15 posts categorized "Raising Godly Kids"

About Our Homes...The Heavenly Perspective

Hi friends, Ann here.Sparkly nest


Today I want to share something that God showed me about the homes within this community: the Spiritually Unequal Marriage community. These homes are deeply special to Him, and although they are unconventional in Christian terms, what He showed me is that they 'sit under an open heaven'.

That's a great promise; I'll take it! But what does that mean?

To give you some background, most of you will know that my boys are teens and I have struggled to bring faith to them. Not all of us struggle with that, but some do. For those of us who do, it can feel overwhelming. Overwhelming, that is, until we have one of those moments where we stop and say "Nope, God's got this!"

A couple of days ago, against this backdrop of yet again wondering about my boys' faith, God showed me a picture that illustrated my home. It was pretty cool, and it cheered me along so much that I share it now with a smile.

What I saw was a nest, and inside sat two baby birds. “Those are your two boys,” I felt God say. These two babies had their mouths wide open, waiting to be filled.

The nest didn’t look a plain brown nest. Instead it had heavenly sparkles around it, within it, and above it. I sensed these sparkles were diamonds.

Then, in contrast, I saw a different house. That house was an actual house. It had a roof, thick walls, but its walls were also made of diamonds. I sensed my house was the nest; the other house was another kind of believer’s house. This other kind was one where there was a roof, where both parents were actively bringing their children up in faith, providing safe cover together (illustrated by the roof and walls). I actually sensed God was saying that my home will look like that eventually but, for now, it's the nest version.

Each house had its own strengths; neither was better than the other. They were both beautiful. In fact, both were adorned with Heavenly jewels (the diamonds). However, they looked totally different to each other, so to compare them would be like comparing apples and oranges. 

Back to the nest -- The SUM home. This kind of home can seem roof-less, lacking protection. It might appear far too exposed to the elements. For example, media might come into our home that we hope wouldn’t, or other influences. The diamond-walled house in the other scenario with its thick roof and walls appears safer to the eye. But the truth is, our own homes have safety too: It takes the form of an open heaven above us; and a God who takes care of His wee birds (Matthew 6:26). 

An open heaven was what the prophet Isaiah cried out for in desperation:

“Oh, that you would rend the heavens and come down, that the mountains would tremble before you!” Isaiah 64:1 (NIV)

Friends, I love that image of God rending the heavens open above us and bringing His presence. Like Isaiah, we can say to God, "Oh please, rend the heavens, come down into my home, and let all the mountains I’m facing tremble before you!" 

HeavensIn our open nest, while we gaze at the stars, our beautiful babies (children, teenagers, adult children) sit under that open heaven with a protective parent -- God -- hovering above them.
The fact we’ve built our house with such care on the rock of Jesus Christ looks something like the carefully crafted nest they now sit in. It means they have a great foundation as well as an exciting Heavenly life directly above. The Spirit of God hovers and broods, like a protective bird of prey. 

Finally, in this nest picture it's worth noticing that the baby birds’ mouths were wide open. This tells me that our children – The children of this SUM Nation – will surely open their mouths and receive God’s food. Perhaps it will be God who feeds them directly, more than us parents.

So with this beautiful picture, I rest. And I hope this post helps you along in that sense of rest too. As I said earlier, God's got this.

How are those of you who are parents finding it, bringing your children up in faith? If you'd like prayer for this, post a comment and our community will pray for you.

Ann


The Attack Of The Grumble Bugs

Hello SUM family, Tiffany here! Family Photo Collage

Happiest of Thanksgivings from the Carter Crew!

The holidays are just around the corner. One of my favorites of the whole year is Thanksgiving Day. I love coming together with friends and family while sharing a meal and memories. I am bringing out my Tablecloth of Thanks after it being in hiding for 3 years. (You can read Lynn's post about this tradition here). I can't wait to see what everyone writes this year!

Thanksgiving Day is a wonderful time to reflect upon the goodness of the Lord and what He has done for us. As much as I love this holiday, I must admit, this is something I struggle to implement in my daily life.

At the ages of 5 and 6, my children are soaking in behaviors like a sponge. They are looking for cues from mom and dad every day. How we act and react make a lasting impression on them. They model our behavior.

Lately, I have seen so much complaining from my children. It has been a rough time in the Carter household for me. Hearing my children complain more than give thanks has become a "pet peeve" of mine. I am really struggling to show my children kindness and compassion. Lord help me!

As I really seek the Lord in how I can model Jesus to my family, I am able to see more clearly - I have set an attitude of ungratefulness in my home. ::GULP::

Do everything without grumbling or arguing, so that you may become blameless and pure, “children of God without fault in a warped and crooked generation.” Then you will shine among them like stars in the sky (Philippians 2:14-15)

It is natural for us to see the negative. Oh how easy it is to grumble and complain! How beautiful it is when conversing with someone who emanates gratitude. I love the genuine smile on their faces. Paul is right when he says, "you will shine among them like stars," they just seem to glow. They are people you want to be around. It truly is contagious. 

So, how do we get rid of the grumble bugs in our home?

Rejoice always, pray continually, give thanks in all circumstances; for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus. (1 Thessalonians 5:16-18).

