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Ann Hutchison
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Hi friends, Ann here! The other day I noticed something new about marriage in scripture. It was like a big flashing light-bulb going off in my mind, so I thought I'd share it. See what you think of this: In the Bible there are a few key scriptures about marriage, as we know. But what I noticed this week is that in two of those scriptures (one from the Old Testament and one from the New), it says that your treatment of your spouse determines whether your prayers will be heard. Continue reading
Posted Feb 6, 2020 at Spiritually Unequal Marriage
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Hi friends, Ann here! Like many of us, I’ve been watching the launch of Lynn’s new book, Marching around Jericho, with interest and am looking forward to cracking open its fresh pages. Today, I thought I would tell you some of what I’ve seen from the side-lines. Continue reading
Posted Feb 2, 2020 at Spiritually Unequal Marriage
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Ann here! We have reached day 4 of the fast. It’s Thursday afternoon here in New Zealand and, remarkably, I’m still going foodless. I'm pinching myself as this is officially the longest I’ve managed to go without food. I'm praying that I can inch across the finish line tomorrow. Now to us: I have my communion cup and cracker at the ready, and in taking communion I'd like to share a thought about God’s faithfulness. Continue reading
Posted Jan 8, 2020 at Spiritually Unequal Marriage
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I would say us SUMites identify strongly as people of covenant. We dig deep to make our marriages great, we’re intentional about staying connected to our spouse, and the whole concept of covenant drives us deeply. Our faith difference necessitates it. This covenant mindset helps us sympathize with Jesus’ covenant that He carried so deeply. In His case, He carried a deep commitment to His people, His babies, His church. In giving us His body and blood, he offered a covenant to us -- A covenant of salvation and protection. Continue reading
Posted Jan 7, 2020 at Spiritually Unequal Marriage
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Hi friends, Ann here! I'm looking forward to our fast next week and, as I'm preparing for it, this thought keeps turning around in my head: Sometimes the only way to take God's hands is when we let go of other people's. Only when we let go of others' support can we inspect His strong hands fully and hold them tight. Similarly, there's this whole other prop in life that we can, at times, let go of for our own closeness with Him: Food. It's our most basic of necessities, and when we forego it we practise clinging to Him in a way that feels like no other. Fasting leaves us needy. I can certainly say that in my own case it only takes a few hours of non-eating for me to hit the couch and curl up with Him, pen and journal in hand. Anything more industrious becomes impossible.... Continue reading
Posted Jan 2, 2020 at Spiritually Unequal Marriage
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Two Christmases ago, I was sitting alone in a spacious old church in Edinburgh, enjoying a family service. I'd been visiting that city on a solo trip, and it was a treat to go to a new church. I chose one I’d like to visit and as I took my seat it warmed my heart to be surrounded by a hall full of believers, none of whom I knew. As the singing began, I got the faintest thought that there might be someone there whose spouse did not yet believe – Someone there whom, maybe, I could help. Continue reading
Posted Dec 12, 2019 at Spiritually Unequal Marriage
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One of my favorite stories is that of Elizabeth in Luke chapter 1. We probably all know her story, but there’s a curious detail within it that is currently hitting me, and it’s this: Her promise had a plot twist. It took the form of her baby having a surprise name. Continue reading
Posted Dec 8, 2019 at Spiritually Unequal Marriage
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Recently a reader posted a question for the SUM community that many of us would relate to. I thought it would be a good one to share on here, and I wonder if we could add any answers to her question in the comments? Her question was this: “My husband is reading and using a particular anti-Christian book to ‘convince’ me the Bible is not the truth. Does anyone have any input, or has anyone read this?” Continue reading
Posted Nov 14, 2019 at Spiritually Unequal Marriage
