Words I live by…{{Lord Willing}}…

…And What That Means to Me…

lord willing3Growing up in church I had the privilege of having many older saints around me who shared their knowledge of God’s Word…childhood memories…and wisdom of life…solicited or not…

However…many constantly used the phrase “Lord willing” when talking about making plans…whether they were centered around church or family…

And I never quite understood why those words meant so much to them…

Because I never quite understood that these golden saints lived their lives following God’s Will…following after His steps…

Proverbs 16:9 tells us, “A man’s heart plans his way, But the Lord directs his steps.” 

And that’s exactly what they did…many immigrating from other countries to the U.S…most growing up or living through the Depression Years…

Times when man’s plans were almost never guaranteed…

Times when trusting in God’s direction was something they needed to do…

And this is what they passed on to a young girl attending Sunday School…listening to grown ups talking at pot luck suppers and church picnics…making plans, but always keeping God’s direction in the forefront…

“Now listen, you who say, “Today or tomorrow we will go to this or that city, spend a year there, carry on business and make money. Instead, you ought to say, “If it is the Lord’s will, we will live and do this or that.” James 4:13,15

So now that I am older in years…and wiser in my own walk with the Lord…I get it…I do…

Because honestly? Don’t we (still) live in times when man’s plans are almost never guaranteed…

Times when trusting in God’s direction is something we need to do…

Living in the center of God’s Will is the safest place to be…110

Just think about it for a moment…

Where else do you have complete assurance that everything that happens will turn out for your best? Everything.

And where else can you have complete peace that no matter what happens you will be okay? No matter what.

So I now understand a bit better why those precious saints always ended their sentences with “Lord willing” when they spoke of their tomorrows…

They were giving up their tomorrows…into the hands of their Creator…if their plans happened, they happened…if they didn’t, it wasn’t a big deal to them…They knew God had better plans…

Our tomorrows are not guaranteed to us here on earth my friend…so when we entrust our tomorrows into the Hands of the One who is already there…

We can “lie down in perfect peace”…without worries or cares about all the “what if’s” about tomorrow…

And now? I’m married to a man who uses that phrase all the time…

Can’t get away from it, can I?

So I’ll make my plans for tomorrow Lord willing…

Living With Eyz2God,

Dianna

I am a Writer…Well…Let’s just say I write…

little pencilI am a Writer…

Why is it so hard to say those words, “I am a writer?” I have to admit, I have trouble even writing them! Even though I love to write, I don’t consider what I do as writing – but somehow I look at others that do the same thing and say to myself, “wow! I wish I could write as well as they can”!

See what I mean? Hard to identify myself with that word…To me, a writer is so much better than me – they do so much more…I mean, I barely know my way around a Blog site!

So does how I view myself disqualify me from actually being identified as a writer?

And what about the expectations from those who know that I have a Blog? Does anyone even read what I write? If they don’t “like” or comment on my post – does that mean it wasn’t good enough?

I guess I need to back up a bit and ask myself 2 key questions…Why do I write? and, Who am I writing for?

I have always loved words – reading massive amounts of books, competing in spelling bees, writing stories, cards, journaling,…you name it – I’ve never not known a time when I haven’t enjoyed reading and/or writing.

It’s freeing…it’s personal…it’s therapeutic…aah…it’s been for me…

But when God gifts the gift of words, writing can also be used as a way to reach others…through personal stories… life experiences…a growing faith walk…

And He can begin to use what was once freeing…and personal…and therapeutic…and all for me…To speak into someone else’s life…to bring healing…and maybe even an Aha! moment…to them…Colossians-23-24-e1435694348933

Colossians 3:23-24 tells us, “Whatever you do, work at it with all your heart, as working for the Lord, not for human masters, since you know that you will receive an inheritance from the Lord as a reward. It is the Lord Christ you are serving.” 

