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20 entries from May 2009

Weekend Devo — Talk Like the Animals

752763_about_a_dog____and_a_man____ As my daughter and I were driving to the dog park, she told me a cute story. See, one day a while back, her dad had taken her and Shasta, her poochy, to the dog park. She said the most interesting thing happened. The dogs were drawn to my hubby. According to my daughter, they all surrounded him, sniffing and curious, and several even stayed near him while they were there.

This is the part I love. To her this showed God's love. She firmly believes God used those dogs that day to show her dad how much God loves him. And based on how I've seen God use our dog in my daughter's struggles with depression and recovery from brain surgery, I believe it.

I could totally picture this scene, too. These humble beasts standing around my dear hubby, "talking" of God's love with wags of tails and licks of tongues. After all, animals know how to love unconditionally best, don't they?

We serve such an awesome God. How has He made his love known to you in the smallest (and even biggest!) of ways lately? I hope you'll share a story of God's love in action through a special pet or unique circumstances.

Blessings and have a wonderful weekend!
Praying and believing,

Thankful Thursday - The Voice of God

A few hours ago I spent time with my BFF’s from Bible study. Today was the last day before the summer break. These girls are my “home girls.” They see the good, bad and ugly in me and love me anyway.

I also love them with all of my heart. The study concluded with a powerful video by Priscilla Shirer, Discerning the Voice of God.

Recognizing God’s voice in our life is what we all want. Without the Lord’s direction we would be lost and broken people. However, sometimes I wonder if you are like me? I don’t always hear clearly the voice of the Lord. Why is that?

I have one word: OBEDIENCE

In the years I have walked with the Lord, He has always been faithful and provided direction. He has taken me from one plateau to the next…. Each one, more fantastic and supernatural than the last. So, when I find myself surrounded by silence or stuck, I must turn my eyes inward. There is usually an area of obedience that I have yet to surrender.

Today in Bible study we prayed that THIS DAY would be the day we surrender that one thing, the thing that needs to go so God can move in us and through us this summer. Will you do the same?

Lord, I have held onto this thing. I have heard you say, “Lynn (insert your name), get rid of it. I will wait as long as it takes.” Oh Lord, let today be that day. I want to be part of your plan this summer. I want to see new horizons and the fantastic surprises you have waiting for me. Lord, today, I surrender it to you. Do not let me ever take it back. Bind the enemy who will tempt me and protect me from this sin. When I feel weak, Lord surround me with the supernatural power of the Holy Spirit. I ask all this in the powerful name of Jesus, my Redeemer. Amen.

As you think about your Thankful Thursday post, consider your heart. Write about obedience or hearing the voice of God. Be Blessed, Lynn

Also, I must apologize because I did not make it around to visit everyone. Please forgive me. Mr. Linky went crazy and would not work. I think the owner of Mr. Linky has fixed the problem for this week. I am praying over it. So leave your link and I can’t wait to read your posts.

Computer tips to increase speed: •Empty “temp” files •Empty Recycle Bin •Run analyze and/or disk defragmenter •Back up your system

Next week we will all meet up at Laurie's of Women Taking a Stand, for the month of June. See you there.

Our Journey's - Part II

This is Part Two of “Our Journeys” posts. To read the original post, click here.

This week's question is from Julianne: I would love to hear about the growth/changes in your family each of you have seen since your time of starting here. Even though it may not yet be where you hope, what differences have you experienced over time?

Lynn’s Answer:

Julianne, It is difficult to sum up in a few short paragraphs the changes which have occurred over the years. Even in the past three years since the start of SUM, the Lord has done amazing things. I give Jesus Christ all honor and credit because without His life-changing power at work in me, my man, and our marriage, we would not be living the abundant life today.

Jesus is my hope.

I think what I value the most from the changes brought by Christ is the fact that I have grown in my faith. ome of you know that my husband lost his job in January. He is still unemployed today. But, I know my faith has matured because of how I handled the news of my husband’s unemployment.

I didn’t freak!

It is my nature to be crazy and freak-out over financial matters. The former banker in me, I guess. Upon hearing the news, I only felt calmness. In fact, scripture verses rushed into my head and gave me peace. The years of writing God’s word upon my heart came to fruition.

Still today after five, almost six months, I am peaceful and I absolutely trust God - He is our provider. I can say this with true authenticity, I could live in a two room shack today and be happy. If you knew me ten years ago, you would never have thought those words could escape my lips.

The Lord has brought peace to our home. He relentlessly pursues my husband’s heart and soul. Why should I fear? My prayers for his salvation will be answered. I never doubt that because Jesus is my hope.

My husband has changed in that he is no longer hostile about my faith and is on his own slow journey to understanding. A miracle in my eyes.

I look at that guy today from across the room and I can’t wait to grow old with him. I smile and walk over to the couch, snuggle down on his chest, hold his hand and I rejoice in the knowledge that I serve an all-powerful, almighty, miracle delivering God.

I am deeply humbled and will worship Him for all eternity. Be Blessed, Lynn

Chronicles - Oh ye, of Little Faith

I have prayed for my husband’s salvation now going on 18 years. Wow, 18. There are times, day, weeks, dare I say months that I just feel like my daily prayer, “Lord, I ask for the salvation of my husband. I ask for the Holy Spirit to indwell in his heart. Jesus, save my husband today. Amen.” I just feel like they bounce off the ceiling.

“God, are you too busy to listen today?”

“God, why is it taking so long?”

"God, why don’t I see you doing anything in his life to draw my husband closer to you?”

