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By Ann Hutchison “Away with Him!” roar the crowd. I open my curtains and peek out. In the crowd I see people I know: Atheists, agnostics, those who’ve left their faith, and some of other faiths. I stand and watch for a while. My eyes scan them, person by person. Some of these people are my friends. Finally, I go back to the calm of my living room and sit on the couch. I pour myself another tea, and say: “Jesus, help me again: Show me You're real?” Sometimes, I word it differently: “God, can I check again that I'm on the right path?” His response always comes in some way or other: It is Jesus. Jesus. Jesus. Jesus. Once, I had a night I'll never forget: It was a few years ago, and I'd been reading a book about another faith. I didn't know what I believed. That night,... Continue reading
Posted Oct 16, 2018 at Spiritually Unequal Marriage
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Hi everyone, on the last day of our fast - we are so close to the finish line! It’s been wonderful adventuring with you and, as always, we’ve made memories. I often think of this site as a memorial of where we’ve been. I can just imagine sitting in a rocking chair as an old lady, looking back. Today we’re going to take communion together; it is the finest food and drink. In giving us this bread and wine, it is as if God has set us the most wonderful table; one we really cannot imagine. In today’s post I’d like to tell you about a treasured item that frames my home. I’ll tell you about it, and then we’ll have communion. Several years ago, when my husband and I bought our house, we decided to put in a new front door. We wanted one with a stained-glass window, and... Continue reading
Posted Sep 13, 2018 at Spiritually Unequal Marriage
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Hi everyone As I write, it’s Thursday morning here in New Zealand, and I'm a hungry girl. Each fast I do more than I did before; and yet, this fast, like my others before, has been an imperfect one. Yesterday, for example, I went to work hungry. By 1pm it was awful. I left my office where I was putting on a cheerful front, shut myself in the toilet cubicle and said to Jesus, “HOW did you do this for 40 days?” It made me realize I hadn’t ever considered Jesus’s 40 days of no food or water. At 2pm, I freaked, I had a class to teach: “What if I faint in front of the class?” That was it. Seizing control of my situation, I reached for my bag, pulled out a small wrapped bar called ‘one square meal’, and gobbled it up. My hunger disappeared and I missed... Continue reading
Posted Sep 12, 2018 at Spiritually Unequal Marriage
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Hi friends How’s the fasting going? This one's ambitious for me – soup only for dinner has made me starry-eyed! But I'm enjoying the afternoons where I can just sit. I hope you enjoyed yesterday's clips. Amazingly, there is a part two to that story, which I've been excited to share. I'll start with this scripture, which I believe is for us today: “In that day, there shall be a Root of Jesse, who shall stand as a banner to the people; ... And it shall come to pass in that day that the Lord shall set His hand again the second time to recover the remnant of His people who are left, from Assyria and Egypt, from Pathros and Cush, from Elam and Shinar, from Hamath and the islands of the sea.” Isaiah 11:11 (NKJV) Now to the story: Remember back in June the twelve Thai boys and their... Continue reading
Posted Sep 11, 2018 at Spiritually Unequal Marriage
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Hi everyone! It's day two of the fast, and I hope you’re doing well. If one day you don’t manage what you set out to, don’t worry -- we just pick ourselves up and carry on. One thing that I believe God adores about the SUMites is our HOPE. Like Abraham, who had a son at age 100, we have been given something unbelievable to hope for: The turning of hearts among those who would be the least likely. Holding on to this hope is pretty difficult, but if we choose it we are partnering in God’s move: “Against all hope, Abraham in hope believed and so became the father of many nations.” Romans 4:18 (NIV) What is hope? One possibility is that it's the actual picture of the victory, which we then choose to believe. It is, perhaps, the ‘different spirit’ held by Joshua and Caleb, who were sent... Continue reading
Posted Sep 10, 2018 at Spiritually Unequal Marriage
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Hi SUM family Welcome to day one of our fast, and happy new year! From what I’m hearing, we’re not the only ones who are being led to fast right now. Quite separately, even my home church is fasting and I know other Christians are too. We’re led by the same Spirit. This is my eighth fast with the SUM community, and every time it has been extraordinary. From these shared adventures, I now know that fasting does something very special. With that in mind, I thought I’d share my first ever fasting story. It’s a fun story, but it illustrates the fact that fasting shifts things. It was just before I found the SUM community. I’d noticed in scripture that fasting makes the impossible possible, and so I quietly planned to try it. The opportunity finally came when my husband and boys planned a trip away, leaving me home... Continue reading
Posted Sep 9, 2018 at Spiritually Unequal Marriage
