156 posts categorized "Witnessing to an Unbeliver"

Chronicles of the Donovan Clan - God Never Relents

SUMite Nation!

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

“Yes, sure.”

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

I love you. Have a great week. Lynn

 

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

 

 

 

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Walking in Love

WalkingLightHello, SUMites! Last week I talked about where we sit in our faith and our marriages, that we are strongest when we are firmly seated in the truth of who we are in Christ Jesus and also see our spouses from that perspective too. And wow, what an eye opener it is to think of this in terms of our marriage, that we are “one flesh” with our spouse and seated in the heavenly realms—at the same time. I’m still wrapping my brain around possibilities of that one! 

Our next position of influence and partnering with God to release what He has placed within our spouse is our “walk.” A couple of you actually shared this desire in the survey just recently:

“Loving our spouses and children. Being a light for Jesus in our mismatched marriage. How much can we truly talk to our spouses about Jesus according to I Peter 3?”  — Amanda 

“I am always seeking how to live my Christian faith before my family, husband, and grown children who have families of their own. I am looking for specific answers based on what God’s word teaches.” — Naomi 

These are excellent questions. And I believe the second part of this series will go far in answering them. Let’s first take a look at some verses from Ephesians.

For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand, that we should walk in them.— Eph 2:9

What I love most about this verse is how clearly it shows God’s heart for us. We are not only His, we are His workmanship. So is your spouse. And you both were created in, through and by Christ Jesus (John 1:3) for good works, which He prepared (ordain, make ready) ahead of time. That you should what? Make them happen? Figure out how to do it all? Wait around for God to make it all happen?

Paul tells us we’re to “walk in them.” The Greek word for walk (peripateō) has broader meanings than just to put one foot in front of the other. It also means to walk at large, especially as proof of ability. It means to follow, as a companion. It means to make one’s way, progress and to make use of opportunities. In the Hebrew, it’s a word that means to live, to regulate life and conduct yourself. 

In other words, how you live your life. You see, our faith and how we live it (our works) were never intended to be a separate area of our lives that we pull out when we think the time is right. Paul is telling us to “walk” it out every day and every moment, all the time.

And it’s not something we have to make happen either. That leads to performance, my friends. It simply means be who God created you to be. Be a daughter or son of the Most High King and live your life according your identity and inheritance. Walk through life firmly planted in your seat. 

Yes, sitting and walking in the physical sense are impossible, but in the supernatural they are simultaneous. We walk through life on this earth from the perspective of where we’re seated and see everything from this heavenly place. God’s already done the rest. He’s given us the skills (giftings) and the good works. We get to see it, follow His lead and simply do what He’s told (or telling) us to do.

In Ephesians 4:2-3 Paul says to “walk in a manner worthy of the calling to which you have been called, with all humility and gentleness, with patience, bearing with one another in love, eager to maintain the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace.”

So we are to “walk”:

  • In a worthy manner
  • With humility
  • With gentleness
  • With patience with others
  • In love
  • In unity
  • In peace

In verses 14 and 15 of the same chapter, Paul says we’re no longer children tossed around in our beliefs. But rather, we’re to grow up (increase and give increase) in every way in Christ by speaking the truth in love. And that in doing so we are built up, in that very love. 

In chapter five, Paul says we are to “walk in love,” (vs. 2) walk as children of the light (for the fruit of light is found in all that is good and right and true.)” (vss. 8-9). 

In other words, trust what God has already placed in you. Walk in the truth of who you are and live accordingly. That is our most powerful witness and influence to those around us. And when you do have the opportunity to speak, do so in love, edification and encouragement. Let love always, always, always be your highest goal (1 Cor. 14:1). 

SUMites, we’re called to love people, not change them. But God’s love can. 

Which brings me to the latest treasure I unearthed in God’s word that knocked my shoes and socks off. A couple years ago, God put it on my heart to pray Ephesians 5:14 over my hubby: 

“Awake, O sleeper,
and arise from the dead,
and Christ will shine on you.”

I looked up the word “awake” and discovered that it is the very same word Jesus uses in John 5:8 when He tells the invalid to “get up.” Remember, the word “get” in Greek (egeiro) means to waken, rouse (from sleep), sitting, lying, disease, death, obscurity, nonexistence, rise up or stand. Jesus is actually telling the man to wake up and rise up out of his disease and sin.

And here is that exact word again, to be called to awaken from a state of darkness, and we can pray this, SUMites! Pray over your spouse when they’re away, “Awake, O sleeper (or spouse’s name), and arise from the dead, and Christ will shine on you!”

Declare the truth in love, “I say to (spouse’s name)’s spirit, wake up and arise from the dead, for the light of Christ is shining on you!”

Guess what, SUMites? That light is you. Paul said we are children of the light, so you are the light shining on your spouse. You are the light shining on your children. You are the light shining on your family, in your community, at your work—even in the grocery store.

Here’s a final word of encouragement for you, dear friends. In verse 15, Paul tells us to pay attention to how we walk, “not as unwise but as wise, making the best use of the time.” He’s telling us to make the most of every opportunity, and we can do that by making our faith a 24/7 way of life. By living every moment in the truth of who we are. By walking in love and speaking the truth in love.

