Welcome

I’m glad you stopped by my blog.  Make yourself at home.  Start meandering by scrolling down…and you can peek into all my cupboards and closets by clicking the side bar.  I know you’ll find some strengthening articles, encouraging resources, fabulous-but-forgotten hymn texts, and perhaps a heartening smile or two.  Most importantly, I hope you’ll be strengthened in your walk with the Lord for the time you spend here with me.  If you do not yet know Him, please click here for a beautiful invitation.  To learn about how He changed my life, click here, and by clicking here you can find out a few more fun and forgettable snippets about me. 🙂

If I can do anything to be a further blessing to you, in prayer, or by improving my site, please let me know…or just write to say “Hi”!  Please click here for an email form.

Blessings ~Diane

More “Mid-Life Crisis” Resources

hourglassBy far, the posts on this blog with the most “hits” are those regarding “mid-life crisis”. Just out of curiosity, I looked at the numbers…there were nearly 12,000 clicks on one article alone. Hearts are aching and distressed. The search terms which brought folks to my blog are sometimes painful to read. Hurting people are searching in the blogosphere…a venue that feels safe for them. It makes me want to be sure that I’m providing solid, biblical resources, because God has the only right answer. The previous posts can be found here. It’s been nearly a decade since I’ve posted on this topic. Below, I’ll share a few more current resources:

John Piper on “What Would You Say to a Christian Going Through a Mid-Life Crisis?”

Paul David Tripp’s book, Lost in the Middle: Midlife and the Grace of God

At Crosswalk: Mid-life Crisis, Mid-life Hope

Focus on the Family’s “Tackling Mid-Life Transitions” (2-part series)

Revive Our Hearts: Learning to Love Your Husband Again

Dr. James Dobson on “How to Avoid a Mid Life Crisis

As always, please read/listen with discernment. Providing links to resources does not imply my wholesale approval of these individuals/organizations.

And also as always, if you have prayer requests, please post in comment section or use the email feature.

 

 

If Mama Ain’t Happy…

womanhometone quoteWell, yesterday I had to make an apology to our youngest. But let me back up.

We have “One Another” verses on beautiful plaques above the windows in our church. Each week, a new one of the verses is put in the bulletin for us to meditate upon and memorize. This was the verse for yesterday:

“Thy father and thy mother shall be glad, and she that bare thee shall rejoice.” Prov. 23:25

I got to thinking about my mother. I think I got some of my perfectionist tendencies from her. As a kid, it seemed I never did things well enough. Words of affirmation were few. Looking back now through eyes that understand grace, I can see that my mom didn’t have a lot of mom skills passed down to her. She was only a girl (about the same age as our youngest) when her own mother was hospitalized and then placed in a facility long-term. It was a situation where there was not much parenting or mentoring that could happen from then on, and mom was raised largely by an older sister. My mom also didn’t trust Christ until very late in life–long after I was out of the house. So she didn’t have the comfort and instruction of the Holy Spirit in her life either. She did what she could do with what she had.

Anyway, I began to ask myself if my mother would “rejoice” over me today. I think she would. When I was in college, there were many times that she and my dad were a little mystified by how I had changed my major to church ministries. How would I get a “real job” with that? Mom had aspirations of my being a teacher or a nurse. But today, I am both of those things. I teach our kids at home, and also teach women and children in various ministry settings.  Beyond the regular nursing duties performed by most moms, I am primary care giver for our youngest who was diagnosed about a year ago with Type 1 Diabetes. I’ve also been a “nurse” for myself through years of dealing with chronic autoimmune disease. Do these things pay the bills? Not really. Do they bring me joy and fulfillment? Most days. And that is something I believe my mom would rejoice in now.

I think she would also rejoice in what she saw yesterday morning over the battlements of Heaven (however that works, with the “great cloud of witnesses”). I was ironically, simultaneously reviewing that verse above, and giving our daughter directive after directive. She had taken a shower, but the soap wasn’t rinsed out of her hair very well. No time to jump back in, so we were trying to make it work for Sunday morning church. The dress was itchy. Her shoes were pinching. She was dawdling over breakfast. I began to get impatient with all these last minute things on an already busy morning. In spite of my efforts to plan lunch the night before and get it early into the crock pot, and lay out outfits, etc. I was still running out of time. There was breakfast mess on the counter. The printer wasn’t cooperating. Other small irritants were piling up to create a mound of frustration of Mt. Everest proportions. My words got pointy and prickly. My demands grew more and more unattainable for her childish heart.

All of a sudden I was not the glad mother. I was not the rejoicing one who bore her.

That one verse spanked me.

Do you memorize scripture? This is one of the big reasons that I see value in it. It gives the Holy Spirit a tool box, and He can pull out appropriate verses to fix my life conveniently, right out of my own heart.

It is true that the woman sets the tone in the home. So, if I observe a grumbling or irritable spirit in our kids, I need to look in the mirror first to see if I’m the one stirring that up. I could see a storm brewing in our youngest, and I was the one who seeded those clouds.  It was worth the couple of minutes to reconcile with her and ask her forgiveness, even though we were running late. It allowed both of us to arrive at church with a cheerful heart.

