy Spirit, deliverance, salvation. In Jesus name. 

image from www.spirituallyunequalmarriage.com

 

WinningHim

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This Time, I Prayed Differently For My Husband -Chronicles Of The Donovan Clan

I started to pray differently. 

My friends, in the past two weeks I’ve experienced a shaking. A shaking in my prayer life, my husband has been shaken, our marriage too. God is shaking things that have been entwined in our marriage for nearly two decades. 

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Two weeks ago I prayed for my husband and since then things have been different. I want to tell you about what happened but I want to first say, thank you for praying for me. 

Prayer matters.
Prayer is powerful.
Prayer connects us to the heart of the Father.
Prayer activates the angelic.
Prayer defeats the demonic.
Prayer changes circumstances that were unchangeable.
Prayer is our weaponry in battles big and small.
Prayer is our worship in thanksgiving.
Prayer is….. our lifeline of hope, blessing, deliverance, healing and victorious living. 

Okay, is that enough reasons to sit down in the morning with our Father, Jesus and Holy Spirit? 

I want to tell you that my personal breakthrough came because months leading up to this shift in our marriage, I was writing out scriptures specific to answered prayer. Man, there are such promises from God. I take a small sheet of paper, write the date on top, then the scripture and claim it as God’s faithful promise to me and then write down my prayer. I have slips of paper stuck in my morning Bible all over the place with these promises and these scriptures and my requests. 

I challenge you to do the same for the next 30 days. 

I’m convinced that my claiming of scriptures helped to bring a change to the way I’ve been praying for my husband’s salvation. For years I’ve prayed, “Father, save my husband. Bring him to salvation and faith in Jesus.” 

I’ve prayed every variation of this prayer for years and years. How about you???? 

About a month ago the Holy Spirit said stop praying that old way. You haven’t seen any results after more than 20 years of marriage anyway. Ouch! And instantly I knew I was to pray differently for my husband. (Thank you Holy Spirit) 

I began petitioning heaven with passion and with belief and scripture promises this prayer. “Lord, let me lay hands on my husband and pray over him. Let me BLAST him with the Holy Spirit.” 

Yep, indeedy…. That’s a different way to pray!!! But I prayed on. “Papa, just open an opportunity to pray aloud with my husband and let me lay hands on him and blast him with the power of the Holy Spirit.” 

Two weeks ago the Lord opened up that very opportunity. It was so unexpected and it came with a massive spiritual battle beforehand. And a few days prior to that, a shaking started in our marriage. And with that shaking an understanding and revelation about our relationship came to my spirit. My wine drinking was directly tied to our marriage. As soon as I prayed and broke that tie in the spiritual realm, I haven’t had a glass of wine at night since. I also was able for the first time to see (discern) some darkness lurking in his heart, fear, deception and a few others. I could see them for the first time looking into his eyes one day while he was speaking to me in the kitchen. 

And after the battle was over and I still stood in the power of Jesus. Then Mike and I talked things out for a long while. Finally I asked him if I could pray. He agreed my friends and he didn’t agree to placate me. He wanted me to pray. 

And because our God is so strong, amazing and can do all things, I gently laid both hands upon my husband and prayed with power and blasted him with the Holy Spirit. 

It’s been two weeks. And I recognize a clear shift in our marriage. He’s more attentive, kind, he’s taken me out for a date twice in two weeks. I’m not sure what is going on in him with regard to faith. And honestly, I’m not sure I’m ready to ask. But I’m a relentless pray-er and my Dad is all powerful and His promises are assured to me as His kid. 

I will never stop praying. My prayers may change through the different seasons but I remain steadfast and declaring that my man WILL come to faith one day and say to the SUMite Nation that he loves Jesus. 

I will ALWAYS have hope. I have the entire Kingdom of God at hand to walk with me. I have abundance, mercy, grace, goodness and a love from my Father that overwhelms me every day. 

I have a supernatural weapon of great power. It’s prayer.
I have an intimate relationship with the living God of the Universe. It’s through prayer.
I have watched people receive healing. Through my prayers. 

So, I have a question for you today. Could the Lord be asking you to pray differently? 

