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Ann Hutchison
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Hi SUM family, Ann here! Last week, upon reading Lynn's post, I found myself nodding my head rather vigorously in agreement with this statement: "I believe that as followers of Jesus we are amid one of the most challenging seasons of our faith life." Oh yes ... What an intense spiritual time we're navigating right now! Here in this community I suspect many of us would say that our primary faith challenge has always been our spiritually mismatched marriage. But, I wonder if our challenges have now morphed considerably, due to the array of 'hot' issues that are noisily emerging within society and the church. Gah! Hard times. Thinking about the role models we have in scripture, there is one man -- A minister of the Gospel -- who stands out as having tackled a lot of hot issues. Crazy, gnarly stuff. He advised his various church flocks on how... Continue reading
Posted yesterday at Spiritually Unequal Marriage
Hi friends. For today's post here’s a little video that I just did live on our Facebook page. Enjoy! Ann Continue reading
Posted 4 days ago at Spiritually Unequal Marriage
Hi again dear SUMites I said in my last post that the Holy Spirit had given us two playful pictures to hold at the moment. The first one I described in the last post. The second one I'm sharing today. We are children to Jesus, and sometimes he will use playful analogies with us. What he seems to be saying to us today is this: The way I am moving in the SUM community is like an ice-cream van. My friends, does it mean anything to you yet? Perhaps you can see it instantly, but I couldn't. I needed a bit of help from him. This is the fun of the Holy Spirit. He tells us something. We realize we have no idea what it means. He then gives us the interpretation when we ask for it - POW! And that's how we know it was him. Yep, this is... Continue reading
Posted Jul 22, 2021 at Spiritually Unequal Marriage
Dear friends, Ann here. After we had 1 ... 2... 3... spouse-salvation 'events' last week, I've been praying about what to write about now. "What on earth do I write, Lord?" I guess I'm keeping an open mind, and my typing hands are at the ready. After asking that question I did receive two things from the Holy Spirit. They're unexpectedly playful things ... Two little stories of sweetness for us. I'm going to post one today, and the other on Friday. So, settle in and enjoy. Both words come in the form of a story, and they both happen to have occurred back in January 2019 during our annual community fast, which is interesting. So, let's step back to that week, in January 2019. We were fasting together as we do each year, Lynn was leading it powerfully, and I remember we had good conversations in the comments. My... Continue reading
Posted Jul 20, 2021 at Spiritually Unequal Marriage
Hi SUM family, Ann here. Whew, it’s been an exciting week with us hearing about two spouses’ salvations in one week. If you missed those you can catch up here and here. Well, unbelievably, there’s more! No sooner had I uploaded Monday's post about a second salvation than I got a message from another SUM friend (a local friend): Unbelievably, her husband had just responded to an altar call this past Sunday at church. Three in one week. Are you pulling the same stunned face as me, I wonder? All I could do then is play the song ‘God is on the Move’ on repeat in my living room and do some serious (uncool, Mum-looking) dancing in celebration. My teenage son, Miles, sauntered down the stairs midway through. He looked at me, smirked, shook his head, and walked on into the kitchen to get himself some toast. So funny! Anyway,... Continue reading
Posted Jul 15, 2021 at Spiritually Unequal Marriage
My friends, Ann here. It seems that it's 'miracle week' here at SUM. How amazing God is, and I can't wait to share with you this next thing that happened this past Friday after I last posted on here. All I can say is that God is lavish, full of marvels, and sometimes he does things with a little fanfare -- Just so that we know it is him. Last Friday I shared that one of our SUMite readers' husbands had got baptized. If you missed that you can read it here. The photo I used for that post was this one here -- I got this photo from the internet, as I usually do, but I loved the happy smile on this man's face as he's in the water, and I thought 'That's what it looks like for a spouse to be baptized'. Anyway, as you'll see I have... Continue reading
Posted Jul 11, 2021 at Spiritually Unequal Marriage
