33 posts categorized "Kids Faith"

Moments in a Storm: A SUMite Testimony

My friends, today I want to share a wonderful story from one of our readers. Many of you know Dawn from the comments on our posts and see her heart's pursuit of Abba and His peace and hope as she walks through a storm right now. She mentioned a wonderful story about one of her children in a comment recently, and I knew it was a story to be shared. So, here is Dawn telling us this beautiful story about her daughter's growing faith in the middle of a storm. 

 

9d75ed1220210301607672080bd6200a-bpfullIn the last 15 months, God has placed me square in the middle of a class five hurricane storm – Hurricane Separation with pain gusts of 100 mph.  While yours may not be the storm of separation, many of you can relate to a storm of this magnitude. 

Even on my darkest, cloudiest, windiest days, God shines rays of blessings through the clouds.  The biggest blessing that has come from this has been watching my children’s faith grow.  I’m talking seeds to oak trees, indescribable faith that I believe only a child can have.  I was raised going to church every Sunday, but prior to our separation I did not bring my children to church.  In fact, outside of nightly prayers, Jesus wasn’t a common subject at our house.  My husband is a non-believer and I never wanted to rock the boat.  Not a good excuse, but it was my poor reasoning.

Fast forward to our separation after 10 years of marriage and the first place I turned was back to Jesus, who had never left my side even when I had left His.  In fact, He was right there waiting with open arms and nothing but grace and forgiveness.  This was also a turning point for my girls, 8 and 10 at the time.

The three of us rallied together for support.  We began going to church again and submerged ourselves in The Word of God and His promises.  We began praying for and continue to pray for their dad’s heart of stone to be turned into a heart of flesh.  Ezekiel 36:26.

The amazing thing is that my kids who had not been raised in an openly Christian household embraced all of it immediately.  Their faith alone makes this storm worth every minute.

One of my favorite examples of this comes from my oldest daughter, Lily, who is now 11 and in the 6th grade.  One day, Lily got in the car after school and announced how excited she was because someone at school had finally been rude to her.  I was very confused and asked why that made her so happy.  She said it was because she had been praying for God to send her an enemy that she could be nice to.  Talk about make a mama’s heart soar.  In dealing with their dad, we talk a lot about loving people because God calls us to and not because of how they treat us or what they do or don’t do.

These trials are so hard, but there are so many teachable moments in them.  Opportunities to teach our children things that they can’t learn from smooth sailing.  My kids have learned more about the love and faithfulness of Our Father and about the love He calls us to show each other than I could have ever taught them when the sun is shining.  Never forget that our kids are watching us in these situations and God is using these trials to show these sweet babies HIS amazing love.

God alone has given me the strength to endure this storm with grace, love and forgiveness (most of the time.)  To Him all the Glory for not only, every teachable moment that He gives me, but for the wisdom He gives me in that moment.  It is through nothing in me that I am able to attain these things.

I regret not wanting to rock the boat all those years, but I am forever grateful for the second chance God has given me to give my children the gift of faith.  It’s never too late to give them that gift.

 


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)


A Letter From God To Every Mother

I want to encourage all of our new friends who found our community here yesterday. And I want to love and encourage those who find us today. 

Mostly I want to encourage our entire family who meets here every day to share life, love and our Savior. I adore you. Thank you for loving each other and our Jesus. 

Today, the Family Talk broadcast will talk about raising children in a spiritually mismatched home. I’m absolutely passionate about this issue. Truly, when I was a young mom, I feared that my husband’s unbelief would influence my daughter, perhaps even affecting her eternity. But....

Our faithful God loves to answer prayers of mother’s who bring their children before Him each morning by name.   <-- (Click to Tweet)

Our newest book that releases October 7, 2013 is all about this topic. And I promise you, God showed up while Dineen and I wrote it. Today, I want to offer you an excerpt from that book. 

While I was writing the last chapter, I discovered a profound passage in scripture that applies to all of us. And to find out what that is, you need to buy the book. (yep, sorry a teaser). But as I finished the last chapter, I remember being out on my walk n pray and feeling frustrated. It was as if the story wasn’t yet finished. So finally out of frustration I asked God, “Lord, what do YOU want to say to all mothers.” 

