I want to encourage all of our new friends who found our community here yesterday. And I want to love and encourage those who find us today.
Mostly I want to encourage our entire family who meets here every day to share life, love and our Savior. I adore you. Thank you for loving each other and our Jesus.
Today, the Family Talk broadcast will talk about raising children in a spiritually mismatched home. I’m absolutely passionate about this issue. Truly, when I was a young mom, I feared that my husband’s unbelief would influence my daughter, perhaps even affecting her eternity. But....
Our newest book that releases October 7, 2013 is all about this topic. And I promise you, God showed up while Dineen and I wrote it. Today, I want to offer you an excerpt from that book.
While I was writing the last chapter, I discovered a profound passage in scripture that applies to all of us. And to find out what that is, you need to buy the book. (yep, sorry a teaser). But as I finished the last chapter, I remember being out on my walk n pray and feeling frustrated. It was as if the story wasn’t yet finished. So finally out of frustration I asked God, “Lord, what do YOU want to say to all mothers.”
My friends, God was waiting for me to ask. And immediately He began to download to my mind……
It’s a letter that God has written to all moms. And today, I share His love letter with you.
It’s currently uploaded on our Ministry site. So click over there. Read it. Weep. I kid you not, I cry each time I read it. I really do. And I wrote it. Sheesh! Well I only put it to paper (so to speak). Anyhoo, click over when you have an uninterrupted minute and receive this word from our God who loves you.
I’m ordinary. I’m a mom, a wife, a weekend gardener and a
follower of Jesus. I’m a believer who is sold out for my Papa, Daddy and I
refuse to live lifeless Christianity any longer. I believe the Bible. Every
I love people and like flowers. I see God’s face in nature. Every…. single….. day…. I hear His voice and I live on the edge because God
likes surprises and He still training me. I refuse to live a comfortable faith
because that JUST NOT GOOD ENOUGH anymore. I am in His army and I’ve been
bloodied but I’ve also watch God move in the supernatural that leaves me
undone. ON THE FLOOR…. undone.
Children are God’s best gift in life. And I believe in
marriage and as a follower of Jesus I can THRIVE in my marriage, parenting and
live a life of joy and abundance--God’s abundance.
I am a woman who prays with real belief and passion asking for more
love to love my God and His people and to especially love the un-lovely in my sphere
I’m a bit zany, ask Dineen! And I have blonde moments. But, I KNOW my Lord and He knows me. I love fall leaves and
Fantasy Football, and also my whacky dog, Peanut. I can’t wait to get up in the
morning to see what adventures my Daddy has instore for me.
Life is full. It’s sometimes pain. It’s often puzzling and
yet absolutely astonishing because I spend it with Jesus.
I’ve seen feathers falling from the sky where they shouldn’t,
I find doves everywhere (My every day miracles), I’ve had gold dust
appear on my hands and I’ve been overwhelmed to the point of shaking under the
love and power of my God. I believe in the gifts of the Spirit and that His
Holy Presence is walking with me and sits upon my right shoulder. I’ve prayed
for healing for me and others and to my complete amazement, God answers my prayers.
I’m an ordinary woman who will settle for nothing less than
being a sold out Jesus follower for the rest of my life.
Join me and let’s do this journey together. Dineen and I
share our hearts, our homes and our love for our Papa here. It’s a safe place
where you can find refuge from the world. A place where judgment dies and
people are free. This place is where Jesus shows up on the web and changes us.
He really changes us and He is good. We are a family here and our passion is to love God with
all of our heart and to love people.
It’s one of the best places in the world, the heart of God.
And if you are new here, you are in for the ride of your life. Today may be the
day you too will join us and become a follower of Jesus and leave life-less
Christianity behind… Because we want the miracles. And God does not disappoint.
We love you so very much.
Lynn Donovan & Dineen Miller
Okay, in the comments, TELL ME, WHO ARE YOU?
Visit, Mismatched & Thriving for more information and resources for the Spiritually Mismatched. And a GREAT BIG WELCOME to all who found us through Dr. Jame's Dobson's Family Talk.
You'll find new resources to help you with your marriage, your parenting, and a community forum to hang out and talk to other SUMites. And in addition to our posts here at S.U.M., we will have a weekly blog at Mismatched & Thriving to share even more resources, information and insights on parenting, marriage, family and faith.
Another new and very special feature is Healing Prayer by Lynn. If you feel God is calling you to seek prayer for healing, go to this page for more details.
So go take a look, check out all the menus in the navigation bar and enjoy the content at your leisure. You know where to find us!
Honored to be on this journey with you, my friends! Dineen
(A big shout out to Jones House Creative for putting together this stunning site for us. Thank you, Matt and Emily!)
There are a lot of things happening in our SUMite Nation
over the next couple of weeks.
On Wednesday, we will be ready to launch our new Ministry
website. And we will be asking you to partner with us to welcome in the
newbies. We, the mismatched, who have been walking this road for some time, can
wrap our love and cyber arms around those who find our home in the next few days.
We can pray and encourage and let God’s people know that we have hope. We have
hope for the supernatural. We have hope for the salvation of our spouse. We
have hope knowing our children will be centered in the will of God. And we KNOW
that living in the Presence…. Changes EVERYTHING!
Watch for that announcement here on Wednesday.
On Thursday please tune in and find a radio station that
carries Dr. James Dobson’s Family Talk broadcasts. On Thursday AND Friday
Dineen and I will be guests with Dr. Dobson and his son, Ryan Dobson. We had an
absolutely divine and anointed time with these two men. And our broadcast discussions
are filled with some of our zany and God-sized personal stories about God’s
faithfulness, love, and how we live and thrive in our marriages. And what
turned out to be just fantastic is that Dr. Dobson was so excited about our new
book, we spent an hour talking about that. So, you will hear some stories we
share in the book. And I also remember Dineen discussing a sticky subject of a
We are humbled that God opened this door and especially for
me personally. I will share more about my story and Dr. Dobson on Thursday. It’s
gooooood!!! I promise.
