112 posts categorized "Chronicles of The Donovan Clan"

Chronicles of the Donovan Clan - God Hit Me Upside The Head

So what has happened in our marriage, in my husband’s faith journey? Well do you remember that conversation that started this weird journey? I shared that with you last week, read it here. Well, my husband started to attend church with me…… every week…… 

He has been attending church every Sunday since February. Interestingly, my man is not into the worship and music. So, get this, he rises from bed as I’m leaving for church with Caitie, showers, dresses, then drives to church by himself. He joins us as we sit on the right near the front just before the Pastor begins to talk. Not my perfect ideal but friends, he joins us for church of his own volition. 

The Four Horsemen surely must be riding because I NEVER dreamed my man would get out of bed on a Sunday to join me at church. The marriage class ended over a month ago. My husband has been at church. All is right with the world. 

Or is it? 

Darn it! Take a walk with me. 

My man attended a marriage class. I realize we actually have a pretty darn good marriage. He’s been at church with me every Sunday, willingly and rarely displays the “hostile stance.” 

But now these months later, I started talking with him about church attendance. I took great courage from our past breakthroughs and asked him to consider being baptized as a birthday gift for me. Shameless and manipulative, I know. (sheesh, I still make some big blunders in my faith walk with my unbeliever).

My sweet friends, he’s not there. Out of everything that has transpired, the class, the attendance, the faith and love I shower on him, he’s just not there. He told me he doesn’t believe. He told me he attends church because it’s the right thing to do for our family. He told me that it’s just not for him. 

Ugh! I could cry. The disappointment. The pain.

It's still not quite what I thought it would be. I asked him to join my life, as a husband, to be part of church. He did. I KNOW I should be so grateful. And I am. But, it's hallow. I want my husband to truly know the Lord of Lords. So, I keep praying. I keep hoping. And I am so utterly thankful that my man loves me this much to go to church when he really would choose to stay home. 

But astonishing further, from somewhere deep within, rises a hope in me that I can’t fully understand, nor explain. You see, I really, really KNOW God. I have dwelt in His presence and I believe with every part of my being that it’s all about timing. 

God’s timing. 

What God has shown me through this process are truths the enemy kept me from seeing. I have a great guy. Our marriage is in a beautiful place, it’s not perfect, but it’s us. It’s exactly what it’s supposed to be. Filled with love, trust, honesty, failures, yelling at times, mistakes, manipulation, and humanness. It’s the living experience of married love and relationship. It’s a marriage bathed in the love of Jesus because I’m the believer. It’s a marriage of hope, because I worship the God of hope. It’s a marriage of laughter, growth, and authentic relationship. 

I will continue to wait for my man’s salvation. I absolutely believe he will meet Jesus before he leaves this planet. I AM ABLE to even wait until a death-bed conversion if I must, because God is sovereign over my life. He has proven Himself over and over to me. He has provided, comforted, instructed (many times through my unbelieving husband), and He has loved me to distraction. 

I hope in Him.
I trust in Him.
I live for Him and his Son, Jesus. 

As the words of old say, “His grace is sufficient for me.” 

2 Corinthians 12:9 (KJV)
And he said unto me, My grace is sufficient for thee: for my strength is made perfect in weakness. Most gladly therefore will I rather glory in my infirmities, that the power of Christ may rest upon me. 

My friends, can you say these words today and let Jesus make them real in your life? Thank you for taking this long walk with me. I love you. I pray for you earnestly and for your spouse’s salvation. May the Lord bless you and keep you. 

Love, Lynn


Chronicles of the Donovan Clan - Fear

What is bizarre in all this is what happened inside of me. FEAR. 

After twenty years of asking for his willingness to attend a marriage class and receiving his rejection, I was terrified to say…… YES…… 

I literally didn’t answer him because I was overwhelmed by all the fears and feelings of rejection that ran over me as I sat dumbfounded in my chair. Let me share some of the thoughts that raced through my head in the few seconds that followed. 

If I say yes and he changes his mind, it will crush me.
I should just let him off the hook; after all, he really doesn’t want to go.
I’m not sure I want to go.
Can I handle taking my unbelieving husband to church where many judgmental Christians might make him feel embarrassed?
Will I be embarrassed if he says or does the wrong thing? 

Sheesh and GOOD GRIEF!! 

What a mess.

Continued….. 

So, I sat at my desk, fear flashing across my face, thoughts screaming, hesitation gipping my heart, my hope. I looked up at my husband. And can I tell you, my friends, on his face was an expression of pure vulnerability. He was filled with uncertainty and hesitancy as well. 

Looking at him in that moment, I felt the urging ever so softly by the Holy Spirit, to just say, “Yes.” 

“Yes.” I spoke directly into his face. “Yes, I really want you to go with me.” 

There. I said it. He agreed. Hello, what is happening around here? The Apocalypse surely must be at hand because I was convinced that I would NEVER see the day my husband willingly went to a marriage class, especially a class that was faith based. I felt light headed. He smiled slightly and disappeared to his office. I think we both were in need of processing. 

My friends, get this, I still can’t believe it. I ALMOST SAID NO. Please learn from me. If your husband is willing to go to a marriage class, say yes, don’t let fear keep you bound in chains. 

Well, the day of the first class arrives. Weird. I felt uncomfortable, so did he, I can imagine for all kinds of different reasons. However, we sat down at the table together, with might I add, four other couples and one couple with which we are friends. Weird again. How can you be authentic in this kind of scenario? I wasn’t sure what was about to happen. Let me tell you, I was praying under my breath, “O God, please just help us to get through this. Help me to keep my expectations out of this evening. Help Jesus, help. Amen.” 

The speaker took the lectern and spoke about marital conflict. Oh boy, nothing like jumping right into the real “stuff” we deal with. It was fascinating content. Our homes of origin, how we grew up, and how our family handled conflict, plays an enormous role in how we navigate conflict in our marriage. Duh! But, I hadn’t though specifically in these terms. 

You can likely guess that Mike and I handle conflict vastly differently. Duh! I did know this. In fact, as we sat through the evening, it started to hit me, I already knew this about him. I already know he’s wired like that. I know I’m wild and crazy and he’s reserved. I already knew this. I knew that. I really do KNOW this man and he knows me. We aren’t such a mystery to each other after all. So why have I believed that for so long? Whoa. 

We aren’t really struggling as I presumed. In fact, as I sat there listening over several weeks, I came to several conclusions. We are in a better place in our relationship than many the other two-believing couples in that room. We are mostly past many of our conflicts and differences and we truly in love and we are a happy. 

Enlightening. 

I still don’t really know how to process all that was revealed by attending this class. It wasn’t really the material of the class that changed my perspective, it was the realization I already have what I thought I didn’t. 

Now don’t get me wrong. My husband remains an unbeliever. We are still very much mismatched about many things. But, overall, on many levels and issues, we are resolved, at peace and truly happy. 

Who knew?

Okay, I have more to tell you about this and the original conversation that started all of this. However, I'm sorry, but it's going to have to wait for a week because beginning Monday, we have a special guest joining us.

You won't want to miss our mystery guest.

As I leave you today. Can I ask you this question? Could you perhaps be like me, you already have a better marriage than you think? Can you ask God about this. Ask Him to show you what you truly have and don't be a blonde-brain, such as me, and wait nearly 20 years to have God hit you upside the head and show you. Thoughts?

Love you, Lynn


Chronicles of the Donovan Clan - Never, say Never - This is NOT about James Bond

Several months ago, I told you that God was working some new things in my husband, in us. At the time, the Lord impressed upon me to hide these things in my heart until they were settled out. 

Today, all these months later, the changes that began in January and February have reached a stall and I have learned a few things. I think it’s time to share with you what I’ve learned. 

I remember the moment distinctly. I sat in my office, frozen, fearful to say, “Yes.” 

What ensued leading up to this moment was weird filled with conflict and hurt feelings and stress. Our 20th wedding anniversary was approaching and I remember saying something to my husband that went something like this: 

“We’ve been married now for 20 years. Honey, I “get it” that you don’t embrace my faith. I really understand. But, after 20 years can you see that it is who I am. I’m not going to change. There comes a point when as a married couple you do things for the other because it’s just the right thing to do for the relationship.” 

“I believe it’s time to accept that my faith, going to church, is simply part of who I am. So perhaps, we are at a place where you join me at church because you love ME. Perhaps, it’s what you give to me to show me your love.”

 “And think about the places and the things I do for you, just because I love YOU. I choose to be part of your life and interests not because it’s what I really want for me but because I love you and it’s just what married people do. They give of themselves to bring happiness to the other and to show them love.” 

Understand this part of the conversation was still a little heated and for the life of me, I can’t remember what the issue was that started it. 

My husband turned and left me in my office. I sat staring at my computer screen, actually feeling a bit peaceful about sharing this with my husband and a bit apprehensive at the same time. I turned back to my work and like many of our conversations, I believed we would not discuss it again. 

