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An Interview With Me

I sit, this morning, propped up in bed, given a couple of hours to spend as I wish. And what I wish most of all is to reconnect with you, my girls, in this over-the-top, crazy, transitional, less-than-controllable time in my life.

And since I’m as confused as anyone about why everything seems so bone-jarringly bumpy right now, I thought I’d ask myself a few questions to see if I can clear my messy mind.

Diane:  What do you see from where you sit?

Me:  A worn-at-the-edges sheet covering my window, clothes hanging to dry draped all over my dresser, a suitcase half packed, a desk piled with stuff that needs doing right-now-this-minute!… and baby Scarlet’s new red shoes pattering by while she chatters joyfully to her Amma about who-knows-what.

Diane:  Why is your life in upheaval?

Me:

1.  We just moved into a not-yet-finished house.

2.  A few days after the move, our daughter and her family moved in with us for a couple of weeks.

3.  All their boxes joined ours in our garage, leaving the smallest pathway possible to the jury-rigged washer and dryer.

4. Two days ago Brook, Elizabeth and Duke climbed into a moving truck to caravan to their new home in L.A.

5.  I’ve been teary over the move for weeks.

6.  Scarlet stayed with us because her parents couldn’t quite fathom the 20-plus hour drive down I-5 with a two year old.

7.  And I couldn’t quite fathom saying good-bye to the two-year old. And like said two-year-old, I’m employing strategic delay tactics.

8. Soon I’ll fly with Scarlet to L.A. I’ll stay a few days to help Elizabeth get settled and spend some time with my other daughter, Rebekah, who lives just 15 minutes away.

9.  I’ll be home for one day, then fly to San Francisco to teach an Intentional  conference with Phil at Reality S.F. to a really great group of young parents wanting more than anything to raise children who are passionate about Jesus.

10. Then we’ll rent a car and go see my parents in the mountains east of San Francisco for a couple of days, checking in on both of them as their health declines, wondering aloud with them what the future holds.

Diane:  Just normal life stuff, it sounds like. What’s the big deal?

Me: I am supposed to be writing a book… and writing for this blog. And I’m not.

Diane: Well, girl, you’d better just work harder and longer and faster and smarter!  Clearly you’re not doing what you should… you’re not enough.

Me:  Hush! And stop all that incessant scolding!

I am listening to the Spirit of God, not to all the worries and fear that suffocate my spirit and leave me crabby and anxious.

He promises rest, and peace, and strength, and honor to His name. He says He’s enough so I don’t have to be. (Ps 23).

And He says things like: “The LORD leads with unfailing love and faithfulness… He will show them the path they should choose… Delight yourself in the LORD and He will give you the desires of your heart…”[1]

Diane:  Oh, sorry. I thought scolding myself was the best way to avoid failure. You know, motivation to get to it.

Me: I am learning that scolding myself makes it all about me. As if it’s up to me to control every aspect of my life. As if worry whips me into shape.

I am choosing to take those runaway worries captive— catching the fiery arrows before they sink deep.

I am determining to stay sheltered close to the Shadow of the Almighty so that He can be to me all that I need.

I am recognizing that His way of working through me is different than my way of intimidating myself into productivity.

Diane:  What advice do you have for other women in a season of too-much-to-do?

Me: Carve out space to listen closely to the Master. Is it His voice that is driving you? Or could it be the spirit of guilt and obligation? In busy times we need to purposefully listen… to Him. And when life is hectic and less than perfectly tidy we actually need more time for the silence.

Diane:  Then what?

Me: Do each day with determined joy, deciding to hope, to trust, to believe God. At the end of the day go back and thank Him for His presence in each hour. See Him and listen to Him.  His presence makes all the difference in our days.

Diane:  Have you heard or read anything lately that is helping you figure this out?

Me:  I just closed the last page of a book that is so full of wisdom I want every woman to read it. It’s called Restless, by Jennie Allen. I plan to write a full review next week (but who knows, at this rate?!), but for now a quote or two:

“As you become more secure in Christ… you will feel a new tension surface: a life that feels semi-chaotic. You realize that what you had been calling “balance” in your family was really a determined effort to control your life at all costs. You see, God never promises balance. So this new life that feels semi-chaotic is likely a symptom of a couple attempting to follow the leading of the Holy Spirit.” (from the author’s husband)

“I wanted to be comfortable more than I wanted God’s will for my days.” (from the author)

And this…

“Great people don’t do great things. God does great things with surrendered people.”

