82 posts categorized "Parenting"

Back To School.... And A New Series Begins

SUMite Nation:

Train up a ChildWe are shifting gears.

Following the SCOTUS Ruling last month I quickly realized that many of us were staring “Fear” straight in the face. As mamas we were grappling with questions such as.

How do I handle it when little Johnny asks, “Can I go to my best friend’s house to play. Oh and by the way, his dads will be by to pick me up?”

How do I help my child to remain strong in his/her faith when the world says we are haters?

Is there a way to guide them in our new and contrary world today? 

How do I guide them through public school this year?

Moms and Dads, the answer is, YES!

We can raise kids to faith in a Contrary Culture. And in fact, I believe that the SUMite Nation is an unrecognized and unlikely leader in this area already. We have been living and thriving in marriages to spouses who support a humanism world view, gay marriage, evolution, etc.

We have everything we need to lead our children to become world changers for the cause of Christ. So beginning July 31st we are launching a new series… The series title will be announced tomorrow.

TELL YOUR FRIENDS. Let other moms know about this series because so many are living in fear about their children and their future faith.

Okay, this is a teaser….. More to come tomorrow. Tune in as we share some encouraging words that will inspire you as you parent and lead your children in faith. Hugs, Lynn

image from www.spirituallyunequalmarriage.com


Update and A Mother's Day Challenge

Hello SUMite Nation: (Challenge is below the update - read on!)

Well, you may have noticed if you are a regular subscriber that we changed our email provider to Mail Chimp. And do my great disappointment, Mail Chimp was unable to create our emails with photos and paragraph breaks. Grrrrr

So as of today, we are with Feedblitz our old service. How does this affect you? It doesn’t unless you subscribed or unsubscribed within the last three days. So, if you are a new subscriber, please subscribe again using the “Never Miss A Post” button in the sidebar -----. Thank you.

Also, a few of you have made donations toward these expenses. Your heart for this ministry and support mean the world to Dineen and I. I will be sending out an email thank you later this week. God bless you! THANK YOU!

As for other changes, in the next week or so we will be uploading our redesign to make SUM mobile friendly. Be patient if things still are wonky. We are working on it. Send me an email if you notice something that isn’t working in a week if it persists.

Funny that so many things happened in the last two weeks that required my “Tech hat.” I prayed God would give me the brain power to do all this myself. Guess what?

HE DID!

Other News:

Please, please visit my video CHALLENGE on MyKLOVE radio app. I have a unique Mother’s Day challenge that’s another opportunity to share your faith with your kids! In fact, I’m going to do this for my grown children. So, look up the app on the store and download it.

I still shake my head in wonder at the gates the Lord opens for Dineen and I. The “MyKLOVE contributor” privilege utterly moves my heart to unending thanks to my Father. My friends, the Lord has many gates for us to walk through and we need only take the keys from His hands.

Tomorrow watch for a post from Dineen about her own mother and on Friday, tune in for something hilarious! I love you so much. In my prayers the past two days, I have been storming the heavens in petitions for you and your families. I love you, Lynn

Not Alone2 copy


Let Them Cry by Joanne Kraft

Joanne Kraft is offering a snippet into her newest book today. Joanne and I have been friends for a long time. Our lives have been interestingly and divinely intertwined. She is a good friend who loves God. I was able to read her book and endorse it. Today, she shares some of her parenting wisdom. Thanks Joanne. Love you girl. Hugs, Lynn

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image from joannekraft.comMy teenage son walked down the stairs with a frown on his face. College classes have gotten the best of him.

My pep talk with him yesterday apparently wasn’t as good as I thought it was and my future as a motivational speaker went down in flames.

When I brought my first child home from the hospital their cries were immediately met with a soothing rub and my full attention until the whimpers quieted. From baby tears to teenage sulking, I want to make my child happy. I’ve exhausted myself trying to make this happen. 

Here’s what I’ve finally realized– I can’t make any of my kids happy. 

            Here’s the clue you may be doing something wrong—when you exhaust yourself doing it. 

Years ago, when my mom watched me try to stop tears from my four children, she gave me my first golden bit of wisdom, “Let them cry. I promise they will be okay.”

When Mary and Martha sent word to Jesus that their brother Lazarus had died, Jesus didn’t come that very day but waited two more days before heading back to them in Judea. When he arrived he discovered the funeral had already taken place, Lazarus had been dead four days now, and there were two very heartbroken sisters in deep mourning who had been crying for days.

Not only were Mary and Martha in tears but it’s in this passage of scripture where we find the shortest sentence in the Bible—Jesus wept. Two words packed with incredible meaning. Even our Savior shed tears. Even He felt sad. 

Let Them Cry 

Let them hurt. Is there anything more contrary to mothering than allowing a child to cry or hurt? Still, it’s much needed for their development. Come alongside and give them a hug.  Sympathize and validate their hurt, “Yes, I know you’re sad.” Or, “It’s okay to be sad. Sometimes mommy is sad, too.” And if a child is older, maybe you can empathize, “I understand how hard this is for you.” Or, “I’m sorry you’re going through this. I’ve been there, too.” Follow up with a personal story of your own about a past hurt or grievance.

Let them heal. Give them a little time. Don’t let their hurt sabotage your life or manipulate joy in your home. Scripture reminds us there’s “A time to cry and a time to laugh. A time to grieve and a time to dance.” (Ecclesiastes 3:4) Give them needed space but look for signs of healing; interest in friends, playing again, laughter, an appetite, and conversation.

Let them lean. When a child is young they lean on mom and dad for everything. As they grow older we need to let go so they can lean on God. I can’t expect my adult child to have BIG FAITH if they have little experience in leaning on a BIG GOD. If I answer their every whim and whimper, I become God in their eyes. Do you want to grow their faith? Let them lean on the only ONE who can meet and exceed their expectations. (Psalm 62:5)

As a mom, I’m not a magic joy-fairy called to sprinkle pixie-dust over my child’s every moment. I have to remind myself that my daughters and sons must feel pain while in my keep. God grows us through pain. How else will they know how to navigate life’s storms as adults?

image from i1298.photobucket.comAs a mom, I’m not a magic fairy called to spread joyful pixie-dust over my child’s every moment. I have to remind myself, my daughters and sons must feel pain while in my keep. God grows us through pain. How else will they know how to navigate life’s storms as adults?

Let your child cry today. Let them hurt and let them heal, but make sure through it all to let them lean on God. Like I said earlier, scripture reminds us there’s “A time to cry and a time to laugh. A time to grieve and a time to dance.” (Ecclesiastes 3:4) Maybe, today it’s time to let them cry. I promise they’ll be okay.

Joanne Kraft is a mom of four and the author of Just Too Busy—Taking Your Family on a Radical Sabbatical and her recent book The Mean Mom’s Guide to Raising Great Kids. She’s been a guest on Focus on the Family, Family Life Today and CBN. Her articles have appeared in ParentLife, Today’s Christian Woman, In Touch, Thriving Family, P31 Woman and more. Joanne and her husband, Paul, recently moved their family from California to Tennessee and happily traded soy milk and arugula for sweet tea and biscuits. 

 

Website http://joannekraft.com/


This is Your Divine Destiny. Don't Give It To The devil!

