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Ann Hutchison
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Dear friends, Ann here. I mentioned on Monday that I would share some words from our archives that God gave our community. These words are promises that we're dusting off now because they feel relevant for today. For the past months I've been hearing God that after this pandemic many of us are going to see more outward victory from the seeds we've sown. That's exciting to me. Does it mean salvations? Oh I hope so! How are you feeling right now about this, I wonder? We reach a point where we settle in and become used to it 'not happening'. But we can now sit up and get a little more ready: We're watching something very unusual happen in our world, and things are moving. While we wait, one thing we must do is refresh our vision. And we can do this by reviewing some of the important things... Continue reading
Posted yesterday at Spiritually Unequal Marriage
Ann here! Dear SUMites, do you remember last year I said I would pull out some of the words that God has spoken to our community over the years? In particular I’ve been interested in key promises we have received from the Lord -- Corporate promises for us that we can look at together. Here's the first post I wrote on that last year: God's promises for the SUMites, part one. This ‘collating of God’s words to the SUMites’ has been a project of mine for some time now. I have been reading through the archives in date order, starting from May 2006, with the hope of sharing important words on here every now and then. It's a refreshing and remembering of what God is wanting us to know, I guess. So this brings me to the next series. Starting on Friday I’m going to spend a few posts sharing... Continue reading
Posted 5 days ago at Spiritually Unequal Marriage
Hello friends, Ann here. I’ve had a little discovery this week that has totally made me smile, and I thought I’d share it. It’s to do with my husband: Bryce has a trait that can teach me a lesson or two about my walk with God. It’s this: He has not an anxious bone in his body. Oh, how I wish I had that trait myself! For me, I have to grow it with God. But for Bryce it comes easily: No matter what the situation, he will not worry about it. His view: "It does no good to worry. So why would I?" He is right, of course -- What good does it do? But for those of us who are naturally of a more anxious disposition, 'not worrying' is easier said than done. There’s me, fretting about some scenario and I will ask him: “Are you worried about... Continue reading
Posted Feb 18, 2021 at Spiritually Unequal Marriage
My friends, Ann here. I normally try to write something on the cheery side but sat down earlier to do that and ... Mm, I'm not quite in that space. See, for the last two weeks I’ve been mostly horizontal on my couch feeling a bit physically unwell. So that's the tone of today's post: Somewhat sedate. It's ok, I think -- There are a few in this community who are feeling battle-weary so perhaps this post will be for you today. When we're feeling weary it's the perfect opportunity to do one of the most important things we can do: Take communion. So, today I would love to share communion with you! At the end of this post we'll do that so you might like to grab a wine and cracker before reading on. These past two weeks on my couch have put on my heart those in our... Continue reading
Posted Feb 14, 2021 at Spiritually Unequal Marriage
Hi SUM family, Ann here! Many of you will know Vidya Rodney, who sends us lovely guest posts for the blog. Today she has shared a little about how the community fast in January went for her. It's a good thing to reflect back on a fast after the event. Once we have recovered, that is! Now, over to Vidya: -- *** "This was my very first time fasting no solid foods for a whole week. I had been looking forward to this corporate fast, as I believe in the power of community. So I made sure to pray weeks before on this. And I knew I needed to be realigned with God. When the fast began, I started to hear lies that I wouldn't be able to do it. However, I started declaring "I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me" (Philippians 4:13). I kept declaring that... Continue reading
Posted Feb 11, 2021 at Spiritually Unequal Marriage
Hi SUM family, Ann here. It’s been fun this past week thinking about the different factors that go into belief vs unbelief. Thanks for reading along, and for your comments -- Reading what you had to say was like iron-sharpening-iron! I know theologians write about deep matters like predestination and free will. But for us SUMites, we live out those questions every day and our view will be home-spun. We tend to do a very personal analysis right in our home, asking: “What is going on here, Lord?” After all, we desperately want to understand our spouse’s story. From writing about it this past week I am left with one main thought, which is a little humbling: O the deepness of the riches, both of the wisdom, and knowledge of God! how unsearchable are his judgments, and his ways past finding out! (Romans 11:33, GNV) Yep, much of it is... Continue reading
Posted Feb 9, 2021 at Spiritually Unequal Marriage