So here I am surrendering the order I crave. Not passively shrugging my shoulders and simmering below the surface… but really surrendering to the One who knows me and wants to do great things through me— in spite of my mixed up, semi-psychotic self.

I’m surrendering my daughter too. To run with the Spirit into all the beautiful, chaotic, mess He wants to use in her, through her, for her.

And I’m praying for you, my girls. Because I believe that God has great things for you… things only you can do… things that won’t get done unless you choose to surrender, to listen, to face your fears, to let go of comfort, and to fling yourself unreservedly after the One who is leading you.

From my heart,

Diane

P.S. You know I’m needing to hear from you too!  Are you learning to delight in the chaos of a life lived hard after Jesus? Can you tell us about it? Please?



[1] Psalm 23, Psalm 25, Psalm 37

 

Posted
April 29, 2014
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Features, Glimpses
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32 comments... (add a comment)

  1. Jodi Stilp

    I love that you had this time with Scarlett. And praying for you all as you transition and come home to start the way life will look now.

    One of the best things I’ve ever learned to do is to say “NO.” No to good things. No to things that advance God’s kingdom. No to things I don’t like. No. No. No.

    It frees me up to say YES to the things God is calling us (Curt and I) to in this season of my life. Right now we’ve heard so clearly over the past year that this time with kids is fleeting. THEY are our calling. Their friends are our calling. So we say YES to a house full of kids and their friends. YES to trying to make it to every game, track meet, band concert, etc. YES to volunteering at school. YES to driving to youth group even though it’s a hassle and they stay up way too late on a school night. It has been really, really awesome. Busy, but awesome!

    • I love this wisdom Jodi. We all know it but sometimes that saying of No is harder than I’d realized. But hearing it this way- to say No so I can say Yes, that’s freeing. Thanks friend.

  2. Daniele

    When everything in my life is all lined out and I feel so together is where I’ve noticed I see Jesus less in my life. When I have my super together with everything moments that’s what it’s about.. The “i” .. It’s not that Gods presence is gone but more like the volume is turned down low. In reality for me Jesus is louder in my chaos. When life is out of my control. Maybe it’s because I have no choice but to trust Him, maybe because it’s absolutly exhausting to live in my crazy life that I am forced to rest in His arms? I used to dread the feeling that I was loosing control of my plan but now I embrace it more because I know that the rest for the “I” is coming.

    • Daniele, This so resonates with me! I want control… and I want to hear God easily, but those two rarely coincide. I guess we’re learning that letting go and allowing God to do whatever He wishes in our lives is better than a perfectly ordered life. Now, to remember…

  3. Kitty

    Good morning!

    Reading through this post this morning truly put my current situation into perspective.

    So here it goes…

    I am a dance instructor/choreographer in the metro area, and recently I was given the opportunity to choreograph for the Portland Fashion Week. At first I wanted to tell everyone and let each individual passer by know that I, little me, have made it. I have something important going on in my life that not many people can say that they have done.

    Now, in saying this, I am a busy girl, ALWAYS. I always am working or doing something so as to not sit, not have down time. Because, down time means that I have time to think and wrestle with my problems.

    After reading this particular blog I realized, I am not the great one here. I am not the one who should be gloating trying to prove something to someone, anyone. It’s God who needs and deserves the praise here! The line,
    “Great people don’t do great things. God does great things with surrendered people”, really struck a chord in me. If it weren’t for God and the prayers that I have been asking Him, I wouldn’t even have had this crazy “coincidental” opportunity given to me. Truly, if it weren’t for Him it would not have been successful, I would have been in the dark.

    During all of the hard work and laboring hours preparing for this event, I was in deep prayer, always asking God what was right, what to do, which path to take, “God if this is of you, then help me get there”, etc. But when it came time to praise and give credit at first, it was all about me, not about the true one who made it possible.

    Furthermore, I took credit where credit was not due to me. Like Jennie Allen said “surrendered people” I am surrendered and if what Jesus wants for me is this path then I will run with it. But HE and only HE can have the glory here.