I love you so much my SUM family. It’s been a wild two weeks. In addition to many breakthroughs yesterday for the first time in months and months the Lord is now downloading words for my new book. Oh and my friends, it’s even better than I thought. I can’t wait to read it myself because when the Lord writes, things happen. Have an amazing day in His Presence. And if you want to pray in the comments, I will pray along with you. 

Quote your scripture and then pray away. Every Sumite that reads it, prays in agreement with you and it gains power in the Supernatural realm. Woo Hoo!!! 

Signature Blog feb 2015

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Precious Message from a SUMite

Dear friends, our SUM sister, Darby, sent this beautiful and encouraging message this past week. I just love Darby's heart for God and the joy she is finding in her faith walk as she trusts God with her furture and especially for her husband's salvation. She is walking in a place of thriving and freedom! 
 
0420141043 (1)I would like to take a moment to personally thank both of you!  I am a SUMite subscriber, website, daily email and Facebook follower.  I also have your book Winning Him Without Words. I cannot remember when or how I stumbled upon your site over a year ago, but I DO know it has been the biggest blessing in my marriage.
 
I, like many others, have spent time in the past crying out to our Father, "Why wouldn't you want this wonderful man on your side? Why did you bring us together if not for eternity?"  I have asked, cried, prayed and asked again.  All of this took a major turn when I found the two of you, and this very powerful support group!
 
I use the tools you both provide through shared experiences, prayers and your book to march on in this day to day battle in an unequally yoked marriage.  I have a sense of peace as I pray every single day for my loving pre-believing husband first, and other pre-believers in my life after.  I pray expectantly, and gratefully.  I have learned to praise and thank our Daddy for growing and changing me in this process. I am SO grateful!!!  God has given me little glimpses along the way, showing me that things are changing....maybe ever so slightly BUT THEY ARE CHANGING!!!  I absolutely love when He gently reminds me how long it took me to come home to Him.....ahhhhh, these things that used to grow the chip on my shoulder actually set me free today!
 
I have no doubt you all get tons of emails, and I know you have to be so bombarded with words to read.....but as I sit in my quite time this morning preparing to go to church alone again I wanted you both to know how you have softened that hurt for me....I sit knowing that God has my husband in His constant care, and that is the best place he can be.  I also sit knowing that God DID bring us together for eternity, that my prayers are being heard each and every day and just as you say in your book, God is big enough to just snap His fingers and make it happen....key words, "God is big enough".  He's got this....my husband's salvation is up to God....showing him Christ's love, respecting him, cherishing this man God has blessed me with, celebrating Him, listening and obeying God on a daily basis....this is up to me.  
 
Thank you both again so VERY, VERY much!!
Darby
 
Darby, thank you so much for sharing your heart with us!
 
Abba Father, thank You for being the God of the impossible and for astounding us with Your endless and relentless love every day. Lord Jesus, I pray for every SUMite reading this to walk in this place of thriving, freedom and PEACE! Holy Spirit, I ask that You release a wave of faith on this community and that this wave would sweep up EVERY pre-believer that we are contending for. Thank You, King Jesus, that You and You alone are mighty to save! Amen!
 

O Lord of Heaven’s Armies, what joy for those who trust in you. — Psalm 84:12

 
Love you, SUMites!
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A Season Of Miracles. A Great and Unexpected Story!

Hello SUMite Nation, 

My friends, it’s the season of miracles. And I have a story for you. 

Luke 2 11

Most of you know that I have been really ill. I have prayed a lot about these weird and frequent illnesses that have plagued myself and my family since August. Remember my daughter had the flu, then pneumonia and then a cold. Little Elise has been ill. My entire house was ill over thanksgiving including my poor mother who came for a visit. She saw the doctor today as well. Bronchitis…  Sheesh and good grief!!!! 

This assignment from the enemy to keep me from ministry and writing ends today. And I have received some amazing prayer support in the last couple of weeks (thank you). I’m praying from this day forward that I will never be ill again. 

And today just to affirm this prayer, God surprised me with something I’d never have expected in a million years. He’s kinda cool that way! 