The Ugly Word for 2014                                  Part I
The Key to Powerful Prayer                            Part II
Dream Big!                                                      Part III

Lynn here! I have some crazy but good stuff to share. Here we go!

I believed a lie about my creativity.

On my dream list for this fall I have penned a sacred dream that is precious to my heart. And over the last nine months the devil has done everything to destroy that dream. I became so overwhelmed by the lies of the enemy and spiritual warfare that I handed over my authority over this dream to the lie and it was taken from me.

It pains me to even type these words. Most of the time I believe and live in God’s truth and have been living there for a long time. So to realize that I allowed the devil to steal truth from me, and even worse I believed the lie over what God had to say specifically about this dream, has grieved me greatly.

I’m going to share with you this very private story in the hopes that you find your freedom through it as I did. And with a greater hope that you don’t waste as much time nor experience the heart ache, confusion and pain that I experienced.

My dream came to me on a Sunday morning in early spring of this year. I was at church and we had just finished worship. I sat down, took out my Bible and notebook listening intently to the pastor share his message. And suddenly (remind me to share with you later about … “And suddenlies.”)

And suddenly, a download straight from heaven hit my brain. My pen started whirring across my notebook. Words were flowing, chapters were forming. I drew arrows to connect ideas. I heard God tell me to include such and such in the appendix. He said He wanted a box where He spoke directly to the reader. Chapter content emerged and suddenly…..

…… a book was born.

But this book wasn’t like any other book that I’ve read or written. Oh Wow, Lord…. Just wow!

Today I’m compelled to share this story because the devil almost stole from me, my divine destiny. It wasn’t my brain that came up with the chapters and the appendix, nor the chapter outlines, it was truly God. And to top things off, one day while sitting in church back in May, a guest speaker began to speak. He stopped in the introduction and looked right at me I had only met him for a moment before church. I told him I was preparing to start a new writing project. He said:

 

Tctv050414 Abner lynn's word

 

What you just listened to is very personal to me. And as I just listened to it again, I broke down and wept. The grace of God is so overwhelming at times. His favor upon our lives is enormous. How could we be anything other than thankful and full of faith?

Listening to this again just shames me that I listened to the lie about the calling on my life.

BUT NO MORE.

SUMites, my sisters and brothers, what lie has the enemy told you. Where has he taken your creativity? Please, please let me now be the voice of Jesus and tell you to take back your dreams. Take your creativity and use it for His Kingdom. Help your children learn to use their gifts for His glory by watching you use yours. Let your creativity lead your husband and children to faith. Let the world see the greatness in you and they will bend their knee to the King of Kings.

You have more in you than you think. You are stronger than you know. You have angels standing beside you, waiting to fly into motion at your mere whisper of command. God has prepared you for a profound, life-fulfilling calling to impact the world.

It only takes a small yes. A Yes when he asks. An ounce of faith. The faith of a mustard seed and you will step into this new adventure that awaits you.

I’m convinced that we believers are living on the leading edge of the MOST profound time of God’s history….. EVER. I think we are poised to see God show His signs, and miracles.

I know this because I have already witnessed Jesus heal people through prayer and the laying on of hands. I have felt His healing power flow from my hands.(What??? This just still blows my mind) All of us can and will see miracles and more. It starts with one brave step. One small yes. This is our moment to take back what the enemy has stolen and use our God given gifts for the Kingdom.

Upon this day, Rosh Hashanah, Jesus we ask for Your great favor upon our lives. Show us where fear and unbelief has allowed the enemy authority over our lives. Show us how to close those doors to fear and unbelief and the devil. Teach us to say to you firmly with a supernatural faith, YES. I want my gifts of creativity back. I want to be used by you to impact people. I want to love so big, so lavish that I see every person who I meet as you see them. I want to never be offended by anyone again. I want to love You with all that I have and love people.

Lord, lead me and teach me to step into my divine calling and ministry THIS YEAR. I ask for you to place an unquenchable hunger in my heart, mind and soul to know You more. I want the More… More of you. More of you. More of You. I ask for Your gifts. Gifts of wisdom and revelation (Eph 1:17) Gifts of love, joy, peace…. (Gal 5:22). Lord, I want to see You move on this planet this next year in a way humans have never seen before. May all that I do bring honor, glory and love to Your heart. In Jesus powerful and redeeming name. Amen.

I love you my brothers and sisters, so very much. It’s a divine privilege to walk with you into the months ahead and rejoice as we see and participate in what God has planned for our hearts, our homes and the world.

image from www.spirituallyunequalmarriage.com
 

Never forget: You are God’s Workmanship! How amazing is that?

Matthew 17 20


An Escape Clause?

image from www.spirituallyunequalmarriage.com

 

Hello SUMites, 

My friends, I missed you while I was roaming the Rocky Mountains and all over the state of Colorado. What a crazy trip. I haven’t laughed so hard in a long, long time. I hope to share some of the many photos on my Facebook page soon. 

But I’m back in my office and I am refreshed and charged up. Let’s jump right into this study again. We are going to discuss a very interesting verse, its interpretation and implications. 

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.

image from www.spirituallyunequalmarriage.com

 

 

Gang, this concludes our study of this passage in 1 Corinthians. I'm still praying and seeking the Lord about what we should discover together this fall. See you Monday.

I want to add a statement: I absolutely believe that God DOES NOT WANT His children to remain in abusive marriages. And my writing above is specific to marriages where the main discord in the relationship is spiritual disharmony. 


Line by Line - Precept Upon Precept - Unequally Yoked

Unequally Yoked Summer Study

Line by line. Precept upon precept…. 

Most of the time I write articles and commentary on topical subjects related to faith, marriage and parenting. But recently my love for the Word of God has grown exponentially. I am falling more in love with His Holy Word. I didn’t know that was still possible but that is how I’m feeling. And specifically I think it would be a great experience for us to study line by line the passages that are specific to living unequally yoked. 

Today I want to get started, line by line with 1 Corinthians 7:12-16 

To the rest I say this (I, not the Lord): If any brother has a wife who is not a believer and she is willing to live with him, he must not divorce her. And if a woman has a husband who is not a believer and he is willing to live with her, she must not divorce him. For the unbelieving husband has been sanctified through his wife, and the unbelieving wife has been sanctified through her believing husband. Otherwise your children would be unclean, but as it is, they are holy. 

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. How do you know, wife, whether you will save your husband? Or, how do you know, husband, whether you will save your wife? 

I am using the New International Version translation above but we will also look at a few other translations through this summer study. 

If you have read either of our books, Winning Him Without Words or Not Alone, you will know that this particular passage has enormously impacted both my understanding and hope for my marriage as well as my children’s faith choice. So I would like to walk through this together here for a few posts. After this we will look at other passages such at 1 Peter 3 and other Biblical contexts in which we find specific information and teaching for those of us who are unequally yoked. 

Does this sound like a good idea SUMmers??? (Rosheeda coined this phrase too.) 

Let’s start then with some context. And please hear me now. I am NOT a Bible scholar. I am an ordinary wife and mom. I read the Bible and I ask God continually for the Spirit of Wisdom and Revelation that I may know Him better (Ephesians 1:17) So please, this study should be considered a general study where two friends, me and you, sit down at the table, read the Word, and just talk about it. We can look to other references but the most impacting study is where we share our lives, our experiences, and we receive through the Word of God from one another. 