I wonder if some of you have felt like this.

Today, I heard that still small voice in my spirit, “Oh ye, of little faith.”

I realized that God is very active in a constant way in the life of my husband. Things happen around him that I am not always privileged to see. However, today the Lord showed me that He does not remain silent. My husband’s salvation is not dependent on what I do or say. God often uses other people and Jesus is capable of saving my man without my help…. thank you very much.

Today my husband forwarded an email he received from a friend. I can’t impress enough about how this particular email has more power than 10 sermons my husband might hear. It was an email from a close friend who took a chance and shared his faith. God is not silent.

Oh forgive me Father for ever thinking you are.

Here is a portion of the email which stirred my heart.


God gives us peace and joy when our focus is truly loving God first and loving others second (instead of focusing on our perceived needs). When we obey this great commandment, God takes care of our needs for us. Jesus replied: “‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind. This is the first and greatest commandment. And the second is like it: 'Love your neighbor as yourself.' All the Law and the Prophets hang on these two commandments." Matthew 22:37-40

As believers we are good about obeying the “Great Commission” of sharing the gospel, and yet Jesus’ “Great Commandment” is often overlooked. You see, God did not say "think about yourself, get that now, take care of this, worry about that.......", but He did command us to love Him above all, and love others like ourselves. When we obey His “Great Commandment” fully, we can then trust Him to provide for our needs according to His abundant grace and perfect will! When we accept God's provisions for us with thanksgiving and praise, we are freed from the cares of this world. ~Aurelio F. Barreto III, January 2009

My husband's friend sent a portion of Aurelio's testimony. It is fantastic. Have a wonderful week. Be Blessed, Lynn

Weekend Devotion — How can they believe?

Bible "But since you do not believe what he wrote, how are you going to believe what I say?" — John 5:47

Oddly, reading this gave me great comfort recently. In Jesus' words, I hear my own dilemma with my spouse. Since he doesn't believe in God or the Bible as his Word, how can he believe what I say when I share my faith?

Perhaps herein lies the truth of "actions speak louder than words." Regardless, my spirit is comforted in knowing Jesus understands because he lived it too.

This reassurance spurs me on to keep persevering in my marriage, to keep believing God is working even when I see nothing change. Jesus continued to do what his Father sent him to accomplish, even when those he was sent to save rejected him.

With Christ as our example, we can draw strength and courage to persevere, because he showed us the way.

May God bless you richly this Memorial Day weekend with much love and joy with your families.

Praying and believing,

Chronicles with a Twist - American Idol

The strangest things happen.

Wednesday morning, I hit the play button on the answering machine upon arriving home from dropping my daughter at school. “Call me… Call me… As soon as you can…. Call me!” Okay? Call me.”

Ring, ring.

My next door neighbor picks up, “Get dressed. Let’s go to the American Idol Finale. I have tickets.”

“What?...... Say What?”

“American Idol.”


“I just received my tickets online. We have to be ready in less than an hour and get to Los Angeles.”

That started my most unusual day! And what a day it was.

Most of you know that I am not a fan of Hollywood. But I like the show. There is something about a rags to riches story. Reminds me of my own journey with God.

Anyhoo, My friend Lynley, her two kids and I hit the southern California Freeways. We traversed to LA by-passing a car fire- typical when you are in a hurry, sheesh! We sped down the carpool lanes to arrive at the Nokia Theater at 11:30 am. Lynley said, “The earlier you arrive, better the seats.”

Nokia Theater

We drove around the corner and the scary line began. Hundreds of people wearing black, dressy clothes. The dress code is strict – evening wear- as if attending an upscale dinner party. Here is a picture of the line that stretched out in front of us… 

Line ahead

And then behind us.

Line behind

This is Lynley, her kids and me as we waited.

Ai us in line

Admittance also requires a search. No cameras (that bugged me) no cell phones (no texting). So I left my camera in the car along with the cell. I was only able to snap off a few photos.

Red carpet 1

Red carpet 2

Red carpet 3

I am not a fan of Hollywood. Most of you know this. But, perhaps I am destine to be part of this weird and scary world. My daughter is bent on becoming an actress. In fact, I am taking her to an open call audition for the movie Eclipse soon. (don’t send hate mail if you don’t like this movie *grin*)

My daughter said, “Mom, there has to be a few Christians who work in this business.”

She is right and so Wednesday I screamed my head off for Kris Allen and I am a big fan of Danny Gokey. Christian bruthas!

We had great seats, Orchestra – center. They were going for $1,000 each on eBay that day. Who knew! I learned a lot while waiting in line.


Walking into the theater for the first time was surreal. In fact, from that moment on…. SURREAL!

The sound quality of the music can’t be described. It is so very different than what you hear through the television. The lighting, pyrotechnics, the film crews and the set direction. Fantastic! I sat mesmerized not only by the show but by the stuff that happens in the two minutes and 30 seconds of commercial breaks.

Some of my favorite moments:

David Cook and his new song – Permanent. Wow!

Watching one of the stars from iCarly, Jennette McCurdy, stop and sign autographs for the kids while walking to her seat.

I am also not star struck by any means but there were stars… All over the place. It was fun to guess who was who.

Blackeyed Eyed Peas – all I can say is… freaky!

Watching the top 13 sing together was great.

Watching them sing along with the stars, awesome. Each time during a commercial break the set crew would move a new band into place and Lynley would look at me and say, “Shut-up!”

“Shut up – it’s Lionel Richie”

“Shut up – Fergie.”