I have been dealing with an eye infection and it’s been pretty bad. After a couple of weeks it still hasn’t cleared, so it’s off to the doctor’s office again this morning. My regular physician is booked so I see a new doctor. 

He greets me with a smile and a handshake. I start to tell him about this crazy thing going on in my eye. And somehow in that conversation I say, “I’ve been praying for my healing but this ornery thing is persisting. I thought a doctor should have another look at it.” 

“Oh, what church to you attend? He asks and then we launch into the most amazing conversation about faith. He asks about my writing and I tell him about my pre-believer and our book Winning Him Without Words

He tells me that it was the same for him and his wife. She came to faith and he remained and unbeliever. But because she prayed for him, he came to faith. Amen. Praise Jesus. Hallelujah! 

As we finish up our visit and he looks at my eye, then types a prescription into the computer. Then he says, “I want to pray for you now.” 

“Oh yes, Doctor, please do.” 

Dr. Casten stands, walks over to me, places his hand on my shoulder and prays with Holy Spirit power for my physical healing. Then you know what he does? 

He prays for my husband, by name, asking for his salvation! 

Hallelujah and amen! Yes, Lord Jesus. AMEN 

It’s a season for miracles. Never in a million years would I have expected my physician to pray for my healing and also for the salvation of my man. BUT I serve such a fantastic God. He delights me in fantastic and unexpected ways. 

Every day is an adventure with the King! 

And now I feel fantastic. It’s almost like I can feel the curse of sickness has broken and I’m fired up to pray like never before. 

In this season of miracles, Lord Jesus, I’m asking for every single person who leaves a name and names of unsaved loved ones in the comments, I’m asking for not only their complete salvation but that also they receive the baptism of the Holy Spirit which ignites a fire and passion in their heart. 

In the powerful and mighty name above all names. Jesus of Nazareth! AMEN! 

image from www.spirituallyunequalmarriage.com

SUMites I will write more about the spirit of confusion and more about our season of miracles in the days ahead. The posts may be sporadic and unscheduled but my heart is filled with love for you and a great passion to help many find healing and deliverance. AND I’m especially moved to pray for our pre-believers and all of our family who need Jesus. So just travel along with me. It’s a blast living the believer’s life! 

I love you so much. SO MUCH. Have an amazing day in His Presence. 

*****

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An Escape Clause?

image from www.spirituallyunequalmarriage.com

 

Hello SUMites, 

My friends, I missed you while I was roaming the Rocky Mountains and all over the state of Colorado. What a crazy trip. I haven’t laughed so hard in a long, long time. I hope to share some of the many photos on my Facebook page soon. 

But I’m back in my office and I am refreshed and charged up. Let’s jump right into this study again. We are going to discuss a very interesting verse, its interpretation and implications. 

Are you ready??? 

But if the unbeliever leaves, let it be so. The brother or the sister is not bound in such circumstances; God has called us to live in peace. —1 Corinthians 7:15 

So let’s get our head back into our discussion of this passage. Remember the Apostle Paul is writing to the church in Corinth in reply to some of their questions. Many members of the Corinthian church were recently idol worshipers and now they are brand-new Christians. They find themselves all of a sudden in a marriage where their faith and their old life collides. And specifically, this is very apparent and difficult in their marriage where their spouse has not come to faith. 

Oh how things change and yet they stay the same even 2,000 years later. 

Many of us in this family of SUM are walking this exact scenario. And many more of us are living with a spouse who proclaims faith but there is little to zero fruit or transformation in their lives. It’s difficult and painful. We become a believer and our world-view shifts. Our spouse’s world view continues to be worldly driven and shaped often through the media. Am I right in this? 

I wonder if we can be honest here with ourselves. Have you ever wished this verse was written like this: But if the believer wants to leave, let it be so……. 

I bet if you are honest there were days when you peaked in your Bible hoping to find a possible escape clause. But can I ask you this: If God included an easy way out. If He allowed us to abandon our unbeliever, wouldn’t you be disappointed in God? Wouldn’t it make God small and powerless? 

Why would you want to worship and serve a God like that? 

