We’ve had a blast this month walking down memory lane, doing a LIVE Webcast, announcing our ordinations and celebrating YOU! Did you enjoy the stories? Lynn and I have had some crazy adventures together, and we have taken you with us in our hearts every time.
We’ve written two books together—Winning Him Without Words and Not Alone—Bible studies you, the SUMites, asked us for. Which then led to invitations to speak at conferences, to be on Focus on the Family, FamilyLife Today, Dr. Dobson and INSIGHT on The Miracle Channel. Lynn even did an interview on the 700 Club! She’s the big adventurer in this duo, that’s for sure.
Lynn and I have talked a lot about our adventures this month and laughed—a lot! She has said I was the one who gave her the gift of saying “yes,” when she said “let’s go!” Honestly, I believe I’m the one who was blessed more. She keeps me from getting too comfortable, you know? We all need someone like that in our lives.
And the adventures continue, SUMites! We are a family. A church without walls. The SUM Nation. God has brought us all together these last ten years for a reason, for such a time as this, and that time continues. His plans are still unfolding for us, my friends.
This weekend is Memorial Day Weekend, and Lynn and I have decided to take next week off. We have some planning and catching up to do. My hubby is off Monday so I’m looking forward to some beach time with him! But be sure to catch Ian’s post on Wednesday. And Lynn and I will be back June 6th.
With a surprise…
What kind of surprise, you ask? Well, we’ve been up to something—been planning the next adventure. And this one includes you, SUMites. A surprise that we think you’re going to love being part of. So be sure to stop in June 6th for all the details.
Until then, have an amazing Memorial Day weekend with your family. Enjoy next week with friends and family in whatever adventures you happen to be on.
We love you, SUM family, with all our hearts. We love being a part of your lives as we continue to walk this great adventure with God together.
BIG hugs! Dineen & Lynn
P.S. I (Dineen) will have a small post up this Saturday with a little announcement that I hope you’ll enjoy. XOXO
I remember a day years ago, sitting in a restaurant with our church youth group. I watched and smiled as they talked and joked around. And as I sat there in the midst of this group, I felt totally alone.
I’d recently jumped in to church with gusto but my husband hadn’t. He’d decided to go quite the opposite direction—atheism.
So there I sat in a room full of people who knew me, yet I felt this loneliness, a longing to be known and understood. And a longing to share my growing faith with my husband.
Times of loneliness seem to enter our lives at times for various reasons, but in a spiritual mismatch it can be even more challenging as we wait for God to work in our marriage and on our pre-believer’s heart.
Something I found so comforting in years past is that this longing to be known is part of our faith DNA.
He has made everything beautiful in its time. He has also set eternity in the human heart; yet no one can fathom what God has done from beginning to end. — Ecclesiastes 3:11
God has a longing to be known. And just as we want to be known, He wants us to know Him. Thus our need to be known mirrors the Creators very heart for His children—us.
For now we see in a mirror dimly, but then face to face; now I know in part, but then I will know fully just as I also have been fully known. But now faith, hope, love, abide these three; but the greatest of these is love. — 1 Corinthians 13:12-13
Over the years that loneliness has diminished more and more in the light of Abba’s great love. He’s shown me that often times the thing I long for most is Him, to know Jesus as my best friend and to have that intimacy. I think my greatest challenge as been to truly believe Abba loves me that much AND to truly believe that NOTHING can separate me from His love (Romans 8:38-39), not even my mismatched marriage or my doubts.
God loves all His children vastly, deeply and completely no matter what kind of marriage or place we are in. And His heart is to know us because He longs for us to know Him.
Now no matter where I sit I know I’m not alone. We never stand (or sit) alone. Jesus is always there!
If you haven’t had a chance to listen to our broadcasts this week on FamilyLife Today, hop over and be encouraged! Our hearts and prayers are always for you, my friends.
It’s a sunny Sunday afternoon here at the Donovan Clan House as I write this post. I’ve just returned home from the movie theater where I watched the movie, Son of God.
I’m in my office alone right now, a rare accomplishment these days as my son, daughter-in-law and granddaughter who is almost a year old, moved in recently. It’s quiet at this moment and I’m able to hear the voice of the Lord as He is speaking so much to me.
He’s pointing out that He just answered some long spoken prayers of my heart. Some of these deep longings I have prayed over for as long as I’ve been married. And as I sit here and consider what happened today I’m moved to tears again. Let me explain.