“Shut up - Queen Latifah, Keith Urban, Cyndi Lauper and Carlos Santana.”

"Shut up, shut up, shut up… Kiss. Shut up – Queen!"

We had a blast. A once in a life time experience to be sure.

And for me…. For you, for me….. The very best moment was when Kris pulled his wife into his arms and wept. This young couple held each other and although the camera cut away early, what we saw was a man and his young wife, who turned their heads away from the camera, cheek-to-cheek, and cried together for a long while.

I will be praying for them!

Top13 ai

What a blast. I will never forget it. Thank you my friend, Lynley. I can’t begin to repay this adventure. I can only be thankful. Be blessed, Lynn

L and l

PS. I will be posting my journey story next week and we will also continue our series then. Have a fantastic weekend.

Thankful Thursday - Nature

Do you ever walk out your door and are overwhelmed with creation? For me, spending time in nature draws me closer to God. In the summer months I take my Bible, a hot cup of coffee and my prayer journal and head out to the back yard. I talk with Jesus there. It is my favorite place to meet with Him.

I see the brilliance of the blue sky – I am undone! I look around my small back yard at the garden growing fruits and vegetables and I lift my hands toward heaven and give thanks.

I see the very face of God in His creation and my heart soars.

Our God is a God of great beauty, majesty, wonder and miracles. The earth shouts His glory and so do I.

Share some of your pictures of nature that inspire you to worship. I am looking forward to visiting you this week and I promise I will get around to everyone even if it takes me all week.

God bless you. You bring great honor to the Lord by sharing your thankful heart every Thankful Thursday.

Psalm 121:2 My help comes from the LORD, the Maker of heaven and earth.

I took these photos Tuesday morning. My tiny back yard will yield much when it's blessed by the Maker. God bless, Lynn

Garden spring 2009









Hibiscus spring 2009







Computer Tip: Maintain a high quality security program on your computer. Your security software should receive daily updates at a minimum. Also, my system scans my computer daily. My scan runs at noon when I leave my computer on and head off to lunch. My security program has caught several Trojan viruses and removes tracking programs that are placed on my machine as the result of searching the internet.

I am not sure what happened to Mr. Linky. I cannot access their main website. Please leave your link to your Thankful Thursday post in the comments. I will add it in when Mr. Linky is up and running again. Thanks. 

Our Journeys

Welcome to week four of our Open Forum. We've tackled some tough questions the last three weeks, and though difficult, we are honored to be a part of these discussions and to share in any way we can. This week delves a more into our personal journeys, which we are glad to share in the hopes they uplift and encourage. Lynn and I by no means have all the answers to living in a successful SUM, but we have no doubt that God has called us to share what we've learned thanks to our compassionate and merciful King.

This week's question is from Julianne:

1009935_question_con_3I would love to hear about the growth/changes in your family each of you have seen since your time of starting here. Even though it may not yet be where you hope, what differences have you experienced over time?

Lynn's Answer: Julianne, I appreciate your question. God has been so amazing and His love absolutely transforming that I have too much to say. In order to keep this post shorter, I will add my story on Friday. I pray it honors the Lord Jesus because without Him, I would not have a story to tell nor a wonderful marriage today. See you Friday.

Dineen's Answer: Wow, Julianne, what a great question, girl. I could write an entire book to answer this one, but let's see if I can keep it to a few paragraphs.

If I answer this question based upon the changes I've seen in my husband, I'd have to say nothing has changed. In some ways, our faith differences have become more difficult. But that could be due to all the prayers being said for him and the enemy trying to stop the inevitable. :-)

Yes, I do believe my husband's salvation is inevitable and maybe that's one area of change or growth for me. I've firmly believed in what was spoken to me regarding my husband's salvation for eight years. Though I thought the timing would have been a year ago based upon how I interpreted it, I still believe it will happen.

Since starting to write with Lynn here at SUM, my calling to this ministry has been affirmed over and over again. This in and of itself has made me stronger and firmer in my roll in my marriage and my family, because, ladies and gents, I certainly can't preach it if I ain't livin' it. Right? And Lynn will tell you the same, that our rolls here have opened us up to a lot of spiritual warfare. But we care way too much for those in unequally yoked marriages to do anything but persevere and fight back.

And clearly, we can't do this on our own strength. God has equipped us over and over again. There are times when Lynn and I have talked about reader comments, how to pray for individuals and each other, and will express how awestruck we are that God put us together here. Why us? Why not us?

Being here at SUM put purpose into my journey. And meaning and passion. The saying that you learn more when you teach is so true. In the processing of seeking God in his Word and sharing what I sense him teaching me, I learn. I grow. I prosper. I thrive!

But there are times when it's such a struggle that all I can do is hold on to God. And the past has prepared me for the now. The past struggles and difficulties strengthened me to go through the trial of my daughter's brain tumor. And that experience will strengthen me for whatever else comes down the road.

So in the last three years, I've come to learn to trust God on a much deeper level and to live as authentically as I can. My daughters' faiths have grown and have helped them to see the world honestly (sometimes too honestly), to have compassion, and to think through their choices, especially in their relationships.

And most importantly, we have loved. Through each trial, through each difficulty, I've learned to keep loving, to not give up and walk away. And I'm learning to live in the moment. To enjoy my family and cherish those special times that transcend the hardships and tears. God is teaching me a tenacious belief—the kind you do at all cost. As you can see the changes have been in me, because that's where it had to start and where it will continue if I'm to be God's tool of change in my marriage.
Praying and believing,

Are You Thriving?