However, to my complete surprise, an hour later my man walked back into my office, which is really just a cubby hole in the hallway. So he walked down the hall and stood by my desk. I looked up. Hesitantly he asked me a question, “Do you want me to go with you to the marriage workshops at church that start this week?” 

STUNNED….. 

Let me tell you that for all of my married life I have wanted my husband to attend any kind of marriage workshop with me. Never, I mean never, ever, has he been willing to do so. So to say I was surprised, is the understatement of the century. 

What is bizarre in all this is what happened inside of me. FEAR. 

After twenty years of asking for his willingness to attend a marriage class and receiving his rejection, I was terrified to say…… YES…… 

I literally didn’t answer him because I was overwhelmed by all the fears and feelings of rejection that ran over me as I sat dumbfounded in my chair. Let me share some of the thoughts that raced through my head in the few seconds that followed. 

If I say yes and he changes his mind, it will crush me.
I should just let him off the hook; after all, he really doesn’t want to go.
I’m not sure I want to go.
Can I handle taking my unbelieving husband to church where many judgmental Christians might make him feel embarrassed?
Will I be embarrassed if he says or does the wrong thing? 

Sheesh and GOOD GRIEF!! 

What a mess. 

My friends, even as I type this I feel my anxiety rise. And, there is a lot more to tell in this story but as usual, I’ve gone way too long. Find me Friday as I share with you what happened next and then what happened after that. Oh and one more thing then happened later. 

It’s never boring at the Donovan house and it’s absolutely an epic adventure living the believers life.

Have a great week. Humor me and let me know what you think happened. Be blessed, Lynn


Unequally Yoked and the Atheist Blogs

Part III

A few months ago I was emailing back and forth to a friend of mine whose husband is a reader of atheist blogs. She was in such pain and in a quandary as to how to cope. Now I don’t pretend to have all the answers for each individual situation. I can only share what has worked in my life and marriage. 

Let me say that I love this young mom and wife. She is in the midst of fiery battles daily and is yet living for Jesus under tremendous persecution from her own spouse. And to add to the dynamics of her situation is how she is hard-wired, she hates confrontation. Many of us would go to great lengths to avoid confronting anyone let alone our spouse who holds a great deal of power to hurt us. 

I shared with my friend that there comes a time when we must say to our spouse that we are partners in marriage. That what our spouse believes does not diminish what we hold true. It’s appropriate to call them out and ask for our due respect as a spouse and a partner in the relationship. We must stand up and tell them that the words they speak against our faith are disrespectful and truly not what builds a marriage relationship. I know I advised her to tell her husband that she expected him to refrain from speaking about her faith and promise him that she would do the same about his atheist beliefs. 

Okay, that’s one take. For me, my moment of truth came unexpectedly. It was many years ago and I remember it clearly still today. 

My husband was angry. He was so riled up about my growing faith that he was constantly throwing arguments up for me to discount or contradict. He told me that I was foolish and that my faith embarrassed him. He was absolutely mystified that I, an intelligent woman, would ever even consider believing in a god. 

He was adamant and determined to “prove” to me God did not exist. 

At this point in our marriage, we had been down all these roads. You know, the paths of trying to defend my faith from a science point of view. Defending the truth of the Bible. Discussing intelligent design. Debates about the fossil record. The discovery of the Dead Sea Scrolls. Etc. etc. etc. 

My friends, I’ve had every conceivable conversation so if you feel like you are all alone in this, I know exactly how you feel. 

Okay, after years and years of debate, conflicts and arguments with each of us trying to convince the other of the error in their thinking, I finally gave up. 

Whew! What a relief. 

What follows is the simple conversation that seemed to finally help my husband accept my faith. Here we go. 

Me: Honey, why does it matter so much to you that I believe in God? My faith doesn’t make me stupid.

Him: I does too matter. (He states in great anger and frustration I might add.)

Me: But why? Why does it matter?

Him: Because you are living a lie.

Me: But how do you KNOW that I am wrong? You don’t know for sure. And let’s say that at the end of it all, we die and nothing happens. No heaven. No hell. We just cease to exist like you presume.

What I know is that I lived a life that was morally strong. I lived a life filled with joy. I have many friends who I love and who love me. I have given of myself to this world to make it a better place. 

Honey, my faith makes me happy. 

Him: (silence) 

Now there is likely more to this conversation but I just don’t remember what happened after that. However, the dynamics in our marriage relationship changed upon that conversation. 

Honey, my faith makes me happy……. 

The key to this kind of conversation is waiting until they are truly ready to hear it. He was ready that day. 

Pray that the Lord will give you several things to equip you to walk this journey. 

  • First, that He and YOU seal your mind, heart and soul in the truth of your identity. Know who you are in Christ. 
  • Second, pray for courage, Joshua courage to step up to the task of confronting immature behavior and words toward your faith. 
  • Three, pray for discernment and wisdom and for an opening to have a conversation with your spouse. God loves to honor those prayers. 

Identity
Courage
and an open door. 

And this very day, I also give you dominion over your delete key. Decide today that you will not allow your husband to be used by the enemy to create doubt. Reject the fiery darts of the enemy. Live in joy. As Beth Moore says, “JOY, is our birthright in Christ.” 

Live victoriously and let the enemy quake with fear and the atheist blogs go wild, because we are children of the Most High God and NO ONE CAN TOUCH THAT. 

Be blessed, Lynn

If God had picture


What Happened on March 14th? I Still Ponder it All.

SPOILER ALERT….. SPOILER ALERT….SPOILER ALERT 

I know that there are many of you reading and working through the questions of our book right now. There’s a story I share in the book that I have never told here on the blog. It’s the story of a glimpse into the miraculous and it happens in chapter eight. Well actually it happened on our front driveway. *grin* 

 

Wining Him Cover New 2011

I won’t retell the story here but today I want to share with you that this particular encounter continues to fill my heart with hope. Like Mary, she treasured the small things of Jesus in her heart. I too, treasure this day and I ponder it often. 

 

The reason I speak of it is because this week, I opened my daily Bible to March 14th and written there in the margin at the top of the page it reads: 2008- Mike ….. (okay, I can’t tell you what it says or it will spoil the book). But just let me say that it all starts with a landscape contractor named Joe. 

What makes this date uniquely intriguing is that March 14th is our wedding anniversary. I had completely forgotten that this event occurred on the date we were married. Isn’t that just like God to go to the ridiculous degree of detail to surprise, astonish and love on us? It freaks me out sometimes. 

But this year, 2012, this March 14th is our 20th wedding anniversary. 

Wow…. Twenty years. My friends. I had my doubts at times. But I wouldn’t trade one minute of my mismatched marriage because it’s been the very frustrations and struggles that have brought me into this fantastic love relationship with Jesus and with my husband. 

So, celebrate with us. Twenty years and counting. 

And for all of you who are reading or have read our book, allow me to share some of my pondering about this particular day in 2008. I wonder what you might think about it all. 

I had no idea that Joe was a Christian when I hired him. When Joe sat in my kitchen he told me he couldn’t write English so I filled in the contract and signed it. I thought it odd at the time. I think it very odd now indeed. 

Joe was Italian. He spoke English and Italian. And Spanish now that I come to think of it. He had a tiny bit of an accent but not too heavy. I can't stress enough how odd it is that I came to hire an Itialian contractor in Southern California where the trade is predominately, Hispanic.

Now get this. Joe sported a modestly curly head of BLONDE hair and he had blue eyes. Not your typical Italian. He was filled with the spirit and in my mind; Joe was on assignment to the Donovan house. I’ve never heard from Joe since that time but every time I think of him, I smile. As I ponder all the things the occurred in that two weeks back in 2008, I wonder, maybe, just maybe, an angel???? 

I will never know for sure but in my heart, I treasure the thought. 

-----

March 14.

Two newly married young people.

One extraordinary God. 

I wonder, what God has planned for the next twenty years? Whatever it is, I KNOW it's going to be one awesome ride and I have a fantastic front row seat.

Be Blessed, Lynn


What Really Happens When We Worship. I Promise I'm Not Weird.

Chronicles of the Donovan Clan:

On Wednesday I experienced something with the Lord that I am still processing. It’s a bit unusual but as I lay in bed that night, I felt the same compulsion to share the experience with you. This is exactly how I felt on Wednesday evening when I shared it with the women with whom I was sitting.

Sharing these kinds of experiences is often a scary prospect for me but God has a way of keeping me humble by keeping me awkward. And my obedience and my joy in sharing this story trump my personal comfort and pride. I pray when you read these words you will forever be changed as you experience worship.

Here we go…..

 

 

Whirlwind2

For several weeks I have attended a Wednesday night Bible study in preparation for our church’s annual Women’s Retreat. The study is comprised of the leadership and all the helping hands for the weekend. On Wednesday there were roughly 25-30 women, all sitting in the chairs that are positioned in a horse-shoe shape so we can see one another as well as the worship leader and speaker.

