Weariness in a Spiritually Mismatched Marriage

I've been thinking about weariness in a spiritually mismatched marriage. IMG-20240611-WA0029

Are you feeling weary of the wait? Or weary of the journey?

Weariness can be common. Some in our community have trekked for decades in this situation, holding out hope for their spouse's salvation, or for some kind of change to be seen. Others don't necessarily hope for change, but are just weary. 

This is despite Jesus promising that his yoke will be easy and his burden light. Well, we're human and this SUM situation is a place of spiritual growth for us all: Sometimes Heavenly promises don't come to fruition easily or instantly. They take some intentionality to reach.

While we're growing in the things of Heaven, sometimes we will feel embattled, or completely wiped out.

So what's to be done? If you're weary try this:

1. Ask God to refresh your Spirit.

Ask him to fill you with the living water that means you never thirst again. Ask him to be like an oasis, a place of calm and refreshment to you. Say out loud, "Lord, refresh my spirit!"

2. Take some rest days

Consider building a routine of Sabbath into your life, a day of rest, enjoyment and play. Or go away for a little 'retreat' for a couple of days

3. Get someone to pray for you.

When someone prays for you it strengthens your inner man. Ask them to pray specifically for the fatigue you are feeling.

4. Stay connected to church

Church, for all its difficult moments is a water trough that sustains and feeds us. Even just being in the room with Spirit-filled believers is healthy.

And finally,

5. Pray that your heart be guarded from a root of bitterness.

It is easy for bitterness to set in if your walk has been years. This is one we have to guard carefully against. Prayer does wonders. Create in me a clean heart, Lord!

**

As for news from here: Bryce and I have just finished walking the Camino today. We walked 130km in ten days and our whole bodies ache now. At points the weariness of the walk felt too much. That said, the walk itself was a rich experience.

We are now refreshing ourselves and taking a physical rest; but the experience of walking g many kilometers sure did get me thinking about the parallel of a SUM journey!

Well, SUMites, I will write again on Mlnday. Have a lovely weekend.

Ann


His Name Is...

JESUS

Hello SUMites, Amanda here! I was listening to a teaching on Jesus this morning and the priest started talking about the names and titles of Jesus found throughout the New and Old Testament. As he started saying the various names of our Father, I could not help but lift my hand in praise as I drove! Sometimes we just need to be reminded of all that he is!

I wanted to share a similar list with all of you for this week! I hope it inspires you as much as it did me!

Read this list out loud today! Maybe even every day for a week to remind you of all that he is! 

(This is not a complete list! If I miss one you love, please share it in the comments!)

He is our CREATOR! The God Who Sees ME! Yahweh! Jehovah!

He is Jehovah-Rapha (LORD that heals)! He is the I AM!

He is the King of Kings and Lord of Lords!

He is the Star out of Jacob!

He is the Consuming Fire! The Shield! The Sword!

He is the Judge of All!

Faithful! LIVING! My Strength and Power!

The Father! The Friend! The Rock! The Fortress!

The Alpha and Omega!

He is all of these things and so much more! He is a great and divine mystery! And how amazing is it that he chose to share himself with us?! He chose us when he did not have to. He had (and still has) the universe under his feet, every planet, every moon, every star, yet he chose us!

I hope the weight of those words will stay with you in the coming days. If you are struggling in a hard season, or just get distracted with the business of life and need a reminder, come back to this list to remind yourself of who he is!

Rest in him. Hope in him. Depend on him.

Trust him!

Have a great week and be blessed my friends!


Camino de Santiago: Side by Side

Hi SUMites!Pooped at Pamplona

In the last week, Bryce and I have walked 78 Km, from France into Spain, phew! I am now writing this from a little guest house in the vibrant Spanish city of Pamplona. 

The Camino has been glorious, so far, but exhausting. This photo here captured how it felt to reach the city gates of Pamplona after hours of walking in the hot sun, LOL.

Is that a metaphor for what it might feel like to reach the gates of the Kingdom of Heaven?!

Have Bryce and I come together in any way spiritually by being on this 'pilgrimage' together? Well, I didn't have any expectations on that front, but there has been one pleasant little surprise:

On this walk, I brought my Bible to read, which I always read through chronologically. Currently I'm in the time of King David. 