To read last week’s post and pray for your marriage journey this summer, read Thriving Despite (click here).

Before we start to understand how we thrive in a spiritually unequal marriage or any marriage we need to ask a few questions first. Okay, one specific question. Why is marriage so hard? Why is it that when we marry, it isn’t happily ever after?

In the book, Thriving Despite a Difficult Marriage, the author’s describe a myriad of difficulties in a relationship. Communication, religious differences (yep, we know that one), sex, *needs in marriage, etc, but they go on to say something profound.

In the core of almost all couples they believe the difficulties in their marriages are caused by their spouse. Hmmmmm, what do you think about this?

The authors continue; If you focus on your spouse’s defects you will only become more self-righteous and miserable. OUCH! Is this statement directed at me, Lord?

I can tell you in my early years of marriage I was confused. I was disappointed and I experienced pain. And, I will not minimize that we experience pain. Pain comes with disappointment because we need to receive something from our spouse he/she cannot give. Pain because we desperately want to give something they are unable to give. So how can we move past this pain and the disappointment? What do we do with the thought that the decades loom ahead of us with little hope of change?

The author’s have penned the answer very simply: We must understand that unfulfilled desire results in disappointment. But with God’s grace, healthy desires can be embraced and the heart can be kept alive and thriving despite disappointment.

We are going to learn how to take our disappointment and desires and change them, re-craft them into a healthy future. I think this book exactly mirrors what the Lord, God, Himself, did for me over the years. He worked to tear down my unmet desires and replaced them with new, Godly, desires. He wiped away my disappointments and then lifted me to new adventures I couldn’t have dreamed up in my wildest dreams.

Do you want your wildest dreams about your marriage surpassed? Do you want to look at your spouse and actually know in your heart honest forgiveness, genuine and authentic love? It sounds impossible to many of you right now. Believe me, I’ve been there. But….. We serve the LORD, GOD, ALMIGHTY! He has brought you here because He wants you to live with joy in your heart. Love in your marriage and to thrive in this life. He wants you to get over your disappointment because He has a ton of work for you to do for the Kingdom! I promise He does and it is a blast to serve the God of the universe.

So next week, Freedom.

There is so much more about living with difficult spouses in this book. I highly recommend it to anyone struggling in marriage. Be Blessed, Lynn

062148: Thriving Despite a Difficult Marriage Thriving Despite a Difficult Marriage
By Michael Misja & Chuck Misja


*To learn about a man and a woman’s basic needs in marriage, please read this series of posts,His Needs, Her Needs (click here).

Weekend Devo — Love God and Love Your Spouse

This weekend's devo is from Purpose Driven Connection by Rick Warren. A great way to look at the two most important commandments...


"'Teacher,' he asked, 'Which is the greatest commandment in the Law?' Jesus answered, ''Love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your mind.' This is the greatest and the most important commandment. The second most important commandment is like it: 'Love your neighbor as you love yourself''" (Matthew 22:36-39 TEV).

Any successful marriage is built upon the biblical truth that God designed each of us with five purposes in mind: worship, fellowship, discipleship, ministry, and missions.

I suppose you'd expect a man who's been married over thirty years to a beautiful, intelligent woman to be able to share with you the intimate secrets to having a perfect marriage.

But I'm going to disappoint you! That's because Kay and I don't have a perfect marriage. She is without a doubt my best friend, and we have a wonderful relationship, but as far as a perfect marriage, well, there's no such thing.

What Kay and I do have is a marriage centered on Christ, specifically focused on glorifying God. We remain committed to each other because we remain committed to Christ and his work within us.

Jesus said the greatest commandment is to "love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your mind." Then he added, "The second most important commandment is like it: 'Love your [spouse] as you love yourself'" (Matthew 22:37,39 TEV).

In this sense, you worship God when you love and sacrifice for your spouse. That brings pleasure to God, and any time you give pleasure to God, you're worshiping him. Read through Romans 12 with a view of what its applications would mean to your marriage: "Love each other with genuine affection, and take delight in honoring each other" (Romans 12:10 NLT).

Dineen here: I love Rick Warren's authenticity in this article, but what I love most is how he shows so clearly that loving our spouse is a commandment. Not always an easy one to keep but always God-honoring. Have a blessed weekend!

Praying and believing,

Thankful Thursday - Wisdom

Proverbs 4:11 I guide you in the way of wisdom and lead you along straight paths.

Proverbs 11:2 When pride comes, then comes disgrace, but with humility comes wisdom.

On this Thankful Thursday I turn another year older. I am a year away from the BIG one.

As a young woman I thought I pretty much had life figured out. I didn’t agree with the statement; the older you get the wiser you become. Girls, did I ever have a lot to learn.

Today I realize that, in fact, much wisdom comes with age. Praise the Lord!

Today I am thankful for the wisdom of God’s word. I would be lost without it. Today I am thankful for the wisdom of God, His divine word for us and His brilliant plan for our redemption.

What wisdom has God given you recently about a situation or relationship? How has His wisdom changed your life? What is your favorite scripture about wisdom?

Have a blessed Thursday, Lynn

Proverbs 16:16 How much better to get wisdom than gold, to choose understanding rather than silver!

The Missing Link

Welcome to week three of our Open Forum. This week's question touches one of the hardest areas of a spiritually mismatched marriage.