First let me describe a scene from the southwest. I live in a community in California that is considered somewhat high desert. The valley where my home is located is considered inland, a significant distance away from the coast. However, costal breezes make their way to us in the latter half of the day. On a hot summer’s day, as the rising temperatures blow out of the east off the Mojave Dessert toward our town, they mix with cooler costal winds and when the two meet, they really stir up a fight. Out in the middle of the fields you can watch the battle, a swirling, rushing whirlwind whipping frantically toward heaven and then they quickly disappear. See the photo. Now keep that image in your mind.

 

I love this annual study. Many of my long time sisters in Christ serve and are part of this eight weeks. The evening always begins with worship and our sweet, Ellie, sings and plays the guitar like a professional. She begins to play and we follow her lead and sing.

We worship.

The music builds, hands raise, eyes are closed. We are in full-out worship of our Lord. The third song this night is very familiar. Most of us know the words by heart. We sing. The harmonies and the sweetness of the unison voices fill the room and that is when it happened.

I opened my eyes as I felt the crescendo of the chorus. And as I looked around the room I had only what I can call as some sort of a vision. I couldn’t see anything with my eyes but in my mind I was watching the praises of God’s people begin to swirl in a counter-clockwise direction around the room over our heads. Like a whirlwind.

The praises swept along faster and faster and then spiraled wildly upward….. to heaven.

*gulp*

The power of the Holy Spirit was so prevalent that I immediately was covered from head-to-toe with what I call Holy goose bumps. And as I stood there, I completely was so overwhelmed by God’s presence that I could no longer even speak. I couldn’t sing. I felt as though I was going to lift off the ground.

As the music slowed, I began having a kind of conversation with God.

“Oh , Wow, Oh Wow. Lord… Lord… Lord… I love you.”

This is what I heard next, “Tell them.” Not what I expected.

What? Tell them (the ladies in the room) what I just saw. Are you kidding? They will think I’m whacked.

“Tell them.”

Me, “Okay Lord, but You will have to create an opportunity because this is weird.”

Then silence. I was freaked. I slowly sat down as our worship time ended. And then…. God moved.

Normally, after worship, Ellie prays and then the speaker takes the lectern. And I knew if that happened right now the opportunity to “tell them” will pass. And I KNEW I wasn’t going to blurt out to the crowd what I just witnessed. So I waited and then to my utter surprise astonishment, the woman sitting next to me said to the group, “I just love it when we sing and I can hear all your voices.”

Can I just say….. DOUBLE GULP.

God just set the stage for me to "tell them"as this woman was talking about the SINGING. So, I gathered my courage and followed up her sentence and explained what just happened to the room. I don’t remember what I said but I’m sure it sounded weird.

It was awkward but God wanted them to know something. And now God is compelling me to further awkwardness as He compels me to share this story with you.

God wants us to know how valuable our worship is to Him. It is so powerful, so spiritual that He personally sweeps our worship from earth. He carries our praises up unto Himself in a giant whirlwind just like He did on Wednesday as He swept that room with a Holy fury.

He impressed upon me as I sat there that night that there are many of His children who sing to Him in a crowded room and they don’t really understand the significance. They don’t realize just how very close He is to us. But He is near, within our very breath.

I know there are times I have sat in Sunday worship and I was just singing… In a crowd. The significance lost on me.

Well, never again. I will forever be changed as I worship because God is present. And my friends, the sheer euphoria of that experience will carry me on for a lifetime.

I’m sharing this experience today because God impresses me to tell His people that worship is priceless to Him. He draws near and he watches with a smile as broad as the sunrise. So this Sunday, step into your church and worship.

I pray you will also be forever changed by an amazing, loving, and all-powerful God.

Be blessed, Lynn


Your Kid's Faith - From the Chronicles of the Donovan Clan

It was the best of times……

        It was the worst of times…..

Tebrad2
Last Saturday evening I sat in front of the television and watched the painful demise of my beloved Broncos as they were pounded by the Patriots in what can only be described as a massacre.

It was sad.

I sat around the family room with several of my friends and several of my daughter’s teenaged friends who showed up wearing Patriots Jerseys and waving blue and red Pat’s flags. Sheesh. No respect around here. *grin.*

In spite of my dashed hopes for a Superbowl birth, something fantastic was taking place that no one else knew about but me, my 16 year old daughter and God.

A decision point occurred.

Earlier that day, most of my daughter’s friends made plans to leave our house at half time. They were meeting up with other friends at a local theater to watch a play. My daughter was included in the plans. I didn’t think too much about this particular adventure because as you may know my daughter is very active in Theater Arts and she and I and her friends attend live plays frequently.

But, what I didn’t know is this particular play wasn’t a G rated production. In fact, the play included characters of moral question and some nudity. Yep, you heard me correctly.

Before the game started and friends began to arrive, my daughter stopped what she was doing in the kitchen. She was helping me prepare some snacks and was whipping up a light version of Con queso for later.

“Mom.”

“Hunh?”

“I don’t think I’m going to go to the play with everyone tonight.”

“Why not?”

“Mom, I just don’t feel comfortable about it. There is nudity and other things in that play that will bother me.”

“Oh Honey, I am so proud of you that you made this choice for yourself and not because it’s what I would have wanted."

I looked at this kid from across the kitchen in amazement. Would I have made the same choice under such peer-pressure at her age? I’m ashamed to say, likely no.

Will she always make choices like this? Likely no.

Later I overheard my daughter on the phone to one of the kids. She was responding to the obvious question, “Why aren’t’ you going with us to the play?”

“It just doesn’t sit right with my morals. So I’m not going.”

She was brave enough to be different and stand apart from her friends and face possible ridicule, mocking and be left out in the future. Wow, many adults don't have this kind of courage.

In this small moment, God allowed me to understand that all the years, tears and prayers I have poured into this child were now bringing forth fruit. My daughter is choosing for herself based upon her morals, values, and faith. She is grasping my faith and making it her own.

Even in the midst of an unequally yoked home.

To every mom and dad out there who worries over your kids, I share this story to encourage you. Don’t stop praying. Don’t stop grasping those teachable moments when they are younger. Live out your faith in front of your kids so when they are older they will know how to live their faith as well. Teach them how to pray. Help them to make choices and coach them how to talk to their friends. You be the out. Let them blame, “My bad-ole mother. She won’t let me go with you.” Give them every opportunity to choose right over wrong.

To choose Jesus.

Mostly you, mom or dad, love Jesus with all of your heart, soul, mind and strength. That is the best parenting advice anyone could ever receive.

Have a blessed day. Hug your kids today from Aunty Lynn

Matthew 12: 30-31 (NIV) (Jesus said) Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind and with all your strength. ‘The second is this: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’ There is no commandment greater than these.”


A Charlie Brown Christmas For Me

Charlie brownI grew up waiting each Christmas season for two special TV shows to appear on our old television set. Yes, I grew up in the “Dark Ages”, according to my teenager. There weren’t video recordings nor hundreds of channels with millions of re-runs. You had one chance, once a year. That was it. I anxiously awaited, A Charlie Brown Christmas which was followed by The Grinch That Stole Christmas.

I would sit in the basement, next to the aluminum Christmas tree with the weird color wheel turning. Mom, would bring down the freshly popped corn which was coated with the most divine candy coating and we would make popcorn balls. With popcorn ball in hand, I sat criss-cross apple sauce on the floor and watch as Charlie Brown and the gang lit up our small television.

This is my personal testimony of the meaning of Christmas in my life. Join me at the Cafe Today.

Have a blessed week, Lynn


Couple of Updates

Good Monday Morning.

My heart is full as I write to all of you my friends that meet here at SUM. This particular Christmas season offers a unique gift. I have watched God work through all the struggles, challenges and pain in my life and bring it all into perspective.

I have come full circle. And it is good.

I share my story in our December Newsletter. If you are not receiving our monthly e-Newsletter, Thrive in Love, please click over and sign up. Your email address is absolutely confidential and never shared with anyone.

Read this month's here and receive January's in your inbox.

I also want to announce the winner of the Thanksgiving Twitter prizes. Thank you for all who joined us in posting praises through Twitter #PraiseatSUM. The winner is: MamaCre8s. Heather Gafney. Heather, email me your mailing address. 

I'm signing off today as I have so much to do before I fly out of town tomorrow. But, I have a story that is still in progress about my daughter. It's a tough story and I'm waiting to see how God works in all of it. Stay tuned. 

I love you my friends. Press into Jesus and let this scripture fall fresh on your heart today. Be Blessed, Lynn

Luke 2:10-11And the angel said unto them, Fear not: for, behold, I bring you good tidings of great joy, which shall be to all people.

For unto you is born this day in the city of David a Saviour, which is Christ the Lord.

 


Creating Christmas Memories with your Kids on the Cheap

Holiday Traditions

Some of you know that I can be a bit wacky. With that said, my adventurous nature is in full gear during the Christmas season. And I AM, ahem, adventurous. And I share my escapades with my daughter. We have built memories that will last forever.

One of our favorite things to do at Christmas is decorate. Ya, ya, ya, blah, blah, blah, decorate (yawn)…. What else is new?

