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11 entries from May 2021

What to Do When Facing a Scary Giant

Hello friends, Giant fighting

It’s Ann here and, with a smile on my face, I’m introducing a new series which we'll start next Friday: FIGHTING THAT GIANT!

In other words, spiritual warfare. We can always do with a fresh look on how to walk victoriously. And I know that many of us are in situations right now that fit the descriptor ‘Mind-blowingly tough’.

Here on this blog, I feel God often asks us writers to just share our lives. He takes us through things so that we can do that. Often it’s good stuff – Like Tiffany’s house purchase (yay!) Sometimes it’s crappy stuff. But pain brings story and testimony.

Well, my friends, I’ve got a situation currently that’s crappy, so here we go. I’ve mulled over whether to even share it because I don’t want to put particular attention on anything the enemy is doing. But I’ve decided that it is valuable to share, because it means we can have a good chat about how we fight tough things, with God by our side.

Fight the good fight of the faith. Take hold of the eternal life to which you were called and about which you made the good confession in the presence of many witnesses. 1 Timothy 1:12 (ESV)

So, let's roll up our sleeves and here's the situation:

When I stepped into fronting this ministry last year, I began to get unwell. That timing suggests it's the enemy, and I have had a couple of other clues that it is. I was prepared for it, knowing these things happen. In fact, I think a lot of Christians are going through some especially tough warfare at this time. If we are on the frontlines of salvation, as we are in this community with all our spouses, the enemy is going to have a go. His efforts won't be successful if we understand the fight and stay holding God's hand, but we do have battles.

Anyway, at first the illness was sporadic. Then it became more frequent. It turned into weeks in a row of lying on my couch. The main symptom is fatigue, and doctors are so far flummoxed. I have enough capacity to sit up with my laptop, hop on here, and look after my teenagers. So it’s not all bad. But still tough. 

A health challenge is a new battle for me. It’s not something I’ve faced before, and it comes with an array of specific challenges, most of them being mental. But what God seems to be saying to me is this:

“Ann, you learned to fight the good fight of faith in your spiritually mismatched marriage. Now take those same tools and apply them to this new battle.”

In this series, then, I’m going to write about spiritual battles and tools. When we are facing a scary giant, like little David against whopping Goliath, what are our tools?

Many of us have been reading this blog for years and have read many posts on spiritual warfare. Still, when we find ourselves in new fights we have to start again and figure out how to fight this new thing. With that in mind, I'm going to share practically what I’m doing on my couch as I work through a new battle. Yes, it's couch-based spiritual warfare in action!

The story of David and Goliath is a great analogy for this, and specifically I'm going to consider David’s ‘five smooth stones’ in relation to our own tools. What are the five smooth stones that we can use?

"Then he (David) took his staff in his hand and chose five smooth stones from the brook and put them in his shepherd’s pouch. His sling was in his hand, and he approached the Philistine." 1 Samuel 17:40 (ESV)

For the first post (next Friday), however, before even going near the tools I'm going to take a good look at Goliath. Even though our action involves flinging smooth stones (e.g., prayer, communion), we have to be able to see Goliath's weaknesses and know where to aim the stone in the first place.

For me, ‘Goliath’ is the giant of sickness. Some days he's scary. Other days I feel like I have more of David's warrior heart. But to fight him I have to understand him. So I'll start with that.

What giants do you have in your life currently? Let's have a chat about that one!

Ann


A Continued Testimony: My Family and Church

Hi SUM family, Ann here. Sparkles over teens

A few weeks ago I shared about how my teenage son Miles is now attending church with me. Amazing, amazing, amazing!

If you missed that story, you can catch up here.

Today I want to give you an update because I know how encouraging testimonies can be. Specifically, I want to show you a photo at the end of this post. It's a photo that says it all: It shows what God can do in a spiritually mismatched home. But first, the update:

I started out this year with none of my family attending church with me. This is how it’s been for years and, as you know, it's difficult to not only wait for your spouse, but also your children. In my case it was both of my children that I couldn't seem to bring to faith. 

Somehow, God changed that in March of this year. Since then, Miles (my youngest) has gone to church youth group every week without fail, and now attends church with me. What's more, he's super enthusiastic. I think he feels he's met his 'tribe'.

This youth group and church experience gives him the messages I so badly wanted to give him myself. At youth group, for example, they have group chats. Last week it was on ‘Identity’. This week it was about the story of Daniel interpreting Belshazzar’s dream in the Book of Daniel. Amazing! 