And here’s how we do it. Look at verse 18. Paul instructs us to “be filled with the Spirit.” Yes, you are indwelled by the Holy Spirit, but do you ask Him daily to fill you up? There’s a difference, my friends. It’s like having the key to your car. You know you have an engine in it, but it won’t start unless you put the key in and turn it (or push a button if your car is fancy).

Ask the Holy Spirit to fill you up every day. If He needs more room to fill you up, He may show you some stuff to deal with (unforgiveness, sin, bitterness, strife, etc.), but you know what? He’ll always, always, always, speak the truth in love to your heart.

Holy Spirit, I pray that every SUMite to be filled to overflowing with Your powerful and loving presence. I pray they see opportunities every day to love those around them with affirming words and actions. I pray they will speak the truth in love and that You, Holy Spirit, give them those words. And I pray for the hearts of those they are loving on, to be receptive and ready to receive you. We say as the SUMite community to our spouses, wake up, O sleepers and arise from the dead, for Christ is giving you light! In the name of Jesus, amen!

Shine on, SUMites!
Dineen

Copyright: mikekiev / 123RF Stock Photo

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SUM Books 4


When I Was In Prison.... SUMite, You Visited Me.

Woman prison SUMThe last few questions of the Survey were about attending some of our events. Such as a conference, a virtual classroom or one of our charity events. As one of the leaders of our SUM community, I’m personally overwhelmed each and every time we offer or host one of these kind of events. These events are where names on a screen become people in front of me. I SEE JESUS IN YOUR EYES. I have so much love for you that I could burst with hope and joy.

My favorite event of all time was the Wal-Mart prayer event. Still, to this day, I’m deeply impacted by two things from that day. One, the utter generosity of our community who gave to provide gift cards and flowers to the patrons that day and also prayed. Two, those who stopped to receive prayer outside of Walmart on a warm Thursday morning a few years ago. You can read about it here if you have time.

We haven’t offered an event like this since because I truly wait to hear from the Holy Spirit. And you know what?

IT’S TIME. It’s time again to be a community who reaches people with the hope we have discovered through Jesus.

A few weeks ago, I asked friends of mine who has a ministry to our local women's prison if  they would be interested in a donation of our some books, Winning Them With Prayer, for the women? Both her and her husband were THRILLED and replied with thankful surprise and resounding, YES! They went on to tell how desperately they needed a prayer book.

A couple of years ago I actually met a woman from this prison. She was a woman who had been recently saved then released and was staying with the couple I mentioned, until she found a job. I listened as she gave her testimony. I bawled through most of it. You see, she was my age. She wasn’t born into the life that I was blessed with. She was born into abuse. In and out of jail for drug abuse, violence, theft and few other things. She looked haggard with skin and teeth suffering the years of drugs and her voice was graveled from chain smoking. But I looked at her and wept….. THIS COULD HAVE BEEN ME.

Many women such as this one, come to faith right there while doing time because of the prison ministry. They study and read the Bible. They pray and then they worry and cry. Many of them fear their release as they must return into very difficult situations and to family members who are far away from Christ. Friends, they make our unequally yoked marriages look easy.

The ministry works diligently to equip them as fast as they can so they don’t lose their faith when they leave prison. It’s a monumental task. So when I offered the prayer book, the ministry leader was thrilled. (I wish you could have seen her face.)

Now what is also interesting is that within a few weeks following my offer to the prison, a SUMite made a large donation to our ministry to cover the cost of the first shipment of books. God is so cool. And thank you to that SUMite because your donation will have eternal ramifications on families who are in desperate need.

So SUMites, we have an opportunity to give another set of books to another prison ministry. Will you think about giving $5, $10 or $20 toward these women?

Or would you consider giving a recurring donation monthly of $5, $10 or $20 to our SUM ministry to be used to pay for the postage of books, the internet expenses and the furthering of the SUMite ministry to other countries. We need to get our books translated and published in Spanish, Cantonese, Mandarin and few other languages. These expenses are simply way outside of what Dineen and I can afford.

God is telling me that it’s time that the "church" embrace us, the spiritually mismatched. It’s time for us to step up and be a missionary for others besides our family. And we can do it.

Pray and ask the Lord, Can I make a small donation monthly?

AND a GIANT THANK YOU to all of you who already give. We are utterly thankful and use every penny for further the Gospel of Jesus Christ.

Let your heart guide you. And if you can’t give, pray for the women in the prisons that these books transform their faith life and families as ours is transformed. In Jesus name. AMEN

There are two buttons below to choose from and consider:

This button is for a donation of any amount to our 501c3, tax-deductible Non-profit Ministry, Three Keys Ministries. To give to the book ministry, use the button beneath it.

 

 The button below is to make a donation to the same ministry but specifically to give to the prison book ministry. THANK YOU.  Lynn & Dineen

Prison Book Ministry
 

THANK YOU.... THANK YOU.... THANK YOU... And may the Lord bless you and keep you and may His face shine down upon you. Hugs, Lynn & Dineen

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SUM Books 4


Guest Post by Dee Rusnak: The Chosen One

Dear Friends, today we are blessed to have a guest post by our very own Dee Rusnak. I know her words will encourage you as much as they did me. Thank you, Dee!

I'm looking forward to sharing my next post with you, possibly a series, about partnering with God to release what He has placed already in our spouse. Eternity (Etc 3:11)! But how do we do that? Stay tuned...