Also start thinking about making a commitment to our week of
prayer and fasting that will begin the Tuesday following Labor Day. Tamara, one
of our long time SUM family members suggested we spend a week on focused prayer
for ourselves. This will be a time to dwell in God’s Presence and to search His
Word and pray for our personal relationship and strength for our marriage and parenting.
Dineen and I thought, What a good idea!
So, watch for posts to this purpose the first week of
September. And by the way, Rosh Hashanah is Thursday of that week. Plan to fast
on that day. I will be sharing some insight to how this Jewish High Holy Day is
something for us as modern day believers to consider. It’s cool!!!
If you could, would you share our button below on your
Facebook wall or on Pinterest. No pressure but you might very well help a
struggling wife or husband who is thinking they are all alone in this unequally
yoked journey. We want them to find hope, community, and love.
Have an amazing week walking in the Powerful Presence. I
love you, Lynn
My precious friends, I have held so many of you up in prayer these last two weeks. And I will tell you the enemy has been hard at work at my door too. Even to trying to cloud my mind and make it difficult for me to pray.
I want to share a verse that has been invaluable for me this week:
For the mind set on the flesh is death, but the mind set on the Spirit is life and peace. —Romans 8:6
I pray this Scripture over myself when I find I'm struggling with my thoughts in any way. Because our actions are the fruit of our thoughts and I want to bear great fruit for Abba!
So I pray something like this:
Holy Spirit, set my mind and thoughts, my emotions and my feelings all on You, so that I walk in the fullnes of the life You've designed for me and know Your peace. Remove any thought that is not in alignment with You, Jesus, and guard me from temptations.
The key to this, my friends, in not just to pray but to believe as well. I'm learning to truly look at my heart when I pray for something I know is in God's will for me and ask myself if I truly believe He will answer my prayer.
Lately I've found myself praying this too: Help my unbelief, Lord. Help me believe.
God is so faithful. He never lets go and never stops pursuing us. He knows what we need and often sends it even before we ask. Like an encouraging word from a friend, an Amazon gift card sent from another caring friend who "somehow knew" I needed something, and cup of hot cocoa homemade by my daughter who thought I needed a something "sweet" in my day.
Yep, those are some of the little things God showed up in my week to bolster this weary girl. I love You, Jesus. You are my best friend and comforter.
SUMites, we have some really great stuff coming next week so be sure to stop by. You don't want to miss any of it.
Love you and praying for you, my precious friends. So honored to be a part of this amazing journey with you! Dineen
If you are reading this on Friday, I'm on my way to participate in the end of the week Torrey Honors Tea and the weekend activities at my daughter's college.
I checked Caitie into her dorm on Monday.
It was weird to drive away as she stood at the door of her dorm building. Now I'm not a typically weepy person but I will tell you I was melancholy all of Tuesday. But, God quickly showed up and Wednesday I bounced back. So today I'm looking forward to catching up on all my daughter's adventures and to listen as she shares all that God has done in the past four days.
Caitie and her Roomie (have permission to share photo)
As I think about this time in my life, I have to pause and reflect on those moments when I didn't want to stay in this marriage. Divorce was a real possibility in the dark years of my spiritual mismatch.
But today I look at all the rocky years and struggles and realize that I'm so glad I stayed in this marriage. I look at this child, now young woman, and I KNOW clearly that SHE will bear the blessing of my sacrifice.
I have more to say about all this in a future post but for today, please praise God with me because we all sacrifice and He greatly honors a costly sacrifice for His name.
I love you so much my friends. Thank you for allowing me to share some of my life with you. BIG hugs from BIOLA, Lynn & Caitie.
Hello SUMites! One of our readers shared this precious picture with us. I love that she sent this because now I can show you a picture of almost exactly what I described seeing in my post on Monday. I look at this picture and wonder what this little girl is hearing from Jesus.
I can imagine He's telling her she is precious and loved and cherished, because that's what the Bible tells us. So beautiful.
Let's keep sharing ideas and stories of how we're teaching our children a Kingdom mentality. I wish I had understood this better when my girls were little—I wish I'd understood it better as a child myself!
But now I'm getting it and I'm giving it away to my girls now and look forward to being the person in this picture one day, holding my grandchild and watching them worship God with me. I'm putting that out there right now as my dream.
Thank You, Abba! Thank you that we can commit our hearts and dreams for our children to Your loving care. Thank You that You hold our children even closer than we can imagine or hope for. Thank You for choosing us to be their mothers and fathers. And thank You, Lord Jesus, that You watch over our children and have designed them with such great care to be a vital part of Your kingdom, on earth and in heaven. And we ask that Your will be done in their lives here on earth exactly as it is in heaven. Let their destinies in You be released and let nothing stop them as they walk in that truth. In Your name, King Jesus, amen!
My friends, today I want to talk about something that I see as an issue and concerns me for our children and grandchildren. With school starting I think this is an important topic to address now.
When my family and I first moved back from Europe and settled into San Jose, my hopes and dreams for my daughters were that they would make new friends quickly at their new schools. A reasonable hope for any mom or dad, right?
The first few weeks went great until it came time to having friends over. My youngest daughter kept telling me her friends weren’t allowed to come over. I admit, at first I took it personal, wondering if we’d been deemed “unacceptable company” for some bizarre and unknown reason, but as we settled more and more into life in Silicon Valley I began to see it was something far different.
Even at my youngest daughter’s level of third grade, many of her classmates went from school to homework as well as many other “scheduled activities” during the day, like music, language and even additional tutoring. These weren’t students who were struggling academically either. None had time to schedule a play date during the week and many weren’t even allowed to do so on weekends. They had to keep to their work and studies.