My friends, God was waiting for me to ask. And immediately He began to download to my mind…… 

A Letter. 

It’s a letter that God has written to all moms. And today, I share His love letter with you. 

It’s currently uploaded on our Ministry site. So click over there. Read it. Weep. I kid you not, I cry each time I read it. I really do. And I wrote it. Sheesh! Well I only put it to paper (so to speak). Anyhoo, click over when you have an uninterrupted minute and receive this word from our God who loves you.

 Beloved Mother 

Print a copy and let me know how you felt when you read this letter. 

I love you and a BIG welcome to all of you who found us yesterday and today through Dr. James Dobson’s Family Talk. 

Love & Hugs, Lynn

To hear the braodcast, click below. And there are also articles on the Family Talk website that Dineen and I wrote about marriage and parening.


Teaching Our Children to Worship God

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Hello SUMites! One of our readers shared this precious picture with us. I love that she sent this because now I can show you a picture of almost exactly what I described seeing in my post on Monday. I look at this picture and wonder what this little girl is hearing from Jesus. 

I can imagine He's telling her she is precious and loved and cherished, because that's what the Bible tells us. So beautiful.

Let's keep sharing ideas and stories of how we're teaching our children a Kingdom mentality. I wish I had understood this better when my girls were little—I wish I'd understood it better as a child myself! 

But now I'm getting it and I'm giving it away to my girls now and look forward to being the person in this picture one day, holding my grandchild and watching them worship God with me. I'm putting that out there right now as my dream. 

Thank You, Abba! Thank you that we can commit our hearts and dreams for our children to Your loving care. Thank You that You hold our children even closer than we can imagine or hope for. Thank You for choosing us to be their mothers and fathers. And thank You, Lord Jesus, that You watch over our children and have designed them with such great care to be a vital part of Your kingdom, on earth and in heaven. And we ask that Your will be done in their lives here on earth exactly as it is in heaven. Let their destinies in You be released and let nothing stop them as they walk in that truth. In Your name, King Jesus, amen!

Love you, my friends!
Dineen 


Our Righteous Trust Fund

9437891_sYesterday my daughter Leslie and I set out to handle transferring her trust fund into her possession. It’s such a small amount. I wish I could say as her parents that we’d managed our financial picture the best we could as there’s always room for improvement.

I didn’t think much of this small pittance. I only saw it as failure on our part. A failure to grow it more, add more, provide more. So I was totally caught off guard when she came to me in tears of gratitude. Didn’t matter that the amount was so small. She drew more from our love and intent behind the action than the result.

Sometimes we get so caught up on how things appear on the outside. Lately I’ve become very aware of how this manifests in our words and how we interact with the world. We worry about how we look in the sense of how others will perceive AND judge us. We worry about how our family appears to others, be they neighborhood or family friends or our church family—worrying how we are perceived AND perhaps judged there as well, especially when we are mismatched.

I’m learning that those things I’ve spent so much time worrying about often don't mean squat. In fact, when those thoughts or concerns creep in, I find myself saying, “I don’t care.” Or, “It doesn’t matter.” What matters is what God thinks.

And that’s what I felt like my daughter showed me yesterday. She showed me an unexpected perspective. God’s. Didn’t matter that the result hadn’t turned out the way I wanted it. She received something from it that I never expected.

Validation that she mattered..

And that’s truly what we want, isn’t it? As moms. As wives. As God’s children. We want to know that we matter, that our efforts makes a difference in the lives of those we love, like our children coming to know Jesus and walking in a faith relationship with Him that continues to grow and grow, right?

But what I’m also learning (and a bit painfully I might add) right now is that the results God has planned are so often different than what we think. At times they even seem counterproductive, like when God brings the most amazing fruit from our failed attempts.

Like when our weakness makes His strength all the more apparent.

My daughter received something much more meaningful than money from her parents’ meager attempts to provide. She received the intention in our hearts, to want only good for her.