I may not have a fancy blog site…or have hundreds of followers of my blog…or be a published author…

Yet…

But when I remember that it is God I am serving when I am writing…and that He will reward my hard work…

It takes away those expectations…and fears of my writing not being good enough…those thoughts of feeling inferior to other writers…and of my dreams never becoming reality…

But really…It’s all up to Him anyway isn’t it? He guides who reads my posts…how many followers I have…and even determines whether I ever publish anything…

I have to admit that being part of this online discussion group with Katie Motaung, and reading the book, On Being a Writer: 12 Simple Habits for a Writing Life that Lasts, by Ann Kroeker and Charity Singleton Craig are already giving me some of my own Aha! moments…

So after writing all this, I can say (and write) with confidence…

I can Identify: I Am a Writer…and mean it with all my heart…

habWhere it goes from here?

Is all up to Him.

And I’m okay with that.

Living With Eyz2God,

Dianna

 

 

 

Who Am I? I Am…

Who Am I? Today’s Tuesday at Ten Prompt immediately placed in my head those famous lyrics from Les lesMiserables…sung by Jean Valjean…

Who am I?
Can I conceal myself for evermore?
Pretend I’m not the man I was before?
And must my name until I die
Be no more than an alibi?
Must I lie?
How can I ever face my fellow man?
How can I ever face myself again?
My soul belongs to God, I know
I made that bargain long ago
He gave me hope, when hope was gone
He gave me strength to journey on

Who am I?
Who am I?
I am Jean Valjean!

I have seen this movie/musical no less than 7 times – on stage in Philly – on Broadway – and I own every movie version beginning with the original B&W…up to the latest…Yes…I love Les Mis…and the story behind the music…

Maybe it’s because when I first saw the original on TV,  I was struggling with that very question…Who am I?

Was I “just” a wife in a very troubled marriage? or “just” a mom to 2 girls and pregnant with my third child? or “just” a childcare provider…or as my ex-husband called me, “a glorified babysitter”? Who, exactly was I?

Somewhereyou are along the years I had lost my identity…I became who everyone thought I should be…or who I allowed myself to become…for them…and left my own dreams and self-care behind…

UnLike Jean Valjean I didn’t have a “hidden” past I was running from…although, maybe I really did…but then again…don’t we all?

But like Jean Valjean, my soul also belonged to God – He gave me hope when hope was gone – He gave me strength to carry on…To carry on through some of the darkest days…and nights…

To find my strength in Him during my times of incredible weakness…To find my joy in Him during my times of heartache…To find my worth in Him during my times of doubt and self-condemnation…

To look ahead at a hope He had already written into my future…As He reminded me from Jeremiah 29:11-12…“For I know the plans I have for you, plans for a hope and a future – If you seek me with your whole heart – then you will find me.”

Never mind what my ex thought of me…or what the world was telling me…But what my Creator thought of me…and was telling me…through His Word…i am

So I began to seek Him…whole-heartedly…I pursued my Maker…

And you know what? I found Him…

And not only did I find Him…But I also found my True Identity in Him…

Yes, I am still a mom to 4 amazing now adult children…a wife to an amazing Godly man…a mom mom to 4 amazing grandchildren…I am also a step-mom to 5 wonderful now-adult children, and a step-grandmother to 6 grandchildren…

But I am also A Daughter of the Most High King…Heir to the Throne…Saved, Redeemed, and (being) Sanctified…Of Great Worth…

A Final Thought…I don’t need to pretend I’m not the person I was before – I can look back at my past and be so very thankful for what God has brought me through – I can look at where I am today and be grateful for the opportunities I have to share because of what He has brought me through – and I can look at a future…filled with His Promise of Hope…and rejoice…for He knows Who I Am.

Living With Eyz2God,

Dianna

If I Could Write a Letter (to the past me)…

If I could write a letter to the past me…

This is what I would say…

Dear Child of The Living King,

001Do you know how amazing you are? Really – Truly amazing. I have watched you these past 57 years grow from a shy, introverted, self-conscious little girl…into a confident woman who stands her ground and knows her worth.  Worth that does not come from having to please people, all the “right” words, or the things of this world…but from your Creator Himself.