This phenomenon is growing epidemic here in Silicon Valley and I believe affects much of society today. It’s all part of the “get ahead” mentality. Unfortunately, these kids are growing up knowing all work and no play. They have no concept of what it means to relax, play and rest. And they’re growing up to be adults who can’t relax, enjoy life and understand rest.
And here’s a thought that just came to mind. What if the growing rate of bullying has something to do with children being stressed out, maxed to the gills with activities that they have no time to just be a kid and have time to distress, just like we need to as adults.
Otherwise we forget how to relax and rest our mind. And when we forget how to do that, we have a hard time hearing God. I’m not saying these activities are bad for our children. What I’m saying is, we need to leave some room for them to rest, to be in God’s creation, to be still and know God. And the younger they grasp this, the better they will be at making their
own choices as teenagers and adults.
Just recently I’ve been asking God about children and worship. How do we teach our children how to worship God? I attended a special worship service the other night that was so full of the Holy Spirit that you could feel His presence in the room. I looked around for the children there, because I wanted to see what they did. I saw one grandmother holding a toddler. As this older woman raised her free hand and sang her worship, the little girl watched her, turned her head to the front of the room and tentatively raised her arm too.
And there was my answer. We model worship. We model what it means to pursue God. We model what it means to walk in the Holy Spirit.
Our children need this time to understand and learn how to listen for God’s quiet voice. They need to know that God is responsive to those who seek Him with an open heart and they need to hear and see examples of how God answers those. Our children need time to be still and know God.
In this day and age our children seem required to do more in order to keep up with the world as they get older, but lets not do that at the expense of their spirituality. More than anything they need in this world, they need to understand the value of eternity and kingdom living, that these are the better pursuit that will ultimately provide in this life as well.
Even though my girls are grown, I want to model a worshiping lifestyle for them. And I look forward to one day holding my own grandchild in church and showing her (or him) what worship looks like, what standing before God with expectation looks like, and showing her how God is in every detail if we just look for Him. I want them to learn as a child what I didn’t learn until I was an adult.
As mothers and fathers we are legacy builders. We want our children to launch into this world with a strong faith and a hunger for God that will continue to grow. I know a lot of this we have to discover as we go, but I’d love to see my daughters and grandchildren learn some of this a lot sooner than I did. As I heard one speaker say recently, imagine how much ground we could cover if each generation didn’t have to start from the beginning.
My friends, I am hungry to hear your thoughts on this. Share examples of how you handle this with your children, how you teach them about prayer and how to listen and look for God’s answers. Our comments will help each other learn new ideas and see potential ideas we hadn’t even considered.
And most of all, remember that God is so faithful. We won’t be perfect mothers, but Jesus is the Perfect Friend and Savior to our children. He takes what we offer and multiplies it to be more than enough. Every prayer you pray for your children is part of the legacy you are building and part of their future. The prayers of the righteous (a.k.a. moms and dads saved by Jesus!) are powerful and effective! (James 5:16)
My friends, I just can't say enough about how beautiful this community is. You have ministered to each in the comments and several of you are even planning to fast together on Monday (check out the last 10 comments on part three of my Nehemiah posts if you'd like to join the fast as well.)
I want to share a really cool insight I heard from a pastor last week. First take a look at these Scriptures:
"The glory which You have given Me I have given to them, that they may be one, just as We are one; I in them and You in Me, that they may be perfected in unity, so that the world may know that You sent Me, and loved them, even as You have loved Me." — John 17:22-23
And He has said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for power is perfected in weakness.” Most gladly, therefore, I will rather boast about my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ may dwell in me." — 2 Cor. 12:9
In both of these Scriptures, the Greek words used for "perfected" come from the same root word, which means to finish, to complete, fulfillment, goal and outcome. The point this pastor brought out was that it has nothing to do with us being perfect—without flow. It is about Jesus working in us to accomplish, complete and finish all that He desires to do in and through us.
In my heart and mind, that gives me a better understanding of that second verse too. In our weakness, God's power completes, accomplishes and finishes whatever challenge we are facing. How cool is that? God thinks of everything, doesn't He?
SUMites, have an amazing moment with Jesus as you savor these truths and praise Him for praying so long ago (in our timeline) that we would be perfected in unity too. Because that is exactly what He's doing right here in this community.
Lord Jesus, we give You all the glory and praise, because You are worthy and deserve it all. We stand in awe of Your great plan and we adore You! In Your holy name, amen!
Have an amazing weekend, my precious friends. Love you! Dineen
6 So when the apostles were with Jesus, they kept asking
him, “Lord, has the time come for you to free Israel and restore our kingdom?”
7 He replied, “The Father alone has the authority to set
those dates and times, and they are not for you to know. 8 But you will receive
power when the Holy Spirit comes upon you. And you will be my witnesses,
telling people about me everywhere—in Jerusalem, throughout Judea, in Samaria,
and to the ends of the earth.”
A few months ago I was visiting a church on a Sunday
morning. It was a lovely church filled with the Holy Spirit and with people who
love Jesus. On this particular Sunday the church had a guest pastor whose message
wasn’t supposed to be about the end of the world but it meandered that way. The
pastor was animated. He would jump up and down (I like animated speakers) he
was motivated and passionate. His message included questions to the audience
such as, “Do you realize that we are in the very last days? Are you ready for
Christ to return today, tomorrow? Have you shared Jesus with everyone? Are you
prepared to face the suffering?”
The teaching moved along and as I sat in the second row, I
glanced around at the congregation and I could “feel” the anxiety of the
audience rise. The more he spoke, the more the parishioners became freaked
out. By the time the message was over, I wanted to run for the nearest fallout
shelter, hunker down and wait it out. SHEESH!
Okay, perhaps I wasn’t that amped up but I literally felt
sorrow for how this pastor, and he was well meaning and I believe a good man
with a heart for God, but I felt regret about what had just happened to the
body of believers.
