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October 2013

The Choice To Love By Kathy Collard Miller

When Larry and I had been married for seven years, we were completely disillusioned with each other. When we'd married, he seemed to be a godly man. He said Christ would be at the center of our marriage, but in time he choose his two jobs and his hobby of flying as his joys. He never went to church because he was rarely home.

One morning Larry announced he was flying to San Jose for the day. I quickly suggested, "I'll get the kids ready and we'll go with you..." Larry interrupted me. "Kathy, I'm sorry, but you can't go. I rented a two-seater plane and I've already asked Joe to go with me." "But Larry, we never see you. Can't you stay home just this once?" "I won't disappoint Joe.” Larry walked away from me down the hall as I stood with my hands on my hips, trying to show my disapproval with a disgusted look on my face. He walked through the laundry room into the garage, closing the laundry room door behind him. I had been eating an apple and before I realized it, I hurled it toward the  door, wishing it would hit him. The apple shattered on impact and pieces flew throughout the laundry room adhering to the ceiling and the walls. I whirled around and marched into my bedroom, dropping to kneel beside my bed. "Lord, make that plane crash! I don't care if he ever comes home again."  

During the following months, the pieces of apple began rotting on the walls and ceiling of my laundry room. I saw them as a memorial to my rotten marriage. I worried that we would get a divorce or I would live in a loveless and Christ-less marriage for the rest of my life. One day several months later, I sensed God say in my heart, “Tell Larry you love him.”

I was shocked. I didn’t love Larry and I believed he hated me.

I refused because that would make Larry think I approved of his unloving behavior. God said it a second time and I refused again! Then a third time the Holy Spirit nudged me with a different message: “Then think it the next time you see Larry.” I thought, “If he doesn’t hear me then he can’t use it against me. Alright, Lord, I’ll do it.”

That evening, Larry returned from a flying trip and as he walked down the hall toward me, I stared at him, gulped, and thought, “I love you…” and then after a pause, I added, “but I don’t really.”

The most amazing thing happened. By making that choice to love Larry—a small step—and as I continued to make that loving choice, the feelings of hate dissipated and loving feelings took over. I also recognized that I’d been holding Larry completely responsible for my happiness. I realized I couldn’t change Larry; I could only change myself as I surrendered to God.

That day I went into the laundry room and washed off those rotting apple pieces. I no longer needed a memorial to my rotten marriage. Little by little, I became loving and caring. Larry noticed the changes and agreed to go on a couples retreat with me, which God used as a turning point in our marriage.

That was in 1978 and today, we are best friends and consider each other the most important person in our life—and Christ is truly at the center of our marriage. We tell each other several times a day “I love you,” and we are committed to choosing the best for each other, led by God. I’ll never forget those rotting apple pieces because now I enjoy a laundry room free from them, just like my heart is free from bitterness and anger. And I never worry that we'll get a divorce. BOOK SUMMARY AND BIOGRAPHY:

Partly cloudyIt is possible to worry less through trusting God more. Regardless of the storms of trials, temptations, worry, uncertainty, confusion, or regrets that you're facing, you can trust God more. Partly Cloudy with Scattered Worries offers a conversational style, personal testimonies, practical illustrations, and solid biblical teaching for breaking anxiety and the devastating effects of worry. Each chapter includes Discussion Questions for individuals or groups, along with a “Letter from God.” In addition, a profile of a woman in the Bible who struggled with or experienced victory over worry is featured in each chapter to inspire every reader to see God's hand in her life. Kathy Collard Miller is a speaker and author. Her passion is to inspire women to trust God more. She has spoken in 30 states and 7 foreign countries.

Kathy has 49 published books including Women of the Bible: Smart Guide to the Bible (Thomas Nelson) and she blogs at Kathy lives in Southern California with her husband of 43 years, Larry, and is the proud grandma of Raphael. Kathy and Larry often speak together at marriage events and retreats.

We Gave Birth!

BirthWe are so excited to see our second book, Not Alone, release this week. It’s like being the mom of a newborn all over again! We’ve “carried” this book for over two years if you count the time God worked in our hearts to conceive it’s make-up and design. And now, here it is! I want to share with you one of my favorite chapters in this book—chapter nine, Challenging Kids. This is the chapter I knew would be in this book before I even knew what the rest would be. My heart is for moms of kids with chronic health issues, depressed teens, or any kind of ongoing challenge to know that our God is faithful and lives in these trenches with us. Through my own daughter’s depression and then cancer at age 14, we learned some valuable truths. Here’s a quote from that chapter:

“But during this time my daughter and I learned some of our greatest lessons of faith. We learned that a season of difficulty and trial didn’t define our entire lives. We learned that hope placed in Jesus rather than in our ever-changing circumstances would never fail. We learned that the value and impact of a precious moment could carry us through a day and shore up those places where hope lagged.”

In this chapter I also share some astounding miracles that God did during this time and some testimonies from other moms who have walked similar paths with challenging situations and questions like, “Why doesn’t Daddy love Jesus?” Moms, we pray this book will encourage and uplift you as you walk the challenging path of motherhood and raising your kids to know Jesus. It is the noblest calling I can think of, the most challenging “job” I’ve ever had, and one of the most rewarding and faith infused journeys I’ve ever taken. And remember, those days where you think you just can’t take another step, you are not alone. Our great big and able God is right there to help. Mom, you can raise godly kids, even the challenging ones. May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace as you trust in him, so that you may overflow with hope by the power of the Holy Spirit. (Romans 15:13) Dineen

I Found Him Watching Porn

By: Pam Osborne

My day began on such a high note; I should have realized that it was the perfect timing for a sabotage. 