Rejoice in the Lord always. I will say it again: Rejoice! Let your gentleness be evident to all. The Lord is near. Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and minds in Christ Jesus. Finally, brothers and sisters, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable - if anything is excellent or praiseworthy - think about such things. (Philippians 4:4-8)

We must remember that we do not wrestle with flesh or blood (Ephesians 6). Our weapons of warfare are praise and thanksgiving. If the enemy can distract us with the grumble bugs than he can get a foothold in our lives and homes. I picture it like trying to get rid of fleas. It is not impossible but a LOT of work goes into eliminating them completely.

I will give thanks to the Lord because of his righteousness; I will sing the praises of the name of the Lord Most High. (Psalm 7:17)

Let's talk in the comments. What are some ways you've gotten rid of the grumble bugs? I'm sure I'm not the only one who would really love some input, especially how you taught or modeled the attitude of gratitude to your children.


What To Do About Halloween?

SUMites,

image from www.spirituallyunequalmarriage.comFor years here at SUM, I've written this post every October. And now after raising my children, I'm asking this question again. Most of you are unaware, but I've been in training, learning how to pray to help those who were traumatized and wounded through Satanic Ritual Abuse. What I've learned about the demonic realm is truly horrific. If I shared with you what I've learned about what they do to children, you would vomit.

Sorry, just being real.

So, I struggle in my heart to know what to write because this day glorifies a being that is so evil, so wicked and filled with hate for children and Christians, I cringe in revulsion.

But I know that on my refrigerator is an invitation to a local neighborhood gathering, that ensues prior to trick-or-treat. And I'll likely attend to spend some time with our neighbors. And oh, my goodness, the costumes. Some of them are just so cute, clever and fun.... some are scary. 

The way I see it, we must keep a sober mind about what happens in the wee hours of the night on October 31st. (The witchcraft is intense. I scarcely can sleep.) And make this season a time of teaching. Help our children to be aware the darkness is real and to help them to overcome their fear and call on the name of Jesus. We must check their candy bags. 

If you walk the neighborhood with your kids, pray over it. Cover the people and homes with the love of Jesus. Bless each home you approach with an awareness of Jesus. Bless the kids. Bless those who come to your door. Release the MOST POWERFUL GOD of the universe into your world this week.

I love you. March on SUMITES... We WIN! Hugs, Lynn


A Community Question

Hi Lynn!
Can you post this question to get feedback from the SUM community (this has been on my heart for awhile now)??:

- how do you handle praying aloud with children when your spouse feels uncomfortable or threatened by it?

Thank you!
Hillary

Warriors, help a SUMite out. Share your successes and advice in the comments!!

For more helpful tips to raise your children in faith, check out our book. Interestingly, this title is having a resurgence currently and is selling successfully. God is good!

The advice and perspective in this book, is true, it's real and it is encouraging. Hugs. Lynn

Raising Godly Kids


The Wicked Marriage Killer

Slay The Marriage KillersWhat is the Wicked Marriage Killer?

Many years ago, my mother-in-law looked at my father-in-law and quoted me to him, “Just deal with it, Caitie.”

I bet my mouth hung open. It became obvious that Carole, was teasing and poking back at her dear husband with words I’d said to my then, hmmmm I guess ten-year-old daughter.

Gulp!

We decide we are going to handle everything!

Deal with it!

I’ll just handle it!

I’ll just do it myself and then I know it will get done and done right!

I will tell you, those words stung even thought MIL didn’t mean them to be harsh. And right now, I apologize to my daughter, Caitie, for telling her to “Just deal.” Ouch!

Although there is wisdom in teaching our children there are issues that can’t be changed. We need to equip them with coping and overcoming skills.

Thinking about marriage killers brought that old MIL memory back to me. Oh, how I like to “handle things.” I’ll handle the job. I’ll just handle the kid’s teachers!!  I’ll handle my marriage. I’ve got a handle on my church commitments and I’ll handle the money. I’ll handle my life and just make everything happen according to the gospel of Lynn. Yikes!

Attitudes like this may make you feel in control most of the time but what happens when you can’t handle anymore? When you hit the wall and then nothing is handled?

Am I speaking to anyone out there?

Oh, my dear friends, indeed, we need to take responsibility for many things but what I find it that in our society, the expectation of many is to take on far more than is possible to effectively manage. And that is the wicked marriage killer.

Over commitment.

We cram so much into our lives that we leave zero margin for the unexpected. No space to “date” our spouse. We slam meals together, pack the car, throw the lunches in backpacks and then off for the day. Rushing home, homework, church work, dishes, and laundry.

We don’t get enough sleep because we stay up watching mindless tv and then up again early the next day for another round. Time with our spouse as a couple is rare and rushed and it’s no wonder in five years you look at each other and think, “Wait, what happened to the fun spouse I married?”

Just callin’ it real here!

This thinking is wrong. People change as they grow older and have children together. There must be maturity and understanding that your spouse will not be the same person in five years. AND as a couple you must insist on margin in your marriage and in your life. Don’t over commit to an education, raising small children, restoring a home or building a new business all at the same time. It’s a recipe for disaster! Something has to give.

Talk to one another. Define a date night and declare it holy. Nothing can take its place. Choose to insert margin in your daily schedule. I know my friend Joanne and her family were so tired of the endless running and schedule demands of sports practice, school, ballet, and everything, so much so, that they took a sabbatical year. They kids didn’t participate in anything. It was the best year of their lives.

Talk to Jesus. Ask Him what must be a priority and what can be tossed out. In my early years, about every six months, Jesus would tell me to prune things out. I had a tendency to over commit. When I did, it created joy and peace. And who doesn’t want more of that in their lives.