So, I’m going to share my perspective. I’m hoping that by
doing so, it will alleviate unnecessary anxiety that believers place on
themselves over the Apocalypse and Christ’s return. And I pray with a fervent
heart that my words release a fresh anointing of freedom into your heart, mind
Let me state clearly here that Jesus said in Matthew 24:36
“However, no one knows the day or hour when these things will happen, not even
the angels in heaven or the Son himself. Only the Father knows.
So NO ONE knows when. Period. The End. And I think that most
of us have heard that every generation since the time of Jesus’ ascension, has fully
believed they were the living generation in which Christ would return to earth.
Why would we believe differently? Just look at how many prophetic realities
have occurred in the past 50 years. But that’s just it. There are many more that
wait to be fulfilled.
So I propose to you to consider and pray and ask God about a
few things. Dineen and I have written about this Great Harvest in recent
months. And so many others Christian leaders are also convinced we are sitting
on the edge of the greatest harvest of souls in human history. In fact, when I
talk to God about this, I hear over and over, 1 Billion Souls. 1 Billion Souls.
1 Billion Souls.
God is preparing the harvesters to bring into the Kingdom
ONE BILLION NEW SOULS. And if that is where God’s Kingdom is focused and going,
why in the world would Christ return before it happens?
Also, what I see happening when a message of urgency to the
point of anxiety is preached about the end times it that it turns believers to
be inward focused. We worry and dwell on things like survival supplies, and our
unsaved family members and fret about what will happened and how it will happen
and then guess what? Fear takes over and squelches the Holy Spirit. The Spirit
does not dwell in fear. The Spirit wants our hearts and thoughts to be
outwardly focused so we are thinking about how to love others and share with
them the hope we have in Christ.
So as I sat in that auditorium I just prayed, “Lord, if the
end of days is tomorrow. I’m ready. But I’m in tune with your will and purposes
and I know there are one billion souls to reach. So, Father I release all fears
I have over the end times and I trust that when that day arrives, I will go to
be with you. Period. The End.
For now Lord, I want to be people focused, outwardly focused.
I contain the best news in the universe, that You love people and want them to
live in joy and freedom. Lord, make that my focus every single day and I know
you will take care of every detail. Don’t let me get caught up in the frenzy of
End Times but let me love people with Your love. We have much work ahead and
Daddy, I’m up for it. Thank you for allowing me to be a vessel of love and hope
too many. In King Jesus name. Amen.
SUMites, welcome to part three and the conclusion to this series. Again, I am so blown away by what God is speaking to us and by you, this amazing community! You have prayed for each other and given such precious words of encouragement to those in need. That is what the SUMite Nation is about and after all this rebuilding I do believe that is what we are in a way, an online nation. We are completely and totally God’s people here.
If you didn’t read parts ONE and TWO, please take a moment and read those first. That way you get the full picture. I can’t wait to see and hear about what God shows you, my dear friends. Please leave comments and reports, prayer requests and testimonies! Testimonies are faith builders. Even if you think it’s something small that you see God has done in you, your life, or your marriage as a result of these prayers, please share it. They are all gems to behold and share to glorify God. Now on the part three.
“Therefore You delivered them into the hand of their oppressors who oppressed them,
But when they cried to You in the time of their distress,
You heard from heaven, and according to Your great compassion
You gave them deliverers who delivered them from the hand of their oppressors. — Nehemiah 9:27
(Let me make a special note here that the Hebrew word for compassion here originates from the same word for "womb." Then Nehemiah speaks of deliverers, which has the meaning of salvation and victory. God's delivery is likened to new birth! And that is what I am sensing is coming, a time of new birth and rebirth for so many.)
Oh Lord, we are humbled and overjoyed at Your good intentions and love for us! We love You so much! Your great compassion releases the power of Your hand and brings miracles, signs and wonders. Thank you, Lord Jesus! You paved the way for all of this with Your great compassion. Your death and resurrection brought the greatest miracle of all—SALVATION—and it continues beyond the cross, beyond us and to eternity! It is constant and finished!
Then the two choirs took their stand in the house of God. So did I and half of the officials with me; — Nehemiah 12:40
and on that day they offered great sacrifices and rejoiced because God had given them great joy, even the women and children rejoiced, so that the joy of Jerusalem was heard from afar. — Nehemiah 12:43
Oh Lord, such promises are ahead for us! Thank you, Lord! Thank you! Lord, forgive our unbelief and help us BELIEVE! Then let our joy be heard from afar as we rejoice in how You have brought us and our families to victory! Holy Spirit, help us to sing songs of praises to our King. Fill our children with Your joy and help us show them how to worship You, Abba! Let our voices and praises be a sweet aroma to King Jesus and what He has done for us!
What a glorious day and time to come, my friends! Ask, pray, and believe! God's favor and heart are for us. Now I want to pray for each of you:
Abba, I pray for a fresh anointing over every SUMite. I pray that You will release new gifts, new provision, new strength and prosperity over every single one of them. Lord, reveal and destroy every lie that keeps them from believing how much You love them and that You have given them every good gift.
Destroy the lies that tell them they aren't worthy to serve You and replace it with the truth that they are Your precious sons and daughters who You have called specifically to You for such a time as this.
Destroy the lie that tells them their situation is hopeless and won't ever change and replace it with great hope and expectation in Jesus that is sprung from the very heart and purpose and miracle of His life, death and resurrection, because the power that did this now resides in us through Your Holy Spirit. And it is COMPLETE!
Holy Spirit, give each of my dear sisters and brothers in Christ clear discernment and recognition of Your voice. In the name of Jesus Christ, I break off anything over them that would block or hinder them from hearing Your voice. In the name of Jesus, I break the chains of addiction, of distraction, of deception and of fear. Chains are falling off and crumbling to the ground—we declare this in Your mighty and powerful name, King Jesus!
