Today I am thrilled to welcome Nancy Kennedy, author of When He Doesn’t Believe to Spiritually Unequal Marriage.
Originally, from California Nancy lives in central Florida with her husband, Barry. Her two daughters, Alison and Laura, are grown. Alison is married with one daughter, Caroline (age 4 ½). Laura is going to college part-time in Charlotte, N.C. and working full-time.
Nancy works as a features writer and religion columnist for the Citrus County Chronicle in Florida. She also writes books and speaks at Christian women’s retreats. She is a member of Seven Rivers Presbyterian Church in Lecanto, Florida.
Personal testimony by Lynn Donovan: Five years ago I found myself ready to give up on my spiritually unequal marriage. It was during this time I discovered Nancy Kennedy’s book. It became a road map to healing my marriage. I could relate to the struggles she experienced. Her words of advice set me on a life-changing course. I thank God for Nancy and her wise advice.
LD: Welcome Nancy and thank you for your willingness to share more of yourself with us. Since writing your book six years ago, I thought it would be great to catch up with you. How many years have you and Barry been married now?
NK: As of today– 31 ½ years.
LD: Are you spiritually mismatched today? If he came to faith, how did that happen? If not, are you discouraged?
NK: I would say yes, we are still spiritually mismatched, although I’ve thought for a long time – for more than 20 years – that he came to faith in Christ shortly after I did. There was a moment that he changed, but he didn’t follow through with it. So, I can’t be sure. At times I do get discouraged as well as anxious, frustrated, confused, angry, impatient… But I always come back to “God knows, and I can’t do anything about it anyway.”
LD: What inspired you to write your book?
NK: My agent at the time asked me to do this book. I hesitated because I would never want to embarrass my husband, but I asked him and he said it was fine with him. I told him that I wanted to help women not be Jesus freaks with their husbands and to learn to relax and let God be God. He was all for that!
More than that, I know how greatly God changed me. Once I grasped His great sovereignty and that I cannot, cannot, CANNOT change another human’s heart no matter how sincere I am or how hard I try, I knew that I was on to something and felt compelled to share it with as many women as I could.
We are tremendous instruments for peace as well as for turmoil in our homes.
LD: Is there a new chapter you wish you could add?
NK: I think I said it all.
LD: I know you recently wrote a devotional titled, Between Two Loves. Can you tell us more about what you have done and what you are working on now?
NK: Sadly, the devotional is out of print, although I have some copies left. Right now I’m eagerly awaiting the release of my newest book, Girl on a Swing, about freedom in Christ and experiencing God’s smile. It will be out Oct. 31, 2006.
LD: I have also found your writing on Family.org. Tell us about your work with Focus on the Family and any other organizations who offer encouragement to spiritually mismatched marriages.
NK: Focus on the Family excerpted chapters from When He Doesn’t Believe a few years ago, which I was thrilled with. Also, Family Life Today with Dennis Rainey and Bob Lepine and also Nancy Leigh DeMoss had me on their radio programs for a week’s worth of shows.
LD: What is the best advice you would give to us on the road behind you?
NK: Relax—God is God and we are not. Whenever I start to fret and get frustrated and think, “God, why don’t You DO SOMETHING?!” I remind myself that He IS doing something—He’s just not done yet.
My husband recently went through open-heart surgery and he was surprised and quite touched by the outpouring of cards and prayers from people he doesn’t even know. In my community I’m quite well-known from my position at the newspaper and hundreds of readers of my column sent him their love, including an entire kindergarten class at a local Christian school. That spoke volumes to him—and I saw his spiritual heart soften.
LD: Finally the question most of us need answering, how did your children navigate through the conflicts regarding faith? Now that they are adults, did they become believers? What parenting advice would you suggest?
NK: My daughters both came to faith in Christ when they were preschoolers. My oldest was never openly rebellious, but she stopped going to church after she moved away from home. My youngest is a classic prodigal, although her heart often returns to Jesus, even if just for a moment.
Even in the most devout Christian homes, kids stray. My pastor says, “Think of the most perfect parent ever—God the Father—and then look at the way His kids turned out (meaning us).” That should give us all hope.
As for advice…pray hard. Parenting is difficult, but God’s grace covers us all.
The bottom line is, God is God. Salvation is His and He calls the shots. And He uses everything we go through for His glory and our ultimate good.
LD: Great advice! Your words of encouragement bring honor to our King.
Lord, I lift up Nancy Kennedy, her husband and children to You today. Thank you for each of them and their willingness to share their lives. Thank you for Nancy's strong faith in You and in her marriage. Lord, lavish Your love on her life and bless her continuing work and ministry. In Christ’s name I pray. Amen
You can find a complete list of Nancy's books in the right sidebar. Be blessed!