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11 entries from May 2020

How God Stretches Us!

Hi friends, Ann here. Fire 2

We’ve just had Pentecost, a day when the Holy Spirit came with power upon the early church. What a moment! I can only imagine what those disciples felt when they saw fire on each other. They must have surely been scared but excited.

One time I had an experience in a church that left me scared-but-excited. It was a memorable moment. Here's what happened:

It was an evening in Auckland and I'd gone to hear a visiting missionary speak at a little-known church. I arrived alone and settled into the worship. So far, so good. The gentle presence of God was lovely and the worship went late. Eventually, the host stood up to close the meeting.

“Most of you will want to go home now to your families, and we say goodbye. I hope you’ve enjoyed this evening --”

“It is late,” I thought to myself. “I’d better get home to Bryce --”

But the host continued –

“And there are some here who will want to stay. Because you’re hungry. And if that’s you, you can come to the front and we’ll continue …”

Now, I fully intended to walk out the door but for some strange reason I found myself instead drifting to the front with the ‘hungry ones’. There they gathered to continue worshipping. I stood about ten rows back, watching. I was no longer worshipping but something held me there.

Well blow me down, I was not ready for what happened next. My friends, what I describe may or may not be new to you, but it was to me. Like a mighty rush, the power of the Holy Spirit hit the room and the row of people at the front fell to the ground in one swoop as if they’d been hit by volts of power.

SMASH! The power hit the second row. People began to fall to their knees like dominoes: crying, worshipping, utterly wrecked by his love.

WHAM! The Spirit of God hit the third row. Wave upon wave of love, crashing down.

At this point my face took on a deer-in-the-headlights look. Never had I seen this before.

The fourth row, the fifth row, it was nearing me. It was like a tidal wave heading straight for me. An internal whimper bubbled up.

I looked left and right as those beside me began to fall, and I took a step back. I looked again and took another as people were moving chairs to make way for the power. Soon my feet were stepping back very quickly. Then I paused: Should I? before I turned and ran. Here's what was top of my mind:

“I don't want to do this without Bryce.”

And so I left. I ran to my car, flung myself into the driver's seat, then sat in the dark with a beating heart and shaking hands. After a while I started the ignition and decided that if ever there was a time to gorge myself on a McDonald's super-sized meal this was it. So I pulled into a drive-through, bought up large and sat in the carpark shoving handfuls of salty fries into my mouth while digesting what I'd just seen. 

Glug glug went the sucking of my straw as I gulped down the sugary coke. Glug glug. 

Oh God, it was You.

Oh God, I wish I’d stayed.

I’ve since come to understand what happens to people when they are the ones getting hit by the power. It is beautiful, life-changing, and it's something to which I now say a huge yes. Further, this is the very thing that happened very personally to our leader, Lynn, in October 2012. She has written honestly about it in the book Marching Around Jericho, and it was a turning-point for this ministry. 

So today I celebrate those disciples and that radical Pentecost.

“When the day of Pentecost came, they were all together in one place. Suddenly a sound like the blowing of a violent wind came from heaven and filled the whole house where they were sitting. They saw what seemed to be tongues of fire that separated and came to rest on each of them. All of them were filled with the Holy Spirit and began to speak in other tongues as the Spirit enabled them.” (Acts 2:1-4, NIV)

Lord, we ask for more. Give us the ability to receive your love, your power, your character, your heart, your wisdom, your majesty, your signs and your wonders. In Jesus' Name, Amen.

Unequally Yoked AND Infertility


Julie Nelson
Julie Nelson

Lynn here. I received the most astonishing email that past week. Julie Nelson wrote to me to share here testimony. I prayed for her in the comments.

Also, I prayed with her in a Healing Prayer Session. And God released her voice. Recently she shared her story about infertility and walking through that struggle with an unbelieving husband. Take a listen and give Jesus glory. The SUMite nation is making a way for so many to experience the love of Jesus. Hallelujah!

Thank you Julie for your faithfulness. Hugs, Lynn

The Journey I Chose and the Journey I Didn't (Julie Nelson)


Lynn's Testimony


Profile for TypepadLynn here. Last week I was honored to be interviewed on the the Debbie Chavez show. The show is now available on a podcast. It's the testimony and recap of the seven years I marched around my Jericho. 