King Jesus, in Your name I pray against any and all plans the enemy has set up against each of them and this SUMite nation. Guard over us with Your warring angels. Surround us as we build and rebuild our lives, our marriages, and our families with our prayers, our faith and our love. I speak new levels of faith and strength and belief into every single one of us! We are Yours and You are ours!
Oh Abba, thank You, thank You, thank You. You are so good, so faithful, so full of love and compassion. We praise You now for all You are doing in our lives. We wait expectantly for You. In Jesus' mighty and holy name, amen!
My precious sisters and brothers in Jesus, I love you with the passion of Christ and consider it one of the greatest privileges and honors of my life to be on this journey with you. If there is something that you are specifically struggling with—to believe in, to let go of, to step out in faith—leave a comment. Let's continue to rally around each other and pray in our strength and power as a community who loves and worships God. If you are uncomfortable sharing on this forum, send an email to me directly at email@example.com.
And remember this: Each step of obedience brings an increase of faith. Our God's favor is upon us and He is fighting for us! Believe it!
My friends, I believe the angels are riding on the waves of our prayers this week! What a glorious sight to behold—one day we'll get to see what that looks like.
The comments and prayers you all are leaving on the Nehemiah posts are so full of God's love and care. I love this community so much. You are rallying around each other and doing exactly what God is asking us. I love that, and I know it pleases God greatly. Be sure to read the conclusion on Monday.
SUMites, God is not only with us, He is for us too! As you worship and soak in God's amazing presence and love, be sure to pour out your love on Him too. We are ministering to God when we do that and He loves it!
Hugging you all so very tight with my love and prayers! Dineen
My friends, thank you for taking this journey with me through the book of Nehemiah and praying through these valuable Scriptures that God wants us to see and understand. I wish I could completely explain what I sense from God's heart for us, the SUMites. The way this community has grown and come together is no accident. God has been intentionally moving here to bring us forward in His plan for the Great Harvest.
I want to clarify about the walls in this series, because a couple people have asked for clarification and that's important. I so appreciate their willingness to ask as it helps me see if I've not explained something as well as I'd hoped. There so much going on and around us, I can barely keep up let alone get it down to words!
In the book of Nehemiah, the walls were for protection, to bring unity and restore the purpose and place of the Israelites as God's people. The walls were to establish boundaries and for protection. Good walls! God wants us to be ready and strong, my friends. Lynn and I have both written in recent weeks how we have sense that God is going to use us in crucial ways to bring many to Christ. As the SUMites we have a unique skill set and God is going to use it, but we have to be ready first. We have to repair, rebuild and "shore up" those broken and weak places in our faith, our beliefs and our marriages.
I kind of think of it as something like this. The enemy has hit us hard, especially recently. There are cracks and breaks in our faith walls and our armor. We can't just toss a prayer here and there and hope it fills the gaps as if we were just tossing handfuls of cement at a broken wall, hoping they would land where they needed to and create a new structure.
God wants us to be intentional as we stand strong and firm, and rebuild and repair. Then we are strong in Him and protected as He calls us to where He wants us to serve. It's hard to serve Him confidently when we are vulnerable to the enemies attacks, and one way I have found that enemy works is to bring such chaos into our lives that we even our prayer lives begin to feel chaotic and ineffective. THAT is what we are re-establishing!
So let's continue shoring up our walls, SUMites! If you haven't read part one yet, scroll down and then come back and read part two.
then I stationed men in the lowest parts of the space behind the wall, the exposed places, and I stationed the people in families with their swords, spears and bows. — Nehemiah 4:13
When our enemies heard that it was known to us, and that God had frustrated their plan, then all of us returned to the wall, each one to his work. From that day on, half of my servants carried on the work while half of them held the spears, the shields, the bows and the breastplates; and the captains were behind the whole house of Judah. Nehemiah 4:15-16
Lord, thank you for frustrating the plans of the enemy. Show us the exposed places in our marriages, in our lives and in our hearts. Holy Spirit, help us don our armor—belt of truth, breastplate of righteousness, sword of the spirit, helmet of salvation, and establish our feet in the Truth. Lord, we will stand firm in You. Restore and establish the territory of our marriages and family. And we boldly ask for the new territories you have waiting for us.
At whatever place you hear the sound of the trumpet, rally to us there. Our God will fight for us.” — Nehemiah 4:20
For all of them were trying to frighten us, thinking, “ They will become discouraged with the work and it will not be done.” But now, O God, strengthen my hands. — Nehemiah 6:9
Abba, thank You that the enemy's attempts to make us fearful and discouraged will fail. Strengthen our hands, our hearts and our spirits for the work to be done. Thank You for fighting for us! We claim every victory now and praise You for each and every one.
Then he said to them, “Go, eat of the fat, drink of the sweet, and send portions to him who has nothing prepared; for this day is holy to our Lord. Do not be grieved, for the joy of the Lord is your strength.” — Nehemiah 8:10
Great joy, great strength! Pour out Your Spirit over us for this is the time of the Lord's victory. King Jesus, You are our joy! Such powerful and amazing joy! All praise and glory go to You!
The entire assembly of those who had returned from the captivity made booths and lived in them. The sons of Israel had indeed not done so from the days of Joshua the son of Nun to that day. And there was great rejoicing. — Nehemiah 8:17
Abba, we declare and claim our time of rejoicing, because You are good and faithful. All that You have promised and said You will do, we believe, Lord, we believe! Your are good, faithful and true to all Your promises.
While they stood in their place, they read from the book of the law of the Lord their God for a fourth of the day; and for another fourth they confessed and worshiped the Lord their God. — Nehemiah 9:3
Then the Levites, Jeshua, Kadmiel, Bani, Hashabneiah, Sherebiah, Hodiah, Shebaniah and Pethahiah, said, “Arise, bless the Lord your God forever and ever! O may Your glorious name be blessed and exalted above all blessing and praise! — Nehemiah 9:5
Your name be praised, Lord! Forever and ever. For You are holy and glorious and worthy of all our praise and blessings. We bless You, Lord! This is our great honor and blessing—to love and worship You!