    Thank you for opening my eyes to that!

    Always reading, always listening,
    Kitty

    • Kitty, Don’t you just relish the way He speaks into our individual worlds? Teaching me to accept chaos while He’s teaching you your need to let go of busyness– and teaching both of us to look directly to Him for who we are.
      And I must add: Congratulations on your opportunity! To add listening to God to your willingness to work hard is surely a formula for adventure.

  4. Debbie

    Thank you for such a true glimpse into your heart. Life is chaotic, but when I keep my eyes in Jesus, it all comes under His order. I don’t understand, but know it makes sense.
    Hard to live our lives juggling three generations of people we love. I’m never ready to let go if one before I’m on to the next.
    Heaven will be so wonderful! No more need to keep a tipping over life in balance!!!

    • Debbie, I love this: “Heaven will be so wonderful! No more need to keep a tipping over life in balance!!!” Such rest awaits us- which gives me the boost I need to keep at it in this short time when I’ve got assignments from Him to get done!

  5. Lyne Bacon

    Our Bible study just finished a study by Jennie Allen called “Stuck” and we were, stuck that is, and we are digging our way out of it together. Her teaching is solid and I wholeheartedly recommend her studies. BTW, leaders, the study seems to teach itself (with a little of you intertwined) so you can grow along with your group as opposed to only leading. Thank you, Diane, for being real. Being real with one another calls folks to Jesus, since we ALL need Him so desparately.

    • Lyne,
      I’ve looked at her studies and I’m loving what I see. She’s real and strong enough to say what we need to hear. I’m planning on reading everything I can find by her!

  6. Diana Spear

    Dear Diane,
    Last October, we helped our daughter, Lacey and family move from Sacramento where we live to Seattle their new home. We drove her van and SUV up there. My granddaughter, Lilly will be two in July. This parting has been so difficult for me and I found some inspiration in your words and in your conviction to surrender all to Him. I will pray for you and yours & Phil ‘s ministry. Frank and I are not in a position of ministry, but are giving all “our chaos” to Him as best we know how at this confusing time in our lives. Raising our family was our life and I pictured days with our daughters and grandchildren all around us at this point in our lives. But The Lord has different plans. I pray we can embrace His will and find new direction and peace in our lives. I know you must be busy but thank you for the chance to write on your blog and share my thoughts.
    Your sister in Jesus, Diana Spear :)

    • Diana,
      I know EXACTLY what you mean! Choosing- over and over again- to look for Jesus in our disappointments… that is the way to a life of surrendered joy. And you may not be in vocational ministry, but there is a generation of young women all around you desperate to learn how to do life in Jesus. I will be praying that you find sons and daughters to “adopt” while you learn how to do long-distance with your girls.

  7. Diane I want to thank you for all the blogs you have written and how each one I have read has touched me personally, encouraged me, and taught me something! I truly appreciate this message not because my life is super busy, but my life is in a place where change seems to be calling my name. And I am stuck in that place of excitement and nervousness. A place where God seems to be calling me to do something I never imagined for myself to a place where I have to surrender my plans and completely trust him. When you wrote ” “Great people don’t do great things. God does great things with surrendered people.”

    So here I am surrendering the order I crave. Not passively shrugging my shoulders and simmering below the surface… but really surrendering to the One who knows me and wants to do great things through me— in spite of my mixed up, semi-psychotic self.

    I’m surrendering my daughter too. To run with the Spirit into all the beautiful, chaotic, mess He wants to use in her, through her, for her.

    And I’m praying for you, my girls. Because I believe that God has great things for you… things only you can do… things that won’t get done unless you choose to surrender, to listen, to face your fears, to let go of comfort, and to fling yourself unreservedly after the One who is leading you.”
    it touched me deeply! I wanted to encourage you that you are still encouraging your girls! And to share something I have been learning. The valleys that we go through to get to the mountain top seem to keep me humble and remind me at the top of mountain who got me there. It was not by my power or ability but Gods. The valleys help me give glory where glory is do at the top of mountain!
    I pray that God will remind you of his grace, peace, and power today! Thanks again!

    • Thank you Kirsten, these words are like fragrant, soothing lotion to my soul-skin as I sit in LAX waiting for my flight home. I leave my daughters here… and go home to my “girls” all over this community of women learning to listen.

