101 posts categorized "Holiday"

Tablecloth Of Thanks 2013

I started a Thanksgiving family tradition a few years ago quite by accident. This tradition has become my absolute favorite. I'm sharing it today, as I do every year, so that our new readers can begin this tradition in their home. This is also a Family Faith Tradition I share in our new book, Not Alone.

Enjoy.....A Tablecloth of Thanks

It’s never too late to start a new tradition in your home, especially one which brings honor to the Lord. I have a story to share and a photo. I also want to give you a chance to share some of your holiday traditions or giggles.

Join in today and share a Thanksgiving holiday tradition from your home or share a funny holiday hiccup.

I will share with you that like many newly married young women, I didn’t realize the turkey was stuffed with bagged giblets. Yep, I cook the turkey with the plastic bag and the giblets still inside. We ate it anyway.

Also, three years ago, I set the oven on fire when I moved the giant bird around. I freaked out. My husband came running. The house was crazy, people were yelling, crying and freaking… Perhaps it was only me doing the yelling, crying and freaking. My calm man put the flames out and to this day, I don’t know how he did it because we didn’t own a fire extinguisher.

The next morning I rose before dawn and went shopping at The Home Depot. NO NOT FOR CHRISTMAS… For a fire extinguisher. And now, every year BEFORE I bake the turkey, I check to make sure the extinguisher is charged and ready.

Sheesh!

Today, I'm sharing one of my most favorite family traditions. Here is a post I wrote five years ago for the Internet Cafe. Hope you start a family tradition this year. It's NEVER too late to have a Tablecloth of Thanks.

Tablecloth of Thanks 

Many of you know that I am married to an unbeliever. This past May we celebrated 15 years of marriage. Our unequally yoked marriage has had its challenges to say the least. Over the years, however, our ingenious God has maneuvered us through many touchy issues. 

Our disparity becomes more apparent during the holidays. Giving thanks to our Lord in November is a treasured time for me. I name my blessings one-by-one in prayer, thanking God for His lavish abundance poured into our lives. 

Like most wives living in an unequally yoked marriage, I long for my spouse to understand there is a God. To know He is intricately involved in our lives and everything we have is provision of our creator. I have also learned that forcing God upon my husband is a surefire way to push him away. I am careful to respect my husband and simply trust Jesus to reach him in his perfect timing. 

In spite of my husband’s unbelief, I discovered a unique way to draw him into the celebration of thanks, besides through his stomach. He loves turkey. 

Four years ago, I threw a new, pristine-white tablecloth across our dinning room table two weeks prior to Thanksgiving. I purchased several colored pens and placed them on top. A new tradition was born, a Tablecloth of Thanks. It began with my daughter. I told her, “I WANT you to write on this tablecloth.” She looked at me with skepticism in her eyes, wondering if her mother had lost her mind. 

“Really,” my smiled reassured. “Write down what you are most thankful for this year. Then write the year, 2004, near your name.” 

She grinned and began to write using several different colors. I joined in and wrote my thanks directly on the beautiful tablecloth. 

Later that evening my husband noticed the scribbles on the tablecloth. I watched as he walked over to read our words. I walked to his side and took his hand. I subtly asked him if he would also write down his thanks. He smiled and said maybe later. 

Finally on the evening of Thanksgiving Day, my husband picked up a pen and wrote; I am thankful for my wonderful family, great friends, and a very happy life. 

Wow! Was he giving thanks to our Lord? I am not sure. However, every year since he has continued to write a thankful list. Last year’s entry reads; I am thankful for all of my blessings…family, friends, and the dogs. 

Imported Photos 00001What? Did he use the word blessings? Small steps such as these lead to the Savior. I can’t wait to read his thankful list this year. 

The Thankful Tablecloth is one of my most prized possessions. Everyone who visits our home during the Thanksgiving holiday contributes to this permanent memorial of thanks. It is a visible praise to the King displayed in our unequally yoked home each November. 

One of my favorite thanks is this: 

2006
I am thankful
to be able to sit
on the couch and have
my people pet me.
Peanut 

Hmmmm, I wonder how the dog grew fingers and learned to write???? 

Psalm 69:30 (NIV)
I will praise God's name in song and glorify him with thanksgiving.

 

Lord God, I will name my blessings one-by-one….. Jesus… eternal life…. clean water to drink…..capacity to love…..empowerment to forgive….. just for a start….. 

It is never too late to start a new tradition. If you want to start your Tablecloth of Thanks, I have a few helpful hints.

  1. Place a sheet of butcher paper under your tablecloth. (I have a permanent smiley face on my dinning room table from the year 2005)
  2. Use colorfast fabric pens.
  3. Store your tablecloth in an airtight Ziploc bag. 

Thank you my friends for sharing this Holiday treasure with me. I wish you were with me today and could share your thankful heart on the Tablecloth of Thanks.

(My friends, if you could, share this post on Facebook and Twitter. It's truly a wonderful tradition and I want so much for families to have an opportunity to share faith in this way. Thanks, Lynn  - click on the buttons below to share. Hugs)


SUMite Nation! A Lot Is Happening!

Good Monday Everyone, 

There are a lot of things happening in our SUMite Nation over the next couple of weeks. 

On Wednesday, we will be ready to launch our new Ministry website. And we will be asking you to partner with us to welcome in the newbies. We, the mismatched, who have been walking this road for some time, can wrap our love and cyber arms around those who find our home in the next few days. We can pray and encourage and let God’s people know that we have hope. We have hope for the supernatural. We have hope for the salvation of our spouse. We have hope knowing our children will be centered in the will of God. And we KNOW that living in the Presence…. Changes EVERYTHING! 

Watch for that announcement here on Wednesday. 

On Thursday please tune in and find a radio station that carries Dr. James Dobson’s Family Talk broadcasts. On Thursday AND Friday Dineen and I will be guests with Dr. Dobson and his son, Ryan Dobson. We had an absolutely divine and anointed time with these two men. And our broadcast discussions are filled with some of our zany and God-sized personal stories about God’s faithfulness, love, and how we live and thrive in our marriages. And what turned out to be just fantastic is that Dr. Dobson was so excited about our new book, we spent an hour talking about that. So, you will hear some stories we share in the book. And I also remember Dineen discussing a sticky subject of a controlling spouse. 

We are humbled that God opened this door and especially for me personally. I will share more about my story and Dr. Dobson on Thursday. It’s gooooood!!! I promise. 

Also start thinking about making a commitment to our week of prayer and fasting that will begin the Tuesday following Labor Day. Tamara, one of our long time SUM family members suggested we spend a week on focused prayer for ourselves. This will be a time to dwell in God’s Presence and to search His Word and pray for our personal relationship and strength for our marriage and parenting. Dineen and I thought, What a good idea! 