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Hi everyone, Ann here. Next Monday it is Rosh Hashanah, the Jewish New Year. This day, also known as the Feast of Trumpets, was a festival given to the Israelites by God, commemorated by trumpet blasts (Leviticus 23:23-32). Trumpet blasts in scripture often symbolize gathering the people together for victory. To that I say, yes please! In past years the SUM community has honored this time by fasting together for the week. We’re going to continue the tradition this year, starting on Monday the 10th at sunrise, and finishing at sunset on Friday the 14th. I always find this fast a beautiful time. It seems to knit us together and bring breakthrough to different parts of our community. We’ve had some amazing things happen in these fasts, and I still get a high when I look back on the comments and remember those moments. Personally, because this time is one... Continue reading
Posted Sep 6, 2018 at Spiritually Unequal Marriage
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By Ann Hutchison It was a Saturday night. The wine was flowing, and my husband and I were laughing with our friends. Then it happened: The host rolled his eyes, and said “Yeah, believing in God is like believing in Santa Claus.” Oh dear. That was it for me. After five years of spiritual loneliness, I’d had all I could take. “Excuse me,” I said, and left the table. When I returned, I did not exactly bring a cheerful mood with me. It was not my finest moment, and by the time I got home I was regretting it. “Why couldn’t I just have been gracious?” I thought. The truth was, my heart had just got too sore. I talked to my husband about it later and he didn’t think it disastrous, but he did say one thing that stuck: “Ann, I know this is hard but please don’t ask... Continue reading
Posted Aug 14, 2018 at Spiritually Unequal Marriage
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Hi everyone, Ann here! My husband and I have been 'spiritually different' for almost five years now, and it’s become easier for us both. However, there is one thing that continues to floor me and I thought I’d share it with you today. It’s this: The act of giving my husband a kiss goodbye on a Sunday morning, getting in the car, and turning on the ignition to go to… church. Hubby and I are like peas and carrots, we’re a packaged pair, and this whole walking out the door on a Sunday feels somehow wrong. Or is it? Each Sunday morning I drive through the quiet city, and the minute I turn on worship music it sends an oomph to my heart. At that moment the disconnect between that music and the breakfast clatter I've just left feels stark. I reach the church car-park and walk towards the hall.... Continue reading
Posted Jul 17, 2018 at Spiritually Unequal Marriage
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Hi friends, Ann here! In preparation for today’s post I’d been asking God what to write. I had a head full of ideas but in the early hours of this morning those went completely out the window as I woke with a pounding heart and a picture of a cavernous wooden bottom drawer! As I lay trying to make sense of it, words from the Holy Spirit landed in my head: SUMites, as you fill your bottom drawer you’re providing for those who have been named ‘clear and bright’, and you are evangelizing through a microphone. This, it seemed, was to be today’s post: A bottom drawer, provision, and a microphone, what fun! I’ll describe where it took me, and I hope this word encourages you today. The Bottom Drawer In times past, hopeful young women used to collect special things in a ‘bottom drawer’ to bring to their marriage.... Continue reading
Posted Jun 19, 2018 at Spiritually Unequal Marriage
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Hi everyone, Ann here Recently, Lynn shared a wonderful video about how she asked God for an egg and literally got an egg! This story made me smile broadly. After all, if we ask for an egg God does not give us a scorpion (Luke 11:12). But it got me wondering what it means, exactly, to ‘ask for an egg’? An egg holds life, a scorpion brings death, and if we ask for life we do not get death. That is a profound truth, but what about the times God seems silent? As I pondered this, some aspects of my past came back to me, times when an ‘egg’ was asked for. They showed me God was there all along. To begin with, there was my mum, who prayed for me throughout my childhood. Every morning, I would rise to see her on her knees in the living room, wrapped... Continue reading
Posted May 15, 2018 at Spiritually Unequal Marriage
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Ann here! Last month I wrote about how God had been having some fun with me using figs. If you missed that post you can read it here. Well, today I wanted to share part two of that story. It includes a further promise for us SUMites. I hope you enjoy it: One day last year it occurred to me to ask God a curious question: “Lord, what do you see when you look at my situation?” I'm sure God prompts such questions and, sure enough, the answer came the next morning: I see two of you. I'd been expecting an answer that would refer to me, but two of us? That gave me something to ponder. A month later, on the topic of ‘two of you’, an unusual picture landed in my head. The picture was of me and my husband as babies strapped in a baby-carrier, one in... Continue reading
Posted Apr 17, 2018 at Spiritually Unequal Marriage