Okay? Okay!! Let’s go! 

Who wrote the book of Corinthians? And why was it written and to whom was it written? Why do we need to know this information? Good questions. 

Corinthians was written by the Apostle Paul to the “believers” in the ancient City of Corinth that was located in Greece. I looked up Corinth on Wikipedia. It’s an interesting read if you have the time. It’s important to understand the culture and the climate of the times because you gain insight into the passages of scripture. You also understand the language and the person who was writing which helps to understand the writers intent. I know this is important because as a writer myself, I am misunderstood at times. It helps to know a person. When you understand their heart and motives, your perception of their writing becomes clearer and easier. 

The believers in Corinth were people who recently worshiped multiple gods and in fact the city was known for the temple of the goddess Aphrodite, the goddess of love. So the believers did not have an understanding of the Torah, nor the Jewish customs and the faith, Judaism. Paul’s background was Pharisaical and of the strictest sect.  They are relatively new converts to “The Way” as described by Paul. (Acts 9) 

There are some key differences in the people groups that Paul wrote to in his various epistles (letters). Paul sent letters to the Jews, the Romans and the Greeks. I suppose we could do an entire study about these different cultures and the means Paul uses to communicate The Good News to each. But alas, let’s not get that heavy. *grin* Moving on. 

I realize that our first line reads: To the rest I say this (I, not the Lord). So I think we need some context for this line study. Let’s look back to the beginning of chapter 7. 

The very first part of verse one reads: Now for the matters you wrote about: Paul is obviously answering a letter that was written to him from the believers of Corinth. And now Paul is answering their questions. Much like we ask our Pastor or teacher for clarification. 

Paul is specifically addressing questions raised about marriage. You can read the chapter in its entirety by clicking here.

Paul has addressed marriage issues, sex in marriage, widows, and the unmarried as well as divorce. Wow, a lot to cover in a few verses. Then he turns to our sensitive issue; Marriage to an unbeliever. 

Let’s ponder here. Don’t you think it’s interesting that believers who were alive way back when, were also grappling with this very issue. Paul, obviously has addressed this issue before because he includes it in his reply to the church of Corinth. I don’t know about you, but for years and years I always felt like I was the only one living unequally yoked. I thought that my marriage situation was rare and new to the church because they (church leadership) never talked about it. EVER. I often felt isolated and forgotten. Being a married single person can be a difficult road to walk in a church setting. 

However, here we are in Corinth at one of the original New Testament churches and they are dealing with what we live in 2014. Oh how I love the Lord that He knew all these years later we would need His wise counsel and encouragement right from His Holy and powerful Word. 

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Yikes, over a thousand words already and we are just getting to the good stuff. Okay, let’s pick up on Monday with the next line. And can you help me out? What are your thoughts about the precept upon precept study? Are you in? And can you help me with other scripture passages that are specific to living unequally yoked. Hint: There are more than you think. 

I love you my friends. Let’s let the LIVING Word change our hearts and our homes. See you in the comments.

image from www.spirituallyunequalmarriage.com


Audio Books For Busy Wives and Moms

Hi Everyone: 

I have one more story to share about our book, Not Alone, before we launch into our next series. On Monday we are going to have a discussion about contending with the Orphan Spirit. And my friends, I can almost guarantee we have all faced this demon in some way or another. This is a must read! 

But today, as Dineen and I end our week sharing our hearts about parenting, I’m moved to share the words of our friend, Steve Smith. 

IMG_1289[1]
Steve represents Oasis Audio. Oasis Audio published our books in audio and they were released about two weeks ago. Steve went way beyond inconvenience to allow Dineen and I to record the books in our own voices. The audio team worked with a couple of ordinary moms and put together audio books so that some mom out there, who is driving to work and doesn’t have time to read, can hear a word of encouragement from the Lord. 

Steve writes: 

Lynn and Dineen,

I have to tell you, I do popular big-selling inspirational books because they make money and keep our employees in jobs. When Elaine at Gospel Light showed me you titles, I thought about my mom, who fifty years ago was abandoned by my dad. My sister was five. I was two. She was fortunate enough to be a college educated woman and eventually climbed her way to the top of the corporate world, but our lives weren't easy and she did her best to be both mother and father to us. We were not aware of God in our lives until I was in junior high and my mom enrolled me in a Lutheran school because she didn't want me exposed to a public jr. high. When I saw NOT ALONE, I thought of my mom and how this book would have been very helpful to her. 

And then I looked at my own years as a youth pastor and the struggles single moms were enduring. You thanked me for serving the kingdom. I can't accept that noble honor. I made the choice because I wanted to serve women like my mom. But I think Jesus is very happy that you two wrote these books, and I am honored to publish the audio. I don't care if they aren't NY Times bestsellers. I want them to reach and help the people who need them.

 

IMG_1277[1]I about wept when I read this a few months back. I think of the years I spent working full time, driving children to school, feeling exhausted, and struggling with the demands and fears we face when raising children. Wow… 

So, today, Dineen and I humbly unveil the audio recordings of, Not Alone AND Winning Him Without Words. Please think about someone, who is a single mom who needs a word from the Lord to inspire her to stick in there and kept living her faith out in front of little eyes. A woman who needs to know she can come through the loneliness and pain of a spiritually mismatched marriage. Then if you are able, share this audio book with her. Let her know it exists and that all of us here exist to love one another and pray for each other. Buy her a CD if the Lord moves you to help her. Perhaps this woman is you? 

Thank you my friends. THANK YOU STEVE. Please know that Dineen and I continue to pray for you, your ministry and your mom. Thank you for opening another door with our message of hope and Jesus  and the value of a mother to her children. 

Hugs, Lynn & Dineen 

And, now for one more question….. Are you ready for some football strike….. Some warfare? I will make a bold promise. You are going to pray differently for yourself, your family and your marriage after we get started in the new series on Monday. And I promise… We start Monday. 

If you want to read some great posts about spiritual warfare that we wrote last January, visit the sidebar of the blog or click here: Spiritual Warfare: Terrorist Training Boot Camp

Note Alone Cover Art
Not Alone - Audio Book
WinningHim
Winning Him Without Words - Audio Book




Hope For You, Mom!

Today I want to share a story with you that deeply touched me and Dineen. Below is a note I received from a young woman who is married and yet to have children. Her name is Stone. Dineen and I have come to know her and her story over the last several months as Stone lives near me here in California. Her story is horrific and also covered with redemption and love. She has faced great pain and fear and yet is finding hope. She is growing to be a Hope-Restorer. 

Let me set the stage. The note below was written to me shortly after Stone watched the 700 Club Interactive Broadcast where I talked about our new book, Not Alone. I shared the hope we have as believing mothers even in the midst of unfavorable circumstances (unbelieving father). Our hope is that we CAN raise our children well and raise them to faith in this challenging society and unconventional homes. 

She writes:

Wow Lynn!

You hit it out of the park!

That was amazing and so encouraging!