It wasn’t always that way though, was it? You had your days…and your nights…of questions… and tears…You had your moments of frustration…with your hair…with acne…wondering if you’ll ever have a boyfriend…your weight…and oh yeah! your fears of not fitting in and making friends in a new public high school…never feeling adequate in who you were when you were around friends…

Even after graduating…attending college…getting married…becoming a mother…before you were 20…quite an accomplishment huh? Multi-tasker? that was you all right! Working mom…softball mom…tee ball mom…soccer mom…carpool mom…married – but living a single mom’s life…never being able to quite live up to the expectations of a husband who lived one way inside the house and another inside the church…

You always had such a sad air about you my friend…you never seemed to enjoy life…it’s almost like you were always  running …running away from…running towards…who – or what – I’m not sure…maybe a dream?

10404163_10203430808783894_6826095629024426513_nExcept when you were with your children – now there’s your light…they always brought a smile to your face – and to your heart…no matter how your day went, I could always tell you were living for your children…you would do anything for them wouldn’t you? They were always your life – you fought for them through thick and thin…your heart broke for them through the trials of your marriage…and your many, many prayers for them have been…and still are..being heard by your Abba Father…

And that’s where I’ve seen you have grown the most…in your walk with your sweet Jesus…Yes, there have been times when you wanted to throw it all in…when you’ve questioned His answers…or His silence…But through it all…and you’ve been through a lot my sweet girl…you have grown deeper roots in your faith…learned to trust Him more…and become more obedient to the calling He has placed on your life.

You see…when we give up our agenda…our plans for our lives…and walk in His path set before us…that’s when He can truly begin to bless..

And you have…

And He has…

It has been a blessing to watch you grow and mature over the years…tough years? Sure…but without the storms in life, you wouldn’t begin to appreciate the blessings that come after…And I think you are really getting that, aren’t you?

You have 4 incredible children from a very troubled marriage – True Blessings from a storm…

You are walking closer and in sweeter fellowship with your Heavenly Father – A True Blessing from a storm…308553_2316226058095_423235468_n

You have an incredible Godly husband right now who is walking the path God has set before the two of you – A True Blessing after the storm…

So take heart, dear Dianna…God is on your side…

Remember your life verse from when you were younger?

“Trust in the Lord with all your heart, and lean not on your own understanding. In all your ways acknowledge Him, and he will direct your ways.” Prov. 3:5,6

Yes. That.

Love you my younger self!

An older (not sure if I’m a much wiser)

(But) Living With Eyz2God,

Dianna

Awaken…my soul…

When I was a young mom one of the things I absolutely loved was watching my newborns sleep…so peaceful…so innocent…so calm…A chance to get things done around the house…or take a nap…or sit and enjoy a cup of {{hot}} coffee…really? what is {{hotmadycole}}??

Why is it then…that I would just stand by their crib and watch them sleep…waiting for them to awaken…or want to just pick them up and hold them…

That first little yawn…followed by a stretch…one arm…then the other…one eye open…then the other…head turning, looking around…maybe a coo of wonder…maybe a whimper or a lonely cry…

Then those beautiful eyes would meet mine as I stood there looking down in love…

And there it came…that magical smile of recognition…Hey! I know you!…arms raised in sweet surrender…waiting to be swept up in love…

Yep…the time spent just watching was well worth it…(I can enjoy plenty of hot coffee now a days!)

Do you ever imagine our God…our Abba Father just standing by us while we sleep? or while we go through the darkest nights in life?

