90 posts categorized "Disappointment"

Reader Question: How do I defend my faith?

Dear friends, here's another reader question that really challenged me in my answer to her. Sometimes there isn't a clean cut and clear answer. And as Scripture says, we don't understand God's ways, but we do know He is always good and always faithful. Pray for our dear SUMite sister in this situation. Hugs! ~Dineen

I've been reading the blog on and off for a year, and just started reading Winning Him Without Words. The website address prompted me to come visit again. I appreciate the honesty in Tamara's letter (see post here), and it lets me know I am not alone. I feel a similar frustration but for a different issue. Yes, my husband in not a believer but it has led me to seek His truth even more so than before. I know I am not with him in error, and I hold onto the words in the Bible that advise me to stay with my unbelieving spouse unless he no longer wants to be with me.

However, for 5 years I have been trying to conceive and have tried nothing and everything we could and could not afford. I don't know how to explain to my husband that "everything is possible if you believe" when I have believed so many times, and nothing. I don't know how to answer my husbands questions because, how can I honestly say that the Lord must have something better in mind? And so I just sound like a lunatic. Yes. God is enough. God can comfort and love me, but He cannot replace a baby in my arms. This makes it very complicated to defend my faith and I understand why my husband does not believe.

My friend, I'm so sorry you are in this position. I feel your disappointment and pain. I wish I had an easy answer or explanation for you, but I don't. I've recently had to deal with something in my own life in similar fashion that didn't make sense even to me, yet I knew my only recourse was to trust God. I couldn't explain it to my husband, nor did I try to defend God. I just simply shared what I felt God was showing me through it and how God was helping me walk through it.

Sometimes all we can say is, "I don't know, but I will trust God." It's essentially what Proverbs 3:5-6 is about, to trust God and not lean on our own understanding, to seek His will and believe He'll show us the way.

These are the times that we are challenged to truly believe and hold onto the truth of Romans 8:28, that God is always good and that He is always working for our good. I know how hard that is when faced with such unexplainable circumstances.

I will offer you no pat answer or cliché of words you’ve most likely heard over and over again. But I will say, don’t let go of God. When you are confronted with these difficult questions, ask the Holy Spirit to give you the words. You may find the answer He gives you to speak will bring you comfort and peace as well.

We don’t see the full picture, but we can trust that God does, that He is on the throne and is working for not just your good but your husband’s too. I believe God can bring something beautiful and amazing from every heartache in our lives. And I am believing this for you too.

Hugging you tight with love and prayers,
Dineen

Provers 3  1-6


Donovan Clan Update

Hello My SUMite Family, 

It was my intentions to share a little about the book, The Five Love Languages. However, I’m just not feelin’ it. So I think it’s time to let you know what has been going on in the Donovan Clan House. 

As most of you know my son and daughter-in-law moved in with us in January to relocate from Las Vegas to California. And as of today our hopes for a new life for them have turned to disappointment. I will be brief in my explanation and perhaps you can understand why I’ve been somewhat absent from the internet in the last month. 

Thank you Dineen Miller, my BFF, for covering for me during this most difficult time. 

Out of respect for my son I will share just briefly. They have separated and it looks as though their marriage will be another casualty of this broken world. It has been a difficult walk as I’ve watched this relationship struggle for a long time. 

As a proponent and a believer who stands for marriage, I’m heartbroken for everyone. I haven’t cried this much in years and years. However, I’ve also prayed and prayed for God to show us the way forward and I believe He has. He has covered us with His love and grace. 

It will take some time for me and my entire family to process all of the emotions, pain and decisions of the past month. I hope I’m able to share with you in the future how the Lord moved with grace and love in the middle of this terrible storm. 

Why am I sharing this with you, my family? Because I see three things in all of this. I truly know how many of you are feeling as you struggle in your own challenges and difficult marriages in this life. I have cried many tears for all you in my prayer time this past month. 

Two, I think some of this is spiritual attack as this all started when I began to put together my next book outline. I’m convinced this next book will have a great impact on the Kingdom, thus the enemy has thrown everything at me and my family to distract and keep me from writing. Devil when I rise from all of this I’m gonna hurt you bad!!!!! 

And three, I STILL believe in God’s Sovereignty, His love and grace for my family and I KNOW He will reveal all the good that will come out of the tears and ashes. And perhaps, God wanted to me to know that I could walk through all of this and not become offended and still love people even while enduring deep, deep pain. 

I believe I have walked through this with grace, not perfection, but with the grace and the perspective of heaven. I have spoken Ephesians 2:6 … I am seated in heavenly realms with Christ… a million times in this past month. 

The separation will be final in two weeks. For now thank you for your love. I pray you will not be disappointed with me as your leader here at SUM and I thank you for allowing me to be authentic. Thank you for your prayers. 

I sign off today and clearly state: I believe God has our family in His hands and I remain an even stronger advocate of marriage today. 

Walking in His Supernatural grace, Lynn


The Truest Words From The Heart of Every Believer In A Spiritual Mismatched Marriage

Today I'm sharing a letter I received last week. I haven known Tamara for a very long time. She is likely one of our very earliest readers. She has walked in her uneuqlly yoked marriage for many years. In her short email I think she captured the truest parts of our heart. I'm not sure how this letter will affect you but I know it was tender, difficult and yet an encouragment. Lynn

Hello Dear Friend,  Hello Dear Friend

As I read your excerpts in that message – in God Sized Dreaming – I thought yes, only we, who are in that situation understand it. 

I was so sure Jack wanted to accept the Lords calling. But I was wrong. We had some very good and difficult talks and he explained very clearly: I don’t want to change. I don’t need to change. I believe enough to get me into heaven. 

So I must go alone and still be married. I am sure God will carry and lead me and I am sure I shall experience wonderful God-moments but still..... 

My marriage is a disappointment. 

This is not why I got married. I wasn’t a Christian when we married but the vision was always the same: together we walk, work, fight for the same goal.....whatever it is. But this goal of mine: JESUS,,,,,,,Isn’t his goal. So I must walk alone or fall down and I don’t like falling. 

God touched me very clearly and deeply this May and I know He will bring me safely to His harbor. I know He will give me wonderful friends, He already has, to love and comfort me and have fellowship with. But He can’t replace not having a husband at my side. 

I hope someday I will understand and see why we had to walk this very disappointing walk. We can write all we want; it doesn’t change the fact that we are alone in faith in our marriages. I love how you support and encourage at SUM. That is very important. I don’t know where I would be today without that. And then......one matures and when the hubbie doesn’t accept Christ you have to make a decision: Do I still trust in the Lord even if my husband doesn’t? Do I trust the Lord enough to stay with a person who doesn’t love my God? Do I trust Gods word that He will take care of me and all of my needs even if it doesn’t look like it?  Am I willing to decide to love this person even if he doesn’t honor my way of life? And when you can say yes to all then you know: this is what grown-up in God is like. It is painful and yet it is freedom in Christ and true worship: I have decided to follow Jesus, even if this means going alone. 

Do you know what I hope I will hear and understand too, Lynn? Why was it so difficult for our spouses to accept Christ? I look at your Mike, I don’t remember where you posted it, with your grandchild, and I thought: why is it so difficult for you to accept Christ with such a loving devoted wife? And then I realized, it is not about us it is about their own decision: Do I need Christ, or not?????     So very sad for all those lost years. 

That is also what makes me happy: either here on earth when they accept Christ or in heaven when we don’t need to think about that anymore we will look back and realize: it was only a blink of an eye in time .....in comparison of our Great God in Heaven. 

Be ever, ever, ever so blessed, you and the lovely Dineen for your loyal and great service in God, 

Loving greetings Tamara

Part II of our interview was on God Sized Dreams here. Thank you Christine Wright and team for allowing us to share the hope we have over at your home. PS. Christine is also a SUMite. I stand amazed to see all of the ministries that have arisen out of this body of Christ here in our SUMite Nation. I love you my family, Lynn


God Answers Me. A Supernatural Encounter

Good Morning, 

On Monday we chatted about how to recover from enormous disappointment. And in the comments some of you shared how this unequally yoked life is filled with loneliness. I think I will have to write about walking alone because truly I found myself facing a future, perhaps the rest of my life, empty next and retirement, emotionally alone. So watch for that in the future. 

SuffFor today, I think we need an encouraging word from the Lord. So, let me give you the answers to the questions I asked of God. Do you remember last week I asked God, why?

God’s reply was this, “Lynn, my grace is sufficient for thee.” 

Oh Man, that was not the answer I wanted. I have really hard questions and I was desperate for the Lord to show me His thoughts and his purposes in my unequally yoked marriage. I want understanding so it would heal my pain. But, the Lord will not give me insight into the faith walk of my husband. 

Bummer! 

But and here is where everything changed, He did reveal Himself in perhaps the most astonishing way EVER in my life. 

Now this part of the story may be challenging for some of you but I have asked God about sharing what happened to me and He has given me permission to share. I know that for many believers we are desperate for a word from God. We are desperate to see miracles and signs and wonders. Because our faith is bolstered when we have an encounter with the Supernatural God. This is absolutely true for me. 

Well two weeks ago, Friday, I joined a small group of believers for a time of worship. I had been invited to this Friday night worship time for at least six months and finally I decided I would attend. I would attend because my heart was broken and I just needed to spend time with God. I went without expectation and received more that I could have dreamed. 

This worship time and a short message is hosted by a local church worship leader. It’s comprised of any believer, from any church, who wants to show up. I sat down on the second row in this room that held about 20 rows of chairs. The rooms was about half full when worship began. The music started at 7 p.m. I think we finished at 10:30 p.m.… A few songs into the worship set….. GOD SHOWS UP! 