In my teens I decided that I would not have children because I did not believe that with the things I had experienced growing up that I could be a good parent and I feared bringing a child into such a fallen world. I often felt overwhelmed at the thought of having children someday because they would also have free will and would be able to choose for themselves what to believe. At that point I did not trust God enough with even the idea of having children someday. 

Now that I am married and at a place where I know Him better and we are discussing having children someday, those fears want to come in and take over again. But your chat today was so encouraging. 

I now know Him in a powerful way and I am encouraged by your words that when the time comes I can trust in Him and look for those teachable moments where I will be able to pour into their hearts and spirits, trusting in Him to work in their hearts. 

Thank you for sharing your heart and your story with us today. ~Stone 

I’m sharing Stone’s words because I believe there are so many young women who also fear raising children. There are mothers, right now, READING THIS POST, who are afraid they can’t do it. They can’t bring up kids with character and faith. 

That is a lie from the enemy my friends. 

Dineen and I have been talking a lot the last few weeks about our hope for mothers. And we feel like our book release in October was a bit swallowed up by the crazy of the holidays. So, we think we need to encourage every mother near and far with the truth: Ordinary moms who love Christ can and do raise good kids of faith. 

We are convinced that our book is filled with Holy Spirit inspired words, practical tips, parenting treasures and HOPE. We believe that the work, tears we shed, and life-experience we poured into the pages is anointed by our Lord and we want every mom to step into her high and holy calling. 

With that said, can you please help us to get the word out to moms? I’m not even sure what I’m asking other than God created this book to encourage. Just read this letter, titled Beloved Mother, which is an excerpt from the book. 

So, may Dineen and I humbly ask you to consider three things? One, if you’re a mom, please buy the book for yourself. Then pass it along to someone. Or start a small group and help other moms. 

Two, buy a copy for a mom who needs a word of encouragement. 

Three, share on social media. Help us get the word out. There are moms who need words that say, "You are enough and with God, you can raise Godly kids."

I promise we are not trying to just sell books. Dineen and I truly don’t make money on these and anything we do get is poured back into this ministry plus 10 fold. 

We are asking you, our family, who may need this word for yourself and know others who need promises that they can parent with God’s help to get your hands on a copy and share hope…. 

Why? Because we are the Hope-Restorers. And Dineen and I thank you from the bottom of our hearts.

 

Note Alone Cover ArtNot Alone: This is a parenting book, but it’s much more. It’s a love letter to all mothers—a message that changes our homes, our kids, and our lives. It’s about the Father’s love that impacts those around us and changes ordinary moms into women of extraordinary grace, beauty, and wisdom. 

We are ordinary moms who give Jesus to the generations.

 

Today, will you share with us how you have encouraged a mom or how you have been encouraged by someone who poured wisdom or love into you as a mother? Hugs, Lynn


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)


You are a Righteous Mama!

NotAloneImage3My friends, as you're reading this I am on the road on my way to pick up Lynn from the Sacramento airport and then we will continue on from there up to Redding CA for the Open Heavens conference at Bethel Church. Yep, ROAD TRIP!!!

I want you to know that we are carrying this community with us in our hearts. You are a part of us and we just take you with us wherever we go. And we will be bringing back what we learn and experience to share with you, just like last year.

The image I've included with this post is another one to share. And please know how much we appreciate your help. I’ve made a series of these and we are praying for as many as possible to go viral so that this book will go viral and minister to even more moms than we can imagine or have hoped for! That is our dream for this book and I believe God's plan for it is even bigger. We never know the full impact we have on those we love and pray for.

Last week I shared about finding out who had prayed for me as child to know Jesus. I want to share my cousin's actual words with you from his letter—it's all about God and His faithfulness to our prayers.

“When I came to Christ in ’70 I began to pray for my family on a daily basis. Little did I know that the “baby” of the family would be an answer to prayer. You are ministering to many people through your books and speaking. It’s a wonderful thing. I can’t tell you enough about how proud of you I am, it’s a godly pride if there is such a thing. Serving the Lord is the highest calling for a Christian. God bless you.”

Moms, this is what you're prayers are doing even if it's years before you see the full affect. My cousin’s prayers working my life to guide and protect me for 25 years until I jumped all in for Jesus. Trust Jesus and believe your prayers are and will impact your children.

You are a righteous mama and your prayers are powerful and effective!

Thank you for helping other moms understand and embrace this truth by sharing this picture and helping us get the word out. God has chosen the SUMites to bring His love and hope to those who need it in unique ways, because of our unique daily faith walks. Is that not amazing? Blows me away how God redeems everything, my friends. We don’t struggle for naught but persevere through the power and strength and promises of Jesus Christ! Amen!

Hugging you with great JOY!
Dineen




A Fresh Anointing For ALL Mothers By Lynn Donovan

 

On September 26th I opened my Bible and found a note scribbled in the margin. It said:

2006: Today I was asked to be part of the writing team for Laced With Grace. 

As I read this note in my Bible, my heart soared. Seven years ago Iris Nelson found my tiny blog, Spiritually Unequal Marriage and we began an amazing friendship. We began to write, simply from our hearts about our Lord and His hand in our lives. I can’t thank Iris enough for asking me to be part of this Award winning team of writers. I left Laced With Grace a while back as our ministry grew. But my heart will always be part of this home on the web.

So today, Iris has allowed me to come back as a throw back post to September 2006 and share with you a devotion for Moms. This message is from the Holy Spirit for every mom whether they are walking the difficult path of being the spiritual leader of their homes or not.

Join me now and be filled with the truth of How God sees you. I love you the family of Laced With Grace.

Fire…
by: Lynn Donovan
I am filled with fire my friends. And this fire that burns in my stomach also is burning in yours. How do I know this?

Because you sacrifice!

Read the entire post and be filled with a fresh anointing of God's Holy Fire at Laced With Grace.

 

Also, leave a comment over there and be entered to receive a copy of Not Alone Trusting God To Help You Raise Godly Kids In A Spiritually Mismatched Home. 

Train Up A Child and


Launch Day - Not Alone

I prayed away a bully!  Note Alone Cover Art

My daughter was in high school and for months and months during her senior year she was being bullied by another teen. The circumstances were such that a direct confrontation with this bully wasn’t possible so I did what any mom would do. 

I PRAYED. 

In our book, Not Alone, I share this story along with many others of how God makes every difference in the lives of our kids because we pray. God loves us so much and He loves our kids. This book is filled with real-life examples of how the faith of an ordinary mom can change seemingly impossible circumstances for the good of our children. 

Mostly this book will encourage every mother who ponders the question, “Am I enough to parent my child to become a life-long believer in Jesus?” 

There are answers in the pages that will fill your heart with great hope. We share laughter, tears and a whole bunch of God’s truth and promises. I hope you can get your hands on a copy because you will realize that you are a mother who is more than enough and that you are a legacy maker. 

To read a sample or to purchase a book, visit: www.mismatchedandthriving.com

Read Sample here: Not Alone

Giveaways coming. Watch for one tomorrow at Laced With Grace.

FACEBOOK TODAY:
Mom's Together - both Lynn & Dineen will be answering questions. Join the conversation. 

