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Friday, October 25, 2013

Trusting God to Help You Raise Godly Kids—An Interview with Dineen Miller

Are there people in your life who, when they speak, you sometimes feel the Holy Spirit moving through them? Dineen Miller, my guest today, is one of those people. I have yet to actually meet her in person, but every time I receive an interview from her, I am truly inspired. She has taken a topic which could leave many a spouse complaining about the person to whom they are yoked, and has turned it into a reason for praise. If you have no idea what that can look like, read on. You won’t be sorry.

Dineen has also been so gracious as to give away one free copy of her new book, Not Alone: Trusting God to Help You Raise Godly Kids in a Spiritually Mismatched Home, to one lucky commenter. A winner will be chosen one week from today, so please include your email address in the body of the comment.

Welcome Dineen …NotAlone3D

Can you tell us about your new book co-authored with Lynn Donovan?

I have yet to hear a mother say, “I’m a good mom.” As moms we doubt we’re enough to do the job, to raise our kids to know Jesus. The truth is, we’re not, nor do we have to be. God’s right there and He’s partnering with us to raise godly kids. That’s what our new book, Not Alone, is about. It’s for moms who are spiritually mismatched, divorced, separated, or single. God has our back. With His help, we CAN raise godly kids.

I suspect this book could inspire even mothers in spiritually matched households. We all need to place our full faith in God to help us raise our children.

What is the hardest part of raising Godly children in a spiritually mismatched family?

Having two parents with two different viewpoints, who technically have equal right and say to what their children will be taught. So the biggest challenge I’ve faced, and I see many of our readers face, is to do so respectfully and honor the prebelieving spouse’s views in the equation. Sometimes that spouse can be negative or disrespectful of the believing spouse’s faith views and will put down her beliefs in front of the children. It’s crucial in this case that Mom and Dad sit down and discuss respecting each other’s faith choices and to find ways to compromise if needed. Dad may not believe in God and can be honest with the kids about it, but He doesn't need to make Mom look foolish because she does believe in God.

Great advice!

Are there any blessings you’ve found raising children in a spiritually mismatched marriage?

Intentionality. Nothing is taken for granted. Especially eternity! I know being married to my husband (who’s a great guy and dad, by the way!) really pushed me to know the Bible. So my faith runs very deep and my girls have grown up with seeing their mother reading her Bible and pursuing her faith.

Plus they’ve witnessed first-hand the challenges of a spiritual mismatch. My oldest daughter just married a wonderful young man who’s a very strong believer. I started praying for my girls’ future husbands when they were little. My oldest daughter and her husband are a constant reminder to me of how incredibly faithful God is!

I love how God has worked you through this situation.

Can you give us one suggestion of what to do?

Pray and believe. A mother’s prayers are powerful. And we can teach our kids about God in the backyard, at the grocery store and anywhere it seems to be the right time to point something out that’s so clearly by Abba’s hand. The more we live our faith in our daily lives, the more our children catch it. We do our part, and God does the rest.


Can you give us one warning of what not to do?

Don’t see your prebelieving spouse as the enemy, especially in the faith arena. I know that’s hard at times especially if he or she is very antagonistic about it, but I do believe that even then God is bigger. God is always bigger than our spouse’s unbelief. It’s not up to us the change them or make them believe (that applies to our children too). Our job is to love them with the unconditional love of Jesus and let Him do the saving part.

Study carefully the way Jesus interacted with people. You’ll learn a lot about what sacrificial love looks like and what it really means to love someone right where they are, and still see the potential God has placed in them. The exciting part is Abba wants to partner with us to help release that potential in the ones we love and pray for. When we can place our focus there and not on what’s missing, we become a major part of the equation.

Treat a person like trash, and they’ll become trash. Treat a person like you believe they can become what God has planned for them, and you will be on the front row witnessing miracles.

Did I say Amen, yet? Well, Amen again!!!

In our previous interview on InfiniteCharacters.com you talked about how being in a spiritually mismatched marriage has deepened your relationship with God. Can you elaborate on that?

When I first started going to church, I got very involved in several ministries and gobbled up everything I could get my hands on about faith and God. I think my husband got worried because he would ask me a lot of questions about what I believed. I would hesitate because I was afraid I would say the wrong thing. He was afraid I was being “led by the nose” without being sure of the “facts.” That really pushed me to read and study the Bible more so I could answer his questions intelligently and confidently. And I’ve been hooked ever since!

I love that!!!

You just won the Carol Award for The Soul Saver, your novel featuring a couple who is in a spiritually mismatched marriage. How does that feel?

