174 posts categorized "Marriage"

Five Truths for the Unequally Yoked

On Thursday, January 12th, at 11 am pacific time, Lynn Donovan will teach The Five Truths we MUST know to thrive in our unequally yoked marriages. Over 30 years of walking this road, I find these five truths an anchor in difficult times, they are solid ground to stand upon, they offer us peace and real joy. They make our lives easier.

This teaching is offered for all who have supported this ministry with any gift. If you have already given, I sent you an email with the Zoom information. It's not too late to give and join us on Thursday. And a link to the video will be provided to those who can't make the live. However, join live because I will answer questions at the end.

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The Throne of His Heart

 

THRONE

Hey there SUMites! Amanda her, I am so excited to share something God revealed to me weeks ago that really rang my bell! 

 For several years my husband struggled with an addiction to alcohol. He was never violent or dangerous, but it was still slowly taking over his life and becoming a top priority. Drinking was what he looked forward to the most at the end of every day and the start of every weekend, it truly was his idol for many years. 

One night we were reminiscing about things and he started to talk about drinking. He spoke of it fondly, and admitted to missing it. That hurt my heart in more ways than one. Suddenly, while he was talking I heard God. Now, when I say I heard God I mean I HEARD Him, loud and clear! God said to me, "Can you handle him loving ME like that? Can you give me ALL the space that I will take up in his heart?". My head was actually buzzing, it felt like someone had rang a gong in my head. I cannot remember the rest of the conversation with my husband because God was so loud in that moment. I don't think God has ever spoken to me quite like that before. I had to shake my head to regain focus on my husband and continue our conversation.

I mulled this over a lot in the days afterward. The truth was, God had caught me in a heart issue. I am a fixer, when there is a problem I want to fix it myself. I like to be the one to make people feel heard, seen, and wanted. Most of all, I like being the number one source of comfort for my husband. The more I looked into my heart the more I realized I was NOT prepared! I had not been preparing myself for what would come when Daniel got saved.

You see, when Daniel takes an interest in something it consumes him. He has been that way since we were teenagers. When he was 16-18 it was The Beatles. We have every album (CD's and vinyl), a book of the complete music scores, pictures, shirts, ect... When he was 20 it was another musician named Gotye and Daniel learned a new instrument because of him. When he decided he was an atheist, he dove head first into that as well. He was listening to and reading from every atheist influencer he could find. He would spend hours researching and arguing his point to anyone who would listen. Daniel is an all-or-nothing man, so it is very clear why I would need to have my heart prepared for when salvation comes to him!

I know without a doubt in my heart that when God does reveal himself to Daniel my house is going to be turned on it's head! What a glorious day that will be! But I have had to face that, while glorious, it will also come with challenges. As God moves on to the throne of his heart, everything else has to take a step down! I will have to share him with the Father in a way I have never had to do in the 14 years we have been together. I will no longer be his main source of comfort and peace. He won't run to me first, he will run to Jesus! The dynamic of our relationship will shift, there will be a third party we are now both aware of! His views and opinions will change and grow as he changes and grows. He may want to try a new church, change what we watch, wear, and listen to. As for me, I have been the soul spiritual leader of our children for 10 years! You can bet that will not be easy for me! I like being in charge haha!

God has started this work in me slowly. This year has taught me a LOT about giving God control, about what it means to actually "give it to God". It has been no easy task, this heart change. BUT it is exciting! Because for God to speak to me in such a drastic way, it must mean that things are getting close to changing, and I better be ready!

 

Have any of you ever thought about the challenges that a newly saved spouse might bring? Has God ever spoken something so loudly to you? Drop a comment so we can talk about it! :)


An Escape Clause?

Hi family, Ann here.

I found this article in our archives this week, and it was so good that I decided to make it today's post. It addresses the issue of 'what if you want to escape?' The article is written by Lynn, and here it is. Hope it helps you along, and I'd love to hear your comments as always:

**

"We are going to discuss a very interesting verse, its interpretation and implications.  Line by line  precept upon precept

Are you ready??? 

But if the unbeliever leaves, let it be so. The brother or the sister is not bound in such circumstances; God has called us to live in peace. —1 Corinthians 7:15 

So let’s get our head back into our discussion of this passage. Remember the Apostle Paul is writing to the church in Corinth in reply to some of their questions. Many members of the Corinthian church were recently idol worshipers and now they are brand-new Christians. They find themselves all of a sudden in a marriage where their faith and their old life collides. And specifically, this is very apparent and difficult in their marriage where their spouse has not come to faith. 

Oh how things change and yet they stay the same even 2,000 years later. 

Many of us in this family of SUM are walking this exact scenario. And many more of us are living with a spouse who proclaims faith but there is little to zero fruit or transformation in their lives. It’s difficult and painful. We become a believer and our world-view shifts. Our spouse’s world view continues to be worldly driven and shaped often through the media. Am I right in this? 

I wonder if we can be honest here with ourselves. Have you ever wished this verse was written like this: But if the believer wants to leave, let it be so……. 

I bet if you are honest there were days when you peaked in your Bible hoping to find a possible escape clause. But can I ask you this: If God included an easy way out. If He allowed us to abandon our unbeliever, wouldn’t you be disappointed in God? Wouldn’t it make God small and powerless? 

Why would you want to worship and serve a God like that? 

You know, for me, every hard thing, every struggle, every maddening challenge in my life has been met with God’s power and love. It’s in these struggles that my faith grew, I saw miracles, powerful answers to prayer and His Presence proved strong in my life and relationships. Yes, our High and Holy calling of marriage and parenting isn’t supposed to be easy. I really believe these ministries of our home are difficult on purpose. 

Think about this: We live for only a breath of time on this planet. But eternity is forever. And I believe with all of my heart, so fully, so boldly, that I stake my life upon it; My husband, Mike, will be saved and he will spend eternity in God’s love and presence because I chose to do the HARD things. I chose to obey God. I choose every day to love this man even when he’s unlovely, to pray for him without ceasing and to live with grace, forgiveness and hope. To live with him as his wife for as long as we both shall live. 

Any you know why? Let’s look at the very next verse. 

How do you know, wife, whether you will save your husband? Or, how do you know, husband, whether you will save your wife? —1 Corinthians 7:16 

That’s why! 

Eternity is a very long time. And if you have ever read anything about the horror of hell, it will move you to pray harder. For our spouse, kids and friends. 

Now don’t heap condemnation upon yourself if you struggle with the “want to.” I don’t want to stay married to this man. I don’t want to pray for him. 