Yes, but we decorate in “Donovan” style. We always decorate the outside of our home. And it’s never typical. We like to create our decorations and we don’t do anything ordinary.

Read the rest of this story over at Sharing the Journey.

Christmas Traditions


These are some of our favorite holiday antics from the Donovan home to yours this season.

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Hope you have a chance to try one of them. Hugs, Lynn


Effective Spiritual Warfare in an Unequally Yoked Home

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So, ummm, yep, nothing like an eight hour car ride to challenge a marriage.

Yep, we traveled last week. In the car. With two teenagers, in heavy, holiday traffic in a car that barely seats four. First to visit four colleges in three days then on to northern California with my husband’s family. Finally, a long drive home in demanding and stressful conditions. Are we nuts?

It’s interesting how a change of venue compounded by stress of travel and family expectations will reveal the good, bad, and ugly in a relationship.

Overall our week went well but…… there was this one day. It was day three after a long college tour and we had another six hours on the road before we reached our next destination. And now as I’m home and can think back over the day, I’m able to view it through the eyes of the Holy Spirit.

After the tour we piled in the car and began the drive. Conversation was light but the tension was rising. We didn’t get on the road as early as my husband had wanted. He was a bit testy most of the day and now an hour into the drive I think the word that comes back to me is, mean. Now let me say here, my husband is not a mean tempered man. In fact, he is genuinely a kind and gentle spirit most of the time. But, now as I reflect back I can see something I didn’t see at the time.

A mean spirit.  

It was rising and after some words back and forth, I’m not totally innocent in this exchange, my husband’s temper rose up and hurtful words were spoken. It crushed me and I fell silent. I couldn’t speak and for the remainder of the long drive, I was silent. What was even stranger to me was his driving. It was so unusually cautious. SO not the norm. My husband is a safe and cautious driver to begin with but his driving was uncharacteristic, so much so that my teen daughter even asked me if dad was okay.

Now at the time, I didn’t see what was really going on but boy howdy, do I see it today.

This mean spirit was in reality an evil spiritual influence. The spiritual warfare going on in that car must have been intense. I can look back at the interactions now and even see how my husband’s normal demeanor changed in that period of time. I will also share that even his face, somehow, looked different. The best way I can describe it is a glint in his eyes and an air of confrontation (not normal), and a steel faced determination/dominance? Okay, I’m not finding the exact words. But, I’ve seen that look before and it's not good.

But why am I sharing this with you? Because when we get out of our normal protective boundaries of our home we are entering into a realm of spiritual battlefield where we are unprepared and unprotected. THIS is exactly what I believe happened on day three of this long drive. The spiritual battle opened up and I was unprepared for it. And zing, I’m hit full force with mean words which incapacitated me for hours.

Man.

What is hard about writing this is that I KNEW that this kind of thing happens to me when I travel and I even prayed asking for protection, a few weeks leading up to our trip. But, as I sat with God the next morning early with my Bible and journal praying about it, taking my hurt to God and asking Him about this odd and painful exchange, He revealed to me that I hadn’t prayed with a fervor and with the time I needed to put into it.

We live in the spiritual realm and our prayers are crucial to so much that God desires for us but we don’t pray it through. And I’m convinced as the Holy Spirit has impressed me that I needed to spend an hour every morning for two weeks leading up to the trip in prayer for protection, wisdom, to bind the enemy in the power of Jesus.

I wonder if you might be in the same place? Are you recognizing spiritual warfare in your unbelieving spouse? And are you at a loss as to why God doesn’t seem to do anything about it? I wonder if it’s time to ignite your prayer life? I wonder how much we leave on the table just because we are too lazy, to rushed, to self-important to pray. An hour a day, every day can change everything.

Perhaps this post will not resonate with anyone. Perhaps it’s only for me.  

But just writing it has made me determined that I’m not going to let the enemy slip past my protective boundaries again because I’m lazy or rushed. My spiritual life is too important and if you think about it, I allowed an open door for an evil spirit to come in and speak lies and influence my husband, which ended up hurting all of us.

I know better. As a wife of an unbeliever, God has called me to be the spiritual leader of our home. It’s my charge to pray for protection, Godly wisdom and discernment and to lead with the love of Christ. God wouldn’t have called me to lead our home on my own if He didn’t think I was up for the task.

I can and will defeat the enemy. The devil and his minions have nothing on me. I will pray for angels to surround us, to protect us, to lead us. I will ask God to help me recognize spiritual warfare more quickly and to pray with fervor against it. I will use the Word of God as my sword and the enemy will flee in screaming terror from a mere, five foot, four inch blonde girl.

Just imagine what else I can do just because I believe, I pray and I live for Jesus.

Have a great week. Live in victory. Hugs, Lynn

 


Chronicles of the Donovan Clan -
NEVER The Same

I will Never Be The Same. 

I hope after these word I share with you that YOU will never be the same. 


Warrior wives in riverside 005 Last week two women arrived at my home. They are from a town about an hour away where I recently went to speak to their group. They call themselves the Warrior Wives and they had completed the study of Winning Him Without Words. I was privileged to join them to talk about our book and to hear their thoughts about how the book influenced their lives. 

I can tell you I was deeply humbled to be among them. 

During this time one of the women told a fantastic story about her marriage. I loved her story so much that I invited her to share it with all of you. Shelly arrived to my home along with Liz, another great friend and a Warrior Wife, to sit with my and share her adventure. 

Watch for that video in October on The Intentional Marriage. YOU WON’T WANT TO MISS THIS ONE. 

After our recording, we went to lunch and chatted another two hours. 

And that is when it happened. 

Shelly was recounting her unequally yoked journey and how at one point she wanted to divorce. She looked at me and said that divorce was NOT an option because, and I quote, 

“I love God more than I love myself.” 

That is obedience. That is love. 

It was as if the words from her lips were spoken by God directly to my soul. I heard in that instant the Lord say this, “Lynn, you don't love me more than you love yourself.” 

And in that moment I knew the Lord was right. 

I thought I loved my God more than me but in a flash, instances of sins arose in my mind that said I love my convenience, my pleasures, my selfishness and……. my pride, more than God. I think I justified that selfishness, “I’m not hurting anyone or causing another to stumble.” 

But, God said to me, “Lynn, do you not, refrain from talking about me to people you think will ridicule you? Are you embarrassed to speak about your faith on Facebook or in certain social settings? Lynn, why do you hesitate to worship me in front of your spouse? Why are you allowing your stomach to be an idol in your life?” 

Okay, brutal honesty….. And it may not sit well with you that I am sharing from a vulnerable place today, but I know there is someone who is reading this that also needs to hear some tough truth spoken into their heart. Someone to whom our God is asking, 

“Do you love me more than yourself?” 

God is calling me to tame my stomach, to worship in reckless abandon, to get over my pride and to talk about Him to my neighbors, to my unsaved Facebook friends, and to whomever He sends to me. He is telling me, “Lynn, love Me more than yourself because what I have is so much better than your silly conveniences, your love of food, your pride in front of people.” 

I surrendered over the weekend, with tears and with such enourmous joy that I can barely contain it. Do you want to know what that feels like. The kind of overwhelming love that God will pour over you when you love Him more than you love yourself?

Then allow our God to speak to you right now.

Is God asking you, “Do you love me more than yourself?”


Donovan Clan Is Dating

Some interesting things are happening in the Donovan Clan house. And today I want to share with you some of my thoughts about all of it. I also will acknowledge that some of you will disagree with me and some of you I might offend. However, I also know there a many of us moms and dads who are raising children in a mismatched home who are dealing with my situation or will be there soon. So let’s have a go at it shall we? 

Dating…. 

Teenhand My daughter turned sixteen in June. Yesterday she went to the movies with a boy (a guy, in her vernacular and a smart one too, she says *grin*) 

How do we guide our children through this critical period of growing up? This is an especially sensitive topic when you are living in a spiritually mismatched home. And to compound our confusion and angst, we receive little or conflicting teaching from our Christian leaders. 

I hold some great convictions about dating as you might imagine because more than anything, I desire my son and daughter to marry a Christian. 

But, what I’m going to share with you might be surprising. 

First, I find that most of us parents establish a mandate that dating can commence once a child turns 16 years of age. I disagree. 

Let me ask you this. Let’s assume that today your child is 15 and socially immature, painfully shy, or reserved. Tomorrow they are 16 and emotionally unprepared to date. What makes 16 a magic number? I would suggest that as parents, we should be so in tune with our teenager that we know when they are responsibly and maturely ready to date. If you aren’t, there is a degree of communication that is missing. 

Sixteen is a good target age but what really matters is that you “know” your child so well that if they are ready to go to the movie with a boy at 15 ½ you are okay with it or that you are not okay with it and your child understands your reasoning. Leading up to this decision time insure that there have been numerous discussions between you and your teen and a meeting of the minds. I found this to be true with my daughter and she was in agreement that she wasn’t ready. Also, if they aren’t ready at 16, don’t let them walk out the door into a situation for which they are emotionally unprepared. 