This week's question is from Nicole:

1009935_question_con_3 "Yes you guys are great. What a much needed website! Would you guys share any feelings of guilt talking about your husbands or just with holding information. Because he is the source of much sadness for me and because he doesn't get it I feel like I can't share certain things when it relates to my faith. He lately has been teasing -"I didn't know I was marrying a nun." So I of course hold back experiences and events, but I feel almost like I'm hiding a part of me to him."

Lynn's Answer: Hi Nicole, I wish I could sit with you and give you a hug. I can tell you that your feelings and what you are experiencing is a common issue among those of us who are unequally yoked.

Withholding or choosing not to share your faith experiences with your spouse seems to go against everything we think marriage is all about. When we marry we expect to have one person with whom we feel safe to tell them our most intimate secrets. What we discover, however, is that our spouse doesn’t want to know what we are feeling with regard to faith.

I know that I would try to tell my husband about, for example, a fantastic message at church that changed my life. He would roll his eyes or make some comment – similar to the nun comment- which brought shame. It would hurt deeply to be excited about some change in my spiritual life only to have shared my feelings and then made to feel silly, weak or childish.

We deeply desire our spouse to respect us just as they want respect from us. It brings pain when they don’t respect our faith. With this said, you are not alone to want to hold back your experiences. This is okay to do but painful I realize. What we must recognize is we are experiencing faith, a spiritual experience.

~They simply don’t get it!

1 Corinthians 2:14 (NIV) The man without the Spirit does not accept the things that come from the Spirit of God, for they are foolishness to him, and he cannot understand them, because they are spiritually discerned.

I can attest to this. Over the years I have experienced some pretty amazing supernatural things. Once in a while, if the right moment arrives, I am able to share these incredible “moments” with my husband. He listens with full attention. He rarely has a comment about what I describe. I have asked him, “What do you do with all these things I tell you about?”

He will look at me and shake his head and say, “I don’t know.”

My husband literally doesn’t know how to process the spiritual realm. He is unable to understand because it is only God who reveals these things. God will reveal truth when His timing is perfect, not ours…. *bummer*

So cling to your experiences. Treasure your faith and all that happens to you just as Mary treasured all these things and pondered them in her heart. There will be a day when your husband is ready to really hear the truth. But for today when the sting of an insult lands upon you from the man you love. Arm yourself in the love of Christ. It is through the supernatural love of Jesus we are empowered to forgive and love and fight the good fight for our unbelieving spouse.

Never give up hope and never stop praying. Fix your eyes on Christ to help you through the pain. Christ never once, failed to meet me in my pain and wrap His comforting arms around me. What a relief!

Love you Nicole. Write us anytime. Thank you for sharing your heart. Lynn

Dineen's Answer: Nicole, you've hit upon the greatest source of our heartache in a SUM. I think we all have to deal with this. In fact, I wrote a post on this in 2007, To Know and Be Known, that is still one of our more popular posts. When I've looked at our stats, I'm amazed at how often this topic is searched on the web. Seeing the recurrent theme tells me this need is universal.

God created us for intimacy with him, and our relationships here on earth are a reflection of that. We naturally we desire this deep intimacy with our spouses on three levels: physically, emotionally, and spiritually. All three (kind of like the Trinity) are an integral part of marriage according to how God created it. When one part is lacking or missing, the relationship suffers.

In a SUM, the spiritual link is missing. Without this connection, we find it very difficult to share with our spouse who we are on this level. As you said it, Nicole, "because he just doesn't get it." You're exactly right. He doesn't have this ability, and for now, I'm sorry to say, that's the way it has to be until he takes the step to accept Christ. It's not that he doesn't want to understand. He just can't. (This could also account for his remark to you as a defense mechanism, because he's feeling insecure. Just a thought...)

In essence, we wind up "hiding" or withholding this aspect of ourselves out of protection and the reality that it's something we can't share effectively. That's why this blog is so vital and resources like it. And going to church or Bible study. We need to connect to other believers and share our faith experiences.

But most importantly, we need to turn this desire toward God. Be very careful, because this can make you vulnerable. When we don't find what we deeply need (or think we need) in our spouse, temptation can easily come in when we see what we want in another person, thing, or pursuit. Then we can cross the line into adultery or idolatry.

So, Nicole, you more than anyone, I wish I could give you a huge hug and tell you it's normal to feel this way. Unfortunate, but normal. This desire to share ourselves comes from a deeper desire to be known and accepted by our spouse. And just as you desire this, he does, too.

My advice is not to focus on this issue, but instead to find other ways to connect with your husband. Keeping a connection is important because you may be finding that the closer you walk with God, the wider the gap may become between you and your husband, because of this spiritual incongruity. And be sure to let your husband know that, even if he doesn't understand your faith, YOU love and accept him just as he is. This is spoken through your actions and will be your greatest testimony of Christ.

And more importantly, remember that God knows you better than anyone. He knows your needs, wants and desires because he created them. He is ultimately the one to fulfill them as well. When you feel that ache, run to Jesus, our ultimate groom. He's your best comfort during this time of spiritual loneliness.

Praying and believing,

Thriving Despite

Your hope is that God will give you the wisdom, courage, and strength to defeat the enemy’s attempts to corrupt your heart so you can remain alive and passionate. With a thriving heart you will be able to live vibrantly and allow God to offer a powerful love through you to whomever He puts in your path, especially your spouse. The result is that God will be honored and life will be immensely fulfilling.

The description above is an excerpt from the book, Thriving Despite a Difficult Marriage. To read the first part of this series of posts go here.