Love you, SUMites! ~Dineen

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The Chosen One
by Dee Rusnak

“For by grace you have been saved through faith; and that not of yourselves, it is the gift of God.” (Ephesians 2:8)

One of the most compelling salvation stories in the Bible is the one of the thief on the cross. It just boggles the mind that at one moment this dangerous criminal is mocking Jesus, and the next admitting to his own guilt and being saved. The Bible tells us this miracle happened within the first three hours of the crucifixion. Something major went down within those precious moments while he was in the throes of death. What, or who, broke through to his heart, and why?

Here's the scene. In the first three hours on the cross, Jesus prayed for those who crucified Him, “Father, forgive them, for they do not know what they are doing.” Many began mocking Him. “Those who passed by hurled insults at him, shaking their heads and saying, ‘You who are going to destroy the temple and build it in three days, save Yourself! Come down from the cross, if You are the Son of God!’ In the same way, the chief priests, teachers of the law and the elders mocked Him. ‘He saved others, but He cannot save Himself! He’s the King of Israel! Let Him come down now from the cross and we will believe in Him. He trusts in God. Let God rescue Him now if He wants Him, for He said “I am the Son of God.” In the same way, the robbers who were crucified with Him also heaped insults on Him.” (Matthew 27:39-44)

In those days, robbery was not a crime punishable by death. Consequently, it was likely that these men committed a far heinous crime than mere robbery to deserve such a sentence. Their sins were then compounded by the blasphemy and unbelief they had toward Jesus. Oh, boy. No hope for them. Or was there? What happens next was quite a shock to everyone within earshot, not to mention those of us reading this account, and most likely to one of the thieves.

“One of the criminals who hung there hurled insults at Him: ‘Aren’t You the Christ? Save Yourself and us!’ But the other criminal rebuked him. ‘Don’t you fear God, since you are under the same sentence? We are punished justly, for we are getting what our deeds deserve. But this Man has done nothing wrong.’ Then he said, ‘Jesus, remember me when You come into Your kingdom.’ Jesus answered him, ‘Assuredly I say to you, today you will be with Me in paradise.’” (Luke 23:39-43)

What just happened? The salvation story plays out immediately and perfectly as two men, identical in their sinfulness, in exact proximity to Jesus, heard the same words, are affected very differently. Perhaps the prayer plea Jesus made to His Father for forgiveness came to pass as God reached down into the pit and saved one. Divine mercy. Perhaps this man contemplated Jesus’ prayer plea and it penetrated his heart. Suddenly, as one remained tenacious, wanting desperately to be rescued from the cross, the other became penitent, wanting desperately to be rescued from his sins. He took ownership of them as he was unexpectedly aware of a faith not there before, not of himself, a faith in the very One who could possibly show him mercy. The One who hung on the cross right next to his. Jesus confirmed his salvation by assuring him of eternal life. And, his wasn’t the only salvation that day. When the centurion and those with him who were guarding Jesus saw the earthquake and all that had happened, they were terrified and exclaimed, ‘Surely He was the Son of God!’” (Matthew 27:54) And, not long afterward, a murderous, hateful religious leader named Saul was given new life.

Isaiah writes, “I permitted Myself to be sought by those who did not ask for Me; I permitted Myself to be found by those who did not seek Me.” Paul writes in Romans that “not all of them welcomed the good news.” He continues, “Consequently, faith comes by hearing, and hearing by the word of Christ.” Both men heard Jesus speak. But, only one HEARD His words of forgiveness. There’s no logic to it in the human mind. It’s all of God.

What I love about this passage is that there was no formula to this man’s salvation. No prayer. No works. No Bible studies. No following Jesus. Nothing but pure response to God’s grace. We try to fathom salvation…how it’s done, to whom, where, when, the right scenario, and what it takes. This story completely shatters any notion we may have of what transpires in a heart of the one being saved. Jesus told Nicodemus in John 3, “The wind blows wherever it wants. Just as you can hear the wind but can’t tell where it comes from or where it is going, so you can’t explain how people are born of the Spirit.” David said, “All the days ordained for me were written in Your book before one of them came to be.” Salvation belongs to the Lord. It is His to give, not ours to strategize.

This story of salvation should give us all great HOPE, dearest SUMites! In an instant, anyone can be transformed from dead and the most atrocious sinner into God’s very own son, presented without blemish. Let us go before His throne in earnest prayer, sitting at His feet, waiting, communicating, listening, emptying our hearts, drinking in His truths, trusting Him, resting in Him, and taking great delight in what He has planned for us and for our loved ones.

“The Lord is good to those whose hope is in Him, to the one who seeks Him; it is good to wait quietly for the salvation of the Lord.” (Lamentations 3:25-26)

— Dee Rusnak and her husband live in Westerville, Ohio, were they spend their retirement years taking great delight in their 5 grandchildren.

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SUM Books 4


Winning Him Without Words

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

Winning Him Book Cover

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SUM Books 4


A Revelation of Love For My Husband

image from www.spirituallyunequalmarriage.comThey say.... Love is blind. But, marriage is a real eye-opener!

My friends, a few weeks ago, my husband, whom I refer to as my pre-believer, celebrated our 25th wedding anniversary. As I remember through the seasons of our union, I recall the challenges, the laughter, the fun and the really hard times as well. But mostly as I consider this landmark in our marriage, I find that the difficult years have been replaced with peace. Struggles and fear have been given over to unconditional love and acceptance. We are truly living the abundant life and our marriage is sanctified through my faith, as the believer in our home (1 Corinthians 7:14).

