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Ann Hutchison
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Hi friends, Ann here! We’re currently looking at past words that God has spoken to our community. To catch up, here are the recent posts: Part one - 'Museum of SUM' Part two - 'God is Calling our Spouses' Now, this next word I’m going to share is one where the Lord gave us an adjustment. In it he was encouraging us to adjust a particular aspect of our walk. It’s shared with warm humor by Lynn but when I read it I did nod and say all over again, 'Yes, Lord.' It happened at the conference that Lynn and Dineen attended on 12 October 2012. Lynn tells the story, which I’ve copied below. It's a longer one, so perhaps make a drink and settle in ... Then we can chat in the comments. ** Lynn's Story, 2 November 2012 "Sometimes are you overcome and overwhelmed with the sheer love... Continue reading
Posted Oct 15, 2020 at Spiritually Unequal Marriage
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Hi SUMites, Ann here! As you know, we’re currently looking at past words that the Holy Spirit has spoken to this community. In our archives there are places where the Lord has said something specific to equip us, and I’m in the process of pulling these words out, in date order, to see how the Lord has progressively spoken to us as a body. What does God want us to know? Where does he want us to focus our minds? What wisdom does he have for us? On Monday I shared the first of these words. It was the simplest of words that the Lord gave Dineen for this community but sometimes he gives us simple truths to digest, especially as a first step. Dineen described the word as this: He is calling our pre-believers with His salvation. We need only lift our face to Him and trust that He... Continue reading
Posted Oct 13, 2020 at Spiritually Unequal Marriage
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Hello friends, Ann here. Today I’m continuing from my post last week about this blog being like a wonderful museum of God stories. If you missed it you can catch up here. In that post, I described how God has given our community the occasional prophetic word over the years: words of wisdom or promises specifically for us, the SUM Nation. It’s such encouraging stuff. We have the Bible, but we also have access to hearing his voice. When we do receive a word from the Holy Spirit, it’s helpful to go back and re-examine it. For example, there might be an instruction for us in there that we'd forgotten and by reviewing his words we can make sure we're doing all we can to partner with him. I guess it’s all part of what it means to be in relationship with him. What an adventure! Today, I’m smiling so... Continue reading
Posted Oct 11, 2020 at Spiritually Unequal Marriage
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Hi SUM family, Ann here. Last week I had a ‘moment’ in my SUM life, as we do, that turned into a good wisdom lesson for me, so I'm going to share it today. It was about God's protection. I was reclining in my favorite armchair before bed one night, cocoa in hand, when something occurred to me and my face fell. It was this: Recently I’ve developed a routine where, once dinner is in the oven at about 5 or 6pm, I go to my bedroom and pray for my family. That includes Bryce, and I’ve been praying various things for him with gusto. I like that new routine, it's a happy one; but on this day a thought struck: “I would love it if it was the other way round. I'd love it if he prayed for me.” Aggh, and that thought snowballed. I got thinking about the... Continue reading
Posted Oct 8, 2020 at Spiritually Unequal Marriage
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Hi SUMites, Ann here! Lately, I've been thinking about how much this blog is a museum full of interesting stories. I wonder if any of you find it so? And, within it there are places where God has answered some of those questions we talked about in our last post. That's what I wanted to share today. Hope you can follow me as we take a little walk through the SUM community's story. Most of us will know this ministry was started by Lynn as just a little blog. Her time of being spiritually mismatched had only just become easier when God nudged her to start writing publicly about this sensitive topic. This was a huge ask: Would her husband mind? Miraculously, Mike said yes, and fourteen years later here we are. Mike's baptism last year brought us full circle. It is truly one of my favorite stories ever. This... Continue reading
Posted Oct 4, 2020 at Spiritually Unequal Marriage