I don’t know if you remember but when I have an encounter with God, I begin to shake. I quiver up and down and my right hand especially begins to vibrate. I can feel fire coming from my right hand at times. It’s like being electrocuted (in a good way). As the music continues, the Spirit of the Lord, comes upon me stronger. I’m shaking just a little at the time. The music set ends and the worship leader, Tim, stands and begins to speak to people in the audience. 

What I didn’t know at the time is this man Tim, is anointed and is prophetic. He was raised in this environment and has worked in the circles of pastors such as Bill Johnson. I will also mention that Tim does not know me. I met him as I entered the building and we only exchanged first names and the cordial, “nice to meet you” greeting. 

As Tim listens to God, he begins to speak to a man standing directly behind me. And as he is speaking words of declaration to him, I start to really shake. At this point I can’t stop the vibrations and my right hand is shaking so hard now that it’s completely noticeable by the people around me. Tim stops speaking to the man behind me and looks directly, points and says, “The glory of the Lord is upon you. Please come forward.” 

I step out and walk to the front. Tim begins to speak something, “Glory, Glory, Holy, Holy.” That was it. I hit the floor and sat down in a frozen weird position unable to move because of the power upon me. Now my friends, I can only share what I remember from what happens next. The encounter with God was so consuming and overwhelming I can’t remember everything that Tim said to me, but I’ve wracked my brain and I will share what I do remember. 

And recall here, Tim does not know who I am. And I am so overwhelmed by the power and love of God that is coursing over me that I can’t hardly keep my eyes open because the power literally is vibrating me. 

Now this is my recollection of what Tim prophesied over me. “Your ministry will increase. It will increase and you are in the place because someone in your past prayed for you. One of your ancestors prayed for you.” Okay, this makes me want to double the prayers for my children and grandchildren. He went on to say, “You will pray for people and they will be healed. They will be physically healed. You will lay hands on people and they will be healed from cancer and (he said something else but at this point I’m wreathing now under the anointing. Man, I wish I could remember.) He spoke a few minutes about the anointing of healing upon me. 

I’m overwhelmed and can feel more anointing pouring into me. 

Tears are rolling out of my eyes and I really start shaking. This is because I have been begging God to anoint me in this area of healing since returning from Bethel almost a year ago. I’m desperate to bring the Holy Spirit into people and bring healing to their hearts, their emotions and their physical body. 

Tim went on to say that I will greatly impact mothers and children. Specifically mothers. And that my faith and my anointing will have a profound impact on the Kingdom and this valley. Now remember Tim has no idea that we have a book for mother’s and a ministry planned for mothers to raise their children up in the Kingdom coming out in three months. He. Has. No. Idea. 

Tim said more but I just can remember. Why am I telling you this story? For two reasons. God is real. His power is for us. His heart is for us and He loves people. He wants to work like this through all of His people. Scripture is not just a book of moral good ideas to live by. NO. It’s an invitation to an experience, an encounter with the Most High. How do I know? I’m living proof. I’ve experienced the manifestation of the Holy Spirit. Also, remember this story I shared about healing (read it here)

I also share all of this because this encounter IS God’s answer to my questions, to my loneliness, to my pain. This encounter and the others I have experienced and the many that are ahead, is the answer. I would trade intimacy, wealth, property, status, my dignity, my everything to continue to have and be part of the supernatural workings of God. 

After this encounter. My pain was gone. My hope fully returned. I was reminded of my purposes on this planet and I was empowered. 

It’s been two weeks since that encounter and I’m now asking God, how to take these gifts He’s anointed upon me to the people. Daddy, how do I get in front of those who need healing to touch them and release You into their lives. How do I bring you glory, honor and worship? And I ponder, Dad, I’m an ordinary woman. Who am I? 

So, I’m still processing, praying and I’m waiting because I am certain, like Abraham was convinced, that I am part of this astonishing Great Harvest. And I will always hope. My hope is In Him who will move in my life and He WILL move in my husband’s in the fullness of time. 

I love you my friends. Thank you for staying to the end. I would love your prayers that doors are blown open for Dineen and I to bring our retreat of healing to the church (churches across America, do I dare ask, across the world) Love, Lynn 

Romans 4:20 Abraham never wavered in believing God’s promise. In fact, his faith grew stronger, and in this he brought glory to God. 21 He was fully convinced that God is able to do whatever he promises. 22 And because of Abraham’s faith, God counted him as righteous. 23 And when God counted him as righteous, it wasn’t just for Abraham’s benefit. It was recorded 24 for our benefit, too, assuring us that God will also count us as righteous if we believe in him, the one who raised Jesus our Lord from the dead.


Disappointment Recovery

RecdisaptGood Monday Morning my SUMites! 

It’s Sunday afternoon as I write this note to all of you. I just went back and re-read the comments that you left for me last Monday on my post, Devastating Disappointment

I’m undone. 

By your love. Undone by of our shared tears. Humbled to the core for your prayers, your private emails, and the notes through Facebook. I’m moved by the Heart of God because so many of you also live in moments of devastation. So many of you live desiring intimacy, born of faith, with your spouse just like me. Many of you are facing life-altering changes in your home. For some, your kids are broken. Some face a spouse who is dark and seemingly hopelessly lost in the clutches of evil’s addictions, lies and self-centeredness. 

My friends, I truly KNOW how you feel. Over the past week I’ve had time to seek and discover the answers to the questions I asked of God on Monday. The answers I received were not what I exactly wanted to hear but they were the answers I NEEDED to hear from my Daddy, Father and my God. 

So, may I humbly share them with you and perhaps the answers will give you what they gave to me, hope. 

I will always hope. It is impossible for me to know God in the way that I know Him and not be hopeful, even for the seemingly impossible, my husband’s salvation and a desire for shared Sunday morning church experience. It’s impossible not to hope when I spend so much time in His Presence and I absolutely believe with everything in my heart that God’s purposes for me is to prosper me, that He desires to lavish His love upon me and to take me on an adventure that my marriage could never do in itself.   

My friends, I know all of this to be true. And I know, without doubt, that Our Lord wants all of this for you too. So before we get to the answers to the questions, I feel that some of you might be encouraged if I share with you how I have walked with God over the past two weeks as I wrestled with the pain, the loss of a dream and lost hope. 

I prayed. Yes, you knew I would say this. But, what did that really look like? 

Well, over the years I’ve learned to actually pray without ceasing. What does that mean? I enjoy an ongoing and every day conversation with God. I whisper prayers walking around the house. I mumble prayers in the car, some days when driving I have to pray A LOT because I find it difficult to love people on the road when they behave like idiots behind the wheel *grin*. Ahem…. Onward. 

So, I whispered, “Daddy, it hurts. I’m angry. I’m so disappointed. Dad, why.” 

I didn’t hear any distinct reply right away but I felt His Presence just like any other day. I also found myself out in the garden with my Daily Bible and my journal. I don’t journal too much anymore because I walk and pray after I read, however, on this particular day overwhelmed in my pain, I sat down and the words flowed on paper. Words of a broken heart. It was weird. I felt like King David when he was troubled and would write words about his enemies, troubles and then would find in his heart words of praise and thanksgiving. My words were likely to be ugly and looking back, I’m sorry I let them go for as long as I did which allowed the enemy a chink in my armor where he prolonged my pain and he tortured me with lies for a time. But they were how I felt at the time and our BIG God was up to handling my anger and disappointment. 

Currently I’m fascinated by the book of Ephesians and a couple of passages have fascinated me and become very powerful. So, I began to pray these passages to affirm my belief in the words. I prayed them morning, noon and night. I would repeat them over and over. I would say them as I drifted off to sleep and they tumbled from my lips as I woke. I was desperate to bring them into reality in my life and they were words that affirmed me and brought hope and comfort as I processed through my disappointment. 

I prayed, I proclaimed, I prophesied, I spoke aloud, “I am seated in the heavenly realms with Christ. I have the power of God, the same power that resurrected Christ. Seated in the heavenly realms, I have wisdom and revelation to see my marriage, my purpose on earth from God’s perspective.” 

The short version: I’m seated in heavenly realms. I have the power of the resurrection. 

I must have whispered this affirmation of who God says I am and literally the power I have available to me (the power that raised Christ from the dead) hundreds of times. I'm still freaked out that God has given to us the power that raised Jesus. Say What??? Freaked, I tell you. But I believe it.

Oh my friends, how speaking scripture is like the heaving of a mighty sword in the spiritual realms. Things began to happen…….. 

Amazing and fantastical, Supernatural things. Around me and in me. I’m still processing it all. 

And I will share that with you on Friday!

And I promise we will get to God’s answers to my questions. For today, please KNOW that I took every one of you with me before the throne this past week. Often and with passion, pleading for you individually and for your, life, your marriage, your spouse, your kids, whatever you asked of me. I brought you to our God seeking His favor and action in your life. I hope to reply to all of you if I have enough time this week. 

My friends, I leave you with a challenge. Read Ephesians, chapter one through chapter two, verse 10. This is a letter to the church that has overcome. This is a letter to the SUMites. We are living in the trenches and WE ARE OVERCOMERS! Let it empower you and I pray by Friday, you find you are seated in the heavenly realms and operating from heaven toward earth and not the other way around. That is our birthright as Kingdom children. 

And everyone said….. AMEN!! 

See you on our Facebook page and back here again on Friday. I love you. I truly love you with a full heart. Hugs, Lynn


Devastating Disappointment

DisvalHow do we walk through devastating – life-changing disappointment? I’ve been wrestling with this very issue in my life over the past two weeks. 