RADIO TODAY:
Lynn will be on the air at KDAZ at 8:05 MT/ 7:05 PT with Birga Alden 

Lynn Will be on Lifeline - WDCX Radio with Neil Boron at 4-5:30 pm ET and 1-2:30 pm PT.

Dineen will be the Debbie Chavez Show 9 -10:00 am. PT

 

Please share this happy day with us. Please share on your Facebook page, Twitter, Pinterest. Repin & repost the photo below. Some discouraged mom needs hope today. We love you Sumites. You are our family. Hugs, Lynn & Dineen

We Are Mothers

 


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.


Throwback Monday ~~ Back to School is Around the Corner

SUMites,

I took a stroll down memory lane today and found an old post from our archives. It filled my heart to read it because I can recall this time in my daughter's life. It was the first day of high school for her. She faced a scary time in her life and it caused her to question God. It was also a time for her to discover God's faithfulness. And a statement of God's faithfulness to me as well. 

As I re-read the post, it seemed timely to re-post it today. For two reasons. Firstly, most of us mother's know that in the next few weeks our children will be going back to school. Back to school time is a wonderful time of the year and a scary time of the year. It's also a time to create great habits and open opportunities to share our faith with our kids. Secondly, I want to share this post and honor our God because in two weeks from today, I will deliver my daughter to college for the first time. And I see fully now how God walked with that child through her high school days. 

As I pondered through the old post below, I joyfully consider the wonderful, life-long, friendships God sent to my daughter. Many of you even prayed for my daughter's best friend, Gina, last year.

God is faithful.

God hears the heartfelt prayers of a mother or father who loves Him.

God is honored as I re-post, Growing Up, circa 2009. 

Growing Up

Well for many of us it is back to school week. May I just say one thing:

It’s the most wonderful time of the year! Do you remember that office supply commercial? It makes me grin. 

On Monday my daughter, my baby girl, started High School. I can’t begin to tell you who felt more stressed - her or me. Sheesh!

Two weeks prior, my daughter held my hand and said, “Mom, please pray that I have some friends, girls I know, in some of my classes.”

“Sweetie, I will but you need to pray also.”

“I have been Mom.”

A week flew by and my daughter picked up her schedule a few days before school resumed, no friends. Not a single person she knew was in any of her classes.

As she told me about her scary future without friends, I knew what she was thinking. Is God real? Does he really hear me when I pray? Why didn’t he listen to me and give me at least one friend?

I let the moment pass. I didn’t have words. However, the next morning, I sat with the Lord in the garden and I asked Him about these very thoughts. “Lord, she is going to think you don’t hear, or answer prayer. She is a kid trying to have faith. But at this very stressful time in her life she needed to hear from you.”

During this prayer time, I felt the Lord speaking to me, “Trust me. I have this worked out. I have appointed new friends for her. They will meet in due time. Trust me on this.”

Well this answer was great for me but how would I explain this to my baby girl? Wouldn’t you know it, later that day, my daughter, and I were standing in the kitchen and SHE initiated the conversation and voiced her disappointment with God. “Mom, why didn’t He hear me?”

This is where I tell you I am so thankful for prayer and for a God who knows what He is doing.

The moment presented itself for me to share with her the very words God spoke about her friendships. I said, “Trust God in this Caitie. He has friends waiting for you. I know you think he let you down but I am telling you, God has this covered.”

Well indeed on her very first day after school, she arrived at the car, hot and tired but with happiness in her heart. It was a good day. She met several new friends right away. (Not the usual pattern for this child)

Now I am not one to say to someone, I told you so. However, I smiled and in a kind voice I said, “See, I told you, the Lord had this all worked out.”

“Ya, Mom, He did.”

Priceless!


When You Thought I Wasn't Looking

When you thought I wasn’t looking
You hung my first painting on the refrigerator
And I wanted to paint another.

When you thought I wasn’t looking
You fed a stray cat
And I thought it was good to be kind to animals.

When you thought I wasn’t looking
You baked a birthday cake just for me
And I knew that little things were special things.

When you thought I wasn’t looking
You said a prayer
And I believed there was a God that I could always talk to.

When you thought I wasn’t looking
You kissed me good-night
And I felt loved.

When you thought I wasn’t looking
I saw tears come from your eyes
And I learned that sometimes things hurt—
But that it's alright to cry.

When you thought I wasn’t looking
You smiled
And it made me want to look that pretty too.

When you thought I wasn’t looking
You cared
And I wanted to be everything I could be.

When you thought I wasn’t looking—
I looked . . .
And wanted to say thanks
For all those things you did
When you thought I wasn’t looking.
--Mary Rita Schilke Korzan


Chronicles of the Donovan Clan

Hi My Friends, 

It’s been a long, long time since we have had a Donovan Clan update. And that is likely because I haven’t anything remarkable to report on my husband’s faith journey. But yesterday, the Holy Spirit came near and flooded my mind with a thousand memories of God’s faithfulness to this 5 foot 4, blond-brained, messed up but utterly thankful woman. It was as if I had a moment where a lifetime flashed before my eyes.

It wasn’t my lifetime but my daughters. You see on Saturday night my daughter participated in a Rite of Passage.

Senior Prom.

This is exceptional for me for several reasons. And it was for my daughter as well. Let me explain. My daughter hasn’t been one to attend school dances. But after much convincing by me and her friends, she agreed to attend this last dance of her high school years.

We spent the day along with her BFF doing the thing that girls around here do the day of prom. Hair. Makeup. Dress, shoes. We went all out. My husband is convinced we will need to take a second mortgage to afford this "Princess Experience." Yikes!  *grin*

 

Imported Photos 00000
Thanks Shawna for the personal touch.

Imported Photos 00124
Fun at the makeup counter - Macy's

Expenses aside. It turned out to be amazing. A day and evening filled with memories built to last for a lifetime. But on Sunday all of those memories filled my heart and I heard God whisper to me, “Lynn, you have been faithful. And Lynn, I have been faithful.”

 

In an instant I knew the Holy Spirit was revealing to me the truth  of living out my faith in front of my child for all of her 18 years. She has grown up to be an amazing kid. She’s far from perfect and she will tell you that she doesn’t have this faith thing figured out for herself yet. But, she is a good kid who made it through the struggles of a large Southern California High School with integrity and hope.

She is so much like me in many ways. And vastly different in many more. She has a sarcastic wit I can’t begin to understand. She is a self-starter and highly organized (She organized the prom activities, from early in the day, through the parents photos all the way to the transportation to and from). I think she got that from me *wink.*

So, I’m at a place now where my many, many years of parenting a child under my roof are nearing an end. In four short months she will begin her orientation at the college she selected. And my friends, this is where I just cry and thank God for all of His faithfulness. For the years of my prayers for this child are answered. For the times He walked with her in the halls of her school when she was sad or scared. He held her hand. Listened to my words of pleading for her and HE WAS ALWAYS FAITHFUL.

So today this Donovan Clan update is to share my love for God. To encourage you that God hears the prayers of a mother’s (and a father's) heart and to renew your hope that the years, tears and prayers you are pouring into your children are WORTH IT!

It’s one of my proudest days to share with my SUMite family that in the fall, my daughter Caitie will be attending a Christian College. She came to this choice after much discussion, college visits, debate between her parents (typical) and prayer. She will be a student of the Torrey Honors Institute at BIOLA University (Bible Institute of Los Angeles).