The goal of this book is not to offer another strategy to get your spouse’s attention or to find the way to successfully heal your marriage. But someone who commits to thriving despite will be in the best position to have a strong marriage. A thriving person is willing to accept who the spouse really is without an agenda to change the partner. Thriving people are prepared to accept that certain things may never happen in their marriage and to grieve the loss. By accepting and grieving the loss of things that will not happen or are not possible, a person becomes free to focus on what is possible in the marriage.

So as we work through this series, I feel a tugging on my heart to go down two roads. One road is what we do when our spouse is unable, unwilling to change –this is the thriving despite model. I know there are many of you living your days in a marriage where you have done everything possible to create a change in your spouse. You have read books, been to counseling, taken courses, and prayed the roof off of your home but you have come to the conclusion things will not change. There is hope for you.

I also believe that many of our spouses can change and are willing to change under the right motivations and circumstances. I believe we need to spend some time looking at our responsibility in the relationship with regard to maturity in both our spouse and ourselves. There is hope for you.

For a few weeks I am going to dedicate posts to the first scenario. So, like the book, I have a few questions for you.

  • What if you believed in God’s love for you so deeply that you were confident you could love strongly and wisely no matter what?
  • What if you committed to finding purpose and passion for life that didn’t depend on your spouse’s response or approval?
  • What if you had the capacity to accept your spouse as he or she is and have a lifestyle of forgiveness?

If you are reading this post today, God is preparing your for a journey.

This summer, 2009, He is at work to change something. It is likely that what He is desperately working to change is a heart. Could it be the heart of your spouse? Or is it your heart?

Right now, take five minutes and talk with Jesus. Tell Him about your heart, your pain, your disappointment. Ask Him today, to prepare you for this journey in the weeks ahead to see your spouse with His eyes. Ask the Lord to take away all the confusion about your pain. Ask Him the really difficult question, Lord, let me see the truth about my marriage. Let me see where I need to do better as well as my spouse. Ask Him to make this summer the year your entire marriage, your life, is changed for the better.

I believe in a powerful, life-changing God. I believe He can do fantastic work in the hearts of men and women. I believe He is standing at our front door waiting to come in and teach us to thrive in our spiritually unequal marriage.

Be Blessed and have a fantastic week, Lynn

062148: Thriving Despite a Difficult Marriage Thriving Despite a Difficult Marriage
By Michael Misja & Chuck Misja

Weekend Devo — Puppy Dog Tails

DoggytailI once read a story about an atheist scientist who gazed upon the shell-like elegance of his daughter's ear and was suddenly struck by the beauty of its design and function. In this moment he believed in God because he realized it could only be a manifestation of the Creator's hand. Something so small had a life-changing impact.

Well, I have to say, I had one of those moments the other night. Yes, a puppy dog's tail. We have a beautiful dog (and I say beautiful because she is a treasure inside and out) who is a mix of Lab, Aussie, and a little Pit Bull. From the day we adopted/rescued her, she has blessed us beyond belief. Every time I look at our Shasta, I see God's hand in how she came into our lives and how this sweet and loving animal has ministered to our daughter through the last year. I firmly believe Shasta was part of God's preparation for what Leslie faced through her brain surgeries, treatments, and recovery.

But what struck me the other night was this precious pooch's tail. God designed a dog's tail to wag. To wag! You know right away when a dog is happy to see you, happy to be with you, just happy period. It's a clear signal to us. I don't know about you, but this makes me smile, to see such a happy dog.

God did that. He made dogs to show us their pleasure so we can be pleased by it too. How can you not smile at that wagging, enthusiastic tail beating a circle of delight? Like that scientist, I found myself gazing on the profound hand of God's creation, so full of meaning and purpose.

Yes, a puppy dog's tail.

What moments have struck you like this? What speaks to you of God's love and care in his creation? What "puppy dog's tail" moment are you grateful for?

Praying and believing,

Thankful Thursday - A Mom

I have been working all week on a power point slide show for our church service this weekend. It is Mother’s Day. Next to Christmas and Easter, this is the third biggest weekend for outreach. More “men” come to church on that Sunday than most. They attend with their wives and with their Moms.

On Sunday morning we will celebrate Moms with hilarity as well as a few touching moments. All this focus, of course, has me thinking about my own Mother and about myself and how blessed I am to be a mom.

This Thursday let’s share with one another our hearts about our mothers.

Or, why we are thankful to be a mom and what God is teaching us.

Or, share about a Godly woman in your life who is or has been a Mom to you (Titus 2).

My mother is the foundation of my faith. She never stopped praying for me or believing in me even in my prodigal years. I am certain she wanted to kick my, ahem, bootie back then but she prayed instead.

I love you Mom with a deep and eternal love. I am looking forward to the centuries ahead as we explore heaven laughing, gardening, singing, and loving one another. ~ Lynn

I am looking forward to reading your posts this week. One final thing, during the month of May while I am host of Thankful Thursday, I want to offer you a small computer tip each week. I am married to the King of Computer Geeks *grin.* I say that in love because he knows it’s true and could care less. Kinda proud of that title. Makes him think he’s a lot like Bill Gates *double grin*

My man recommends you shut down your computer completely at least once a day instead of letting it continually run in sleep mode. I do this usually prior to going to bed. A hard shut down helps clear a lot of “junk” that can load onto your machine during use. It slows your system and response time.

Have a blessed Thursday. Hi Iris. Be Blessed, Lynn

To Be or Not to Be...Unequally Yoked

Hello there and welcome to this week's Open Forum question! Just a note to our readers and commenters...we're are working through your questions in the order that the Holy Spirit leads so please don't think we've overlooked anyone. More than anything our goal is to keep God in the driver seat here at SUM. And please feel free to leave any questions today for future posts. We're here to serve you!

