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

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Just Mom

Dear Mom Friend,

I wonder if this has ever sounded like you:

I’m just mom.

I’m…

  • the one who nags about getting the chores done
  • the one who is supposed to keep things like milk and toilet paper in stock
  • the one who pushes for the school work to be finished
  • the one who has the answer to “What’s for supper?”
  • the one who expects teeth to be brushed and clean clothes to be worn
  • the one who checks under the bed when when the room is pronounced to be clean

retromomI’m…

  • not remarkable
  • not significant
  • not the “show case” mom
  • not the “amazing” mom
  • not the “fun” mom
  • certainly not the June Cleaver/Proverbs 31 Woman hybrid I once aspired to be

I’m just mom.

Recently in a school Bible lesson we were listening to, the children in the listening audience were asked to choose the person most inspirational in their lives. Without missing a beat, our youngest chirped, “I know who mine would be…it would be (insert name that isn’t mine)!” And, just like that,  the accuser of the brethren had his foothold. I allowed him to firmly plant his foot there in my heart, and he whispered that “just mom” speech in my ear, trying to convince me that my life is mundane, what I do is unimportant.

Thing is, the “inspirational” person my daughter chose is a lovely person. I’d like to be like her myself. And the other thing is this…my goal as a mom is not to be remarkable, significant, amazing, fun, or a sort of trophy to exhibit…it is not to compare. My most important “accomplishments” may never be noticed while I walk this earth…not by other people, anyway.

What I needed in that moment was truth. Even the most subtle of Satan’s whispers can drown out the Spirit’s still, small voice when that soul is weary, fearful, hormonally-challenged, or overwhelmed. I needed the stabilizing truths of the Word to trample down the  deceitfulness of my own heart. I needed to speak freeing truth…the truth which releases from the shackles of discouragement…into my own heart, and take control of my thinking. Ladies, our adversary wants us on the bench, any way he can do it. Be on the watch for his prowling, wicked advances.

More and more I want the inner strength that passes the test. I want to be the marathon runner who endures and pushes past the weakness and failings, the self-doubt and the unrealistic expectations. I want more and more to be the kind of mom who prays in secret, wearing out the knees of her soul, and gives unreservedly and without fanfare.

“And may they forget the channel, Seeing only Him.”

Don’t let the enemy of your soul speak lies to you. Hug your kids tight, with that mixture of fierce love, wistful hope, and a smidge of healthy watchfulness only you can infuse into it.

That can’t be done by just anyone, Mom.

You are His choice “for such a time as this“, so only you will do.

You’ll never be “just mom” in His eyes. Listen to Him.

 

 

 

Well, Hush My Mouth!

hushmouthThis post is a bit of “extra scripture stuff” from my FB Live Becoming MomStrong study. I simply ran out of time to develop this point, so I decided to put it here for whoever wanted to read it, and then post it in the FB group as well.

This point is toward the very end of Chapter 1, on page 14:

MomStrong moms know the Word, and they respond to today’s challenges with God-centered wisdom.

We need to be familiar with the Word so that (as I said in our first session), it becomes woven into the fabric of our speech. We are prone to lean upon our own understanding, but God makes no promises to endorse our “good spiritual ideas”. He does promise to bless His Word.

On Monday we looked at a few verses in Proverbs with regard to what we are building as women in our homes…what kind of foundation are we resting upon? Through wisdom a house is built…and a wise woman makes it her aim to build deliberately.

What else do we learn about this woman in Proverbs?  She has wise words. Sometimes those words are straight-up scripture. Sometimes they are godly observations from life about how the scripture is practically applied in the life (that’s wisdom, after all…knowing how to use what you’ve learned!).

Notice from Prov. 31:26 that not only are her words wise, but they are also kind. Paul admonished the church at Ephesus to “speak the truth in love“. We need to adorn the doctrine of God in all things, including our speech. Use our words to make Jesus more attractive to the world. That’s a topic for a whole ‘nother post, but right here it is important to say that the truths we need to share with our kids are sometimes hard ones. Speaking them from a heart of compassion will make all the difference in how they are received.

Here’s the thing. If we need to speak hard truths, but our hearts are not soft, and our minds have forgotten the great measure of grace and mercy we have ourselves so desperately needed and received…it might be time to pray, not speak. We live in a culture today where many seem to have the symptoms of “diarrhea of the mouth”. Two words: reality TV.  Oy vey. Social media encourages the verbalization of nearly everything from what we have for breakfast, to a great bargain we found, to (regrettably) conflicts in relationships, judgments against others, and worse.  Grace-full silence is a lost art.

Proverbs 29:11 tells us that it shows wisdom when we keep silence, and foolishness when we “vent” or “speak our minds” about every little thing. Words are something we cannot take back once they are released into the atmosphere…and their sting can become worse over time.

Wisdom, we read in Prov. 9:10, begins with the fear of the Lord. That means “respectful awe”.  The more we acquaint ourselves with the God of the Universe, the smaller we see ourselves to be. The more we can see ourselves through His eyes, the easier it becomes to keep things (like our speech) in check, because our love grows for Him, day by day. We will realize more and more, as the end of that verse states, that the knowledge that is from Him is what gives us true understanding.  His wisdom is not driven by pride, or based on supposition, or changeable. God’s wisdom is “pure, peaceable, gentle, open to reason, full of mercy and good fruits, impartial and sincere.”  Could you more easily receive correction and advice from someone who spoke to you like this? Me too.

So today, MomStrong moms, let’s consider before we converse. It matters to God how we use our words.

 

 

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.