Hope you have time to listen in. Also, I hope you will visit Debbie. She has a powerful ministry for women in faith. Have a blessed day and let's get summer rolling. Hallelujah.

Click here → Praying For Your Unsaved Husband - Debbie Chavez Show

Also, if you want to catch up on my teaching about the Kingdom, visit  → Hugs, Lynn

How Well Do You Know Your Counterfeits?

Hey SUM Family, Tiffany here!

A few months ago I had a powerful encounter with the Lord. It began January when I attended a prayer summit at my church. I was interested in getting into their prayer team. The pastor who was set to speak was truly amazing. After the teaching, she prophesied and prayed over every one of us. Listening to the words that she was speaking over the other people had me all the more excited to hear what she had for me. The time came and I opened my hands toward heaven in order to receive. As she opened her mouth to speak, I heard these words:

You have been asking how the Lord could use you. This time right now is for healing. You have some healing to do first. Get healed up. God will most definitely use you. Your healing has to do with unforgiveness.

My heart sunk. Really God? I have done so much healing. I have done so much work in the forgiveness classroom. Now I find out, that I am rid of this junk?

A month or so went by and I sat in the living room. I hadn't been very faithful in setting aside quiet time. Those words kept ringing in my mind. Your healing has to do with unforgiveness - what did that really mean?

I asked the questions that were on my mind. God who do I need to forgive? What were the situations involved? I've already done so many healing sessions with you. I have cut ties and soul ties. What is going on here? I didn't really sense any response so I figured...well...I would ask for forgiveness for ANYTHING and EVERYTHING. I went through anything that came to my heart and mind and then I waited.

After a short time I could see some of the same memories - trauma from my childhood replaying through my mind. I forgave those people again and in that moment, the Lord met me. I believe what He told me is not just a helpful word for me but for you as well.

Holy Spirit spoke very gently to my heart. "You are right that you have done much work in the area of forgiving. You have forgiven and you have asked for forgiveness. Even today as you pour out your heart to Me, more freedom was given. You have been forgiven and you have forgiven others and released them to Me. These things are gone now. Any time you are reminded of these memories, know that they are counterfeit. These are not the original memories."

I am a visual person so the Lord showed me a heavy duty office copy machine. You know those really big ones that have can spit out copies faster than you can blink? As I see this copy machine, I instantly know that the papers spitting out of the machine are memories. These papers are replicas of the original memory.

I don't know that I have words to describe the rest of this revelation but I will try my best to explain. Before time began, Lucifer was an angel. He was in Heaven.

You saw me before I was born. Every day of my life was recorded in your book. Every moment was laid out before a single day had passed. - Psalm 139:16 (NLT)

Could it be that as God sat down and recorded our days in our very own books, that Lucifer was there? Could it be that he had access to these things? Could it be that as God speaks our destinies over us that Satan has been making replicas of our memories. Our traumas. Our mistakes. Our down right failings. Our insecurities.

When we lay these things down at the feet of Jesus and go about our days, sometimes we can get distracted or forget the healing that we received. In Javier-quiroga-7KGqH9uXiD8-unsplashmy minds eye, Satan puts down one of those copies, the counterfeits, at our feet. When we choose to pick it up, we begin to think - I guess I HAVEN'T dealt with this. I guess I am NOT really changed. I guess it didn't really WORK after all...we believe that we are dealing with the original. BUT God. He says...what original? Where did this come from?

I could go on and on about this but I've already gone a little long. Let me just encourage you with this.

That healing, that break through, that ground you made, that pressing forward in your walk. Those are the things you need to hold on to. God is not one to keep you stuck in the past. He propels you forward. His desire for you is that you keep moving into victory, freedom and abundant life.

Anything other than your healing is a counterfeit. The next time you have a memory come up, weigh it with what the Lord has done in your heart and mind. If it does not fall into line with God's word over you - rip it up and throw it in the trash.

Let's talk in the comments. As you reflect on your healing and progress with the Lord, what are some reminders or encouragement that He has given you to keep moving you forward? Someone will greatly benefit from your experience. Be blessed today.

Your Destiny Depends On You - Will You Press In?