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“How would you and your husband like to come for dinner?” A dear church friend threw her arm around my shoulder one Sunday, extending her hospitality. My heart began to pound. Not this again. Inwardly, one word hit my brain. “Noooooooooo!” I smiled as best I could and said, “That’s really nice. Um. Can I just think about it?” She looked puzzled. “Sure.” Here’s my deal: My husband loves people, and we don’t find it difficult to talk to strangers. But, when it comes to church, I personally have a mountain of complexities in my head. Truth be told, the idea of us going to a church friend’s house made me feel sick with nerves. Continue reading
Posted Nov 10, 2019 at Spiritually Unequal Marriage
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Ann here! On this blog, we’ve been through many an adventure. Well, today, I'd like to share an insight God gave me about some of the purpose. I hope what I share will spur you on. The insight came in the form of a dream I had in 2016. At the time I was a regular here, as were many others we still see here. Lynn and Dineen were our beloved pastors and we leaned on them heavily. That's how it looked in October 2016. Now for my dream: I saw the SUMites walking forward as a group, wearing matching red t-shirts. Lynn was walking in the front and middle, championing the group. On each SUMite's t-shirt was a white butterfly, above the right breast. The scene shifted to a room where the SUMites were gathered around a table, making these t-shirts for others. It might seem flaky to talk... Continue reading
Posted Oct 17, 2019 at Spiritually Unequal Marriage
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By Ann Hutchison I have an analogy that I often use when I begin to feel challenged by spiritual difference in marriage. It’s this: My husband and I are like conjoined twins. We're one flesh. Does that resonate with you? I pull in one direction, spiritually; he might say ‘No!’ and before we know it we’re yanking and straining, stretched beyond possibility. Sometimes it gets too much; then one of us will yell: “Stop it! Ouch!” Being one flesh, we are knit together intensively. Therefore a man shall leave his father and mother and be joined to his wife, and they shall become one flesh. Genesis 2:24 (NKJV) Thinking about this whole 'one flesh' thing, I decided to watch a documentary on conjoined twins. It might sound bonkers, but that is genuinely how I feel in spiritual terms. He is my other half. Anyway, others’ paths are good to watch,... Continue reading
Posted Oct 13, 2019 at Spiritually Unequal Marriage
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Ann here again! Having shared on Monday a little about church life, I thought I’d continue, this time about church and teenagers. Many of us have older kids, I know. Well, I live in a family of males. Add to that our male Persian cat and male lizard, and it seems that males are my speciality. I'm mindful that males sometimes don’t gel with church so I have a job on my hands, especially now that my boys are teenagers. Like Moses’ mum, here’s how I feel about those two boys of mine: “She saw that he was a beautiful child” Exodus 2:2 They are my beautiful children; and as their mum I will fiercely fight for their faith. However, I have a wee problem: I’m not managing to get them to church. Aggggh! I know many of you have this too. Honestly, if I could go back, I would... Continue reading
Posted Sep 19, 2019 at Spiritually Unequal Marriage
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Hello SUM family, Ann here! It’s a beautiful spring day here in New Zealand and I have a testimony of God’s grace that I want to share. Some fun shifts have happened in my life, so with a bounce in my step let me tell you a fun story. I’ve written previously about my struggles with churchgoing. This, for me, has been one of the hardest parts of this walk: Churchgoing without our spouses can be so complex. You know, a few years ago if you’d been to my church and gone ‘where’s Ann?’ you’d have looked and found me contorted in a crying shape in the back row. That was if I got there at all. Well, it’s changed. No, I’m not about to announce that my hubby goes with me; but these days we have a peaceful routine. On a Sunday we share a nice coffee together before... Continue reading
Posted Sep 15, 2019 at Spiritually Unequal Marriage
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Hi friends, Ann here. Today concludes our Esther study, and I want to devote this post to one word: Victory. First, what a crazy mess Esther and Mordecai have on their hands. We ourselves do battle with mess .. sigh. It’s mess from past choices, but also made by others. Often this 'mess' makes us think we’re losing; but we’re not. Here’s a fun fact: Esther’s problem was King Saul. Crazy, huh? It was Saul’s crappy problem that he made some 500 years earlier by not obeying God. See, Haman was an Agagite, and centuries earlier God told Saul to destroy all Amalekites, including King Agag (1 Samuel 15:1-9). Essentially, God said: “Saul, in your obedience don’t leave any stone unturned. Ok, son?” Saul thought to himself, “Um… yes .. ok.” But then his troops captured King Agag alive, along with goodies: fatlings and lambs that he could breed. Oh,... Continue reading