Thoughts? Hugs, Lynn


You CAN Raise Your Kids to Faith as Adults - Read This!

IMG_0749SUMites,

Recently on our Facebook page, Patty posted a question: What topics would you like to see covered in future posts. Today I want to tackle a topic and perhaps will take on a few more in the month of June.

There were a ton of inquiries about raising children to faith. Gang, Dineen and I raised our kids to faith and if we can do it, so can you. And we wrote a GREAT book with powerful training, instruction and it’s filled with scriptures, truths, and hope. Here is a story from Raising Godly Kids in a Spiritually Mismatched Home.

(Lynn) My daughter was bullied in High school. It went on for several months and she was a wreck and so was I. But I am a praying mama and when mamas pray, heaven listens. I’m convinced that the astonishing outcome of this terrible situation was because of the prayers I prayed. Here is what I prayed from pages 128 & 129:

Lord, My Holy God,

This very moment I’m asking for your Presence to surround Caitie. Lord, go with her into the halls of her high school. Father, in the name of Jesus I take authority from the enemy who is speaking lies into my daughter’s heart and mind. I renounce any lies that my daughter believes such as she is insignificant. I bind the enemy who has told her that she is ugly, stupid, or a fool. O Holy Spirit, rush with this car and remove thoughts of insecurity or fear. Lord, I bind this boy at her school who out of his own fears and insecurity pours words of harm into my daughter. Lord, I surround him and through your power he is unable to speak any evil into my daughter or to other students about my daughter. Move in his life to reveal your love for him this day.

Powerful Lord, my Father, Abba, now I hold up my daughter, Caitie, and in place of the lies, I now ask you to affirm her. Place your truth in her. Let others, including this boy, only say things that are truthful and uplifting about her and to her. When this young man hears her name, change his thoughts toward her to be good and not evil. When her name is spoken, prompt him to affirm and build up her character. Lord, you speak through her friends to break the lies and pour into my girl your truth. Father speak gently into my girl and remind her that she is beautiful. She is a daughter of the King. She is confident in her identity. She is a believer in truth and justice. Affirm her worth and let her see herself as you view her.

Affirm, protect, love on her with passion and reveal yourself to her daily. I pray this in the name of Jesus and by His authority and power. Amen.

Buy the book to hear what happened to the bully and my daughter. PS. When you buy the book, all the funds go to our ministry. It’s true!!!!

My daughter will be 23 years old on June 17th. She is in the middle of her Master’s Program at Perdue University. She graduated a year ago from a Christian college that she chose to attend. I didn’t pick it. She did.

I asked her a few weeks ago while we sat on the lake shore, fishing, “Caitie, now that you have had a college experience at a large, secular, University, and you can compare the two, how do you feel about your Christian college experience? Was it right for you?”

“Yes, mom. I’m so glad I had that experience and I will always have my faith. It’s very important to me.”

And remember while we were there is was my daughter who said to me and her grandmother, “God is so good that I would love Him even if I never received anything in return.”

SUMite moms, it’s not easy. It’s all up to you and you must do all the work. But my dear friends, it’s worth every minute, every frustration, every battle, and every prayer you mutter. It’s worth a life for the Kingdom and it’s not any life. These are the babies God gave you and He knew you had everything you need to raise your children to faith, even in a spiritually mismatched home.

Get the book. Read the book. And know that I am your prayer warrior right behind you because we will not lose one of these who have been assigned to us. In Jesus name. AMEN

Hugging you moms as the battle rages hot! Swing your blade, armor up, and tell the devil, “YOU CAN’T HAVE MY KIDS!”

Love, Lynn

Raising Godly Kids

Most recent review from Amazon (PS. whoever wrote this, THANK YOU!)

Honestly, I thank the Lord for this book! It takes a heartfelt approach to come alongside women struggling to hold on to their faith in the face of many fears. The scripture references are direct and given as tools to recall during dark moments to help build your faith. The exercises at the end of the chapters create a space to take knowledge from the head and apply it to the heart. The written prayers are so intimate, you can tell that these women have labored in God's presence for the reader. Appendices are informative and useful to use. Most importantly, these women are Godly women and understand that spiritually widowed women must continue to honor their husbands and in each chapter they provide encouragement on how to do that. Their writing style is honest and personal. Reading this book reminds me of God's love for me and I definitely recommend it to anyone that find themselves on this path of their journey...you aren't alone 😊!

Next topic: How to keep hope alive even after years pass.


Wisdom, Wonder, A Few Balloons, and Mustangs

Hello SUMite Nation!

Caitie Lynn Corn Lake May 14 2018
Me and Caitie, Corn Lake, May 14, 2018

Colorado was awesome. I cherished the time with my mom and daughter on Mother’s Day and my birthday. Below are a few photos. I also want to share a beautiful word that came from my daughter while we sat on the lake edge with fishing polls in hand.

Because God is so good, I would love Him and serve Him even if I didn’t receive anything in return. —Caitie Donovan

SUMites, have hope for your children! Everything you do to pour faith and Jesus into their lives may come up before you while you sit on a lake shore and a child your bore shares from her heart and faith, something profound and moving. I nearly wept when Caitie said this because I haven’t entertained a posture such as this prior to now.