I lived in that season for awhile myself…. And there were days I didn’t want to either. But on those days I prayed something like this. 

O Jesus, today I’m so very heartbroken. My dreams of a life I have held in my heart aren’t happening. They may never come true. I hurt. I have pain in my heart. So I give it all to you. Jesus come and hold me. Just hold me. Take away my pain. Make me stronger than I am to walk into my marriage with hope. Grant me Your Presence and ability to see the good and the gifts I have in this relationship. Don’t let me compare but look fully into Your face. Help me to want to love this man and remain strong and hopeful. Let me see where You are working in me and continue to change me. I love you Jesus. Fill me with more love for You and for people, especially my spouse and children. In Your powerful name, Jesus. Amen."

In his grace  Lynn


Let's Talk Live and Fall Bible Study

Hi SUMites,

Today we have a couple of things to update you on --

Let's Talk Live and Fall Bible Study

We're going to pause our Let's Talk Live videos for the next few weeks, until 19 October 2022. So, you won't see us streaming on YouTube or Facebook for a while. BUT, instead, we'll be running our study of the Book of James on Zoom for five weeks, starting today. We really can't wait to see you. It is free, and if you haven't already there's still time for you to sign up:

REGISTER NOW! Study of the Book of James (Spiritually Unequal Marriage)

Latest Video on Difficult Marriages

I also wanted to share the last live video that Lynn and I did, about difficult marriages. We know that some in our community are battling through a very challenging marriage, and you really have our hearts. In this video we had a conversation about how a believer can navigate that situation.

So, those are our two updates today. Looking forward to seeing as many of you on Zoom this week as can make it, and we will be back again on the blog on Friday.

Love,

Ann


The Love Dare

Ann here! Love dare 2

I've been having a little adventure lately with a book called The Love Dare. *

Here on this blog we talked in January about some of the things we want to focus on this year, and some of you said you'd like help with the area of how to love your spouse better.

Well, as we know, love is an action, and that brings me to this adventurous book.

I was recommended this book by one of our SUMites here in Auckland, Paula Blackie. She said, "It's really, really good." So, curiously, I ordered it.

Books take a while to get to New Zealand, but eventually it landed in my letter box, I ripped open the package, and here's what I found:

The book is a set of forty dares that you do over a period of forty days. Each dare is something you are asked to do for your spouse. Preceding each dare in the book there is a devotional first, with scripture references. 

There's also a movie called 'Fireproof' that's linked with the book, and it's about a firefighter who puts the forty dares into action in his own marriage. Sounds good, but I haven't watched it yet.

Anyway, I decided not to tell Bryce about the dares and instead to just dive in quietly. Here's how it began --

Day #1.

Day #1 was called 'Love is patient', and it went like this:

"For the next day resolve to demonstrate patience and to say nothing negative to your spouse at all. If the temptation arises, choose not to say anything. It's better to hold your tongue than to say something you'll regret." 

"Righty ho", I thought, rolling up my sleeves. "This should be easy"; and for most of the day I didn't even see Bryce so that definitely was easy. However, we then sat down to the evening news with the boys, which we don't normally do. As soon as the news began, my whole family began speaking over the news, one on one side of me, two on the other. I didn't manage to hear a single part of the news that evening.

Irritation welled up immediately (Crikey, is this how easily I get irritated?!) and so I got to practice this good quality: patience.

Day #2

I seemed to be in a particularly serene frame of mind after practising patience and a controlled tongue the previous night. My task today, according to the book, was to continue not to say anything negative to my spouse, and in addition say something very kind to him at some point during the day. A short and sweet dare indeed. Well, at some point that day upstairs I trundled (to his home office), and told him something particularly nice about himself. He grinned back at me. 

I liked that dare. Who doesn't like being kind? 

Day #3

Day #3 was titled 'Love is not selfish'. The dare went like this:

"Along with refraining from any negative comments, buy your spouse something that says 'I was thinking of you today' ".

I like the fact the book has to keep telling you not to make negative comments. Oh dear! Is that what marriage is like? Well, that I can do reasonably easily. But the next part was hard as Bryce is the hardest person on earth to buy things for. I literally could not think of a thing to get him. In the end, I walked down to the local shop and bought him a Snickers bar, his favorite chocolate. I left it on his pillow. He said, "What's that for?" I said, "It's for you. Since it's your favorite."

And that's where I've got to so far. In thinking about love as an action, I guess this little book, The Love Dare, helps us try a few of the following things out:

Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It does not dishonor others, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres. Love never fails. (1 Corinthians 13:4-8, NIV)

Thanks again to Paula Blackie for inspiring this post; and now I'd love to hear from our community: What are some practical ways you show love to your spouse?

Ann

* The Love Dare (2013), by Stephen and Alex Kendrick. Published by B&H Publishing Group, Nashville: TN.


When There is Abuse in a Marriage

Hi SUM family,Abuse

It's Ann here, and today I want to talk about a topic that perhaps needs to be talked about more in the church: Abuse in marriage.

I'll start by talking about our approach to normal marriages, and then will switch tack. So, on the topic of a normal marriage, first this:

Here at SUM we are covenant people, and that very much guides our writing. We love the institution of marriage, and we fight collectively for the wholeness and health of our marriages. So, for that reason you'll see us write a lot here about loving our spouses with gusto.

We also follow the principle that we stay in our marriages, if it is at all possible. That's scriptural guidance in 1 Corinthians 7:10-16, and we believe in that. We know that some here are in very difficult marriages, while others are in easier ones. For those in difficult marriages, we know many have felt God has asked them to persevere and those of you in that boat have our respect: It is no light feat.

However, there is a time and place in a marriage where it looks different to just being a 'difficult marriage'. And then we have to reexamine that concept of covenant. If a spouse is being abusive, other spiritual principles apply too.

If you are in a situation where you fear for your physical or emotional safety, or that of your children, if you are being isolated by your spouse and repeatedly controlled, or if your spouse is oppressing you emotionally in a way that is making you feel enslaved, then it is not the case that you need to hold onto your marriage just for the sake of honoring a covenant. It is also not the case that you need to stay in order to enhance your chances of your spouse's salvation. 

There will be other forms of abuse too, besides what I've written above. You know your situation and if something is 'really not right' as opposed to just being 'pretty difficult', do seek help.