You know, for me, every hard thing, every struggle, every maddening challenge in my life has been met with God’s power and love. It’s in these struggles that my faith grew, I saw miracles, powerful answers to prayer and His Presence proved strong in my life and relationships. Yes, our High and Holy calling of marriage and parenting isn’t supposed to be easy. I really believe these ministries of our home are difficult on purpose. 

Think about this: We live for only a breath of time on this planet. But eternity is forever. And I believe with all of my heart, so fully, so boldly, that I stake my life upon it; My husband, Mike, will be saved and he will spend eternity in God’s love and presence because I chose to do the HARD things. I chose to obey God. I choose every day to love this man even when he’s unlovely, to pray for him without ceasing and to live with grace, forgiveness and hope. To live with him as his wife for as long as we both shall live. 

Any you know why? Let’s look at the very next verse. 

How do you know, wife, whether you will save your husband? Or, how do you know, husband, whether you will save your wife? —1 Corinthians 7:16 

That’s why! 

Eternity is a very long time. And if you have ever read anything about the horror of hell, it will move you to pray harder. For our spouse, kids and friends. 

Now don’t heap condemnation upon yourself if you struggle with the “want to.” I don’t want to stay married to this man. I don’t want to pray for him. 

I lived in that season for awhile myself…. And there were days I didn’t want to either. But on those days I prayed something like this. 

O Jesus, today I’m so very heartbroken. My dreams of a life I have held in my heart aren’t happening. They may never come true. I hurt. I have pain in my heart. So I give it all to you. Jesus come and hold me. Just hold me. Take away my pain. Make me stronger than I am to walk into my marriage with hope. Grant me Your Presence and ability to see the good and the gifts I have in this relationship. Don’t let me compare but look fully into Your face. Help me to want to love this man and remain strong and hopeful. Let me see where You are working in me and continue to change me. I love you Jesus. Fill me with more love for You and for people, especially my spouse and children. In Your powerful name, Jesus. Amen.

image from www.spirituallyunequalmarriage.com

 

 

Gang, this concludes our study of this passage in 1 Corinthians. I'm still praying and seeking the Lord about what we should discover together this fall. See you Monday.

I want to add a statement: I absolutely believe that God DOES NOT WANT His children to remain in abusive marriages. And my writing above is specific to marriages where the main discord in the relationship is spiritual disharmony. 

*****

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Line by Line: Monday

Hi Gang, 

Lynn here. I am really feeling under the weather. I've been sick for three days with a terrible headache, upset tummy and a pain in my foot from jarring it in my tall shoes a few days ago. Sheesh! 

So I humbly ask you to forgive me as I won’t have a line-by-line study post for Friday. I’m just too sick to sit at my computer and do the two hours of research and study that I feel is needed in order to discuss the next section of verses. 

Today, I want to share a comment from last Friday’s post. It’s written by Lisa M. who is a regular reader and a proud SUMite!!! We have Lisa’s story included under the salvation tab on the navigation bar. 

image from www.spirituallyunequalmarriage.comAfter reading the comments from Monday and praying with all of you, I’m moved by the enormous challenges we face. So a testimony of God’s love and provision becomes our hope. Sharing testimonies in some way moves God’s power into our own lives. So here is Lisa: 

July 25, 2014 from Lisa M.

I've been married 27 years and the first 11 were miserable. I was a young bride and then a young mother. I had three babies one year apart and also was learning that marriage was not the fairytale I thought it would be. 

My husband worked the night shift. Twelve hour shifts as a police officer which gave him a lot of days off as his schedule was three days on and three days off. Most of his off time was spent out at a local bar or with friends. There was even a time he was keeping company with another woman. 

Throughout those 11 years I tried to make the best I could...there were times I cried, other times I yelled and other times I just felt like giving up. However, I never felt like God was releasing me. The few who knew my situation thought I was crazy for staying but they didn't understand I saw something deeper in him. 