*****

Patty Tower & Baby May 2018Also, I want to say Congratulation to Patty Tower on the birth of Keenan Gabriel who arrived on May 14 which is my birthday. I feel like an Aunt already. Thank you, Patty, for the amazing ministry you provide on our SUM Facebook Page. I pray you are recuperating and healing quickly. 

*****

I don’t share often at Spiritually Unequal Marriage, the amazing ways that God speaks to me through Mylar balloons. But today, I want to share some of those photos and stories. I’m overwhelmed at the lengths the Lord will go to say, I LOVE YOU, to His Daughters and Sons. I pray you are encouraged to understand and search out the exhibits of the Lord discern how He is speaking love into your life.

On May 8th I was scheduled to leave California to travel to Grand Junction, Colorado. So, the day prior, I was expectant that the Lord might just send me a birthday wish through a Mylar balloon. For those of you who don’t know, I often receive Mylar balloons while on my walk-n-prays in the vineyards of Temecula. Balloons will arrive in many different aspects but mostly while I’m on my walks.

Happy Birthday May 7 2018While on the phone to my son and granddaughters, I was walking my usual trail and I spotted something shimmering ahead. I said to my son, “Brad, I think I see a Mylar balloon ahead.”

“Ya, Mom, what’s with all these balloons?”

“God speaks to my heart and sends His love and affection to me this way.”

As I walk nearer to retrieve the balloon I say, “I bet it says, ‘Happy Birthday’ on it because I’m leaving in the morning and He (God) wants to wish me a Happy Birthday.”

I pick it up. Yep, what does it say? Well look for yourself. (see photo)

Can I just insert a word here: AMAZING!

However, a few days later, the near impossible took place. My mom, Caitie and I decided to spend the day searching for Wild Mustangs. In the mountains about three hours drive from my mom’s home, wild horses roam free. If you are nuts enough to travail the dirt roads you might catch a glimpse of these allusive but regal beauties. (Caitie and I love horses. We were determined.)

We head out with bottles of water, some vague directions, and a ton of hope that we might catch a glimpse of the ponies.

After traversing miles of dirt roads, in a wilderness of BLM land with not a single home or any man-made structure except for the road, we finally stopped in defeat in a ravine to take a little break. Ahem, “that” kind of break. While stopped in the middle of the dried-up ravine, I spot something shinny and red up on the hill in front of the car.

I bounded up the slope and as I approached, I just knew it would be a heart-shaped Mylar balloon waiting for me OUT IN THE MIDDLE OF NO WHERE!!

Take a look.

Found May 12 2018 Little Book Wild Mustangs
See the cougar print just below it?

Hilside May 12 2018 Wild Mustang May 12 2018 Red Heart Shaped Balloon Wild Mustangs
All in all, over the past four weeks I received four of these heavenly communiques. The birthday balloon has balloons upon the balloon.

SAY WHAT???

God is so good that I would love Him even if I never received anything in return.

Have a great weekend my friends. Go on a treasure hunt with the Lord and uncover the love notes that surround you. 

Wild mustangs 1
The Paint horse on left is protecting her foal as we approached.
image from https://s3.amazonaws.com/feather-client-files-aviary-prod-us-east-1/2018-05-17/f61d9e7c-b02f-43c6-97a0-924055b459e1.png
Beautiful and free
Mustangs 3
Regal animals, loved by God... and us!


Thank you for sharing life with me. I love you so much. Lynn


What Our Kid's Think - Part II

Survey with WMToday, I want to answer more questions that were asked through our survey: Laurie F. asked:

Q: I would love to know how adult children who grew up in mis-matched homes feel about all of the things we deal with. (Going to church and activities only with mom, not being able to pray/sing/share at home when Dad's around, worrying that Dad is not going to Heaven, etc.) I would also like to know how to answer my daughter's constant questions about those same topics.

The following is an informal Q&A between me and my daughter, Caitie, age 22:

ME: Do you worry about your Dad’s salvation?

Caitie: Yes, I worry. I do understand that my Dad is very stubborn, and he has made his choice. And yes, I’m sad about it. But I have given it over to God.

ME: Do you still pray for his salvation?

Caitie: Yes. I found it interesting that when I attended BIOLA (Christian University) and the subject of parents would come up, it would make others uncomfortable to talk about my parents differing faiths.

ME: That’s interesting. I didn’t know that. Why would it make them uncomfortable?

Caitie: Because most of the students came from two-parent believing homes. (This is true of our church experience.) It was difficult to talk to others about it and my friends would avoid talking about the challenges about being a kid in a mismatched home. However, my close friends and I would talk about it. Mom, every home has challenges. One of my roommates struggled with Father issues and he was a believer.

ME: Many, many people struggle with “Father” issues. I know that I have in the past. The devil works tirelessly to destroy the “Father.” When earthly fathers fail, it destroys our perception of a loving heavenly Father who loves and has only goodness for His kids.

Caitie: That’s true.

ME: Did you ever feel uncomfortable around your Dad about being a believer?

Caitie: No, not about my faith. Again, he was good about not stifling me and my belief. What was uncomfortable was the arguments between the two of you.

ME: Ouch. You know that most of our arguments weren’t actually about faith. It was just the dynamic and our own unhealed wounding from our childhoods, right? We’ve talked about that before.

Caitie: Yes, Mom. I do.

ME: But what is really cool, Caitie, is that your dad and I are still growing. Even after 25 years of marriage we are still finding healing and understanding. And I have prayed that all the mistakes, missteps, and the iniquity of our blood lines, are not passed along to you and your brother. I have faith that your future relationship will be free from some of the things we started with in our marriage.