AMAZING!!! That award and so many other things that happened around it are such gifts from God. I am truly living and experiencing Psalm 37:4, “Take delight in the Lord, and he will give you the desires of your heart.”

The Soul Saver was inspired by Abba and my life. I wrote it out of obedience and my love for Jesus. It’s all His. He is my delight and my GREATEST reward. So everything I do I see as chance to “delight” in Him. And the more I do that, the more He pours out these amazing blessings. One of my favorite parts of that award and story is on our blog. I hope your readers will take a moment to read it. I got to wash feet! http://www.spirituallyunequalmarriage.com/my_weblog/2013/09/blessed-to-wash-feet.html

Wow, just read that one. God is definitely intentional.

Do you have any fiction books on the horizon?

I’m working on a short story right now about a woman who spends a week with Jesus but doesn’t realize who He is. My husband wants to help me self-publish it and has even offered to read it. For that reason alone I will finish this story!

And I hope to finish a kind of sequel to The Soul Saver. It’s a completely different story and set of characters but carries the prophetic aspect of art. Instead of sculptures it’s paintings and the one painting them is an ex-mercenary. The book’s about seeing purpose in our pain and knowing who we are in Jesus. I hope one day soon it will have a home too!

Oh goody! I can’t wait. Make sure to let me know so I can interview you again.

Thank you, Connie! Always a pleasure being on your site. Love your interviews, my friend! Hugs!

And don’t forget to comment below to be entered to receive a free copy of Not Alone: Trusting God to Help You Raise Godly Kids in a Spiritually Mismatched Home.


DineenMiller-medDineen Miller believes her years as a youth counselor, a Stephen Minister, a women’s ministry leader and a small group leader fuel her desire to ignite the souls of others through words of truth. She’s also a C.L.A.S.S. Communicator and has been featured on the Moody Radio Network, Focus on the Family, Dr. James Dobson’s FamilyTalk and FamilyLife Today. She lives in the Bay Area with her husband, and they are the proud parents of two daughters and a son-in-law. Dineen is the coauthor of the award winning book, Winning Him Without Words: 10 Keys to Thriving in Your Spiritually Mismatched Marriage and author of the ACFW Carol Award winning book, The Soul Saver. Visit Dineen online at MismatchedandThriving.com.

Other posts you might like:

Life with Depth—by Amy Ford

Where Did You First Meet God in the Bible?

A Change in Perspective—by Dineen Miller

Saturday, October 19, 2013

March of the Minions

Don’t you just love those little yellow guys?!

A few weeks ago I encouraged you to BE a Minion (for God). My point, in case you missed it, was that we don’t have to do BIG things for God for Him to make BIG things happen in us. This week, I wanted to give you examples of what this can look like, so I’m going to do one of those “best of” thingies where I go through past posts to find other Minions for the MIGHTY. These are people who put their faith in action in the everyday. Read the excerpts and see how you can be ready for when God calls you to do something similar. These are not stories about those who served. They are stories about the people who were impacted. See how God used the servers to fill other’s need of a Savior.

Excerpts from Greg Holt’s testimony—a man who was shown Christ when his life was in shambles. I love how he calls his new friends “those” people. Haven’t many of us been afraid of being one of “those?” See what they do for him …

Along the way in this part of the story God stepped in. My wife was a school bus driver, and picked up a special needs child. She became friends with this child’s parents. They were not my friends. I really did not want to have anything to do with them. To make a long story short…I became friends with this couple. This is when things got really interesting.

This couple, well they were some of “those” people; you know those Christian people. Now I began to really like these guys, even though they were Christians. They would talk about God without shoving it down my throat, always had Christian music on. There was just something different about them. They were so nice and always willing to help me out even with my son who was a handful.

See the whole story. “Greg Holt—A Gomer Testimony


Excerpts from Rachel Rutledge’s testimony. She wrote mostly about how the music of Third Day inspired her many times of her life, but what enamored me with her story was when she tells of how a member of the band reached out to her personally. See what I mean …

I was traveling home to Virginia after some girlfriends and I had sung at an event. I stopped at a gas station, when I ran into this band named Third Day! I can't be positive which group member I spoke to (we were all so young then). It was either Mark or David. He wore a 3D t-shirt - upon which I struck up a conversation. I said how I loved the name and that I too was in a group. He then took the next several minutes to witness to me right there in the middle of nowhere at 2am. Even though I was already a Christian, I listened and was so impressed by his heart and willingness to share with a stranger in that situation. It would have been so easy to say hi, thank you, and to move on. From that moment on, I fell in love with Third Day... and more-so with their heart and love for the Lord.