Then when there was reason to believe he may be cheating on me, I finally felt like God was saying it was time. So I basically told my husband in not so nice words to get out. I left the house thinking he'd be gone when I got back but he wasn't. He wanted to talk.. He had also talked with my dad and my dad called me and said to give him a chance. So I said let's talk except that I would be the one talking. I wasn't that naive sweet innocent girl that he could manipulate anymore. We talked for hours and everything I had felt and wished I could say to him over the years came out. We reconciled and a few weeks later I found out I was pregnant again after seven years since my last baby. This wild scenario was all part of Gods plan and my husband felt like this baby was his second chance. I know many think but he probably was cheating on you. But to me that was just icing on the cake - that all the years of mental abuse and neglect was just as bad to me. To this day I don't know if he truly was or not but I don't care. 

So during my pregnancy and the early part of our starting over, I did a study called After Gods Heart - a story about Abigail and her abusive first husband. It was then I realized I was just as much at fault for our failed marriage as he was. Not to justify his actions but he wasn't and still isn't a Christian and I was not being the wife he needed or that God called me to be. I was too self-absorbed in my misery. 

That year was the turning point in our marriage and now my husband and I are best friends. Did I get a new husband? Well in a way I did...this 2nd 1/2 of our marriage has been so much better than the first 11 years. It's a partnership. No, he's not saved and yes, he still drinks too much as a functioning alcoholic but my kids are healthy emotionally and physically because of my choice to stay. 

God has blessed my marriage and family and I've grown so much in my spiritual walk. We are called to serve God on a daily basis not live a fairytale life... 

Lisa mMy mission field is my husband and family. This is where God has me serving Him and now God uses me in my work to minister to other woman going through these same things. Marriage is a commitment that we are to honor (unless I course there is physical abuse). It's not easy but God walks with me through it and even carries me when I need him to. I ask many women if their husband had cancer would they walk out on them? Then why, when they need us the most whatever issues they are dealing with deep down would we choose to walk out? God will use us as long as we stay true to Him.

~Lisa M. 

 

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Thanks Lisa. SUMites, I ask that you join to give praise to the Lord for the victories in the lives of our SUMite family. And I know for many of you this story may be difficult because your ending didn't turn out this way. There is no condemnation in Christ. We can celebrate those who have marched through the fire and their marriage stayed in tact and we can celebrate those who escaped the fire of marriages that were abusive and evil. Have a good weekend. Hope to be back to health as writing over the weekend for Monday's next post in our series. 

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Share your voice, heart and love in the comments. 

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

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Line by Line: The Bible and Divorce

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Hi Everyone, 

Well since Thursday I have read and re-read this particular passage we are studying, 1 Corinthians 7. I know I said we would look specifically at the verses 12-15 however, I’m feeling convinced that we must actually consider the two verses prior. So today, I’m going to tackle something I HATE to address. But these verses are directly impacting to our lives and they are in God’s Holy Word for a reason. So, I’m compelled by Jesus to walk through these, line-by-line and offer some thoughts. 

DIVORCE 

Good grief, is it just me or does this “D” word stir up great emotion in your soul? And for me personally, the “D-Word” is especially raw in my home as most of you know my son is facing a divorce in the near future. But, I think it’s a topic we must consider because if we are utterly honest, in our core, we the unequally yoked have considered divorce at one time or another. 

Okay here are the dreaded verses:
1 Corinthians 7:10-11 To the married I give this command (not I, but the Lord): A wife must not separate from her husband. But if she does, she must remain unmarried or else be reconciled to her husband. And a husband must not divorce his wife. 

Line by Line: To the married I give this command (not I, but the Lord): 

Let’s remember again that Paul is writing to the church in Corinth in response to their questions about marriage. And earlier in the chapter Paul has much to say about marriage responsibilities. You should read that section because it’s really great. 

Paul is passing a command to the church that is in utter confusion because the believers are emerging from a lifestyle and belief system of Greek Mythology. They don’t have information or any reference point to know what to do or how to behave when they come to faith and are married. So they ask Paul, their spiritual leader. Remember Paul was instrumental in starting the church in Corinth in his earlier visits. As their spiritual father, Paul is ordained by God and has demonstrated that God is with him. Thus he speaks a command from God. 

Line by line: A wife must not separate from her husband. 