For the past year I’ve been certain that my spouse has slowly moved closer to embracing faith. I’m not even sure why I came to this conclusion over time. Perhaps I interpreted subtle comments or gesture for more than they were intended. That was until a week ago when suddenly, as if from out of nowhere, I was hit with a Mac Truck of realization. He hasn’t. 

A Mac Truck can level you. Ouch!

Living in these very real moments and seasons take every bit of my faith to rise up and keep walking. I think over the past two weeks I’ve lived through the five stages of grief….. at least twice. And for all of us who are hoping and believing for the salvation of your spouse, a dose of realism can wreck you. At least that’s how I’ve felt recently. 

My reality came in an instant where after almost nine months my husband decided to attend church with me. I’m at a point where I really believed that I no longer held expectation or hope about my husband and church. And that morning as we stood in the row while the worship band played, I discovered I did have hopes and expectations. This realization dawned upon me the moment my hope was crushed as I watch him posture himself in his angry stance, the typical stance I’ve seen so many times before. And then later in the day when I asked him about the message, his comment was so hurtful, I can’t write it here. 

365 days of hoping, prayer and believing came crashing down upon my tiny heart. My husband doesn’t believe and from his comment it appears he never will. Ugh!!!! 

When we, spouses of unbelievers, face this devastating disappointment, we wrangle with some very familiar questions. And we wrestle with them throughout our marriages because we are a people of great hope. It’s our nature to be hopeful because we believe in a Great Big God. We hope. 

The questions we have to bring back out of the past and muse over again and again are questions we hate to ponder. Questions I’ve asked God are: Why? How was I deceived? Am I going to live in a marriage like this for the rest of my life? God I know you hear my prayers but why aren’t you moving? And if we are truly honest we stare down the road of the years ahead and our heart aches because we may never have the intimacy we desire with our spouse because of our faith differences. 

I’m writing to you in my pain. I want you to know that I have an astonishing love relationship with God but there are moments when living in our everyday, ordinary are challenging, hope-crushing and painful. But I’ve learned a few things through the years that I need to remind myself about and I pray they bring encouragement to you, who are also feeling pain about your mismatched marriage. 

The way through the pain is to reach out to others in theirs. 

It’s in the pain – we can KNOW- truly know God. It’s in the hurt- we can truly bless others. It’s in this way where we reach out to others and we will see God. He picks us up and restores our hope and we can live authentically in joy. 

So for today, I’m reaching out. And I’m holding you who are hurting. Those of you who think no one knows how you feel. They don’t see the loneliness, the hurt. I see you and I love you. And I know that our God feels our pain. He sees us and He asks us to press in closer into Him. 

I ask that you leave me your name because I’m determined to take you with me to the throne room today seeking a fresh anointing of grace, hope and joy. I love you. I really love you… From an ordinary woman who truly knows your pain, Lynn 

Lord, Our Almighty God, 

Today I declare that this life-altering disappointment no longer holds power over the people of this community. I decree and announce that the enemy will not use our setbacks to steal away ground we have fought to take through perseverance and relentless prayer.

Lord, reach into our homes and restore your gifts: love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control. Today, I choose to take my pain and to press into you, seeking your wisdom and discernment for my marriage and my relationship with my spouse. Answer my questions kindly and satisfy my heart. Restore my hope and let me walk like a giant again in your power and authority. In King Jesus name. Amen.


A Day in the Life of a S.U.M.

IMG_0017
Hello, my dear friends! How I missed you this past week. I shared in my last post that my hubby and I were off to a get-away to celebrate our 25th wedding anniversary and have some R&R. Our destination?

Kauai, Hawaii.

Yes, truly and for real. This was our first time to visit this tropical paradise. We loved every bit of our time there to reconnect, relax and recharge. Okay, so that’s three “R”s instead of just R&R. But we are talking about Hawaii here.

This not so brave girl did things like Stand Up Paddle Surfing (SUP), kayaking, hiking in the rainforest to a waterfall, swimming in aforementioned waterfall, and traipsing around a chocolate farm (I know, such a hardship to taste new-to-me fruits and chocolate, but I managed to plug through...)

We packed a lot in our 5 days there. Even managed to coerce my hubby to take one afternoon to sit in a lounge chair by the beach and read his Kindle. (i.e. let your wife catch her breath.)

IMG_1758
Mike and I standing on lava...

But there’s one day I want to share with you because it so closely captures what we walk on a daily basis in our mismatched marriages and how God can take our difficult moments and turn them into blessings.

On our first day out I made the mistake (can I call it that lightly?) of bringing up God and creation. I think I was just so enamored with Kauai and the sweet gift of a Zebra Dove God sent in my quiet time to coo and spread his tail feathers at me. Right at my feet! Okay, that’s a story for another day.

So here we are in our Jeep rental with the top down and the Hawaiian breezes blowing through our hair and the vibrant colors of tropical flowers tickling our senses—how could I not think of God, right?

I start sharing because I’m thinking this is an opportunity for me to move toward him. To show him I’m willing to keep an open mind about God’s creation and how it all came about. I’m expecting that we’ll have this amiable conversation that will draw us closer, which is the whole point of our trip.

Unfortunately, that’s not what happened. He politely shut me down, saying he doesn’t want to have an argument.

What just happened? That’s not what I expected. My feelings are now hurt because my effort to meet him part way has been met with a roadblock. I really and truly thought this would turn out so much better. I withdraw and try to explain why I brought it up and he now feels horrible for upsetting me.

Have you been there? Or is a better question, how often have you been there?

Perhaps my efforts were also about defending my faith, which I sometimes still feel I need to do, even though I don’t. Or more likely, was I trying to defend God as Lynn talked about in yesterday’s post?

These are tough moments in our mismatched marriages. They’re places we can get stuck and ruminate in our hurt and feel misunderstood. It’s not easy to move past them, but I was determined to not let this ruin our day or even our trip.

Because here is what happened later that day. My husband and I headed to the northern part of the island in Princeville and found new wedding bands. My husband wanted do what we’d done on our 10th anniversary—we replaced our gold bands for silver and turquoise to commemorate our trip to Arizona.

IMG_1835We now have new bands that are tungsten with a center band made of Koa wood, which stands for boldness, strength and fearlessness. We exchanged rings on the beach the next morning in front of a gorgeous sunrise.

What’s my point? In just a matter of hours, my marriage picture shifted from one extreme to another. The best way I can describe this is to think of these moments as pictures in a scrapbook filled with images and memories. The idea is to move among these pictures that are held in a book that binds it all together. Not one specific picture is the entire book, nor does it likely define the entire album. And those blurry and not so great pictures? I know I don’t include the ones that are out of focus, have a finger hanging in them, or my eyes are shut. I want to leave room for the best pictures. The ones that capture the heart and meaning of the moment.

When we focus on just one picture, one aspect of our marriage like our spouse’s unbelief or difference in belief or whatever that may be for you, we miss the moments of blessings that God so desperately wants to bring to us, to bless us, to bless our spouse, to bless our marriage.

This album—the binding and the pages—is God’s presence and spirit weaving in and around, bringing everything in our lives together in this collection of memories, experiences, spiritual growth, and everything that defines and builds our lives and marriages. He is the one who holds it all together, whether our prebelievers know it or not!

Doesn’t that just blow you away? Our loved one’s choice to not follow or trust God right now doesn’t diminish or preclude God’s power or presence in our lives and marriages. Let that truth sink in deep into your heart, my precious friends. I want so much to pour that hope into you more than anything.

A moment in my hands and control ended in grief, but God brought it full circle and turned it into what I’d hoped for—a moment of connection and meaning. It just didn’t need to be focused on our faith differences. One of the greatest gifts you can give to your prebeliever is to not define your marriage by your faith disparity. And in keeping your focus on God instead, you give Him the gift of trust, which is another way to worship Him. There’s even a gift in there for us—living in peace and even joy because we know who’s really in control and we’re not worrying about our spouse’s state of belief.

God is there. God is BIG! And God is working. Believe it! Trust it. Even when you don’t see it. Rest in the truth of God and His love for us. Nothing is bigger or stronger than that.

Like 1 Corinthians 13:13 says, “But now faith, hope, love, abide these three; but the greatest of these is love.”

God’s love always prevails. Always. And it’s always, always, always about His love. Jesus is our greatest testimony to that.

Amen?

Praying & believing, Dineen


Messy and Broken Could Be The Best Place To Be

image from www.spirituallyunequalmarriage.comIt’s Sunday afternoon as I write this post, I know I should be asking you to listen to Dineen and me on the radio today. But, right now I just can’t. My heart is heavy.  

In a rare moment, this morning at church at the request of our Pastor, I went to the front of the church to be available to pray with anyone who needs prayer. I’ve never done this before and wouldn’t you just know God KNEW there was one woman, a wife, who needed me, whom I could so relate. As I looking into her face, I could see a not-so-distant reflection of me only a few years ago. 

She was struggling in her marriage. 

My heart is broken for her. 

My heart is truly broken for all of our messy marriages. 

I am broken for those of us who are married and yet lonely, who are sad, angry, disappointed. My heart breaks for us who are isolated even at church because we don’t fit the typical church family shape. My heart hurts for those of us who are desperate to share intimacy with our spouse and to know a marriage where Christ is the center and not ridiculed by the very person who was supposed to be our soul mate. 

My heart is broken. But….. (With God there is always a but.) 

My sweet friends it’s when we are broken that God can do His best work. It’s when we have finally reached a place that we just can’t do “it” anymore. That is when we finally surrender our pain, our expectations, our marriage, and our spouse’s salvation to an all-powerful and good God. 

I am an ordinary woman. A 5’4” blonde who doesn’t have this walk with God all figured out. I don’t have all the answers but I have one thing and it’s all I need. 