What is God's heart here? Well, I'd say God takes oppression and abuse of the vulnerable extremely seriously and does not allow it to go unchecked. We see that repeatedly in scripture (e.g., Isaiah 3:13-15; Exodus 22:21-24). Further, he views the oppression of another person to be an utterly wicked thing (Jeremiah 22:17; Jeremiah 9:9). The wrath of God is no light thing. Meanwhile, his heart is for you, his beloved, and he does not want you in unnecessary bondage.

Arguably, abuse breaks one side of the marriage covenant and then the abuser is like the unbeliever in Paul's words who has left their marriage (1 Corinthians 7:15). God does not expect you to keep turning the other cheek to this, or to try to pray your way into changing the abuser while staying in a scary or crushing situation. 

So, that's our heart too for anyone in an abusive marriage. We love covenant, but we stand against abuse.

There is so much more that could be said about abuse. It is complicated to be in it, and there are many resources written by Christians that are of help. But, all we want to say here is that if any of this is applying to you, then reach out to someone who works with domestic abuse, or a local organization that specializes in this. Keep praying, keep seeking God's voice and his help, and please know that you're always welcome to reach out to us too for prayer or counsel too.

The Lord is close to the brokenhearted and saves those who are crushed in spirit. (Psalm 34:18, NIV)

Much love, 

Ann


The Different Kinds of Spiritually Mismatched Marriage

Ann here! Couple

Over recent years I've really enjoyed finding out about our community, and how different people found themselves in a spiritually mismatched situation. We truly have a vibrant mix among our readership, and you can be sure that if you're feeling alone there is someone else here who is going through the same thing as you!

There are different ways in which people suddenly find themselves 'spiritually mismatched', and I thought it might be interesting to look at those today. After all, everything we learn about spiritually mismatched marriage from each other helps us minister to others who come up behind us on the path.

So, here we go: Broadly, people get into a spiritually mismatched situation usually through one of five ways:

  1. They were a Christian who married an unbeliever.
  2. Their spouse was Christian when they married but then left the faith.
  3. They and their spouse have always been Christians, but one person's growth took off after marrying, or one became lukewarm.
  4. They married someone they thought was Christian, then found out that person wasn't.
  5. They became a Christian after getting married.

Have I missed any? Let me know if your circumstance isn't covered in the above, I'd love to hear it. 

In terms of the prevalence of this among males and females, we all know by now that it is more common for women to be the believers in a spiritually mismatched marriage. But there certainly are men too. In our readership, we do have men as well as women. The men comment less, but we meet them behind the scenes in emails.

There are specific kinds of pain that apply to each of the above cases. For example, if someone has a spouse who is outwardly Christian but behind closed doors it seems they might not be (i.e., nominally Christian but no fruit), that can be particularly lonely. It's impossible to explain to the church without 'outing' the spouse, and then that becomes a question of 'where do I find friendship and support?'

For those who chose to marry an unbeliever, many struggle with guilt and/or regret. They have to work through the question of 'What is God's view of this now?' We'll write a post on that soon.

For those whose spouses leave the faith, there is deep, almost unbearable grief, and they are forced to get used to having a completely new person as their spouse: One who is now welcoming new things into the home (often atheism), and a spouse who is particularly resistant to being persuaded that Jesus is true.

Finally, those who convert after marriage find it extremely difficult to move forward in their new faith. Their spouse is part of their old life, they are now a new creation, and so they must navigate how to build a new life with their spouse, who is often unhappy: A 'new normal' that fits them both.

What an interesting mix of things there. But, there are commonalities that apply to most, if not all, of us who are spiritually mismatched:

  • There is an aloneness in our walk. 
  • We build our relationship with Jesus by ourselves, not with our spouse.
  • We have the responsibility to lead our family spiritually, regardless of our gender.
  • It's difficult for us to connect with the church, and yet we must.
  • The spiritual warfare of our particular situation is intense, and so we are frequently embattled.
  • We must learn to forgive our spouse for their unbelief.
  • We focus deeply on the covenant of marriage.

So all in all, that's our picture. That's our community. And what an adventure to journey together in it. Despite the above challenges, I know that many of us reach the point where we say "I wouldn't change it for the world, because of what it's done for my relationship with Jesus."

In the comments I'd love to hear how you got into a spiritually mismatched marriage - And what challenges does that specifically bring?

Much love to you all,

Ann


The Word - A Sword

By Amanda Pace Sword

Hey there SUMite family! As most of you know this is my first blog post, and I am so excited to be able to share with you all what God puts on my heart! Are you ready? Because I am! Okay, lets dive right in!

As I was preparing for this new venture I sat down at my kitchen table, which tends to be my favorite prayer spot, and asked God what He wanted me to share with you all. And almost immediately I felt Him telling me to discuss the power of words. I know this is something we have covered before. But it has been a while, and this is definitely a subject we need to be refreshed in on a regular basis!

As I was beginning to write I thought it would be about our words, the affect they have, and the power they carry. But when it came down to actually writing God kept bringing to mind this verse, "For the Word of God is LIVING and EFFECTIVE and SHARPER THAN ANY TWO EDGED SWORD, penetrating as far as the separation of soul from spirit, joints and marrow."  Hebrews 4:12 (CSB). As we can see, this verse is about GODS Word and it's power. So because God knows better than I do 😉 I am writing today about the power - the WEAPON that is the Word of God. I felt especially pulled to that description of a double-edged sword. So lets dive a bit deeper into that!

What is a double-edged Sword?
A double-edged sword is, in a word, a weapon. A very powerful weapon, one that can cut from either side of the blade. When we open and USE the Word of God, speaking it out, reading it, declaring it, teaching it to our children etc. We are wielding a weapon! The mighty and powerful Sword of the Spirit which is the Word of God (Ephesians 6:17)

What does a sword do?
First, it protects! I don't know about you, but whenever I imagine angels guarding myself and my children, I always picture them with swords. Swords, in my mind, are symbols of protection. How can we wield this weapon for protection? One way is by praying the WORD over our homes and families. Pray the Lords prayer with fresh eyes and an open heart to really hear the words you're saying, Psalm 23 is a favorite of ours right now to pray before bed. The Word is FULL of protection verses! Use them!