This week's question is from Caroline:

1009935_question_con_3 "Thank you for your blog which has been of great insight and inspiration to me. Would you also give some thoughts or advice to someone who is/has been in a deep relationship with someone who is not really a believer, though not yet married to this person. Congratulations on the good work that the Lord has led you both to do. I am a newcomer to the blog and I have been blessed very much these past months from your sharing."

Lynn's Answer: From time-to-time I receive emails from young men and women who are engaged  or in a relationship with an nonbeliever. In fact, just last week an email arrived from - I will call her Jane. Her email was similar to Caroline's question. Jane has given me permission to share my reply.

Oh Jane, My dear sweet friend....

This is a very difficult question to answer. I can only share with you what I have experienced in my life.

For many, years I was unhappy and the loneliness seemed unbearable at times. When you are unequally yoked there is a deep need in you to share your Jesus with your husband. Mine didn't want to have anything to do with Jesus and often made me feel stupid or insecure about my faith. I shed a lot of tears.

With that said, we have now found a peace about my faith and my husband has closed the distance between him and Christ. However, he still remains uncommitted.

Where I think we struggle besides the loneliness is in raising kids. This seems to be a giant area for conflict in a mismatched marriage. With these things in mind, talk with God about your future with your fiancé. Then talk with your fiancé, ask him about how you will handle church - going or not going. How to handle raising the children to have faith... Then let the Lord direct you. If you are getting that weird feeling in your heart or stomach, please listen to it. Living unequally yoked is challenging but can be done and you can be happy. However, it often comes with a high cost. Sometimes it is worth the price and sometimes it is not.

O Lord our God, I hold up Jane before your throne with Jesus at our side. Lord, this is a critical time in this beautiful woman's life. She is desperately in love with you and with her fiancé. God, I know this place and it is hard to hear your voice. Please, Lord, make a clear path for Jane. Lead her to happiness and a long loving relationship with you and with her future spouse. Lord, I pray that if this is the man for Jane you would intervene and save this man for the Kingdom before their marriage. Lord, give Jane wisdom and courage to follow your will for her life. I know you have fantastic plans for Jane. Bigger than she can even dream up right now. Keep her in the very palm of your hand. In Jesus powerful and life-changing name, Amen

Jane, write me anytime. I hope my words here are not too painful but truly helpful to see your way clear to your future. God bless you.

Love and hugs, Lynn

Dineen's Answer: Great question, Caroline. And this is one of the hardest questions we get asked here at SUM. First, let's take a look at the Scriptural reference to the topic:

Do not be yoked together with unbelievers. For what do righteousness and wickedness have in common? Or what fellowship can light have with darkness? What harmony is there between Christ and Belial? What does a believer have in common with an unbeliever? What agreement is there between the temple of God and idols? For we are the temple of the living God. As God has said: "I will live with them and walk among them, and I will be their God, and they will be my people." — 2 Corinthians 6:14-16 (NIV)

Paul takes a very clear stance on this issue. And this applies to all areas—business partners, marriage...people we allow to influence our lives. And there's a good reason for this. Living out our faith in this fallen world is tough enough as it is. Adding an unbelieving influence in our lives creates turmoil and can even lead us away from our faith. God is not calling us to isolate ourselves from unbelievers, otherwise we'd never get to share his grace and mercy. This refers to a relationship where two people are "yoked" by a commitment or contract.

So my answer to you, Caroline, and how I wish I could speak to you in person on this, is to really encourage you to pray for God to show you if this is a relationship you should continue. I certainly would discourage you from moving into a marriage to an unbeliever without doing this first, and exploring the questions (and future issues) Lynn suggested above.

But let me tell you that even if he takes no issue with this aspect of your life now, he could later. I've been married to my husband for 21 years, 13 of them unequally yoked. It's harder NOW than ever. Think about your relationship with God, what your faith means to who and what you are. Consider this carefully. Now think about how you feel when you can't share the essence of who you are or are becoming.

This is the true heartache of a SUM. On a spiritual level there is no connection with that other person. You can't share the moments you see God working in your life, you can't ask the person nearest and dearest to you for godly wisdom, or even to pray for you. In this sense, you wind up alone in the marriage and the relationship. The burden of this need has to fall on Christ, which, to be honest, sometimes lacks flesh, if you know what I mean. You find there's a part of yourself, a very important part, that you just can't share because he doesn't understand and can't comprehend what they don't know. It's as simple as that. There's also a lot of spiritual warfare in this kind of marriage because you, the believer, are on the front lines to an unbeliever. The battle will even overlap onto your children.

This is what I've found to be true in my own marriage. Let me be clear though. I adore my husband. People look at him and how he lives and wonder how he can't be a Christian, but he's not. He's a firm atheist.

Will I love my husband for better or for worse? For richer or poorer? Or in sickeness or in health? You bet I will! I'm totally and completely devoted to this guy, and I praise God for putting us together despite the faith disconnect we experience now. God has used my marriage and my hubby to make me more Christ-like. I've had to walk that path in particular to not only survive but to THRIVE in my marriage. It can be done, but it takes a lot of work, a lot of heartache, and a whole lot of prayers. (Our two girls are firm believers and pray for their dad too.)

Most importantly, Caroline, be obedient to God. Lynn and I can't tell you what to do. We can only share our own experiences with you and what we've learned. And if anything, we've come to learn that first and foremost, obedience to God is the key. No matter what situation you're in.