So, watch for posts to this purpose the first week of September. And by the way, Rosh Hashanah is Thursday of that week. Plan to fast on that day. I will be sharing some insight to how this Jewish High Holy Day is something for us as modern day believers to consider. It’s cool!!!   

If you could, would you share our button below on your Facebook wall or on Pinterest. No pressure but you might very well help a struggling wife or husband who is thinking they are all alone in this unequally yoked journey. We want them to find hope, community, and love. 

Have an amazing week walking in the Powerful Presence. I love you, Lynn


The Statistics Aren't Good... But Our God IS.. Thoughts?

So I’ve been pondering Father’s Day that looms on Sunday. I have felt compelled in my spirit to write about Father’s Day and have waited for God to prompt me. Well, today one of our SUMites posted some statistics on her FB page which really moved my heart. I want to share it with you and let’s have a discussion here. 

Before we jump into that discussion however, I think we need to cover this conversation with love and respect. We must keep it clearly in our minds that our spouses don’t “get it.” They don’t have the wisdom, the knowledge, the Holy Spirit to help them in our marriages and in parenting. I know that a discussion like this can stir up our memories and thoughts to find every conceivable wrong and short-coming in our husbands. So, let’s just no go there. 

Let’s remain focused on what believing mothers bring to the family and faith of our children.

 

Alisa wrote:

Well, it's that time of year again...around Father’s Day we hear a sermon about how important fathers are, and they are. And inevitably, the statistics roll...70+% of children who go to church with only their mother will not stay in church as adults....I remember hearing it one year and gripping the seat in front of me to keep from standing up in the middle of the sermon and shouting that it would not be that way for my children, I envisioned locking eyes of the other women who sat alone in the sanctuary, we would all rally together, and stand against that statistic.... 

Yet I just sat there in silence. 

I sat there because I know too well that the statistic is true. I watch as women who have walked this lonely road before me pray for their adult children who have turned from the Lord. With all the Sunday mornings, Sunday nights, Wednesday nights, VBSs and youth camps, no matter what I do I am fighting an uphill battle, with a 30% success rate....the weight of their father's influence is powerful. So...I will ponder this today....and try to remember that even with all I try to do, all I really can do is turn them over to the Lord and trust Him for their best.... — with Dineen A. Miller and Lynn Donovan. 

This was my response:

Alisa, I'm standing with you today. I dispute that statistic too. I know that with the love of God lavished through an ordinary mother, all things are possible. I have watched my children both choose Jesus even in a spiritual mismatch. The enemy can no longer have our children. They are hereby declared as God's and we will stand in that faith and truth. Love you girl. 

So, what do you think? See you in the comments. Signed a Prodigal and Spiritually Single Mom, Lynn

Friend me on Facebook. Join the discussion on our FB Page, Spiritually Unequal Marriage. Follow the SUMite Nation on Twitter #SUMiteNation.


Romans 8:15  For you did not receive a spirit that makes you a slave again to fear, but you received the Spirit of sonship. And by him we cry, “Abba, Father.” 

I LOVE this verse lately. And it keeps coming at me from every direction. From teaching this morning. From email. I heard it on the radio. Whoa! Do you think God is being intentional with me? 

My friends, it’s Christmas eve. And I’m convinced that more than anything our Lord wants us to KNOW the truth of this verse. He wants us to know that He loves us and even more as my friend Susan recently shared, Jesus really “likes” us. 

Now receive this. He likes who you are. 

And because of tomorrow we celebrate that a child is given. A son is born. And because of that God has removed the orphan spirit form this world. He has place upon us a spirit of sonship, whereby we can say, Abba Father. 

And the amazing part of this verse? We are not of a spirit that makes us a slave to fear. 

Learning how much we are loved by our Great God changes our own love. So many of us struggle with loving ourselves. We can’t forgive ourselves for our past or even our current hang-ups. Well I can tell you that I still have hang-ups, sin that gets me bogged down and yet I have learned that God loves me. I so much want everyone of God’s people to KNOW this deeply in their heart. 

So today, receive this blessing from our Abba, Father: 

You are lovely
You are secure
You have a destiny
You have a purpose
God’s hand is upon your life. You will have great success for the Kingdom of God. Now hear these words:

“I love you.” Abba, Daddy.

 Merry Christmas. Dineen and I will be taking a break this week. But on Friday I plan to give you an update on the fantastic events that will be happening around here in January. If you want more of His Presence, His power, His purposes, His love and blessing, then stay tuned because I sincerely BELIEVE He wants to pour all of this into us who are part of this community. 

We love you so much, Lynn and Dineen

MerryChristmas-1


When Love Abounds: Four Choices to an Intentional Christmas

IMG_1874We’d said farewell to precious friends and the turkey and fixings now resided in our fridge, along with the deserts, thank goodness! Our Thanksgiving Day drew to a close with a sweet contentment that warmed our hearts. My husband even commented that he thought it was his favorite Thanksgiving so far.

He and I worked to clean up the rest of the pots and pans, unaware that our two daughters and their sweeties sat at the dining room table, hooked into an action packed game of Catch Phrase.

Only when we’d finished our clean-up did we become fully aware of the momentous scene playing out.

How many years had I prayed and dreamed of such a day? For my two daughters to not just get along (with four years between them they often struggled to connect) but hang out and enjoy each other’s company? To one day see them with them as adults moving into their lives and witness the fruit of so many prayers?

I’m so glad I didn’t miss this moment, my friends, because even as I sat there, I knew this was a gift. A moment to ponder and hold in my heart, much like Mary did as she heard the shepherds and wise men sing the praises of the tiny babe she held close.

My husband and I whipped out our phones and snapped some shots to capture this moment because even he knew this time was special. To my chagrin, he even took a few pictures of me because “I looked so beautiful.”

I know without a doubt what he saw was my joy in the Lord for this time, for this rich blessing, for this sweet “kiss” from God telling me He’d heard every prayer and what I now saw was the promise of what was to come.

Love abounded. Great love. Great joy. A Great God.

Part of walking in God’s presence is staying aware of moments like these and staying in them. Right there, right in the moment. I could only sit on our couch and watch, soaking in every bit of it.

10563775_mAs we enter this Christmas season already full of events and family visits, it’s easy to miss special moments in the chaos so prevalent this time of year but therein may lay some of our greatest gifts of the season! Here’s what I learned last year in my determination to have an “Intentional Christmas:”

Intentional Choice #1: Reject the chaos. Decide how many “things” you and your family realistically have time for, pick a number and stick with it. Let your yes be yes and your no be no. Sometimes last minute “things” come up so do be flexible but factor in margins to accommodate those sudden events so that your plans aren’t totally thrown off. Spontaneity can visit but don’t let her roost.