The next thing this double-edged sword does is defends! Use the Sword of the Spirit to defend your home from attacks of the enemy! Remember, this sword cuts from both sides, so you can attack and defend forwards and backwards! 😉 So, knowing this, march around your house declaring Gods promises, "All your children will be taught by the Lord and great will be their peace" Isaiah 54:13 (NIV)! Lay hands on your electronics and screens and rebuke temptations and addictions, anoint your home while speaking Gods blessings out loud over every room! Put on your armor every day and teach your children to do the same. Pray over your spouse while they sleep! In the past, I have seen breakthrough when I pray Ezekiel 36:26 over my husband, "I will give you a new heart and place a new spirit within you; I will remove your heart of stone and give you a heart of flesh." (CSB)

Finally, a sword deflects. Use the Word to deflect the lies spoken about you and your family. Remind yourself of His promises whenever the enemy comes knockin'. Whenever someone mentions how alcoholism runs in your family, that you are likely to get cancer, that depression is genetic, or you will never cure your anxiety ect. Even the lies your own mind tries to tell you, like you're a failure, you'll never be good enough, you can't do such and such. Knock those words back to the pit of hell where they belong with that Sword! Open that bible and FIGHT BACK!

My dear SUMites, realize when you hold, and read, and speak the Word of God you are wielding a WEAPON! That Bible you hold, it is not some flimsy piece of leather with bits of thin paper wound up in it - oh no! That Bible is MIGHTY, it is a source of TERROR to the enemy, it strikes fear into them and drives them out! We are NOT helpless my SUMite family! We are NOT alone! And we most certainly ARE NOT DEFEATED! Hold up your swords, shout a battle cry (in your heart, or out loud! 😁), and fight for your family! 

What are some practical ways you all fight for your family with the Word of God? I would love to read them in the comments!


The Unbelieving Spouse's Perspective

By Ann Hutchison Husband wife chat

"Can I ask you something..?" I said to Bryce a few weekends ago at the breakfast table.

He gave one of those smiles where he could see a wifely deep-and-meaningful talk coming. In true male style he braced himself. "Go on then." 

I took a deep breath:

"You really didn't like my faith a few years ago. And now you don't mind it. What made you change your mind?"

He thought for a minute.

"Well .... Over time, you showed me you still loved me. Even though I wasn't Christian."

That was interesting. See, I wasn't sure how good a job I'd done at this. I mean it's hard being married, and it's hard being spiritually mismatched. But clearly something had worked there and had made an impact on him. What an encouragement!

Let us not become weary in doing good, for at the proper time we will reap a harvest if we do not give up. (Galatians 6:9, NIV)

We continued talking, and what he said next was somewhat harder to hear. 

"Look, when you became Christian, all of a sudden that was the only thing that was shiny to you. Everything and everyone else stopped being so interesting to you. Including me. It was hard."

Ouch.

But, if that was his experience I needed to listen. Did he have a point? I think he did. The things in the world do grow strangely dim when we find out that Jesus is real. And God is shiny. He is glorious, he radiates love, and he is immensely attractive. It's understandable to find God the most interesting one in your life. He is matchless. But it shouldn't mean you stop cherishing your spouse.

... and the wife [must see to it] that she respects and delights in her husband [that she notices him and prefers him and treats him with loving concern, treasuring him, honoring him, and holding him dear] (Ephesians 5:33, Amplified)

These days I know I do better at this, thanks in big part to this community and all the conversations we've had here about thriving in a spiritually mismatched marriage. I think that was confirmed by Bryce's final comment --

"Now you're more low key about it. You're not so obsessed any more. I suppose God is your top thing still, but you handle it better."

He smiled at this. Clearly the topic was not too painful anymore.

I smiled too, inside. I am just as fervent now as I was then. I guess I just carry it a little differently now.

I reached out my hand to him. "It's definitely hard being different like this, isn't it?" He nodded completely in agreement. And then we changed the subject.

Phew. My friends, I don't find it easy having those conversations and I know it's the same for many of you. It's often sensitive to raise. But on that occasion I'm glad I asked. For one thing, I'm going to see what I can do to make my husband feel more 'shiny' ((smiling)).

Have you ever asked your spouse what their experience of your faith is? Or, what do you think they'd say?

Lovely chatting and have a great weekend,

Ann


Need Godly Counsel for Your Marriage? THIS IS IT!

Over 30 speakers. Lifetime access. Worth your time and effort!! See Speakers at the bottom.

General Conference Information: The Thrive Christian Marriage Conference is a 4-day LIVE online conference happening February 15-18, 2022 featuring 25 professional Christian counselors, bestselling authors, speakers, bloggers, and more.

Thrive Marriage Conference - FB (3)

The statistics are sobering....

  • An estimated 4 out of 10 U.S. adults are currently struggling with anxiety or depression (Source).
  • Divorce rates are up 34% since the start of the pandemic (Source).
  • More than 20% of U.S. adults are currently taking medication or are in counseling for mental health concerns. (Source)​

So whether you're dealing with job loss, the loss of a loved one, strained relationships, mental health issues, or any number of issues the recent pandemic has caused...

It's definitely not just you. These last couple of years have been tough on us all.

That's why, at this year's Thrive Christian Marriage Conference, we're bringing in 25 licensed counselors, bestselling authors, professional speakers (and more) to share their best advice on:

  • How to talk so your spouse will listen
  • How to turn your greatest differences into your greatest strengths
  • What to do if your partner has an affair, watches pornography, or wants a divorce
  • How to know when to get help (what's normal and what's not)
  • How to keep the romance alive - no matter how long you've been married
  • and much, much more.

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Speaker Pannel:

Thrive marriage Conference Speakers

 


I Need A Prayer

Post A PrayerHi Friends, Lynn Donovan here:

I'm coming to you today in the midst of a very busy season and yet hopeful you will take five minutes to step along side of me and especially my husband, Mike. 

I would love to receive a short, one-to-two paragraph prayer, for healing. I want to pass these short prayers to Mike, one a day, throughout his treatment with begins December 13. Read About it here.

Please take a minute to login here and post in the comments, a SHORT prayer, from your heart, that Mike could pray to build his faith for healing. 

I am absolutely leaning on you and your love during this season. 

I love you. I feel surrounded by your goodness, your love and your faith. Hugging you with a full heart today, Love, Lynn


Let's Go to the Rock

Dear friends, Ann here. Rock 1

Today I just wanted to post a short-n-sweet thought.

Both Ian and I wrote last week about those moments in marriage where our partner finds our faith all too much. And we chatted about how our natural response might be to withdraw a little from Jesus to ease the comfort of our partner. But, as we discussed, the real solution is to push into Jesus.

Even if it feels risky.

We still honor and devote time to our partner. But we push into Jesus.

Those who commented last week agreed; and we all said it takes some time to learn that Jesus is actually the solution here. If we keep on prioritizing him, he will bring surprising things into our marriage; and will ease the situation somehow.

