Who is the Spiritual Leader in a Mismatched Marriage?

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Lynn DonovanLynn is back for part 3 of our series:

Who Is a Spiritual Leader?

Our online community at www.spirituallyunequalmarriage.com often tackles many of the unique and challenging areas of living in a spiritually mismatched union. One of the common struggles we face has to do with spiritual leadership.

The spiritual direction of our home is monumentally important. We all wrestle with how to handle this issue well. In my own marriage this was an area of great confusion for me. Many difficult questions troubled my mind, such as,

•          Do I wait for my husband to become a believer before setting the tone in our home for prayer and Bible reading?

•          If I take any initiative to teach my kids about faith, will my actions be perceived as disrespecting my husband?

•          Can I be the spiritual leader of our home and yet follow my husband’s lead in other areas of our marriage?

•          Will my kids listen to me if I’m not the head of the household?

•          Does leading spiritually make me the head of the household?

•          Am I up to the task of spiritual leadership all on my own?

Tell me that I haven’t been alone in this! If you, like I have been, are in the midst of this kind of confusion, today I want to set your feet on a path to freedom.

Many years ago I heard this statement:

If your husband is unwilling to lead spiritually or has abdicated his position as the spiritual leader of your home, then God expects you, the believing wife, to step into this role.

Upon hearing this single sentence, I felt the cloud of confusion lift from my soul, and freedom flooded my heart. I will add that if you are raising children as a single parent, God looks to you to step into this role as well. Somehow I guess I needed permission to become the leader for my kids, and it came with those words. What a relief. But how do we step into this role and do it well?

It begins with our motives. The effectiveness of our parenting and successful navigation of our marriage greatly increases when we consistently check our motives. I had to ask myself, “Does my desire for my husband to lead our home come from a place that is me-centered or Christ-centered?”

Let me be specific. Here are some of my thoughts from years past:

•          If only he would believe, he would help me get the kids ready for church.

•          My life would be so much easier if only he was a believer.

•          If he believed, I wouldn’t have to sit with each of the children tonight and pray with them. I wish he’d help.

•          Going to church alone is so embarrassing.

Okay, I know I’m not the only one to have had these kinds of thoughts. But there comes a time when we must move past ourselves and truly focus on what is Christlike. Motives born out of love and humility will move us to wake the kids on Sunday morning and take them to church, even if we must do it alone. Out of a loving heart, you can say to your husband, “Sweetie, watch the television without me for an hour. I’m going to go tuck the kids into bed and say bedtime prayers.”

There are many ways you can build respect for your man and still quietly lead your family closer to Christ. More than anything, I go back to the truth of 1 Peter 3:1: win them over without words. Win your kids, your husband, your friends, your neighbor and a world that is lost and broken. Win them over with your boundless, crazy, passionate, fervent, zealous and adoring love for Jesus. When you love Jesus with all your heart, soul, mind and strength, over time it is irresistible to people. And that’s a promise.
~Not Alone, Lynn Donovan & Dineen Miller

CONVERSATION: Have you struggled, wondering do I lead my kids in faith or do I wait?

See you in the comments. Have an amazing day.

*****

Congratulations to Gina M – our winner of Monday’s giveaway (I emailed you)!

Here’s our second giveaway of the week –  1 copy of

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Not Alone: 
Trusting God to Help You Raise Godly Kids
in a Spiritually Mismatched Home.

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Thriving in a Spiritually Mismatched Marriage – Part 1 {& a Giveaway!}

www.geodun.com

 

Hello Family of Women Living Well!

Lynn Donovan

My name is Lynn Donovan and I’m joining your community this week while Courtney is vacationing. I met Courtney years ago as a sister blogger. She is the bomb! And I love her book. She and I connected a few months ago as I was reading her book and I asked her to read my recent book. We both have a heart filled with love for Jesus and for wives and moms.

So, I hope you will sit with me for a few minutes, a couple of days this week while she is away as I share a story that I pray leaves you filled with a fresh encounter with Jesus. Thank you for welcoming me to your House: Women Living Well.

My friends, my story is about a Prodigal child – me (Luke 15:11-31). I fled my childhood Sunday school days in my twenties. I left my loving Father for all the promises the world said were mine. I met my husband in these dark years and we fell in love. We were married and for the first three years everything was fine. But the world’s lure proved shallow, unkind and untrue. I heard my faithful Father calling in the distance and He wooed me.