I have Jesus. 

I love Jesus with every part of me. And Jesus loves me. And that is the simple key to living in peace and to loving my nonbeliever. The transforming love of Christ and His Word has changed everything. 

My friends, you CAN do this messy marriage thing. You can thrive in your spiritual mismatch. You can raise Godly kids in the midst of different world views. You can laugh, OUT LOUD with praises on your lips. You can experience peace that surpasses all understanding. You can love profoundly and with passion. 

Dineen and I are ordinary wives but we serve the Extraordinary God of the Universe and His son, Jesus. And our marriages have been redeemed, our kids are safe in our Savior’s hands and we are on the most amazing journey any believer could hope to travel. 

Oh please, travel this crazy, mixed up road with us. Learn to hear the Father’s voice. Watch as He astonished you with unexpected and fantastic answers to prayer. Let Him comfort you and teach you new ways to live. 

Walk with us and behold…… His desires for your life will be the greatest thing you will ever experience. 

Psalms 37:4 Delight yourself in the Lord 
and He will give you the desires of your heart. 

I bear witness to the truth of God’s Word. 

Today, if you are brokenhearted, leave your prayer request in the comments. We will pray for each of them. We have a prayer team that will pray for you by name. Take a step forward in your walk toward heaven and watch all that our Great God will do in you, around you and allow him to amaze you this very week. 

FocuslogoBe blessed my friends, Lynn 

To listen to our Focus on the Family interview, click here. We pray that every word reflects Jesus. To God be all honor and glory. 

And, if you are new to our website, visit our New Hear page. Step off on the path to healing this very hour.


A Change in Perspective

IStock_000016630204XSmallI sat in my favorite chair, devotional in hand and Bible open. Tears began streaming down my face. I sat before God, grieving over a hope that felt thin at best.

The evening before, my husband and I were on our way out to grab a bite to eat. I thanked him again for the wonderful set of darts he’d given me for my birthday. (We love playing darts and I love that it’s something we share and do together). Part of the gift was a set of flights (the things that attach to the back end of the dart and make then fly straight) which had a cross on them. I was touched that he thought to buy those for me.

He said that was actually a big step for him. I asked him why since he’s bought be cross pendants in the past. He explained that jewelry was different. He didn’t really see it as having a specific meaning. But buying the flights with the crosses mean that he accepted my faith as something that wasn’t going to change.

Our conversation continued over dinner. He further expanded that just as I probably hoped he would change his mind and believe in God, he hoped I would decide to believe like he does, that God doesn’t exist.

In my heart, I cringed a bit because I shared recently here that I thought he’d moved toward being more of an agnostic than an atheist. We continued to talk. That was the good part—we really talked. It was honest, open, and authentic. Nothing defensive or upsetting, even though it seemed like a step back.

Interestingly enough, at one point I got to share a perspective that surprised him. He said I probably thought that his life would be better if he believed. I said not necessarily better but richer. This gave me the opportunity to explain to him that my desire for him to come to faith had nothing to do with wanting to change him in any way. My only desire was that his eternity would be secure. I love him just as he is and I want to see him in heaven.

I explained the “richer” part with comparing the discovery of the world being round, not flat. New discoveries were to be made and perspectives enhanced and even changed. Like a whole new world (pun intended) being opened up before our eyes.

So, the reality of his unwavering choice to not believe God existed grieved me deeply that morning. I sat before God and asked what had happened? Had ground been lost? Had I misunderstood? Then I told God refused to stop believing his promises for my sweet guy. I know without a doubt God’s hand is on his life and I will wait however long it takes.

Then God’s loving and quiet voice came into my heart and changed my perspective. He showed me that this was not a step back but a step forward. That my husband’s acceptance of my faith was a crucial step in his consideration of faith for himself.

God helped me see what I could not on my own. My hope is restored. And renewed by a God who continually blows me away with His perfection and love.

No more tears. Just basking in the love of my Father. I will wait on Him and know joy.

Praying and believing,
Dineen


And the Walls Came A-Tumbling Down

IStock_000003877105XSmallLynn’s post yesterday talked about the walls we erect that keep our guys on the outside. I want to share with you how this translated into my life.

I walked into my marriage with the expectations I’d leaned from the pages of romance novels and movies. I’d bought into the fairytale. Everything was fine in the beginning but then the reality began to settle in.

My husband wasn’t perfect. He didn’t do the things I thought he should. He didn’t get that he had a role to play in the script I’d written in my mind and heart. He didn’t even know his lines!

How dare he let me down like that? How dare he not do the things around the house that seemed so obvious to me? How dare he not pull his weight in the relationship?

So what else could I do? I jumped in and did it. After all, these are things that have to be done and done right. You know the saying, if you want it done right, you have to do it yourself. So I did!

I did everything. I had to. No one else would. I took care of the kids, the house—everything. And I worked so hard to get things just right and either he didn’t notice or the kids just undid it all so that I had to do all over again.

Life wasn’t fair. Why didn’t he get that if he would just do things the way I wanted and was there when I needed him, life would be so much easier.

Let’s fast forward to a little ways into my marriage. We’d moved to Switzerland because of a work opportunity for my husband. Things started out great, then went from bad to worse. The weight of the world on my shoulders effectively doubled.

I walked into my new church one day and was approached by a soft-spoken woman. She handed me a piece of paper about a group called 1Peter3, a group for women married to unbelievers. I joined immediately and we studied the book Beloved Unbeliever together.

God began to open my eyes through this and another Bible study, Experiencing God. Not to see my husband’s faults and lack, but to see my own. I began to see how much I pressure I had put upon my marriage and my husband through my expectations. I backed off, reassessed, and started to painfully change the way I talked to my husband. I became aware of my words. My marriage began to improve greatly as God taught me to respect my husband.

Still, there was this pattern that seemed to show up. Things would go great for a while and then go down the drain again. Why? Why did this keep coming back? Why did we keep getting stuck in this place? I’d done pretty well in communicating my needs and helping to understand what I was saying without being condemning, so why did the same issues keep cropping up?

One day I was walking into my kitchen. Maybe I was praying, I don’t clearly remember. What I do remember was a very clear and sudden thought.

“It’s not him who has to change, it’s me. It’s not his perceptions that need adjustment, it’s mine.”

Like a light bulb bursting with light, this truth exploded in my head and did a number on my heart. I realized I had let go of my expectations of what I wanted and had replaced them with negative expectations. The kind where you expect your spouse to do what he’s always done, to disappoint you the way he always done, to let you down the way he’s always done.

I’d placed these negative expectations on my husband, ones he could actually meet, but never gave him a chance to do anything else. The problem was, each one added a brick to that wall around me, the one I thought would keep me from feeling the hurt of being let down. And my poor guy kept bouncing into it, feeling as if he could never do anything right.

It’s a vicious cycle. It destroys marriages. It destroys people.

I had to tear down the bricks and it would take a while. First, I had to break this habit of negative expectations that I’d developed and see in my husband the potential God had created in him. Until I did, my husband would never become the man God had fashioned him to be. And two, I had to rebuild trust in our marriage. I had to show my husband I believed in him, that I truly supported him, and trusted him. Respected him.

My desire to change my husband shifted to a desire to change me. I wanted to change. I needed to change. I was desperate for freedom! I prayed for God to change me, to change my heart, to change my thinking, and to help me love my husband the way Jesus loves him.

God took my pain and desire and used it to tear down the walls I had built around my emotions. He freed me from lies and bad habits and showed me how to affirm, appreciate and out-love my husband.

Friends, this is not easy to share with you. I have no shame admitting my path because I know God has forgiven and redeemed me and my past. But to write this out brings me tears. It’s not been an easy journey. It’s been painful but so worth it!

God is gracious, kind and faithful. I shared in our Weekend Devo what my husband did for me last week. That is not how it’s always been. It has taken work and time to reach this place of where I can love him without expectation and the more I do—the more I love my husband through Jesus—the more our marriage has healed and thrived.

For so many years I wanted my guy to fit a mold that I had created for the perfect husband. To finally release him from that and to just love and appreciate the man he is, and then to out-love him as we’ve been doing here, brought something from his mouth I thought I would never hear. He actually referred to a task that needed to be done in our home as a “job for him, a husband’s job.” Something I never would have imagined I’d hear him say.

I still stumble at times and God is quick to show me and pick me up so I can apologize to my husband. The results of this journey are still coming in. I’ve changed dramatically and my husband has responded in so many unexpected ways. Now he’s starting to out-love me. That was never my motivation for out-loving him. I wanted only to be obedient to God for the sake of my husband’s future salvation, to show him Jesus.

The world will tell you that your perfect mate will meet your every need. God will tell you that He is all that you need and will show that He’s already met your every need in His Son Jesus. When we live in this truth, we are free to love Jesus and everyone He puts in our path. We truly love because He first loved us.

God sees your desires and efforts, your pain and struggles in your marriage. He wants to show you a better way. Ask him. He’s just waiting for you to make the first move.

Praying and believing,
Dineen


Kids in the Mix - Marriage Monday

It’s Marriage Monday and I am able to hop in and share this week.

As most of us “Add Kids to the Mix,” Marriage Monday is expanding to cover the topic, Kids.

I recently finished writing a talk for MOPS, about raising kids: Raising Kid’s to Integrity and Faith. It was a wonderful process to work through and today I want to share one of the” tines of a fork” (I use a fork as an exemplar) which I share in that talk.

I believe that as parents if we are intentional about five different areas, we can raise our kids with enormous success in a challenging world to live in integrity and faith.