Now the Lord is the Spirit, and where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is freedom. (2 Corinthians 3:17)

In that discussion one of our SUMites, Susan, shared in the comments a song that captures this idea perfectly. It's I Go to the Rock by Helen Shapiro, and it's so spot-on for us it could be our anthem for the moment. We, the SUM community, push into the Rock! So, on that upbeat note I'll leave you with the song. Thank you, Susan, for sharing it -- And let's keep going to the Rock!

 


Stuck Between a Rock and a Hard Place

“This isn’t what I married.” Said Bryce. “And there may come a point where I say to you enough is enough.” Rock hard place

He stood by the chest of drawers suddenly seeming distant. I sat on the bed. My heart was pounding with fear.

“Don’t you ever say to me you can’t give it up if I ask you to.”

He was talking about my church involvement. And possibly also my faith. Gulp.

One request had led to this conversation: I had told him I'd like to go to a ‘small group’ at church one evening a week. It was 2017, and I thought he was used to my faith and my church-going. But I had misread how he truly felt. As I can now see, a small group/home group is weird to someone not versed in church ways.

I was helpless and heartbroken. Helpless as to what to do; heartbroken at the fracture between us. I could not change my beliefs if he asked me to. I could change some of my behavior, but my beliefs? 

Over the next few days I scraped myself around the house, miserable. The burning in my bones wouldn’t go away. The experience of God had been too tangible for me to turn any other way except towards Him.

My friends, I'm guessing you've likely had one of these 'fracture-filled' moments at some point in your SUM? Some of us have an easier ride than others on this one, depending on how much our spouse disagrees with our faith and how much they verbalize it to us. When a spouse does verbalize displeasure at our faith it is memorably difficult and upsetting. It always calls for us to go away, think about what we can compromise on, and on what we just can't. 

Things are easier now between Bryce and me, but that day in 2017 I remember thinking to myself (crying) "I'm stuck between a rock and a hard place, the rock being Jesus and the hard place being my husband!"

What on earth do you do when you feel stuck in an impasse like this?

Well, apart from having a little cry, which is thoroughly cathartic, I'd say the most helpful thing we can do is turn our face directly towards the rock-face that is Jesus. The rock-face that our spouse is even against. There is a rock on one side, a hard place on the other. Turn our face directly towards the Rock (1 Corinthians 10:4). It has to be that way. Give some time to Jesus, go for a walk, say to Jesus 'Please minister to me in my pain,' and determine that you will keep on being a Christian.

Dear friends, if we do that (turn deliberately to Jesus), He will come through for us and change something in this situation, even if it is simply to give us strength.

Love for Jesus includes love for our spouse, so then we ask Jesus: "What does loving God but loving my spouse look like in this particular circumstance?"

I suppose the words 'rock and a hard place' aren't entirely unscriptural. After all there is a verse that says that Jesus is the rock that the builders rejected, and yet that rock became the cornerstone of the church (Acts 4:11). He is also the living stone rejected by men (1 Peter 2:4). I guess, then, if we are feeling we're in between a rock and a hard place with our Rock, Christ, being rejected by our other half, we're simply living out a scriptural truth!

The good news is, this particular story about my husband, me, and church has a rather amazing ending. God moved in a way that made my eyes widen with surprise. I will share that story next time I write.

For now, do you feel you're in between a rock and a hard place at the moment? If so, feel free to share in the comments and I'd love to pray for you.

With love,

Ann


Marriage Challenges in the Time of Lockdown

Ann here!
SIlly avocado

I remember a while ago I did a video on how married love is not easy. We promise to take another person to have, to hold, to love, and then to compromise with for the rest of our lives! 

Well, over the last few weeks here in New Zealand we've been in a strict lockdown, and at several points I have thought to myself, "Yikes, this lockdown is not good for our marriage!" 

Bryce and I have a particular 'challenging difference' that has recurred regularly since the day we married. It's this: He is extremely practical on matters of how to do things around the house (e.g., load the dishwasher) and I am extremely not. He cannot help but find the way I do things infuriating; but I cannot change the fact I am naturally slapdash. He gives me ongoing pointers, then I get irritated. We've been at this 22 years now, and it sometimes affects our ability to live together enjoyably. 

This is normally manageable -- I mean, it comes up once every six weeks and we have a moment. But usually we try to adapt. That was until lockdown put us into a confined space together, day in, day out. 

A few days ago, I was scooping out some avocado. It was weeks into the lockdown and I was feeling slightly 'frayed'. Bryce was sitting behind me cheerfully, and out came a pleasant comment: "You know you should be using a spoon to do that instead of a knife? It's far more efficient." Well, that was it. I put the avocado and knife down and ... walked out of the room. All I could think was ... "I need to escape this lockdown and go to Spain. Or be in a darkened room by myself for twelve hours."

I don't know why I thought of Spain, it does sound nice! But the fact is we're stuck in this situation. Further, like that avocado, marriage is a whole, not two halves. And he is my other half. So, lockdown or not, I need to do my best here. 

I read a sweet book on marriage last week by Christian worship artists Jeremy and Adrienne Camp who have all this same stuff. Disagreements, differences. I like reading about marriages with two Christians because I realize those marriages are still full of challenges. Two fleshly, broken humans come together, then have to work it out. Anyway, these two, Jeremy and Adrienne, have a sweet story as she is his second wife after he was widowed. They are heartfelt lovers of God and had put together a book on marriage. Not because they're experts. Rather, because they had a platform and the topic is important. In that book was a little set of questions for our spouse we could ask ... See what you think: In unison

Questions for our spouse

  • What might contribute to your 'getting up on the wrong side of the bed'?
  • What's one thing you wish I'd do more often?
  • What's one thing you wish I'd stop doing?
  • What does a relaxing day spent with me look like to you?
  • When and where do you feel the most peaceful?
  • Do you need more or less 'alone time'?
  • Is there anything you've missed doing since we got married?
  • Is there anything new you wish we would do together?

I liked these. And so I think next time we/I have a silly-avocado moment, I might pull one or two of these questions out, go hang out with my husband, and see if we can find ways of getting through this challenging time in good shape.

Marriage is a funny thing ... Has the pandemic brought challenges to your relationship with your spouse? Looking forward to chatting in the comments!


An Unusual Prayer

Happy Monday, SUM family!  Last week on our Facebook page I did a video about an evangelist's wife who once prayed this prayer: Help me love my husband more, but help me be less 'in love' with him!

Is that a good prayer to pray? Well, take a listen to this video about her story, see what you think, and perhaps we'll chat in the comments!