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Hello friends, Ann here. Recently, I popped a question onto our Facebook page, asking ‘What’s your biggest question for Jesus right now concerning your spiritual mismatch?’ Many of you will have seen that post, but some won’t. I found the responses so helpful in relation to my own path, that I thought you might too. I guess I realized I have asked God every single one of those questions. And when we see others face the exact same things, we remember we are not alone. So, here goes. From our beautiful community, here are the biggest questions we SUMites wrestle with: How long, Lord? How much longer? When? When, Lord? I’m waiting! Why doesn’t my spouse come back to you? What is standing in the way? Why me? Will my spouse ever choose you? Or, am I always to be in an unequally yoked marriage? Show me please, what I... Continue reading
Posted Oct 1, 2020 at Spiritually Unequal Marriage
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Hi friends, Ann here! We can walk through this SUM path feeling weary, right? But there are moments where God brings us a surprise gift to cheer us up. Today I want to encourage you with a little story: It's about the day I discovered Bryce’s favorite friend had unexpectedly become Christian. If you need a boost I hope you enjoy this one! Now, this guy was unusual in that I never would have imagined it. Not because he was off the rails. I just wouldn't have picked it. I’ll call him David. Bryce and I were friends with Dave in our early twenties. He was one who lived life hedonistically and he became unusually successful in the business world. He is very funny, with a dry wit that my Bryce particularly enjoys. Over the years the two of them would laugh their way across the golf course, squash court... Continue reading
Posted Sep 29, 2020 at Spiritually Unequal Marriage
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Dear friends, Ann here. Today we wrap up our series on love. Here in our SUM community there are many different marriages. Some have spouses who are easy to love; others have extremely challenging situations. But in every relationship – easy or hard – love is not easy. Nor is it simple. And even with the easiest marriage a faith difference brings a huge challenge. Our love challenge is not just about loving our spouse. It can be equally hard to love those who are an extended part of our SUM situation. For example, I’ve been frustrated at times with Christian family members and the church because they don't understand. It's all been one massive exercise in love. Love is, to me, like the diamond engagement ring on my finger. I hold it up in front of my eyes and examine it from different angles, for there are different facets... Continue reading
Posted Sep 27, 2020 at Spiritually Unequal Marriage
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Hi friends, Ann here! As we sit in 1 Corinthians 13, it occurs to me how many facets this little word ‘LOVE’ has. It’s easy to think of love as being kind and patient; it’s easy to think of it as being something like a hug. It is truly that. But there’s another side, and it’s this: If we love someone, we will put their spiritual health above our own popularity. That is, we'll speak truth when needed. Now that is hard. I love to embrace people’s life stories and if someone’s battling dysfunction in their lives I find it easy to be nice to them. That's important, but sometimes we have to speak truth to stop them going around the same mountain any longer. So, on that happy note, my friends, let me tell you about one of my hardest faith moments, a time when God asked me to... Continue reading
Posted Sep 17, 2020 at Spiritually Unequal Marriage
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Hi friends, Ann here! With our coffees at the ready, how about we take a look at this challenging gem today in 1 Corinthians 13: "Love keeps no record of wrongs" (1 Corinthians 13:5, NIV) It is a noble thing to not keep record of wrongs. But do any of you have an ‘extremely difficult person’ in your life? How easy is it, really, to not think about the many annoyances or offences? I’m smiling because I suspect we all have one or two such people. Honestly, with a difficult person it's near impossible not to ruminate a little. Or, a lot! Today I thought I would share a story about a challenging relationship that I've had in my extended family. This is a relationship my husband watches quietly, and he sees me learning to love. Sometimes he even tells me I've done good. Now, at those moments I break... Continue reading
Posted Sep 13, 2020 at Spiritually Unequal Marriage
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Hi friends, Ann here. Today we begin our series on LOVE, and in a moment I have a light-hearted story to share. But first, speaking of love, I wanted to take a minute to thank you for your loving support after Lynn's announcement this week. This community is pure joy to me and I look forward to us having more good times together. I hope you know you can reach out to any of us on the team, any time. I'm also delighted for Lynn that she can work on some new projects after all she has poured into us. I say thank you to her. She's not leaving us, but is simply branching out a little wider. So, we cheer her on and onwards we march! Now for today's thought: “Though I speak with the tongues of men and of angels, but have not love, I have become sounding... Continue reading