The Faithfulness of my God continues to astound me.

I will tell you that this decision was a point of great contention in the Donovan home. As you might guess my husband wanted my daughter to attend his alma mater, UC Berkeley. Typical in our home, these universities are polar opposites in perspectives and ideals.  I write a lot more about this in our new book that releases in October. That book is filled with stories of God’s faithfulness to ordinary mothers. I can’t wait to share it with all of you.

Anyhoo, in a few weeks Caitie will graduate from High School. Dineen’s eldest daughter will marry her prince charming. And us two women, -- we are just ordinary wives and moms who stand in the lavish grace and love of a God who takes our breath away….. every….. single….. day……

Please press through your disappointments, your struggles and surrender to the God who adores you. Living on the other side of surrender is where the miracles lie. And it’s so very, very worth it.

I love you. Thank you for sharing this time in my life with me. And thank you for allowing me to share my daughter with you as well.

Here are a few of my photos from the day. Have a great week my friend. I love you. Lynn

Imported Photos 00002

Classic Mike Donovan says to this young man, "Hey, if you take that hat off will a rabbit pop out?"

He cackled up a storm. I whacked my husband on the arm and gave him "the look."

Poor kid, he may never visit the Donovan home again. Sheesh! Personally, I LOVED the hat. So did Caitie.

Imported Photos 00052

  Imported Photos 00084

Imported Photos 00043
My favorite photo of the evening


The Prodigal and Our Unrelenting God

Good Morning, Lynn Here. If you have prayed for any length for a prodigal or a spouse to come to faith and feel like they are so lost, so far from God that it will never happen, then this story is for you.

I want to introduce my friend, Angie Knight. I met Angie in the very early years of blogging. I met her face-to-face at a blogger’s retreat in her home state of Florida in 2009. That was an ordained and anointed retreat for me. Many, MANY works of God came from that weekend where the women prayed over me. Winning Him Without Words was just one. While I was there I met Angie’s precious family. I stayed in her home and met her husband and daughters. It was an amazing weekend.

 

Angie and girls
Angie and her daughters

 

Since then her life and mine have become a little busy. Hers with mission trips to Cambodia and Slavic countries and mine with our community here at SUM. Our hearts remain connected through the beautiful fabric of the Body of Christ and yet we haven’t talked in probably over a year or more. So here is where the story soars to the supernatural.

God is Divine and Providential.

Okay, so on Wednesday I was finishing the final chapter for our new book, Not Alone. This chapter is about parenting through rebellion and the Prodigal Adult. And I’ve been asking God to give me words to include. Now here is the really good part.

Out of the blue after more than a year, Angie posts on my Facebook wall this: For those with a prodigal (anything)...this will encourage you ;) (I've had you on my mind Lynn Donovan! Have a GREAT week!) She includes a link to an article on her blog. She hasn’t written there in months and months.

Why am I always flabbergasted that God listens to me and actually helps me in amazing ways??? Sheesh. (Lord, thank you for your faithfulness.)

Okay, Let me set the stage. Angie, her mother, her sister, daughters and one of her granddaughters had taken a weekend trip to spend the time together at a beach resort. Sunday morning arrives and it’s time to pack up and head toward home.

This is the story she shared with me. 

My daughter was 15 years old when she decided the "church path" was not for her--and she walked in a mighty dark wilderness for a long time.  Glimpses of the old Tiff would be seen from time to time, and we continued to pray on.  One thing we knew for certain--that was the MOST difficult thing any parent has to face--we could not bale her out of every situation--because we had ENTRUSTED God to work on her and in her to bring her back to a place of desiring HIM. 

Tiffany and her daughter joined us for the beach retreat weekend and as we drove toward home we wanted to stop at a local church for Sunday services. We had a church in mind and set off in with plenty of time to make services. However, due to a flood, Tiffany in the lead car, took a detour and we ended up at a country church, where Pastor Danny Davis met us with hearty handshakes, laughter and a very welcoming spirit.  Without going into the details of the service, let me just stop and say, it was NOT business as usual.

God continued on with ordering and setting the day out in HIS plan and fashion.

The special speaker did not get to speak.  The LORD brought the message that morning through the voice of the pastor--and I could honestly tell you --I saw a visible change, as well as "felt" it when the Holy Spirit began to move.

As the pastor, under a heavy anointing was walking back and forth, speaking what GOD was in that instant laying on his heart--the string of us girls from mother all the way down to the youngest, our granddaughter, completely filled up one whole pew.  He looked me straight in the eye and said, "Angie Knight, you are about to see your miracle.  You are about to see something that you've prayed about for a long time become reality." 

He walked on, shook, I was weeping, praising--not knowing what exactly--because, truthfully, there are many things I'm praying about--yet my mind went to this row of women.

And then it happend, Tiffany went forward.

That morning, The Lord gave me a front row seat as He brought His daughter back home.

As a mother of a prodigal, there is nothing in this life sweeter than to witness her "rebirth." Her birth was wonderful--but the birthing of her "new life" was extraordinary. Words fail me at this point.  It was one of those, "you had to have been there" days.  We rejoiced all the way home.

Perhaps you are the parent of a prodigal that you have prayed for and feel there's not much hope...can I tell you something?

Please keep praying.

Your prodigal has a day...set and ordered by The Lord.

If you think it will happen "one particular" way, please give up your idea to Him and let Him do the orchestrating of the music of that life. He has written the most beautiful score to be heard—and only He knows when it will be played.

My day came quite unexpectedly in some ways, but then totally expected in others. Take heart parents. Keep praying.

Your prodigal is still being watched by an Almighty Eye. —Angie Knight

Tiff and daughter
(Tiffany's story is included in our new book. I can't wait for you to read it, Hugs, Lynn)


A Mother's Heart. A Savior's Heart

Several weeks ago my friend, Tanya, wrote me and shared a story about her young daughter. And today I want to share it with you. I pray you are blessed through her words and her eyes. 

-----

 

Tanya
Tanya Morgan

Tanya: I learned the most valuable lesson from Ella, my six-year-old daughter, today. It was the perfect picture of Christ’s love for us and His forgiveness and what that really looks like. 

 

Ella and I met a friend and her daughter at the book store this afternoon. The girls were in the kid’s section while my friend and I chatted and looked through the rows of various books and Bibles. When the girls came up to us, each wearing a cute sticker on their arm hey stated that they found them on the floor. We both instantly knew they were lying.  

They swore they weren’t and wanted to know if they could keep them. They then ran back to the shelves that held all of the cute stickers and girly stuff. My friend and I asked each of them once more if they were telling the truth; again they said they were, for sure. It was so obvious they were not being honest. 

As we both walked back to where the girls were you can imagine the scene. We’ve all been there. “Oh no, I’m caught!” was written all over their faces. I was at once disappointed and sad but had to suppress a little giggle at the same time, mostly because they were so obvious in their deception and they didn’t think we already knew, but also because I love her so. 

We separated them, each of the mommies talking to their own daughter. The scene was very serious; one of the girls got walked out to the car while the other one was questioned quietly in the store. After we talked to our girls individually we decided they would let the store clerk know what they had done and apologize to her. Again, you can imagine the scene. 