Intentional Choice #2: Choose specifically. Which events and activities do you and your family want to partake in? Which relationships do you feel the need to invest more time in this year? Even make time for rest in your schedule. Have a super busy day planned? Make the next day one of rest and relaxation. Make it a Christmas movie day, a time to read stories and just enjoy each other.

Intentional Choice #3: Release expectations. We often walk into the holidays with unrealistic expectations. We can’t control everything. Let go of unrealistic expectations of yourself, your husband, your immediate family, your extended family, of others and even of situations that serve only to create conflict and resentment. Let’s face the reality that the Christmas season can bring the best and worst out of us. Extend lots of grace and enjoy those moments when things just seem to fall into place and go smoothly. Be Mary and give Martha the season off. Moments with loved ones are way more important than making sure all your dishes match. Take this from someone who knows (wink).

Intentional Choice #4: Accept whatever comes. Not as a passive gesture but as a willingness to let God surprise you. This is where not just the good stuff happens but the great stuff. Don’t miss a moment of it. Cover yourself and your family in prayer for God’s love to abound and bring His blessings in the most unexpected places. Look for opportunities to bless your family, your friends and even a stranger here and there. This is where we find true joy and share it with the world!

I’ll end here with a wonderful moment right from the Bible:

So they hurried off and found Mary and Joseph, and the baby, who was lying in the manger. When they had seen him, they spread the word concerning what had been told them about this child, and all who heard it were amazed at what the shepherds said to them. But Mary treasured up all these things and pondered them in her heart. — Luke 2:16-19

Let’s ponder those moments of the heart together!
Dineen


Happy Thanksgiving

Dineen and I bring each of you our friends before the Lord today and we give thanks. We are thankful for your friendship, your trust and mostly that you are part of our lives. We are thankful that you are living to thrive in your spiritually mismatched marriage. We give thanks that you love Jesus and are seeking Him with all of your heart. 

We are thankful that Jesus chose us, chose you before the world began. 

We are thankful. 

Lord we give you all praise, honor and glory. May Your will be done on earth as it is in heaven. 

Nepali villagersWe are thankful for the amazing love you have shown to the Nepali people. We are thankful that we raised nearly a $1,000 through small donations. So many of you gave and I promise you it will have a lasting impact on the Kingdom. 

So today on this day marked specifically in the US to give thanks, we are sooooo thankful. 

And to Jennifer, Karen, Morag, Heather, Laura, Kathy, Dragan, Janet, Sherry, and Danielle, I have prayed this prayer over you. I BELIEVE it for you. I ask you to watch now what God will do in you: Pray along with me. 

As we received these offerings we are believing our Father for: 

Jobs and Better jobs
Benefits sales and commissions
Estates and inheritances
Gifts and surprises
Debts paid off
Blessings and increase
Raises and bonuses
Favorable settlements
Interest and income
Checks in the mail
Finding money
Expenses decrease 

Thank you Father for meeting all of my financial needs that I may have more than enough to give into the Kingdom of God and promote the Gospel of Jesus Christ.  Hallelujah! * 

Now I want to leave you with a message from Lisa who started our miracle mission. 

Here's a thank you for your "bless my socks off" community.   Oh my goodness, if they only knew how often I think of them and pray for them! Thank you, Lynn, for bringing this family of believers into my life. I have been sooo blessed by you and by them!!   ~Lisa  

For those of you who have cheerfully contributed toward the purchase of the mosquito nets, a mere "thank you" falls so far short of what's really in my heart! You have never seen the faces of those who will receive your gift of love. You haven't walked their village paths or stepped into the doorway of their mud homes. You've not drank from their tea cups or eaten from their rice bowls. You've not held their callused hands or listened to their life's story. You don't know these people and they don't know you. And yet, because you know that Jesus loves them, you have loved them also. THAT is true Christianity! My "thank you" is immeasurably less than our Lord will give, but please accept my sincere "thank you, thank you, thank you!" and know that I am deeply moved by your great love and generosity. As Christmas draws closer, I'm continually imagining how AWESOME it's going to be for each family to receive their very first Christmas present...one more "kiss" from the Lord, whose eyes are always on them and knows their every need. 

Oh Father, Giver of all good things...Abraham could no more count the stars in the sky than we can count the blessings that you have poured out onto us. And now Lord, you have brought to our attention a beautiful way in which to bless others. Thank you for entrusting us with this plan of yours and for imparting such joy into our hearts as we have given! Truly, it is more blessed to give than to receive. May your love be entwined in each net, bringing help and hope to each family who receives one. And may your hand of favor rest on each of us and each of them as we anxiously await the time when we will encircle your throne and worship you together with united heart and voice!! 

*Bethel Church

Happy Thanksgiving


Miracles and a Powerful Financial Prayer for You

As I was reading the Word this morning, I read this passage below. And in that instant God said to me, “Lynn, this is for all of you who I have laid upon your heart my people in the Nepali villages. Share this will them and give them hope and tell them how much their gifts have brought joy to my heart and a smile to my face.” 

Whoa! 

Here is the passage: 

Hebrews 10:23-24 NLT 

Let us hold tightly without wavering to the hope we affirm, for God can be trusted to keep his promise. Let us think of ways to motivate one another to acts of love and good works. 

My friends, the greatest gift we have received is hope. Our hope that God CAN be TRUSTED to keep his Promises. And out of our great hope follows our joy which becomes ways to motivate one another to acts of love and good works. 

Listen to me now. 

This passage has come to life in this community over the past week. Dineen and I had no idea how this miracle would go or what would happen. We have never taken a love offering. You again have showing your hearts and we have prayed for each of you. 

image from www.spirituallyunequalmarriage.comSo far we have raised enough for 50 nets. That’s 50 villagers’ homes that will be safe at night from the Malaria carrying mosquitos. 

THANK YOU! 

My friends, for those who still want to be part of this very first Christmas present, it’s not too late. Here is the Miracle Article. Hop over there and read about it. And if you can’t give, absolutely no guilt. This is a joyous sheer gift out of the Holy Spirit motivation and not from guilt. 

Here are the buttons. And on Monday, November 19, we will be bringing honor to God for the gifts and I giant thank you to all who have made this miracle happen.

 

Ask God about this. Ask Him if you are to be part of this love offering. You can give $5, or $10 or $15. But no more than $15. All of us must be part of this love in motion. And if you can’t give, it is absolutely OKAY… Really, really okay. But, if God moved your heart, then get your card out and click over to our Paypall account.

This is the $5

This is the $10.

This is the $15.