So let’s get started. This is one of my favorites:

Last weekend was Home Coming. The Home Coming Dance was Saturday night and all of my daughter’s friends, were going. My daughter, a Junior, was not. I can’t tell you how this still pains me today. She missed out on a rite of passage, she wanted to be asked by a boy but wasn’t and she sat at home. To make matters worse were the photos of her friends on Facebook the next day. Ouch!

So what can a parent do to encourage a girl’s fragile self-esteem?

BE SPONTANEOUS.

Saturday arrived and all her friends would be trying on dresses, working on makeup and truly I am thrilled for them but, I had a plan of my own.

I told my daughter to get dressed that we were heading out on a day of adventure.

Let me share with you here that I didn’t have the time to spend all day away from my work but my daughter’s emotional health was way more important.

Imported Photos 00006So, we jumped in the car and we were off. We headed to the local mountain community of Julian, CA. Near this quaint town; we stopped at an apple orchard and picked a couple bags of apples. My daughter had never had this experience. We had a blast and there was a ton of things to observe and we chatted about anything and everything. Then we drove on down the road toward the town. Off to the side of the road, I spotted four horses grazing near the fence. I swerved over, parked the car and said to my surprised daughter, “Get out.”

 

Imported Photos 00017 We proceeded to pet the horses and feed them several of the apples we just picked. Now if you know my girl, horses are God's gifts to girls. Just to be around them my daughter is filled with wonder and joy. Then on top of it all, to feed them apples...... pure bliss.

Back in the car, we headed toward the town, drove around, then added our name to the list of a completely charming country restaurant to be seated for lunch. We walked to a candy shop, purchased a bag. Had lunch comprised of everything fattening and just enjoyed the sure adventure.

Imported Photos 00028 On the way home we spotted wild burrows and at least 100 wild turkeys near the river. It was a completely spontaneous adventure that she will never forget, nor will I. We arrived home late in the day tired but filled with memories we will treasure.

Now, I understand that a day with mom is not the same as a dance with a boy. But, I had hours in the car to casually affirm who she is. She is a daughter of the Most High God and that He has a plan for her life and to not rush things. To remember how she is loved by her family and her wacky mom who takes her on crazy adventures. I reminded her that I have prayed and prayed for her future boyfriend and then on day, husband and God is preparing him now for the day they will meet. And it will far surpass what she missed on Saturday night.

She hugged me as she shuffled off to bed. “It was a great day Mom. Thank you.”

Be spontaneous! Be intentional. It builds memories that will last a lifetime and carry them through dark days of doubt. And they will become men and women of integrity and faith.

How have you been spontaneous with your kids. I SO want to hear your stories. I hope I can learn a few new things from you.

Be blessed, Lynn

Don’t forget on Monday, October 3rd to stop in for our BIG launch and challenge. I have a challenge that will take your marriage to the next level of love, respect and can change everything. See you then.


A Divine Parallel by Guest Writer: Janet

Heavenly Father, I’m emotionally exhausted and taxed beyond measure.  Don’t you see my tears?  Do they mean anything to You?

I too have felt great passion, loss and sadness causing me to weep. {Hebrews 5:7, Luke 19:41, John 11:35, Mark 15:37}

God how much longer?  I mean really, can’t my spouse see I’m not trying to steer them wrong or bring harm?  Why can’t she/he try, just try, to believe what I know to be true?

 I also know the bitter rawness of repeated betrayal, disappointment and hurt. {Mark 14:66-72}

Gracious Father, every time I turn around it’s like the enemy is pouncing me!  Can’t I catch a break?

In the wilderness I also endured trials and tests of the enemy, stealth-like twisted plays on My Father’s Word and promises. {Matthew 4:1-11}

Dear God, today is the day I just cannot do this anymore!  Don’t you see all of this?  Blessings abound?  How about chaos abounds!  Can’t you spare me a lousy minute to take a breather and regroup?

I too prayed for our Father to take this cup from Me. {Luke 22:42}

Father, just in case you forgot, I am here trying to navigate this path before me—a little bit of help would be nice!

Bcrownthorn I also know the feelings of abandonment and forsakenness. {Matthew 27:45} 

A mismatched marriage has us walk in some sort of daily emotional, spiritual or physical pain.  This sometimes lonely and painful road, is it not a higher purposed pain?   What can I learn from it?  What basic principles can Jesus teach me that I too will come out triumphant?  What hopes and promises does scripture want me to focus on and remember—in both the good days and painful days?

I’ m reminded of the famous motto: pain is temporary, pride is forever.  What if we replaced the word “pride” with rejoicing, glory… salvation?  Savor and taste the flavors that newly reworded motto offers. 

When I reflect on the trials of Jesus I can’t help but see a parallel to the mismatched marriage and how many of us share similar pains as His.  So what can Jesus’ perseverance teach me? 

  • To pray all the harder, never ceasing.  {Luke 22:44}
  • To armor myself in the Word and knowledge of God that I may stand strong in the face of adversary using my knowledge to reverse the sword aimed at me {Ephesians 6:11-18, Psalm 27:3}
  • To still myself in His presence and never stop being in communion with Him {Psalms 46:10, John 17:3, Isaiah 43:10}

And lastly, to trust.  Trust that while I do not have nor see the full picture, like Jesus I really do have access to the full picture—just not the details.  The full picture, similar to Jesus, is knowledge and faith that our pain will not be wasted or in vain, but that pain is temporary and salvation is forever

And dear friends, we know His sufferings was temporary and for a higher purpose.   We know Jesus was never forsaken by God and He never deafened His ears to Jesus’ prayers.  Not, for a moment did God forget the path and trials laid before Him.  Instead God gave Jesus everything He needed. 

And God is giving you everything you need to face the day-to-day struggles and joys of this walk.  Let’s agree to commit ourselves to run, not walk for the prize that lies ahead because pain is temporary, salvation is forever

 

Bio: Janet resides on the East Coast with her husband and three daughters.  She begins and ends her day with God and strives to still be in constant dialogue with Him in between diaper changes, church groups and meetings, PTA meetings, child refereeing and the relentless list of homemaker duties and chores. 


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


Disillusioned in My Marriage - Unequally Yoked

A few weeks ago I watched my friend Kelly walking through the foyer of our church. In tow, her three children. They passed by me smiling and saying, “Hello” to passersby who were heading out to eat or going home after church. But, as I looked into her face, I saw something no one else could see.

I bet you may have experienced what Kelly is living. Join me today at the Internet Cafe, The Marriage Counter for Married and Disillusioned.

Marriage counter (3)


The Schwarzenegger Rant

(Photo: Reuters / Tomas Bravo)
Mariaarnoldshwartz Okay, I’m not really sure where this post is going today but I think I’m about to go on a rant.

I am utterly and wholly disappointed and sad over the impending divorce of Arnold and Maria Schwarzenegger. I am outright devastated for the children, and the son of the household employee. I’m devastated for all of them.

It’s a tragedy that continues to play out in an ever growing and ugly fashion. I live in Southern California and it’s the talk everywhere. Are you hearing about it all where you live?

I guess my heart breaks for marriage in general. It grieves me that after 25 years…. NOW it’s a failure. I think I felt this way when Al and Tipper Gore separated after 40 years. But if I have learned anything in these years of marriage ministry, I have learned that the marriage behind closed doors is the real marriage. Often when we observe married couples, we are only viewing their public face, much like watching celebrities. What their real relationship is all about is rarely glimpsed in the public. Would you agree?

What can we learn from this strange turn of events? Can we see that marriage is a union of two people that are not always mature, or wise? They are often selfish and insecure. Can we take notice that a good marriage takes work, trust, and more than anything, constant prayer?

Let this misfortune remind us that we can never stop working on our marriage relationship. We must be intentional to spend time together. To be spontaneous. To love and to honor and to respect our mate.

Okay, your thoughts? Rants? Prayers?

Be blessed, Lynn


Marriage Monday - Couples in Faith

It's Marriage Monday. Please join us once again for Marriage Monday on May 2, 2011. Our group topic this time is “faith.” How does your Christian faith express itself between you and your spouse? Do you pray together? Or discuss theology? Do you lead or attend a couples Bible study? Perhaps you’re spiritually unequal, yet you're thriving nonetheless. Feel free to share any aspect of your spiritual journey.

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This is actually a difficult topic for me personally. It's challenging not to let myself slip into the "poor me" mindset knowing that other couples pray together, discuss theology and (one of my greatest desires) attend Bible study together. I struggle to keep that green monster, envy, in check.

Handscoup What I need to share with all of you is that first, I am honestly joyful to know there are marriages where a man and a wife pray together, attend church together and even study God's word as a couple. Secondly, for all of us who are unequally yoked, I know you feel the same way. You are glad to know there are couples enjoying faith together and you yearn for that in your own marriage. I also know the pain you feel because you don't have what others seemingly take for granted.

But you know what? I've discovered that over time Jesus fills in those gaps. In fact, because my husband isn't the spiritual leader and because I must pursue my faith alone my, relationship with Jesus is richer. I am deeply dependent on Jesus every day, more so than if my spouse was also a believer.

Think of the practicality of this statement.

  • I'm acutely intentional about sharing my faith with my daughter when those rare "teachable moments" arrive.
  • I pray over more aspects of our home and my husband's welfare than I might if he was a believer and praying over them. Things such as his career, his boss, his friendships, his health.
  • I rely on the consistent reading of God's word to provide me with Godly wisdom to make good decisions and to perceive when things are what they appear on the surface.
  • I know what is good and what is not. Knowing Biblical truth and having the Holy Spirit guiding me every day keeps me from unnecessary conflict, bad decisions, and a ton of trouble. 
  • Dependence of Jesus fills me with peace and I live most everyday with a genuine joy in my life. 