Lips quivering and hands wringing, Ella blurts out first “Your stickers are really pretty…” They finally confessed and apologized. The clerk was very sweet and gracious and said “I forgive you”. I was feeling sort of proud of them after that but of course I didn’t yet let her see the smile on my face and I talked with Ella about never stealing again, etc., etc. 

A few minutes later the tears spilled out and the big cry started and I could see how much shame she was feeling. We again sat down in their chair and I told her that I forgave her and that I was not mad at her any more. I asked her if she wanted to ask Jesus to forgive her for stealing also. She said she did but didn’t want anyone to hear because she was embarrassed about stealing. I led her in a simple prayer to ask Him to forgive her. When she was done she was still crying just as hard. I snapped my fingers and said “Ella, you are forgiven! It is done just that quickly because you asked Jesus”. 

She said “OK." 

As we were driving home she was still crying, full of regret and disappointment. This spoke to me so clearly about my own sin and forgiveness. 

God loves me so and already knows the stuff I try to hide from Him or pretend doesn’t exist. Even though He is sad in my sin or disobedience, He probably suppresses a smile as I come to Him and ask for forgiveness. Immediately, He grants my desire to be clean and whole again; then He lets His smile show freely in an outpouring of love. But I hang on to the sorrow and regret and disappointment and shame. I continue to cry over the same things I have been forgiven. 

As I continued to drive home, overflowing with love for my daughter and smiling widely in the front seat, I was so blessed by my Savior’s love for me and this truth that He shared with me today!

-----

Thank you Tanya.

Happy Mother's Day, 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.”


Kids in the Mix - Marriage Monday

It’s Marriage Monday and I am able to hop in and share this week.

As most of us “Add Kids to the Mix,” Marriage Monday is expanding to cover the topic, Kids.

I recently finished writing a talk for MOPS, about raising kids: Raising Kid’s to Integrity and Faith. It was a wonderful process to work through and today I want to share one of the” tines of a fork” (I use a fork as an exemplar) which I share in that talk.

I believe that as parents if we are intentional about five different areas, we can raise our kids with enormous success in a challenging world to live in integrity and faith.

So let’s get started. This is one of my favorites:

Last weekend was Home Coming. The Home Coming Dance was Saturday night and all of my daughter’s friends, were going. My daughter, a Junior, was not. I can’t tell you how this still pains me today. She missed out on a rite of passage, she wanted to be asked by a boy but wasn’t and she sat at home. To make matters worse were the photos of her friends on Facebook the next day. Ouch!

So what can a parent do to encourage a girl’s fragile self-esteem?

BE SPONTANEOUS.

Saturday arrived and all her friends would be trying on dresses, working on makeup and truly I am thrilled for them but, I had a plan of my own.

I told my daughter to get dressed that we were heading out on a day of adventure.

Let me share with you here that I didn’t have the time to spend all day away from my work but my daughter’s emotional health was way more important.

Imported Photos 00006So, we jumped in the car and we were off. We headed to the local mountain community of Julian, CA. Near this quaint town; we stopped at an apple orchard and picked a couple bags of apples. My daughter had never had this experience. We had a blast and there was a ton of things to observe and we chatted about anything and everything. Then we drove on down the road toward the town. Off to the side of the road, I spotted four horses grazing near the fence. I swerved over, parked the car and said to my surprised daughter, “Get out.”

 

Imported Photos 00017 We proceeded to pet the horses and feed them several of the apples we just picked. Now if you know my girl, horses are God's gifts to girls. Just to be around them my daughter is filled with wonder and joy. Then on top of it all, to feed them apples...... pure bliss.

Back in the car, we headed toward the town, drove around, then added our name to the list of a completely charming country restaurant to be seated for lunch. We walked to a candy shop, purchased a bag. Had lunch comprised of everything fattening and just enjoyed the sure adventure.

Imported Photos 00028 On the way home we spotted wild burrows and at least 100 wild turkeys near the river. It was a completely spontaneous adventure that she will never forget, nor will I. We arrived home late in the day tired but filled with memories we will treasure.

Now, I understand that a day with mom is not the same as a dance with a boy. But, I had hours in the car to casually affirm who she is. She is a daughter of the Most High God and that He has a plan for her life and to not rush things. To remember how she is loved by her family and her wacky mom who takes her on crazy adventures. I reminded her that I have prayed and prayed for her future boyfriend and then on day, husband and God is preparing him now for the day they will meet. And it will far surpass what she missed on Saturday night.

She hugged me as she shuffled off to bed. “It was a great day Mom. Thank you.”

Be spontaneous! Be intentional. It builds memories that will last a lifetime and carry them through dark days of doubt. And they will become men and women of integrity and faith.

How have you been spontaneous with your kids. I SO want to hear your stories. I hope I can learn a few new things from you.

Be blessed, Lynn

Don’t forget on Monday, October 3rd to stop in for our BIG launch and challenge. I have a challenge that will take your marriage to the next level of love, respect and can change everything. See you then.


Parent's Do You Help or Hinder Your Kids?

Teendriving
Some of you know that my 16-year-old daughter became a licensed driver in June. In California, the teen driver’s license is a provisional license. There are several conditions a driver must meet to drive legally. 

One provision particularly is creating some challenges in the Donovan home. But it also developing a young woman of character. It is also bringing into sharp focus my willingness to step up to be a parent of exception. Stick with me because by the end of this article it is my hope you will see parenting in a new light. 

Provision: For the first 12 months of driving, a minor may not transport passengers who are under 20 years of age. 

If cited for this infraction, you lose your driving privileges until age 18. 

My daughter has had her license now for only three months and she’s been pressured by her friends at school to drive them around. Pick them up and “Not tell your mom.” 

What is even more disappointing to me is other drivers my daughter’s age are given permission by their parents to break this law and allow their teen to drive friends for only a “short drive home.” In fact, this kind of thing is more like the standard practice and kids like my daughter, are the exception. 

So, this is how it plays out in real life: 

Sunday night: 

"Mom, do you think you could pick up my friend (her best friend) in the morning. She needs a ride to school. Last time she walked, it took her an hour. "

I will state here that my daughter’s friend doesn’t ask for rides often and I understand their situation as her mom is a single working parent. That kind of life is very difficult and I try to help out because I know the struggles they face. I also know that her walking route is scary and I wouldn’t want my daughter to be walking there alone. 

However, the reality of this situation is that I will need to get dressed, drive to the other side of town, pick up her friend, driver her to school all the while my daughter will be driving separately to school, as she needs her car for after school activities. 

So I agreed to pick up her friend. I will be honest, I wasn’t exactly enthusiastic about this but agreed to help out. 

Now it wasn’t until this morning that it hit me and I said to Caitie, “You asked me to pick up your friend because you didn’t want to sneak around and pick her up yourself, didn’t you?” 

She nodded shyly. 

You see, my daughter was in a quandary. She loves and cares for her friend and was desperate that she should not walk alone to school. Yet she honestly didn’t want to pick her up and go against our wishes. She came to me, asking me to save her. To help her do the right thing. 