 

Now to Dineen, Briana, Jewel, Noreen, Dionce, Martha, Ginna, Elizabeth, Theresa, Naomi, Rosalina, Sabrina, Marlene, Bridget, Kelly, Dorothy, Cheryl, Bethany, Kimberly, Karen, Stacey, Jennifer, Alyson, Suzanne, Nancy, Laura, Jere, Ashley, Elissa, Teresa, Rachel, Eva, Nancy, Juliane, Marian, Courtney, Deborah, Gillian, Brenda, Megan, Staci, Kristin, Kathryn, Alice, Lorraine, 

I have prayed this prayer over you. I BELIEVE it for you. I ask you to watch now what God will do in you: Pray along with me. 

As we received these offerings we are believing our Father for:

Jobs and Better jobs
Benefits sales and commissions
Estates and inheritances
Gifts and surprises
Debts paid off
Blessings and increase
Raises and bonuses
Favorable settlements
Interest and income
Checks in the mail
Finding money
Expenses decrease 

Thank you Father for meeting all of my financial needs that I may have more than enough to give into the Kingdom of God and promote the Gospel of Jesus Christ.  Hallelujah! * 

Now here is the end of the passage I read this morning. It is so fitting for our community: 

Hebrews 10:25 And let us not neglect our meeting together, as some people do, but encourage one another, especially now that the day of his return is drawing near. 

Don’t stop meeting here in this online community because miracle-upon-miracle awaits and God is so anxious to show them all to us. 

Let God’s Kingdom reign on earth, in our homes, in the Nepali Villages, as it is in heaven. LOVE YOU, Lynn 

*Bethel Church 


Tablecloth of Thanks

It’s never too late to start a new tradition in your home, especially one which brings honor to the Lord. I have a story to share and a photo. I also want to give you a chance to share some of your holiday traditions or giggles.

Join in today and share a Thanksgiving holiday tradition from your home or share a funny holiday hiccup.

I will share with you that like many newly married young women, I didn’t realize the turkey was stuffed with bagged giblets. Yep, I cook the turkey with the plastic bag and the giblets still inside. We ate it anyway.

Also, three years ago, I set the oven on fire when I moved the giant bird around. I freaked out. My husband came running. The house was crazy, people were yelling, crying and freaking… Perhaps it was only me doing the yelling, crying and freaking. My calm man put the flames out and to this day, I don’t know how he did it because we didn’t own a fire extinguisher.

The next morning I rose before dawn and went shopping at The Home Depot. NO NOT FOR CHRISTMAS… For a fire extinguisher. And now, every year BEFORE I bake the turkey, I check to make sure the extinguisher is charged and ready.

Sheesh!

Today, I'm sharing one of my most favorite family traditions. Here is a post I wrote five years ago for the Internet Cafe. Hope you start a family tradition this year. It's NEVER too late to have a Tablecloth of Thanks.

Tablecloth of Thanks 

Many of you know that I am married to an unbeliever. This past May we celebrated 15 years of marriage. Our unequally yoked marriage has had its challenges to say the least. Over the years, however, our ingenious God has maneuvered us through many touchy issues. 

Our disparity becomes more apparent during the holidays. Giving thanks to our Lord in November is a treasured time for me. I name my blessings one-by-one in prayer, thanking God for His lavish abundance poured into our lives. 

Like most wives living in an unequally yoked marriage, I long for my spouse to understand there is a God. To know He is intricately involved in our lives and everything we have is provision of our creator. I have also learned that forcing God upon my husband is a surefire way to push him away. I am careful to respect my husband and simply trust Jesus to reach him in his perfect timing. 

In spite of my husband’s unbelief, I discovered a unique way to draw him into the celebration of thanks, besides through his stomach. He loves turkey. 

Four years ago, I threw a new, pristine-white tablecloth across our dinning room table two weeks prior to Thanksgiving. I purchased several colored pens and placed them on top. A new tradition was born, a Tablecloth of Thanks. It began with my daughter. I told her, “I WANT you to write on this tablecloth.” She looked at me with skepticism in her eyes, wondering if her mother had lost her mind. 

“Really,” my smiled reassured. “Write down what you are most thankful for this year. Then write the year, 2004, near your name.” 

She grinned and began to write using several different colors. I joined in and wrote my thanks directly on the beautiful tablecloth. 

Later that evening my husband noticed the scribbles on the tablecloth. I watched as he walked over to read our words. I walked to his side and took his hand. I subtly asked him if he would also write down his thanks. He smiled and said maybe later. 

Finally on the evening of Thanksgiving Day, my husband picked up a pen and wrote; I am thankful for my wonderful family, great friends, and a very happy life. 

Wow! Was he giving thanks to our Lord? I am not sure. However, every year since he has continued to write a thankful list. Last year’s entry reads; I am thankful for all of my blessings…family, friends, and the dogs. 

Imported Photos 00001What? Did he use the word blessings? Small steps such as these lead to the Savior. I can’t wait to read his thankful list this year. 

The Thankful Tablecloth is one of my most prized possessions. Everyone who visits our home during the Thanksgiving holiday contributes to this permanent memorial of thanks. It is a visible praise to the King displayed in our unequally yoked home each November. 

One of my favorite thanks is this: 

2006
I am thankful
to be able to sit
on the couch and have
my people pet me.
Peanut 

Hmmmm, I wonder how the dog grew fingers and learned to write???? 

Psalm 69:30 (NIV)
I will praise God's name in song and glorify him with thanksgiving.

 

Lord God, I will name my blessings one-by-one….. Jesus… eternal life…. clean water to drink…..capacity to love…..empowerment to forgive….. just for a start….. 

It is never too late to start a new tradition. If you want to start your Tablecloth of Thanks, I have a few helpful hints.

  1. Place a sheet of butcher paper under your tablecloth. (I have a permanent smiley face on my dinning room table from the year 2005)
  2. Use colorfast fabric pens.
  3. Store your tablecloth in an airtight Ziploc bag. 

Thank you my friends for sharing this Holiday treasure with me. I wish you were with me today and could share your thankful heart on the Tablecloth of Thanks.


Rosh Hashanah - Join Us

UPDATE: I will be offline from Sunset on Sunday through Monday evening. But please leave your names and your prayer requests because I will be praying over them the rest of the week. ~Lynn

 

My friends, thank you for your amazing comments on the post last Friday. I’m blown away. I wanted to respond to each one however, in the midst of such a milestone the devil tries to take back ground and destroy. Let’s just say on Friday there was a lot of crying going on at the Donovan house due to an unexpected turn of events with regard to my daughter. 

I know many of you saw my few posts on Facebook and I’m deeply thankful for your prayers. It was your prayers that allowed me to walk with her through this trial and retain a somewhat calm mind and heart. I want to assure you that everything has worked out. I am fine and so is my daughter. In fact, God has redeemed much already and that is a very happy thing. I have learned some much needed lessons through this weekend and one day will share them with you. For now, I’m still allowing God to continue to work things out, to teach me and my daughter through it. 

Okay, enough of that. ONWARD.. 