This statement could light our comments board on fire!!!!!

 

Let me be clear here. I believe in marriage. So does Paul and our Father in Heaven knows that marriage is the singular relationship that demonstrates God’s desire for intimacy here on earth. God loves marriage. But our Lord is good and He is kind a full of grace. There are situations where marriage is no longer a safe place for a spouse or children. There are situations that arise which are of utter evil and harm. Thus, the second line appears. 

Line by line: But if she does, she must remain unmarried or else be reconciled to her husband. 

Now here is the rub. If she does separate, what does God say? She has two choices as she moves forward in her life. One, she remains unmarried. Two, she reconciles with her husband. 

This is difficult for so many. Why? Because our society views marriage differently than God views marriage. In the Lord’s view when a man and a woman marry, they are making a holy “vow” to one another. They are swearing their life-long commitment before the throne of the Almighty. 

Wedding Vows
In ancient times when Jewish men went through a marriage ceremony, the men made their vows to God and God alone. They didn’t make a vow to the woman. Interesting hunh? 

In 2014, our legal system has become embroiled in what is actually a religious ceremony and you can see what disaster that has wreaked upon Biblical marriage -just read the newspaper. 

That aside, let’s return to the statement, she must remain unmarried. This is where most Christians can’t deal. God is calling women to singleness! 

Yep, singleness. 

Now let’s be utterly authentic here. Or at least I will be. There were occasions when that ugly word, divorce, entered my thoughts as a young wife. And right behind those thoughts followed something like this, I want to marry a man who is a believer. I know my life would be so much better. 

Yep, I will be honest and bet a good number of you have been on this train with me in years past. But God isn’t saying in this passage that if you leave your marriage to remarry. He calls us to singleness. 

GOOD GRIEF!!!! Why would God do this? I don’t have an answer to this question right now. But I can tell you that believers who are considering separating from their spouse for whatever reason, God is calling them/us to a lifetime of singleness. 

So this is the rub. There may be absolutely STRONG reasons for a separation. But when you consider this mandate from Corinthians to remain single, it introduces an entirely different dynamic into your decision making. 

Here is my personal thought on the matter: In my personal marriage, if for some crazy reason I became separated from my husband, I would remain single for the rest of my life unless God brought about reconciliation. I know that I know that I know this to be true in my heart and spirit. 

You might say to me, “Well Lynn, that is all well and fine for you but I’m young and I have young children. I want to be married and have a family why would God not want that for me?” 

Ahhhhhh, good question. And on Friday I will share a true story where a very young woman (under 25 years old) with young children faced this very dilemma. 

Again, I’m not a Biblical scholar, so please be gentle with me. Respond in love even if you disagree. My question to you SUM Family, why would God and Paul place this very firm “command” in His Holy Word? 

Can’t wait for Friday because this story is real and heart wrenching. 

And next week, we will deal with the husbands. Guys out there, you’re not getting off the hook in this line-by-line study. *grin*

Love you my friends.

image from www.spirituallyunequalmarriage.com

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Share your voice, heart and love in the comments. 

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

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Line by Line - Precept Upon Precept - Unequally Yoked

Unequally Yoked Summer Study

Line by line. Precept upon precept…. 

Most of the time I write articles and commentary on topical subjects related to faith, marriage and parenting. But recently my love for the Word of God has grown exponentially. I am falling more in love with His Holy Word. I didn’t know that was still possible but that is how I’m feeling. And specifically I think it would be a great experience for us to study line by line the passages that are specific to living unequally yoked. 

Today I want to get started, line by line with 1 Corinthians 7:12-16 

To the rest I say this (I, not the Lord): If any brother has a wife who is not a believer and she is willing to live with him, he must not divorce her. And if a woman has a husband who is not a believer and he is willing to live with her, she must not divorce him. For the unbelieving husband has been sanctified through his wife, and the unbelieving wife has been sanctified through her believing husband. Otherwise your children would be unclean, but as it is, they are holy. 

But if the unbeliever leaves, let it be so. The brother or the sister is not bound in such circumstances; God has called us to live in peace. How do you know, wife, whether you will save your husband? Or, how do you know, husband, whether you will save your wife? 