There are some amazing blessings that are ours alone when we are spiritually mismatched. One of the greatest blessings of all is this: My Front Row Seat.

I have the privileged position to watch this fantastic show; God, The Creator of the Universe and His Son Jesus, persistently and passionately pursue the life, heart, and soul of my husband.

So, in many ways I share faith and practice my faith with my husband. It's not so much the traditional way. It's just different and what a wild, wacky and fantastic journey. I can say with complete honesty that when I reach heaven and look back on my life and marriage, I will KNOW, without a doubt, that God KNEW what He was doing to place me in this marriage. 

There are eternities at stake and I am in the battle to win it. WOO HOO!

Always love to participate in Marriage Monday. Visit e-Mom to read more. Have a fantastic week, Lynn

PS. This week let's make a conscious effort to pray for our mothers and especially our spouse's mother everyday with week. Mother's Day is Sunday. Hugs.


Are You Desperate?

There came a day.

That day when I finally said, “I can’t do this anymore.”

I am a determined and self-sufficient woman and for “that” day to finally arrive, I was truly at the end of my rope. I was desperate.

I couldn’t have one more argument over my faith with him.

I was done trying to help him find Jesus.

I couldn’t take one more hurtful word about my Lord.

I was desperate.

Why is it that we must finally travel this desolate road of desperate into the wilderness? Why do we think we can handle our life on our own strength, by our own wits, with our own intellect?

My journey to the Land of Desperate was necessary. I needed to realize I was….

Desperate for Jesus.

Jesus had to take me to the end of myself to see that everything I was working to accomplish was nothing. He needed me to see that I just needed Him.

When I finally came to this place in my marriage that is when I truly discovered Jesus. He is all I need. Jesus is my Hero. Jesus is my provider. Jesus is my strength. Jesus is my joy, and hope and love and future and… and… and….

I finally decided that reading the Bible might make a difference. (What a thought) I began getting up early and would read from my daily Bible then pray. Every morning. Without fail.

    Theholybible

That was 14 years ago and I still meet with the King today, every morning, early with coffee in hand and my daily Bible.

Are you desperate? Meet with the King every morning. It will change your life. And that’s a promise.

Be embraced this day my friends and meet with the King. He has so much to give you and it will blow your mind. Hugs, Lynn


One Little Step and Then......

I listen as she wept softly.

Phoncrywom I spoke to this young wife on the phone recently. She found herself in a place she never imagined could happen to her. Like so many of us, her husband lost his business because of the economy and they are in a financial meltdown. They moved to a new state to find work and now she finds herself facing some of the most difficult choices she’s ever going to make.

Her pain stems from the fact that her future is not what she wants and the difficult choices in front of her are a direct result of the consequences from her husband’s past financial decisions.

Ouch.

Compound this financial crisis with the fact that this woman and her husband are spiritually disconnected, it is a formula for disaster.

But all this aside, what was truly roiling around in this young wife’s heart was anger. She’s just plain mad.

What do we do with our anger?

I will tell you that for years and years, I carried around red-hot anger that rested just below the surface ready to spring on anyone who might push me a little. I was mad about everything in my marriage and my anger was justified. Unmet needs, disappointment with many of my husband’s decisions, fury over his intentional harsh and cruel words birthed resentment in my heart and anger became my constant companion.

But do you know what happens slowly and subtlety when anger takes up residence in your heart? It will surely be joined by its insidious cousin, bitterness. And that evil and vile creature is a dangerous threat to our very soul.

For me there came a day where Jesus said, “Enough. What have I commanded you?”

Matthew 18: 21 Then Peter came to Jesus and asked, “Lord, how many times shall I forgive my brother or sister who sins against me? Up to seven times?”

 22 Jesus answered, “I tell you, not seven times, but seventy-seven times.

"O, Lord, I want to obey ut how do I make myself get over my anger? It’s not as if I can just flip a switch and turn it off."

But God is faithful and He slowly revealed what I had to do. I began to pray this sentence, “Lord, help me to WANT to forgive.”

Spiritually Unequal Marriage is all about equipping you with the truths from God’s word to thrive in your mismatched marriage. Stepping out onto the very difficult path of forgiveness is one path that’s “required traveling” to find your way to the Promised Land. I’m sharing my personal experience with you on how I stepped on to that path, because I know so many others need to find healing.

Forgiveness brings healing… to you…..  to your spouse….

As I listened to the weeping on the other end of the line, I wanted to cradle this young woman in my embrace and rock her as if she were my daughter. Her pain and confusion poured from her. I hurt for her with my whole heart.

I’m not certain she heard what she wanted to hear from me but she did hear what would really help her. Fast and pray, ask the Lord to show you His will for your immediate future. He truly loves to answer those kinds of honest and humble prayers.

I also told her it is unlikely God will answer her in the way she expects. I explained that in the many, many years walking with the Lord, He often is intentional about doing the unexpected, just to prove to us that when it works out, it was Him standing right next to us all along.

Walking with Jesus can be a difficult call to duty. But walking with Jesus is a sure road to freedom, hope, joy, love, peace and ultimately a life that is transformed before the eyes of a broken and lost world. Oh, let Jesus move, let him show you authentic living through forgiveness and humility. Pray and seek His will. It will always be good for your life, your marriage and your family.

That first step on to the path of forgiveness is the beginning of the most fantastic journey you will EVER have. I promise you this: you won’t be disappointed.

Be blessed, Lynn

I share so much more about the amazing journey through the Land of Forgiveness in chapter eight of our book. I pray that the words that God gave me to share here and in that chapter are used to bring healing to many, many marriages. Hugs, Lynn

If you haven't visited our new website and registered for the marriage basket, hop over there today. Winninghimwithoutwords.com

 


Baptism is Happy and Sad

Waterbap
Yesterday as I sat during church, I watched as five individuals gave their testimony and were baptized. I’m nearly always moved to tears when I watch someone become baptized. I pray with diligence as they go under the water, asking the Lord to protect them from the enemy and to grow them up in the ways of the Lord. As they rise from the water, I clap and I whisper words of praise and join the angels who are celebrating one more broken and lost person finds their way home.

At the same time, I find I’m can be overwhelmed with a deep sadness.

It’s such a bizarre roller-coaster moment. I truly am happy for these who obey Christ in water baptism but I grieve because that still small part of my heart deeply longs to see my husband participate in the believer’s baptism. What I find difficult is that I’m still battling this feeling of sadness in spite of all the distance I have come in my walk with God.

Why do I still have moments of deep sadness? Why after a few hours and I’ve returned home, I’m angry and short-tempered with my spouse. Why do I take it out on him knowing he is clueless as to why I’m behaving like a grouch?

I’ve spent a lot of time asking God about this today. What is frustrating, puzzling and yet reassuring and absolutely true of our Lord is this:

He says to me, “Lynn, there is still much I still need to teach you. Your husband’s salvation is at hand and will be according to My perfect timing. I do not delay to hurt you but only to make you so much more than you thought possible. Your waiting and longing heart is serving my purposes for your life and as well as your husband.

I know you feel sad that he is not at your side in church but you also know I will make you strong enough to walk this difficult path. I will never leave you nor forsake you. One day my daughter, you will see and understand the why of it all.

And, it will leave you breathless.”

So to you my friends, I know so many of you are in a difficult place and are also sad and waiting on the Lord. And although I have made giant strides through Christ to thriving in my marriage, I also don’t forget the real pain, sadness and all other emotions you feel.

Now let me tell you something you may need to hear today. It’s from the Lord:

“My Chosen One. There is still much I still need to teach you. Your spouse’s salvation is at hand and will be according to My perfect timing. I do not delay to hurt you but only to make you so much more than you thought possible. Your waiting and longing heart is serving my purposes for your life and as well as your spouse.

I know you feel sad that your mate is not at your side in church but you also know I will make you strong enough to walk this difficult path. I will never leave you nor forsake you. One day my child, you will see and understand the why of it all.

And, it will leave you breathless.”

~The Lord


A Marriage Delivered from the Pit of Hell!

This is a day of great rejoicing and celebration. 

When I first started chatting with Deb, she was living in shall I say, a "difficult marriage." I watched and prayed over the months for her and her husband. There was a point where even me, the believer in marriage and the one person who believes any marriage can be restored, doubted this marriage could be healed.

Oh Praise be to Jesus because in our doubt, struggle and sometimes, hell on earth, Jesus can heal a marriage. Today it is my great privilege to share my friend Deborah with all of you. Many of you know her from our loop at 1Peter3Living on Yahoo. Many of you held her in prayer. THANK YOU. 

Already, at a young age of 26, she has lived through a marriage she never imagined could happen to her yet she discovered triumph through the power of Jesus Christ. Although her marriage story is still relatively new, it should be a story that encourages all of us to believe and to pray.

So now, I give you Deb. This story is worth the read. Be blessed, Lynn 

*****

First of all I want to say how privileged I am to be able to share my story on Spiritually Unequal Marriage. I never envisioned myself in this position, mainly because the struggles I have experienced over the last three years seemed unending and at times hopeless, but wonder of wonders, here I am to tell the tale and rejoice over what God has done. 

For all of you who haven't met me yet, my name is Deb and I have been married to my husband for almost three years. There were doubts in more than one quarter if we would ever make it to one year let alone three, but that would be jumping ahead of the story. : ) 

Following our four year engagement, (we weathered two and a half of those years apart in different countries) and subsequent wedding on September 2007, it was only three months later that I found myself Googling 'loneliness in marriage' in the hopes of finding help for my newfound struggles. This is how I stumbled across Spiritually Unequal Marriage. Through this website God has led me to a place where I have become strengthened and equipped through the prayers and support of people who have now become like family. Your posts and e-mails have kept me sane on the crazy days and grateful on the good days. I’m so thankful to know you. 