Mike and I are planning a European Cruise this summer to celebrate and spend time alone together. But what I found interesting is that the Lord gave me a gift for our marriage anniversary. It was unexpected and delivered with power and authority and ROCKED my world.

Today, I want to give this gift to you.

When you face the seasons of struggle, disappointment, loneliness, or confusion in your own marriage, open up this gift, and read it again. Allow the LORD to pull you into His vision of your marriage.

Every January at my local church we have a weeklong series of meeting where we intentionally seek God through prayer, guest speakers and worship. It was this January, 2017 on the fourth of the five night of events, that I stood in worship. And when the music began…. The LORD spoke.

You see, I had been crying out for a fresh revelation of love from our Father for weeks. But on this particular night, God answered with a fresh revelation of love for my husband. And it changed me.

Standing next to my usual seat on the second row, I lifted my hands and suddenly God came down and began to bombard my mind and heart with a revelation of just how much I truly DO love my husband. I felt wave after wave of love, care, compassion wash over me. I LOVE this man, fully, deeply from my core, unconditionally, and with full forgiveness for any harm or offence of the past. This love revelation felt like a gushing river and a fullness at the same time that I didn’t know that I possessed.

I truly didn’t understand the depth of love I had for my husband until that moment. (Is that weird?)

Years of pain and loneliness were gone, washed away by God. Unmet expectations, disappointment, feelings of longing, all became insignificant and felt selfish, yet they too washed away under the flood of love that continued to pour into me like an epic torrent.

Then God turned it up…..

He showed me where I had hurt my husband. The years and words that landed with pain on his heart. Where I minimized him, held him back by my words, slashed is manhood, and assaulted him with humiliation. Ugh…. Hard to admit.

I began bawling under this revelation.

If this wasn’t enough, God ratcheted up the revelation and then really poured it out. I was given insight to see with spiritual eyes the little boy that resides within my husband. The small child that needs nurturing, care, tenderness and understanding. The small man who has longs and needs for me to smile with kindness toward this boy. To tell him he is good. To say they things and be the one person on earth who can affirm his worth and value that I know is God-given.

Gulp.

Did you know that our husbands need this core of their person to be nurtured? It’s a deep need within him. And he has chosen one single person to offer him this affirmation. Just one… Just one, for all of his adult life, his wife. It’s a powerful and humbling responsibility.

I was made aware of how I failed to be a wife who loved well and the vice grip of pain nearly chocked me. But God…..

BUT GOD….

He allowed me to see just how much I REALLY loved this man. I mean, I really, really love him more than any person on earth. Next to God, I love him with all of my heart. I know I didn't perceive this reality until that moment. And God also released me of my failures in the light of the authentic love I hold for him (love covers a multitude of sins 1 Peter 4:8)

Well, the service ended and I literally sprinted out of the building. Arriving home, I ran into the kitchen and into my husband’s shocked and concerned arms. His face said it all: What the heck is going on as I was still bawling. I began to repent of where I failed him. I promise to love him well for the rest of our lives. And to tell him that I love him with all that I am and with a full heart.

Challenge: I challenge you to ask God for a revelation of love for your husband. It will change your thoughts, your prayer life for him, it will change your priorities and your family dynamic. God’s kinda cool that way!

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SUM Books 4


25 Years

SUMite Nation,

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

Wedding pic 1992

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

I love this man. 

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

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

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SUM Books 4


Defending the Bible

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

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

Provers 3  1-6From B:

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

Dear B:

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

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

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

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

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

Hugs, Lynn

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

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SUM Books 4


A Tablecloth of Thanks 2016

I started a Thanksgiving family tradition a few years ago, quite by accident. This tradition has become my absolute favorite. I'm sharing it today, as I do every year so that our new readers can begin this tradition in their home. This is also a Family Faith Tradition I share in our new book, Not Alone.

I have a story to share and a photo. I also want to give you a chance to share some of your holiday traditions or giggles.

Join in today and share a Thanksgiving holiday tradition from your home or share a funny holiday hiccup.

My Hiccup: Like many newly married young women, I didn’t realize the turkey was stuffed with bagged giblets. Yep, I cook the turkey with the plastic bag and the giblets still inside. We ate it anyway.

Also, three years ago, I set the oven on fire when I moved the giant bird around. I freaked out. My husband came running. The house was crazy, people were yelling, crying and freaking… Perhaps it was only me doing the yelling, crying and freaking. My calm man put the flames out and to this day, I don’t know how he did it because we didn’t own a fire extinguisher.

The next morning I rose before dawn and went shopping at The Home Depot. NO NOT FOR CHRISTMAS… For a fire extinguisher. And now, every year BEFORE I bake the turkey, I check to make sure the extinguisher is charged and ready.

Sheesh!

Today, I'm sharing one of my most favorite family traditions. Here is a post I wrote five years ago for the Internet Cafe. Hope you start a family tradition this year. It's NEVER too late to have a Tablecloth of Thanks.

Tablecloth of Thanks 

Many of you know that I am married to an unbeliever. This past May we celebrated 15 years of marriage. Our unequally yoked marriage has had its challenges, to say the least. Over the years, however, our ingenious God has maneuvered us through many touchy issues. 

Our disparity becomes more apparent during the holidays. Giving thanks to our Lord in November is a treasured time for me. I name my blessings one-by-one in prayer, thanking God for His lavish abundance poured into our lives. 