Psalm 121:3-4 tells us, “He will not let your foot slip– he who watches over you will not slumber. Behold, He who keeps Israel will neither slumber nor sleep.… “

Sound familiar? He who watches over you sounds very much like what I did with my newborns – okay yes, even with my children…3clouds

A part of me wanted them to remain asleep…catching those all important hours of rest that I knew would be needed to get them through the many hours they would be awake…

Yet, another part of me wanted them to be awake…to hold…to love on…to play with…to learn from…to teach new things to…and watch them grow as they learned on their own…

Lately, I’ve been struggling with ongoing extreme back pain and recurring migraines. You could say the physical, emotional, and spiritual parts of my being have all fallen asleep… and not in a good way…not in a way that is calm, and peaceful, like a newborn baby…

Suffering with chronic pain brings with it a huge burden of guilt, isolation, depression, loneliness, and many unanswered medical and inward soul-searching questions, in addition to just dealing with ongoing physical pain…

So when I say my soul part has fallen asleep – I mean I know it’s somewhere – but not quite sure where…Don’t get me wrong – I haven’t lost my faith – if anything this is drawing me closer to my sweet Jesus…giving me purpose to seek Him more…Seeking an awakening in my soul…

In Ann Voskamp’s book One Thousand Gifts she makes this statement, “The secret to joy is to keep seeking God where we doubt He is.”

Wow! Don’t you just love that? I guess that’s exactly what I’m doing…

When I know deep down that my Abba Father is standing by my side – whether it’s secretwhile I’m sleeping or going about my busy day…whether I’m facing a time of rejoicing or a time of heartbreak…I have that sense of calm…and Peace…

And when I awaken from a restful (or restless) sleep and stretch…open my eyes…looking around…and meet those beautiful eyes of my Saviour…my Abba God…a smile of recognition crosses my lips…

I raise my arms in sweet surrender…Hey! I know you!…

And I am swept away in His arms of Love…

Living With Eyz2God,

Dianna

I Find Faith in…God’s Promises…

I Find Faith in…God’s Promises..

shoppingWhen I was a teen, one of my youth leaders gave me a Christmas gift – it was a beautiful little box packed full with Scripture cards with verses of promises from God…I would open this box every morning before school and read a verse, and then pray that verse for myself for that day.

Somewhere after high school that beautiful little box got packed away as I moved away to college…then on to married life…

And somewhere during a very troubled marriage that beautiful little box reappeared…with all of God’s Promises still there…just for me…for each of my days…

And I cherished them even more…

You see, God’s Promises are never ending…They are for our yesterdays…and for our todays…and for our tomorrows…

God’s Promises cover a multitude of life circumstances…They are for those days we look for wisdom…and for the days we stand in awe…they are for the days we feel alone…and afraid…and for those nights we stain our pillows with tears…

Finding Faith in God’s Promises gives me something to hold onto other than something of my own doingjeremiah2911

And personalizing God’s Promises makes them oh, so much more real…Have you ever taken one of God’s Promises and inserted your name? It’s like God speaking to you…Just to you…Right. Where. You. Are.

God gave me some verses when I was going through a very dark period in my marriage which I claimed as His Promises to me for that time – and He has been bringing these verses back to me the past two weeks –

Jeremiah 29:11-13 ~“For I know the plans I have for you, Dianna” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you; plans to give you hope and a future. Then you will call on me Dianna and come and pray to me, and I will listen to you. Dianna, you will seek me and find me when you seek me with all your heart.”

If you haven’t already, I encourage and challenge you to do a word study on the Promises of God found in His Word. There are literally thousands to be found! Pick a few – personalize them – and start your day by praying them for yourself.

When Scripture becomes personal, our God becomes more personal…and our faith grows…

John 1:1 tells us, “In the beginning was the Word. And the Word was with God. And the Word was God. ”

Hmmm…Wow…So…What does that tell you about personalizing and praying God’s Word? And the power that comes with God’s Word? And the power in God’s Promises?

I Find Faith in God’s Promises…Honestly? I don’t know where I would be today without them…

But I do know where I will spend eternity because of them.

Living With Eyz2God,

Dianna

5 “BE’s” for a Sweeter Day…

Do you ever get to the end of your day and wonder where the time went? Or what you  actually did with the time you had? Or how about just being plain weary..