On Monday over at 1Peter3Living the crowd has agreed to fast and pray together. Can I just say I love this community of believers. Monday is Rosh Hashanah. That is the beginning…. God’s New Beginning. This day is considered the “New Year” in the Jewish tradition and calendar. 

What a perfect day to be humble, fast and to pray seeking God’s hand in our lives. So I invite all of you in our community to also plan to fast and pray for your spouse this Monday, September 16 & 17th. We will be fasting from sunset on September 16th through sunset of the 17th. This is the Jewish tradition for fasting. 

Kinda cool, huh?? 

This is a wonderful time to participate in something very old and precious to our Lord. So if you can, join us. 

Sunset where I live on September 16: 2012 begins at 6:51 p.m. PST

Sunset on September 17, 2012 is 6:51 p.m. PST  


If you can fast, let me know and let me know your husband’s name as I will pray for his salvation just as we are doing over at 1P3.So I will plan to join my family for dinner at 7 p.m. Monday evening and break the fast. I’m expecting my prayers to avail much. I want God to be honored by my life. I will be asking His favor upon my life, my family and all whom I have contact. I will be asking for chains to be broken and for freedom of the captives. I will be seeking the anointing of the Holy Spirit. But mostly my prayer time will be devoted to just be in His presence. 

Love all of you Happy New Year!!!! Hugs, Lynn 

For many of you who are new to our community, we fast every year the first week of the year. Here are some links to information about fasting. Visit our Archives (here) and scroll through these posts. Also to read up on some interesting facts and listen to the Shofar, visit Hebrew for Christians.


She Finally Asked

My friends, 

Yesterday our Pastor told a story that will not leave me. It pulls at my heart and I think it’s a story we all need. 

He told of a young woman who came up to meet him after service last week. She came along with a friend. She said to Pastor Josh, “I haven’t been to church in over a decade. I stopped going when I turned eleven when my parents stop making me attend. But I came today because for the first time ever, I met a real Christian.” 

Josh went on to explain to us that her friend, Jessica, works in the childcare center at Fitness 19. It was through a friendship that developed there that this young woman discovered what Jessica had was the real deal, an authentic relationship with Jesus. 

It might seem to some that childcare at a gym may not be where you would find out about Jesus. But as Pastor Josh said, “People are watching you. There’s no such thing as living in neutral. You are either all the way in. Or you are out.” 

What really got me about this story is what Jessica’s young friend said next, “I came to church because finally she asked me.” 

She finally asked me. 

Oh my friends. Who is watching? Who will notice if our faith is authentic and vibrant? Who is it that we need to ask to come to church? Who needs to be loved with the love of Christ?  Who have we not asked out of fear, discomfort, or a chance of embarrassment?

Cross_lightThe most important day in our entire year is THIS SUNDAY. 

It’s because of the resurrection that we have hope, fantastic, extravagant, supernatural hope. 

I look around this world, this nation, our town, my neighborhood and see the lost and broken. I see so many who are so badly beaten up by life that they have given up, walled up, shut up, and shut down. They are hard, caustic, mean-spirited and deep down, utterly living in fear, bitterness, and regret. 

We KNOW the cure; we know the healing, the forgiveness, and the joy. We know the hope of the world. 

It is Jesus. 

I’m just pulled at the core of my spirit that there might be someone in my sphere of influence that I haven’t invited in. Someone I haven’t asked to church. I grieve that they could be living in hope and I haven’t shared how. So on this Monday as I think about Christ’s triumphal entry and the dark days that the await him later in the week and His glorious resurrection, I’m moved to pray: 

O Lord,
Show me who they are. Bring their names to my mind. Let me see who is watching me. Help me to live authentically, not perfectly, but to live with love, peace, forgiveness, generosity and kindness. As this week marches closer to the day we celebrate Your Victory, help me to release one more person from the prison of darkness. Help me to show them our hope. Show them Jesus. It is in His name I pray. Amen

Be blessed, Lynn

*Thanks Pastor Josh


I Hate Hallmark

Sometimes I hate Hallmark.

Well, not really. Sorta….

I don’t hate the store but I sincerely “dislike” what I call “Hallmark Holidays.” You know these days, Mother’s Day, Father’s Day, Grandparent’s Day, Ground Hog Day (well maybe not this one) and the sometimes dreaded…..

Join me at One Plus, The Internet Cafe today for the rest of the story:

I Hate Hallmark on Valentine's Day. Hugs, Lynn



A Charlie Brown Christmas For Me

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

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

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

Have a blessed week, Lynn


A Christmas Legend??? I Believe

This story was written by Rev. Howard C. Schade, pastor of the First Reformed Church in Nyack, New York. By the time the story was anthologized in Alice Gray’s Christmas Stories for the Heart in 1998, Rev. Schade already had passed away in 1989 and could not be contacted to verify the details of the story, which is why Snopes calls this story a “legend.”

I choose to believe!

By Rev. Howard C. Schade

The brand new pastor and his wife, newly assigned to their first ministry to reopen a church in suburban Brooklyn, arrived in early October excited about their opportunities. When they saw their church, it was very run down and needed much work. They set a goal to have everything done in time to have their first service on Christmas Eve.

They worked hard, repairing pews, plastering walls, painting, etc., and on December 18 were ahead of schedule and just about finished. On December 19, a terrible tempest — a driving rainstorm — hit the area and lasted for two days.

On the 21st, the pastor went over to the church. His heart sank when he saw that the roof had leaked, causing a large area of plaster about 20 feet by 8 feet to fall off the front wall of the sanctuary just behind the pulpit, beginning about head high.

The pastor cleaned up the mess on the floor and, not knowing what else to do but postpone the Christmas Eve service, headed home.

TableclothivoryOn the way he noticed that a local business was having a flea-market type sale for charity so he stopped in. One of the items was a beautiful, handmade, ivory colored, crocheted tablecloth with exquisite work, fine colors and a Cross embroidered right in the center. It was just the right size to cover up the hole in the front wall. He bought it and headed back to the church.

By this time it had started to snow. An older woman running from the opposite direction was trying to catch the bus. She missed it. The pastor invited her to wait in the warm church for the next bus 45 minutes later.

She sat in a pew and paid no attention to the pastor while he got a ladder, hangers, etc., to put up the tablecloth as a wall tapestry. The pastor could hardly believe how beautiful it looked and it covered up the entire problem area. Then he noticed the woman walking down the center aisle. Her face was like a sheet….

“Pastor,” she asked, “where did you get that tablecloth?”

The pastor explained. The woman asked him to check the lower right corner to see if the initials EBG were crocheted into it there.

They were. These were the initials of the woman, and she had made this tablecloth 35 years before, in Austria.

The woman could hardly believe it as the pastor told how he had just gotten the tablecloth. The woman explained that before the war she and her husband were well-to-do people in Austria. When the Nazis came, she was forced to leave. Her husband was going to follow her the next week. She was captured, sent to prison and never saw her husband or her home again.