Caitie: I know mom. Okay, I’ve gotta go study. I love you.

ME: Love you baby girl. Bye


Q&A From The SUM Survey (What Our Kid's Think)

Survey with WMToday I want to answer another question that came from the SUM survey. Laurie F. asked:

Q: I would love to know how adult children who grew up in mis-matched homes feel about all of the things we deal with. (Going to church and activities only with mom, not being able to pray/sing/share at home when Dad's around, worrying that Dad is not going to Heaven, etc.) I would also like to know how to answer my daughter's constant questions about those same topics.

So, I decided to call my daughter, Caitie, age 22 who now lives in Indiana. I asked her these questions and here is her response. She gave me permission to share.

I asked Caitie: So how do you feel now that you are an adult and can look back upon your childhood, about going to church?

A: Mom, many of my perceptions and answers are specific to our individuality and family dynamic. (She’s a Com major, grin.) Because I have a great relationship with my father, I’ve never felt stifled about faith. I didn’t feel shame and, so I didn’t need to make intentional decisions to hide my faith. I do know and understand that is something that other kids have to walk through. And it must be very challenging.

I did feel a weird pressure to attend church. Dad would only go to church when I went to church. When I didn’t go (once in a while in high school when she was in a play, etc.) I would feel personally responsible to attend. I felt pressure to create some magical family ideal, all of us sitting together as a family, in church. I felt responsible to you, Mom to make you happy.

ME: I said to Caitie, you know that we have discussed this before and I have asked forgiveness for issues or events that made you feel responsible when you weren’t. And I also appreciate your love and heart for doing that for me, even if it was not a perfect situation.

Caitie: When I went away to college, that was when I began to attend church for myself. And I knew it was for me. I loved my church. And I’m still searching for a good one now in my new location.

ME: Caitie, finding church, as an adult, it is also true of families with two believing spouses. Many kids raised in church go because it’s their parents church. They move away and then they attend church for themselves. (Inset note from ME, Lynn. This is one reason we fight, insist, and work diligently to take our children to church. It’s important and it sticks when they are older.)

Caitie: Yes, that’s true.

ME: Caitie, don’t give up on church. The enemy does this to so many people. It’s difficult to find the right church and you must try out several, sometimes many, before you find the right one. And it’s exhausting to keep visiting churches. The devil knows this and will influence you to go to every “wrong” church so that you simply give up and stop attending. DON’T GIVE UP.

Caitie: I won’t.

Train up a child in the way he should go, and when he is old he will not depart from it. -Proverbs 22:6

Next week I’ll share more of my daughter’s responses. I hope this encourages all of you who are raising your children in faith.

Next question: Do you worry about your Dad’s salvation?


Advice To Those Who Are Dating An Unbeliever - Please Share Your Thoughts.

Rings SUM logo 10 2017SUMites, did you read some of the comments from last Monday’s post about friendships? Man, o man…. Good stuff. And you know what I loved most about the thread of conversations?

The LOVE. The love, compassion and caring in those words to one another. Thank you. Bless you!!!

So, I want to do this again today:

I often receive emails from men and women who are contemplating a relationship or marriage to an unbelieving partner. Answering these emails is not as easy as you might think.

Firstly, the writer has been in the relationship for a significant period of time. Translation: She is already in love. She feels a commitment and her heart and life is fully engaged with this man.

Secondly: Most who write me were raised in faith and they already know what the Bible says in 2 Corinthians 6:14.

Third, they are seeking hope that their marriage will make it.

Let me share with you that I never write back condemningly. I was there once. I married my unbelieving spouse when I knew it was wrong. I knew what the Bible said.

But, I also think that if they could see what marriage and day-to-day living is really like when the “Honey Moon” phase ends and children arrive, they might be surprised.

So, today, would you share, with a loving and compassionate heart, your (prayer or observation) of the struggle you have faced in your mismatched marriage. Would you also share how God met you there and helped you through it or how He is helping you through it now?

Make time to do this in the comments. It may change a life or marriage, even another SUM reader because you share how to walk through the challenge in victory.

I will start:

To my dear Sister in Christ. I know your heart and I also believe that love can overcome much and change the hearts of many. God has changed my heart. I also believed before marriage, that once my fiancé and I were married, it would be less than a year that he would discover Jesus and come to faith. My dearest sister that was more than 25 years ago.

I can’t tell you that you should or shouldn’t marry someone. You must take that question to the Lord, Jesus. But I can tell you that there are two common issues that become quite large and painful that you are likely to walk through in the years of a mismatched union.

Loneliness. You will do many things alone. You will feel alone often because of your different world views. Loneliness in marriage is a difficult path to walk out. It can be done with the love of Christ alive in you. But it is not the ideal of marriage and God wants for His children.

Children: I found that so much of my angst, fear and discord in marriage arrived when we had children. You will face the reality that their salvation and church experience will rest completely upon you. Can you stand up under that full responsibility? This will be a difficult road to navigate in your marriage and with your children who need spiritual guidance.

Today, I bless you to be filled with the love of God and that you seek His face for the destiny He has prepared for you. I believe that God chose a perfect spouse for each person who wants one. I pray you seek His face first and the right person will come to you. In Jesus name. AMEN

SUMites, share your wisdom. Share it kindly and share your life experience with difference to a young heart who needs love and honesty. Love, Lynn


Every Victory Begins With THIS!