There’s a youth leader running it who is about 22 and on fire for Jesus. Her name is Sam. She introduces herself to them as ‘Sam-dawwg’ (Sam-dog) in a rap voice. She is relatable in all the ways that I, as a 45-year-old, am not. And he listens to her. So when she says to him “You’re coming to church on Sunday aren’t you!” he gets up at 9am on a Sunday to get there.

Honestly, praise God for this girl! I want to buy her the biggest bunch of flowers. She has no idea how much it means to me. 

Fast-forward to today and Miles now attends church with me weekly -- The new church that God led us to back in March. It's full of people in their twenties, run by people in their twenties, Jesus freaks. They even have their own t-shirt that says ‘Jesus Freak’. I am one of the oldest in the room and ... I love it! There is no age in the Spirit.

The pastor gives anointed sermons, perfectly pitched for young ears, and convicting those listening to discipleship. Miles doesn’t sit with me; instead he sits with his new friends. I occasionally glance over at him and pinch myself at what God has done. Tshirt

So, to cap off this story, now let me show you the photo I mentioned. It's of my family, taken three weeks ago. Check out the t-shirt!! I did not get Miles the t-shirt - Nope, that was Sam's doing. Nor did I ask him to put it on. In fact, I couldn't quite believe my eyes when he came out wearing it.

As for my other son? And Bryce? Well, for a start Bryce didn't mind in the slightest that Miles was walking round New Zealand wearing this t-shirt for all to see. With him in this t-shirt we looked like the poster family for Christianity ((laughing)) .. And my husband did not bat an eyelid. I actually find that quite amazing. But, second, this whole story has been a lesson that I must trust God to move in the right way for the other two. And so I am learning to not strive, to keep praying, and to wait.

Thanks for sharing this ongoing story with me, my friends, and I hope you liked that!

Ann


Those Who Sow in Tears Shall Reap in Joy

Hey SUM family, Tiffany here!

I wanted to share with you a project that I have been working on for quite a while.  ::SHHH...don't tell my husband...grin::

I didn't come up with the idea. In fact I believe I heard about it from one of the SUMites...was it you Martha?

This is a journal that I will be compiling prayers, words from the Lord that I have received, dreams, visions, 20210520_223224words of knowledge from other people, etc for Jason. I also felt the urge to
get him a journaling Bible and write in this as well. Underline/highlight things and prayers that I've prayed for him.

I have to admit that I haven't been as faithful as I'd like to be with investing time and effort into this. There really is no deadline...this gift will be ready when the Lord says so. In my wildest dreams and prayers, I imagine giving these things to my husband as a "welcome home" gift. One day he will surrender. One day he will get baptized. One day.

I felt compelled to share this because I am beginning to understand the true power of my words.

In physically writing these things down, it is putting action behind my faith. I am able to physically have a reminder of these promises and prayers. They are seeds being planted. My tears watering and fostering their growth.

Those who sow in tears
Shall reap in joy.
He who continually goes forth weeping,
Bearing seed for sowing,
Shall doubtless come again with rejoicing,
Bringing his sheaves with him. (Psalm 126:5-6)

I know there have been many discussions in our SUM community about tithing. I know it doesn't seem to go with what has been discussed today. Please bear with me.

It was maybe a year ago now, I was saddened that I wasn't able to give a monetary tithe to my church. Holy Spirit met me there and spoke over my heart. My tears were my tithe. Each tear shed as my heart poured out in worship was valuable; precious. Recently I saw my tears in a vision at church as bright and sparkling diamonds. It was as if they were poured out of a Tiffany and Co jewelry bag into the hands of Jesus.

I wiped my tears from my face and cupped them into my hands and raised them to Heaven.

I believe that in our SUM - the tears we are sowing now coupled with our acts of faith (prayer, petitioning, refusal to believe anything other than salvation and surrender for our spouse) are making a mighty impact in eternity. 

This is not to say that it is easy...or that the outcome is what we had thought or hoped for. Our spouses still have to cooperate with Jesus. They still have to choose to surrender. However, I believe that as we sow into our loved ones, Heaven is poised to act.