Ann here! We’ve been talking about the ingredients that go into belief vs. unbelief. In part one we talked about the power of free will. Then, in part two we talked about the influence of the demonic. Well, today I want to talk about the Father's Grand Clock. That is, the fact that God might have specific times for specific things to happen. When I think about my husband, for example, even though I know free will is huge I often wonder this: Is there a set time when his eyes are destined to be opened? Perhaps the reason I ask that is that I feel my own conversion had an element of timing to it. I also know that it is Jesus's role to open people's eyes. The Gospels show that over and over again -- That is one of Jesus's main things he did: Open people's eyes. Physically,... Continue reading
Posted Feb 7, 2021 at Spiritually Unequal Marriage
Dear friends, Ann here. We’re in a series about what goes into belief vs. unbelief. Part one was about free will, and I loved reading your comments. Today I want to talk about another factor: The influence of the demonic. One of the earliest questions I had for God was, “Is Satan really real?” It was one thing to believe in God, but to believe in Satan and demons was a notch further. It raised so many questions for me. Apart from scripture, what ultimately led me to believe Satan was real was that a few trusted people I know (seasoned Christians) have encountered demons. Plain and simple. That was a start. I've since had several times of my own where I've heard a demon speak in a particular situation. Interestingly, it’s never scared me. I deliberately try not to give the devil glory in speaking about a situation. I'd... Continue reading
Posted Feb 4, 2021 at Spiritually Unequal Marriage
Hi friends, Ann here! I've been thinking lately about the topic of belief vs. unbelief, and all the different spiritual ingredients that go into that. Like many of you, I have a mixture of believers and unbelievers in my life, and often look at those who don't believe and wonder what is going on there. There are quite a few things that lead to unbelief, as we know. The influence of the enemy is one thing. The perfect timing of God is another. But one all-important ingredient is, of course, that powerful force that God designed us to have: Free will! Free will - Gah! Being in a SUM, most of us will find free will a frustrating thing. Because it means our spouse has complete choice to accept or reject Jesus. But, in Genesis 1:26-31, God made humankind in his own image, then said it was ‘very good’. 'Very... Continue reading
Posted Jan 31, 2021 at Spiritually Unequal Marriage
Dear friends, Ann here. Last week I shared a story about a shift in my home. A good shift. If you missed that post, you can read it here. Essentially, a peace came and settled between me and my hubby, and we stopped having disagreements about faith or church. Wonderful! Perhaps at some point in a SUM, this is what happens. I would be interested to hear in the comments if any others of you have found that. I know that Lynn felt that shift one or two years before her husband, Mike, got baptized. Now, I keep a careful diary about my life with God, and in the case of this particular shift I looked back and noticed something curious. At the very time that the shift with my husband happened, I had begun to do something new: I had begun to linger a little longer with the Lord.... Continue reading
Posted Jan 21, 2021 at Spiritually Unequal Marriage
Hello friends, Ann here. Last week, I mentioned that things had shifted in my home -- Quite a lot, in fact. Well, I want to tell you more about that. This photo here is of Bryce and me, on a recent holiday. You wouldn't think we'd had such drama, looking at that peaceful photo! We love each other heaps. But, despite that we've had some truly difficult moments on this SUM journey. It's a journey that neither of us asked for. Somewhere along the way, however, it settled. A peace came into that chasm between us. I only realized this a few weeks ago. Just before Christmas I went to a hotel for a night alone and had a lot of hours to reflect on the year. It was there that I suddenly realized something: "Oh! Bryce and I have not had a painful conversation about my faith for a... Continue reading
Posted Jan 14, 2021 at Spiritually Unequal Marriage
Dear SUM family, Ann here. I hope you are relishing the moments from last week's community fast. I’m still smiling at it all. And now we turn our minds towards 2021 in earnest. As you know, I’ve been praying about this coming year for us. But somewhat surprisingly, it seems that the word God wanted me to share for 2021 takes our minds off our families a little. Perhaps the pressing issue now is that we need to cope with a challenging year ahead regardless of what is happening with our spouses. So, here is what the Lord seems to be saying right now: SUMites, come up higher. Come and learn more from Me about being part of My remnant! The remnant? This one is an interesting phrase. It refers to those who keep their love for God burning (Matthew 25:1-13), and who will never allow themselves to fall asleep... Continue reading
Posted Jan 10, 2021 at Spiritually Unequal Marriage