The pastor wanted to give her the tablecloth; but she made the pastor keep it for the church. The pastor insisted on driving her home, that was the least he could do. She lived on the other side of Staten Island and was only in Brooklyn for the day for a housecleaning job.

What a wonderful service they had on Christmas Eve. The church was almost full. The music and the spirit were great. At the end of the service, the pastor and his wife greeted everyone at the door and many said that they would return.

One older man, whom the pastor recognized from the neighborhood continued to sit in one of the pews and stare, and the pastor wondered why he wasn’t leaving.

The man asked him where he got the tablecloth on the front wall because it was identical to one that his wife had made years ago when they lived in Austria before the war and how could there be two tablecloths so much alike. He told the pastor how the Nazis came, how he forced his wife to flee for her safety and he was supposed to follow her, but he was arrested and put in a prison. He never saw his wife or his home again all the 35 years in between.

The pastor asked him if he would allow him to take him for a little ride. They drove to Staten Island and to the same house where the pastor had taken the woman three days earlier.

He helped the man climb the three flights of stairs to the woman’s apartment, knocked on the door and he saw the greatest Christmas reunion he could ever imagine.


Couple of Updates

Good Monday Morning.

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

I have come full circle. And it is good.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 


Give Yourself THIS Gift This Christmas

Christmas-giftOn Tuesday I was sitting in my office at Church. I love where our Women’s Ministry office is located. We are situated next to the receptionist, near the front door, one doorway away from the break room and at the apex of all foot traffic. Everyone passes by our office and I have candy on my desk so we have visitors often, even if they don’t want a Snickers Bar.

On any ordinary day, our office is smalish but on Tuesday, Christmas exploded in there with the remnants of all of our Christmas Dessert paraphernalia so it was also cramped. In addition, we are treated with a wall of windows, which is great for looking outside but makes for a sauna by 9 a.m. But, I wouldn’t trade our little humble abode for any other room in the place.

I have enjoyed, even marveled over some of the amazing conversations about faith that occur when people just “happen” to stop in. They stand in the doorway, as they are only stopping in for a minute (or at least they think that). And this past Tuesday did not disappoint.

Our Pastor of Group Life and Community Care (don’t you just love the titles we have in churches?), well he passed by the office. He popped his head in the door, you know, for just a minute that turned into almost an hour. I had been meaning to ask him about a topic I’m curious about, Pre-marital Counseling. I’m curious about what happens in pre-marital counseling as you might guess, because I didn’t ever experience it. Ahem, remember I’m unequally yoked.

He went on to explain what he does, the kind of couples he talks with and what results from his counseling. It’s not always what you might think. I was interested in this topic as something I might write about in the future so as the believing parent in our home, we may have more information to help our kids when they are at the marrying age. But, that’s a topic for another day.

What really was a mind-blow was the pastor’s salvation story. I was asking him what it was like to move out of the darkness and into the light. Listen in: (paraphrased)

Lynn: You know I think that I have always KNOWN God. He has always been with me even in my prodigal years. What was it like to really move out of darkness and into light? To be separated from God and then come to the realization of what you had missed?

John: Well it is interesting. I came to faith at a late age. Very unusual for an adult male at age 38 to become a believer.

Lynn: Yes

John: You don’t even know what you are missing. You come to Christ and an entire new life opens up. One you didn’t know existed. You know Lynn, I was very much like the Israelites who were freed from Egypt. What was supposed to be an eleven day journey to the promised land, took instead 40 years. They were rebellious and craved Egypt. And just like them, I actually became saved but then lived for eight long years wandering.

I literally had one foot in the world and one in my faith.

I was miserable.

It was only after eight years of living misery that I committed. I went “all in” and I have never looked back and I have never regretted it. Living “all in” is the only way to find the joy and peace that the Christ offers.
*****

Since Tuesday, this conversation has nagged me (Lynn). I haven’t been able to let it go. I can’t let it go because I hear God speaking through it. There are many who arrive at our website or through email who are miserable. They are miserable and suffering. Some of the many, suffer because of the actions of others but I wonder, is their misery because they are living like the Israelites in the wilderness?

Is one foot still in the world?

If this story sounds somewhat familiar to you then this Christmas give yourself the best gift ever. Step out of the world, go “all in”, and live for Jesus. I know this can be a scary prospect because you may be living with a spouse who is hostile to Christ but I can promise you, it is worth the risk.

I was that girl who lived with a hostile spouse, who hated any reference to God. But, I stepped into the full life and Jesus just came out of me. Not in an overbearing way but through love, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, self-control and the result is joy. Peace. Joy,

Peace…… Isn’t that what this season is all about? Give yourself the gift of living for Christ and don’t look back.

Just imagine what 2012 might hold for you.

That is the miracle of Christmas…… Jesus!

Be blessed, Lynn

Christmas_cross_ball


Creating Christmas Memories with your Kids on the Cheap

Holiday Traditions

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

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

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

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

Christmas Traditions


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

102_0220

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


Have Yourself a Merry "Intentional" Christmas

ChristmasTreeI don't know about you but I feel like Christmas has hit me unexpectedly these last few years. Sometimes we just get so bogged down with the demands and trials of life that we only have the energy to react to this season of decorating, shopping and gift giving.

Well, I've decided I want more this year. Actually, what I mean is I want less. I want this holiday to be different. I want to be intentional about it, not just roll along with the current and try to avoid the undertow.

Here's what I'm thinking:

1. I’m being intentional in my joy. This will be the first year that we wont have both our girls with us. My youngest daughter will be in Florida with our extended family. This is difficult but part of how families change. So, we will do at least two Christmas events this year. One will be to see a light show in a neighboring community. The other I assigned my older daughter and her fiancé (Yep, engaged!) to figure out. One idea is to go downtown this year (something I usually avoid) to see Christmas in the Park.

These are both low cost or free but great fun to do together as a family. What's in your neighborhood? Just planning a night to drive around to see the decorated houses is one of our mainstays. This is not about filling our schedule with activities. It’s about doing something that is intentional in the moment to be in the spirit and love of Christmas, and to share that with our precious family. Every moment is a gift and I want to live each day in appreciation of what Jesus has given me.

2. I’m being intentional in slowing things down. This is part of wanting less—less stress. After the chaos of the last few years, I'm a bit worn out. I sense God's gentle nudge to see things differently this year from a place of rest. So, I'm resisting the usual hurriedness of this time of year and am even planning ahead in my work schedule to have time to read a book by the Christmas tree as the lights twinkle and glow. To spend more time with God in my mornings and read the stories of Jesus’ birth. To really assess everything I'm doing with this question, "Does this please God and draw me closer to Him?" I'm even bringing my television viewing choices under this scrutiny.