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Hi everyone, Ann here. My husband would freely admit that the chances of him turning ‘exuberant Christian’ of his own doing are a great big zero. I’m laughing. It’s a funny thought to him and to me. It’s impossible. And yet I believe with all my heart it'll happen. I’m not the sort who goes around being sure about things, but ... I just have my reasons. Today I can't resist sharing just one: Some time ago, I had a dream. In it I held a fig. I wanted to plant it, but I couldn’t. I didn’t know how. That was it, the whole dream. ‘Exciting dream,’ I hear you say! Not exactly exciting, but it did strike me as unusual and so I wrote it down in my journal along with the date. I even looked up figs in the Bible, but nothing gelled. Imagine my excitement when a... Continue reading
Posted Mar 20, 2018 at Spiritually Unequal Marriage
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By Ann Hutchison “It’s excruciating”, I murmured to myself, munching on my toast and staring out the window. As usual, I was mulling over the fact that my husband and I had found ourselves in this … 'horrible' … spiritually mismatched situation. It happened to us late in life. There we were hitting forty, and life had been going according to plan. Then, one day, God landed in our home – through me. It shook us to the core. My husband is a good planner, so this one blindsided him. “I'm not the one who changed and this is not what I married!” He sounded almost angry. I couldn't blame him; I was the one who'd changed. I felt so bad. Bad, that was, until God nudged me differently. Don’t, Ann. However it looks and whatever the hiccups, this conversion will only cause home improvement (Proverbs 31:10-12). Ok, I really... Continue reading
Posted Feb 20, 2018 at Spiritually Unequal Marriage
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“I’ve never met a Christian I liked!” declared Seamus* to the rest of us at his table. I frowned at him quizzically. Personally, I had no problem with Christians; my thing was sheer indifference. I just couldn’t relate to their fervor. By the end of the year, however, the unexpected had happened: I had gone from indifferent to fervent. Yikes! Indeed! It was amazing, and with it came healing, joy, and a very real experience of God; but it left me in a strange place: I was now a lone Christian in a friendship group of atheists. Seamus was one of those friends, along with his wife. I know 'couple friends' are something to be thankful for … but … mm … it hasn’t been roses. Let’s just say that while Seamus’s wife is extremely easy-going, Seamus himself is not a tactful man, and he is convinced Christianity is untrue.... Continue reading
Posted Jan 16, 2018 at Spiritually Unequal Marriage
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“It’s hard being a girl guide!” Those words, inaudible but clear, woke me one morning, just as the birds were beginning to sing. It felt like a word from the Holy Spirit, but I struggled to understand. Only months later did a sudden ‘a-ha’ come: I am the ‘girl who guides’ my husband, the one who spiritually leads. It’s not the way God intended. That’s why it's so hard. God had just explained my hurting heart to me. It doesn’t sound much, but it was really helpful. I thought that was it, but last week, quite unexpectedly, this ‘girl guide’ word unfolded into something more: A promise for our community! I feel led to post it here, and I hope it encourages you, as it has me. Here’s what happened: Last week, one of our SUMites, Jan, had a dream featuring boy scouts. She described it on our Facebook group... Continue reading
Posted Dec 26, 2017 at Spiritually Unequal Marriage
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Hello everyone It's Ann here, and I want to share something that's been sitting in my journal for some time. I loved it. I hope you do too. It was August last year, I was sat in bed armed with a mug of cocoa, pen, and journal. Absent-mindedly, I leafed through the Bible and came across the verse, "Call to me, and I will answer you and will tell you great and hidden things that you have not known" (Jer 33:3 ESV). I scribbled it down and said, "God, tell me something great that I don't already know!" That night turned out to be a little bit strange and wonderful. I could feel the Holy Spirit as I slept. I kept drifting towards wakefulness and each time it seemed He was speaking about the SUM community. There were words that I couldn't catch. Finally, as morning came a phrase landed... Continue reading
Posted Nov 29, 2017 at Spiritually Unequal Marriage
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Hi Everyone, The news from here is that we have an extra initiative underway: A new quarterly newsletter. This is something that Lynn and Dineen used to do and had wanted to revive. In this season of us gathering round Lynn in the ministry her number of helping hands has grown. I'll be lending my hands by coordinating the newsletter. The newsletter will land in your inboxes, and will be a way of saying a friendly hello and keeping you posted about what's new and coming up. It'll be especially helpful for those times when you're busy and might miss news from the blog. The first edition is out this coming Monday. To receive it make sure you're signed up using the form below. We hope you enjoy this extra way of us staying connected! Ann Subscribe to our Quarterly Newsletter Email Address First Name Last Name Continue reading
Posted Oct 4, 2017 at Spiritually Unequal Marriage
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