Ann here! Teehee ... I bet the title made you eagerly open this one. And, you won't be disappointed with what you read next. God glorifies His name through this community. Sometimes we have to wait a little while between testimonies, but they always come. I remember just before COVID spread through the world I wrote a post called 'Salvations in our Community -- What's Next?' We'd had a noticeable and unusual spate of spouses' conversions in a short space of time, which had pricked up my antennae. Feeling like something was ‘in the water’, I wrote the post. Well, something was in the water, but it wasn't what we expected. I wrote that post on 1 March 2020. By 14 March, COVID was running rampage in Italy. A week later, people everywhere were saying 'What a week this year has been'; and, by the end of the month, many... Continue reading
Posted Jul 8, 2021 at Spiritually Unequal Marriage
Hi family, Ann here. Today marks the end of our 'battling giants' series, and we're marking it in style: With a shout-out to our God. Here on the SUM blog, Lynn, Tiffany, Ian and I tend to write about whatever it is we're going through. Usually it aligns with 'spiritually mismatched marriage', but sometimes God takes us on other journeys. Well, as you know, last month I wrote a series on battling giants because I was a little embattled myself with a few things. In writing the series I wanted to talk about how we fight things that we find truly tough. "In this life we will have trials", said Jesus, "But be of good cheer." (John 16:33). Ok, Lord, I can try! Sometimes those trials are long; sometimes they are short. A SUM journey, like the ones we're on, is often ... longgggg. Eight years for me, and counting.... Continue reading
Posted Jul 4, 2021 at Spiritually Unequal Marriage
Hi SUM family, Ann here! This month we've had an ongoing series about 'fighting giants' and I've been writing about that here and there, in between our other topics. I hope you've enjoyed the series so far, and if you want to catch up you can find the introduction here. This week we're going to finish with three videos. In each one I'm going to share what 'fighting a giant' has looked like for me personally in recent months. So without further ado, here's the first one -- From my couch to yours, enjoy! Continue reading
Posted Jun 27, 2021 at Spiritually Unequal Marriage
My friends, Ann here. I have a problem. Here I am writing a series on how to fight giants using the example of some fear I've been battling … But this week the fear has gone completely! So, that's inconvenient because I'm trying to write about it. Maybe the giant wasn't enjoying the fight and ran away. ((Haha!)) Resist the devil and he will flee from you (James 4:7, NIV) It's true. As my fingers have typed words about how small giants are I’ve become increasingly fearless. To the point that I feel I've been injected with happy drugs!! And, in that state, we've reached the part in our series where David picked up five stones to kill Goliath. “Then he took his staff in his hand, chose five smooth stones from the stream, put them in the pouch of his shepherd's bag and, with his sling in his hand,... Continue reading
Posted Jun 17, 2021 at Spiritually Unequal Marriage
Hi friends, Ann here! We're continuing today with our conversation about 'fighting giants'. Yes, those menacing things that present a huge challenge for us, whether it's sickness, financial trouble, fear of our spouse's unbelief, or any other 'very difficult battle'. Being human, a giant will naturally look much bigger than us and make us quake in our boots: And a champion went out from the camp of the Philistines, named Goliath, from Gath, whose height was six cubits and a span. He had a bronze helmet on his head, and he was armed with a coat of mail, and the weight of the coat was five thousand shekels of bronze. And he had bronze armor on his legs and a bronze javelin between his shoulders. Now the staff of his spear was like a weaver's beam, and his iron spearhead weighed six hundred shekels; and a shield-bearer went before him.... Continue reading
Posted Jun 13, 2021 at Spiritually Unequal Marriage
Dear friends, We’re continuing our series on fighting battles. I'm calling these 'spiritual battles', as most of the battles we face in life, as Christians, could be said to be spiritual even if they seem physical. For me, the challenge of my husband’s unbelief used to be a massive spiritual battle. It was a battle to hold onto my own faith and to keep our marriage unified, a battle for his salvation, and a battle for our children's faith. Phew, that’s one enormous fight! Of course, it was mammoth, and for a long time I felt completely overwhelmed. Over time, though, I fought that ‘giant’ – The ‘giant’ of spiritually mismatched marriage – and it became smaller. In my eyes it began to look more like a locust than a giant. That’s what overcoming looks like. Has the circumstance changed? Yes. But the bigger change has been in my resilience.... Continue reading
Posted Jun 10, 2021 at Spiritually Unequal Marriage