And if that’s our hearts as parents, think about God’s heart for us, His children. When God shows up, we are validated as His children. We grow in our faith and trust, which brings us more boldness and freedom.

And His heart for our children is even bigger than ours. All those things we pray for our children—God wants them too. He wants them to know who He is. He wants them to know His goodness. He wants them to have a relationship with Him that rocks their world for Jesus.

I love what the second part of James 5:16 says:

The prayer of a righteous person is powerful and effective.

My friends, we are the righteousness of Christ. That’s part of our inheritance, part of the trust fund Jesus set up when He died on that cross for us. We receive it when we ask Jesus to save us and as coheirs with Christ, we bear His righteousness.

So our prayers are powerful and effective. Statistics will try to tell us how ineffective we are, and based upon our own ability alone, they are probably true.

But the prayers of the righteous are effective because they are powerful and ongoing. The Greek word for effective is the same as the word we get energy from: energeo. And if you pay attention to the law of physics, energy continues to work. It doesn’t diminish or run out in a defined system.

In other words, our prayers don’t just peter out and fizzle. Every prayer of the righteous is ongoing, present tense and working. So in God’s system of prayer, righteousness and energeo, we are effective and our loved ones will be affected.

Those are statistics worth noticing and caring about. Ones we can believe and trust because God is the fuel behind them. And I’ve never known Him to run out.

You have my heart and prayers!
Dineen

Image credit: sqback / 123RF Stock Photo

Let Us Tell You a Story...

There once were two ordinary women who said yes to God and their lives have been an adventure ever since. Yep, that's the story of Lynn and I but the story I really want to tell you is about our publisher, Regal Books (aka Gospel Light).

 

IMG_1915
Lynn and I with our amazing editor, Kim Bangs, who is truly one of the most godly women I've ever had the pleasure to meet and learn from.
Lynn shared some of our adventures visiting them last week on our Facebook page as we met their sales team. Lynn and I were humbled and so blessed to meet this amazing team of men and women who see their jobs as part of their service to God and work tirelessly to bring the messages of the books they represent to stores. We also met the rest of the amazing Team Regal, who has caught our vision for this ministry.

 

Why am I telling you all this? Because Lynn and I can barely put into words what this amazing group of people have come to mean to us. Before we left on Thursday, they gathered around us (we were also blessed to meet two other authors whose work we hope to share with you down the road) and prayed over us, blessed us and made a covenant with us to help support us in our service to God.

They are part of our SUM community and Lynn and I stand in awe of how God has worked in all of this. That's why we want to share it with you, our SUM community because you are an integral part of all of it. You asked us for a Bible study about being spiritually mismatched and we prayed. God opened our hearts to the idea of a book and Winning Him Without Words was born, an unexpected part of the adventure.

And now we will start another adventure, one that includes you, our SUM community. You've asked us about a book about raising kids to faith in a spiritually mismatched marriage. Lynn and I started praying over this idea around the summer of 2011. Then God gave us the go just a few months ago and we brought this idea to Regal too.

That is why we went to visit our dear friends there, to bring God's vision of this book to their sales team so they know what our SUM community is all about.

NotAloneCoverMy dear friends, we are so excited to tell you that Not Alone: Trusting God to Help You Raise Godly Kids in a Spiritually Mismatched Marriage is slated to release next Fall. We have a lot of work to do and we need your help. Which is right and good because you are so much a part of this journey! We need your prayers that we listen faithfully as God gives us the words AND we need your input. Over the next three months we will probably be asking for your stories and thoughts about how we do this—trust God to help us raise Godly kids.

So here is our first question for you:

How has God helped you share your faith with your children and still respect Dad in doing so?

Answer in the comments because you will most likely help other moms as you share with us. So join us in this next chapter of the crazy adventure we call mismatchdom and let's find out where God takes us!

And finally, thank you, thank you, thank you! Lynn and I are so grateful for this community. We are truly just two ordinary women who said yes to God and the rest is all to His glory, praise and a testimony of how God provides when we cry out to Him in our time of need. And the truly beautiful part is that all of this is the overflow of His amazing love. This is what it means to be in a God-loving community. Can you imagine what Heaven will be like?