You know, God wants us to take joy in our days…but how do we do that when we deal with the needs of our children…spouses…and families…demanding jobs…distractions…bad news…or a fast paced life…

How about 5 Simple “BE’s” to think on and put into practice each day? Nothing earth shattering…nothing new… perbe gratefulhaps just gentle reminders as we go about our day for added joy and a sweeter ending…

  • BE Grateful….wow! Really? Yes…really! When you open your eyes in the morning, give thanks. Give thanks for your breath. Give thanks for your eyesight. Give thanks for the sunshine. Give thanks for the rain. Give thanks for your children. Give thanks for the quiet. Just. Give. Thanks.

God tells us in His Word to “give thanks in everything.”  Try putting on praise music as you wait for your coffee…do your morning workout…take your shower… Starting the day with thanksgiving and gratitude in our hearts and praises on our lips gives us a positive attitude before we even head out the door. And I don’t know about you…but attitude is a game changer – mine…or some else’s…I can’t control others, but I sure can control mine!

  • BE Prepared…Just as we would prepare for a business meeting…or a shopping trip…or a day in the clasfirst5s room…we need to prepare ourselves for the day….we need to prepare for the battle(s) we will face perhaps even right outside our bedroom door…we need to prepare for the battle(s) we fight within the rooms of our own hearts..

So…How do we do that? Spend time with God. Simple right? By giving Him even the *first 5 minutes of our day (see info below) we will  receive so much more from the rest of our day. Whether you use a Bible Study plan, Daily Devotional, or Open your Bible and Read, it is so important to spend time “renewing our minds” before we enter the busyness of our day….and forget…or are too tired…ya know what I mean?

  • BE Ready…even if a soldier is trained and prepared for battle he must be ready and protected as he goes into battle… This protection includes wearing the proper clothing, and carrying a working rifle and other appropriate gear as needed…each piece for their intended purpose…

In Ephesians we are told to “put on the whole armor of God so we can face the enemy.” The whole armor friends, not just parts or pieces. If a soldier goes into battle without his full armor he is facing certain injury and possibly ddba74d3ef2f742f4cf95e3051be8146death. As uncomfortable as it may be, it may save his life. Ephesians 6 tells us, “Stand firm then, with the belt of truth buckled around your waist, with the breastplate of righteousness in place, and with your feet fitted with the readiness that comes from the gospel of peace. In addition to all this, take up the shield of faith, with which you can extinguish all the flaming arrows of the evil one. Take the helmet of salvation and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God. And pray in the Spirit on all occasions with all kinds of prayers and requests.With this in mind, be alert.” Each piece for a specific purpose…

  •  BE Alert… If we truly want to hear from God, we need to be looking for Him…not only to be aware of opportunities and the people He sends our way…but also to be aware of the enemy stepping into our path…just as troops post guards to be on the look out for the enemy, so too, do we need to be on guard…

By asking ourselves,”Am I ready to hear from God today?”we become willing vessels in the hands of a Master planner, thankful, prepared, and ready for the day He has set before us…But be aware, that as we are used by God, the enemy will most certainly step up his game…

As we settle in for the night…a 5th and final “BE” to remember…

  • BE Reflective…by taking time to look back on the day, we are able to look for, and see, where Gods hand was in our day… opportunities we chose to follow…opportunities we missed or chose to ignore…ways we were blessed…ways we honored God…and ways we can do better tomorrow…I-remember

Using a notebook or journal gives an ongoing and permanent record…and it is amazing to look back at the journey God has set me on…the ups and downs…lessons learned…but always incredibly blessed that He has planned out my day and chosen the special tasks He knows are best for me.

How reassuring are the words of God found in Jeremiah 29:11 ~”For I know the plans I have for you”, says the Lord. “Plans to prosper you and not to harm you. Plans not for evil but for your good.”

When I take time to spend time with my sweet Jesus, my day always seems to go better. Yes, the dog may still run away, I may still have a flat tire, and I may still be late for an appointment, but my outlook is a lot different when I start my day with Him.

And looking back on my day before I close my eyes, my prayer is that I did my best to honor my Saviour…and if I missed an opportunity… a lesson learned…well…that just gives me something to work on tomorrow. And His mercies are always new every morning…

Living with Eyz2God,

Dianna

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