Little did that band member know, but he gave me much hope that night. See, just days before I had been hit several times by my husband while in the car driving to Virginia. I had been in an abusive marriage for 5 years at that point—desperately trying to work things out.

See the whole story. “Rachel Rutledge—A Gomer Testimony"


Excerpts From Chris Cowans’ testimony. A story about a man who was brought to Christ after an explosion almost took his life. There are many minions in this one.

First, one of his colleagues who’d endured the blast with him …

I need to give you some background on the man with the injured legs. His name is Todd Adams. He had been working with me for over four years. I knew he was a Christian. He and I had numerous discussions over the years about his God and his God’s Word. I had attended a First United Methodist church as a child, but I had not attended any church for over twenty years. I was interested in the discussions we had about Jesus Christ, but I did not see eye to eye with everything we discussed. He said he believed everything as it appeared in the Bible, in other words, there were no contradictions of scripture. I had read some of the Bible before. I found what appeared to me to be many contradictions in the scriptures. I could not follow this line of thinking. I believed in a God who was an all-loving, merciful God. I could confess my sins on my deathbed and all would be forgiven. After the explosion occurred, my eyes and ears were clip_image001opened to the truth.

Todd had managed to drag the injured man lying on the floor, Rick, closer to the open doorway. He then assisted Jeff who was still sitting on the floor. Jeff is about 6’ 5" tall and 250 pounds. Todd’s legs were just about to give out on him at this point. Todd called on the name of Jesus to give him the strength to help his injured co-worker. At this point, help had started to arrive.

Then, there is Chris’s teacher who had no idea how her lesson would one day come in handy …

I was not a man given over to a steady prayer life, but I felt that, if there was a God, maybe He could help my friends. I began to pray for my friends and co-workers to all be found alive and to thank God for sending all of the help he had provided
My fourth grade public elementary reading teacher taught my class the 23rd Psalm back in Decatur, Indiana, during the years 1969-1970. I do not think I understood the significance of the words to this beautiful Psalm during that time. I had not even thought of this Psalm for over 20 years. But while I was lying on the ice praying to God for my friends to be all right, this Psalm popped into my head just as clear and fresh as if I had been reading the words. I felt the Spirit of God descend upon me and immediately the Spirit gave me peace and comfort. I knew I would be all right, and that He was in control of the situation.

And here are people Chris had only met once. Don’t think your small acts go unused by the Almighty …

During this time I received many visits from friends and strangers. I had numerous visits from church friends of my injured co-worker. I knew some, but not all of these people. Their love, generosity, and compassion touched me. Two instances, which occurred in the hospital, stand out in my mind. The day I was released, a new nurse was sent in to my room to tend to my injuries. While she was cleaning my burns and applying fresh dressings, she asked me if I knew Jesus. This got my mind to thinking. Did I know Jesus? I had been told of Jesus as a child. I had been told Jesus loved me. But, did I really know Jesus? I couldn’t give her a good answer. I told her I knew of Jesus, but it had been a while since I had been to church or thought about him. She told me Jesus could help me in my road to recovery.  One day before I was released, a woman came into my room. She appeared to be in her mid-thirties and was dressed in a hospital gown. She was a patient at the hospital also. She said she had heard of the accident. She told me to put my faith in the Lord Jesus and he would take care of me. She left the room and I never saw her again. Her picture was in the obituary column the next day. She had died that night. I believe the paper stated she had died of cancer. My mind started to think about the direction my life had been taking and where I needed to be in my walk with God.

Powerful, huh?!!! Look at all those Minions!!!

See the whole story. “How God Got My Attention


And there’s more …

A severely disabled girl who inspired a Special Needs Ministry that spans a continent.

How One Girl Inspired A Ministry of Access

One man who inspired one man … who inspires thousands.

The Man Who Inspired A Congregation—Sorta

The cashier who brightens everyone’s day

The Button Lady

The Baker for God

The Way to God’s Heart Can Be Through His Children’s Stomachs”

The autistic young man who inspires a church service

Jake, The Encourager” I REALLY love this one!!!

While traveling through this “blast from the past” to pick out tidbits of minions to share with you, I found something amazing. In some of these testimonies there is no mention of another person at all—just an encounter with God. However, I suppose there were those who’d been there in some way, and others who prayed at various times of that person’s life. Either way, it is a reminder that WE are not the be-all and end-all of salvation—“I Am” is. He chooses to use us not because He needs us, but because He wants us in The Body, working together for His Glory.

Do you have minions who’ve meant a lot to you? Tell us about them.