I went running home into the arms of my Papa and was thrilled to once again have a relationship with God. But, I ran home dragging my unbelieving spouse behind me kicking and screaming all the way. To say that my husband was unhappy about this new “Man” in my life, was a serious understatement.

I am unequally yoked.

There are many women such as me who sit alone week after week in church. There are women who are married to men who say they believe and yet they are also like me, living in a spiritually mismatched marriage.

My journey has been a crazy adventure, filled with loneliness at times as my husband and I view life through two different world views. On this journey I’ve had to face fears over my children’s salvation. And attending church alone as well as wanting to be a “normal” couple and the most difficult, the rejection of my faith by my best friend on earth.

But don’t feel sad for me….  Because I serve the risen Savior and through His love and power, I have discovered that the unequally yoked can truly thrive while living with an unbeliever. We can grow in our faith, love and respect our spouse, raise our children to a vibrant faith, and walk in the Presence of the Most High.

Throughout this week I want to share what I’ve learned on this 22 year adventure. I will tell you that by the grace of God my husband is fully supportive of my ministry and he encourages me to help others who are also spiritually mismatched. I call that a “Way cool God thing.”

For today I want to leave you with a powerful scripture that changed everything about my marriage.

(Jesus) answered, “‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength and with all your mind’; and, ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’” (Mark 12:30,31)

When you love God, His Son and the Spirit with all of your heart, soul, mind and strength you are transformed. Your mind is transformed and then disappointment and bitterness no longer has influence in your life. You discover an unending joy bubbles out of you, flowing onto your husband and your children. This kind of love transforms a heart, heals a body, restores a marriage, and leads little ones to faith.

I had to remove my eyes and expectations from my human husband. And place all of my hopes upon Christ. When I did this our marriage moved into THRIVING. My husband found freedom to discover God in his own way without my manipulation and I found my expectations were replaced by God explanations. I was transformed by the love of God.

It’s a miracle! Woo Hoo!!!!

Tomorrow I have another passage that will Blow Your Mind. It’s a promise that an ordinary woman, an ordinary mom, CAN change the atmosphere when she walks into a room.

I love you my friends. Have a triumphant day in His Presence. Remember:

A man can ignore a nagging wife, but he can't ignore the truth of a transformed life.

With love and affection, Hugs, Lynn
www.spirituallyunequalmarriage.com

Jesus. Let Your Holy Presence reign in this House. Today I ask for a powerful anointing to fill each heart, each soul. Let Your Holy Word go out and change the world through ordinary women. Lord, let us be carriers of your love. Let us walk into our homes and because we are anointed with your Holy Spirit, we change the atmosphere. Let love flood our kitchens. Let our grace and goodness pour over our children in such a tangible way that they see Your eyes. This week Jesus there are many who will come to this house to read. Place upon them wisdom, healing, a fresh anointing of hope. Lord, let us be the ordinary women who bring faith, hope and love to our homes, our communities and to a world that is desperately in need of a Savior. In Your powerful name, Jesus. Amen.

CONVERSATION: Today, if you are unequally yoked or you know someone who is unequally yoked, leave me a quick comment and I will pray for you.

Also, enter to win a copy of my book, Winning Him Without Words below:

winning him

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Balancing Family & Ministry Webcast + Everyday Confetti Giveaway!

This is it – our final webcast replay of the series!  Grab a big pile of laundry to fold and enjoy this 40 minute webcast featuring Karen Ehman as our keynote speaker and Darlene (TimeWarpWife.com) and Ruth (TheBetterMom.com) on the couch as we discuss balancing family and ministry.

Session 7b

(if you cannot see this video – click here)

Karen is giving away TWO copies of her newly released book titled Everyday Confetti (co-authored with Glynnis Whitwer)

Everday.Confetti.cover

Here’s what’s inside Everyday Confetti (isn’t the cover adorable!!!):

When a busy woman looks at her calendar and sees a birthday, holiday, or special occasion, she has the best intentions for bringing joy to her family and creating lasting memories. Then reality hits. Amidst demanding responsibilities and an overloaded schedule, when is she ever going to have time to plan the perfect celebration or find the creativity to make it special?

In this go-to guide, Karen Ehman and Glynnis Whitwer give women the ideas and the motivation they need to make such occasions less daunting. They provide creative ideas and menu plans for

· Holidays
· Birthdays
· Special Events
· Everyday Occasions

Readers will even find suggestions for reaching out to others throughout the year through celebrations that are simple, doable, and stress-free.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Have a wonderful weekend!