Secondly, I am not against her dating a non-believer right now. 

Shock and gasp! 

I know, I know…. But this is why. These are my daughter’s teen years. This is when she will step slowly and gently into developing her ideals for her perfect man. It’s in these years where she is not looking to marry that she will discover what kind of guy she likes. Uncover the character traits she values. She will discover that she is able to put down boundary lines in a relationship and at some point will understand the consequences when a boundary is crossed. 

She will learn about the vast differences between men and women and start to understand how it takes effort. She will also discover that belief systems affect so many, many choices. Such as movie and television selections as well as friends and the kind of parties she likes and those that make her uncomfortable. 

All of this discovery is supposed to happen when they still have us, parents, around to gently guide them. And may I stress the word, GENTLY. 

Before my daughter even started dating, I made it clear that any guy she really likes will be expected to come around the house and just hang out. Not so we can make snap-judgments or scare the poor kid but to just be together and get to know him and he us. You can learn so much from just being together. And even more critical, we usually can see if something isn’t quite right about the relationship. This is a starting place. Make your home a safe place so your kid’s are comfortable to bring around their friends. 

It's also in this period of teenaged years that we play a cirital roll to help our kids with choices, give gentle advice and even sometimes be sturn for their protection.

We have the privilege to guide our kids in this formative time so that when they leave and are seeking to marry, they have firm convictions of the character, goals, values and beliefs they want in their spouse. 

I know my viewpoint is contrary to Covenant Dating which was popular in the 90’s. But, over time and some experiences of friends, I’m not sold on that perspective. 

Third, I am convinced the years of praying for my children’s future spouse and the in-laws will be honored by my Lord. So, if you are not praying, by name, for each of your children every morning, begin today. 

So last night when my daughter came home I looked at her with a grin and said, “So, how was it?” 

“Fine.” (Typical teen response. I wanted to hear all the tiny details, so I pried further.) 

“Did you hold hands?” Her mouth tipped up on the ends into a shy smile. 

A nod. 

“Did you kiss?” 

Nod. She’s trying not to be embarrassed. I’m trying not to giggle. 

I smiled at her. She blushed. We hugged. You know what? At least she is sharing with me her experience. She trusts me. All is right with the world. 

I am far from the perfect parent and perfect wife. Let me say that again…. Far from perfect. But, I have a heart full of love, God’s Word and prayer power. That is all I need to guide this young woman through dating and to one day a marriage to a believer. (O, Lord, let it be so. In Jesus name. Amen) 

Be Blessed, Lynn


Stuck on the Edge

Perhaps you are curious.

After last Monday’s post about my husband and our church experience (read it here), I will let you know that over the weekend my husband’s family was visiting, thus he didn’t attend church. However, earlier in the week we had a discussion about church and our conversation that ensued that morning during the service. I’m still processing that conversation and am waiting for the Lord to show me where it all may lead. So stay tuned, God isn’t finished yet. 

However, I DID attend church yesterday morning and the message resounded with promise and truth. I want to share just a few highlights in hope that you are encouraged and that TODAY is your first step toward......

The Promised Land. 

For many of us who live with an unbeliever, I think we sit on the banks of the river looking across the vast and treacherous waters of the roiling river. We are just like the Israelites. Centuries pass but the human heart and soul still wrestles with many of the same problems. We look across the river and see the Promised Land. Our Promised Land is a life lived in peace with our spouse who is a believer. 

But just like the people of old, we sit at the bank and yearn for freedom and abundance. We see the giants. We know there is danger, heartache, possible loss and we become too fearful to take a step toward the promises. 

JordanSo, how do we get across the river? 

The answers are in Joshua, chapter 1 &3. Our answer and crossing is the same today as it was for the Israelites. 

  • Be strong and courageous. Trust God and take His courage.
  • Keep God’s Word. Keep it close by and obey what it says. Learn the promises of God and repeat them often to yourself.
  • Get your supplies ready. Be practical about being ready for life. Prepare your home, put in place your marriage boundaries, interventions, and mostly love out of giant heart.
  • Get a power greater than yourself. PRAY and do it often. Ask for God’s discernment and wisdom. You will then be equipped to understand what is really going on and can act in wisdom and love. This is also where you need Godly advisers. Men or women who will be truthful and prayerful with you.
  • Consecrate yourself. Surrender completely. When you finally, finally give up control, that is when God moves with power.
  • Get in the river and see what God does. This is scary but it’s oh, so worth it. 

Get up this Monday. Read Joshua chapters one through three and then get in there. The promises of God await. Salvation is at hand and there is a fabulous marriage to be enjoyed. 

Happy Monday. Hugs, Lynn 

*Inspired by Keith Potter. Thanks Keith!


Chronicles of the Donovan Clan -
A Setback or a Step Forward?????

Cross blue sky Yesterday I had a breakthrough. And it happened in church.

During the summer months, translate – not football season- my husband will attend church with me on occasion. Yesterday my man and daughter went to church with me. Woo Hoo.

But, why is it I’m still not happy? Sheesh. I mean really. More than anything, I have yearned for my man to sit with me in church. Now after many, many years of praying, there I am seated between Caitie and my husband.

This is a strange journey, the unequally yoked.

What I think happened yesterday morning is something many of you have faced and what many more of you will deal with down the road. There are times in our lives when our unbelieving spouse will attend church with us. And when that day arrives, it should be one of the happiest days of our lives. However, I’m finding sitting with my spouse terribly challenging and emotional.

Why?

I am uber concerned over the experience my husband will have and what that experience means for his future salvation and his future church attendance. (Please, someone tell me I’m not alone here).

Anyway, for years I have believed and have made a solemn commitment that I would change churches or go anywhere (Christian) if only my husband would attend. Well yesterday morning God hit me upside the head and this is how it went down.

Right from the beginning, I should have known something was up. Every sentence out of my mouth during the car ride to church was met with an immediate counter argument from my spouse. After the fourth incident I said, “Are you trying to have an argument with me this morning?” After all, the topics of conversation weren’t confrontational and I will add my daughter piped up and replied to her dad after he said, “I’m not trying to argue.”

Her response, “Ya,,,, you are.”

Okay, typical on the way to church whether believing or non-believing, arguments will breakout. This is a clue that the spiritual realm is in full battle. I smile because I “get” what is really going on. I say a quick prayer and the conversation is light for the remaining ride.

We shuffle into our seats and the praise team is in full chorus. We hadn’t been there more than two minutes and my man leans over to me and says, “The music is loud this morning.”

This is a common complaint. This followed his demanding question earlier in the car on the ride in, “Who is teaching today.” Translate – I only want to hear one specific teacher.

Two minutes into the service, I’m completely stressed out. I’m concerned about who the teacher might be. I’m concerned about the music. I’m concerned about …. whatever the current week’s complaint might be.

I snapped.

At that moment.

And it wasn’t anger or frustration or concern or worry.

I actually smiled and I found freedom.

I leaned into my husband and said, “Our pastor said that our church plays the music a little louder on purpose. It reaches an audience that is desperate for Christ and if it’s too loud for you then this church isn’t for you.”

He turned to me and said, “Well then this church isn’t my church.”

My smile grew as the freedom grew in my heart, “Well there is a blue-hair church off Highway 79.” I turned back to the worship leader and just smiled.

In years previous, this exchange would leave me crushed and bleeding. But I was smiling inspite of my glance in his direction where I see his typical hostile stance, arms on his hips, elbows jutting out and glaring straight forward.

As I stood there, peace overcame me. It’s as if the Lord said, “Lynn he is not going to go to another church. He will always go with you. So don’t you worry about it.”

Then I prayed while standing there, “Lord, you deal with him (I’m blunt that way with the Lord). He is looking for every excuse to nitpick church to death and I won’t have it anymore. I can’t make church be the perfect experience. Lord, you deal with him.”

My smile grew.

I knew God would deal with him. I just knew.

Within minutes after giving my husband to God to “deal with him,” I noticed his arms relax down to his sides and his posture unwind.

He even reached over later in the service to hold my hand.

Well, I’m not sure where this pivotal change in my universe will lead but I have asked God to deal with him. If my husband is looking for any excuse to stop going, he got it yesterday. But in my heart I’m not worried. God will deal with it.

After 19 years of marriage, I realize that my husband’s church attendance isn’t going to save him. Jesus Christ is going to save him and my husband will come to a place where he wants to attend church because… And only because, he wants to.

And I’m okay, really okay with that.

Be Blessed, Lynn


And She Treasured Them In Her Heart

Good Monday Morning Everyone:

I'm home.

Aaaaah, home sweet home. Most of you know that the Donovan Clan took a vacation to beautiful Door County, Wisconsin. Our next door neighbors, here in California, invited us up for a week of R&R. I'm exhausted. But what a blast. 

Door County is beautiful. I didn't know God could out do Himself in the creation department. 

Wrong again. Take a look. Here are some photos of several old barns and the silos I discovered while driving around.