  8. Hannah

    Diane, these words struck me: “Is it His voice that is driving you? Or could it be the spirit of guilt and obligation?”

    I consistently find myself working for the needs of others- because I want to be what everyone expects of me- and in that process, I forget that God wants me to put him in front of everyone else. Guilt keeps me up at night, replays of past failures try to get me in my thoughts- everyday is a struggle as I try to submit all these feelings and past struggles to God, but consistently fall back again, back to that shameful place. It’s like taking 2 steps forward, and 1 step back. Life is rough, but Jesus makes it worth it, and keeps me fighting. I know without him I would have given up.

    God is using you in amazing ways- it’s inspiring to me and to many others. It’s nice to hear your words again, too! I will be praying for you always! :)

    • diane

      Hannah,
      Don’t give up, dear girl. This walk with Jesus is not about you being perfect- but about coming as close as possible to the One who is. And it does feel so good to be back to my keyboard- more one the way!

  9. Liv

    Yesterday one friend said to me: “the way I see it, comfort is sometimes a good thing, but it can also be a bad thing” -

    And another friend said to me: “it’s like you’re stepping out of the boat, and walking on water, because you know that He can”

    • diane

      Beautiful. Perfect. and the minute Peter took his eyes off Jesus, he started to sink. Sounds a lot like me…

  10. Heather

    Diane,
    I just recently happened to come across your blog on A Jesus Church’s website.

    …and I haven’t been able to stop reading ever since. I’ve even read the recipes, and I rarely find myself in the kitchen.

    It is refreshing to read your posts, especially as a young, and lost woman, who recently just fully gave my life to God. I’m still wrapping my head around what that actually means, and it’s terrifying, yet exhilarating at the same time.
    I just wanted to say thank you and let you know your words are encouraging to hear. These past few days my mind has wandered back to what’s written on these pages, and curious if there is more.
    I recently went to the Women’s Night of Prayer for the first time. I actually ended up going alone, which was quite intimidating at first. That night was the first night I actually got to know who you were, rather than just hearing about you on Sunday mornings!
    It was an amazing experience, and I hope to come back next year, with friends at my side.

    Thank you for your raw and real posts, they make me want me to fully embrace being a daughter of God and bring myself closer to him. God Bless you and your family!

    • diane

      Heather, What courage it took for you to come alone to such an intense gathering! I love the Night in Prayer but I know it can seem daunting at first. I’ve slowed the blog posts to a crawl lately while tending my family and getting settled into our little cottage, but there’s more coming! And I’d love to meet you sometime and help in any way I can to encourage and help you on the way to the most satisfying life possible, as you so beautifully put it, to “fully embrace being a daughter of God and bring myself closer to Him”.

  11. Nana

    Diane, thank you for your beautiful vulnerability. You constantly remind me, through your writings, to look to Him for everything.
    So many times I have ask God to bring me the wonderful husband and family I desire. I long for my whole life’s calling to be placed at my feet!
    Instead of those things happening, God is growing me, putting me in places where I have no choice but to look to Him for my next steps. He has provided a “family,” and given me an opportunity to mentor teen girls. All these precious people He has given me makes me focus on something greater than myself.

    I am praying that God gives you peace through the unsettled and difficult times in life. Thank you for investing your heart and time into this blog!

    • diane

      Nana,
      We all want “ideal”, don’t we? I love that you are learning, now, while single, to joy in the less-than ideal. Who knows what He is getting you ready for?

  12. Ann Menke

    Beautifully written and so very true. I am the great “yes” person and have been learning in the mix of chaos that is not what God wants in my life. He wants me to listen, commit to Him all my life and when I am in tune so deeply with His desire for me and my life is when He uses me greatly. You said it perfectly. I’m praying for you to soothe your aching heart and enjoy visits to see your girls and families. For a God to use you and Phil mightily in Intentional. Love you Di.

    • diane

      Annie-girl, you know all about the chaos, don’t you? Read Jodi’s comments to this post above- about saying No so we can say Yes. Good stuff. And thanks for your prayers!