Another great thing about this project is that I began to see my husband in a different light. I began to come into agreement with Heaven and declare things as though they are. Do you remember my story about the selling of our house? I saw things that Jason did on earth and declare it in Heaven as as sign of his faith. Once we (Jason in the physical and me in the spiritual) came into agreement with Heaven, the breakthrough came. I am applying this same principle in my marriage and over my husband.

I am just waiting for his breakthrough to come. I am interceding for it. I won't settle for anything less.

Let's talk in the comments. What are some ways (physical reminders, etc) that you are coming into agreement with Heaven over your spouse? Do you have some creative ideas that the Lord gave you? 


Love Suffers Long ... And We Celebrate!

Dear friends, hello! Birthday photo

It’s Ann here, writing from a sunny Auckland.

I’m smiling because this past fortnight was a treat seeing Lynn, Ian, Martha, Tiffany, and Dineen all take trips down memory lane to write about our community. Mirroring that, it was super encouraging to read the comments. Thank you!!

We celebrate the work of Jesus in these spiritually mismatched marriages. At points, we have seen some astounding things happen here. He really can bring beauty out of anything!

The past fifteen years have also shown, however, that it is a deep work that Jesus does in these marriages. And, a ‘deep work’ seems to require longevity. We can now see that from each other's testimonies. That longevity often leaves us writhing in pain wishing for a quick fix. As Lynn said in one of her books (Marching Around Jericho), she would entertain thoughts like 'If you would only turn to Jesus, my life would be a thousand percent better'. Well that one totally makes me laugh because, yep, I can relate. But Jesus wants us to know it's a seed that slowly grows into a tree. It's a work that asks of us a hefty amount of patience. Not just patience but longsuffering. For we do suffer as we walk through the complexities of a spiritually mismatched marriage. Who knew there were so much to it?

I think at this point my mindset is, 'Let's get some proper hiking boots and pack our backpacks with all we need, for this SUM journey is a trek of kilometres and milestones!' It is our ‘process’ that God is taking us through, not just a destination. The journey is one that causes celebration when we look back, but the days themselves can feel wearying.

For many of us, then, this community feels like a parachute that’s just opened during a free-fall. It’s a relief to find others in the same boat. Once we do, it gets easier.  Parachute

Jesus has not left us stranded. He’s given us help in the form of each other. And, with that, I say Happy birthday, SUM community! The verse below captures how I feel about you. You are a gift from God to others in the same boat, a help from the sanctuary, and that will continue as others join us:

"May the Lord answer you in the day of trouble; May the name of the God of Jacob defend you; May He send you help from the sanctuary, and strengthen you out of Zion."

Psalm 20:1-2 (NKJV)

That wraps up our celebration series. Fifteen years: What an adventure. Tiffany will be back on Friday, and then we'll do something new next week -- Not sure what yet, I'm praying about it.

Love to you all,

Ann


Can You Help a Sister Out? Struggling Here!

Hey SUM family, Tiffany here!

I hope you have enjoyed the 15 Year Anniversary celebration! I just keep looking back in pride as to how far the Lord has brought me...my marriage over the years. Don't get me wrong. It has NOT been easy or all sunshine and roses.

In fact, I wanted to talk today and be a little vulnerable. Most of the time  (95-99.6% ::grin::) I am secure in my decision to marry my husband and stick with it. Allow me to explain.

This week I had a big spiritual attack come against me. Jason and I got into a disagreement in front of our children. In my mind I am thinking that my husband was being a bad example to our children. He was not leading the way he should have.

I want to tread lightly here because as the believing spouse, especially as a wife, it is important to give my husband honor. I do not want to put him down or slander him. I have done
too much of that in my "earlier years" of marriage and really caused some wounds. Thank God, He has continued to mend and heal our relationship.

After we finished with our issue, I went downstairs to continue on laundry. I began to cry and have a panic attack. I haven't had one of these in a while. In those next moments I was bombarded with comment after comment from the demonic. I know this because these were statements that I thought I had conquered in the past.

If only my husband were saved. He would know how Christ loves His Bride and treat me the way I deserve to be treated. If only he were like "so and so". Look at how "so Anthony-tran-i-ePv9Dxg7U-unsplash and so" honors his wife. I remember when "so and so" wrote how much he loved his wife on Facebook...

On and on and on the voices came crashing in. Images of godly Christian men came flashing through my mind. It was as if I was looking at Instagram or Facebook pages. Happy smile after happy smile. The more I saw and heard, the more I cried.

I laid upon my bed and cried out to God as I stared at the ceiling. I told God the things that I felt like I needed in my husband.