Friday, October 11, 2013

Life with Depth—by Amy Ford

It is my pleasure to have Amy Ford on LBOC today. She is the co-founder of Embrace Grace, a non-profit ministry with the primary goal of empowering churches to be a safe and non-judging place for single girls to go when they find out they are pregnant. Discover more about her and her new book below.

Welcome Amy …

sailboat2Sometimes I go a few weeks, and it happens WAY too fast, where I glance back and realize that I “coasted” those few weeks. I use that term when there is no acceleration or braking, really doing nothing … just going through life and seeing what happens or falls into my lap. I hate it when that happens! It’s so easy to do though. I never felt like I did something cool or out of the ordinary with investing into my husband or kids, or in general, never accomplished anything in life those few weeks.

I feel like life should be full of little accomplishments that are more than, “I made it through today.” I do realize that we go through seasons in life that are really hard, and maybe that’s all we can offer our world. But most of the time, there is so much more that we can give because the Holy Spirit lives inside of us!

I’m always so amazed at people that live life to the fullest every day, no matter what is happening in their life. There is an Embrace Grace girl that seems to be a “carpe diem” kind of girl, and somehow she also seems to have so much favor in her life too. She was texting me last night SO excited because she had just started her new job this week and had already invested time into a new co-worker she had just met, shared her testimony and how the Lord has impacted her life, and then asked the girl if she would like to ask Jesus into her heart and the girl said YES and so they prayed the prayer, right there at her lunch break. She doesn’t waste time. Every moment for her is an opportunity to impact her world.

For me, I think the hardest part is FINISHING. You know I always talk about the Strengthsfinder 2.0 book and how much I love it. Well one of my strengths is ACTIVATOR. It’s an awesome strength – and pair that up with me being a big dreamer and visionary and I can get things to happen … but the part I have MAJOR flaws with is FINISHING.

I can come up with ideas all the time. Sometimes I’ll even buy a cute “Idea” journal at Barnes and Noble so I can document all my dreams, goals and ideas … but then I lose it and it doesn’t happen. Or sometimes my “to-do” list seems so big and daunting, and I look at my day and somehow will just decide not to answer my phone all day and maybe just hide under my covers. And then I remember, it’s ONE step at a time. Just one. And then go to the next step. And don’t stop stepping. So then I have the bright idea of buying me a super cute “To-Do” list. I actually bought one yesterday! It’s on a cute clipboard with purple flowers. The only problem is, I lose it. I’m not sure why, it just happens. I have so many journals and to-do lists around my house that only have like 3 pages filled. It’s funny.

On Friday I got my final print copies of my book, A Bump in Life: True Stories of Hope & clip_image001Courage during an Unplanned Pregnancy in the mail. The publisher sent me 4 boxes full and as I opened them, I was amazed and reminded, I CAN finish something. I remember thinking, I want to write a book and had all these dreams and ideas about it, but when it came to actually sitting down to write, it was hard. I could come up with a lot of excuses of why I didn’t have the time. But it really just came down to … one step at a time. The to-do list was huge. 55,000 words written is a GIANT task. It was easy for me to say, that’s too hard and takes too long, plus I lost my notes on it a few days ago … but I didn’t. I might have gotten 100 words in one day, but then another day 4,000 and never quitting writing, until one day I realize, I’m DONE! I did it!

God has equipped us with everything we need in order to carry out the dreams inside of us. He knows our strengths and he knows our flaws … but you can still accomplish something. It might not be a book, maybe it’s going back to school, or leading someone to the Lord like the EG girl did, or getting plugged into a ministry … or even starting your own. There will always be something else to do that might interfere. You just gotta make time, clear your schedule, even if that means staying up super late like I did, to impact your world and change your own life while doing it.

Life is too short to coast through it. Live a life of depth. Be purposeful about your days. Accomplish one of your goals, even if it feels like it will take forever, just don’t quit … one step at a time. You might discover a whole new world by hearing God’s voice, and obeying His words! We get one shot at this time on earth, make it count!


Amy Ford headshot2Amy is passionate about helping girls that are walking this journey of being single, pregnant and alone, since that represents her own journey. She is equally passionate about introducing Jesus in a fresh way to a generation of girls that are daddy-less and suffer from low self-esteem, lacking in knowledge of their worth and value—and Who our identity comes from.  She is the author of A Bump in Life: True Stories of Hope & Courage during an Unplanned Pregnancy that released October 1, 2013 with B&H Publishing. She has been a member of Gateway Church for 8 years. She is married to her sweet husband of 15 years, Ryan Ford and they have 4 children: Jess, Mackenzie, Landry & Judah Brave.

