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Heather and I knew beyond a shadow of a doubt that God had called us together for one another, and for His plan and purposes. When I joined the military as a chaplain, it was a mutual decision for us. We knew that God would use us both to minister together as well as separately to reach those who had volunteered to die for us, if called upon.
In May 2007, I was deployed to Iraq with the 1st Battalion, 30th Infantry Regiment for fifteen months during the military surge in Iraq, leaving Heather and our three children at home. That separation alone, aside from the high-risk area where we were assigned, was extremely difficult. Every day we fought an invisible enemy, searching booby-trapped houses, traveling IED-laden roads, and wondering who in our path was friend or foe. But I had no idea that when I would return, I would be carrying a very different, yet just as deadly, invisible enemy with me, one that would place our family in the battle for our lives, not in a foreign country, but inside the four walls of our own home.
After my return to the base in Georgia in the summer of 2008, the overwhelming grief, shock, rage, anxiety, depression, and extreme sadness over what I had experienced on the battle lines—all the same issues for which I had counseled, served, and ministered to the soldiers—overtook and overwhelmed me. I came home physically whole with no visible handicaps or injuries, but my mind and heart were wounded and bleeding profusely from losing men and women with whom I had served and whom I had come to dearly love. But before long, that which was bottled up tight under pressure and shaken began to explode, and I was taking my pain out on Heather and the kids, emotionally and verbally.
Within a few months, one day while grasping at the end of her rope, Heather told me to leave—to get out of the house. The strong and committed Christian couple we had been, called to minister to others in Jesus ' name, was now far away, questioning everything. Struggling to survive, I left the army in August of 2009 and went to work at a local Home Depot.
One day, one step, one crawl at a time, through hard work together with our love for God and love for one another, eventually I started to gain ground and find healing, and the process of reconciliation began. Four long months later, we started over, allowing God to do what only He can do in any marriage that will submit to the restoration of oneness He miraculously creates between a man and a woman committed to one another.
Over time, we made the decision together to return to the army chaplaincy, offering God all of our experiences—from the mountaintop moments to the valley of the shadow of death—to serve military families once again. Still to this day, as we write this foreword, we are serving our great God and this wonderful country at Fort Bragg, North Carolina.
Regardless of whether you have been in the military, the daily demands with which we are confronted in this world challenges us all, especially in marriage. Problems stay in our faces, while answers seem elusive. That is today 's unmistakable reality. But Heather and I want to drive home, through the film Indivisible as well as this devotional book, one clear and essential fact: the only answer for how a marriage can not only survive but thrive and be suffessful today is Jesus Christ. We have seen that truth proven firsthand in our own lives. That is the reason for our marriage, our ministry, the film, this book, and all that we put our hearts, minds, and hands to Him.
We pray that in these pages you find help, healing, hope, inspiration, motivation, and a fresh vision for your own marriage to create connection, experience a new place of oneness, and forge a deeper bond as a couple than ever before. But more than anything, Heather and I want you to come to know and follow the Creator and Author of love, Jesus Christ.
- CH (MAJ) Darren and Heather Turner
We are so glad that you have chosen to connect your marriage relationship with this devotional, Indivisible. The major motion picture of the same name is the true story of army chaplain Darren Turner and his wife, Heather, the authors of the foreword. Four of Darren 's and one of Heather 's actual journal entries form Darren 's fifteen-month deployment in Iraq are included in the book.
Whether you are a military couple or not, are engaged, newly married, looking for a refresh or reset in your relationship, or you have picked up this book out of total desperation for your marriage, these authentic truths, Scripture passages, and practical exercises can encourage you to a new and deeper bond. We pray that in these pages you consistently discover three key elements that God has made available for your marriage: help, healing, and hope.
The Creator of life, love, and the marital union wants to give you these three gifts from His own heart, no matter where you are in your relationship today. With God as the invited Guest into your home over these next fifty days, your connection can become more intimate, your commitment can become indivisible, and your community with others will be invaluable in the kingdom of God as a witness for Christ.
If at all possible, dive in together and engage with each day. If your spouse will not commit to join you, we want to encourage and empower you to dig in and apply the truths you find to your own life and contribution to your marriage. While the days are written for couples to experience together, you can easily translate the text to your personal circumstances and commitment.
Here are a few helps for success as you experience Indivisible:
- Decide to commit.
Purpose to use this book for the next fifty days, setting aside the intentional and undistracted time to make a habit of engaging with the wors contained her. If you miss a day or two, just pick back up where you left off. Please don 't just give in to the temptation to feel any guilt; just get back on board. Don 't quit—commit. Your marriage is worth every moment you invest.