Since my marriage to my “pre-believer” husband 22 years ago this Friday, I have so desperately wanted him to be part of my faith life. I’ve wanted so much to sit together in church. To discuss the Bible and learn about Jesus together. I’ve wanted to look like all the other families at church. I wanted to fit in. But for 22 years I have often felt like the odd ball, the third wheel, and like I will never rest comfortably in the family of God.
But today….. Oh TODAY….. What God can do with an ordinary day. You see, I attended the movie, Son of God, with “my family.” A real family that loves me and who also loves Jesus. It wasn’t my husband but God sent me a family anyway. There were five of us who walked into the theater together. An eclectic group of family members who all wanted to go to the movie with me. ….. with me….. Can you believe it?
Two of the women were 25 years old. Who knew young women wanted to hang out with a grandma. There were two women that were in their 30’s and then me… Ahem. I’m a bit older. But I am overwhelmed that God has put a family around me that wants to share my faith. Who wants to go to see a movie about Jesus. Who loves Jesus and loves me, who loves one another. God whispers to me, “Lynn, I know you have surrendered many of your hopes and wishes but I have given them all back to you and more.”
Gulp…. And Wow..
And how I know they are truly my family members is because we were supposed to attend the movie last weekend but I ended up taking my daughter to urgent care last Sunday instead.
They waited for me. They waited for a woman who is twice their age. A woman who is ordinary. A woman who wants to love Jesus and love people.
I’m undone by the love of God. I’m undone by the love of this unlikely family God has given me. I’m undone by my family here in the House of SUM.
My friends, as I sit at my computer contemplating it all, I hear the voice of God speaking to you, “My daughter, my son, you have also surrendered many of your dreams. Your hopes have been crushed and you perceive no way out of the pit you are in. I see the sacrifices, the pain you have endured and the lost and broken family that you crave. But, I promise you that your prayers are urgent in my ears. My Son paid the price for your redemption and the redemption of your family. And I declare that by His suffering, your redemption is full. All that you have surrendered, all that has been taken from you by the enemy….. WILL BE RESTORED.”
My friends, today is living proof that God restores. I have a family who shares my faith!
And as I write to you now I feel as though God has opened the heavens and shouts:
For the joy set before him he endured the cross, scorning its shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God. (Hebrews 12:2)
I watched the movie earlier today and nearly cried through most of it. I cried because to me, it’s not a story. It’s not just a movie. It’s real…. Jesus IS the Son of God. He is real. He lived. He was tortured, crucified, died and rose for ME… It was for the joy set before Him that He went to the cross to give us a family. A family that will be ours forever. It was for the joy set before Him that we are healed of our loneliness, our diseases, our bitterness, our broken hearts. It was for the joy set before him that he died for us and for our unsaved spouses.
Oh Glory….. Let’s fall more in love with our Jesus. He LIVES! He is our restorer. He will pursue our unsaved family members relentlessly and He gives us a family, even an unlikely one.
The blessings and answers to prayer often arrive in an unlikely and unexpected manner. Look around you. What is He doing in your life today? The Son of God has changed everything in my life. He is the Word. The Alpha and Omega. The Beginning and the End. He is my family and my redemption.
He is my hope.
He is love.
I adore you my family of SUMites. I care for you. I love you. And if I knew I could save just one person from the fires of hell, I too, would go to the cross. May you today be anointed with an overflowing love and power of the Holy Spirit this very hour. Love, your unlikely family member, Lynn
PS. Listen in to our NEW interviews at FamilyLife. We talk about some very interesting topics. Click here.
I want to tell you what happened when I asked Dineen to marry me. *grin*. I didn’t really ask her to marry me but I did do something extraordinary. But I must move the end of that story to next Friday.
Today I want to give you a heads up. Dineen and I flew to Arkansas in January. We were privileged to be guests again on FamilyLife Radio with Dennis Rainey and Bob Lepine. These interviews were unlike all of our others.
Now It’s hard for me to remember all the topics we discussed but I know we tackled pornography and marriage. The difficulty and hope for raising kids. I know I had a very unexpected response to this question: What would you say to an unbelieving spouse who is listening to this broadcast right now.
Dineen and I have very different answers but when you put them together they were a perfect reply to this question.
Please find a station near you and listen in beginning Monday, March 10. Then again on Tuesday and our final interview is on Wednesday.