 


SUM on Radio Rhema, New Zealand

Hi friends, Ann here. Ann Rhema 2

This week I did something fun: I went on the radio here in New Zealand to talk about 'How to continue to be strong in your faith when your husband or wife is not a believer.'

New Zealand, where I live, only has 4 million people, but nevertheless there are a good few SUMites who live here. Of course, most of you live in the USA, UK, South Africa, and Australia, along with other parts of the world. Isn't it just amazing how we can congregate online, despite our diversity!

Anyway, I hope you enjoy this 'Kiwi' chat at Radio Rhema, with Diane Campbell who's pictured here. You can have a listen by clicking on the link below: 

https://www.rhema.co.nz/shows/show/article/spirituallyunequalmarriage

Have a great weekend, everyone!

Ann


Reflections on Attending Church Alone

Dear friends, Ann here!Church alone

Today I want to chat about one of our topics that is an old favorite: Attending church alone. I type this with a smile, but it's a wry smile. Whether or not we've got into a routine, I think most of us would say that Church-plus-SUM is super tricky!

I shared recently that my little church closed in March. It had about 60 people, and we loved each other. But, just before Christmas two things happened: The numbers plummeted and the pastor and wife lost their vision for it. Not for pastoring, just for that place. It was as if they couldn’t help but let go.

Gulp!

It seemed God was closing a season for us all, so the pastor bravely announced “We are closing. We are so sorry … But now let's transition well.” And he cried his way through the message. What happened in the weeks since, however, is that each family went somewhere different and new things blossomed.

My Dad who is a Christian gave me a word at the time: “Whatever your reasons for joining that church initially, those reasons have now been satisfied. Allow God to do something new.”

And so I am. Happily. But I'm also reflecting on what God took me through in those six years. Because they were pretty impactful.

The day I walked through those church doors -- Well, a converted underground carpark -- I was hugged, welcomed, and felt the presence of the Holy Spirit. Oh, it was wonderful, and of course I couldn’t wait to go each Sunday. But, as you know, with a less enthusiastic spouse it's not so simple: 

“Don’t tell me you can’t give it up if I ask you to!” Bryce said to me months later, fearing my absence. I guess he could see my attachment to it, and in his mind I was on my way to becoming a cult-following weirdo. Because of that comment, I became fearful myself. Fearful of what it would do to us. My attendance became sporadic and I miserably stayed home on a Sunday. Often.

“Are you alright?” My pastor asked me one day when I reappeared after about eight weeks. I whimpered back: “I just miss my husband so much …” Tears. And more tears.

He didn't say much. He just looked at me with sympathy. Bryce was the gaping, invisible hole next to me. Crap (can I say that?), this thing was hard. It was hard enough that it's making me cry to type this. That tells me how hard it was.

Time passed and I began to grow a desire to serve. “I’ve offered to go early and help on the door today ..” I said in a deliberately light-hearted voice to Bryce one Sunday. “Seriously?” He raised his eyebrows. “Why do Christians have to do that? Hellooo.” (He mimicked the sing-song voice of a Christian door-greeter, possibly teasing, but possibly not!) Maybe you can smile to read that because you know how this thing goes. But I tell you, my sense of humor had checked out. I was so sensitive to being mocked for my faith by that point, I was over it.

That was five years ago. But somehow, somewhere along the way, I began to laugh a little again. And somewhere along the way Bryce became ok with it all. Quite honestly, nothing could keep me from church anyway.

I served in different areas, but sometimes I stepped back. Sometimes I'd say, “I’m sorry – I just can’t … I have to balance it with my family.” Other times I'd say: "This I can do, yes." I followed the Holy Spirit on this one. "Yes? Or no, Lord?"

Six years in all. And by the time this little church closed I can say that, Sunday by Sunday, the whole experience grew me. God grew me, with the help of his team, his church. So, here's where I'm at now:

God is real. Jesus is the Way, the Truth, the Life.

Church is important. And so is my marriage.

Bryce knows the above.

And somehow, these days, we make it work.

Huge, huge growth over a distinct period. Huge.

So, if you are reading this and struggling with this whole area (gah!), I think I just want to say it’ll be ok. Just keep putting one foot in front of the other, seeking wisdom with each step.

How is church involvement going for you these days? Looking forward to chatting in the comments.


Sow Bountifully, Reap Bountifully

Ann here! Seeds

I have a little thought for us today:

“He who sows sparingly will also reap sparingly. And he who sows bountifully will also reap bountifully.” 2 Corinthians 9:6 (NKJV)

Sowing. In a spiritually unequal marriage? Perhaps we can pause and think about this for a minute.

When we’re in a spiritually unequal marriage, one of our biggest laments (at least initially) might be that we can’t easily give -- That is, ‘sow’, into church life; into the activities of ministry. In Christian circles, the word ‘sow’ is often used for financial giving. I've often heard the phrase come from a minister, “If you would like to sow into this ministry, then …” These words can often make us gulp back some distress, because we don't have the dollars to give. If our spouse doesn't agree, and we share our money with them, we have very little to offer, financially.

In Christian circles, sowing takes other forms too: Volunteering on church rosters, making meals for the sick, and so on. Once again, those things can feel hard to us because we juggle our desire to serve with our spouse's feelings.

But, in a spiritually unequal marriage we have a beautiful and more hidden opportunity to sow. Our marriage is part and parcel of living out the life of Christ, and to sow into that is a rich thing. We can sow bountifully there in the comfort of our own home. And we will reap bountifully. In other words, it's so worth it.

Now, my pastor said an interesting thing to me last year. I'm not sure whether I can align it with scripture (let me know if you can think of where this might be in the Bible), but it's worth a thought. He said: "When you do sow into things you don’t necessarily reap in the place that you sow, but you will reap somewhere -- In some other way."

I think he was speaking more from experience, including the experience of other Christians' testimonies. So, if that is so, and if we choose to ‘sow’ enthusiastically into our marriages, we might find we don't necessarily reap there -- But will certainly reap in some way. We don't do it to reap, anyway, we do it because we love Jesus. But the encouragement is: Just go for it!! Be a bountiful sower!

So, friends, what are the ways in which we do sow into our marriages? We probably all feel we can do better at this. Well, I can anyway. Perhaps we can make a list for ourselves. Top of my list will be this:

Pray lavishly for my husband!

Bryce and I have been married a long time and sometimes it's easy to forget to do even the above so today I'm giving this a go. I'm going to find new and fresh ways to pray for my husband -- For all aspects of his life, including his health, wellness, and work.

Sowing ... Sowing ... And sowing some more.