Hi SUMites! Today we’re embarking on our series entitled ‘Fight that Giant!’ If you missed the introduction to this series you can catch up here. I’m rubbing my hands together at the thought of writing these upcoming posts, for 'giants' -- That is, spiritually difficult things in our lives -- are nasty critters. As we learn to fight, though, we become strong. Then we can give away some of that strength to others. Wonderful! Last week, I said we’d start by considering the giant that we fight. Well, God hit the override button on that one. Straight after I wrote that post, He told me “No, start with Me.” Of course. Lord, You are our Giant who fights for us. And we have a picture of Jesus as a giant Himself, a picture that can help us: “And in the midst of seven lampstands One like the Son of Man,... Continue reading
Posted Jun 3, 2021 at Spiritually Unequal Marriage
Hello friends, It’s Ann here and, with a smile on my face, I’m introducing a new series which we'll start next Friday: FIGHTING THAT GIANT! In other words, spiritual warfare. We can always do with a fresh look on how to walk victoriously. And I know that many of us are in situations right now that fit the descriptor ‘Mind-blowingly tough’. Here on this blog, I feel God often asks us writers to just share our lives. He takes us through things so that we can do that. Often it’s good stuff – Like Tiffany’s house purchase (yay!) Sometimes it’s crappy stuff. But pain brings story and testimony. Well, my friends, I’ve got a situation currently that’s crappy, so here we go. I’ve mulled over whether to even share it because I don’t want to put particular attention on anything the enemy is doing. But I’ve decided that it is... Continue reading
Posted May 27, 2021 at Spiritually Unequal Marriage
Hi SUM family, Ann here. A few weeks ago I shared about how my teenage son Miles is now attending church with me. Amazing, amazing, amazing! If you missed that story, you can catch up here. Today I want to give you an update because I know how encouraging testimonies can be. Specifically, I want to show you a photo at the end of this post. It's a photo that says it all: It shows what God can do in a spiritually mismatched home. But first, the update: I started out this year with none of my family attending church with me. This is how it’s been for years and, as you know, it's difficult to not only wait for your spouse, but also your children. In my case it was both of my children that I couldn't seem to bring to faith. Somehow, God changed that in March of... Continue reading
Posted May 23, 2021 at Spiritually Unequal Marriage
Dear friends, hello! It’s Ann here, writing from a sunny Auckland. I’m smiling because this past fortnight was a treat seeing Lynn, Ian, Martha, Tiffany, and Dineen all take trips down memory lane to write about our community. Mirroring that, it was super encouraging to read the comments. Thank you!! We celebrate the work of Jesus in these spiritually mismatched marriages. At points, we have seen some astounding things happen here. He really can bring beauty out of anything! The past fifteen years have also shown, however, that it is a deep work that Jesus does in these marriages. And, a ‘deep work’ seems to require longevity. We can now see that from each other's testimonies. That longevity often leaves us writhing in pain wishing for a quick fix. As Lynn said in one of her books (Marching Around Jericho), she would entertain thoughts like 'If you would only turn... Continue reading
Posted May 19, 2021 at Spiritually Unequal Marriage
By Ann Hutchison My friends, today is an auspicious day: A certain someone turns fifteen. Nope, it's not one of our children, it's this ministry. Fifteen years ago today this blog had its humble beginnings with its very first post! Books emerged. A YouTube channel. Friendships. Testimonies. We've seen salvations of spouses, restorations of marriages, and personal growth. Amazing miracles have happened here in this 'church without walls'. God has been good to us. I thank him. And I thank Lynn for beginning it and all she has given. So, for the next two weeks we’re going to reminisce. Our writing team (current and past!) are going to hop on to share, and we'd love to hear some of your own stories too. I’ve not fully shared my own behind-the-scenes story when it comes to this ministry. It makes me smile so maybe it will do the same to you.... Continue reading
Posted Apr 29, 2021 at Spiritually Unequal Marriage