Posted Aug 29, 2019 at Spiritually Unequal Marriage
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Hi friends, Ann here. We're now in chapters 4 and 5 of Esther. As I begin this post, I have this in my head: Know your enemy. I don’t talk about the enemy much. I deliberately don’t give him airtime. But I do take careful notice of his activities so that I can move appropriately in prayer. One of my earliest questions as a Christian was whether there really was an enemy of our souls; a being, or beings who were influential in this world. Without going into detail, God did answer that question for me and showed me there is. On a couple of occasions, I’ve even heard a demon, though I’ve never seen one visually. Though I was surprised to hear the thing, it didn’t scare me one bit. It used a lot of F-words, and then spat out what its intentions were. My reaction was “You’re busted!... Continue reading
Posted Aug 22, 2019 at Spiritually Unequal Marriage
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Ann here! Oh, I enjoyed the story of the crazy King and Vashti on Monday. Now, let’s hurtle towards chapter 2, where we meet Esther, this “lovely and beautiful” daughter of God. She carries an intense cocktail of pain and growing strength. What is it we ourselves carry? Something similar I’d say, even though different. I see Esther as a fragile baby bird: Orphaned and snatched. But I also see her as strong as an ox. The 'ox' part comes later. Putting ourselves in her shoes, can you imagine being taken hostage for the sole purpose of a King's pleasure? It makes me inwardly choke. I wonder how she would have felt; I really don’t know. There was an honor to it, but a powerlessness. After her night with the King, in my mind it gets worse: She was shifted to a different house (v.14). No longer a virgin, she... Continue reading
Posted Aug 15, 2019 at Spiritually Unequal Marriage
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I’m writing today with a change in gears. It’s time for our summer study on the Book of Esther, and I have the pleasure of kicking it off. Lynn will post next, and we’ll take turns. Many will remember we studied this book two years ago (April 2017) but we seem to hear ‘Esther’ again. I’m helping with the writing as I have a little more time than usual this month. So, are you sitting comfortably? I am! Continue reading
Posted Aug 8, 2019 at Spiritually Unequal Marriage
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Hi everyone, Ann here! We’ve recently been discussing the power of words here and on the Facebook group, and these conversations have brought back something that happened to me three years ago. I thought I would share the story. It was a time when God showed me two alternative scenarios in terms of how I use words: One scenario was awesome, the other sobering. With words being a theme, I'll have a go at telling it. I’ll start with the awesome, which is the best bit. It was a bright February day, and God showed me something that gave me warm fuzzies. He gave me a vision of rainbows coming out of a person’s mouth, accompanied by these words: The prayers of a faithful person are like fountains of rainbows pouring over the one(s) for whom they pray. Wow. Rainbows represent God’s goodness, I loved hearing that. What’s even better... Continue reading
Posted Jul 18, 2019 at Spiritually Unequal Marriage
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Hi friends, Ann here! It’s my turn to write this week and I thought I’d take the opportunity to tell you a crazy story. I hope it makes you smile. Back in April, after our ‘Hear the Roar’ conference, I landed home with a spinning head. So much had happened, and I had a sense that it was truly a new season in this ministry. I was also unwell during that time, so once home I spent hours in bed. Those sick days turned into quality time with God, and I lay with three great things: prayer, pen, and notepad. On one such day I lay pondering and scribbling when suddenly God interrupted me with the most random phrase. Call me nuts, but this is what I heard: He was called Snake but his legacy is different. I’m smiling (Crazy or God?!) It was so random I thought I’d better... Continue reading
Posted Jul 16, 2019 at Spiritually Unequal Marriage
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What does the SUM ministry and the blue-bottle jellyfish have in common? What a strange question, but it’s one that God gave me back in 2016 while our community was fasting. For those who are new here, we fast each year together and it’s not unheard of to hear a word or two for us all during those times. Indeed, there I was during that fast, hungry and horizontal, when suddenly a picture of a blue-bottle jellyfish swooshed across my mind -- Flash. It was gone as quickly as it came but I promptly knew it was about the SUMites. When something like that happens it’s an invitation to explore, so I went to Google, typed ‘blue bottle jellyfish’ and began to read. The lines progressed and, as they did, I began to link this extraordinary creature with our beloved ministry here. Some three years later I’d like to share... Continue reading