Hi Family,

Who Am I SUMWe are a family. Being a part of something bigger than ourselves is part of our  spiritual DNA. We were created for connection. We were created to belong. To live in intimacy. Learning to love one another and learning to love our Father.

I’ve just returned from the Heaven Come conference. Three days filled with profound, life-altering worship and teaching that will live forever in my soul.

Attending an event for the Christian faith is an interesting experience. I wonder if you are like me in that you have attended many events that make you feel good about yourself and living for Jesus. However, you return home to the same-old-same-ole and quickly lose all the joy or hope that you came home with? Anyone relate?

However, each year that I attend this conference, something profound occurs. And this year I arrived home with such a powerful conviction to speak about identity.

IDENTITY.

Understanding our identity is everything to living in victory. So, I think that in the next few weeks, the Holy Spirit is urging me to lead all of us in learning about our identity.

Why?

Because out of our identity comes healing. Our understanding of our spiritual place in the Kingdom releases us into our destiny. Our identity is the core of our freedom, healing, hope and our future.

As we walk through identity, I also want to directly confront some of the societal issues that attack identity. Gender, sexuality, and more. I know these issues are controversial in the general public but also in the church. But right now, in our homes, we are trying to raise children to step into their God given calling and the enemy is doing everything to destroy them as men and women. Our spouses listens to the talking heads that shout absolute lies about who we are as people. And as SUMites, we are often shamed by our spouse who puts us down for believing in what they deem as a faith for the weak.

BUT let me be the voice of reason and truth. In the last several years, I have lived out of my full identity and I AM FREE. I am brave and I have helped others find their freedom. I have so much freedom and equipping to give the people of God. And I have insight to help you guide your children through love and not condemnation. I have wisdom, I believe, given by our Father to share how to walk in complete truth and faith in these modern days and handle the issues that confront the truths of God’s holy Word.

I also see our SUM community walking out of shame. Becoming free of condemnation and the need to “save” our spouse. Would you like to step out of shame? Would you like to silence the voice of confusion over sexual identity and know how to walk with others through this issues with love and hope?

Do you have a heart for those who are living in deception and fear? Are you living in fear and shame….. Well my dearest friend, GOD HAS HEARD YOUR PRAYERS. Let’s travel these next few weeks ahead and learn what is truth and how we can live and help our kids live in truth without being hateful or cruel.

And I ask all of you, SUMites, even if you ask the question of yourself, "Who am I" and you feel as though you have a firm identity in Christ, I ask you to walk this out because it may be that there are a few lies that remain hidden about who you are and whose you are that our Great God wants to bust wide open. 

God heals all and we are going to emerge from these weeks and guess what? Confusion will be banished. Love will be paramount. Our hearts will be filled with courage because we know the truth and truth will set you free. 

So, I enter this series with trembling and much prayer. It is scary to take a stand in social media for the Word of God but we are at a tipping point. We MUST learn the truth of our identity. We must walk in our true identity first and then we can help others discover their true identity. It’s in confronting the lies that our healing and healing of the world will happen.

Will you pray for me as I stand in the courage I’ve mustered up to share. Pray I am continually anointed by the Holy Spirit and all that I write is truth and wrapped in love.

What say you SUMites? Do you want to walk this difficult but needful path this season?

I love you. This next week is critical to launch into a the new season of God. Pray and seek His face. He has amazing assignments ahead for this new season and He wants us to be fully free and equipped to set in and behold the glory. Hugs, Lynn


Raising Up Generations

Generation (1)

Being the mother of a toddler and kindergartner can certainly keep me on my toes. I am so thankful for the grace of Jesus; He is so merciful - Knowing that I don’t always have to have it all together, that I can be perfectly imperfect in my efforts to be the best mom I can be. As many of the SUMites here have experienced; raising children in a spiritually mismatched household can throw in a set of challenges that other Christian families may not face.

By the time my daughter was born almost 6 years ago, it was evident that my husband was agnostic. I was so thankful that he gave me his blessing to raise our daughter (and now our 22-month-old son) as a Christian. He has gone as far as standing with me as our children were dedicated to the Lord at our church and participating in prayer time. While he supports me as I guide our children to follow Jesus, he has reiterated time and time again that he will not play an active role in shaping our children spiritually.

As a new wife and mother, I held onto hope that my husband would ‘come to his senses’, so to speak, and take on this leadership role. I placed unrealistic expectations upon him, when he had made it abundantly clear from the beginning that he would not be fulfilling the role of spiritual leader in our home. As you can imagine, and likely have experienced, this unfulfilled longing can leave one feeling unimportant and cast aside. My actions and words relayed to him that he was not measuring up as a husband and father, when what he needs to hear is that he is loved beyond measure just the way he is. It was only after pressing deeply into my relationship with the Lord to fill my every need that I could see this clearly.

My job as a mother is to love unconditionally and model to my children a loving relationship between husband and wife. If I am not allowing the Lord to set the precedence for my each and every day, to build me up and become the foundation for my life, then I am unable to be this example for my precious little ones. God is the ultimate father and spiritual leader. Who should I turn to with this longing than the source Himself? I came to a point in my walk where I was ready to allow God to work within me so that I could begin to be this Godly example, regardless of where my husband happens to be in his own journey.