Hey SUM family, Tiffany here!

I wanted to talk to you today about a fear that has resurfaced in my life. I wonder if I am not the only one who has struggled with this. Don't look back

Recently I was given some words over my life. They were absolutely powerful. Isn't it amazing that God knows what we really need to hear? Isn't His time so perfect? These words opened up my heart to dare to dream again. I was fueled with excitement at the purpose and destiny that the Lord has for me. What could it look like to press in?

Then it hit me. Silly ol' fear crept in. "Aren't you afraid that your husband won't approve? Aren't you afraid that he won't know you anymore? Aren't you afraid that this will tear you apart?"

I know that I cannot be alone in this struggle. We find ourselves believing the Word of the Lord. We begin to hope and dream. And then...just like that we begin to feel like we cannot pursue the abundant life that God desires for us.

Let me tell you right now friends, the enemy wants us to believe that we have blown it. The enemy wants us to believe because of the "special circumstance" that we find ourselves in that we are somehow disqualified for the calling on our lives.

I cannot tell you how many times I've believed this lie. When I first came to the SUM community in 2014 I was the enemy's biggest spokesperson for this. I may not have said it audibly but I would repeat these lines in my head.

Now imagine for yourself. What would it look like to fully press into the calling the Lord has for you? Can you imagine the potential growth in Christ? Can you imagine the impact that it could have on your spouse? Your children? Your family? Your city? Your world?

The amazing thing we have to look forward to is our fearless leader Lynn who has trudged on before us. We know now that her husband has now been baptized. Can you imagine what it would have looked like if she gave up on her calling to be a writer? Can you imagine your life without this amazing community that began with one woman choosing to be obedient to God? I sure can't!

Rest assured that there is no better place to be than in the will of the Lord. We serve one amazing God. He is not only for us but He is also for our households.

Let's talk in the comments.

What are some words the Lord has given you about your destiny? What scripture and words of encouragement do you have for fellow SUMites walking through this struggle? How can we pray for you and spur you on?

Get Moving! March Into Your God-Given Authority!

By Martha Bush Get Moving

Today, I would like for us to talk about an excerpt from Lynn’s book, Marching Around Jericho. I will be referring to Chapter 9---My Authority in Christ, page 91.

To refresh your memory of that chapter, Lynn expands on three common held beliefs and deceptions we fall into about the demonic realm that keeps us from exercising our authority that Christ has given us to destroy the works of the enemy.

1. Demons aren’t real.

2. It’s impossible for a believer to experience demonic oppression or harassment.

3. Our lack of knowledge (Luke 10:19)

She pointed out that “God can and often will intervene supernaturally in our lives. But, his greatest desire is to have his children established in our kingdom identity, exercise our Christ given authority to influence our world.”

As I read this chapter, my memory took me back to a time God showed me a picture of my true self. What He showed me was preventing me from exercising the authority He had given me to destroy the works of the devil. I refer to it as The Weakness of My Flesh.

Let me explain.

Let me begin my saying that my character and faith are settled on God's word that I know there is a demonic realm that tries to destroy us—it is for real. I also know that He gives me the authority for pulling down strongholds, and destroying the works of the enemy. But, the weaknesses of my flesh often times work against me, or at least I allow them to. I struggle with such things as: procrastinator, hard to stay focused, slow to get moving, and downright slothfulness. 

Actually, slothfulness was also a problem of the Israelites. As you know, they went into Jericho all fired up to possess allllll the land that God had given them in Canaan, less it become pricks in their eyes, thorns in their sides, and would vex them in the land where they dwelled. (Numbers 33:55) But, as time went on, things sort of slowed down, and God spoke to Joshua and had him admonish the Israelites about their slothfulness.

Take a look at these scriptures and see what God is saying to them:

Joshua 13:1-6; 13: He first names the lands they have yet to conquer.

Joshua 17:17-18: Joshua reminds the Israelites that there is more than one lot to be possessed; even the mountain shall be yours.

Joshua 18:3: In this passage of scripture, it sort of sounded like Joshua was getting a little frustrated with the Israelites and says, “How long are you going to wait to possess it"?