I am using the New International Version translation above but we will also look at a few other translations through this summer study. 

If you have read either of our books, Winning Him Without Words or Not Alone, you will know that this particular passage has enormously impacted both my understanding and hope for my marriage as well as my children’s faith choice. So I would like to walk through this together here for a few posts. After this we will look at other passages such at 1 Peter 3 and other Biblical contexts in which we find specific information and teaching for those of us who are unequally yoked. 

Does this sound like a good idea SUMmers??? (Rosheeda coined this phrase too.) 

Let’s start then with some context. And please hear me now. I am NOT a Bible scholar. I am an ordinary wife and mom. I read the Bible and I ask God continually for the Spirit of Wisdom and Revelation that I may know Him better (Ephesians 1:17) So please, this study should be considered a general study where two friends, me and you, sit down at the table, read the Word, and just talk about it. We can look to other references but the most impacting study is where we share our lives, our experiences, and we receive through the Word of God from one another. 

Okay? Okay!! Let’s go! 

Who wrote the book of Corinthians? And why was it written and to whom was it written? Why do we need to know this information? Good questions. 

Corinthians was written by the Apostle Paul to the “believers” in the ancient City of Corinth that was located in Greece. I looked up Corinth on Wikipedia. It’s an interesting read if you have the time. It’s important to understand the culture and the climate of the times because you gain insight into the passages of scripture. You also understand the language and the person who was writing which helps to understand the writers intent. I know this is important because as a writer myself, I am misunderstood at times. It helps to know a person. When you understand their heart and motives, your perception of their writing becomes clearer and easier. 

The believers in Corinth were people who recently worshiped multiple gods and in fact the city was known for the temple of the goddess Aphrodite, the goddess of love. So the believers did not have an understanding of the Torah, nor the Jewish customs and the faith, Judaism. Paul’s background was Pharisaical and of the strictest sect.  They are relatively new converts to “The Way” as described by Paul. (Acts 9) 

There are some key differences in the people groups that Paul wrote to in his various epistles (letters). Paul sent letters to the Jews, the Romans and the Greeks. I suppose we could do an entire study about these different cultures and the means Paul uses to communicate The Good News to each. But alas, let’s not get that heavy. *grin* Moving on. 

I realize that our first line reads: To the rest I say this (I, not the Lord). So I think we need some context for this line study. Let’s look back to the beginning of chapter 7. 

The very first part of verse one reads: Now for the matters you wrote about: Paul is obviously answering a letter that was written to him from the believers of Corinth. And now Paul is answering their questions. Much like we ask our Pastor or teacher for clarification. 

Paul is specifically addressing questions raised about marriage. You can read the chapter in its entirety by clicking here.

Paul has addressed marriage issues, sex in marriage, widows, and the unmarried as well as divorce. Wow, a lot to cover in a few verses. Then he turns to our sensitive issue; Marriage to an unbeliever. 

Let’s ponder here. Don’t you think it’s interesting that believers who were alive way back when, were also grappling with this very issue. Paul, obviously has addressed this issue before because he includes it in his reply to the church of Corinth. I don’t know about you, but for years and years I always felt like I was the only one living unequally yoked. I thought that my marriage situation was rare and new to the church because they (church leadership) never talked about it. EVER. I often felt isolated and forgotten. Being a married single person can be a difficult road to walk in a church setting. 

However, here we are in Corinth at one of the original New Testament churches and they are dealing with what we live in 2014. Oh how I love the Lord that He knew all these years later we would need His wise counsel and encouragement right from His Holy and powerful Word. 

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Yikes, over a thousand words already and we are just getting to the good stuff. Okay, let’s pick up on Monday with the next line. And can you help me out? What are your thoughts about the precept upon precept study? Are you in? And can you help me with other scripture passages that are specific to living unequally yoked. Hint: There are more than you think. 

I love you my friends. Let’s let the LIVING Word change our hearts and our homes. See you in the comments.

image from www.spirituallyunequalmarriage.com

*****

Share your voice, heart and love in the comments. 

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

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