Like most wives living in an unequally yoked marriage, I long for my spouse to understand there is a God. To know He is intricately involved in our lives and everything we have is the provision of our creator. I have also learned that forcing God upon my husband is a surefire way to push him away. I am careful to respect my husband and simply trust Jesus to reach him in his perfect timing. 

In spite of my husband’s unbelief, I discovered a unique way to draw him into the celebration of thanks, besides through his stomach. He loves turkey. 

Four years ago, I threw a new, pristine white tablecloth across our dining room table two weeks prior to Thanksgiving. I purchased several colored pens and placed them on top. A new tradition was born, a Tablecloth of Thanks. It began with my daughter. I told her, “I WANT you to write on this tablecloth.” She looked at me with skepticism in her eyes, wondering if her mother had lost her mind. 

“Really,” my smiled reassured. “Write down what you are most thankful for this year. Then write the year, 2004, near your name.” 

She grinned and began to write using several different colors. I joined in and wrote my thanks directly on the beautiful tablecloth. 

Later that evening my husband noticed the scribbles on the tablecloth. I watched as he walked over to read our words. I walked to his side and took his hand. I subtly asked him if he would also write down his thanks. He smiled and said maybe later. 

Finally, on the evening of Thanksgiving Day, my husband picked up a pen and wrote; I am thankful for my wonderful family, great friends, and a very happy life. 

Wow! Was he giving thanks to our Lord? I am not sure. However, every year since he has continued to write a thankful list. Last year’s entry reads; I am thankful for all of my blessings…family, friends, and the dogs. 

Imported Photos 00001What? Did he use the word blessings? Small steps such as these lead to the Savior. I can’t wait to read his thankful list this year. 

The Thankful Tablecloth is one of my most prized possessions. Everyone who visits our home during the Thanksgiving holiday contributes to this permanent memorial of thanks. It is a visible praise to the King displayed in our unequally yoked home each November. 

One of my favorite thanks is this: 

2006
I am thankful
to be able to sit
on the couch and have
my people pet me.
Peanut 

Hmmmm, I wonder how the dog grew fingers and learned to write???? 

Psalm 69:30 (NIV)
I will praise God's name in song and glorify him with thanksgiving.

 

Lord God, I will name my blessings one-by-one….. Jesus… eternal life…. clean water to drink…..capacity to love…..empowerment to forgive….. just for a start….. 

It is never too late to start a new tradition. If you want to start your Tablecloth of Thanks, I have a few helpful hints.

  1. Place a sheet of butcher paper under your tablecloth. (I have a permanent smiley face on my dining room table from the year 2005)
  2. Use colorfast fabric pens.
  3. Store your tablecloth in an airtight Ziploc bag. 

Thank you, my friends, for sharing this Holiday treasure with me. I wish you were with me today and could share your thankful heart on the Tablecloth of Thanks.

(My friends, if you could, share this post on Facebook and Twitter. It's truly a wonderful tradition and I want so much for families to have an opportunity to share faith in this way. Thanks, Lynn  - click on the buttons below to share. Hugs)

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

SUM Books 4


What Do We Do With Halloween?

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

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

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

My perspective is this:

Release your guilt.

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

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

So relax.

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

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

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

DSC04053

DSC07409

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

_____

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

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

*****

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

SUM Books 4


The Power of God’s Words

SwordCloud
"Jesus is your sword."

One of the things I love about living in Florida is the cloud formations. They are tall and fluffy, filling the sky with a terrain of fluffy like cotton. Then other times they are imposing and dark, flashing with lighting and pouring down rain. Rarely is the sky completely devoid of these puffy wonders.

One bright and humid Florida morning, I went for a walk to worship and pray. My conversation with God that day was about prayer and words. I wanted to understand more about what He seemed to be impressing upon my heart to understand.

I looked up in the sky and noticed a could that looked just like a sword, which I thought was so interesting. But what made it relevant was what the Holy Spirit spoke to me as I looked at this simple formation.

“Jesus is your sword.”

My friends, this truth clicked into place in my heart and then my mind and the Scriptures I’d ready many times seemed to take on even deeper meaning. 

In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. He was in the beginning with God. All things were made through him, and without him was not any thing made that was made. In him was life, and the life was the light of men. The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness has not overcome it. — John 1:1-5

And the Word became flesh and dwelt among us, and we have seen his glory, glory as of the only Son from the Father, full of grace and truth. — John 1:14

This truth already blew my mind, SUMites, but then to think of it in terms of our spiritual armor, brings a whole new level of awe. 

And take the helmet of salvation, and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God, — Ephesians 6:17

Jesus is the Word and the sword of the Spirit is God’s Word, so Jesus truly is our sword! So what does that mean?

The Ezekiel Model

In the book of Ezekiel, God tells Ezekiel to prophesy over dry bones to hear the word of the Lord. First of all, prophesy simply means to speak by inspiration. We are all call to do this and since we have the Holy Spirit living in us, it makes sense that we can do this. (That’s a whole other series best saved for another time.)