3. I worshipping more intentionally. This is an area I really feel I need to develop more. Not out of duty but out of my love for God and desire to know Him better. That is my heart’s desire, to know God better everyday, every year. To grow closer to Him. When I expressed this to Him in the past, He spoke to my heart these words, “You will find Me in worship.” I want to find Him more. Right now, I’m totally loving Casting Crowns’ Christmas album, Peace on Earth. Break out your favorite Christmas music. Sing along out loud or in your heart or both! Let the gift of God’s Son, His greatest gift and the ultimate example of God working “for the good of those who love Him, who have been called according to his purpose” (Romans 8:28) fall afresh on your heart. Let God wow you!

4. I want to be a willing and intentional blessing. As much as I’d love to just make this month all about R&R for me, I don’t want to be selfish. I want to be a blessing to anyone God puts in my path. This means I will be intentional in staying alert when I go about my day to God’s “interruptions” and be ready to serve. I confess this is a challenge for me because I’m a “get ‘er done kind of girl” and have never been good about interruptions to my agenda. But God knows this and He knows my desire to change this area of my heart and life. He’s already given me couple opportunities recently. (One just yesterday in a MacDonald’s drive thru!) I’m looking forward to more.

These are some of my ideas. I hope you'll share yours too, so that we can help each other have an Intentional Christmas. This is not intended to bring more stress or create more duty. God doesn’t want our relationship with Him to be about duty. He came to give us life and joy (John 10:10).

So, whatever that translates to in your life, go for it. Be joyful and joyfilled. That is a gift we can give intentionally to our Lord and Savior because it reflects Him.

Your intentional servant,
Dineen


Who You are in Christ

WhoIAm

Lynn and I hope you've enjoyed this week's Twitter stream of praises and truths. The above is a compilation of all of them. Just click and download it. It's our gift to you! Keep it on your computer, print it out and hang it up somewhere, or even insert copies in your Christmas cards this year as a gift to those you send it to. 

Christ came and died to give us these truths, to remember that through His birth and death, we are adopted, accepted, blessed, chosen, forgiven and redeemed (Ephesians 1). Let's ponder these wonderful truths right into Christmas and continue to give thanks to our Savior for giving us the greatest gift of all.

Himself.

Praying and believing, 
Dineen 


Thanks and Praise @SUM

WhoIAm

(SCROLL DOWN AND READ MORE)


Who are you this Thanksgiving? Share your praises, your thanks, your acknowledgement of who you are because of Christ in the comments.

If you Tweet your praises to #praiseatSUM you will be entered into a drawing for a gift basket:

  • The Husband Project
  • $25 Berean Gift Card
  • Winning Him Without Words
  • Prayer Journal
  • Daily Bible
  • Lunch or Skype with Dineen and/or Lynn

The more you tweet #PraiseatSUM the more you are entered.

So start tweeting your praises today. To join Twitter, click here. To sign up for Twitter via Smart Phone, see Instructions below, or click here. Let's show the world that the unequally yoked spouses are giving thanks to our Lord even in the midst of a spiritually mismatched marriage. 

We love all of you. Watch for our Tweets this week. Have a blessed and beautiful Thanksgiving. Lynn and Dineen.

To create your new Twitter account via your phone...

  1. Send a text message to your Twitter shortcode (such as 40404 in the U.S.) with the word START.
  2. Twitter will send you a reply and ask you to reply back with the word SIGNUP to create a new account. Send SIGNUP.
  3. Next, Twitter will ask you to pick a username. Your username must be unique and less than 15 characters. Reply with the username you want (see below for advice on picking a username).
  4. You will get a confirmation message when you pick a valid username (Twitter will tell you to pick a new name if someone else already has the username you wanted).
  5. You're all set! Send a message and it will post as your first Tweet.

To Pray of Not To Pray. That is The Question for The Unequally Yoked

Thanksgiving rockwellFootball rages in the family room, the aroma of a roasting Bidzilla satisfies the kitchen, kids play outside, red cheeked and with hands frozen. Ahhhh, Thanksgiving.

This is my favorite traditional holiday of food, family and ……stress.

 

Read more at the Internet Cafe Devotions, Marriage Counter.

 


It Is Truly Special - Thanksgiving

Coffbible
The predawn light slips through the window as I sleepily rub my eyes and wait for the coffee to trickle into the pot. The smell rises to fill my head with a smile. I pour in cream and shuffle to the drawer, withdraw my familiar and tattered Bible and the spiral binder below it.

All is quiet. The family slumbers. It’s peaceful.

The heat from the cup thaws out my hands as the warming air from the heater finally circulates. I sit on the couch under the lamp and slowly open the pages. The precious and powerful pages that literally saved my life, changed my heart and continue to do so. I turn to November. The pages are marked with familiar writing as through the years I’ve scribbled my thanks across the top.

November 19, 2007 Praying for wisdom that comes from heaven.

November 20, 2009 Mike received offer for employment after a year of no work. Thank you Lord!

November 22, 2004 Submitted article to magazine. Thank you Lord.

November 22, 2007 Thanksgiving Day. Thank you Lord for your boundless mercy that God has given us the privilege of being born again.

November 26, 2006 Thank you for the new blog.

November 27, 2003 Thanksgiving Day. My Jesus, salvation, my daughter, son, time off, our home, my husband….Lord, may this year be the year of Mike’s salvation.

The handwriting speaks softly to me of years gone by. Of markers of God’s provision, His love, His grace and His ever present love in my simple life. I step into the words on the page this November 24th, 2011 and thank Him for the rich blessing of another year, a book, a chance to share the hope I have with others, a family that is healthy and under the profound protection of God Almighty.

I read the first chapter of Daniel. I hear God calling me though this story to be a woman of courage, of integrity, of commitment and purpose to serve God alone and never to bow to idols of greed, gluttony, and self. In Peter chapter three, I’m met with such power I’m overwhelmed. It’s as if on this cold morning God is confirming once again to me to keep walking the walk, talking the talk, living it out in my heart and before my unbelieving spouse. Jesus died for sinners that he might bring them safely home to God (vs18).

I sip the coffee and little Peanut jumps up beside me. He paws the sleep from his eyes and waits for me.

I smile at him and give him a quick pat.

As I turn to my journal, I'm touched by the softness of the morning. And feeling the real presence of God, I fall on my knees and I offer thanks. I pray a prayer from the depths of my soul, filled and overflowing with thanks for what truly matters in this world.

O Lord Jesus, my Savior,

Step with me before the throne of grace this special morning and let me recount my blessings to our Father. Lord, You have guarded me with all the power of heaven this past year. You have kept me from evil and sheltered me from disaster. And not only that but Lord you have spoiled me. I know it all can be gone tomorrow and I don’t take all the luxuries You give for granted. I rejoice that you love me and delight in giving your children, this child, great gifts.