Well, just before we started the Camino, Bryce wanted something to read and downloaded a novel onto his Kindle called 'The Source' by James Michener.

It turned out to be a fiction book about the history of Israel, starting from the beginning of civilisation right through to modern times.

The book itself is a story about a fictional town in Israel, and what happens to it over the centuries. It is well researched, draws heavily on details in the Bible, and brings in characters such as King David and Abraham, as well as cultural details like the Canaanites burning their first-borns in fire, concubines, pagan gods, and then Israel's special relationship with YHWH.

Strikingly, on the first day of the Camino, there I was in the middle of the life of King David in the Bible, and I discovered that Bryce too was reading about the life of King David in James Michener's book!

A little coincidence. Or a God-incidence.

So we started to talk about King David as we walked....

... And then we started to talk about other things in James Michener's book as we trekked through country paths, and villages. It's all about the Old Testament.

"Where are you up to now?" I said to Bryce yesterday.

"Oh about 200BC" he said.

"The Israelites have been captured by the Babylonians, returned from captivity, and now it's the Greek empire, right? Or is it the Romans?" I like history.

These have been stimulating conversations, and it is a tiny coming together, of sorts.

In our SUMs we have these almost imperceptible moments. Every so often it seems as if our spouse turns their head a little to our world.

Well, onwards! I hope you are all well.

Ann


Unlikely Pilgrimage

Dear friends, Ann here.Camino Ann

Today Bryce and I start walking the 'Way of St James', otherwise known as 'The Camino'. Yay!!

The Camino is a well-known pilgrim walk that takes the walker deeply into Spain. It is several hundred kilometers long, and involves staying in local hostels, monasteries and humble guest houses, with many a communal meal, and conversations along the way with fellow walkers.

The Camino has a deep spiritual history, and I am only discovering it now, with my backpack ready.

I originally wanted to do the Camino for completely non-spiritual reasons: I simply wanted to have a lot of coffee and cake in nice Spanish villages, LOL. That was all! Give me my Spanish hot chocolate and tapas! I think I was inspired by the film 'The Way', which made the walk look ever so idyllic. BUT, as I have spent the last 24 hours at the starting point, I have come to see that this walk is not about hot chocolate and tapas at all. It's going to be special for me in a different way.

A couple of days ago I received a clear word from the Lord. He asked me to spend a great deal of focus praying extensively along the route we walk. He also told me I was meant to be on this walk. He said, "You are exactly where you need to be at this present point in time." Pilgrim statue

So I will see what that feels like and looks like. I have asked God to bless my tongue, to inspire my prayers, and to pour his fire onto the words I speak.

Today I went into a church and spent an hour in prayer, asking him to bless this journey and this time with him. 

The Camino attracts people from all over the world, and I can see already that there is a colorful mix of characters on it. It takes several weeks to complete, though Bryce and I are only going to walk ten days. It ends at Santiago de Compostela, where tradition says the bones of James, one of Jesus' 12 disciples, are buried. Who knows if that is true. But Christians have been walking it in droves since the eleventh century. 

Even now, many people come on this walk to find time with God. For others, of course, it's a holiday. But there are serious God-lovers who walk it. Ian has suggested to me that it may well be a place where the veil is thin between heaven and earth, because of the number of Christians who have trodden the path.

In fact, testifying to this, I met a young woman a couple of weeks ago in France who told me she had actually become a Christian ON the Camino. She had had an encounter with God, and since then her life has not been the same.

It is my hope that I can slip away into a few churches to pray at various points. It is also my intention to only read scripture while on this little 'personal pilgrimage'. 

Well, I'll keep writing blog posts as I go, and let's see how God inspires this time. 

Much love,

Ann


Marriage Adventures in France

Hi SUMites! Ann Bryce France

I said I'd share a little of the marriage adventures we've been having while in France. It's been a funny little time.

Being here for a month in this rented house, with few responsibilities and no friends in the neighborhood, has meant we have spent 100% of our time together.

We have done the laundry together, planned our evening meals together, cooked together, food-shopped together, hiked together, washed up together, binge-watched TV together, and made every. single. decision. Together.

Today we bought train tickets together, and then we helped my Dad with his computer -- Together.