Then he said to me, “Prophesy to these bones and say to them, ‘Dry bones, hear the word of the Lord! — Ezekiel 37:4

So Ezekiel is told by the Spirit of God to speak God’s words of life over these bones. The word ‘hear’ in Hebrew is šâma’ and holds such meanings as to hear intelligently (often with implication of attention, obedience, etc.), declare, discern, give ear, (cause to, let, make to) hear(-ken, tell), listen, make (a) noise, (be) obedient, obey, perceive, (make a) proclaim(-ation), publish, regard, report, shew (forth), (make a) sound, tell, understand, whosoever (heareth), witness. And that’s the edited down version. 

In similar intensity, ‘word’ means ḏâḇâr in Hebrew and translates to such meanings as a word; by implication, a matter (as spoken of) or thing; adverbially, a cause: act, advice, affair, answer, commandment, commune(-ication), concern(-ing), confer, counsel, decree, deed, duty, effect, eloquent, errand, glory, manner, matter, message, portion, power, promise, provision, purpose, question, rate, reason, report, request. Again, the edited down version.

These are two hefty words that hold a lot of meaning and impact. Which then led me to Jeremiah 1:12 where God asks Aaron what he sees. 

Then the Lord said to me, “You have seen well, for I am watching over my word to perform it.” — Jeremiah 1:12

Did you know that word ‘watching’ means to be alert i.e. sleepless? Now look at Isaiah 55:11

“For as the rain and the snow come down from heaven and do not return there but water the earth, making it bring forth and sprout, giving seed to the sower and bread to the eater, so shall my word be that goes out from my mouth; it shall not return to me empty, but it shall accomplish that which I purpose, and shall succeed in the thing for which I sent it. — Isaiah 55:10-11

My friends, this is like a double promise. God decrees (shall) His Word will not only be life giving but also powerful and effective to accomplish His purposes. So, think about this in context of praying Scriptures, which are God’s Word and are thus in alignment with His heart and purposes, and what could happen as a result of doing so. And I mean literally praying Scriptures out loud, word for word. 

For example, our salvation word this year is Jeremiah 24:7. Almost every day I am praying this:

Lord, thank you for giving every one of our SUMite spouses a heart that knows You are God. Thank You that You have declared they will be your sons and daughters and You will be their God. Thank You that they are returning to You wholeheartedly and will follow You all the days of their lives.

We can do this with any Scripture in the Bible, SUMites. Speak God’s Word out as truth. 

Lord, Your Word says that by the stripes of Jesus Christ I am healed, therefore I declare that I am healed of (name specific illnesses, diseases and conditions). (Isaiah 53:5). And I declare the blood of Jesus over my entire body and declare I walk in divine health. In the name of Jesus, amen!

Lord, you are not willing that any should be lost so I rejoice and thank You that You are pursuing my spouse, my children, my family members with your relentless love and I stand in agreement with You that me and and my entire household will be saved. In the name of Jesus, amen! (Matthew 18:14, Acts 16.31).

My friends, whenever you read your Bible and find yourself stopped or stuck on a piece of God’s Word, ask the Holy Spirit what it means, what you need to know about it, and how you are to pray into it, believe it and then decree it. 

One last story…

In my post last Friday I talked about Isaiah six and how the praises of the seraphim shook the place. Did you know this happened in the New Testament too, with the disciples? The disciples were faced with great opposition, so they joined together and prayed.

And now, O Lord, hear their threats, and give us, your servants, great boldness in preaching your word. Stretch out your hand with healing power; may miraculous signs and wonders be done through the name of your holy servant Jesus.”

After this prayer, the meeting place shook, and they were all filled with the Holy Spirit. Then they preached the word of God with boldness. — Acts 4:29-31

What did they pray for, my friends? Boldness to share His Word. They asked for healing power, miracles and wonders (what Jesus had taught and sent them out to do), all done in the name of Jesus. And what did God do? He shook the place with His presence! They prayed according to His Word (Jesus) and God answered.

So, my friends, I’m not saying that every time we pray, our houses are supposed to shake, but what if they did? What if we asked God for that kind of boldness and courage to pray and share Him with others and walked in miracles and wonders as the evidence of it? What if we already are?

I believe our prayers “shake” the heavens more than we realize. And the more boldness and courage we have, the more we shake the rafters!

O Lord, give us, your servants, great boldness in preaching Your word. Stretch out You hand with healing power; may miraculous signs and wonders be done through the name of Your holy servant Jesus. Amen!

Love you, SUMites!
Dineen

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

SUM Books 4


Politics - An Ordinary Wife

image from www.spirituallyunequalmarriage.comPolitics and an ordinary believing wife. That would be me.

So, let’s pick up with one more truth to navigate the political season with our pre-believer.

Three: Politics won't rescue our world.

The shootings in America, the bombings in France and Belgium, the massacre in Nice, France, with a truck are utterly evil. They shock us to our core and the enemy uses these events to release fear into our hearts, homes and nations. No matter how many laws you pass, you can’t legislate evil out of the world.

Our world needs a heart change. It’s about the heart. It’s LOVE that changes everything.

There is no fear in love. But perfect love drives out fear, because fear has to do with punishment. The one who fears is not made perfect in love. — 1 John 4:18

And my friends, we are loved -perfectly.

It’s a perfect kind of love that flows from our Father that empowers and moves me to love my husband even as we watch the evening news during a political season. It’s an unexplainable, heart-changing and supernatural love that overrides my fear of the future, fear about the political season and fear over my husband’s salvation.

Our Father is good. Utterly good. His intentions for His kids is goodness, prosperity, love, and adventure just to name a few. We need only begin to walk in His truth and let it transforms us from fearful and ridged people into beautiful, kind, good and giving believers.