To backtrack, my relationship with my spouse had always been characterized by significant ups and downs. I would attribute this partly to our dysfunctional upbringings, partly to our equally intense and opposite personalities, and also to the fact that any marriage, especially one where believers are involved, is a favorite target of Satan. 

When we first met what attracted me most to my husband was his passionate love for Christ. He was absolutely radiant with the light of Jesus and I had never met anyone with whom I clicked so well spiritually. Throughout our engagement however, he had some negative experiences in the church we were attending at the time, and by the time we were married I was more or less holding onto what I had seen rather than what I was seeing regarding his walk with God. Despite this development, I was still fondly hoping that he would soon 'snap out of it', and become the spiritual leader that I had always wanted him to be. I knew that if he would only get it together in the spiritual department we would soon experience marital bliss on a near perfect scale and live out all my dreams together. I say this all with a wry smile, because you may be smiling too at my naiveté. (On a side note, I still very much believe in these dreams, but more on that later.) 

Needless to say, I unwittingly placed such a burden of my expectations for happiness on him, that with his own inability to handle some of his own issues, let alone mine combined, we began having conflict that only heightened as the days and weeks continued. For the first few months he was more or less strong enough to handle my anger and frustration, but it wasn't long before he threw up his hands in defeat and retreated into his shell. His words to me at the time were that I could no longer count on his support, spiritually or emotionally, as a husband or even a friend, and that all he cared to do from then on was find his satisfaction in online gaming. He participated in an online game, EverQuest, often shortened to EQ, which is a 3D fantasy-themed massively multiplayer online role-playing game. You can imagine how crushed I was to discover that everything I had wanted was now beyond reach. What doubled my anguish was the feeling that I was entitled to at least a measure of happiness. 

From the age of three I had dedicated my life to God and since then my best dreams culminated in a desire to serve Him with a husband who wanted the same thing. With that as my foundation, how was it possible that things could have gone so awry? 

For months we coexisted in an extremely tense and hostile environment. With the best I had I tried to cope with the new situation, but each day would find me in tears of despair. I have memories of walking the streets weeping, begging God to intervene. I still remember the nights and early mornings when he wouldn't come to bed but spent all hours of the night and morning gaming in his computer room. I can still recall his dark anger at my attempts to intervene. 

What I secretly hoped was temporary became solidly worse as five hours of gaming stretched into ten and ten into fifteen and my husband's obsession deepened into addiction. The disappointment and bitterness I carried had now become a weight I couldn't bear. At this point I was asking everyone I knew for help and prayer. I was unashamed in my needs, and I know that many of your prayers are what carried me through those initial troubled days. (A quiet thank you again for that.) 

It was only eight months after we married that I left home and took up residence elsewhere. This was decided upon after explaining my situation to pastors and friends who agreed that our situation had become so volatile that it was no longer safe. What I never conceived could happen was now a reality and I was separated from the love of my life and desperate and alone. From that point followed a year and a half period where our relationship fluctuated from okay to ugly and I was barely coping from day to day. 

Looking back it puts a lump in my throat to see how tenderly God cared for me over that time. I was extremely blessed to have an excellent church which gave me a lot of support and help. At every point I needed help, Jesus provided a friend who would send me a letter at just the right time, or a text when I thought I was going over the edge. In every possible way He was saying to me - 'I am watching over you. Don't despair.' 

Of course, being Deb, I did despair, even many times a day, but I also clung to Him like I never had before. This period, for me, was characterized by an intense and painful learning curve. Through it God was revealing to me areas of my life that He wanted to heal and transform. I didn't realize how imbalanced I was in my perceptions and thoughts about marriage, myself and even God. It wasn't until I was separated from Dans that I was able to see how needy and insecure I was and how much I had relied upon him to complete me. I had gotten to the point where I blamed him for all the unhealthy ways I expressed my frustrations and felt that if it wasn't for his lack of spirituality, I would be making better choices. 

God didn’t let me stay there too long however, and my anger with my husband began giving way to acknowledgement that he was not wholly responsible for our marriage breakdown. I began attending regular counseling with my pastor’s wife Connie, who walked me through inner healing and forgiveness. Together we asked God to reveal the root issues as to why I had become co-dependent and why I felt trapped no matter which way I looked. In answer to the most tormenting why question of all - 'why me?' God revealed that sometimes He allows wounds in our life to heal even deeper ones, and this was certainly true in my case. 

What broke my heart most regarding our situation was that my husband had renounced God and cursed Him to his face. I judged him in my heart for this, without realizing that God’s command for us to love our enemies and bless those that curse us (Matt 5:44) means that He also acts according to that same standard of behavior. This means that any of our spouses, no matter if they have never known God, or have known Him and then turned away, are still loved by the Father and blessed regardless. (Matt 5:45) 

About a year into our separation my husband began attending counseling with me which was in itself a huge miracle. He had become so resistant to any kind of help that I wondered if he would ever reach out again. From there we began to dialogue about our differences and slowly came to understand and forgive each other, bit by bit. Even the tiniest steps were huge, as we had so much ground to gain. I think because the progress seemed so slow, months later I was beginning to lose faith again that things would really improve. 

In January this year, however major things started to happen. I believe that as a result of many people's prayer and intercession, he lost the desire to play computer games. For those of you who don't know about gaming, for someone like my husband who played upward of 16 hours almost every day for two years, this is the equivalent to a heroin addict suddenly deciding they don't need the drug anymore. This decision was the catalyst for a completely brand new season for both of us. From that point on we have continued to heal and just two months ago we found a lovely apartment and moved in together! 

Thank you Jesus. 

Even more amazing is the continued newness that we are now experiencing in our relationship. We have actually had times of praying together, sharing our hearts about life and where we stand with God, and are finally discovering the ability to talk over even the toughest of issues without becoming enemies. 

You have to know how hopeless it seemed for two and a half years to grasp the fullness of how amazing this is. I know that we will continue to have our battles, but God has truly done amazing things in my marriage. 

By no means am I intimating that our struggles are over, or even that we have come through everything. In a real sense we are only just starting. What I am saying is that God restored hope where there was none, took us out of a muddy pit and placed our feet on solid ground. 

Debs and Dans (3)  I hope this story blesses you as much as I have been blessed to recount it. Through it I have gained a knowing that I never had before: no matter how tough a situation can be God will see us through it stronger than before. 

~Deb

Bio:   Hi I'm Deb. Born of Greek parents in sunny Perth, Australia, I now live and work in the not-so-sunny but gorgeous state of Washington. I met my husband in the Old City of Jerusalem in 2003 while completing the second year of my BA in English and Jewish studies. Following a lengthy four year engagement Dans and I were married in Tulsa Oklahoma on September 2007. I currently work for an airline which provides plenty of drama and 'scope for the imagination. Some of my best loves are traveling, reading classic literature, taking long road trips and eating chocolate.

Here I Go Again.....
Where DO We Draw the Line?

I’m in a quandary. 

I have shared with you in past months how comparing our spouse to another spouse is a toxic occupation. For example we try not to notice but can’t help to observe how “Cindy’s” husband (not her real name) is amazingly considerate of her. We watch her husband with the kids and think, "Wow, what a great Dad.”. He opens the door for Cindy after parking the car and they walk toward the worship center holding hands. We know this man stops for flowers every Friday on his way home from work. Etc., etc. etc….. 

And to top it off, the man prays with his wife. 

Boy howdy, that green buzzard of envy takes up residence in our hearts at times. It’s not that we want THAT guy but we sure wish our forgetful and less considerate spouse would take a lesson or two. 

So, here is what’s bugging me. 

Without comparing our marriage to others we wouldn’t know when we are in a dangerous or seriously harmful relationship. Without comparisons, would we know when behaviors are outside the boundaries of a healthy marriage relationship? On the flip side, we need good examples. We need to view other marriages to understand the Biblical model and learn to emulate a Godly marriage. 

However, at what point do we go too far. Where is the danger in comparisons and where is the benefit? Where do we draw the line? Is the line a moving target? 

I ask this question because I don’t know. So, I’m asking you. Where is the balance? Do we dare compare? 

Okay, let me hear your thoughts. This is going to be a great conversation and I will tell you as I hit the publish button, I prayed over this conversation that the Lord would lead us to His truth. 

Be blessed, Lynn PS. 

Will be checking in and joining the conversation.


Things My Father Taught Me

535251_nexus I'm writing my post from the other side of the country. Sadly, my father passed away June 6 after battling cancer for seven years. My youngest daughter and I flew out for the service. This is the first time I've lost someone close to me, so it's been a huge learning experience as well. Here's what I've learned so far:

God prepares us for our trials. As scary and difficult as it was to go through my daughter's cancer diagnosis and recovery, this time prepared and strengthened me to handle my father's death. I can even look back to other times in my life and see how they also strengthened me. This has shown me another facet of God's complete provision.

God is with us in our grief. During the last week of my father's life, he was resident at a hospice house. This turned out to be a huge blessing in more ways than one. Just a couple days after he was admitted, I received a private email from a reader, asking for prayer for her marriage. Through our communications, she shared she was a hospice nurse. Though this dear woman had contacted me for prayer, she wound up praying for and encouraging me in my time of need. I know that was God's provision as well, sending a precious and understanding heart to give me support at a critical time.