There's a Friday food market here, and it's been the highlight of my week, so off we trundle together. There's a gigantic 'Pyreneen Mountain Dog' there, whose owner sells onions. We spend at least ten minutes with this dog, who soaks up cuddles like a love sponge. Then we dry ourselves off from the drool and carry on round the market. As we go, Bryce follows me from stall to stall, and puts all my purchased goodies in a bag. Mountain dog

Putting the items in the bag, he starts to huff and puff at the expense. I get irritated. Then I check myself. 

At points, I do feel like I need some space!

But God loves marriage, and our time of togetherness is perhaps making Him smile. It's putting new meaning on the word 'one flesh'.

Jesus:

'For this reason a man will leave his father and mother and be united to his wife, and the two will become one flesh’? So they are no longer two, but one flesh. Therefore what God has joined together, let no one separate. (Matthew 19:5-9, NIV)

Have you had times where you've had a lot of time with your spouse?

Love you all!

Ann


Faith Adventures in France

My SUM friends Bakery

Hello!

I have now been in France for four weeks, and it's been both a curious faith adventure, and a curious marriage adventure, but I'll save the marriage part for the next post ((smiling)).

I have had serenity and plenty of time with God. Every morning, I read my Bible. Currently I am deep in the story of David's life, and his Psalms (2 Samuel, 2 Chronicles, and Psalms).

Bryce gets up and quietly potters around while I sit on the couch having my God time, wrapped in a blanket. 

But the adventures I've had have really been around the church. I noticed something curious:

The suburb where I live, in New Zealand, has 14,000 residents, and I can count six different churches of different flavors. Essentially one could 'church shop' there.

In contrast, here in Foix there are 9,000 residents, and only one church. Though there are a couple of churches that existed previously, they are not active. There was an 'apostolic' church that was advertised, which sounded like my cup of tea, but I turned up my first Sunday to find it non-existent. Dead.

That's discouraging, Lord. I was sad that day. Where are the Christians?

The only active church here seems to be the beautiful and ancient 11th-century church in the town square. It rings its bells several times a week, and a small number of Foix's residents trickle in. "Is this where I go, Lord, if I want to be where you are being talked about?"

Not forsaking the assembling of ourselves together, as the manner of some is; but exhorting one another: and so much the more, as ye see the day approaching (Hebrews 10:25, KJV).

I pictured the New Testament church that used to eat together in small number, gathering in houses for meals. 

I pictured King David, who carried out his relationship with God in the desert and the fields; partly I felt like him, sat on my couch with God quietly connecting on my lonesome.

Then I turned my mind again to this ancient church in the town square, and contemplated the fact it represents the history of Christianity in Europe.

My Dad, who lives here, told me: "This area of France is very irreligious." Nevertheless, my heart leapt when I saw this poster displayed in a house window, in a neighboring village:Jesus in the window

Lord Jesus

I give glory to the Father and I implore your aid.

Happy are those who will have believed. Happy are those who die in the Lord.

The heavenly Father wants that all are saved. He has given us Jesus for that purpose. He was resurrected to open up the way for us. Don't ignore this essential event in the history of humanity. The consequences of sin are death. Don't delay to purify ourselves and to turn to him. He does not turn those away who come to him.

Ahhh. Even when an area seems 'irreligious', there will be a remnant.

That ancient church here in Foix runs a 'Cafe for friends' on a Wednesday and Thursday. Not only have I wanted to connect with Christians, I have also wanted to talk to French people. So, with a dose of curiosity, I went.

I walked into the room: There sat three older woman, two older men, and a younger woman. 'Welcome, welcome!' they said, in French.

I joined their table, and their chat. "Oranges?" one of them said, kindly, holding out a plate of fruit to me.

The younger woman had just become Christian the previous year. The older ones had been Christian for years, but one had converted late in life and it had changed her whole life. "Je comprends," I nodded, leaning forward, "I understand." I sure did understand that.

We sat and talked a little about what it looks like to have an encounter with God, and what it looks like to "have Jesus deeply in your heart". The young woman needed some encouragement in her faith; the older ones lent it. 

I left hopeful. Sometimes God places us in entirely new settings. And that little 'Cafe for Friends' has now become one of my little 'go-to' places in Foix.

Well, that's me. What is the church scene like where you live?

