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

Advertisements

Interested in Becoming MomStrong?

book-1760998_640Today is the official launch of Becoming MomStrong by Heidi St. John, otherwise known as The Busy Mom. I’ve been privileged for the past several weeks to be part of a group of women chosen to study through the book with Heidi and to help promote it. I can’t say enough good about it!

“The God-breathed, unchanging, inerrant, comprehensive, life-giving Word of God is our only source of truth! The moment we decide that we can cherrypick which parts of the Bible are true and which parts are not, the battle is lost. Don’t forget: we are at war with an enemy we can’t see, let alone defeat, unless we’re armed with the spiritual insight offered in the Bible. The battle for the hearts and minds of our kids is raging all around us. It’s why we need to adopt a wartime mentality—we are literally at war. Real war, real enemy. To win, we must hold everything up to the light of God’s Word and engage the culture with grace and truth.”

Do you love that as much as I do? Ladies, this is what we need today. No more “3 cozy alliterated points and a warm and fuzzy poem”. We need truth. Heidi knows how to lovingly dish it out.

I recently spoke at a Ladies Retreat and I told the women that there are few authors I trust enough today to confidently endorse in their ability to rightly divide the Word of truth. Heidi is one of them. She doesn’t add to the message of God’s Word to water it down, and she doesn’t subtract from it to soften it for those who prefer a more politically correct approach. She skilfully applies Truth and speaks to the cultural issues moms are facing today….because this ain’t your mama’s parenting gig!

There are good resource books and not-so-good ones.  Then there are those few which go well beyond providing good information you’d want to keep handy…and they reach inside you, and lay a printed finger on your heart. This is that kind of book.

I’ll let my Amazon review speak for me:

The most empowering parenting book I’ve ever read! This is not a book full of formulas to “fix your kids”. It is refreshment and balm for moms, which enables their hearts to be fortified so they can be ready to fight this battle from a place of courage and confidence! Heidi knows how to bring big ideas to the bottom shelf so they are practical and easily understood. Her writing is transparent, and she shares from experience how the principles in these chapters have strengthened her as a Christian woman and mom. I’m a pastor’s wife, blogger, and women’s event speaker, and I have to say this book is great reading for any lady in a mentoring relationship with kids, not only mothers. Learning the difference between the voice of conviction and the voice of condemnation, how to face my fears (prior to this book, I never viewed myself as fearful…now I am equipped…so I can say “Not today Satan!”), how to prepare my kids for rejection and help them suit up in defense of the gospel…these are only a few things I’ve learned from Heidi’s book. I’ve done numerous book studies with groups over the years, and I’m right now excitedly planning my own study through “Becoming MomStrong” to encourage other moms (and reinforce what I’ve learned for myself!) using this gem of a resource. Highly recommend!

momstrongbookcoverBy the way, today it is their #1 New Release, with 100% 5-star feedback!

Grab the book by going here (only $9.99 for Kindle at time of posting!).

If you are interested in a study through the book, I will be starting one next month, via FB Live at Diane’s Becoming MomStrong Book Study. Free…but you gotta get the book! 🙂 Join me?

ps An excellent, free resource from Heidi is her Scripture Writing, which I have blogged about here , here and here.  This habit is integral to becoming a MomStrong mom. Try it!

 

 

Your Van Gogh Moment

thenlordOur kids have been Dr. Who fans for years. Admittedly, a lot of it is weird, and a bit of it is worthy of the FF button in our house; but often there are moments of clever script writing and the capturing of poignant human moments which help us to look deeper into ourselves.

I saw a friend post a photo of her kids on Facebook, standing in front of “Starry Night” at the New York Museum of Modern Art (yes, I’m a bit envious), and this moment came flooding back to me:

Van Gogh was a tortured soul who never realized his brilliance in his 37 short years on earth. I imagine when we get to Heaven, we will look back over everything…all the times our hearts were breaking or ached from loneliness and disappointment…all the losses we experienced…all the moments when we could do nothing else but look up in bewilderment and our faith felt “thin, sort of stretched, like butter scraped over too much bread”, we will feel a little like this.

I imagine still utterly disbelieving, yet hearing the words, “Well done” when all I can remember are all the times I failed, faltered, and fell.  I confess for many years, I was fully convinced I never would. Being a perfectionist can do that to a person. More importantly, not being a student of God’s Word can do this as well. I’ve been saved nearly 40 years now, and I feel I’m just now getting to glimpse the heart of God for His children. How realistic His expectations are, how hopeful He is that we will lean hard and press on, how He rejoices in our seeming baby steps.