“You provided bread from heaven for them for their hunger,
You brought forth water from a rock for them for their thirst,
And You told them to enter in order to possess
The land which You swore to give them." — Nehemiah 9:15
Lord, You are faithful and You keep Your promises. Thank You for Your provision for us, thank You for taking care of us. You see our needs, every one of them. You are righteous and so faithful. We are overwhelmed by Your passion for us! Overwhelming passion, a holy and righteous anger for us, Your children. We are not forgotten! You see us, everyone of us! We step forward in trust and faith into the places You have promised us. Abba, continue to grow a hunger in us for You. Help us to understand where You are asking us to go and help us to be faithful and obedient.
My friends, I hope you are seeing the promises here. Yes, we are in a battle but God is fighting for us! He is giving us such joy for strength. He intends for us to rejoice in our victory because He has ordained that we will succeed wherever He is calling us. And we will be fully equipped as we intentionally do our part to pray and stand firm.
I will stop here and finish this on Monday (be sure to come back tomorrow for weekend worship though!). Oh my friends, God’s mercies are new each morning and His promises are forever and for us!
Lord, we claim every promise You are giving us! Thank you for your great faithfulness. We love you!
I love you all so much, my dear friends! So very, very much! And I am praying and rooting for you! Let's share our prayers and hearts in the comments. Dineen
A couple weeks ago I kept hearing "shore up the walls." The Holy Spirit led me to read the book of Nehemiah. As I read, specific pieces of Scripture jumped out at me. I began to make a list, praying also to understand what God was showing me. This process has taken nearly two weeks as I prayed for understanding, clarity and timing.
My friends, I pray this blesses and encourages you to keep praying and BELIEVE that God is acting upon your prayers. Know that He is, because one of His promises is that whatever we ask in His will, we will receive.
This is the confidence which we have before Him, that, if we ask anything according to His will, He hears us. And if we know that He hears us in whatever we ask, we know that we have the requests which we have asked from Him. — 1 John 5:14-15
This wound up being a long "letter" of Scripture and prayers so I will break it into three parts. And don't hesitate to pray in the comments, no matter how many you may see or even if you see the same thing mentioned. All of our voices matter. God is moving on our behalf!
As I prayed over the Scriptures, this is what the Holy Spirit told me: God sees the crumbling walls of our marriages. The enemy squats at the broken gates taking glee at his destruction. But the hand of The Lord God Almighty is upon us. His anger is great against the enemy for he has attacked that which is dear to the King's heart.
God is calling us to shore up the walls of our marriages and our lives. New territory awaits us, but first we must rebuild and restore the walls and gates as they did in Nehemiah. This is part of God's preparation that I've spoken of in the past. (Click here for that post.) We are being strengthened for what's coming next. And my friends, it is going to be glorious and beyond our expectations. For some it will be the salvation of loved ones, for others new anointings and clear callings to serve God in new ways. Take note of any new desires or passions you find yourself thinking and dreaming about. He is placing these in our hearts as indicators of where He wants to take us.
The following are pieces of Nehemiah that I felt the Holy Spirit telling me to highlight. In between are prayers. Let's pray these together, my friends, and pray even beyond the words here. Let the Holy Spirit guide you and release His words into you. As you walk through these Scriptures and prayers take note of any area that rings true. I firmly believe the Spirit will guide you to see those specific areas that need prayers for restoration. You may even feel led to fast for those places too. Any place where things like resentment, unforgiveness, unbelief, or sin have been allowed to grow are open places in our walls of faith that the enemy is able to enter.
Your prayers may simply be to pray for protection over your marriage more regularly or to take a step of faith that God is showing you. Ask God for these insights. I have every confidence that He will show you specific places to pray about. Get a journal and write down whatever impressions and promises you receive, because you will want to go back and reread them in the future.
Then the king said to me, “What would you request?” So I prayed to the God of heaven. — Nehemiah 2:4
(Now is the time to ask God for the deepest desires of your heart.)
Lord, we petition You for our marriages and our unbelievers. Bring restoration to our marriages and belief to those who don't believe. Shore up the walls of our marriages with Your great compassion and our prayers. Abba, we ask that You not give the enemy access to our marriages and our families as we rebuild. Hear the desires of our heart and bring them into full clarity and alignment with Your perfect and good plans for us. Release in us new gifts, new provisions, more revelations and more wisdom!
and a letter to Asaph the keeper of the king’s forest, that he may give me timber to make beams for the gates of the fortress which is by the temple, for the wall of the city and for the house to which I will go.” And the king granted them to me because the good hand of my God was on me. — Nehemiah 2:8
Abba, thank You for Your favor. We ask humbly for more that we would walk in this great favor and new anointing in our marriages and our lives. We pray that the evidence of Your favor would be so great that our families will be able to see it and that everywhere we go, even strangers will look at us and see Your presence upon us.
Next to him Shallum the son of Hallohesh, the official of half the district of Jerusalem, made repairs, he and his daughters. — Nehemiah 3:12
Lord Jesus, bring purpose and faith even to our children and show them how they are part of the rebuilding. We pray for our adult children as well, that the walls of their marriages be restored and strengthened. Bring unity to our families and let them be cities on hills to proclaim Your presence and restoration to this nation. Let a legacy of faith begin to grow as part of your Great Harvest so that the next generation and the next will already walk in great faith and go beyond what You've called us to do.
My friends, I will stop here. Be sure to come back Friday for Part 2 and Monday for Part 3 on. I spent this past Monday praying and fasting for many of you specifically and for this community. During this time the Holy Spirit told me breakthroughs are coming! This is our time to ask God for the things we've been praying for. Be bold! Ask! Be specific! And believe. If you need prayers for your request, leave a comment. Like the Israelites, we are a community working to help each other shore up our walls. We are the SUMites! Let's pray for each other and shore up our walls!