Learning from experience as well as hearing many testimonies from this community, I know that God ends up changing US - the believing spouse. As we pray for our spouses and press into God, we find that our focus turns inward. What do I need change? Then, as we change, so do our spouses. Isn't that the meat of 1 Peter 3:1? Isn't that what it means to win them without words?

I began to ask forgiveness for playing with covetousness, envy, jealousy and complaining. I prayed that all seeds that had been planted would not take root in my heart. I did not want bitterness, anger and rage to have access to my heart.

It took a couple of hours to fully be free of the weight of warfare. Even after praying, I could feel the heaviness of depression and regret trying to linger. I forced myself to go on a walk with my kids and the dogs. I praise God for my daughter. She is so silly and full of energy and joy. Her smile and upbeat demeanor help pull me out of despair.

As I lay there in bed, in the thick cloud of warfare, I began to think about our community. I couldn't be the only one dealing with this issue. How many of us have struggled with the comparison game? How many of us are still stuck in that place?

There is a fine line between interceding for our spouse and giving God specifications of what the "perfect mate" is. Where does the line need to be drawn?

I just want to put this out there before we chat. It should be our highest priority to love. This is not a place to complain and vent about our spouses. Let's focus on how the Lord has helped you in this area. What did He show you? How did He walk you through this? I know that Holy Spirit will ultimately give us discernment and guidance for our own marriages. However, I would love to talk about this in the comments. I don't know about you but I could really use some help / advice.


Celebrating 15 Years of Ministry: It Just Keeps Getting Bigger and Better

By Martha Bush Smiley-face-ballons

“Mama, you are the Christian in your marriage, but you are not showing respect to Daddy,” my two grown daughters said to me. And with that, they shoved a book in my hands, called Love and Respect, and said, “You need to read this, and get your act together!” In that moment, I silently whispered, “Girls, I brought you into this world, and I am a-fixing to take you out!”

After they completed their discipline, I picked up my halo, and walked out of the room and pouted with them for two months. During my two months of pouting, I walked my neighborhood crying, pouring out years and years of complaints about raising two girls in church alone. When I had coughed up all my complaints about my husband, I then poured out how angry I now was with “Daddy’s precious little girls” for confronting me about not respecting him, of all things.

“God, my husband doesn’t deserve respect for putting me though all of this, don’t you agree?”

Instead of agreeing with me, (does He ever?) He gently nudged me to look on the internet to see what I could find out about living with an unbeliever. Say what? Never in all my years of reading books on marriage had I ever read anything on that subject. But, I found a book called Winning Him Without Words by Lyyn Donovan and Dineen Miller, so I decided to order it.

My heart began to slowly melt as I read it. It was as if these two authors were seeing into my heart. They understood what it was like being married to a nonbeliever, (even an athesist) but were also providing ten keys to thrive in the midst of this type of situation.

And so it was-----it was there on the pages of that book in 2011 where the love relationship with Lynn, Dineen, and this whole community began for me.

Join me today in giving a big Fifteen Praise the Lord salute to Lynn and this ministry. Are you ready? Let’s sound off!

1. She marched around a man’s heart for six years and then----her man, Mike, is the man who this 5 ft. 2 blonde, and the Holy Spirit put under the water and baptized him!     PTL

2. The Vineyards in Temecula are where she calls out mine and your name on her daily morning walk-and-pray.     PTL

3. She writes books galore in the early morning hours while sipping coffee.      PTL

4. This multi-gifted lady began painting late in life.     PTL

5. When the old devil snoops around her prayer and coaching ministry, this feisty blond points her finger at him, and simply says, “In the Name of  Jesus,"  and he withers to nothing.     PTL

6. For her tireless efforts in ministry, God sends her mylar balloons straight from heaven.     PTL

And, the ministry keeps on Getting Bigger and Better!