- Pick a time.
Discuss and choose together the optimum time for you schedule. Compromise to work out this important detail. You may need to experiment a bit, but pick a time and stick with it. We will all find the moments for the things that matter most to us.
- Choose a place.
Pick the most comfortable setting away from distractions. No phones. No devices. No TV and no one else around. The environment is crucial for you both to be focused and comfortable as you engage with one another and with God.
Take in all the conten. Don 't scan, as you would a text or email, but carefully read it like a love letter, most especially the Bible verses. If you prefer to use your own version of Scripture each day, feel free to do so. Just look up the verses and read your Bible instead.
- Create connection.
The final section of each of the fifty days is a practical application step for you to take. The goal is to create intentional and intimate connection between the two of you and God. There are clear instructions for each activity. These are simple, realistic ways your marriage can grow in depth and maturity. Many days facilitate discussion as an intentional exercise are three questions to help you think through, evaluate, and process the outcome. If you find it is optimal for you to begin each day with the questions from the previous day, feel free to do so. This section is likely the most important part of each day with the opportunity to turn knowledge into application, and then into application, and then into real and lasting change. When you complete the fifty days and have done each of these "Creating Connection" activities, you will likely both see and experience your marital and spiritual growth.
If you have never spent time in consistent prayer together as a couple, the next fifty days could revolutionize your marriage. Allow a few moments at the end of every day to speak with God together, telling Him everything as you would a best friend. Just talk to Him. Be honest. Be specific. No fancy, spiritual language is necessary. Tell Him what 's on each of your hearts.
- Follow through.
The goal of these fifty days is to allow Jesus Christ to change your marriage and your lives. Following the completion of this book, from your fifty-first day onward, success will come as together you listen to the voice of God and walk with Him.
Matthew 18:20 MSG
Jesus looked at them and said, "With man this is impossible, but not with God; all things are possible with God."
- Mark 10:27
Do you ever look at a couple with deep admiration because their marriage just seems to exist for a greater purpose? You see the husband and wife thrive together, and their relationship is a thing of beauty, not only for each other, but also as an example for other couples to follow. The great news is that any marriage, over time, can arrive at such a place—even yours.
The one word that needs to come alive in your marriage as you engage the pages of this book is hope. Hope can offer a fresh start and bring anew vision. Hope can lead you to say, "We can," instead of, "We can 't." Hope can help you say, "We will," rather than, "We won 't."
But how can your perspective change? How can you enter a new season in which you choose hope and believe the best for you and your mate? There is only one way, just one road to real and authentic hope: Jesus.
Jesus had just encountered a wealthy, young man who had asked Him how he could have eternal life. Christ, knowing the man 's crcumstances, could see that he was fully dependent on his bank account and his own ability to be "good." He 'd even told Jesus that he had obeyed all the commandments since he was young, which of course, was impossible. Jesus told him that there was one thing he lacked: "Go, sell everything you have and give to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven. Then come, follow me" (Mark 10:21).
The young man responded to Jesus by silently walking away. When those who had witnessed this exchange began to wonder how anyone could get into God 's kingdom, Jesus answered with today 's verse: "With man this is impossible, but not with God."
We, too, can tend to rely on our resources and our own abilities to live life, just as the wealthy man in this story was doing. But we can also be our own hindrance to discovering real life and authentic hope. As with a trust fall, sometimes we have to let go of the familiar to experience faith.
Have you come to believe there are some things in your marriage that are"impossible"? Are there places you want to go in your relationship but just can 't see how? Regardless of your answers, your new truth can be: But not with God: all things are possible with God. The answer for your marriage is the same as it was for the man in this story: follow Jesus. After all, what have you got to lose? Or more accurately, if "all things are possible with God"—what do you have to gain?
It 's time to dream big together for your marriage. Discuss the qualities in couples that you admire. Write down every descriptive word for the kind of marriage you would like to have. Think big and be generous. Don 't hold back what you want to see and experience for one another and your relationship. After you complete your list of goals and dreams, pray a simple prayer, asking God to help you both seek together what is possible through Him. Consider placing today 's verse somewhere you both can see it daily as a reminder of your Source of hope.
- How did it feel to drean and express hope for your marriage?
- Were you both in agreement on the list of goals and desires?
- How can the introduction of hope and the letting go of your own abilities and shortcomings help you reach your dreams for your marriage?
IMPOSSIBILITIES BECOME POSSIBLE WITH GOD.
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