The more I have delved into my walk with Christ, the more I have realized an amazing truth; the modeling of a God-fearing spirit to our children is important for generations to come. We can become hyper-focused on life’s current circumstances and our immediate surroundings, very much self-absorbed instead of God-absorbed. Let’s try to readjust our perspective to see that we are on a God-appointed mission to change the trajectory of entire familial lines. The Lord has sent you to be an influence in the lives of a line of people that had no prior recognition of Jesus Christ. This is a huge deal! The gift of eternity! Allow God to work on the heart of your spouse while you ‘train up your children in the way they should go’ (Proverbs 22:6)!

The following are a few verses that speak of the blessings that we pass to future generations when we are obedient to the Lord and his teachings:

Genesis 22: 17-18

I will certainly bless you. I will multiply your descendants beyond number, like the stars in the sky and the sand on the seashore. Your descendants will conquer the cities of their enemies. And through your descendants all the nations of the earth will be blessed—all because you have obeyed me.

Psalm 112: 1-3
Praise the 
Lord! How joyful are those who fear the Lord and delight in obeying his commands. Their children will be successful everywhere; an entire generation of godly people will be blessed. They themselves will be wealthy, and their good deeds will last forever.

Luke 1:49-50

For the Mighty One is holy, and he has done great things for me. He shows mercy from generation to generation to all who fear him.

I will continue steadfastly in this walk with my children, my husband at my side, with a hope in my heart that we, along with ALL our future descendants, will spend eternity together worshiping the King of Kings. It is my prayer that each SUMite comes to a place in his or her journey where fulfillment is found solely in Christ Jesus, not in another human being. If we continue to chase a mere man (or woman) to fill the role of our Messiah, then we will always be left feeling empty. Let us release all our need to control to our Father (Proverbs 19:21)! Allow God to bless you today, that you may lead your little ones to follow Him, and to sense a supernatural peace in your heart as you continue onward.

Raising Godly Kids in a Spiritually Mismatched Home (book)

 


My Fearless Child in a Mismatched Marriage

Patty Tower and Family 2017SUMite, Patty Tower:

Thank the Lord. Although my husband and I are not on the same page spiritually, we see eye to eye when it comes to parenting.

Whether with a Christian background or not, one of the things we agree on in life is…fear limits us and inhibits us. Maybe you don’t agree on other things with your spouse while you parent, but perhaps you can agree that fear or producing fear is a bad thing.

My husband’s latest obsession has been mountain biking on the outskirts of where we live in Seattle. To gain more quality family time, we found a way for my 2.5-year-old son to be included in this newfound recreational activity.

The place where we go has a dirt pump track park, where kids and adults, anywhere from three years and older use it as a practicing playground on their bikes before they head into the woodsy area of the mountain. I do not sense a feeling of insecurity or hesitancy from my son at this park, where I find him hanging out with the big kids.

Of course, it’s not without falling the first several attempts of him riding up and down this track. And like anyone, he did not like to fall. Watching my son go, and almost as the Holy Spirit led me, immediately I clap and cheer, hearing myself say “Good Fall Levi! Great fall! You fell so well!”

I am chuckling as I write this, because even my husband thought I was weird.  

My husband looks over at me and asks, “Why would you praise him for falling? It’s like you’re telling him it’s ok to fall.”

“Because it is. I don’t want him to be afraid of falling. He makes mistakes and can learn and become better, right?”

And like that, my husband nods and totally gets me.

Someone once told me “The great thing about failure is that we create neuropathways when we fail. The more we fail, the more we force the neuropathway to grow. At a certain point the pathway is created and then practice of that same task creates a coating (myelin) that helps the pathway remain strong. I think it's great that God created the brain to create and expand through failure, not through success.”

Isn’t that awesome? Our God, our creator, created us to be strong through failure.

But he said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” Therefore, I will boast all the more gladly of my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ may rest upon me. For the sake of Christ, then, I am content with weaknesses, insults, hardships, persecutions, and calamities. For when I am weak, then I am strong.” 2 Corinthians 12:9-10

Raising Godly Kids in a Spiritually Mismatched Home (book)


Sumite Parenting

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This weekend marked the passage of another year in my parenting journey and the turning of yet another page. My oldest child turned 14 and suddenly I realized that my sweet little goober has become more like a man and less like a boy. I say this with a twinge of sadness but also with a rush of excitement for what our future holds. Then I realize this is the perfect time to reflect and share the single most important thing that I've ever done for him and my daughter.

As a child there was no religion in my home, however, I was blessed with one set of extremely faithful grandparents. They radiated the love and kindness of Christ in every corner of their lives. Fast forward many years, I met my future husband at the age of nineteen, married by twenty one and had my son by twenty two. When he was born, I was still a child in so many ways but I knew one thing. I wanted to raise him in the home that was modeled by my grandparents and the first step toward that goal was finding a church. I asked my husband for permission to raise him in the church and he allowed it but promised never to join us. That was the beginning of my journey as a parent in an unequally yoked marriage. During those early years, I learned that simply going to church wasn't enough. I needed to learn what it meant to be made a new creation in Christ. (2 Corinthians 5:17). In that moment I made the best parenting decision of my life, I dedicated all that I knew of myself to all that I knew of Christ. I know that sounds lofty but let me share the practicalities of that choice.