How about you? Any good ideas for how we can sow into our marriages? We can chat in the comments.

In friendship,

Ann


Top Three Tips for Thriving in a Spiritually Mismatched Marriage

Ann here! Mountain

Today I had an interesting faith conversation with a man with whom I cross paths occasionally. I know him in a professional rather than social capacity, but whenever I see him we have a good chat. So, I'll call him a 'friend-acquaintance'. 

Anyway, today I saw him for the first time in a year and we found ourselves talking about one of my favorite topics (and a topic I don't talk much about): A faith difference in marriage.

Well, who would've thought it, it turns out he’s kind of there too. He is finding himself in that place at home. And so we had a light-hearted (but on-point) chat about it.

Our conversation came about because he asked me if I was still working at the university. I said “No, these days I volunteer in Christian ministry!” “Oh!” He said, “Tell me more!” And so, I told him about this little ministry of ours on the web. I said, “Bryce and I have been through a lot there – There’s a lot to it. You have to learn how to stay happily married, and not annoy each other!”

My friend then shared that he had re-entered church and reconnected with his faith in recent years. His beloved had not. He said, it’s something he’s been wrestling with, especially recently. With that, I told him we had 1,000 + readers on our blog, and I said, “It’s a big need. It’s not uncommon. And, yes, it’s hard.”

Indeed. It. Is. Hard. The church often doesn’t know how to help us. We don’t fit the mold so we stay on the periphery. But the truth is, we’re a big segment of the church -- the Body of Christ -- and we need support. Some of us have figured out how to fit church with home life, and how to follow Jesus in our home. Others of us are still working that out.

My friend/acquaintance asked me a good question today, and one that I think is valuable for anyone new to our blog. He asked: “Ok, so what would be your top three tips for someone in this situation?”

It was on the spot, but here’s what came out of my mouth:

  • Win without words – That is, live your faith out without using a whole lot of words (1 Peter 3:1). 
  • Treat your spouse as the top human in your life. Make sure they know you prioritize that relationship.
  • Pursue your relationship with God above all else, even if your spouse doesn’t like it. You’ll get the most strength and peace if you keep moving forward towards God.

Mm... Those were my thruppence, on the spot. A few hours later I look at this and obviously would put point three at the top. Pursue God -- Jesus -- above all else and everything else will follow. But apart from that, yes those remain my top three.

How about you, what would you have said when asked that question? How would you have worded it? Interested to hear your thoughts, as always.

Great chatting, and have a good weekend!

Ann


Wrapping Up Our Series on LOVE

Dear friends, Ann here. Did I learn to love

Today we wrap up our series on love. 

Here in our SUM community there are many different marriages. Some have spouses who are easy to love; others have extremely challenging situations. But in every relationship – easy or hard – love is not easy. Nor is it simple. And even with the easiest marriage a faith difference brings a huge challenge.

Our love challenge is not just about loving our spouse. It can be equally hard to love those who are an extended part of our SUM situation. For example, I’ve been frustrated at times with Christian family members and the church because they don't understand. It's all been one massive exercise in love.

Love is, to me, like the diamond engagement ring on my finger. I hold it up in front of my eyes and examine it from different angles, for there are different facets to it. ‘Love’ looks kind and gentle on the one hand, but if I hold it up again I can see it also involves obedience, which might mean speaking truth or walking forward into a specific call from God (as Tiffany shared). 

Love is also a learning curve with inevitable failures or humbling experiences. As Lynn said, at 3am in the morning it might not go so well. 

And then we know that God is love. So we can take 1 Corinthians 13, hold it up like that diamond and ask ourselves 'What is God like?' Except there are tensions. Love is not easily provoked, and yet we see Jesus was provoked to anger. To delve deep into love, then, involves examining these tensions carefully.

When it comes to my marriage, I often think about the end game. I imagine coming face-to-face with Jesus, and being asked: ‘Did you love your husband well?’ When I think about that question, it’s less relevant to me what my husband is doing than what I am doing. 1 Corinthians 13 is the blueprint. And, I guess I hope the Lord will say this when we review my marriage and family:

‘Well done, my good and faithful servant. You have been faithful in handling this small amount, so now I will give you many more responsibilities. Let’s celebrate together!’ (Matthew 25:23, NLT)

There is lots to think about. Personally, I’ve loved hearing from Ian, Tiffany and Lynn with their love insights this month, and have enjoyed writing my bits too. Now, it's time to move on to some new topics on this blog, so I will be back on Wednesday with something different.

My friends, it's been great journeying on you through 1 Corinthians 13. What has spoken to you most in this love series?


3 am Is Very Telling? Do You Get Me? by Lynn Donovan

image from www.spirituallyunequalmarriage.comSUM Nation, I have a “real” question.

When you read this passage does you bristle a little?

Do you find it difficult to even begin to understand these words and what they are supposed to look like in real life?

Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It does not dishonor others, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres. -1 Corinthians 13:4-7

Ann asked me to write about just the second half of verse four. Yikes. Love does not envy. Love does not boast. It is not proud.

You may think to yourself, HA, I’ve got these down. BUT I’ll tell you this. YOUR real core of yourself will show up when you are exhausted, hungry, stressed and lacking in your intimacy with God. THIS is a true measure of what’s deep inside. I still have moments when God shows me how much I have overcome and then there are moments when He reveals where I need a little work.

Ahem, last night at 3 am. I’m not well. Upset tummy and can’t sleep. 3 am my little dog, Grace, starts yipping from her crate in the other room. Grrrrrr, I know that yip. It means Mom, get up and take me out……. For whatever reason…..

I try to ignore it. I can’t. Once a mom, you never sleep soundly again. Double grrrrrr.

I nudge Mike three times, “It’s your turn. Grace is barking.” His response. Him mimics a dead log in the forest. Solid, not moving, sound asleep.

Finally, I throw the covers, slam a few doors, flip on lights, yell at the pups, take them out. Whisper yell some more because Grace wants to chase something by the fence and won’t come in……… It’s so embarrassing… I go back to bed and my husband stirs, ah,,,,,, what,,,, what is happening? As I aggressively flip the lights off.

I wasn’t feeling love. Oh gang, the practice of love is just that, PRACTICE. It’s a life-long journey of surrender, understanding our pressure points and creating an atmosphere where we thrive in love and minimize the strategies of the world to destroy love.

Most of you know that I generally walk in love. I truly love my man, I adore my puppy, Gracie. BUT love isn’t always easy. And I’ll be straight up here. I can’t love without the love of God first. I’m completely incapable of this thing….. love. Love without envy, pride or boasting.