Posted Jun 20, 2019 at Spiritually Unequal Marriage
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By Ann Hutchison “Come to my prayer group!” a lady sidled up to me one day at church, eyeing me closely. It was early in my faith and I had questions. I’d been attending for weeks but still couldn’t help wondering if Christians were nuts to believe. Hers was an invite I decided to accept: She was a lawyer, had a gentle manner, and I figured if anyone was likely to NOT be nuts, it would be her. So, I duly turned up one evening at a suburban house and rang the doorbell. She and a friend welcomed me in. The friend was a doctor. “Fantastic, another sensible one!” I thought. I know now that it matters not whether we’re butcher, baker, or candlestick maker, but at that point it helped that these ‘sensible’ women were Christian. Sensible? Well … um … I got the shock of my life that... Continue reading
Posted Jun 16, 2019 at Spiritually Unequal Marriage
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Hi everyone, Ann again! In Monday’s post I described how my children had sat at a table with me, my husband and friends and heard my testimony. Well, this week something crazy but parallel happened: My children sat at a table with me, my husband and friends and this time saw persecution. Yikes! We were at a Mexican restaurant, laughing, when suddenly my friend’s mouth opened and out came a painful comment about Christians. It was a comment that could have been considered funny but there was no opportunity for laughter as within an instant I went rage! I shot to my feet, hands on hips, stood over my friend, blurted out tempestuous words, and left the table. When I came back I was physically shaking. Nobody enjoyed their burritos after that, especially not my husband. Was my reaction good or bad? We turn the other cheek often, but this... Continue reading
Posted May 16, 2019 at Spiritually Unequal Marriage
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Hi friends, Ann here! Have you ever looked in the rear-view mirror, glimpsed the road behind you, and realized that something’s changed? That happened to me recently in relation to a friend who didn't want to know about faith. I thought I'd share the story today. When I first turned to God, I began to tell my friends my testimony. Little did I know how unenthusiastic they would be. In their eyes it was a ‘fairy tale’. I realize now that this is normal, but at the time I was perplexed: “How can you not believe me?" I had a particular friend who epitomized this. At the mention of my faith she literally had a physical reaction. She raced to the other side of the shop we were in, and starting looking at shelves with her back to me. The months that followed brought honesty about her feelings towards Christians.... Continue reading
Posted May 12, 2019 at Spiritually Unequal Marriage
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Ann here! Lynn’s news last week was so amazing and today I just feel like speaking from the heart and sharing a little more about last week’s summit. Our summit intersected with a long-awaited baptism. What an almighty ROAR this was, one that we will now carry into our future. Our summit was called ‘Hear the Roar’, and our logo for the event was a lion. Well, the 'God winks' began when we arrived at Lynfield School and saw that its logo was a lion. We had fun taking photos of the lions adorning the school’s walls (here are a couple) and I still just keep coming across that word 'ROAR'. The whole Shortly before the event I developed a strong sense that this event was about the ‘whole’ of the SUM community. Alongside this, something crazy happened: Before I arrived at Lynn’s house, God gave me a picture of... Continue reading
Posted Apr 16, 2019 at Spiritually Unequal Marriage
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If you were to open Google earth right now, you’d see a picture of earth from on high. Zoom in, and you’d see New Zealand, Auckland, then a suburb. Zoom in. You’d see a house. Oh, and there inside that house, there’s a girl, me, where God placed her. Zoom out. Zoom in again. India. Another believer. Another location. Another heart. Sometimes I wonder why on earth I’ve been placed in New Zealand and how to live with the fact that my life here is so seemingly comfortable while other locations are less so. As I’ve lived with that question, though, I’ve come to see that everything in the Kingdom is topsy-turvy, and in Kingdom currency, the most comfortable people don’t have it easy. The important question is “What is my heart’s response to my circumstances, to this place God has me?” SUMites, in this post today I feel I’d... Continue reading
Posted Mar 19, 2019 at Spiritually Unequal Marriage