Posted Sep 3, 2020 at Spiritually Unequal Marriage
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By Ann Hutchison I grinned at my friend, Amy*, as we sat cradling cups of steaming coffee, delighted to be together again after weeks of social distancing. How good it had felt to give her a hug hello an hour earlier. Now, happily reunited, here we sat in a bustling café. Amy was one of my all-time favorites. Her faith is deep, she makes me crack up laughing, and our coffees often extend into hours. This time was no different. Chat chat chat, we went. Then it happened. The conversation turned to her church, and she began to share how much she and her husband were enjoying their ‘small group’. Cheerfully, she began to describe the group: A group of couples. Each of the couples was so supportive, deeply connected to God, and yet there were no pretences there, they were very real about their struggles. She went on to... Continue reading
Posted Aug 27, 2020 at Spiritually Unequal Marriage
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Hello friends, Ann here. Today I wanted to write a final word on our Summer Study to properly wrap it up. We’ve spent the last few posts looking at Jesus and the Church as the ultimate spiritual mismatch. And prior to that we raced through so many Bible characters. I hope you enjoyed it as much as I did. Truly, I won’t ever read those stories the same again. Which story did you enjoy the most? Perhaps it was David who danced nearly naked while his wife, Michal tut-tutted? Or Abigail who had to dig deep living with one who was militantly against her cause? For me, it was Mary, who carried a ‘crazy story’, hoping to share it eventually. Sometimes that one feels like my life. We talked about the fact that a spiritual mismatch can be mild or extreme. This reminded me that in church circles I don’t... Continue reading
Posted Aug 20, 2020 at Spiritually Unequal Marriage
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Hi friends, Ann here. I remember, as a 5-year-old girl, being mesmerized by the wedding of Lady Diana and Prince Charles of England in 1981. Little girls are funny like that. They can be the ultimate dreamers. Knowing this, my mum bought me a little hard-backed book about the wedding and I would pore over it. Now, sometimes God romances us. I’d forgotten about that little book, but last night he brought it back to me by popping images of Lady Di's dress into my head. He seemed to be saying, “Remember this? Remember how much you liked it?” It was a sweet Father-God moment. "You're still that little girl to me." Every detail of Lady Di's preparation was exquisite. It surely brings to life what it means when the Bible says Jesus is preparing for himself a glorious 'bride' (Ephesians 5:25-27). It also brings to life a lesser known... Continue reading
Posted Aug 13, 2020 at Spiritually Unequal Marriage
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Hi friends, Ann here! I hope you've enjoyed our race through different Bible marriages this summer. We had much to look at and there were some marriages we didn’t even cover, such as Hosea's. Alas, summer is nearly over. In the middle of this summer study I received a message from one of our friends, Libby Finan. Libby often has great words for this community, and what she said was this (paraphrased by me): “I think I hear the Holy Spirit say that Jesus and the church are the ultimate unequal relationship. You could write about that next?” “Sounds great!” I responded, ready to rise to the challenge. But where could I start? The one question I have is, "Lord, what are you wanting us to know?" In scripture, as you know, there are a few passages about our Lord, Jesus, and his church, but we'll start with this one:... Continue reading
Posted Aug 9, 2020 at Spiritually Unequal Marriage
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Hello friends, Ann here! Today I’m going to write something different than what we hinted at in the last post. The Holy Spirit changes our plans sometimes, and I believe he wanted us to look at this Bible character next. Are you ready to meet her, this next one, this dark horse? Well, here we go: It’s Jael, who hammered a tent peg into the head of Sisera, Israel’s enemy, in the book of Judges. Let’s read her story in Judges 4:1-24. The setting is Israel and it’s a dark time. It’s like the time we’re in now, actually, in that village life has ceased and the highways are empty (Judges 5:6-7). That’s eerily close to home. The evil King Jabin has oppressed Israel for some time but God’s servants are going into battle against the commander, Sisera, and they know they’ll win. Now, the prophet Deborah foretells something sharp... Continue reading
Posted Jul 30, 2020 at Spiritually Unequal Marriage