7. Let’s hear it for Ann—the girl from New Zealand, Executive Director of the SUM Marriage Ministries.     PTL

8. Let’s hear it for the SUMITE Sisters Group! You would think these gals are psychologists and doctors as they guide each other through life’s problems, not to mention their prayer life for one another.  Whoop, whoop for Amanda and all the Sisters.     PTL

9. Let’s hear it for the leader of online Prayer – Gladys.     PTL

10. Hats off to LuAnn and Nickole for consistently leading a fasting group each week.     PTL

11. Let’s hear it for all of us bloggers - - Ann, Tiffany, Ian, and myself. We are just so PROUD to be here.  Thank you, thank you, thank you SUMITE Community for reading and commenting our our posts.     PTL

12. On a personal note: Everything that I have learned from this ministry has so impacted my life that I have decided to keep my husband around a few  more years, and “Oh Yeah, Respect Him, too."  Besides, he made the mylar baloon image especially for Lynn on this post.     PTL

And a final drum roll and PTL for our leader, Lynn-----

13. She walks the walk while she is doing Kingdom work all over this world.     PTL

14.  She talks the talk.     PTL

15. She loves the Lord wholeheartedly, and loves this community ferociously.     PTL

 

All together now------

"Happy 15th Anniversary!”

 


Another Giveaway

I hope you have been enjoying the memories from all the writers. There is more coming. But today, just enter your name and favorite Bible verse in the comments to enter into any of the books or teaching below: 

 

Kingdom Conversations cover photo

Winning Him Without Words
Raising Godly Kids in a Spiritually Mismatched Home
Winning Them With Prayer
Marching Around Jericho
Kingdom Conversations
My Child Sees Monsters - Release date: June 1, 2021

Or you can choose from the vast video teaching: Equipping Warriors. Take a look. These videos WILL grow your faith and challenge you into greater faith in Jesus.

Lord Y'shua, I pray for every person who has come to this place on the web. Fill them with hope. Show them TODAY how you are working in their lives, marriage and families. Reveal the miracles that surround them. Speak to them clearly and remove the evil assignments against their lives. In Your powerful name, Y'shua. AMEN

 

I LOVE YOU! Lynn


15 Years - I am Forever Grateful


Hey SUM family, Tiffany here!
Birthday photo

Wow it has been a great time of celebration. I love reminiscing on how we have gotten to the SUM community. I came to the community in 2014. I've been scouring the blog to find my first ever comment here...I am praying one day I find it. I can't remember what I specifically wrote but I have memory of the night that brought me to the blog.

My husband and I got pregnant before we got married. I was a prodigal and running from the Lord. Once I found out I was pregnant, I allowed seeds of regret, bitterness, anger, envy, and all their friends to take root in my heart. We got married just before my son was born. I look back at the woman that I was back then and think, "God, how is it that Jason never left me back then?"

I give glory to God that my husband is such a patient man. I put him and my children through what probably felt like hell as they had to endure my fury. Take a look at one of the comments I found:

Pic 1

I realize now that the anger, bitterness, envy, etc. stemmed from guilt and shame. I was so ashamed back then. I quite literally couldn't hide my sin anymore. We all know what it takes to make a baby...just saying. ::grin::

When I found the community I was desperately searching for a way out of my marriage. I wanted an excuse to give up and walk away. God had another plan!

I truly believe that the love, support, council and testimonies of Lynn and Dineen (as well as the rest of the writing team's posts, and comments from the community) have pulled me through the darkest of times. I look at this comment and see an ashamed, broken, condemned and bound woman. I don't even know here anymore! Hallelujah!

What a beautiful place - this church without walls. I have learned over the years how to forgive myself, my husband. I have learned to fight for what I believe. I have learned to give grace. I have learned that I am not alone. There is something about having someone who understands....what hope, what joy!

I want to say with everything in me - thank you Lynn for answering the call. Thank you for your heart for our community. Thank you for sticking with it...being faithful to God and to Mike. I am among the masses that can say, if it weren't for your journey I wouldn't be where I am today. I count myself and my household as one of the jewels on your crown in Heaven. I love you so much. My life, my marriage, my parenting is better because of you, because of this community. I bless and honor you.

I know we have shared our stories in the comments over the last several posts....but I would still love to see you in the comments. Your testimony will give hope to someone like that girl I once was...

Blessings.


Where Are You Planted?

AdobeStock_292393919

Hello there, Sumites!

So great to be with you today to celebrate the 15th year of this beautiful ministry!

I mean, community. Because that’s what this is, more than anything.

A community.

God’s taught me a lot about unity over the years. I still remember when the Holy Spirit significantly shifted our thinking here at SUM to a “we” mentality and to seeing ourselves as family and a church without walls.

Over the last two years, God has been speaking to my heart a lot about a deeper level of community, specifically intimacy and relationship. Not just with Him but with each other. And let me tell you, that has been challenging. Why? Because I had to learn to be independent at a very young age. So I became very good at figuring out how to do things on my own.