I took a stroll down memory lane today and found an old post from our archives. It filled my heart to read it because I can recall this time in my daughter's life. It was the first day of high school for her. She faced a scary time in her life and it caused her to question God. It was also a time for her to discover God's faithfulness. And a statement of God's faithfulness to me as well.
As I re-read the post, it seemed timely to re-post it today. For two reasons. Firstly, most of us mother's know that in the next few weeks our children will be going back to school. Back to school time is a wonderful time of the year and a scary time of the year. It's also a time to create great habits and open opportunities to share our faith with our kids. Secondly, I want to share this post and honor our God because in two weeks from today, I will deliver my daughter to college for the first time. And I see fully now how God walked with that child through her high school days.
As I pondered through the old post below, I joyfully consider the wonderful, life-long, friendships God sent to my daughter. Many of you even prayed for my daughter's best friend, Gina, last year.
God is faithful.
God hears the heartfelt prayers of a mother or father who loves Him.
God is honored as I re-post, Growing Up, circa 2009.
Well for many of us it is back to school week. May I just say one thing:
It’s the most wonderful time of the year! Do you remember that office supply commercial? It makes me grin.
On Monday my daughter, my baby girl, started High School. I can’t begin to tell you who felt more stressed - her or me. Sheesh!
Two weeks prior, my daughter held my hand and said, “Mom, please pray that I have some friends, girls I know, in some of my classes.”
“Sweetie, I will but you need to pray also.”
“I have been Mom.”
A week flew by and my daughter picked up her schedule a few days before school resumed, no friends. Not a single person she knew was in any of her classes.
As she told me about her scary future without friends, I knew what she was thinking. Is God real? Does he really hear me when I pray? Why didn’t he listen to me and give me at least one friend?
I let the moment pass. I didn’t have words. However, the next morning, I sat with the Lord in the garden and I asked Him about these very thoughts. “Lord, she is going to think you don’t hear, or answer prayer. She is a kid trying to have faith. But at this very stressful time in her life she needed to hear from you.”
During this prayer time, I felt the Lord speaking to me, “Trust me. I have this worked out. I have appointed new friends for her. They will meet in due time. Trust me on this.”
Well this answer was great for me but how would I explain this to my baby girl? Wouldn’t you know it, later that day, my daughter, and I were standing in the kitchen and SHE initiated the conversation and voiced her disappointment with God. “Mom, why didn’t He hear me?”
This is where I tell you I am so thankful for prayer and for a God who knows what He is doing.
The moment presented itself for me to share with her the very words God spoke about her friendships. I said, “Trust God in this Caitie. He has friends waiting for you. I know you think he let you down but I am telling you, God has this covered.”
Well indeed on her very first day after school, she arrived at the car, hot and tired but with happiness in her heart. It was a good day. She met several new friends right away. (Not the usual pattern for this child)
Now I am not one to say to someone, I told you so. However, I smiled and in a kind voice I said, “See, I told you, the Lord had this all worked out.”
So when they had finished breakfast, Jesus said to Simon Peter, “Simon, son of John, do you love Me more than these?” He said to Him, “Yes, Lord; You know that I love You.” He said to him, “Tend My lambs.” He said to him again a second time, “Simon, son of John, do you love Me?” He said to Him, “Yes, Lord; You know that I love You.” He said to him, “ Shepherd My sheep.” He said to him the third time, “Simon, son of John, do you love Me?” Peter was grieved because He said to him the third time, “Do you love Me?” And he said to Him, “Lord, You know all things; You know that I love You.” Jesus said to him, “Tend My sheep." — John 21:15-17
I know I talked about this passage a while back, maybe even a couple years ago, but the depth of this interchange has deepened even more for me recently. Just to review, the first two times that Jesus asks Peter if he loves Him, Jesus uses the Greek form agapao, which is a sacrificial love. And each time Peter replies with the Greek form, phileo, which is a brotherly love. The third and final time that Jesus asks this question, He switches to phileo, and again Peter replies with the same form.
I believe Jesus was asking Peter if he was ready to be sold out for Him, to love Jesus before anything else and to step fully into a life of faith and belief, to tend lambs and shepherd sheep. Jesus was speaking of people, of course. He was asking Peter to live his life sharing Jesus and helping others to know who the Great Shepherd really was.
Yet we see Peter hold back. I can only imagine how fear held him. How he may have judged himself a failure and untrustworthy based upon how he denied knowing Jesus three times, as Jesus had predicted.
What I also love about this passage is Jesus' patience and love for Peter. I believe Jesus switched to Peter's use of phileo to meet Peter right where he was. As if to say, "Okay, if that's what you feel you are capable of, let's start right there."
Such grace, such acceptance, such love.
I love Peter's story because it's my own. For a long time my own fear and feelings of insignificance kept me from saying a full yes to living my life for Jesus. I would get close but ultimately I clung to the last tendrils of self perceived control of my life. I was afraid of what Jesus would ask me to do. And afraid of how I would be perceived by those around me.
We know that we are God's children and co-heirs with Christ (Rom 8:17). The thing is, it's not just about being related to Jesus but having a relationship with Him. And He is so very trustworthy. He is patient and brings us along on this journey exactly like the master potter that coaxes and gently forms clay on a wheel to take form and purpose. And if you've ever done this, you know how the slightest pressure brings form, yet too much causes the piece to go out of balance and the potter must either attempt to correct the piece quickly or start over.
My friends, don't lose patience with yourself in this process. Jesus will bring you along exactly as He knows is best for you. Take another look at Peter. By the time we delve into the later chapters of Acts, he is moving and walking in the Spirit and by the time he wrote his letters he is completely sold out for Jesus.