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A warm welcome to any new readers of the blog today! My name's Ann, and we are in the middle of a study of marriages in the Bible with a faith difference. I hope you enjoy it as you read along. As for our regular readers, I so enjoyed reading your comments and insights on Monday's post. Keep them coming! Now, today's couple is David and Michal. Unlike Elizabeth and Zacharias (from Monday's post), David and Michal seem to be a classic couple with a clear faith difference. If we turn to 2 Samuel 6:16-23, we see David dance to the Lord, a whirling passion that came straight from his hunger for his Lord. Michal, meanwhile, looks out of an upstairs window and despises his faith. I wrote a little about that back in March -- You can re-revisit it here. Essentially, Michal sees David dance and comes out with... Continue reading
Posted Jul 9, 2020 at Spiritually Unequal Marriage
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Hello SUM family, welcome to our summer study! It’s Ann here, and this whole month we’re going to be looking at different couples in the Bible who had a faith difference. Today, I have the pleasure of kicking it off, and so let’s turn to Luke 1 to meet our first couple: Mr and Mrs Zacharias – That is, Elizabeth and Zacharias. We know the story well, but is there a SUM twist to it? Continue reading
Posted Jul 5, 2020 at Spiritually Unequal Marriage
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Hi friends, Ann here! The sun is shining as I write from down here in New Zealand, and it’s even more summery up in the Northern Hemisphere. So, with the sun beaming I’m happy to announce we are about to launch into our annual summer Bible study. This year we’re going to do something a little different. Instead of doing what we normally do and taking a book to work through, this time we're going to take a trip through scripture to examine some of the spiritually mismatched marriages that lie within the pages of the Bible. Yes, we’re taking a look at SUMites in the Bible. Were there many of them? We’ve thought up a few. And then in some cases it seems that aspects of a marriage were spiritually mismatched without it being overtly mentioned. I wonder whether any particular Bible character springs to mind for you? If... Continue reading
Posted Jun 28, 2020 at Spiritually Unequal Marriage
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Hi friends, Ann here. We’ve just had Pentecost, a day when the Holy Spirit came with power upon the early church. What a moment! I can only imagine what those disciples felt when they saw fire on each other's heads. They must have surely been scared but excited. One time I had an experience in a church that left me scared-but-excited. It was a memorable moment for sure. Here's what happened: Continue reading
Posted May 31, 2020 at Spiritually Unequal Marriage
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Ann here! Today I thought I would chat a little about hearing God's voice as a whisper. Often the way God speaks is through the softest of moments, much like the everyday companionship of a good friend. Even the prophet Elijah heard God in the still small voice rather than a dramatic fanfare (1 Kings 19:12), and that's usually how it is. The hard thing is, we have to believe it's Him, and that takes a leap. Continue reading
Posted May 7, 2020 at Spiritually Unequal Marriage
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Dear friends, Ann here! Today, as we enter our umpteenth week of staying home I thought I would share a personal story. I think I got an inkling last year about this whole Coronavirus thing, but didn't understand it. I know a couple of others who had the same thing happen. See what you think of this: It all began when my kitchen got ripped out last October ... Continue reading
Posted May 3, 2020 at Spiritually Unequal Marriage
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Hi friends, Ann here. 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? Continue reading
Posted Apr 23, 2020 at Spiritually Unequal Marriage
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Hi friends, Ann here! During this time of incubation in my home, I've been reflecting on what I'm to focus my energy on. I sense it's this simple thing: Lock my eyes onto Jesus. As far as I can, I need to fix my eyes firmly on Him, and steadily hold that gaze. This week, with that in mind, I’ve been marinating in small verses from the Gospels. Today I thought I would share one little Gospel moment: The time when Jesus visited His special friends, Mary, Martha and Lazarus. Continue reading
Posted Apr 2, 2020 at Spiritually Unequal Marriage
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Hi friends, Ann here! How are you all doing, I wonder? Well, here we are with a new normal that has been thrust upon us: That of being house-bound with all regular routines interrupted. As far as I’m concerned everything has been interrupted, including my routine with God. Continue reading
Posted Mar 29, 2020 at Spiritually Unequal Marriage