Dear friends, Ann here! Today I want to chat about one of our topics that is an old favorite: Attending church alone. I type this with a smile, but it's a wry smile. Whether or not we've got into a routine, I think most of us would say that Church-plus-SUM is super tricky! I shared recently that my little church closed in March. It had about 60 people, and we loved each other. But, just before Christmas two things happened: The numbers plummeted and the pastor and wife lost their vision for it. Not for pastoring, just for that place. It was as if they couldn’t help but let go. Gulp! It seemed God was closing a season for us all, so the pastor bravely announced “We are closing. We are so sorry … But now let's transition well.” And he cried his way through the message. What happened in... Continue reading
Posted Apr 27, 2021 at Spiritually Unequal Marriage
Ann here! I have a little thought for us today: “He who sows sparingly will also reap sparingly. And he who sows bountifully will also reap bountifully.” 2 Corinthians 9:6 (NKJV) Sowing. In a spiritually unequal marriage? Perhaps we can pause and think about this for a minute. When we’re in a spiritually unequal marriage, one of our biggest laments (at least initially) might be that we can’t easily give -- That is, ‘sow’, into church life; into the activities of ministry. In Christian circles, the word ‘sow’ is often used for financial giving. I've often heard the phrase come from a minister, “If you would like to sow into this ministry, then …” These words can often make us gulp back some distress, because we don't have the dollars to give. If our spouse doesn't agree, and we share our money with them, we have very little to offer,... Continue reading
Posted Apr 22, 2021 at Spiritually Unequal Marriage
Ann here! When you're driving in the dark it's a great place to talk to a teen. With both sets of eyes fixed on the road nothing too intense is going on. That's probably how a teenage boy likes it, and it's where my son and I found ourselves last night as we drove home from his third time at youth group. (Praise God! If you haven't read it, he has recently joined in at church and the story is here.) My friends, Miles is loving youth group -- Really loving it -- and I am pinching myself at this turn of events. He laughs at that. He knows I’m excited even though I’m trying to keep it all cool. Last night in the car, he and I talked about the idea that God might move at a specific time in someone’s life. We talked about his grandparents, who each... Continue reading
Posted Apr 15, 2021 at Spiritually Unequal Marriage
My dear friends, Ann here. Thank you so much for your lovely comments on Monday’s post. It was as if the whole SUM community sent up a cheer of excitement to hear that my one teenager had joined church. The Body of Christ. And we cheered because we get it. We get the pain. We get the hope. And we relate to what it says in scripture, that angels rejoice over one soul (Luke 15:10). One! I thank Jesus for what he has done here. So, so much. Well, Jesus is lavish! It seems he has decided we, the SUM community, will not just have one teenager to celebrate. We will have two! Little did I know this morning when I woke that it would be testimony time all over again today. In my last post I shared that my church had closed. Four of us attended there without our... Continue reading
Posted Apr 13, 2021 at Spiritually Unequal Marriage
Dear friends, Before I continue to share my story from Passover, I need to tell you about one of those less wondrous 'SUM moments' -- Because it forms the backdrop to what I share next. It was one of those moments in church. All that happened was I turned around to see some kids having fun as friends. But these kids were the same age as mine. And mine were at home with their Dad. In that moment I descended into a bad space. I felt jealous of every family in that room who looked 'Christian picture-perfect' (Sorry -- I realize that's not good. Transparent post today). Oh dear! While I've been learning to love, my children have continued to be 'unchurched' and disinterested in faith. Completely disinterested. And that's been hard. BUT, oh what's just happened these past weeks has taken me by surprise. “This is the word of... Continue reading
Posted Apr 11, 2021 at Spiritually Unequal Marriage
By Ann Hutchison I lit the candles, put some serene music on, and let the aroma of lamb waft through the house. It was Passover evening, just a couple of weeks ago, and I'd made my family a special meal. "Ok, family," I called out. "Let’s have dinner!" And so my three came to the table. Bryce, Travis (16) and Miles (15). They are pretty amenable to ‘Mum’s’ quirks these days, so Passover dinner? Hey, they humored me. They do like food. And I'd made some special Jewish cookies for afterwards. So, what with the serene atmosphere and the nice food, it was an evening that felt a little different. I love the Jewish days and the story they tell. But what was ultimately in my head was this: I want to share Jesus with my teens. To pull out the Bible seems too much for them. To give them... Continue reading
Posted Apr 8, 2021 at Spiritually Unequal Marriage