And more than anything, please pray for those who are feeling alone in their mismatched marriage. There have been so many private emails this week that have torn my heart. There are so many who need a fresh word of hope from our Great King. And pray for all the newbies who will find this amazing family on the web next week.
I love you my friends. Have an amazing week in His Presence. Hugs, Lynn
My friends, Lynn and I had a fabulous time at FamilyLife Today with Dennis Rainey and Bob Lepine last week. These two men have such HUGE hearts for families and marriage. What a privilege it was for us to share our hearts with them. And they asked us some really challenging questions! Good questions. As soon as we get the details of the broadcast, we will share it with you.
SUMites, you know our hearts desire is to encourage wives and moms in their mismatched places, in ALL walks of life and circumstances. And I see that desire in so many of you too. Abba has given us so much! So much hope and strength in our mismatched places. It just bursts out of us. That's why we wrote Not Alone. And let me say how grateful we are to our publisher, Regal Books, who believed in our message and ministry. These people are dedicated to Jesus and sharing His saving hope. Amazing!
In greatest honor to our sweet Jesus, I have a couple testimonies for you. My friend, testimonies are POWERFUL (Rev. 12:11). The enemy knows this and wants to keep us quiet and will even squelch us down if he can. Trust me, I know (and will hopefully share more on this soon). That's because he knows that testimonies increase faith and hope, and release God's power in our lives, our marriages, our children and the world! As Lynn and I sat on the plane on the way home, she turned to me and said, "We need more testimonies." And I agreed.
Yesterday as I walked and prayed I asked Abba for this, for more of His miracles to be released in this community and to bring us more testimonies. He will do it!
This first one is from our book and you'll recognize Gillian's name too. She is a righteous mama contending for her kiddos! I love how she used her children's toys to teach her children! Moms, don't be afraid to ask the Holy Spirit to inspire you with ideas like this. It's fun!
I read a short story from a children’s Bible, and we sing a praise song or hymn each night at bedtime. “Jesus Loves Me” has become a favorite. Because they are very young, I sometimes use figurines and toys to act out Bible stories—it’s simple, but it really holds their attention and makes the story come to life for them—and for me.
This is what I pray on the nights when I put my young boys to bed:
Dear Lord, thank You for _______, _______ and _______. Thank You for Your love for them and Your special plan for each of their lives. Please bless them and keep them, and lead them all their days. May they always know Your great love for them.
The last line I find especially important. That is the one thing everything hinges on, because it is when we lose sight of how much God loves us that we tend to fall away from Him. But even when life’s not fun, if we can still feel His love, it makes all the difference.
—Gillian Russell Meisner
This next testimony is one sent in by a reader. So amazing! As you read it, claim that this kind of miracle is possible for you too, becaue with God, ALL things are possible (Luke 1:37).
Hi Dineen, I'm so sorry I missed the opportunity to join the week of fasting with the community, but I have no doubt that all will be blessed as a result.
We exchanged emails last year when I was going through a tough patch in my marriage and you gave such encouragement and wise words to me through that time.
Well, I wanted to share briefly with you the latest to encourage that God does hear our heart's cry and moves on our behalf, but He also looks for us to actively get involved too. Obedience and His power seem to go hand in hand - Father is so gracious that way, He loves to do things with us.
2013 was a tough year and continued to have challenges in my marriage right up to the end. But even I wasn't prepared for the conversation 2 weeks before Christmas that saw my husband announce the end of our 12 year marriage (and a relationship of 18 years). I was devastated but I knew that God had given me the strength to finally say no to something that was tearing us apart and was unbelievably unhealthy for our marriage and our souls.
Now my husband is a man who, when he makes his mind up, does not bend even if he is in the wrong. When he said our marriage was finished, I had no reason to doubt him. But only 5 days later he took my hand and said that this situation was very wrong, a waste of 18 years and that he didn't want to be without me.
I was stunned. Was this possible? Only with God, I would have to say! I knew that the prayers I had been praying and those of supportive Christian friends had been heard.
Then my second shock that night - I once again asked him to consider counselling. He has never agreed to counselling as he doesn't think it does any good. However, as he began his protestations, God directed me to say that surely if we wanted to save an 18 year relationship, counselling as a last resort was worth a try. He said, amazingly, that he would agree to "consider" a selection that I would provide him with. Again, this is a huge step forward.
So instead of the expected disaster of Christmas and the New Year, my beloved was just wonderfully kind to me, loving and sweet. It was the best Christmas present I could ever have.