I began by asking God to provide us with a church-home then I committed to regular attendance and involvement outside of the worship hour. I know that's a really hard one for us but I cannot overemphasize the importance of gathering with a body of believers. It will be hard and at times you will feel like an odd duck but do not let the enemy keep you in a place of isolation. That's his favorite weapon to use against this fellowship of Christ-followers. Ask God to knock down any walls that stand in your way, ask him to soften your spouse’s heart to the idea and know that you are supported by the prayers of this Sumite community. Persevere and make church attendance a priority for you and your children. (Hebrews 10:25)

Another small change that had a gigantic impact on my progression was the decision to listen to only Christian music. I’ve learned that the Lord clearly speaks through worship artists. The lyrics often confirm messages that I’ve heard from other sources and aide in the healing of some of my deepest wounds. My pastor once said that the root of the word music is “muse” meaning to think or ponder. That is one purpose of worship music, to point our hearts and minds toward God and keep us focused on Jesus Christ.

Even more important than church attendance or choice of music is your own inner relationship with the life giving King, Jesus Christ. Perhaps begin by setting your alarm fifteen minutes earlier than you normally would. Wake up before your family and settle down with your Bible and a journal. Begin each morning with Him and allow the power of the Spirit to fill your soul. It’s also helpful to seek out a few online devotionals and begin to fill your email inbox with his word. Saturate your heart with the living words of God and he will never abandon you. John 15:4

I hope you see the point to all of this, we are called to make Christ the focus and center of our minds. I know it seems counter-intuitive for us as Sumite parents. The enemy wants us to believe that it's impossible, that we are too different, that our marriages are too hard, that we can't possibly be strong enough to raise authentic followers of Jesus Christ. I'm telling you now that the enemy is a liar and we are more than conquerors through Jesus Christ. (Romans 8:31-39) If you stand up today and tell God that you want to devote your entire being to him then HIS Spirit will begin the work in your heart, taking you from lesson to lesson, transforming you into the image of Christ. In time, your husband and family will be transformed by the power of Spirit and no force on earth can stop that progression. This sold out dedication to Jesus Christ has been the most important aspect of my journey as a parent. I am a flawed and broken sinner just like every other human, so I cannot do this without the indwelling of the Spirit of my Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ. I think that God is raising a generation of believers who contain a faith, passion and obedience like no other generation. He has chosen our generation of fathers and mothers to parent these children. We are called to focus on Jesus Christ and model the same faith that Lois and Eunice modeled for Timothy. (2 Timothy 1:5) Will you choose to focus on Jesus Christ then allow the Holy Spirit to work in and through you as your faith impacts the next generation?

Raising Godly Kids in a Spiritually Mismatched Home (book)


Fall, Lattes, and Back To School

SUMites,

Raising Godly KidsI love this time of year…. I enjoyed my first Pumpkin Spiced Latte at Starbucks yesterday. Can I just say, Yum and eee. I love the colors the leaves, and it’s Back To School. Back to church and just an all-around fun time as we move through the holidays in the weeks ahead.

Every year at this time, I think about parenting. I was on the phone today to my now grown daughter, Caitie, who moved to Indiana last month. She is now teaching at Purdue as well as doing her Master’s work. We talked for more than an hour. It was sweet and interesting, fun and a bit melancholy. I loved the years we had together when she was small, working on homework, decorating the house with pumpkins, and slowly but relentlessly training her up in faith.

I wasn’t a perfect parent, by far. But I love my kids and I was determined to raise them to know Jesus even in a home where their father didn’t believe.

So, thinking about this, I have a life-time of knowledge of how to help you also parent your children to faith. Dineen and I wrote about our experiences and victories, wisdom and prayers in our parenting book. That book was recently re-released with a new title, Raising Godly Kids in a Spiritually Mismatched Home – teaching Your Children to Love God Without Limits!

If you want time-tested and real wisdom on how to raise your kids in faith in our unique marriages, get your hands on this book. Dineen added a powerful chapter for parenting your adult kids as well. So many of our fears are address such as:

  • Am I enough to hold the family together? To teach my kids what they need to know about God’s love? To actually sanctify this house? (1 Cor. 7:14)
  • Am I enough to teach them the truth of Jesus Christ and lead them to salvation? Am I enough to be a godly mom and wife, a good role model, and help support them emotionally and spiritually?
  • Am I enough to be a Mom and wife too? How do I balance both?
  • Am I enough for my kids, husband and everyone else depending on me?
  • Am I enough to point the way to True North for my children, and never let my flag waver no matter how fierce the storm of the world may blow—even when the storm may be my own husband?
  • Am I enough to overcome my junk so I don’t pass it on to my kids?
  • Am I enough to overcome my own fears so my kids don’t experience them firsthand?

Take time to read this book. If you purchase it through the SUM store, all the proceeds go to our ministry. You can listen to it on audio book in the car on the way to work also. Raising Godly Kids in a Spiritually Mismatched Home

You are enough my friend but we need each other and we need wisdom. As an older mom now, I can be the voice to tell you that YOU CAN DO THIS. IT IS POSSIBLE. And you can do it well.

Have a great weekend. Hug your kids. Take them for ice cream. Swing with them at the park and tell them about Jesus every “catchable moment” that you are given. Hugs, Lynn

One other fun fact. I had the new book sitting on my desk. I picked it up to read Dineen’s new chapter. As I raised the book up, I noticed tiny flecks of gold dust all over the cover. Wild! Where did that come from? IT’S A BLAST LIVING THE BELIEVER’S LIFE!