Another small victory won in two small hearts in a small rural town on this small planet. But friends, oh, it was also such a very large one.

Finishing the Race

marathon-250987_960_720I’ve been a Christian now for nearly 40 years, and it took until just recently for me to understand something big. We don’t run this race alone.

Now, I understand that God says “I will never leave you, or forsake you“…it’s not that. I am very grateful to know that His presence is with me (although I need to remind myself of that…I tend too often to look from horizon to horizon instead of looking up for help).

No, what became clear to me is this– the Christian “race” is not a sprint that we run alone, with God cheering us on at the finish line. Growth doesn’t happen fast. If it seems to, it is probably questionable. We shouldn’t be looking over our shoulder at other runners, wondering if they are gaining on us. Know what happens then? When our eyes aren’t forward, we get off track, we trip, we cause others perhaps to stumble over us. That doesn’t help anyone win.

This isn’t a competition. We should strive for our own personal best. It’s a team effort, similar to a marathon in which a group of people rally together to support a cause. We help each other succeed, and in the end our team will be victorious. We look to see every member cross that finish line. That “great cloud of witnesses” will be eager to see us all complete the course.

You see how this is a game changer? Stop comparing. Run your best. Strive your hardest. Show others what it looks like to persevere. Look for who is exhausted and come alongside them. Speak words that hearten. Offer the cool water of the Word. Refresh others like Onesiphorus and Philemon did. Console others along the journey, like Barnabas.  Other days, you will be the one who is spent and breathless, and so grateful to have your teammate reach out a hand to you. The goal may seem to be forever out in front of us, but it is never out of sight.

Jesus is the “author and finisher of our faith“… He’s made it possible for us to be winners at last–to finish well. Let’s do that.

Adorned

adornedbooksI just received these beautiful hard bound copies this morning. I was able to read the first chapter or so online while I waited for them to arrive–I can’t wait to immerse myself in more of this biblical truth that is so needed among Christian women today!

“…was it not at Calvary that our Savior took upon Himself the rags of our sin and shame, adorning us in exchange with the robes of His righteousness? Is not the cross the only source of any external beauty we may ever hope to experience or to offer other souls starved for love and loveliness?… It [Titus 2] paints for us a picture of generational wisdom flowing downhill into inexperienced hearts, where it can cycle around and back up again in a continual process of godly care and counsel.”

We need this in our churches desperately. I’m afraid we are losing a generation of up-and-coming “older women” due to several decades of being content in our churches with a superficial spirituality. We’ve trained ourselves to be satisfied with looking right, talking right, behaving right… and I feel we are on the dangerous precipice of “having a form of godliness but denying the power thereof”. Consequently, we are losing our young women who are feeling disillusioned with this shallowness.

It’s time for us to go deeper (and I count myself in that age bracket of the up-and-coming) so that we may 1) experience “fulness of joy” and life “more abundantly” as God desires and 2) have something of substance to offer our younger women.

You can order the book here. 

The Importance of Truth Beyond Textbooks

teachmetruth

“Sanctify them through thy truth: thy word is truth.” John 17:17

Be aware of those “little white lies” and compromises which can easily slip into our lives and homes. Pay attention to your children, that they are using biblical truth as their standard, and not social norms, the standards of another family or friend, or the world’s idea of morality. God’s Word is an unchangeable standard. In a changeable world, it is so important for us to provide this solid, predictable, consistent foundation for our kids.

We are so prone to look around us, and compare ourselves with people (and we can always find someone we feel is “worse off” than we are, and so easily justify ourselves according to their standard). Teach by word and example that it is what God says, and choosing to live by His words, which sanctifies us.

The word sanctify means “to set apart” for special use or purpose, that is, to make holy or sacred. And that job is God’s, for He is Jehovah Mekoddishkem, “the Lord who sanctifies” (Ex. 31:13).

We must continually caution ourselves as moms, who discipline and try to shape the character of our children every day. Our efforts do not sanctify. We must never communicate to our kids that good behavior is synonymous with sanctification. It may be associated. It may not be. Very wicked people can behave well. Teach them the truth of James, that our faith is proven by our works…works are the healthy and natural outgrowth of faith, not the basis of it.

Remember the story of the publican and the Pharisee? By what standard was the publican measuring his life?

“The Pharisee stood and prayed thus with himself, God, I thank thee, that I am not as other men are, extortioners, unjust, adulterers, or even as this publican.”

How about the other man (and remember, publicans (or tax collectors) were viewed among the worst in their society for being untruthful scoundrels!), who found himself “justified” and “exalted” at the end of that story?

“And the publican, standing afar off, would not lift up so much as his eyes unto heaven, but smote upon his breast, saying, God be merciful to me a sinner.”

“For we dare not make ourselves of the number, or compare ourselves with some that commend themselves: but they measuring themselves by themselves, and comparing themselves among themselves, are not wise.” 2 Corinthians 10:2

We moms can play the comparison game too well. Comparing one child’s behavior to another sibling’s, comparing our kids with another family’s, comparing our parenting to that of another mom…the list goes on.

Guard your heart. Compare *vertically* (what God has to say) rather than horizontally (what fallible, frail, fallen human beings have to say).

You’ll find it is a very freeing thing.