Then, as if to add a cherry on this wonderful "cake", God brought another present to me. My husband has a sharp mind with an ability to debate and contest. I'm far more a feeling, sensing person, so he runs rings around me usually on the rare occasions we discuss Christianity.
However, the first Saturday into the new year, out of the blue we meandered through topics of conversation and ended up talking "religion." As mentioned above, I'm not very good at debating, certainly not compared to my husband but, this time, the Holy Spirit just dropped words into my mind and unbelievably my husband was arrested by them to the point that he was nearly speechless. A first in my experience!
The key moment was when, in response to one of his statements, I said I largely agreed with his comments on religion, but that faith in Jesus was actually about a relationship with a personality rather than an organisation. I was even able to share Psalm 139 with him.
Trust me when I say this was a big breakthrough. I'm not expecting my husband to become a Christian tomorrow, but I truly believe that something has been loosed in the spiritual realm to open his heart further to God. So whilst we still have a way to go, still need to get that counselling sorted and deal with our issues, I know that my Father has this marriage in His hands and that He will withhold no good thing from us for it's renewal and healing.
Amazing, amazing, AMAZING! And so GOD! As this dear woman said, God loves to do things with us. Have an amazing weekend bathed in the promises of our Lord and Savior, Jesus. He is mighty to save—ALL of us!
We are psyched to be on the FamilyLife Today broadcast Monday, today, through
the broadcast Dennis Rainey and Bob Lepine welcome Dineen, me
(Lynn) and another guest, Darla Stone, to share our stories. I think today is
also when Dennis stops the broadcast to say something to my husband over the airwaves.
I’m still freaked out about it and I will share more on what my husband thought
about that later in the week. But today, Dineen and I just want to welcome listeners
and wrap our arms around you. (To listen to the broadcast online or find a
station, click here.)
My friends, those of you who are part of our amazing
community and all of you who are just finding us today, we love you. Dineen and
I, Lynn, are walking in the trenches with you. We are just ordinary wives
and moms who love our pre-believer spouses, our kids and we love Jesus with all
of our heart, mind, soul and strength.
If you are reading this today, it’s not an accident that you
find yourself here. God has heard your cry to know Him more and to grow in His
love. Some of us have been part of this community for years. I myself, have been
married to my pre-believing spouse for over 20 years. Some of us are relatively
new to this group of amazing believers and some of you may be joining us for
the first time today because you heard Dineen and me on the radio.
All of us who call this little place on the web home, we
want you to know that we are honestly here to pray for you today. So many of us
have come through the fire and are now waiting to take you by name to the mercy
seat of grace in prayer. So my friends find your courage, your Joshua courage,
and leave your prayer request in the comments, click on comments below this
If you are new here, please spend a few minutes here and get
to know us. Click on the links in the sidebar, Join Us, which is a short description
of our ministry. Also, visit the Community Map and see where we are all located
around the globe and add your name.
Please click on the New Here link. There are a ton of
resources to help you take real steps forward in community and in your
marriage. Listen to some of the videos. Join us on Facebook. Visit our book
website, Winning Him Without Words, there are free resources there as well
Mostly ask the Lord now to ignite in you a renewed passion
for Jesus and for your spouse. Allow the Lord to begin a new work in you and
then my friends….. STAND BACK and be astonished at all that God is going to do
in your life.
Today I want to remind all of us in this community about one
thing. One truth that changes everything….
The Anointed One, the Messiah
Jesus makes all the difference in every circumstance. When
you feel defeated and so alone in your mismatched marriage that your heart
physically aches. When you feel like there isn’t one soul who knows your pain.
When you are facing tremendous trials and feel that no one in the world is
praying for you, that you are all by yourself, I want you to remember this and never forget it.
JESUS IS praying for you. He is standing before the Father beseeching
His favor, grace, love, joy and comfort for you.
...Christ Jesus, who died—more than that, who was raised to life—is at the right hand of God and is also interceding for us. Romans 8:34
It’s never about, why is
this happening to me. It’s ALWAYS about, what are You showing me in this.
Jesus is always with us.
Jesus never fails. Jesus will never leave us nor forsake us. Dineen and I are
living, breathing testimonies to these truths.
So link arms with us
today and defy the enemy and his lies. We are people of God. We have victories
ahead for us, for our marriages, our children and for a world in desperate need
of our Savior.