Dear SUMites, Ann here on our final day of the fast. We've made it! It's Friday morning here and my brain is pretty foggy. Yesterday I began to find I could no longer construct proper sentences due to lack of food, which caused my boys a great deal of laughter. That's how hard this thing is. Amazingly, I've managed these five days with no food. It has been quite the exercise: It has been tough doing all the usual 'Mum' activities (e.g., taking my kids places) in such a state. Still, fasting is a state where you 'afflict your soul' (Leviticus 16:29-31), so that's the deal. We've talked a lot about our individual purpose this week. I've so enjoyed reading your comments - Really, really enjoyed reading them. And now, to finish off the fast how about we take communion together? Here's a photo of mine, a little glass of... Continue reading
Posted Jan 7, 2021 at Spiritually Unequal Marriage
Ann here today, on Thursday morning, day four of our fast. How are you all doing? So far, I’ve had no food since Monday sunrise and am feeling doddery. Time with the Lord at this point is simply about ‘being’. I don’t have mental sharpness so am floating around the house, popping on a bit of worship music, and doing little else. I think Bryce secretly likes this quiet wife! Today I wanted to float a little idea, and it comes wrapped in a story of something that happened a few years ago. It's this: If God ever gives you the name of a Bible character, it might be an indication of how he sees you and the kinds of experiences or tasks he might have ahead for you. Now, here’s the story. A few years ago, I woke with a phrase in my head: ‘You are specifically Elizabeth’. A... Continue reading
Posted Jan 6, 2021 at Spiritually Unequal Marriage
Ann here! It’s the morning of day two here, and so far so good. Amazingly, my family are talking about ‘Mum’s fast’ and encouraging me along, which has been a new feature this year and it captures how things have shifted in my home. I have a little more to share on that shift below. First, though, I want to say that it's common to set a goal with fasting and find you don't make it. It's just so hard to fast -- That's the truth of it. If that's you, don't beat yourself up and think it's a failure. It's not. Just get back on the horse and try again the next day. It's definitely worth continuing. The truth is, our Father smiles on the heart of one who fasts. And this morning I'm reminded of a little story that seems to illustrate that: Every Christmas, Bryce and I... Continue reading
Posted Jan 4, 2021 at Spiritually Unequal Marriage
Dear SUMites, here we are on day one of our SUM corporate fast! It's Ann here and I can’t help but think that this particular fast is going to be meaningful. There is so much for us to inquire from God about. Our world is literally groaning for healing, and so are we. So we fast. As I write I have a cupboard and fridge full of drinks, ready to embark on a brave five days. No food from sunrise Monday to sunset Friday. I will keep you posted on how this goes. I know from our chats that many of you are doing this fast. In the spirit, then, we link arms. During this week, one theme I hope to talk to God about is this: Lord, what do you want the SUM community to know for this coming year? To elaborate a little, this year the Body of... Continue reading
Posted Jan 3, 2021 at Spiritually Unequal Marriage
Ann here! With Christmas festivities behind us, and hopefully some happy memories made, it’s time to turn our minds to our annual SUM Community Fast. The fast will start in a week’s time, on Monday 4th January. If you haven't already, check out my video from last week. Personally, I’m so in need of this year’s fast. Because of what we’ve been through with the pandemic, I have an especially strong desire to get before God and reflect on where we're at. When vulnerable from fasting, you just can’t help but hit the couch and listen to Him more than usual. And though fasting is very difficult, that is the benefit I know will come next week. Every time we fast as this SUM community, at least a few of us will hear something from the Lord and post it in the comments. In fact, I look back on the... Continue reading
Posted Dec 27, 2020 at Spiritually Unequal Marriage
Dear friends, Ann here. With only a couple of days until Christmas I wanted to wish you a special time with your loved ones. And I know I speak on behalf of the rest of the team -- Lynn, Ian, and Tiffany -- in saying a heartfelt 'Merry Christmas' from us! Here is a beautiful verse to settle our gaze upwards: “You will keep in perfect peace all who trust in You, all whose thoughts are fixed on You!” (Isaiah 26:3, NLT) One way of keeping our thoughts fixed on Jesus is to look back on some moments in our faith life that have been especially important to us. So with that in mind I thought I would share one such moment that I've been thinking about today. A few years ago, I went through a patch where I spent a lot of time asking God ‘What is true?’ By... Continue reading
Posted Dec 22, 2020 at Spiritually Unequal Marriage
Dear SUMites, Ann here. I hope you are keeping well and finding some wonder, peace, and hope at this time of year despite everything we've walked through these past months. I know we're mainly thinking about Advent during this week, but I just wanted to hop on and give you a heads up about our annual SUM community fast, which will be from Monday the 4th to Friday the 8th of January. This is just a 'save the date', and we'll post more about it after Christmas. If you are new to the fast, however, you might like to hear a bit more about it in the video below. All for now, and back again on Wednesday! Ann Continue reading