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I'm fascinated by these old barns. I'm told they are slowly disappearing because repair expense for a wooden barn far exceeds the cost to construct a new aluminum barn which holds up better in their frigid winters. Tragic really. I love them.

Anyhoo, on our last evening I witnesses a full orange moon rise over the lake. It was as if God said, "Lynn, this is just for you."

Orange moon rise clarks lake
Astonishing. I'm still struck by the beauty as I type.

I have a thousand and one stories. Most of them would likely bore you to tears but I have to share this one.

Last Sunday, our neighbor, Tom, with whom we were staying, was semi-considering taking his two kids to the local Catholic church.

I pipped up, "Can I come along."

"Sure"

So I rushed to shower and get ready. Now get this, by the time I arrived at the church the entire two families had dressed and we all sat down together for the service.

Including my husband. 

Hilarious.

My unbelieving husband attending another church service. You just never know what God might do to surprise you. He especially loves to toy with atheists.

It was a facinating service in a small country community. Absolutely charming. A first for all of us.

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Sometimes I feel like I understand scripture just a tiny bit better. In this instance, I feel like I understand how Mary, the mother of Jesus, might have felt about tiny precious moments.

Just like her....I too treasured up all these things and pondered them in my heart. (Luke 2:19 NIV)

What will God do next in our Donovan Clan adventure? I can't wait to find out. It's sure to be facinating, inspiring, hilarious and it will ALL bring glory to Christ.

WOO HOO! Bring it on Lord. Bring it on.

Have a fantastic week. Breathe in the fresh air sometime this week and give HIM thanks. Be blessed, Lynn

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Chronicles of the Donovan Clan

I’m thinking it’s time for a Chronicles update.

This is one of the most meaningful posts about the Chronicles I have written to-date. Up until now, I hesitated to share with you what happened on May 6th. But today the Lord said to me, “It’s time.”

For those of you who are new to our website the Chronicles of the Donovan Clan is my ongoing personal story of our family, Jesus, and my husband’s journey to faith. You can read past post of the Chronicles in our archives.

May 6, 2011:

It’s a Friday morning and my 15-year-old daughter will be taking the biggest exam of the entire school year today. Her first period class is AP Euro (Advanced Placement European History). This is a college curriculum and college credit exam. A passing grade will allow her to take this credit with her to college.

Now I don’t know about your kids but my brainiac gets herself completely worked up just before a big exam. The night before, she is on edge. She is so wound up she usually can’t study. Thankfully she has her Daddy’s giant memory and knows her stuff.  To placate me, she will eventually try to settle down and at least pretend to study.

So the morning of the exam, Friday, May 6th, she is teetering on the edge of complete lunacy. She gets out of bed, heads to the couch for some TV to wake up. I glance at her sideways and carefully craft a simple question, “Cereal?” She glowers in my direction and her girl claws surface. I could almost hear the, “Reeeeeee-eeeer” rising from her throat.

She snaps sarcasm my direction. I let it slide as I know how stressed she is and isn’t that just like a family. We always take out our frustrations on those we love. Ahem, I would never do that *grin.*

I lay low in my office while she eats. My husband is hiding out in the bedroom pretending the cat fights aren’t actually happening in the other part of the house. Coward!

Anyway, the teen dresses and tosses a few more angry glares and caustic words my way. Let me be clear here, I’m not likely to suffer through disrespect from anyone but on this particular morning, I let it pass and gave her THE LOOK.

Comon’ you know “the look.” The purposeful stare that only a mom can give that communicates all manner of retribution is waiting if said child chooses to say one more thing. Period. The end.

She grabs her backpack and stomps to the car. I whisper a prayer of thanks to the Good Lord above that she is finally leaving. I pick up my purse and quickly walk into the bedroom where my husband is dressing.

“Honey, I’m leaving to take Caitie to school.” I talk quickly. “She is really stressed out. You need to pray for her.”

Okay, I have asked my husband to pray on occasion in the past. He will shrug it off or to placate me say, “I will.” I don’t ask too often but that particular morning, I would take anyone praying beside me for our kid.

Now get this. He says to me, “I already prayed for her and I prayed for you.”

In my rush, I smack him on the lips and sprint out the door to get said primadonna to school in time for the exam. I drop her off and pray up a storm for her success as I circle around the school. I wave at Officer Baily as I pass and then head back home.

THAT’S when it hits me. Did he say he already prayed…… for her……. for me????  

What do I do with this simple yet life-altering statement? Let me share some of my private reflections. Did he really say he prayed? Who was he praying to? He prayed of his own volition. Does that mean he believes?

Handholdingrest It wasn’t until today when we were at lunch after church. Yes, he went with me this morning. No, rephrase. I went early to a class. He got up on his own, drove to church and met me in the sanctuary. It wasn’t until today that I gathered the courage to ask him about that morning.

Starting this kind of conversation is a scary aspect. Marriage to an unbeliever is a tight rope at times. Discussions of faith are a risk. Pain and or disappointment can follow. “Honey, I want to ask you about something…. I recreate the morning of May 6th with my descriptions, taking him with me back to that morning. “Honey, you said you prayed for Caitie and you prayed for me. You prayed of your own choice before I even asked. It touched me deeply that my husband prayed for me. I have waited 19 years for that.”

He looked at me with kindness in his eyes,“I have prayed for you more than just then. In fact, I pray for you more than you know.”

Please imagine, blonde, 5 foot 4 inch, Lynn Donovan, as a deer in headlights stunned to silence on the bar stool in the restaurant.

I have so many more questions I want to ask him but the Spirit cautioned me not to push.

So, is he a believer?

After nineteen years, I witnessed the Lord’s faithfulness to a private yearning in my lil' heart. What are you waiting for? Don’t give up. We serve a brilliant God who is captivated by His people and His people’s spouses, even my stubborn man.

Lynn 


Chronicles of the Donovan Clan

It’s been a long while since I’ve updated the Chronicles. So today, join me for a peek into the Donovan house.

Most of you who have been readers here know that I am a bit wacky and I love an adventure. I see adventure in so many things. I am convinced that is because God lives in my heart and I can expect Him to show up, show off and show me new revelations of His amazing love and grace.

He doesn’t disappoint.

One of my favorite adventures is a trip across the street to our mailbox. Yep, lame, I know. However, I have some fantastic encounters with neighbors out there. I find stray dogs that follow me home (read that story here) and mostly I delight in some unexpected treasures that arrive in that small tin box.

Yesterday was one of those days.

I trotted to the box, slipped in the key and pulled out a wad of papers. Walking back toward the house I flipped through the junk mail and bills and my eyes landed on a bright yellow envelope neatly addressed to Lynn Donovan in the recognizable and neat hand printing of my husband.

Astonished, I froze on the spot in the middle of the street.

I immediately flipped the envelope over and pressed my index finger under the lip of the yellow paper and tore that envelope almost in half.

What in the world?

A delightful greeting card with a photo of a little boy and girl slid out. I almost fell over right there, smack in the middle of the street. The world faded away. A convoy of cars could have been honking for me to move out of the street and I wouldn’t have heard it.

I opened the card, which incidentally I noticed it was postmarked from Minnesota where my husband currently travels for business. Inside was… ahem, the sweetest words of two people living life together.

Imported Photos 00017 An overwhelming loved filled my heart and I smiled. I closed the card, returned to earth and realized I better get out of the street because inside our house awaits a man who is deeply loved by a wacky 5’4’ blonde and he is about to receive a big ole kiss.

Standing in my husband’s home office doorway with card in hand, I smile and say, “Excuse me, who are you and what have you done with my husband?”

He looks up, puzzlement resting on his eyes until he spots the card in my hand.

He smiles. I walk to him and grab his face and …. ahem, well you get the picture. And for those of you with a suspicious nature, no, he's not trying to get out of the dog house. "We are in the best place in our marriage that we have ever been." ~ his words....

As I share this turn in our life, this event may look like a small and silly gesture. It may also be terribly difficult for some of you to read about this encounter of a couple who are in love and how they share that love in this unexpected way. But, what I need to tell you is that I have waited many, many years for this very moment.

Not since our very early years of dating did a card “for no reason” show up in my mailbox.

You know what I find so intriguing about all of this is that I am living in a place in my life and marriage that it’s doesn’t matter to me now that I receive an unexpected card or flowers. And if you knew me years ago, you would know how crazy this sounds.

How can this be?

I dared to live the hard years.

I didn’t give up on my dream. I didn’t surrender my marriage. I wouldn’t stop praying for this man I married. I never quit pouring the love of Christ into him. I relentlessly pushed forward through the exhaustion, the loneliness, and disillusionment.

How?

Two things. I learned to love Jesus with all of my heart, mind, soul, and strength and I had to let go of “me.”

Jesus changed everything in my life. He flipped me upside down, turned me around and inside out. Do you feel like this is happening in your life? Then you are in the right place for God’s Son to do the fantastic in your life.

This life is not about me. It’s about Jesus. All of it. All the time. In every way, about Jesus. When I finally got over myself and my wants that is when the rewards, the adventures, the love and joy filled my life.