Thank You, Lord Jesus. This is truly You working with us to bring wisdom, hope, and healing to needs and hurts of others. This SUM community is Your legacy and we say "yes!" to whatever You are calling us to next. Thank you, Abba, we are so very grateful for Your love and grace. Holy Spirit, fill and guide us on this great adventure. We love You, Lord! Amen!

With all our hearts, gratitude and love,
Dineen & Lynn


What Do You Say to the Kids and more....

Today we are answering your questions that were posted the week of January 18, 2012.

What do you tell the kids when they ask, "Why doesn't Dad go to church."

Why isn't there marriage in heaven?

How do you parent your kids when you and your husband see parenting so different.

The boundary between submitting and serving vs. enabling.

How do I keep hope alive when I my husband never responds.

Listen in. Then join the conversation in the comments. 

 

 


Your Kid's Faith - From the Chronicles of the Donovan Clan

It was the best of times……

        It was the worst of times…..

Tebrad2
Last Saturday evening I sat in front of the television and watched the painful demise of my beloved Broncos as they were pounded by the Patriots in what can only be described as a massacre.

It was sad.

I sat around the family room with several of my friends and several of my daughter’s teenaged friends who showed up wearing Patriots Jerseys and waving blue and red Pat’s flags. Sheesh. No respect around here. *grin.*

In spite of my dashed hopes for a Superbowl birth, something fantastic was taking place that no one else knew about but me, my 16 year old daughter and God.

A decision point occurred.

Earlier that day, most of my daughter’s friends made plans to leave our house at half time. They were meeting up with other friends at a local theater to watch a play. My daughter was included in the plans. I didn’t think too much about this particular adventure because as you may know my daughter is very active in Theater Arts and she and I and her friends attend live plays frequently.

But, what I didn’t know is this particular play wasn’t a G rated production. In fact, the play included characters of moral question and some nudity. Yep, you heard me correctly.

Before the game started and friends began to arrive, my daughter stopped what she was doing in the kitchen. She was helping me prepare some snacks and was whipping up a light version of Con queso for later.

“Mom.”

“Hunh?”

“I don’t think I’m going to go to the play with everyone tonight.”

“Why not?”

“Mom, I just don’t feel comfortable about it. There is nudity and other things in that play that will bother me.”

“Oh Honey, I am so proud of you that you made this choice for yourself and not because it’s what I would have wanted."

I looked at this kid from across the kitchen in amazement. Would I have made the same choice under such peer-pressure at her age? I’m ashamed to say, likely no.

Will she always make choices like this? Likely no.

Later I overheard my daughter on the phone to one of the kids. She was responding to the obvious question, “Why aren’t’ you going with us to the play?”

“It just doesn’t sit right with my morals. So I’m not going.”

She was brave enough to be different and stand apart from her friends and face possible ridicule, mocking and be left out in the future. Wow, many adults don't have this kind of courage.

In this small moment, God allowed me to understand that all the years, tears and prayers I have poured into this child were now bringing forth fruit. My daughter is choosing for herself based upon her morals, values, and faith. She is grasping my faith and making it her own.

Even in the midst of an unequally yoked home.

To every mom and dad out there who worries over your kids, I share this story to encourage you. Don’t stop praying. Don’t stop grasping those teachable moments when they are younger. Live out your faith in front of your kids so when they are older they will know how to live their faith as well. Teach them how to pray. Help them to make choices and coach them how to talk to their friends. You be the out. Let them blame, “My bad-ole mother. She won’t let me go with you.” Give them every opportunity to choose right over wrong.

To choose Jesus.

Mostly you, mom or dad, love Jesus with all of your heart, soul, mind and strength. That is the best parenting advice anyone could ever receive.

Have a blessed day. Hug your kids today from Aunty Lynn

Matthew 12: 30-31 (NIV) (Jesus said) Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind and with all your strength. ‘The second is this: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’ There is no commandment greater than these.”