Posted Dec 20, 2020 at Spiritually Unequal Marriage
Hi everyone -- Ann here, and a happy Advent season to you all! In the spirit of Christmas, I'd wanted to pick one of the stories from the Gospels to talk about today, but which one to choose? These stories are all so full of wonder. After some thought, I finally landed on a favorite of mine: The story where God gives Mary a friend. Elizabeth. I just find that detail really sweet: God gave her a friend. And he will do the same for us; when we need it. Like Mary, many of us SUMites battle a strange kind of loneliness. We have an unusual circumstance to live with; and, like Mary, we don’t ‘tick the boxes’. She was made pregnant out of wedlock but in a Holy way. There's nothing conventional about that. And not much is conventional about us, either. “Then the angel said to her, ‘Do... Continue reading
Posted Dec 10, 2020 at Spiritually Unequal Marriage
Dear SUMites, Ann here! As a mum of two teen boys, I have to say that parenting is the biggest thing I bring to the Lord. Dare I confess that it really can send me over the edge when I think too long and hard about my precious boys and how precarious it feels to let them detach from my apron strings and fly free. Anyone else out there feel this way? These days my prayers have ramped up for that very reason and, in particular, it's their faith life that occupies me. Yet, just like with my husband, I find I can't just make this thing happen on my own strength. And it takes a good deal of thought. I know that many of you feel the same, and it's a big part of our SUM journey trying to figure out how to raise our children effectively in faith.... Continue reading
Posted Nov 19, 2020 at Spiritually Unequal Marriage
Hi friends, Ann here! When a spouse leaves the faith -- part 1 When spouse leaves the faith – part 2 I’d like to thank those SUMites whose stories have helped inform the last two posts on this topic. It is an intensely difficult path. The grief of a lost shared faith in marriage is an extreme thing to live with, but several of the SUMites I talked to said they can look back and see how much they have learned through it all. So I thought it might be nice to finish with a few ‘tips’, or insights, from these SUMite soldiers. If I can summarize, what most said – in one way or another -- is this: Once you realize the battle is spiritual, a shift takes place. Once you realize that it's a blinding of your spouse's heart, the fight changes its flavor. Once you realize that... Continue reading
Posted Nov 15, 2020 at Spiritually Unequal Marriage
Ann here again! When a spouse leaves the faith, Part 1 Today we're going to continue with the above topic, and I thought I would start with a little story: Last year, I attended a ministry conference. We were a small group, perhaps 100 in the room, and Auckland is a small place so we often see family faces. There we were in an interactive session, when the conference leader asked a question. A man on the far left of the room shot up his hand as if to say ‘Over here! I have something to say!’ The mic was carried to him, and for the third time that day he spoke something super insightful into it. All the while, his wife sat beside him, nodding. I looked over at this couple from over on my side and quietly did a happy dance (inside!) In fact, I just kept on... Continue reading
Posted Nov 12, 2020 at Spiritually Unequal Marriage
Ann here! Today I want to talk about a path that is walked by so many here, and it's a really difficult one: ‘When a Spouse Leaves the Faith’. In our community we have many a story to tell about how we found ourselves in a SUM. In my case, for example, I was far from God when I married, then turned and changed. That's a common scenario. But there’s another story within our ranks that seems especially weighty: The situation where one spouse falls away. It looks something like this: A husband and wife intimately share their relationship with Jesus. They pray together, dream together, and serve together. Faith is the bedrock of their shared life and they are wedded to church. Then, out of left field one loses their faith and the other has to stand by and watch. The sense of loss is profound. In these next... Continue reading
Posted Nov 8, 2020 at Spiritually Unequal Marriage
Dear friends, Ann here! I had a different post planned today, but that can wait until next week. Instead, I thought I'd share a few impromptu thoughts given the present events. We're watching wide-eyed as the US election plays out, and then across the Atlantic many Europeans are entering their second lockdown. It's all pretty intense. However, many believers - friends of God -- across the world will be sitting in their living rooms asking, “What does this mean, Lord? What do you want us to know?” Sitting … waiting … watching … seeking Him. "I will stand my watch and set myself on the rampart, and watch to see what He will say to me, and what I will answer when I am corrected." (Habakkuk 2:1, NKJV) We hear in part, and we put the pieces together as a body. So, in that spirit I thought I might share... Continue reading
Posted Nov 5, 2020 at Spiritually Unequal Marriage