I do believe I’ve arrived at a place where my insecurities are met by an overwhelming love of Christ that I’m able to genuinely celebrate when others are honored and accelerated. Well, most of the time. I’m a work in process.

Pride, envy, boasting and jealousy are really cloaking our deep insecurities. And through Jesus ALL of my pain and insecurities are nearly healed. However, like I said, I’m a work in progress.

And that’s all that matters to God. I’m progressing. I’m reflecting His character in my interactions with those at church, on social media and even in my marriage, except at 3 am when Gracie is barking. *grin*. Honestly, I’ve become really GOOD at apologies. My husband is so gracious when I don’t quite model 1 Corinthians 13. And I offer him the same.

And isn’t that what marriage is all about? It’s living with someone to echo your life. To be a witness, to honor and love you when it’s tough and when it’s really good. I love my husband more today not because of the good days but how he loved me when I was ugly, mean, and less than loving.

I still apply myself to all the measures of 1 Corinthians 13 and through Christ I can do all things and see myself stepping closer all the time. I pray you see yourself ABSOLUTELY THE SAME. Because you are on this path with me. Hallelujah.

Love well. That is our highest and best in this life. It’s the one thing we take with us when we head to our heavenly home.

I love you…. I really love you, Lynn


Nabal, Abigail, and David -SUMITES in the Bible- Summer Bible Study

image from www.spirituallyunequalmarriage.comWe left our story in 1 Samuel 25 with Abigail meeting David with provisions and a great big “SORRY.” Whew, that sorry and the honor she bestowed upon David saved probably more than 100 people from bloodshed. (verse 33 & 34)

She went home and arrived to ANOTHER drunken banquet. – Ugh!

Abigale was likely exhausted, angry at her mean husband, overwhelmed by the thought of what could have happened to everyone she loved on the ranch. And she came home, perhaps, somehow hoping her husband might ask her where she’d been and where she had disappeared to.

NOPE.

He was very drunk. The next morning when he sobered up and was in his right mind, she told him all about it. And the craziest thing happened.

Then in the morning, when Nabal was sober, his wife told him all these things, and his heart failed him and he became like a stone. 1 Samuel 25:37

It’s believed he suffered a stroke. Whoa! I wondered how Abigail processed this? The servants?

Then in verse 38; About ten days later, the Lord struck Nabal and he died.

Double WHOA!

The Word tells us he was struck by God. Yikes. Now, this sounds all like crazy goodness in that Abigail was rescued from a vile and evil man. It is good however, we can’t look at this story as the happily ever after we all desperately want.

We do know that David honors her request and remembers Abigail and offers her marriage, as the estate would surely not pass to her, as a woman. And she would likely be married off to Nabal’s brother. So David took her in through marriage. But her life wouldn’t have been a picnic. She left wealth to live in a camp with a bunch of hooligans. She wasn’t his only wife and David took on more wives, Bathsheba who we know he really loved. And Michal was with Paltiel.

Good grief!

So what is it about Abigail that God has included her story in the Word?

She was a believer in Yahweh. She trusted Him to save her. She was humble. She was wise. She walked in a beauty in her countenance. She was quick to react and she followed the Lord’s instructions. She was aware of her reality and what was going on around her (David and his past, present and future and what God was doing in him). She loved people and acted quickly to save them, even a wicked man.

Verse 41 & 42: She bowed down with her face to the ground and said, “I am your servant and am ready to serve you and wash the feet of my lord’s servants.” Abigail quickly got on a donkey and, attended by her five female servants, went with David’s messengers and became his wife.

That’s the last we hear about our beloved, Abigail. But we know one day she will be a queen and live in a palace.

My dear friends, isn’t that what is ahead for all of us?

Where is God calling you to bow down? Where is He calling you into divine wisdom and humility? Where is the Lord asking you to wash the feet of others for a season? Is He calling you to the palace right now?

A queen in the Kingdom of God is a servant. Just as Jesus came to serve, our 80 years here are just that we are called to serve like Jesus. All we need is already provided in our King Jesus and the wedding supper of the Lamb will be our invitation just as Abigail was invited into a wedding by David.

Hallelujah! I love you, SUMites. Next time Ann will be writing about the GREATEST SPIRITUALLY MISMATCHED MARRIAGE in the Bible.

Okay, was this study of 1 Samuel 25 helpful? See you in the comments. Hugs, Lynn


Mother's Day - You Make the Day Great. Here's How.

Happy Mothers Day 2020Sumites, Lynn here.

I’ve been thinking about Mother’s day. Although it’s a few weeks away, today let’s chat about perspective.

In past years prior to the Covid-19 social distancing, us moms would ready our kids in the morning, head off to church-- to then, sit alone. I’ll be honest, it’s pain to watch other women be honored by their spouse and family at church. I’ll also share that the pain of disappointment will wane through the years as you take on more spiritual maturity and also understanding of marriage, spouses, and traditions in the church.

However, this year is very unique. Our entire world has been shut in and a number of us will continue to be shut in weeks after Mother’s Day. So, let me share a gem of advice.

You make the day special.

Don’t depend on your husband and family to set the day up by cooking for you, bringing you flowers and for your children to make you something. Take the initiative. I know this doesn’t sound exactly romantic and you may “feel” as though you are being robbed of a celebration by the hands of your family, but you aren’t.

Decide now to have a picnic somewhere together. Or decide to have a movie night with a projector and show it outside on the garage door seated in lawn chairs. Who knows the neighbors may join you, of course, six-feet apart.

Do some star gazing or roast some marshmallows with your family. Create a craft you can do with your little ones for spring. Have a singing contest or a fashion show. Or throw dinner in the crockpot and have a long bath in the morning.

And prior to that Sunday in May, be straight up with Mr. Right. Let your man know about your expectations. Sometimes they need a little coaching and reminding. Ask them to BBQ for you. Ask him to take the kids to buy a card if that’s possible.

Forgive those who forget or fail to wish you a Happy Mother’s Day. And know that your job is applauded in heaven. Mothering is one of the great high and holy callings for humanity. It’s a gift and a joy. Mothering can also rip your heart out at times. But, raising little ones into men and women of God, is worth every effort, all your time, all your prayers, and priorities.

And hear this from me; the LORD is with you every day. He sees your silent sacrifices and knows all that you set your heart upon. Your love will accomplish so much through you and your children for the Kingdom.

Well done Mom.

And from me personally, You are amazing. Keep marching. I’m so proud of you.

Hugs, Lynn