Love you all,

Ann


Prayers for Lynn and Mike

SUM family, Ann here. Our hearts go out

Our hearts are with Lynn and Mike, having heard the news that Lynn shared last week

The leaders of SUM recently wrote out some prayers for Mike and sent them via WhatsApp to Lynn. I've written these prayers out below, and if you have some time I wonder if you would speak these prayers out for the two of them?

It would be an amazing thing for us to stand as an army, speak out prayers jointly, and fill the bowl of incense of the prayers of the saints in Heaven for Mike! (Revelation 5:8).

Let's pray:

"Right now, in the authority and name of Jesus, I lift up Mike and Lynn as they stand in this place. I release shalom peace over and into them. I bind chaos and all forms of darkness coming against them. I release all provision into this situation. Peace, healing, right steps forward and His assurance that He is in control. Lord be their shield, and their faith."

"I pray that the chains of leukaemia be broken in Jesus' mighty name. I declare that Mike is a born-again son of the most high God, his name is in the book of life and he is covered by the blood of the Lamb. I speak healing miracles and divine reversal in Mike's body. I bless him with healing and health in Jesus' mighty name. I bless him with perfect peace and pray that he will experience his Father's love like never before. I lift up Lynn to the throne room of Grace, and I bless her with peace and strength, that she will hear God's voice directing her, leading her and encouraging her. I pray the Holy Spirit will fill them both to overflow. I stand with Lynn, I love her and I bless her. I stand on God's word that no weapon formed against Mike will prosper, and I speak life and love over them both.  Thank you, Lord, that you hear every prayer, even when our prayers are groans, and you collect every tear in your bottle. Lord, hold your daughter Lynn close, put your arms around her and gently rock her so that she knows she is held in tight and safe in her Daddy's arms. In your precious name, Jesus, the name above every other name. Amen."

A scripture that one of our leaders prayed over him:

"Because Mike has set his love upon Me, therefore I will deliver Mike; I will set him on high, because he has known My name. He shall call upon Me, and I will answer him; I will be with Mike in trouble; I will deliver him and honor him. With long life I will satisfy Mike And show Mike My salvation." (Psalms 91: 14-16 NJKV)

"Jesus, Jehovah Rapha ... as said above we are all in agreement with Mike living a long satisfying life, and that You Lord have heard our prayers and pleas! Prince of Peace and Mighty Warrior, fight this battle like only You can. We speak shalom over our sister. We command fear and chaos to leave her now and we bless her to be calm and full of wisdom to make needed decisions. We command all foul, unclean, demonic presence to be out of their hospital room right now in the name of Jesus. We speak Jesus over this leukaemia. It's a trespasser on Mike's holy temple. Jesus' blood flows through his body and it's healing now! We tell the mountain of sickness to be removed and cast into the sea now! Mike will live and not die and declare the works of the Lord. Amen so be it."

And finally,

"May Lynn and Mike be saturated in God's love and life. May the next steps be very clear for them and the doctors. Lord, you know what's going on in Mike's body, please pass that knowledge onto the medical team and give them the wisdom to make the right decisions in regards to treatment and next steps. May all treatments target and hit the leukaemia cells and please supernaturally protect every healthy cell in Mike's body. Lord, we love you, we're in awe of your goodness and faithfulness to Mike and Lynn. Amen."

**

Thank you SO much for praying in agreement, SUMites, and may God pour oil on the flame of these prayers!

With love and thanks to you all,

Ann


SUM Nation Lynn Donovan Here Today

Hi Everyone, TWO AWESOME THINGS TO SHARE TODAY. 

First, the Lord showed up strong and right now Mike is on his way to recovery. Hallelujah. I'll keep you posted.

Marriage initiative
Second, I want to share an interview with Amy Morgan. Her fabulous ministry is The Marriage Initiative. And it's filled with so much helpful marriage information. The link is below. But I want to share some of the feedback from a listener about the interview. I hope you are encouraged in your unequally yoked marriage. 