Other posts you might like:

When You Don’t Fit the Mold—by Rachel Phifer

Do You Ever Feel Your Offering to God is Too Small?

Did the Apostles Really ‘Dis’ Waitresses?

Friday, October 4, 2013

Owning Up!

It happened for all the wrong reasons, but isn’t that how God often works?

My husband and I got in a fight and I needed to leave the house. I burst out the front door, unlocked my car and fell into the driver’s seat. There, next to me, was the non-functioning, boxed up small appliance I needed to take back to the store before it went out of business the next week. Since I was now in my car and had nowhere else to go, this was my chance to do that.

Still in full fury, I heaved onto the main road, probably cut off a few drivers,driving fast and made my way to the store. I marched inside with my defective product, indignant “they” added to the frustration of my day by giving me the extra burden of returning this thing, and dropped the box on the Customer Service counter. “I need my money back. This doesn’t work,” I said, with all the elegance of woman on fire. 

“Do you have the receipt?”

Uh-oh. Having left the house because of my anger toward the hubby, I didn’t think about the receipt as I drove off in haste. The box had already been in the car.

I fished through my wallet to see if—somehow—I might have just put it in there. No luck. I reached into the bowels of my handbag, hoping against hope it might be there. Sheesh! This was just the culmination of my day.

So what did I do?—

“What do you mean I need a receipt?!”

—The only thing I could do given my ugly mood.

“You need a receipt to return this item,” she said, as though it had been said a thousand times that day.

Undaunted, I pushed forward. “It’s obvious I got it from here.” Don’t ask me how I believed this or even if I really did. All I know was that my disgusting mood was being emptied out on this poor woman as I railed against the store policy.

I have to give her credit, though. She spoke truth in a calm, cool, collected manner to me without the hint of a sneer.

I, on the other hand, after harassing her thoroughly, turned to leave, but was stopped by the security guard at the door. “Do you have a receipt for that, ma’am.” He pointed to the boxed appliance I still possessed, due to my lack of receipt.

Who knows what I said. I believe when Jesus washed away the sin of that day, He must have washed away much of my memory of it too. I just remember the look in the security guard’s eyes when he’d obviously caught the gaze of the woman at the counter. She must have spoken volumes in seconds, communicating to him that he just better let me through.

It’s amazing how my sin can wrap around me so thick I can’t see it at all.

I got in my car and drove away. One car cut me off. I spewed some anger he or she could never have heard. Another car almost ran into me so I raised my hand in the air and screamed, “What are you trying to tell me, Lord?”

Then I noticed—sigh—I did not have my headlights on. These cars probably couldn’t even see me. I thought it was their fault they were cutting me off and now I knew it was mine!

At that moment I realized I’d been wrong in everything I had done over the past hour, even the fight with my husband. I told God, “If that same woman is at the counter tomorrow, I promise I will apologize for my abysmal behavior.” Of course, I’d planned to go early, and since this woman worked night shifts, she’d likely not be there.

I hoped.

So, I got home and apologized to my husband—for what, only the Holy Spirit knows now. Then I trudged back to the store the next day—appliance and receipt in hand—and walked over to the counter.

Imagine the feeling in my gut when I saw that woman there. Imagine the look on her face when she saw me.

Tears filled my eyes as I realized God had blessed me and I needed to be grateful for it. I neared the counter trying to drum up some courage and said, “I don’t know if you remember me from last night …” even though it was obvious she had, “ … but I came in here in a very bad mood and took my anger out on you. I am very sorry.”

Her eyes bugged out and her mouth dropped open. The woman behind her stared with the words “Say what?” shooting from her irises. She’d almost dropped the box she’d been carrying.

Clearly, this does not happen often because these women had no idea how to respond. That made my heart ache even more!

Finally, she spoke a thank you and helped me return my item. The other woman kept eying me like an unusual beast that needed further study as she helped another customer.

I asked if the security guard from the night before was there so I could apologize to him. She said no. Evidently, God’s penance for me was now complete. And I was blessed. Really!

You see, showing Christ to the world is not always about doing the right thing, but owning up to when you do it wrong. Acknowledging to the world your own sinfulness and need of a Savior.

Believe it or not, I think I witnessed to both those ladies behind the counter that day. Both were incredulous and both expressed immense gratitude to me—even after I’d been the one who wronged them. But somehow God took even my ugliness and turned it into His glory.

Other posts you might like:

When God Is Not Like A Parent

What Brought You to Christ?

I Failed God’s Test