So, even though at times, as I watch the news and I find myself wanting to speak truth to my husband as the talking heads roar on the tube, I fall under the restraint of the Holy Spirit and know my God loves me. He loves my husband. He loves this beautiful world he created. He hasn’t abandoned us as orphans and He is executing His extraordinary and astonishing plans. And it continues to blow my mind that He asks us to participate with Him in His strategies. Our faith, our prayers our votes, they matter…..

They matter so very much.

Be at peace this election season. Don’t become riled up over all the crazy. Pray and respond in love and in the grace of the Holy Spirit. Who knows? Come November maybe God will surprise all of us.

I adore you my friend. Thanks for tagging along with me as I work through my own angst about this season. Your grace and love overwhelms me. I adore you. 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-

SUM Books 4


Guest Post: Glowing in the Dark

Fireflies"For so the Lord has commanded us: 'I have set you as a light to the Gentiles, that you should be for salvation to the ends of the earth.'" — Acts 13:47

I could hear the explosion of fireworks near my house on the night of July 4th. I peered out my back window, but too many large trees were in the way to see anything in the sky. I could see, though, a continual sparkle of light coming through the branches. Wow! The remnant of the fireworks!

Then at closer look, those weren't fireworks at all. They were fireflies (or a.k.a. lightning bugs)! Hundreds upon hundreds of them! I was mezmerized by their beauty as they quickly flashed in the dark of night, putting on a show much grander, and quieter, than the fireworks themselves. But in reality, they were just doing their thing, being who they are.

I found some interesting information on the Mother Nature Network website listing "the 12 things you didn't know about lightning bugs." A chemical inside their abdomin/tail called luciferin (yes, oddly enough the same latin root as Lucifer - is this why he's known to appear as the "angel of light?") mixes with oxygen, calcium and adenosine triphosphate causing a chemical reaction to create their spectacular light.

There are more than 2,000 species of lightning bugs, but only some come equipped with the ability to glow. The light these bugs generate is the most efficient light ever made! Almost 100% of the energy in the chemical reaction is emitted as light. In comparison, an incandescent light bulb only emits 10% of its energy as light, while the other 90% is lost as heat. Each species of the lightning bug has a specific pattern of light flashing, and males use this pattern to draw the ladies to create that perfect match. Some species actually synchronize their flashes creating a beautiful light show, such as the one I had seen out my window.

"For God, who said, 'Let there be light in the darkness,' has made this light shine in our hearts so we could know the glory of God that is seen in the face of Jesus Christ." — 2 Corinthians 4:6

Do you see yourself in this description? We glow because that’s who we are and what we do naturally! Jesus is our light, and recently our SUM family synchronized our lights to be in earnest prayer for our spouses, not to mention how we continually uplift, encourage and support one another. What a spectacular show that must appear to the heavenly hosts as our prayers rise to the One in whom we place our hope and trust.

"Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works and glorify your Father in heaven." — Matthew 5:16

Sharing our wounds, our brokenness, and our flaws actually attract the lost. Here’s a light they can relate to and be drawn to. In this world of darkness, the lost don't even realize how desperate they are to see light. Sweet SUMite family, may we simply be who we are, shining Christ's light, not as a pest, but as a magnificent wonderment so the fireworks of salvation may take place in our very own homes. Not that our spouses would behold us, but behold the ONE who is the giver of that light

"Awake, you who sleep, arise from the dead, and Christ will give you light." — Ephesians 5:14

 

Dee and JerryDee Rusnak and her husband of 44 years, Jerry, both retired, live in Westerville, Ohio. They have three grown sons and three adorable grandchildren, with one more on the way due Christmas Day!

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SUM Books 4


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

So, I kinda feel like today is my confession.

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

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

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

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

So weird.

Why on Sunday morning and especially why on Easter.

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

Family photo Easter 2016

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

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

Anyhoo, moving along.

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

My husband did not.

He remained seated…….

AND THAT’S WHEN IT HAPPENED.

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

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

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

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

Hesitantly, “O, -kay.”

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

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

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

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

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

Gulp!

Okay, there it is.

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

Good Lord, Almighty!

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

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

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

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

*****

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

SUM Books 4


An Open Letter To The Unequally Yoked

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

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

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

Dear Spiritually Mismatched,

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Winning Him Small

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

SUM Books 4


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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A Single Decision Can Change Everything

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

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I had a decision to make tonight.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

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Tablecloth Of Thanks 2015

I started a Thanksgiving family tradition a few years ago quite by accident. This tradition has become my absolute favorite. I'm sharing it today, as I do every year, so that our new readers can begin this tradition in their home. This is also a Family Faith Tradition I share in our book, Not Alone.

Enjoy.....Lynn

I'ts Never Too Late!

It’s never too late to start a new tradition in your home, especially one which brings honor to the Lord. I have a story to share and a photo. I also want to give you a chance to share some of your holiday traditions or giggles.

Join in today and share a Thanksgiving holiday tradition from your home or share a funny holiday hiccup.

I will share with you that like many newly married young women, I didn’t realize the turkey was stuffed with bagged giblets. Yep, I cook the turkey with the plastic bag and the giblets still inside. We ate it anyway.