Father, thank you for my salvation, for knowing the truth that sets me free, for the healing you bring into lives and you allow me to see it, to be part of it. Thank you for sharing your Words with me. To bring me closer to you and conform me in the likeness of Jesus. Thank you for my husband, my children, my home, my church, my online sisters and brothers. You know how I dearly love and care for them.

Thank you that ……. I am chosen.

I am chosen. I am chosen. I am chosen. Thank you this day that we pause to give you proper gratitude. I love you Lord, Jesus my Savior and Spirit that binds us all. Your humble servant, Lynn

A teary shimmer rests on my lash. The room has grown lighter. Peanut is scratching for his breakfast in the kitchen and I hear a stirring in the distant bedroom. The house is awakening. A full day awaits but for this moment on this day of thanks, I spent time with my King.

And I experienced HIM.

THAT is a perfect Thanksgiving.

Lynn

Spend time with the King this Thanksgiving. It is truly special.


You Thought You Weren't One

Luke 15
The most unexpected thing happened to me yesterday.

Seated next to my daughter and her best friend, I opened my Bible to the passage and listened as the pastor began to read Luke 15. While he was reading this familiar passage, powerful emotion rose up from some place deep within me. He arrived at verse 24 and it was as if the world around me went into slow motion. Every part of me was engaged and experiencing this sentence. He spoke slowly and with purpose, each word emphasized and as I listened, tears welled. I felt the full impact of my salvation all over again.

With eyes spilling, I struggled to control the tide washing over me. I teetered on the verge of becoming a blubbering idiot right there in the extremely quiet worship center. But I determined to spare my 16-year-old daughter the uncomfortable reality of her mother becoming a complete spectacle in front of 500 people.

The 15th chapter of Luke is one of the many stories told by Jesus. And if you read our book, Winning Him Without Words, my introduction begins with this very passage. You also know that I am the epitome of this wayward son. I am the prodigal daughter. It’s no wonder as I sat there in church and the words….

…. was dead and now is alive again. Was lost and now is found…..

My heart lurched, my spirit soared, my mind humbled, my throat constricted. For Lynn Donovan was once very lost in her selfish life, lonely, scared, and deceived.

But…..

God loves redemption stories. His Son, Jesus, refused to let me go. He waited for me on the road, looking, calling out to me, just like the father in this story in Luke. He never gave up on me. Never. Ever.

Hear me now.    Don’t make the mistake and believe this story is not about YOU.

We all squander our inheritance.

We have let fear replace faith.

We have traded exceptional living for mediocrity.

We have replaced God’s truth with lies.

We have exchanged freedom for captivity.

We have handed over our miracles for apathetic safety.

Today, I say, “No more. That is enough.”

I want to be reacquainted with the God of love, the God of mercy, the God of grace. I want to know Him this season in an intimate and personal relationship that I haven’t yet experienced. I want to encounter this Father who waits on the road, scanning the horizon, calling to me, to you, “Come home my child, come home.”

What is your pain? What is God asking you to surrender? Our great God has so much for all of us Prodigals. Every…. Single…. One.

God loves redemption stories. We are His redemption story.

Be blessed, Lynn

Share your praises this season with us here at SUM- Join us next Monday for a unique way to honor God and give thanks. (PS. Get a Twitter account….hint…hint)

Inspired by Keith Potter. Thanks Keith

The Picture-Story of the Foolish Son Who Spent All His Money

Luke 15: 11 And Jesus said, “There was a man who had two sons. 12 The younger son said to his father, ‘Father, let me have the part of the family riches that will be coming to me.’ Then the father divided all that he owned between his two sons. 13 Soon after that the younger son took all that had been given to him and went to another country far away. There he spent all he had on wild and foolish living. 14 When all his money was spent, he was hungry. There was no food in the land. 15 He went to work for a man in this far away country. His work was to feed pigs. 16 He was so hungry he was ready to eat the outside part of the ears of the corn the pigs ate because no one gave him anything.

   17 “He began to think about what he had done. He said to himself, ‘My father pays many men who work for him. They have all the food they want and more than enough. I am about dead because I am so hungry. 18 I will get up and go to my father. I will say to him, “Father, I have sinned against heaven and against you. 19 I am not good enough to be called your son. But may I be as one of the workmen you pay to work?”’

   20 “The son got up and went to his father. While he was yet a long way off, his father saw him. The father was full of loving-pity for him. He ran and threw his arms around him and kissed him. 21 The son said to him, ‘Father, I have sinned against heaven and against you. I am not good enough to be called your son.’ 22 But the father said to the workmen he owned, ‘Hurry! Get the best coat and put it on him. Put a ring on his hand and shoes on his feet. 23 Bring the calf that is fat and kill it. Let us eat and be glad. 24 For my son was dead and now he is alive again. He was lost and now he is found. Let us eat and have a good time.’


A Tablecloth of Thanks

This is one of my favorite holiday traditions and I share it every year here at SUM. If you started one of these in prior years, please leave me a note in the comments. If you are starting one this year, leave me a note in the comments. 

I pray that this one family tradition affects your heart and home like it has done mine. Happy Thanksgiving, Lynn

 

Tablecloth of Thanks from The Intentional Marriage on Vimeo.


Random and With Purpose

Hello Everyone,

Now that we have finished our series, Out-Love Your Spouse, Dineen and I will return to random posting. I am always surprised that God leads me to new discoveries and allows me to experience His unending love, grace and adventure and more amazing is I get to share them with you. So stay tuned as we adventure through the Holiday months of November and December. We have some great stuff coming up.

Soon, I will be sharing a video I recorded with a friend of mine that address a serious topic, childhood sexual abuse. This interview is not about the abuse but about how God has worked through this woman. JesusdefeatsdeathAnd it all came about when she went to report for Jury Duty. You don't want to miss it. 

HALLOWEEN - What Do We Do With Halloween?  Link to the post I wrote last year.

-----

On another holiday note....

I also want to collect some of your stories to share in later in the holiday season. 

Holly-leaves-2RANDOM ACTS OF KINDNESS ~ GIFTING MY GRATITUDE  

I share one of my random acts of kindness stories here, Gifting My Gratitude. If you have initiated, been the recipient of, or have witnessed one of these amazing displays of love, click here and share your story (This is our contact page at Winning Him Without Words). I find these are some of the most inspiring true stories of the goodness of mankind and the greatness of God.

BowlerhatI have gathered a few already and they will lift your spirits so that you soar above the clouds this holiday season. Please take 10 minutes and share with me your story or create your random story and then share.

I pray you are filled with the Holy Spirit this week and that you witness the outrageous, vibrant, passionate love of our Savior in wave after wave. Hugs, Lynn