God desires us to live without fear. The strangest realization has emerged in this time of reflection, loss, and grief. Having never lost someone close to me, I've feared this kind of loss. As the days progressed before my father's passing, I experienced God's constant comfort and reassurance. I realized that I didn't need to fear the pain of loss or disappointment because God was with me. He will always be there to walk the journey with me. I also realized that in protecting myself from this potential pain, I also handicapped my ability to experience elation. In other words, I will now to dare to dream and not fear disappointment. If I believe God is with me in my trials, grief and loss, then I choose also to believe that God is there working in my dreams and aspirations. I trust he's the one in control of all that and placed those desires there to begin with. I will dare to dream of the possibilities, and rest in the promise that God will bring all things to pass as he wills in his timing. And it will be good.

My earthly father taught me much on this earth, and in his death, I've learned even more, thanks to the provision of our heavenly Father. No matter what we experience in life, we can trust that God will be with us, and we can know that God will bring purpose from our pain and struggles.

Whether in life or in our mismatched marriages, we can persevere, hope, and dream. And we can trust that God is in control of it all, working for our good.

Praying and believing,
Dineen



Bloom and Grow.... Forever

I was sitting in yet another class, at a Women’s Ministry, anticipating once again how I could learn something about surviving in a marriage with an unsaved husband. I’d been to many different kinds of classes on marriage and many different churches, searching and searching. There must be someone, some pastor, some ministry, someone that would help me to know how I could save my husband. I had been struggling for 25 years spiritually unequal in a 31 year marriage. Why was there never a sermon preached about it? I knew I wanted to live my life for Jesus. I just could not figure out how I could do that and also be with my husband. Oh how wonderful it would be to be able to do the Lord’s work together, after all we were a team. God what are you thinking here? How was I able to do this, if my husband is not onboard? We have to do this together. Please save him. 

Once again, I stated my name in this new class and told my story. How I was looking for spiritual intimacy with my husband and just how lonely I was. Everyone looked at me so sadly. I did learn about our different love languages and how it could make our marriage closer if we new each others language. It was fun but you see, that was not our problem at all. We couldn’t speak spiritual language. Our marriage is really great. We love each other very much. He’s my best friend on earth. Our wedding invitations read “ The more love that is shared, the more quickly it grows”. Well, it grew and grew and grew over the years. We’ve had a blast and still do. Raised a son, traveled halfway around the world living in a sailboat the whole time. Literally we are close. 

But I am lonely, Lord. How can I live for you and still live with someone who does not know You in his heart? I contemplated leaving, but I love him so. I don’t want to lose him. 

At the end of the class session, my leader gave me a book, “How to be the Happy Wife of an Unsaved Husband” by Linda Davis. WHAT? You mean there’s a book? Finally! Thank-you, Thank you! I went home immediately and started reading. It brought me to my knees in tears, sobbing tears. This book was exactly me. Oh no, Lord. Forgive me, please! I have been trying to control everything. Even trying to save my own husband and believing it was my fault he was not saved. 

Jesus taught me that day that I didn’t have to worry one bit about my man, that he was in His hands. It is His job to save him and that I was to let go and surrender him. And, “Cindi, I want you to just bloom. I have work for you, and I want you to just bloom into the most beautiful flower that I have created you to be.” In quoting Linda, “Your husband’s unbelief is no reason to hold back your own spiritual growth.” What I learned from that was not only surrendering my husband to God, but myself. It freed me up to grow and I’ve been blooming and growing ever since. God has led me to teach a class on the Unequally Yoked at my church. I love that others have the opportunity to share and know that they are not alone in this. The outpouring is amazing! God is amazing! 

I now see my husband through God’s eyes and love him how God wants me to love him. Our relationship is even closer than ever, different and more peaceful. There are changes in him and I believe it’s because of what God has changed in "me". God has a plan for my man as well and I relax and trust God to do His part with his salvation. I wait, but I bloom and grow....forever.

Cindi Valli Cindi Valli

My name is Cindi Valli and I am a born again Christian as of 25 years. I am married 31 years to the sweetest man ever. We have one son, who just turned 30 who we raised together on a boat. I home schooled him most of the time and we have traveled half way around the world on 3 separate sailboats. The most recent one we've had for 20 years and still live aboard. I have led a class in Bible Study Fellowship in the past and am currently leading a class called "Uniquely Yoked" at my church. I absolutely love Jesus and trust in Him with all my heart and I lean not on my own understanding. In all my ways, I try to acknowledge Him and when I do He always directs my path. Proverbs 3:5-6

Is Divorce Really the Answer?

IStock_000005523181Medium“No sooner does a couple say, “I do,” than the Serpent rears his ugly head and sets out to destroy that marriage. He knows every divorce is an attack on the character of God and on the earthly picture of divine redemption. Before the wedding reception is over, Satan is looking for opportunities to plant seeds of deception in the hearts of the newlyweds.” —Nancy Leigh DeMoss, Lies Women Believe (p. 156)

That’s a sobering statement, isn’t it? We’ve been doing a lot of chatting on the 1Peter3Living loop on the aspects of spiritual warfare specifically in a spiritually mismatched marriage. As Nancy Leigh DeMoss says, marriage is under constant attack. I believe it’s even more so in a spiritual mismatch because we are a constant godly influence to an unbeliever.

This specific chapter that I’m quoting from Lies Women Believe is the chapter about divorce. Specifically how sometimes we are deceived into believing our situation is hopeless and divorce is the best solution.

DeMoss gives a very realistic picture of the progression of lies and deceptions cleverly placed in our paths of marriage that strategically conquer and destroy (sound familiar) our marriages.

Look at these examples she gives:

  • Forgets an anniversary
  • Shows up an hour late for a date and forgets to call
  • Agrees for the two of you to work on a project without talking to you first
  • Tells his parents you’ll be there for Christmas, when you were hoping to spend Christmas with your parents
  • Or any one of a thousand “offenses”

She goes on to say, “To nurse the offense, rather than choosing to forgive and release it, is to become vulnerable to deception that grows bigger and stronger with the passing of time.”

  • He’s always inconsiderate.
  • He doesn’t care that he hurt me.
  • He’s impossible to live with.
  • He’ll never be any different.
  • _____________ (insert name of other man) is so much more thoughtful and considerate. He doesn’t treat his wife that way.
  • There’s no way this marriage can work.
  • I’d be happier if I were married to the _____________ (the “other” man).
  • If my husband doesn’t love and respect me, I have the right to leave him.
  • Sometimes two people just can’t make a marriage work—apparently, we weren’t meant for each other.
  • I’m better off getting a divorce than staying in a miserable marriage.
  • I don’t have any alternative. There’s just no way I can stay married to him.*

See how it progresses? Barring any situations of abuse or addiction, the wife in this scenario has totally convinced herself her husband is the problem, and her focus is completely on herself—her happiness and her hurts. She’s decided the situation (the marriage) is hopeless.

But we know better, don’t we? What situation is hopeless in God’s eyes? We serve a huge God who can do anything, including save a seemingly hopeless marriage.

Over at our Facebook page, I’ve invited people to share their testimonies on how God has worked or is working in their marriages. I hope you’ll go read some of those testimonies. They’re awesome. Or feel free to leave yours here in the comments.

And if you’re in this place of hopelessness, please let us know how we can pray for you. Then come back next week as I continue sharing some wonderful truths to counter these lies the enemy has deceived us all with. We can fight and win this battle because our God is bigger, greater, and stronger than any lie the enemy thinks he can use to deceive us.

Praying and believing,
Dineen

 

*Excerpts taken from Lies Women Believe and the Truths That Set Them Free by Nancy Leigh DeMoss, pages 156-158.


Feet or De-feat?

841479_pain Are you feeling defeated?

I’m slowly working my way through Nancy Leigh DeMoss’ book, Lies Women Believe. This is what I highlighted in my reading for today:

“The Enemy doesn’t care if we “believe” in God, if we are doctrinally orthodox, or if we fill our schedules with a lot of “spiritual activities,” as long as he can get us to run on our own steam rather than living in conscious dependence upon the power of the Holy Spirit.


If he can get us to try to “live the Christian life” without cultivating an intimate relationship with the Lord Jesus, he knows we will be spiritually impotent and defeated.”

This is eye-opening. I can remember when I first recommitted my life to Christ, I became heavily involved in the church I was attending. I would complain about feeling worn out and over taxed, and my husband would tell me to slow down and not do so much at church. But was the message I was sending? That church is draining, demanding, and exhausting? Ouch! 

It took me a year to finally cultivate this quiet time with God. Now I’m very protective of it, but I still have to remain intentional about it. The busyness of life has a way of moving in and taking over. And it’s so easy to slip into doing things in my strength and not God’s.

What better way for the enemy to not only make us impotent, but also to defeat our testimony to our unbelieving spouses?

Yes, it’s important that we are part of a church community if possible, but even within our own homes, we can’t mistake doing for God as being with God. This time alone with our Lord is vital to keeping us focused on what He is asking us to do, and it may surprise you too.

Isaiah 40:31 tells us that those who hope in/wait on the Lord will renew their strength. That’s God’s promise of what time spent with him will produce. This is my pursuit right now… how can I live more victoriously in Christ and be a living and visual testimony to my husband of who Christ is?

Ladies and gents, we’re in a battle here. We can either stay alert at the feet of Christ or live in defeat. I know I much prefer Christ’s “feet” over “de-feat.”

What does living victoriously look like to you?

Praying and believing,
Dineen

New LWG Button_2010 Hope you'll check out my post "Remember" over at Laced with Grace about a fascinating connection I made between communion and monuments.

For whenever you eat this bread and drink this cup, you proclaim the Lord's death until he comes. — 1 Corinthians 11:26 (NIV)

I read this verse just recently in an Upper Room devotional and the writer that day helped me see a profound connection I’d missed before... Read the rest at LWG.