I confess that sounds a like me at times. I tend to go around wondering why my prayers aren’t being answered, why signs and wonders that I desire and things God has promised me are passing me by. I even go so far to remind God that “I haven’t worshipped idols or bowed down to sin, so why is it taking You so long, Lord, to possess the territory that You have given me?”

The truth is I have procrastinated, got off focus, and have become downright slothful and refused to take the land away from the enemy that is sticking and pricking my sides.  In short--the weakness  of my flesh kept me from using my God-given authority.

My Sumite Friends, let’s do a little self-judgment today to see where we stand about destroying the works of the enemy in our lives.

1. Do you now believe that demons are real after reading Chapter 9?

2. Do you now believe that we can experience demonic oppression or harassment from the demonic forces?

3. Do you need more knowledge on the subject?

4. Are there weaknesses in your flesh that needs to be demolished so you can proceed?

5. Other reasons?

God wants us to conquer things in our life before it conquers us!

Let’s get Moving! March Into Your Christ-Given Authority!




Coronavirus Turned Our World Upside Down

By Martha Bush         Upside-Down Earth

It was March, 2020 when the world, as we knew it, was turned upside down. Coming to a screeching halt were: schools, restaurants, hair salons, churches, retail businesses. Many other businesses and scheduled events too numerous to name were also canceled. Why? The Government called it "Social Distancing" in order to prevent the spread of the Coronavirus that was claiming thousands upon thousands of lives around the world. Never in my lifetime have I seen the world come to a standstill with the exception of the health care providers who worded around the clock trying to save lives.

All of us were affected in some way. I was one of the blessed ones. First of all, I did not catch the virus, nor did anyone in my family. That alone merits a heartfelt praise to our Lord. 

In addition, I was retired, so I did not have to adjust my work schedule, and my income kept being deposited in the bank.

Third, I was already a stay-at-home type of person who could always find something productive to do at home.

So, you might say that on a personal level, I was not affected by the pandemic to the point that I couldn't make adjustments and allowances for it as need be.

But, about the third week of the quarantine, the big L hit me--loneliness snuck up on me. Let me clarify that by saying I have never been a lonely person, nor have I faced boredom.  I am thankful that I am basically a contented person, even when it is just me, myself, and I--I kind of like it that way. However, I do like to engage in activities with family and friends, and all of a sudden, all of that was taken from me. 

I couldn't see my grandchildren, have lunch with friends, attend my weekly Bible study meetings, couldn't meet with our local SUM group, and assembling together at church had gone by the wayside. I said to my husband one day, "Don't be offended, but I badly need to talk to a woman." Yes, for the first time in my life,  I was lonely.

Where has my feeling of contentment gone? Why is this happening to me?

And then a scripture began to dawn on me that I have read many times over the years that gave me  insight as to why I was having this lonely feeling.

"As iron sharpens iron, so a friend sharpens a friend."  (Proverbs 27:17 NLT).

It became clear to me that Social Distancing had robbed me of the one of the most important things God had created all of us for--RELATIONSHIP.

I knew I had to snap out of this, and pull myself up.  And so it was, by telephone, emails, facebook, and hand-written cards, I began to reconnect, not only with my local friends, but also with those people I had put on hold for when I had more time. Iron began sharpening iron once again.

I also started back walking in the early morning hours-something that I had taken a sabbatical from too long ago to mention. My fellow walkers from days gone by shouted at me from six feet away, "Hey, Martha, where have you been; we have missed you." 

"Oh, just a little leave of absence; and this walking is killing my legs this morning, and my heart is about to bounce out of my chest!"  They laughed, but hollowed back, "You can do this! You'll get back in the swing of things!"  Iron sharpening iron.

I planned menus and ordered groceries online to make special dishes that I had not taken the time to make in the past. When I went to pick the groceries up, with our mask snuggly in place and talking six feet apart, the delivery person and I chatted and cheered one another on during this trying season. Iron sharpening Iron.

Needless to say, my feelings of loneliness and mental health began to take a turn for the better. Just like a tree whose limbs cannot be unbent, no amount of Social Distancing can change the way God bent and shaped us, and that is fellowshipping and having a relationship with one another. 


My dear Sumite friends, my heart goes out to those of you who lost a loved one due to the virus.  May the Lord comfort you, as well as the memories you shared with your loved ones be of comfort.