But in God’s family, we aren’t meant to function alone. Hebrews 10:25 even encourages believers to continue to meet together. Not because it was the “right” thing to do, but because the author (most likely Paul) knew believers needed each other in order to be strong and grow.

Which brings me to a revelation God showed me just recently. It’s the story of the seeds scattered on different kinds of ground. If you’re not familiar with it, take a moment and read Luke 8:5-15. In this passage, Jesus talks about how the seeds grew (or didn’t grow) in hard ground, gravel, weeds and good soil. 

I’m sure you, like me, have read or heard this parable taught as a condition of the heart, which it is. But I’d like to propose that’s it’s also about the community in which we are planted. 

Jesus describes how the seeds became bird food on hard ground. This depicts a lack of relationship with God and people. There’s no nourishment from intimacy, and there’s no community. Just a bunch of loners being seeds and nothing more. Which means there’s no opportunity for growth or change.

He then moves on to the gravel, where the seeds start to sprout but soon die off without moisture. This is most likely a broken community or one controlled more with a relationship with the law instead of the Lord. Rough edges and fear keep true connection and intimacy from happening. Offense can be present too, as well as competition.

Next we come to the weedy place. Seems pretty good at first, this community of all kinds coming from all directions. But the intimacy we long for as children of God isn’t really found here. It might be a good social place, but in the long run, it’s not the deep nourishment we need to connect and grow in our faith and in our destiny.

Lastly, we hit the mother load. The rich soil, packed with everything we need to grow. Warmth from the sun (the Son), nutrients to bring growth (the Holy Spirit), and even a farmer (Father God). What’s really amazing in this place is the connection to others, because farmers never plant just one seed. No, they plant a multitude in hopes for a full blown crop (community).

We are meant to be in relationship not only with God but with each other. Jesus goes on to give a picture of the levels of relationship in chapter eight. 

  • Verses 16-18 speak of relationship with community.
  • Verses 19-21 speak of relationship with family.
  • Verses 22-25 speak of relationship with Jesus.
  • Verses 26-39 speak of what happens when there is no relationship. Just aloneness and isolation.

Where we plant ourselves has a huge impact on our life and our future. Our destiny as well, because without others to speak truth and life into us, we can become lost without that vision.

Even within our mismatched marriages, which can be spiritually limiting, it is vital that we plant ourselves in a faith community to be nourished and encouraged. To be real and honest about what we need, where we need to grow, and how we can do the same for those we’re sharing the vital soil with.

That’s true community. No judgement. Just encouragement and unconditional love that’s willing to be open and honest.

So my question to you today is, where are you planted? Do you have other believers to support and encourage you? Do you have key people you are willing to be open and honest with? And are you willing to receive their encouragement even when it may stretch you in a good way? 

This place, this blog, has been about this very thing for the last fifteen years. It’s a beautiful place to connect, grow, and step into the more that God has for you. And the choice is always yours, my friend.

So be planted in rich places and grow for Jesus!

~Dineen


Celebrating 15 Years! - God works in mysterious ways!

SUM 15th Birthday photoHappy 15 years dear SUMites. Ian here from Sydney, Australia. I thought I’d share how I found this community that is very dear to me. Some of you may be familiar with my story but for all of you newbies you might find it interesting how a man from Down Under stumbled across this safe place.

It was September 2012. I had always wanted to attend the American Christian Fiction Writers (ACFW) conference and having a publisher for Angelguard I thought it a useful way of building some momentum for its release a few months later.

My wife and I combined it with a holiday to the US with the plan to attend the conference in DFW on our final leg before heading home. The conference had started, and I was having a ball meeting lots of fascinating authors including some of my heroes plus gaining a lot of useful information. There was one particular workshop titled “How to Market Your Fiction Like a non-Fiction Pro” that featured four presenters: an agent who I knew of, an author who I was a fan of and two other authors who I didn’t know.

Divine Appointments

It was an excellent workshop spread over two sessions. One of the non-fiction authors shared a little of their journey on writing a non-fiction book about being married to a pre-believer. All of a sudden this workshop now had added meaning.

Yes, you guessed it that author was none other than our own, Dineen Miller. Dineen, of course, is a rarity in publishing, being both an author of non-fiction and fiction. Her award-winning novel, The Soul Saver, is tremendous.