  13. kelly

    I am 11 days a way from my wedding to a wonderful man who is following after Jesus, who I respect and who is my best friend and my love. Our relationship is a blessing and a miracle. I have 2 boys. One boy is playing baseball and one boy is immersed in music and part of 2 bands at school. I leave for a “girls weekend” in 2 days. I haven’t responded to multiple emails. I have returns to make of wedding stuff that isn’t quite right. I am behind on yard work, bills, thank yous, packing….and oh!! I have hardly made room in my closet for my soon to be husband’s clothes!! I love Jesus and I forget daily to live in the light of his truths- the very things you just wrote about! Thank you for the beautiful reminder.

    • diane

      Kelly, As much as we wish we could finally get “caught up” and everything all tidy and in order, I’m seeing that surrendering the too-busy to Him leaves me with a sense of triumph. And two healthy, happy boys and a wonderful man who is following after Jesus… what more could anyone really want? Much joy to you in the days ahead, Kelly!

  14. Christina Nunez

    I think one of the greatest pieces of spiritual advice I have been given recently (by Jody Hughes) was to sit and simply listen. Sit as if you are kneeling at His feet and be patient and listen. This too is a very busy season of my life and there are not signs of it slowing down (in fact, the opposite!) I need to hear what the Lord has to tell me in order to survive. Thank you Diane for your encouragement!

    • diane

      Christina,
      Reading back in my journal yesterday, I kept seeing these same words_ sit and simply listen. Jodi’s wisdom is easy to swallow, isn’t it?

  15. Alissa yang

    Trying not to dread the soon coming of our third baby, I remind myself of what you said, “In busy times we need to purposefully listen… to Him. And when life is hectic and less than perfectly tidy we actually need more time for the silence.” A newborn brings so much joy filled with overwhelming angst at times! Choosing to embrace the sleepless nights and marital strain, knowing that God will meet me at every hour! Thank

  16. Stephanie Sticka

    Love this Diane!! We are also in the midst of a busy season. That awkward time when life is busy or seasons are changing…oh how it’s then that I really realize Jesus is my solid rock. With Him, walking beside me, each awkward busy day or change is suddenly purposeful & intentional. I am learning to not run away from the short seasons of busy but to walk with Jesus in it. Thank for sharing & spurring me on!! Also, love jennie Allen. Read restless when it first came out (she did a live bible study) ….so good! A life fully surrender is the real life no matter how busy or slow it may go. Living sacrifice :) blessings to you in this unique season!!! -Stephanie

  17. Natalie

    I love that quote you shared about balance. I feel like I’ve been wearing that word out, I use it so much! But that really brought perspective. And in my heart, during these last few CRAZY/painful months, what I really hear (in a whisper) are words like rest, trust, give thanks. So great to have those words reaffirmed.

  18. Shawnte

    Diane,

    Thank you so much for your blog that is such a blessing from God. I woke up early this morning and amidst the most challenging season I can recall, I have been missing reading your posts. However, I had it pulled up last night and was too tired to read it, so it was still open this morning. Sometimes I am just shocked at how much God loves me and His faithfulness to provide for me just as He did this morning with getting to read your entry.

    My life currently:

    On a 10 day vacation of solitude and rest from:
    1. Graduating with my Masters
    2. Moving from LA back to San Diego.
    2. Postponing my wedding.
    3. Facing the emotional/relational struggles of me battling anxiety at its highest point I can remember.
    4. My fiancé that struggles with perfectionism and to my devastating surprise projected it onto criticisms of me and my appearance.
    5. My fiancé meeting his 11 year old son for the first time (a child he never met after getting an ex girlfriend pregnant at 16 before he was saved).
    6. While that was all confusing enough, plans to move into a house that my fiancé would have moved into after our wedding has taken a backseat to me moving in with my parents until I figure out the direction him and I are going in.
    7. Having no idea where/when/what I want to do career wise (originally planned to look for work after the said wedding that had been planned for June).

    Even listing those things reminds me that God made this 10 day place of silence just for me, as a gift to be with Him. It is this chaotic facing of how much is unknown, but also a place of refuge to finally (try to) let Him be the only One that knows my future, my heart, the path to healing of my broken and confused insides.

    Reading your blog has reminded me that my selfish battle to control my world is just never going to provide the freedom of surrender. I thought I had so much figured out, and now absolutely nothing figured out except today – another day in my 10 day trip attempting to let go.

    God bless you and your words.

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