Having just read Ann’s Monday post on guilt I thought I’d share a post I’ve shared a couple of times over the last 10 years. As this month, it’s my 10-year anniversary of finding this community.
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 workshop titled “How to Market Your Fiction Like a non-Fiction Pro” that featured four presenters.
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.
That author was none other than our own, Dineen Miller, who for those who are new, was one of the original founders with Lynn. Dineen, 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, “Winning Him Without Words”.
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? Having a lie that you convinced yourself for years being zapped.
“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.
In addition, I hid behind my SUM status, so I didn’t get involved in a lot of Christian activities, fearful of being rejected by believers. And so my walk with the Lord stagnated as it simply relied on my own initiative. As we’ve shared before, we need each other and fellow believers to walk with us. That is how we are made, whether we’re single, married to a pre-believer or a believer.
What About You?
Are you at a point in your life and marriage that you wonder if you and it can be blessed? May I encourage you to share your concern with the Lord. He wants our heart and wants us to want to share everything that is in it. Talk about it and spend time listening to how He responds. You might be surprised with His words.
Do you not get involved with others out of shame or guilt?
As we’ve discussed before, it can be a lot harder for we SUMites to get involved as often we find churches are full of couples and we’re one of the singles. I’m currently in this situation with my new church, as I venture back to in-person church after a year away due to COVID and caring for my parents.
Once again, may I encourage you to give it over to Jesus. He is passionate about connection with others and the church. He will make a way as long as we present ourselves willing to participate. For so many years, I hid away in my home making excuses and wasn’t allowing God to do His thing.
God is good. Meeting Dineen ten years ago at the workshop and witnessing how He used our meeting is still a moment that I cherish. As is our continued friendship. Dineen is in St. Louis at this very moment attending this year’s conference as she’s on staff. I so wish I was there too. Because one never knows what the Lord will do in such moments as long as we choose to take a step and believe He will step with us.
He certainly is mysterious.
When was the last time you experienced a moment or touch of mystery or wonder from our Lord? We’d love to read about it in the comments below.
Grace and peace, dear friends