My daughter returned home from college and I was experiencing motherly euphoria at having my chicks back in the nest. My daughter left the house to run errands leaving me at home with my 16 year old son.  Watching her drive away I turned and then walked into the bonus room where he was watching television. That’s when I saw it (or should I say “them”) in their full glory.

My son was watching porn! Well my motherly euphoria was instantly replaced with shock, must admit some awe, then rage, followed by an enormous serving of hurt.  Oh how I wanted to release a fiery tongue lashing. The nerve of him dishonoring me and my house, etcetera, etcetera -- but God stepped in. I calmly took the remote (maybe snatched) and then told him how disappointed I was in his choices. I turned around and went to the back bedroom for some breathing room and a serious 911 call to Jesus. 

I’m pretty sure there was no chapter on this subject in my mommy handbook. 

Why did this happen to me and not his father - right?? I heard my son in his room doing pushups to work off some aggression, I could see so clearly the pain and conflict he was experiencing.  My heart just broke.  In that moment, it was kind of like an outer body experience, I found myself empathizing with my son and the temptations he must be going through as a young man. 

At sixteen, he is still a child in a man’s body. After praying, I was able to speak some Godly truths to him regarding the temptations of Jesus (something we had discussed the week before at Church) and how we must align ourselves with him, and that we need to call to Jesus for help when we are tempted.  I also felt God prompt me to share my own experience as a young woman, and the regret I carried into my marriage about not waiting to have sex.  Yes, I said the “S” word to my son. We took a breather after that, and it was not long before he came back into my room and gave me a hug.

Ladies I’m here to tell you that that moment was more precious than gold - amen. After he left is when the full weight of what happened washed over me.  I literally asked myself, “What just happened?” And then I knew that God had stepped in and took over in that situation. 

I’m usually an emotional mess that can’t put two words together without the water works turning on. He did not leave me alone in that crucial moment.   All of the doubts and demons that haunt us in a mismatched marriage were so put to rest.

Does God care that I’m doing this by myself? Yes. Am I equipped to handle this? No, but God is.

Does he love & protect my children? Yes.

Are all those tears and hours on my knees worth it?  Most definitely.

Like it or not, we SUMites we are the first line of defense for our families. It’s not always easy being the spiritual leader of the household.  I’m sometimes tempted to get angry at my unbelieving husband and feel like “Where are you when our son needs you?” But God reminds me that it is “not yet his time” and that “he doesn't see what we see or hear what we hear “- sigh. So I accept this calling to be a “warrior mom”, to continue having patient hope for my husband’s salvation, and vowing to never turn off the parental controls on the TV again.

Pam OsbornBio: I am a Native of S.C. and have lived here most of my life.  My husband and I have been married for 24 years and are the parents of two teenagers.  My daughter is in her Freshman year of college and my son is a junior in high school.  I am blessed to be a member of a Community Church here in town and involved in a Small Group, where I first heard of the Spiritually Mismatched Website.

Dealing with Conflict and Confrontation

ConflictOf all places our marriages are truly the testing and training grounds for relationships. And confrontation and conflict are part of all relationships. The challenge is how will we handle them and do so in a way that includes and glorifies God. I will share a method I use and haven’t seen it fail once in all the years I’ve employed it. That’s because Abba is right at the heart of it—not my own fallible and sometimes misguided emotions and perspective.

I call this method TCWT. You can also find a video of me explaining it at

TCWT stands for truth, conviction, words and timing. Here’s how each step works.

Truth: Pray first for truth to be revealed, not just for your loved one or friend but also for you. Sometimes we take offense or hurt in places that actually have more to do with an already raw place in our hearts that really has nothing to do with the other person. Ask God if this is something you need to confront the person about if in doubt. We also need God’s perspective in the matter. Without it, we run the risk of misinterpreting the issue or situation. We need godly wisdom and insight to see the issue completely.

Conviction: This can be a difficult one because it requires you to be willing to take responsibility for your part. I pray for conviction not only for the person I’m dealing with but also for myself. This is part of the removing the log from your own eye before you point out the speck that’s in the other person’s eye (Luke 6:41). Pray for God to work in your heart as well—is there any unforgiveness or resentment that must be dealt with? This is also the place I find God preparing my heart to forgive the other person if needed.

Words: Begin praying for the Holy Spirit to teach and give you the right words (Luke 12:12). Also pray for God to prepare the other person's mind and heart to receive your words in truth and love (Ephesians 4:15). And pray for your own heart to be open and willing to listen. As you pray the Holy Spirit may lead you to bind any presence the enemy is using to create strife in the relationship. Bind them in Jesus' name and send them to hell. You have the power and authority in Jesus to do this (Luke 9:1-2).

Timing: Finally, pray for the right timing to confront this person. Remember that your goal is to lovingly confront this person with the goal of helping the relationship—not to accuse and blame. If you are still feeling this way, go back to step one and work through each step until your desire to repair the relationship is stronger than your desire to be proven right. God is your justifier and I’ve discovered when I leave that part to Him, He handles it much better than I ever could. These places in our marriage and relationships can be some of the most profound places to exhibit the love of Jesus working in and through us.

When we seek to shift our minds and hearts from only seeing the negative aspects and ask Abba to help us see the opportunities, we are stepping out in greater trust because we know our God is bigger and great than anything we are confronted with. And we can trust Him with the results.

Stepping out in faith with you! Dineen