(From a listener)

"I wanted to thank you again for the invite to the marriage initiative presentation. It was timely and there were things that were said that I so needed to hear. Lynn Donovan's experience is so similar to mine in some ways, and it was so inspiring to hear how God used her challenges with an unbelieving husband to change not only her own marriage but to positively impact others going through the same. It was so touching. I felt so seen and so much of what she talks about I have experienced. It hits at a hard time for me. This year has been such a struggle. Homeschooling hasn't been what I had hoped and has negatively impacted my mental health and not been the best for (her daughter) either. I've been down and unmotivated for some time now, and the transitions and moving have put me in a very "sad, stuck" place. It has affected every part of my life, including my walk with God. Hearing this today, and what to do about it, was very encouraging. I loved when Lynn said to step up bravely to be the spiritual leader of your family if your husband cannot or will not. I had not heard it put like that before and I needed to hear it. I also loved how she encouraged us by saying we become strong warriors in prayer and spiritual warfare as a spouse to an unbeliever. It made me realize how important it is to stay in prayer and scripture, to not give up, that I'm not alone. (Her husband) is a very "hardened" person and I often struggle with the way he perceives life and people and purpose, and this presentation just reminded me that I'm not doing this alone, that God is with me. 

I immediately purchased a copy of Winning Him without Words and I'm looking forward to reading it. 

Here is the link to the broadcast on YouTube.


Donovan Clan Update

Thank you for your love and support of this ministry as we share the Gospel of Jesus Christ.

On April 27, 2024, my husband, Mike, was admitted to the hospital and diagnosed with acute Leukemia. He was sent to the ICU twice two weeks ago and literally was saved on Saturday and Monday nights by the physicians, his oncologist, nurses but especially through the prayers and hands of our Lord Jesus. It’s been two weeks of overwhelming..... Everything. 

Every word I have written in my books and the Bible remain absolutely true and I stand in peace upon the truth. I’ve seen the miracles already.

Mike will remain hospitalized for a number of weeks as they treat him and sort out a long-term treatment plan. It’s very complicated. His cancer was likely the result of his treatment two years ago.

MikeWith this said, I’ll be taking a break from my prayer ministry for May and June. I hope to have a new normal by the end of June and open my calendar again the first of July.

I’m so blessed there are leaders in this ministry who can and do step up to carry the torch. THANK YOU!! 

I’ll try to write once a month with an update. As of today, Mike has received his first round of Chemo and it’s working. But he is vulnerable to infections. Every day is a roller coaster of emotions, as you might imagine. My children were here last week and were a tremendous help. My mom is here for Mother's Day and my birthday. GOD IS SOOO GOOD. 

I truly feel the love of God and his hand holding mine and Mike’s as well. Thank you for your understanding. 

Love and hugs, Lynn Donovan


Happy Mother's Day

Hey there SUMites, Amanda here! It is Mother's Day here in the U.S., so I wanted pop on here and show some love and appreciation to all of the wonderful Moms out there! Mother's day 2 

Whether you are a mom of littles, an empty nester, a grandmother, foster mother, or spiritual mother.

Whether you carried your babies inside you or met them through the miracle of adoption.

Whether your babies are here on earth or in the arms of Jesus.

You were (and are) a chosen vessel! A sacred and vital part of God's creation. You personify unconditional, sacrificial, longsuffering love!

As a mother, you are a sweet whisper of the great gift that is God's love.

As I was contemplating what to write today, I started thinking about how often mothers are mentioned in the bible. Not just specific women, but the imagery of mothers and their love, comfort, protection, and care of children. You certainly don't have to look too hard to find a reference to this kind in the word!

Isaiah 66:13 says, "As a mother comforts her child, so I will comfort you."(NIV)

I just love how this passage uses the analogy of a mother to her child! This whole chapter in Isaiah is a really beautiful example, and worth a read! And we can see this all throughout the bible! In psalms, proverbs, Isaiah and more!

I believe that is because a mother's love is beautiful mystery.

How blessed we are to be women! To be mothers! To be chosen to bear this beautiful burden! 

Precious mommas, I hope every one of you reading this feels appreciated, seen, and loved today by those around you. If you don't, I hope you will remember how precious you are to Jesus. He counts every tear and hears every prayer.

Find time to rest in him this week. Even if it is just five minutes before you start your day.

And when the baby won't stop crying, the toddler has destroyed the living room, and the teenager won't talk to you, remember that you are a representative of God's love. You have a special calling in this life to grow disciples. You are blessed and you ARE important!!!

P.S. The picture in this post is the card my daughter made for me today :). If any mom reading this was not acknowledged in the way that you should have been, consider this your card too! It was made with love by the sweetest little hands, and you deserve it!

I love you all! Have a fantastic week!

Happy Mother's Day!