In Heaven, when we have that perfect hindsight, we will realize that El Roi (“the God who sees”) looks beyond all of the “stuff” and sees the heart that tried, always wanted to do so much more, demonstrate a deeper trust, live with greater abandon for His purposes. The Bible says He knows we are made of dust. That is not to say He overlooks our deliberate negligence. Not at all. Jesus’ prayer in John 17 voiced His desire that we might “be one” with Him, and that can’t happen when we live in chosen rebellion or isolation.  But I do believe God’s understanding of our “dustiness” means He comprehends the human struggle against sin and self and sees each event when we choose Him as a work greater than the creation of the universe. The times when we govern our own will and desire and make effort to align it with His…they are so much more than we may realize. And truly, it isn’t until we are gone from this life that we can accurately assess ourselves. Much of what we thought was “gold, silver and precious stones” we’ll find to be “wood, hay and stubble”. Some of the most precious and valuable moments will be ones we’ve all but forgotten…because we forgot ourselves in them.

This scene above is from a TV series, which is complete fiction. It can make me sob. Heaven is reality. I imagine there will be abundant tears of gratitude…for so much grace, so much kindness, so much tenderness and mercy, so much pity and compassion. I will feel the full weight of  my indebtedness, that Jesus has accepted me in the beloved, and so much wonderment that I could have been allowed and empowered to serve Him here. I’ll finally have the fully contented heart I always craved…that there was something I may have done that made a difference for His purposes.

When I stand before the throne,

Dressed in beauty, not my own,

When I see Thee as Thou art,

Love Thee, with unsinning heart–

Then, Lord, shall I fully know,

Not ’til then, how much I owe.

~Robert Murray M’Cheyne

Ungrace

prayinghandsblogI came across the word “ungrace” in my reading recently. I’ve been thinking about it ever since. “Ungrace” would be the opposite of what we read about in 1 Cor. 13:
 
Ungrace is impatient and unkind; ungrace envies and boasts; it is arrogant and rude. Ungrace insists on its own way; it is irritable and resentful; ungrace rejoices at wrongdoing, but not in the truth. Ungrace cannot bear all things, disbelieves, loses hope, and will not endure all things. Ungrace often reaches the end of its rope.
 
The world is full of that. Let’s not be that.
 
Lord, make me an instrument of your peace.
Where there is hatred, let me bring love.
Where there is offense, let me bring pardon.
Where there is discord, let me bring union.
Where there is error, let me bring truth.
Where there is doubt, let me bring faith.
Where there is despair, let me bring hope.
Where there is darkness, let me bring your light.
Where there is sadness, let me bring joy.
 
O Master, let me not seek as much
to be consoled as to console,
to be understood as to understand,
to be loved as to love,
for it is in giving that one receives,
it is in self-forgetting that one finds,
it is in pardoning that one is pardoned,
it is in dying that one is raised to eternal life. ~St. Francis of Assisi
That’s a good prayer.

The Words You Want to Speak

communication-1015376_960_720I’m not sure who this is for, but I felt compelled to write it this morning. Maybe you’ve been given an opportunity to speak, and it intimidates you. Perhaps you, like Moses, are questioning your ability to communicate the truth you feel responsible to relay. It could be that fear has just overtaken your heart when you know you need to speak up about a certain matter. Perhaps you are wondering if you are making the best use of the influence God has given you. If any of these things sound like you, read on.

I remember years ago, my brother Dave shared with me that he believes everyone has their own “congregation”. That is not to say everyone is a pastor. What he meant is that we all have our own peculiar circle of friends and acquaintances. And that is not to say your folks are peculiar. 😉 What I mean is, you have a group of people that is unique to you, and among whom you have a voice.

Sometimes people in that “congregation” are not interested in what you have to say. Sometimes they will debate with you. That’s not always bad. We should always consider the smallest snippet of criticism with care, to see if there is any truth in it. Sometimes perspective is lent to us by very unlikely sources.

On occasion, you may be passionate about what you want to share, and it falls upon deaf (or at the very least, disinterested) ears. I’m here to say that if you have felt compelled to speak, then there is at least one person who needs to hear. It may be you!