I hope this helps. My prayer is that our words are received with the intentions behind them, to speak the truth in love. Not to judge or condemn in any way.

Praying and believing, Dineen

Marriage Monday Springtime Marriage

This Marriage Monday we are returning to Christine at Fruit In Season. Christine founded Marriage Monday years ago. I adore her and am thrilled she will be hosting for the next four months. Her topic, Seasons In Marriage, is wonderful. I often write about the season in which I find my marriage, but I feel the Lord calling me to write about springtime marriage. After all, its spring and many June weddings are around the corner.

The Noticer and a really great question.


Yes, I won a book, The Noticer, by Andy Andrews.

It arrived in the mail Friday. (Thank you Ashlie of Mommycosm) I can’t put it down. Currently I am reading a chapter where the Noticer is speaking to high school age kids about why so many marriages end in divorce. I find the dialog and the principal truthful.

The beginning of a marriage actually starts early, dating. The Noticer likens clues for compatibility to a leaf. Yep, a leaf. Every person drops clues – a leaf about themselves. You can lean a lot about a tree from its leaf. i.e. age, height, fruit bearing….

The Noticer goes on to explain to the kids that after the physical attraction wanes you must have something to share, commonality. Ask this question. How does he/she fit in with my friends and then family? This assumes you have chosen wise friends and there is a genuine trust between you. How does your fiance relate? Do they enjoy being part of the group?

If your fiance is consistently trying to separate you from your friends, that leaf needs much discernment and prayer.

I found The Noticer makes many wise observations. A happy Springtime Marriage begins when you are companionable.

Be Blessed, Lynn

Tomorrow, Dineen and I are responding to our Open Forum Questions. The question tomorrow: Would you also give some thoughts or advice to someone who is/has been in a deep relationship with someone who is not really a believer, though not yet married to this person.

I believe this question is excellent, heartfelt and honest.

I receive emails such as this from time-to-time. I have permission to share with you one of my recent replies. This question is absolutely relevant to springtime marriage and dating. Have a fantastic Monday. See you tomorrow.

229216: The Noticer: Sometimes, All a Person Needs Is a Little Perspective The Noticer: Sometimes, All a Person Needs Is a Little Perspective
By Andy Andrews

Weekend Devo — Love Never Fails

Bible "Love never fails." — 1 Corinthians 13:8

I grew up thinking love was the key to everything. I don't know why, but this was my mental make-up as a child, a teenager, and then a young adult. Yet as I grew older, I started to question if love was really enough.

Over time I noticed that love seemed to fail over and over again—failed marriages, broken families, shattered friendships. And even in my faith I questioned whether love alone was enough to save anyone or anything.

Too young to understand the difference as a child, I'd defined love according to our human capacity, philia, which translates to friendship or brotherly love (man's capacity). Only later did I learn about God's love, agape, which is selfless and self-sacrificing (God's capacity).

As I reflected on the childhood ways I'd left behind (as Paul says), I suddenly saw the connection which brought me full circle to the truth I'd embraced as a Christian.

My simple belief as a child was right. Love can accomplish anything, save anyone, heal everyone.

When it's God's.

Praying and believing,

A New Blog? - Another Year - A New Book

Welcome to my new Blog!

This website is dedicated to our Lord and to men and women who live every day in a spiritually mismatched marriage. It is my prayer that this forum will be the place where Christians can find support, encouragement, and practical resources to thrive in their unequal marriage.

I pray that when you visit this site you will be inspired and offer your own insights into God’s design for a healthy marriage in the midst of different viewpoints.

Wow, I wrote these words exactly three years ago today, May 1, 2006. I wonder, as you have visited over the years have you found these words to be true?

As Dineen and I head into the next year of writing, I pray these words all over again. I am deeply humbled that the Lord has allowed me to share the hope I have in Him and in my marriage.

Thank you for allowing me to be part of your life. More than that - thanks for being a part of my life. I am a better woman and wife because of your friendship.

With that said, I now want to turn to a subject we have yet to explore here at Spiritually Unequal Marriage.


I have written about change often. I have shared how Jesus has changed me and how my spouse has changed. However, there are many of us who in a weak moment allow a tiny thought to penetrate our mind…. What if….

What if he never has a change of heart? What if she never finds Christ? What if she never grows up? What if he never really “knows” the real me?

Tough stuff. For a certain number of marriages, these scenarios are reality. I want to visit these questions in the weeks ahead.

I am reading a great book right now, Thriving Despite A Difficult Marriage by Michael Misja, PhD and Chuck Misja, PhD. They are Christian counselors who practice in Akron, Ohio. In many regards what they have written is what I have been sharing here at SUM. You can thrive, you can have hope, and you can live a fulfilling life even in a challenging marriage.

I know that not all of you who visit SUM find yourself in a long marriage today with little hope for change so this topic may not apply. However, the principals in this book offer all of us hope to enjoy living while we are waiting. The book puts forth three models of a difficult marriage. Where do you see your marriage in these descriptions?

The “Happily Ever After” marriage is for personal fulfillment and pleasant circumstances. In the “Nobel Misery” model the hope is that God will provide enough strength to survive the mess. In the “Thriving Despite” model, the concept of hope looks like…..

….. This is the model we will look at. I plan to post about this kind of marriage in the weeks ahead. Stay tuned.

Have a wonderful weekend. Be Blessed, Lynn

062148: Thriving Despite a Difficult Marriage Thriving Despite a Difficult Marriage
By Michael Misja & Chuck Misja