But, perhaps you experienced another type of  loss. In the comments, tell how you were affected during quarantine in your corner of the world, how you dealt with it and what have you learned during this season of your life.

Let's use this time to sharpen iron with one another.


Am I Hearing God or Is It My Imagination?

Ann here! Purple rose 3

Today I thought I would chat a little about hearing God's voice as a whisper. Often the way God speaks is through the softest of moments, much like the everyday companionship of a good friend. 

Even the prophet Elijah heard God in the still small voice rather than a dramatic fanfare (1 Kings 19:12), and that's usually how it is. The hard thing is, we have to believe it's Him, and that takes a leap.

With this in mind, I thought I'd share a testimony. So settle in, grab a drink, and enjoy. Even writing it today has warmed my spirit, so I hope it does the same for you. Here goes ...

One Easter I was walking up the hill near my house. Suddenly it seemed that every purple flower I saw was grabbing my attention. Was it my imagination? I shook my head quickly, “Don’t be stupid, Ann.” 

That was that. But later I was lying in bed and found myself thinking about my faith difference: “I’m scared Bryce’ll go off me if I go further with God --” Suddenly, a purple rose flashed across my mind. It could have been my imagination. But was it God saying, "Do not fear"?

Weeks later, it happened again. I was swimming in a pool this time and a thought came: "People think I'm nuts believing in Jesus --” Swoosh, a purple clover came across my mind. Was it God? Was He once again saying “Do not fear”?

It happened more. Different purple flowers would land in my head, interrupting my thoughts (usually when I was thinking an anxious thought): Thistles, forget-me-nots, bushes of small dark purple things. I began to believe it was God.

One day, I was sprawled on my floor having cleared out a cupboard. A mysterious wooden box sat in front of me. I hadn’t seen this box for years, and as I lifted its lid I smiled to see piles of letters from childhood pen-pals. But there was something else tucked in there. I reached for it and pulled it out. It was a faded piece of paper from my last day of primary school in 1987, with names and addresses of friends; It was lovely to remember them but then I stopped in my tracks. Something was written in thick black crayon in the corner of that page. It was this: Purple flowers sprouting

"And little purple flowers were sprouting."

Oh God!! I sat back, stunned. It's You. What was He saying to me through this? Perhaps that He was always there.

Fast-forward a few years and we come to my kitchen renovation which I mentioned in my last post. There, God had the sweetest purple flower waiting. But first, let me backtrack:

It sounds strange, but as a child I would daydream about having a secret room. I loved the idea of having a space within a house that was hidden. Well, now I’m grown up but I’m still that same person.

After buying our house, Bryce and I realized that our house had a hidden pocket of space behind a wall. We knew because there was a stained-glass window on the outside that wasn't on the inside. Just before the renovation, then, we said to one another "Let’s get the wall knocked down and see what’s in there!" This was last July, just as I was leaving my job, something I’d felt God wanted me to do. The day we knocked the wall down was the day I waved goodbye to colleagues and closed a 10-year chapter in my life.

Honestly, friends, my heart pounds at this one. When we knocked down the wall, guess what we found: A little secret room! And what’s more, the stained-glass window was revealed: A purple flower. Here's a photo of it. That day it was as if God said, “I love you, Ann, and I’m here as you leave your job.” All day I couldn't concentrate; I just had to keep staring at that room and window, captivated. Purple flower window

That stained glass window was put there decades ago, as was the piece of paper in that wooden box. But God knew I’d be coming across it now. The moral of the story? God speaks in mysterious ways, and life with Him is ... well ... fun!

I would so love to hear anything you would like to share about hearing God, so please, go for it in the comments. And I say let's pray for more!


Persistence in Prayer

Photo courtesy of Suriya Kankliang and

Hello, dear friends. Ian from Down Under, here. Another month passes, another month where the majority of us are still in some form of lockdown due to COVID-19. It’s fascinating that we are all in this experience together and that God created us for this season. This is our moment. God made each one of us and our particular gifts and callings for this moment in time. As challenging as this season is, I get excited when I reflect on this season through this fresh lens.