Walk with the King,

Courtney

**Winners will be posted here and will receive an email after the giveaway ends.

Living Loved: When Life Is Hard

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a guest post from Renee Swope

Do you ever ask God why life has to be so hard? Why certain things happen, all in the same week?

I remember asking God lots of questions during what I call my “year of impossible.” A month after we adopted our daughter from Ethiopia, my mom was hospitalized with pulmonary embolisms, my dad had emergency quadruple bypass surgery, I had an abnormal mammogram that led to multiple biopsies and a close friend died of breast cancer – all within six months.

I remember thinking: “Why has all this happened? Why does life have to be so hard?

Can I be honest? When life is overwhelming, I sometimes feel abandoned and wonder where God is and why He isn’t helping me. And I have a feeling Gideon, a man who was called by God but overwhelmed by his circumstances, felt the same way after all he had been through with his enemies, the Midianites.

When the angel of the Lord appeared to Gideon, he said, “The Lord is with you, mighty warrior.”

Listen to how Gideon responded with lots of doubts and questions: “Pardon me, my lord…but if the Lord is with us, why has all this happened to us? Where are all his wonders that our ancestors told us about when they said, ‘Did not the Lord bring us up out of Egypt?’ But now the Lord has abandoned us and given us into the hand of Midian.” (Judg. 6:11–13)

So how did God answer Gideon’s questions? “The Lord turned to him and said, ‘Go in the strength you have and save Israel out of Midian’s hand. Am I not sending you?’” (Judg. 6:14).

God didn’t answer Gideon’s “why” question. Instead God told him what role He was calling Gideon to play in what HE was about to do next.

I’m learning to embrace my unanswered “why is life so hard” questions, and recognize when life is hard I am more likely to ask for God’s help. And that is a good thing.

Tough times often precipitate movement toward God and help us depend on Him more than on ourselves.

God used Gideon’s “why” question to draw Gideon closer to Himself, by shifting Gideon’s focus from hard things that happened in his past to what God was about to do in his future. Sometimes God answers our prayers by calling us to be part of the solution to our problems.

Instead of changing our circumstances, often God uses our circumstances to change us by bringing us closer to Him, making us more like Him, and helping us find our confidence in Him!

Jesus, I get frustrated when life is hard and troubles abound. Yet I don’t want frustration to push me away from You. If my circumstances can’t change, use them to change me – by bringing me closer to You, making me more like You, and helping me find my confidence in You through the circumstances I’m in. In Jesus’ Name, amen.

When I say… My life is too hard.

God says… I am with you in the middle of these trials. I will not leave you or forsake you.

I will be with [you] in trouble, I will deliver [you] and honor [you]. (Ps. 91:15)

*Today’s post from Renee is a partial excerpt from her new A Confident Heart Devotional book. Used with permission from Revell Books.
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About Renee
Renee has been married for over 20 years to her husband and best friend, J.J, and she’s a mom of three. She and her family traveled to Ethiopia in 2009 to bring home their beautiful daughter at the age of 10 months. Renee is also a best-selling author, speaker and radio co-host with Proverbs 31 Ministries. She and her family live in North Carolina where Renee has served in leadership on the staff of Proverbs 31 Ministries since 1995. You can find out more about Renee and her family at www.ReneeSwope.com.
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About Renee’s NEW Confident Heart Devotional:
Do you ever feel like you’re not good enough? Does self-doubt leave you feeling uncertain about your ability to be the woman, wife or mom God’s called you to be? Expanding on her life-changing book, A Confident Heartthat has over 100,000 copies in print, Renee Swope has written a 60-day devotional that will encourage, empower and equip you to live confidently in your God-given roles, relationships, and responsibilities! Each devotion ends with a “When I Say…God Says…” statement to match a Bible promise and a prayer to help guide your thoughts and emotions that day. Plus you’ll LOVE an easy-reference chart that includes all sixty ”When I Say…God Says…” statements for days when you just need a promise to hold onto!
 
Enter to WIN a signed copy TODAY!
Enter to win one of 2 copies I’m giving away of Renee’s new Confident Heart Devotional book by sharing in the comments: Share why you’d like to read the book, and let us know what friend you’d give it to, if you won 2 copies. 

The winner is Jenni G!!! Congratulations! I am emailing you now!

 
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ENTER the Let God Love You Contest
Find out how you can WIN a $50 gift card, 2 additional signed copies of Renee’s devotional book, and a beautiful 8×10 print from Emily Burger Designs at www.ReneeSwope.com