Also, three years ago, I set the oven on fire when I moved the giant bird around. I freaked out. My husband came running. The house was crazy, people were yelling, crying and freaking… Perhaps it was only me doing the yelling, crying and freaking. My calm man put the flames out and to this day, I don’t know how he did it because we didn’t own a fire extinguisher.

The next morning I rose before dawn and went shopping at The Home Depot. NO NOT FOR CHRISTMAS… For a fire extinguisher. And now, every year BEFORE I bake the turkey, I check to make sure the extinguisher is charged and ready.

Sheesh!

Today, I'm sharing one of my most favorite family traditions. Here is a post I wrote years ago for the Internet Cafe. Hope you start a family tradition this year. It's NEVER too late to have a Tablecloth of Thanks.

Tablecloth of Thanks 

Many of you know that I am married to an unbeliever. This past May we celebrated 15 years of marriage. Our unequally yoked marriage has had its challenges to say the least. Over the years, however, our ingenious God has maneuvered us through many touchy issues. 

Our disparity becomes more apparent during the holidays. Giving thanks to our Lord in November is a treasured time for me. I name my blessings one-by-one in prayer, thanking God for His lavish abundance poured into our lives. 

Like most wives living in an unequally yoked marriage, I long for my spouse to understand there is a God. To know He is intricately involved in our lives and everything we have is provision of our creator. I have also learned that forcing God upon my husband is a surefire way to push him away. I am careful to respect my husband and simply trust Jesus to reach him in his perfect timing. 

In spite of my husband’s unbelief, I discovered a unique way to draw him into the celebration of thanks, besides through his stomach. He loves turkey. 

Four years ago, I threw a new, pristine-white tablecloth across our dinning room table two weeks prior to Thanksgiving. I purchased several colored pens and placed them on top. A new tradition was born, a Tablecloth of Thanks. It began with my daughter. I told her, “I WANT you to write on this tablecloth.” She looked at me with skepticism in her eyes, wondering if her mother had lost her mind. 

“Really,” my smiled reassured. “Write down what you are most thankful for this year. Then write the year, 2004, near your name.” 

She grinned and began to write using several different colors. I joined in and wrote my thanks directly on the beautiful tablecloth. 

Later that evening my husband noticed the scribbles on the tablecloth. I watched as he walked over to read our words. I walked to his side and took his hand. I subtly asked him if he would also write down his thanks. He smiled and said maybe later. 

Finally on the evening of Thanksgiving Day, my husband picked up a pen and wrote; I am thankful for my wonderful family, great friends, and a very happy life. 

Wow! Was he giving thanks to our Lord? I am not sure. However, every year since he has continued to write a thankful list. Last year’s entry reads; I am thankful for all of my blessings…family, friends, and the dogs. 

Imported Photos 00001What? Did he use the word blessings? Small steps such as these lead to the Savior. I can’t wait to read his thankful list this year. 

The Thankful Tablecloth is one of my most prized possessions. Everyone who visits our home during the Thanksgiving holiday contributes to this permanent memorial of thanks. It is a visible praise to the King displayed in our unequally yoked home each November. 

One of my favorite thanks is this: 

2006
I am thankful
to be able to sit
on the couch and have
my people pet me.
Peanut 

Hmmmm, I wonder how the dog grew fingers and learned to write???? 

Psalm 69:30 (NIV)
I will praise God's name in song and glorify him with thanksgiving.

 

Lord God, I will name my blessings one-by-one….. Jesus… eternal life…. clean water to drink…..capacity to love…..empowerment to forgive….. just for a start….. 

It is never too late to start a new tradition. If you want to start your Tablecloth of Thanks, I have a few helpful hints.

  1. Place a sheet of butcher paper under your tablecloth. (I have a permanent smiley face on my dinning room table from the year 2005)
  2. Use colorfast fabric pens.
  3. Store your tablecloth in an airtight Ziploc bag. 

Thank you my friends for sharing this Holiday treasure with me. I wish you were with me today and could share your thankful heart on the Tablecloth of Thanks.

(My friends, if you could, share this post on Facebook and Twitter. It's truly a wonderful tradition and I want so much for families to have an opportunity to share faith in this way. Thanks, Lynn  - click on the buttons below to share. Hugs)

Also, if you have started a tablecloth already in your home, PLEASE, take a photo and share it in the comments. I would love to see them. Hugs, Lynn

image from www.spirituallyunequalmarriage.com

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Meet Lynn & Dineen In Person

Spirituallymismatched

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

THRIVING In His Presence Conference

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

Lynn & Dineen present:
THRIVING in His Presence Conference

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

Register through Eventbright

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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Unequally Yoked and the Atheist Blogs

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

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

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Unequally Yoked and the Atheist Blogs  

Part III

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Whew! What a relief. 

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

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

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

Me: But why? Why does it matter?

Him: Because you are living a lie.

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

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

Honey, my faith makes me happy. 

Him: (silence) 

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

Honey, my faith makes me happy……. 

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

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

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

Identity
Courage
and an open door. 

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

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

Be blessed, Lynn

If God had picture

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Joseph: Fruitful in Challenging Places (part 2)

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

I love you, SUMites! Hugs! ~Dineen

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SUM Books 4


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Standing with you, my friends!
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SUM Books 4


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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SUM Books 4


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

6a00d83451ee9f69e201b8d11ef502970c-320wi

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Love you, my friends. So thankful to be living this life with you!
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Share your voice, heart and love in the comments. 

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

SUM Books 4