He has our Attention

I saw a fabulous Instagram post a few weeks from a famous retired wrestler, Hulk Hogan. It said something along the lines of: every idol we worship (athletes, music, actors, money, business, church) has been shut down and all we’re left with is the ONLY thing that matters: Jesus, so focus on Him.

A few surveys have indicated that more people are praying and attending church online. Hallelujah. What’s fabulous about church online is it is demonstrating that we actually don’t need all the bells and whistles of the modern church, we simply need to participate in community to experience the Holy Spirit so long as the Word is being faithfully preached, prayers are raised and some songs are played, often with simply an acoustic guitar (remember the old days of only the church organ or piano, anyone?)

Be assured God is moving and Jesus rules and reigns.

God loves to hear us pray because He simply wants us to want Him. He made us so we could have relationship with Him. I love knowing that. He gets excited when we pray and spend time with Him to also listen to Him. Remember, prayer is as much about listening as it is speaking, just like any conversation we have with a loved one.

Time to Pray and Pray some more

We’ve spent some time in these past months exploring Lynn’s wonderful testimony in her latest book, Marching Around Jericho. One of the explicit teachings in Lynn’s book based on the well-known story in the book of Joshua, is the importance of persistence even when obeying God may lead to doing some unusual things like walking, singing and praising, around a walled city seven times.

I was reading a parable over the weekend that features in Luke 18 about the persistent widow who simply refused to take ‘no’ for an answer from the judge. In this season (well every season really), persisting in our prayer is so important. Most of us who have been SUMites for a while understand this as regards our spouses – keep persisting in prayer. But we can also be doing it now for the God’s Kingdom to come and His will done in this unprecedented season.

My Pastor summed up it brilliantly when he made this comment regarding prayer for healing:

“God didn’t create microwave ovens, but He did create trees” and trees persist in pushing down their roots continuously.”

Jesus exhorts us in this parable to pray and to keep praying.

Call on the Word of God

I was reminded of a valuable lesson in prayer today that we should use the many promises and/or the prayers that feature in the Bible. Recently, I’ve started praying over a non-believing friend the prayer of Paul in Ephesians 3. I look up a photo of this friend and pray these verses over them:

“that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith; that you, being rooted and grounded in love, may be able to comprehend with all the saints what is the width and length and depth and height— to know the love of Christ which passes knowledge; that you may be filled with all the fullness of God. (v 17-19 NKJV)

God loves hearing us pray back His promises and/or prayers of the Bible. Remember, the Psalms are the great prayer book of the Bible and using these as prayers for yourselves and/or others is a great source of fresh Biblically sound material. Sometimes, we can be struggling to pray for whatever reason, and I find that using the Bible helps stir my spirit and the Holy Spirit soon takes over because He’s excited that we’re using words He's inspired.

If you’re discouraged because you wonder why God doesn’t appear to be answering your prayer, take heart that even Jesus didn’t get all His prayers answered the way He wanted, but continue to trust in God’s goodness and love for you.

Keep praying, keep believing, keep yielding to His ‘will be done.’

Grace and peace,

Locked-Down Life: It's Renovation Time

Dear friends, Ann here! Door SUM logo

Today, as we enter our umpteenth week of staying home I thought I would share a personal story. I think I got an inkling last year about this whole Coronavirus thing, but didn't understand it. I know a couple of others who had the same thing happen. See what you think of this:

It all began when my kitchen got ripped out last October. This old kitchen was in a shocking state. Bryce and I had allowed it to go too far. However, we finally got ourselves moving, made our plans, and the day came. Builders arrived and within hours the kitchen was gone. Left in its place was a cold, dusty hole. That same day, Bryce had to leave on a week-long work trip.

“I’ll be fine without the kitchen!” I thought. After all, how hard could it be?

Day one progressed with no sink, dishwasher, or oven. Within hours this was no fun. By day two, I’m sorry to say I was unhinged. The continual rounds of washing-up water I was lugging from the bathtub did it. I'm sure many of you have been there. It is surprisingly difficult to live without a kitchen.

“I’m sorry boys,” I would say to my two kids as I tucked them in, day after day, a less-than-perfect mother. “It’s the kitchen, it's making me feel so unhinged!!”