The message here is this: I was willing to be inconvenienced and do something that was entirely NOT my responsibility to help my daughter make the right choice. 

I wonder how many times we as parents, set down the rules, place expectations upon our kids and then never help them to meet them. Parenting is inconvenient. It is unfair and time consuming. But, if you want to raise children who have integrity and respect for the laws and rules that govern their lives, we must FIRST be willing to back them up FULLY. 

I tell my daughter to use me as her excuse.

  • “Tell your friends your mean mom said you can’t go.”
  • “I don’t care if it’s late at night, if you are even a bit uncomfortable at a friend’s house, call me and I will pick you up. No questions, no anger and no hesitation. I will get up and come for you.”
  • I offer to drive other kids. I want to know my daughter’s friends. Where they are going. Where they will be.
  • I have an open invitation to her friends to hang at our house. This summer it was my idea to have Hot tub Fridays here at the Donovan house. I supervised. The kids hung out here on Friday nights instead of stumbling into trouble. 

We must make the effort to help our kids meet the expectations we set and help them fully to navigate the challenges in their path and to do the right thing. Often it’s at our expense. 

Are you willing to be inconvenienced? Take action to help when it the situation is clearly not your responsibility? Are you willing to read between the lines and hear your child asking you to help them do the right thing? 

Pray for each of your children by name, every day. If you aren’t praying for them, who is? Be blessed, Lynn


Raising Kids and Back to School

Caitie Junior First day of schoolSchool started today (Wedsnesday) at the Donovan Clan home. As I write this, I just watched my daughter get into the car and drive off for her first day as a junior. 

I waved.

She waved in return. 

Then she was off.

I stood in the driveway. I didn’t cry or worry about her day. I didn’t feel sad (well perhaps a tiny bit melancholy). 

I prayed. 

O Lord, 

Take care of her today. Protect her as she drives. Help her to get into her parking spot with easy. Lord, help her to locate her classrooms and be on time. I ask that she finds a friend in each class and I also ask that you have prepared new friends for her to meet. Father, please choose her friends wisely that they would be kids with Godly character and a good influence on my daughter. 

Lord, as always send angels to walk with her today. Protect her from evil spirits and evil people. Make her smile. Let her see You in some way today. Reveal your love to her in a profound and impactful way. Also Lord, more than anything remind her that she is a daughter of the Most High God. That her identity and security is solely in You. That you have her back. Show her the lies the enemy speaks and let her reject them soundly. 

God give her confidence, wisdom, and joy. Let her laugh out loud with joy and share a smile with someone who needs hope. 

Finally Lord, let this year be the best year yet. Open her heart more and more to You. Speak your wisdom into her and help her to make choices that are wise and that bring honor to the name of Your Son. Love on her with a passion that leaves her changed and growing ever closer to You. 

In the name of Jesus, I ask. Amen.

 

To all of the parents who stop in here, I have a few words about raising kids. 

Pray, pray, and pray some more. Then watch what God will do in the heart of your children. 

Happy back to school. Hugs, Lynn


Donovan Clan Is Dating

Some interesting things are happening in the Donovan Clan house. And today I want to share with you some of my thoughts about all of it. I also will acknowledge that some of you will disagree with me and some of you I might offend. However, I also know there a many of us moms and dads who are raising children in a mismatched home who are dealing with my situation or will be there soon. So let’s have a go at it shall we? 

Dating…. 

Teenhand My daughter turned sixteen in June. Yesterday she went to the movies with a boy (a guy, in her vernacular and a smart one too, she says *grin*) 

How do we guide our children through this critical period of growing up? This is an especially sensitive topic when you are living in a spiritually mismatched home. And to compound our confusion and angst, we receive little or conflicting teaching from our Christian leaders. 

I hold some great convictions about dating as you might imagine because more than anything, I desire my son and daughter to marry a Christian. 

But, what I’m going to share with you might be surprising. 

First, I find that most of us parents establish a mandate that dating can commence once a child turns 16 years of age. I disagree. 

Let me ask you this. Let’s assume that today your child is 15 and socially immature, painfully shy, or reserved. Tomorrow they are 16 and emotionally unprepared to date. What makes 16 a magic number? I would suggest that as parents, we should be so in tune with our teenager that we know when they are responsibly and maturely ready to date. If you aren’t, there is a degree of communication that is missing. 

Sixteen is a good target age but what really matters is that you “know” your child so well that if they are ready to go to the movie with a boy at 15 ½ you are okay with it or that you are not okay with it and your child understands your reasoning. Leading up to this decision time insure that there have been numerous discussions between you and your teen and a meeting of the minds. I found this to be true with my daughter and she was in agreement that she wasn’t ready. Also, if they aren’t ready at 16, don’t let them walk out the door into a situation for which they are emotionally unprepared. 

Secondly, I am not against her dating a non-believer right now. 

Shock and gasp! 

I know, I know…. But this is why. These are my daughter’s teen years. This is when she will step slowly and gently into developing her ideals for her perfect man. It’s in these years where she is not looking to marry that she will discover what kind of guy she likes. Uncover the character traits she values. She will discover that she is able to put down boundary lines in a relationship and at some point will understand the consequences when a boundary is crossed. 

She will learn about the vast differences between men and women and start to understand how it takes effort. She will also discover that belief systems affect so many, many choices. Such as movie and television selections as well as friends and the kind of parties she likes and those that make her uncomfortable. 

All of this discovery is supposed to happen when they still have us, parents, around to gently guide them. And may I stress the word, GENTLY. 

Before my daughter even started dating, I made it clear that any guy she really likes will be expected to come around the house and just hang out. Not so we can make snap-judgments or scare the poor kid but to just be together and get to know him and he us. You can learn so much from just being together. And even more critical, we usually can see if something isn’t quite right about the relationship. This is a starting place. Make your home a safe place so your kid’s are comfortable to bring around their friends. 

It's also in this period of teenaged years that we play a cirital roll to help our kids with choices, give gentle advice and even sometimes be sturn for their protection.

We have the privilege to guide our kids in this formative time so that when they leave and are seeking to marry, they have firm convictions of the character, goals, values and beliefs they want in their spouse. 

I know my viewpoint is contrary to Covenant Dating which was popular in the 90’s. But, over time and some experiences of friends, I’m not sold on that perspective. 

Third, I am convinced the years of praying for my children’s future spouse and the in-laws will be honored by my Lord. So, if you are not praying, by name, for each of your children every morning, begin today. 

So last night when my daughter came home I looked at her with a grin and said, “So, how was it?” 

“Fine.” (Typical teen response. I wanted to hear all the tiny details, so I pried further.) 

“Did you hold hands?” Her mouth tipped up on the ends into a shy smile. 

A nod. 

“Did you kiss?” 

Nod. She’s trying not to be embarrassed. I’m trying not to giggle. 

I smiled at her. She blushed. We hugged. You know what? At least she is sharing with me her experience. She trusts me. All is right with the world. 

I am far from the perfect parent and perfect wife. Let me say that again…. Far from perfect. But, I have a heart full of love, God’s Word and prayer power. That is all I need to guide this young woman through dating and to one day a marriage to a believer. (O, Lord, let it be so. In Jesus name. Amen) 

Be Blessed, Lynn