Ask yourself this question. Am I “really” ready to take Jesus at His Word and trust that it’s okay that life isn’t all about me?

Aren’t you at all curious what He could do for you if you just let Him?

Be embraced by our King this day. I love and care for all of you with a deep and eternal love. Hugs, Lynn


Glee and Other Thoughts - The Chronicles of the Donovan Clan

I hope you read the comments from my Monday post, Television and Our Kids. There are some very wise parents who offered their thoughts and reflect on some of their past interactions with regard to their children and the media.

I am deeply troubled over the direction television programing is headed. It is reflective of the fact that the return of Christ is imminent and near. But as we wait, we must continue to live in this world, to be the salt and light, especially to our kids and to our spouse.

AND THAT is the tricky part.

How?

So, I'm going out on a limb again today and share a peek into our life here with the Donovan Clan.

I know I can get riled up about Skins and two dozen or more other television programs I think should be cancelled yesterday. But, I will share with you that my daughter and I began watching the series, Glee on Fox when it premiered three years ago.

This is a show about a high school glee club. I recognize this show is highly controversial and is absolutely offensive. The episodes are scripted and deal with matters such as homosexuality, teen pregnancy, bullying, underage drinking and a few others I can't remember right now.

I asked my daughter, "Caitie, Glee includes content of teens drinking, having sex and homosexuality. How is this different than Skins."

"Mom, I haven't seen Skins but I can tell you that the way it's presented is very different. For example the most recent episode of Glee was about teen drinking. Mom, at the end of the program the teens learn something. They learned drinking wasn’t worth it and they signed a pledge to not drink. They always learn something."

So, here I am a parent, what do I do with this?

I will tell you that I have watched the episodes with my daughter and we have literally put the show on pause in the middle of the broadcast to have discussions about gay students in her school, we have talked about sex, the temptations, the curiosity of teens and every manner of morals and Biblical teaching with regard to abstinence. Glee actually opened up a wide door of communication about very real issues that are present in my daughter's life.

I will tell you that last year, as a freshman in high school, she saw a lot. A friend came to school high, one drunk, a girl hit on her in math class, bazaar clothing and every kind of tattoo and piercing, smoking, drinking...... And that was just the first month of school.

I want to shield my daughter from these things but I also realize that she will encounter them, almost daily, in her high school. Watching this program together with her has given me the chance to bring up the subject matters, provide her with solid thoughts on how she can make a decision today to do the right thing when she finds herself faced with temptation or what seems to be actually happening is that her friends are struggling and have little guidance from home. My daughter is often the voice of descent.

So, I'm trying to find the balance. I want her to feel safe to talk to me about these issues and to allow her some personal freedom of choice. I don't want to be so ridged that she feels she must rebel. Yet I want her to know the truth about what God says on these very real and controversial issues she and her friends face. I want her to choose to do the right thing not for my sake but for hers and mostly I want her to choose to do what God wants. It’s that kind of thinking that will stay with her for a lifetime long after my parenting influence is over.

My ultimate goal is that she chooses to honor God’s desires for her life.

I have more to say on this and more about how we balance television viewing with an unbelieving spouse.

I’m curious about how you find the balance and how you help your kids navigate the moral challenges they face in this lost and broken world. What has worked for you? Be blessed, Lynn

Next post: Do we have any influence over our spouse’s media choices??


Television and our Kids

So I’m bugged.

And I’m going to have to chat about it.

I’m opening up a bucket of worms in controversy. But if we as believers don’t talk about some of this stuff how are we going to help one another?

Television So I’m bugged about television.

On several levels.

I may not have all of my facts in order but I do have my heart in order on this subject so here we go.

Skins.

MTV’s new racy show "Skins" is everywhere. Not only did its premiere episode attract more than 3 million viewers, it's been written about in hundreds of newspapers, magazines and blogs. That's because advertisers are dropping like flies; Shick, Wrigley, and today, Subway, all pulled the plug. That makes seven so far. The sexually charged show features high school students who routinely have sex, drink alcohol and do drugs.

The show is rated TV-MA and includes the appropriate disclaimer in the beginning of each show. That rating means that it may not be suitable for teens under 17. But still, kids as young as 12 years old are watching the show. And many of the actors are under the age of 18. ~From PIX 11 online. 1/24/11

In my research about this show I discovered a quote from one of the cast:

Sofia, 18, defends the show, saying, "It's what teens are doing. It's the way teenagers believe, I think, especially you know in certain situations when you come from home lives where your parents don't really support you or really listen to you. That's what most of these kids are going through."

Okay, so now I’m really bugged.

I have a teen daughter, 15 ½ years old. I asked her today about this show.

“Caitie, have you heard of the TV show, Skins?”

“Ya”

“Do you know what it’s about?”

“Ya, it’s kids smoking, drinking, having sex and doing drugs.”

“Yes, that’s what I heard it was about too.”

I want to set the tone of this conversation with you. I’m not approaching my daughter with a tone of accusation, but one of I’m really curious about what teens are thinking and what is really happening out there. And she knows I write about some of this stuff. So, I went on with my questions.

“Cait, have you watched it?”

“No, mom.”

“Do you want to? Do you want to see what it’s all about?”

“No.”

“Why”

“It’s inappropriate.” Her real answer.

You see she could watch this if she really wanted to. I wouldn’t know. Any teenager is going to watch what they really want to through the internet, a friend’s house, etc.

Our conversation continued, “Do you agree with one of the stars who said that it’s what teenagers are doing. Are your friends doing this stuff?” Now remember my daughter attends a large public high school in Southern California. (Ya, she’s already exposed to stuff in high school I wouldn’t have dreamed could be possible even 10 years ago.)

But my daughter responds, “No Mom, my friends and most of the kids as a whole aren’t doing this stuff. But there are always a group of kids who have a crappy home life that are into it.”

So why am I sharing this long and weird conversation with you? Because most of us here in this community are parents. AND we are parents who are raising kids in a spiritually mismatched home. And we are parents who have kids that watch television.

But we can take a moment of hope here.

I'v realized today that now as my daughter is age 15 ½, all those years of pouring myself and my faith into her are showing their fruit.

It hit me, she is choosing for herself to reject Skins as a program she doesn’t want to watch even though it’s all the talk at the High School.

Parenting in a home where two different world views exist is challenging, especially when it comes to television choice. Our spouse may not be watching Skins but they might be viewing something else that is bordering on inappropriate wickedness.

Okay, so my thoughts on television are just getting going but this post is already too long. So we are going to take this conversation out for a long walk until we have all found some truths to add to our parenting arsenal and some suggestions on how to handle conflict with our spouse when it comes to media choices including, television, movies, books, etc.

This seems to be a very real irritant in our skins and an ongoing conflict in our marriages that spills over to our children and parenting. (Do you agree?)

So today, I’m greatly interested in your parenting efforts as it relates to television. Is it really THAT big of a deal what they watch? What is age appropriate? What do you do if Dad/Mom says it’s okay and you know it’s not? Tell me how you are leading your children in their viewing choices.

I hope I’m not as bugged tomorrow about television but I bet I will be. I have much more to share as we walk this road. Looking forward to some “real and honest” conversations here so we can help each other with this very issue. Be blessed, Lynn

I’ll be checking in and adding to the conversation in the comments.


Want a Boyfriend????

It’s two weeks until Valentine’s Day. For many who live in unhappy marriages and those of us who live unequally yoked, this day is not all smiles and chocolate. In fact, this day can be painful.

Later in this series leading up to the big V-day, I will share some of those articles and my newest one, which will be at the Internet Café on the 14th. But, let’s not live defeated. God did not create us to live in disappointment nor defeat.

So for the next two weeks we are going to set off on an experiment to move away from the traditional renderings of Valentine’s Day and make this “Greeting Card” holiday one that we will laugh about, enjoy and remember. Join me and…..

Let’s make our husband our boyfriend.

Now before you give me the eye-roll and say, “Oh brother, she’s nuts,” hear me out.

I actually did this recently, made my husband my boyfriend. It was a complete by chance opportunity but it was so much fun and now I have a boyfriend. A fun and cute and attractive boyfriend who likes to hold hands. Who knew???

Here’s what happened.

Most of you know that I have an ornery streak in me. Darn it! But, whatever, my family loves me anyway and we sure laugh A LOT because of it!

Set the stage: My family, we were all getting in the car several weeks ago, I was the driver, my husband was in the passenger seat and in the back, sat my 15 ½ year old daughter and her best friend. Two girls who at this age and I quote, “Want a boyfriend more than air to breathe.” Oh brother. (drama…. drama… drama….)

As we pulled out from the garage on our way to drop the girls somewhere, they were quite surprised that my husband was going with us just to drive around on a drop-off errand. I have to tell you that I understand their surprise; my husband rarely does the driving of children unless I am absolutely unable to do it. But on this particular day, I had forethought to ask my husband to join me for this outing, a short car ride to drop kids, just to spend time together. No office. No computer. Just time driving and talking. Plus I told him I would make it worth his time… (wink.. wink.)