We love you. We REALLY
love you. Please share a little about yourself with us in the comments and let us know how we can
pray for you this day. Love and hugs, Lynn and Dineen.
Photos from our
adventures with the FamilyLife Broadcast:
One of my favorites from our trip
Darla Stone and Tonda Nations, Research & Guest Relations, FLT
Max Lucado, Lynn Donovan
Dineen Miller, Max Lucado
Dennis, Bob and Max (They recorded before us)
In the production room
Joanne Kraft, Dineen Miller, Lynn Donovan: Dinner at Crackerbarrel
On Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday, Lynn and I will be on FamilyLife Today. You’ll get to hear Dennis Rainey and Bob Lepine ask us some pretty direct questions. And we loved every minute of it because one, we were able to share our hearts for our husbands and marriages and two, our readers here at SUM and on our Facebook page were on our hearts as we spoke, as well as those who will come seeking this ministry for the first time.
But today, I want to some of the most amazing parts of our time at FamilyLife. We had the wonderful opportunity to do this interview with Darla Stone, author of In Christ Alone. Darla has some very crucial things to say about our identity in Christ and finding our security there. Plus she’s a great storyteller! We loved getting to know Darla.
On day two you will hear Dennis Rainey speak about how we are heroes in our marriages:
“I think there’s going to be a lot of heroes in Heaven. I think one the biggest heroes is going to be those spouses who hung in there and loved the one they made a covenant with and raised their children with in the midst of unspeakable differences, disagreements and difficult times.”
I kid you not, I looked at Lynn and she looked at me and we both had tears in our eyes. What a powerful and affirming statement from someone we respect so much. My precious friends, you have to hear Dennis say this for yourself! And don’t miss what he says about sanctification. Walk away from this broadcast and KNOW that you truly are a hero in your marriage. We carry a high calling and are in our marriages for such a time as this. Know that you serve God in a mighty way!
And if you are new to the SUM community, let the wonderful women here wrap you in God’s love and His unfailing message that YOU ARE NOT ALONE! We are a strong community of believers who know this walk—its challenges, its heartache and the amazing adventure it can be when we walk in God’s presence daily.
No, you are not alone. We stand together firm in our faith and trust in God that He is good, He is in control, He is an equipper and He is a redeemer! Amen!
Holding you all tight with hugs and prayers!
Here's a fun picture of Lynn and I outside of a Cracker Barrel pretending to play checkers. LOL! This was Lynn's first introduction to Cracker Barrel. Wish you could have seen how well she embraced some good homestyle southern cookin'.
Dennis Rainey, stops the broadcast and speaks directly to my
My friends, this is the craziest, bestest, radio interview with
Dineen and I to date. As I told you yesterday, I was able to listen in before
the BIG DAY… And I about fell on the floor when I heard Dennis Rainey start
talking to my husband. I had completely forgotten about this exchange. I can’t
wait to hear your thoughts about it all.
Dineen and I are praying that God will help men and women to
“happen” on to a radio station exactly when we are on the air to find us at SUM.
(oh ya, like it’s a coincidence, *grin*) We know so many are out there who feel
alone in this crazy journey of the unequally yoked. We WANT them to find all of
We are desperate to tell them that Jesus can and WILL make
all the difference in their marriages and their lives and that Jesus brings
healing, hope and JOY!
Everyone, this broadcast is also about all of you. We don’t
want it to be about us. It is our community which God has blessed. It’s about
the love and the power that flows through all of us. So may Dineen and I humbly
ask you to help us next week?
Will you please decide today to partner with someone who
lands on our site Monday and then again on Tuesday and once more on Wednesday?
Will you see some young wife who is brave enough to leave a comment on the site
and will you pray for her right there in the comments? Will you give your name
and offer your love? Can you tell her you know how she feels? Can you say to
her, there is hope? There is always hope because we serve the great God of the
Stop in once, twice or more each day. Pray for more than one
newcomer. Pray for each other if you want. Just be present in the comments to
love one another. So many of you have come so far in your journey and as you
share your love, your testimonies, two amazing things happen in the spiritual
realm. One: You OVERCOME… by the word of your testimony and TWO: you give great
honor to our Lord.
Do you remember where you were when you first found this
online place? So, walk this out with us and share all that God has done in your
So I ask you today: Are you in? (Let me know in the
I love you so much. Our Great God is preparing us to ROCK
this world. The devil quakes when this community is in action. So let’s kick
butt and take some names for the sake of Christ.