Sometimes you may feel like you're doing everything you should yet inside, everything feels wrong. I've found those are the times that Jesus is cleaning the house—our heart. I discovered the hard way it's easier to work with Him by recognizing the issues He's dredging up, acknowledging them, then asking for forgiveness, healing, release, or for Him to change this area of your heart and life.
Jesus is the author and perfecter of our faith (Heb. 12:2), so it’s a part of our faith journey to grow and yield, to form and change to be more like our Creator. And when we step fully into this process with trust, we are transformed.
Since my encounter with God at Bethel Church last October, my own faith journey has exploded and I know there is no way possible I could have done any of it on my own. I never even imagined the possibilities of where God would take me when I asked for more. I was tired of feeling like an ineffective Christian and tired of myself. I knew there had to be more to this faith journey, and I wanted more!
And it is an amazing journey full of fun and delight! Yes, there are times that I quake in my boots when God calls me to stop and talk to a complete stranger, which winds up being either a time to encourage, share Jesus, or pray with them. But I always walk away awestruck and so full of God's love, because I am walking in the Spirit.
There is no better place to be, my friends! This is exactly what Jesus meant when He said He came to not only give us life but give it abundantly. This is what He wants for you too. And the absolutely and only requirement is to have a willing heart. Doesn’t matter where you are coming from, because Jesus is more interested in where He wants to take you.
When the Holy Spirit gives you that nudge, just say yes, then do what He asks. That's it. The results and outcome are not up to you. He already has that covered, just like He did for Peter.
Trust Jesus and take a step of faith. As you do this more, you will find that your fear will turn into anticipation as you begin to look for your next divine appointment. You won’t want to miss a single one—that’s my prayer now, “Lord, don’t let me miss a divine appointment.”
My precious SUMites, I want you to fully experience this kind of life and I am asking Jesus to meet each of you right where you are. Share in the comments how Jesus is meeting you and what He’s asking you to do. Now is the time to stand strong in prayer over each other because God is calling us up as a community to be part of His Great Harvest. I don’t want any of you to miss out on a single bit of it!
Love you with the passion of Jesus in my heart!
SUMites, welcome to our new home. If you haven’t logged on
to our site in a while, take time today to stop in and poke around our new
design. I feel like I’ve just purchased and had delivered an entire house
full of new furniture!
And to celebrate, I have an offering and a request.
Our second book is in the final preparation stages for its
release on October 7, 2013. That’s in just a couple of months. Yikes. Here are
some of the reviews that have been rolling in. They are words that are gifts to
us and Dineen and I have prayed with passion that the words in the book are
received like a love letter to all mothers from our Lord.
This dynamic duo’s use of scripture, prayers, transparent
real-life stories and personal study questions is powerful. They have truly
walked through the valley that women in spiritually mismatched marriages are in
and they offer a firm hope. This is a
must read for women who are seeking wisdom and guidance as they raise their
children in the midst of marital challenges. ~Courtney Joseph, author of Women
Living Well and WomenLivingWell.org
When I think of Lynn Donovan and Dineen Miller, these are
the words that come to mind: Sincere, Passionate, Godly, Humble, and Accessible.
If you're in a spiritually mismatched marriage and you worry about your kids,
you've come to the right place. These girlfriends will wrap you up in a hug,
they'll tell you the truth, and they'll point you to Jesus. They were so right
to title this book, Not Alone, because when you're done reading, you'll know
and believe that you're not alone on this journey; God is with you and He's got
you. ~Susie Larson -Radio Host, Speaker,
and Author of Your Beautiful Purpose
Living in a spiritually mismatched marriage represents one
of the greatest challenges a couple can face. Lynn Donovan and Dineen Miller
tackle the issue head-on with grace, honesty, and a wealth of practical advice.
I’m encouraged by their willingness to reach out to this often-overlooked
segment of the Church. -Jim Daly - President, Focus on the Family
We are overwhelmed and are fully convinced that God breathed
the words in this book because I’m just not smart or good enough *grin*.
Anyhoo, today I am hoping there are 10 of you who are raising
children and would have time to read through our book prior to its release? And
my request is that when you are finished reading it you would post a review on
both Amazon and Barnes & Nobel.com. I can send you a PDF copy and when the
actual “real” books arrive I will mail you a copy after they are released. I
would need your promise to read the PDF manuscript and post your reviews by
September 1st. If you can help us out this way, we would be so
So in the comments, let us know how you like our community’s
new place and also if you are willing to help with the review of, Not Alone, Trusting God to Help You Raise
Godly Kids in a Spiritually Mismatched Home, by Lynn Donovan & Dineen
Partner withYour Heavenly Father to Bring Up Faithful Kids
If your husband or ex-husband doesn’t share your faith, you
probably pray and stress over how to raise faith-filled children. Your
spiritually mismatched home may feel like the wilderness where the children of
Israel wandered on their way to the Promised Land. Will they ever make it? What
about God’s promises?
Now the authors of Winning Him Without Words and founders of
Spiritually Unequal Marriage offer 10 faith principles you can pass on to your
kids. In Not Alone, you’ll find encouragement and inspiration from Scripture
and true-life stories from other spiritually mismatched moms. Plus, find
practical tips for capturing teachable moments with eternity in mind, and
discovery questions to help you grow as a parent.
This is a parenting book, but it’s much more. It’s a love
letter to all mothers—a message that changes our homes, our kids and our lives.
It’s about the Father’s love that impacts those around us and changes ordinary
moms into women of extraordinary grace, beauty and wisdom. You may sometimes
feel you’re on your own when it comes to godly parenting, but Jesus promised to
be with you always. You’re not alone!
We love you the Amazing Community of SUM! We love our
husbands. We love our children and….
WE LOVE JESUS! Hugs, Lynn
PS. A BIG SHOUT OUT to Colleen of Typepad who helped us create this beautiful design and another shout out to Dineen Miller who also created the banner and many of the graphics. God makes some pretty talented people. Thank you Colleen and Dineen. I heart you both.