*Side note: Notice I did the driving. Men do not multitask. They either drive or they talk, but never the two shall mix.

My daughter was completely surprised when Dad jumped in the car and as we backed out. She says, “So whasup? Why ‘s Dad goin?”

Now remember these two teens are completely obsessed over having a boyfriend. Not that I think they have a clue what to do with one once they get one. (A story for another day)

Knowing their fascination with boyfriends and you add to that to my ornery and jovial sense of humor. I stopped the car in the driveway, turned around, and spoke to their stunned faces with a broad and mischievous grin plastered on my face, “Dad’s coming with me so he can be my boyfriend and hold my hand.”

Holding_hands Impetuously, I reached over and grabbed my husband’s hand and we locked fingers. I grinned bigger.

You could literally hear the “eye-roll” directed at me from the backseat of the car as I backed into the street. Then the giggles started. My daughter’s friend couldn’t contain herself any longer. She tried to stop but the giggles erupted which of course then, I started to laugh (loudly by the way, I never laugh softly), then my husband and my daughter joined in.

Hilarity and gaffs of laughter, uncontained, flowed from our car as I happily rolled down the street holding my boyfriend’s hand and living life to the full. God is good to me.

So, that day my husband became my boyfriend. Who would a thunk it, but this “boyfriend thing” has grown over the past months and it’s become a new and wonderful romance between my husband and me.

I have more to tell you on Friday. Stop back in then. Today, I want you to be purposeful and invite your husband to be your boyfriend. Start asking God to show you how, when, where, what… all of it. You will discover what I have. A boyfriend in your husband is really kinda cool.

Be blessed, Lynn


This time... I Need You

Hi My Friends,

Well as you might expect the enemy has been working overtime. Yesterday, a giant setback occurred.  Something we counted on to be prepared for our book release became completely unravelled.

I'm going to be completely transparent here. I was so angry I was shaking. I haven't been that mad since I was an executive at a bank . (banking can really tick you off *grin*)

So, may I ask you, our friends, to pray for Dineen and for me. The enemy would love to destroy our marriages, our efforts to get our message out and our witness.

I would treasure any words of prayers you leave in the comments for us today. We have prayed for so many of you. For your marriages, for you spirit, for your happiness and we count it a privilege to do so. We rarely ask for prayer. Perhaps we should ask you to pray for us more frequently?

But, today, I am utterly humble and in need of the Lord to protect us and show us what direction we need to go.

I love all of you so much. I care deeply for your heart, your marriage, your children and your spirit. Thank you for praying for Dineen and I. Hugs, Lynn


If I were God, I Would Zap Him

Christians are judgmental.

Yep, we’re not supposed to be yet often we save our harshest judgment for other Christians.

Sometimes I find myself in this very place. I hate it when I live in the land of judgment. So, I have to tell you that there are times when I’m truly glad I’m married to an unbeliever. He makes sure to snap me out of that place and gives me a reality check.

And you know what, it’s really sobering to be given a reality check, especially about my faith, from my unbelieving spouse. Sheesh!

So picture this.

4-way-stop-sign A few days ago, my husband and I were on our way home from Wal-Mart. My husband, the sweet man, went with me just to spend time with me. (This is a rarity and he knows how much I love him for it.) Well in our town, in southern California, the roads are crowed and especially in the evening rush hour. So naturally, everyone was rushing around i.e. speeding, trying to get home. Our car approached a large intersection. A four-way stop intersection.

I’m convinced that there IS NOT a single driver on planet earth who really knows the proper procedure for negotiating a four-way stop. This is certainly true at rush hour. Think about it… Have you heard the term, a California stop i.e., slightly slow then go very fast and who cares whose turn it is… Grrrrr

Well, I approached to stop and already I was grumbling about the idiots who don’t know how to drive. Yep, real Christian witnessing going on in our car. Ugh….

And as I expected, some idiot cuts me off and practically hits another motorist and speeds through the intersection without a care for anyone but himself. (Now, It’s not like I would ever do anything like that….. ever…. cough… cough…. ahem….)

So I continue with my, um, “Christian witnessing” and pronounce to my husband, “Now see that idiot. If I were God, I would zap him. It’s a good thing I’m not God.”

My usually quiet and introspective man just smiles at me and calmly says, “If you were God, you wouldn’t be upset by things like that.”

Gulp

Immediately my mind flashed to things like child abuse, and poverty, human trafficking for sex and people who are freezing in the cold. I could almost feel God’s tears sting His check as He looked down on earth.

I felt ashamed. I was whining about the stupidest stuff when there are real and terrible things about which God cares deeply.

“On honey, you are so right,” was all I could muster. “Thank you for restoring my perspective and my patience.”

Sometimes, more times than we want to admit, our unbelieving souses do more for our spiritual growth and love for others than any other person.

I love you my husband.

Have a blessed Monday and a great week. I have a fascinating discussion planned for Friday on The Intentional Marriage. Plan to tune in 11:30 Eastern and 8:30 Pacific. Hugs, Lynn

 


The Christmas Letter

Okay, you usually fall into two camps when it comes to this funny and strange tradition of a family Christmas letter. You love ‘em or hate ‘em.

I LOVE THEM.

Now I know they are usually filled with sickening sweet recollections of all the amazing and fantastic things that occurred in the year and sometimes it’s hard to read those kind of letter’s especially when you had a tough year. Some people like my friend Kathy writes a Christmas letter that often begins with something like this…

Well, the dog was run over and the oldest daughter shacked up…..

It’s real-life and that’s what she writes. I LOVE her letters too. She is hilarious.

No matter what kind of Christmas letter you write, I love to receive them and read every word. I thrill to enjoy the adventures and triumphs in your year. I am thankful for those Christmas cards and letters. They are a joy and a tradition I treasure.

If you love receiving Christmas letters too, write in the comments…. I LOVE CHRISTMAS LETTERS.

You are then entered into a drawing for some really cool prize I have yet to purchase. But you will love it…. I promise.

Also, if you want a Donovan Clan, Family Christmas Letter mailed to your home this season, I would love to mail one to you with a personal thank you for your friendship and to tell you I love you. Email me with your snail mail address Lynn and I will pop one in the mail.

Happy Thankful Thursday this Christmas Season. Be blessed, Lynn

Please, please, please mail your Family Christmas letter to me:

Lynn Donovan

43952 Barletta St.

Temecula, CA 92592

This December let's all meet up with Iris at Grace Alone in January we are back here at Spiritually Unequal Marriage and February we will be at Laurie's, Women Taking A Stand.

 

Post Notation: I just went to my mail box and there I found the annual letter from my friend Kathy. It a doozy... a three pager... So, I'm off to the couch for a great read and a belly laugh. Ho -Ho -Ho


Deck the Halls and the Dog

Yesterday I spent most of the afternoon putting up the Christmas tree. Our tree is a fake tree. Boo! I know. I know. There are two camps those who MUST have a real tree and the rest of us… I promise I’m not a Scrooge… But an artificial tree is in the Donovan home.

Our tree is about nine feet tall and it’s one of those ornery beasts, which requires you to insert each branch into the base one at a time and then fluff the greenery out. Insert – fluff – repeat… Insert- fluff- repeat…

It takes forever to get the thing up and ready for lights. No one in the house likes this part of the Christmas tradition.

“It’s time to put up the tree,” I call to my family.

Imported Photos 00004 Caitie, my daughter, somehow slips away to her room. My husband is hiding out in his office. The only one in the living room with me is our dog, Peanut. Even he is annoyed with me because I have tied his Christmas kerchief around his neck.

We deck the halls and the dog around here.

Well I pushed on and started the tree by myself. What I discovered is that slowly the family started emerging from their hideouts. My husband came to inspect my work first.

“Honey, why is it you don’t help me with the tree?”

“Well, it’s not my favorite thing to do.”

I should have expected this answer. But then he quietly pitched in, placing the top on the fake evergreen. He fluffed and smiled down at me.

It was then that I realized something I hadn’t before. This tradition is very important to my husband. It would bother him beyond words if one year I didn’t want to put up a tree. I also realize that my husband is not a starter of most projects around our home but he always comes to help once I get it going.

Imported Photos 00008 This morning in the predawn, I plugged in the lights of our tree. Mesmerized, I gazed at the glistening color as they twinkled in the darkness. This tree reflected back to me a message...  a lifetime of love.

The ornaments collected over the years from our vacation adventures, soccer practice, Bible studies, our children’s activities and many other odd sorts of escapades are memories, which fill my heart. The ornaments echo our life together, our marriage, our children, our laughter, and our love.

This tree, our family scrapbook, is a deep connection in our home and I realized something this year. I will always, always have a Christmas tree in our home. Long after the kids have married and have their own home and family. Long after our Peanut is gone. I may be eighty but I will hang ornaments on our tree and thank the good Lord above for the abundance of love He has given me.

Imported Photos 00006 Be blessed, Lynn

What is a holiday family tradition that connects you and your husband?