First, you need to listen to yourself with your Bible and your heart wide open…as your soul has a chat with the Holy Spirit about what is pressing on you. I’ve found sometimes what is weighing so heavily on me is a divinely-tailored message meant only for me. At least for that time.

After you have had your “vertical appointment”, it’s time to consider your message, your method, and your motive.

Message

Is it biblically-based? Doctrinally solid? Not contrived by isolating verses out of context? Does the Bible speak to your ideas in various places? Have you studied and prayed about how to communicate it? Excellent. It doesn’t matter if you don’t feel respected, or that your words don’t have authority or weight. You don’t have to be “somebody” to be used of the Lord. The authority of God’s truth is enough. When Moses hesitated, God told him He would help him say the words. Have courage.

Method

Sometimes, regardless of how loving your words may be, your method might require some thought.  There are times a word is meant to be shared personally and nothing else will do. There are other times you can convey things clearly in writing. Is what you are mulling over good material for a blog post, or a book? Is your message appropriate for an intimate conversation, or a roomful of people? Don’t gasp. God may one day call you to that. The days are very near when there will be very little truth being spoken, and you will be drawn out “for such a time as this”.  Pray about how to deliver your words. Make sure, whatever method you use, that they are wisefitly spoken, seasoned with salt, and full of grace.  

Some may find offense in the truth; but your delivery (body language, tone of voice, gestures, facial expressions) should never be the cause.

Motive

Ephesians 4:15 has been my go-to passage when considering the “why” of what I want to say. Speak the truth. Only the truth. No spin. No twisting. Subtract the selfish motives, the desire to make your point, to prove yourself right (or to put someone in their place). Simply put, get out of the way and let the truth of God’s word speak for itself. If it’s His message, it will soon become clear that you are an instrument, a vessel for His use. Whatever your opportunity is, whether it is a visit on a front porch, speaking at a ladies conference, pouring yourself into a book, or sending a letter (if anyone does that anymore!)…make sure the words are His that you wish to speak. You can be mistaken. Your reasoning can be wrong. God’s truth needs to prevail.

Be mindful to speak those words in love…with an unselfish desire for the best in the lives of others. This means you will be willing to say hard things, but gently. If you need to, run your outline through 1 Corinthians 13:4-7. Are those words:

  • patient
  • kind
  • without boasting and pride
  • not motivated by envy
  • not dishonoring
  • not driven by anger
  • not assuming the worst of others or gossipy
  • given with a forgiving spirit, without holding onto past wrongs
  • evidently filled with truth
  • protecting the heart of the hearers…not injurious
  • filled with future hope of what God will do as He works

After you have checked these things, you’ll know how to proceed.

Even after this careful examination has taken place, your words may still not be received. There may be many who reject them. Look through the New Testament and you will see that this happened over and over again not only with the disciples, but with Jesus Himself. Most may turn away from your message; but bear in mind that it may never be clearly evident to you, who may be listening.

Speak the truth as He would have you do it.

Do you have Spirit Sense?

lanternbookSome call it a “sixth sense”. Spiderman would say his “spider sense” was tingling. Miss Clavel would turn on her light in the middle of the night and declare, “Something is not right!”

You can have this awareness in reality. I call it Spirit Sense.  That inner prompting which tells you that something about a person, a situation, the words you hear, a path you are offered…is not in line with truth.

“The entrance of thy words giveth light; it giveth understanding unto the simple.”

Psalm 119:130

When we hide God’s word in our hearts, it gives us an essential, added perspective on life. It helps us to view things through His eyes, and with His truth as the standard against which everything ought to be measured.

When things seem obscured, dark, uncertain…the truth of His word will light the way. Not as a beacon necessarily (because we would not be able to bear seeing too much of the future laid open in front of us), but as a lantern, allowing us to see the next right step, helping us to avoid treacherous paths.

Having scripture memorized means the Spirit has an array of tools at the ready, to help us in any given situation. It also helps us to discern not only between good and evil, but between better and best, which is often harder.

Read this brief but excellent article on the topic for more encouragement.

You may also find that scripture writing helps you to meditate more deeply in the Word. Currently, I am reading through Colossians each day (sometimes the whole book, sometimes just a chapter) for the month of August. I am reading Wiersbe’s Be Complete along with this, as well as using this month’s scripture writing assignments from Heidi St. John. You can sign up to get it via email here. We are currently writing through Colossians. They have helped me to really focus and see things I hadn’t seen before. Highly recommend!