I kept trying to remember that compared to women in centuries past I was fortunate to have running water. This should have helped, but it didn't. I really was not prepared, then, to hear the following whisper from God:

“Ann, in the near future your home is going to be spiritually renovated and you're going to feel like this for a while. Be prepared.”

Gah! Really? My reaction was "Whatever You say Lord, I'll accept it!" But my mind began to wonder and I began to ask Him more. What did it mean? A couple of days later, this came to me:

“This coming change is about people being fed.

There are many, many people to be fed.

Like a new kitchen, this new thing will give you fresh ability to feed others.”

We don’t always understand what God is saying until we look back. I carried this sense of impending change for months, but I look back today and think perhaps it was about this lock-down season. Whatever it meant, this mysterious kitchen analogy gave me a sense that a new thing was occurring. And that I would feel the same as I did during that renovation -- Under some pressure. 

So here we are, friends. Under pressure. We've all had things ripped away from us, much like the kitchen. For me it’s my freedom. How about you? I’m quickly learning to let go, and I'm understanding that I need to let God work in me during this pivotal time. All the while, my eyes are on Him. I can't take them off Him.

I say that last bit because the above words weren’t the only ones I heard. I don’t think God gives us a heads-up about tough stuff without also giving a promise. So here’s what I heard next:

You’ll cope, Ann; you have people on your side, and you have all you need: Sweet words and soothing medicine.

Sweet words. Soothing medicine. God. His words are sweet like honey is sweet and they are life. As for the new thing ahead, I think of it like my new kitchen which is now in place. Earlier today, Bryce and I were pottering there and he smiled at me, "It’s worked out, this kitchen, hasn’t it?" My reply: "I love it!"

Friends, I believe there is new stuff ahead and it's something sparkly. Will it make our hearts leap with joy? Is it Revival? Will it be our family and friends turning to God? How amazing would that be! We may well be saying, "I love it, I love it!"

"For I know the plans I have for you," declares the LORD, "plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future." Jeremiah 29:11 (NIV).

Bless you, SUM family! How are you doing, and what are you learning to ‘let go’ of at this time?

Mother's Day - You Make the Day Great. Here's How.

Happy Mothers Day 2020Sumites, Lynn here.

I’ve been thinking about Mother’s day. Although it’s a few weeks away, today let’s chat about perspective.

In past years prior to the Covid-19 social distancing, us moms would ready our kids in the morning, head off to church-- to then, sit alone. I’ll be honest, it’s pain to watch other women be honored by their spouse and family at church. I’ll also share that the pain of disappointment will wane through the years as you take on more spiritual maturity and also understanding of marriage, spouses, and traditions in the church.

However, this year is very unique. Our entire world has been shut in and a number of us will continue to be shut in weeks after Mother’s Day. So, let me share a gem of advice.

You make the day special.

Don’t depend on your husband and family to set the day up by cooking for you, bringing you flowers and for your children to make you something. Take the initiative. I know this doesn’t sound exactly romantic and you may “feel” as though you are being robbed of a celebration by the hands of your family, but you aren’t.

Decide now to have a picnic somewhere together. Or decide to have a movie night with a projector and show it outside on the garage door seated in lawn chairs. Who knows the neighbors may join you, of course, six-feet apart.

Do some star gazing or roast some marshmallows with your family. Create a craft you can do with your little ones for spring. Have a singing contest or a fashion show. Or throw dinner in the crockpot and have a long bath in the morning.

And prior to that Sunday in May, be straight up with Mr. Right. Let your man know about your expectations. Sometimes they need a little coaching and reminding. Ask them to BBQ for you. Ask him to take the kids to buy a card if that’s possible.

Forgive those who forget or fail to wish you a Happy Mother’s Day. And know that your job is applauded in heaven. Mothering is one of the great high and holy callings for humanity. It’s a gift and a joy. Mothering can also rip your heart out at times. But, raising little ones into men and women of God, is worth every effort, all your time, all your prayers, and priorities.

And hear this from me; the LORD is with you every day. He sees your silent sacrifices and knows all that you set your heart upon. Your love will accomplish so much through you and your children for the Kingdom.

Well done Mom.

And from me personally, You are amazing. Keep marching. I’m so proud of you.

Hugs, Lynn