On the workshop ending, I was on my way to an appointment with an editor when I happened to notice Dineen waiting in the same area. She was by herself so I introduced myself and shared how I too was married to a pre-believer. We chatted very briefly, Dineen mentioned the SUM community and to my delight gave me a copy of “Winning Him Without Words”. She only brought two to the conference and I was the fortunate one to receive the second one. Talk about a blessing.

The Lies of the Enemy

Up to that time, one of my struggles in church life and faith was a belief that any ministry I undertook including through my writing would not be blessed because I was in a spiritually mismatched marriage.

As I sat in the workshop listening to Dineen, I was struck by the revelation that what I’d believed for so long was a lie. The scales of deceit shattered on reading the first few chapters of Lynn and Dineen’s book.

A few weeks later having read both books and explored this community’s blog, I genuinely felt a changed man. Have you ever experienced that? A firm perception or belief that you've carried for years being zapped by the Lord as a lie of the devil?

“Trust in the Lord with all your heart
 and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways submit to him, and he will make your paths straight.” (Prov 3:5-6 NKJV)

The above verse took on new meaning and continues to. Our perceptions can be so misleading. I continue to meditate on these verses most days.

I’d carried that chestnut around for many years. In some ways I had come to believe my marriage and I didn’t deserve to be blessed.

God is good. Meeting Dineen and the Lord using her in that workshop and enabling us to bump into each other so soon afterwards was one of those moments I so cherish. It really was a divine appointment.

He certainly is mysterious.

15 Years

I joined (do we join?) the SUMite community almost eight years ago. I’ve always believed there is a special anointing over Lynn and this community. Even though we see less of Lynn these days, I feel Ann has received a similar anointing to carry the message of SUM into the future.

Reading the posts through the week is like an oasis. We all experience that loneliness of being the “single” one, not only in our church communities, but also often within our other various friendships and associations. Even though we’re mostly a virtual family it’s always special being able to hang out in a warm and safe place where there is much love, understanding and discernment.

On behalf of your SUM family, dear Lynn (and Dineen) and Ann, thank you. Thank you for honoring the Lord through your obedience in caring for us these 15 years. We love sharing this journey with you and each other and look forward to what the future holds.

And to all the SUMites, thank you for sharing your heart with us all. This family wouldn’t be what it is without all of us.

I so look forward to what the Lord has in store for each other of us in the years ahead.


FREE STUFF! Let's Celebrate! 15 YEARS!!

Celebrate 15 Years SUMCan you believe this humble little "Church Without Walls" was born 15 years ago? Born out of a desire to love God and love people. My first post was May 1, 2006. You can read it here: Welcome to my new blog.

I wonder. Did we attain what I'd prayed for 15 years ago when I scribbled out three paragraphs on a blog post? I barely even knew what a blog was back then......

There were no comments. No one read my humble hopes for this tiny place on the big ole' web.

WAIT! Jesus did..... JESUS READ EVERY WORD! 

FIFTEEN years later, thousands upon thousands have passed through our virtual doors. And so MANY of you visited and then decided to stay. And you have become help to the generation walking the unequally yoked road behind us. 

So today, would you do me a favor? Would you share with me in the comments your story of how Jesus helped you. Share how something you read made a difference. Or please share how you have grown in faith in our Jesus.

Book Cover 2 12 2021And over the next two weeks we will celebrate our victories. Dineen will be writing. Ian and Martha will share. And also Tiff and our fearless leader, Ann. We are all writing and celebrating!

Also, I will be giving away books. Leave something in the comments and I'll be drawing several names at random and you can choose from the books that Dineen and I have written or any book I have written. 

Winning Him Without Words
Raising Godly Kids in a Spiritually Mismatched Home
Winning Them With Prayer
Marching Around Jericho
Kingdom Conversations
My Child Sees Monsters - Release date: June 1, 2021

Or you can choose from the vast video teaching: Equipping Warriors. Take a look. These videos WILL grow your faith and challenge you into greater faith in Jesus.

I'm so very honored and humbled to have walked with all of you for 15 years. Through the changes. The challenges. The tears. Emails of victories and those of tremendous sadness. I've loved you. Truly love you.

Thank you for being my brothers and sisters. We are joined together for all eternity and that brings great joy to me heart.

Okay, see you in the comments. Let's Celebrate SUM! Hugs, Lynn Donovan