Posted
June 30
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A Sabbatical of Silence

Hello!

I’m finally back!

I had thought to take a break from this blog space for just a few weeks while my creative friend, Allie, updated and redesigned the website.

Before I knew what hit me,  the reality of my unacknowledged soul-exhaustion came crashing home and I knew I needed a good, long sabbatical of silence. Time to rest and remember, to take long walks and listen— to just be for a while.

These are the words from the Word that reached into my heart and led me to rest:

He makes me lie down in green pastures,

He leads me beside quiet waters,

He refreshes my soul.

 He guides me along the right paths for His name’s sake.

Psalm 23v2,3

 In these months away I have, in some mysterious and life-giving way, reconnected with myself. With Me. With my own soul.

Isn’t this the most amazing and beautiful way of God? He invites us into seasons of restoring, often before we even know we’re in need.

And now I am back: a renewed and wiser me. A quieted me. Sensing that release of the Spirit to write again, to scribble in this space what I am learning.

At the same time, Allie Rice has been doing her magic, taking my blog and making it more… me. A better reflection of who I am now.

Isn’t it beautiful?

I can hardly wait to get “talking” to you again! I’ve filled journals full of lessones learned about wearing out, and hope. I want to explore with you…

what to do about all this striving that seems to be driving so many of us into wearily distorted caricatures of ourselves.

I want to tell you about my family and my new granddaughter.  I’ve been learning so much about our need to celebrate with food and beauty and friendships rather than constantly setting impossible goals to achieve more.

More than anything else, I hope to keep writing about living and learning and delighting in the beauty of God and the ways He sprinkles our lives with His surprising, sparkly goodness… if we will only open our souls wide enough to receive.

My plan is to post just once a week. Maybe more if I have something I must tell you about RIGHT NOW.

And because I want to keep our conversation intimate— between friends, for friends, and to friends who in turn share with their friends— I am not going to spray an endless stream of words into social media. That’s one of the things that wore me out, an invasion of the quiet that created too much noise for my soul to keep up with.

Instead, I hope that many of you will sign up to receive an alert to new posts via e-mail.

From my rested heart,

Diane

Posted
February 19
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Away For A While

 

I will guide you along the best pathways for your life.

I will advise you and watch over you.

Psalm 32v8 NLT

Dear girls~

I nestle into the comfort of my cabin in the woods, savoring a pot of tea, staring out the window as trees emerge like silent sentinels from the dripping darkness of an early Northwest morning. A hint of the soon coming Spring in the midst of sodden green. Moss brightening trees. The faintest buds on climbing hydrangeas assuring me of life, of promise, of renewal.

Winter is waning and I listen to the rhythm of the seasons. If winter is a season of less: less sunlight, less activity, less gardening— it is also a season of more. More sleep, more scented candles and soft blankets, more fires crackling.

In the flurry of Christmas, the festivity of the book release, the study and speaking and planning and doing, I seem to have missed the quiet of these darkening months. All those joy-filled happenings have left me craving quiet. Rest.

Without realizing why, I have been running at a pace that isn’t sustainable for me to thrive and create and feel good about my life. All that doing what needed to be done, while writing about slowing down to listen, to create beauty, to hear God. Hmm.

At the same time, new beginnings are coming, people and callings that need space to flourish.

The most important one is a baby girl named Beatrice. I’ll be leaving in just a few weeks to await her arrival alongside Elizabeth and Brook, Duke and Scarlet. Staying in L.A. until she emerges into a world made ready for her story. While there I want to play with Duke and pretend with Scarlet, get a pedicure with my daughters, go to the beach and savor the days.

I want to be undividedly present in moments I will remember forever.

By the time I get back to Firwood Cottage, Phil and I will be launching the website for Intentional Parents— a place for parents to learn and be reminded that our first and highest calling is to create in our children a heart that beats for God. I’ll be writing a weekly post to moms who need what I needed thirty years ago: practical help in real stories from the Scriptures and from life. Eventually I dream of a place where many writers— experts in their fields— weigh in with wisdom about the how’s and why’s and what-if’s of guiding and growing the next generation of passionate, all-in Jesus followers and people lovers.

Which is why I need to quiet my voice on this space for a while, lest I fall into the trap of just adding more on top of more because something inside  says I must and should.

I’ll be back, of that I am certain. I plan to begin again in May… or early June, whenever I just can’t stand it anymore and need a place to spill my heart.

In the meanwhile it’s time for some redesign, some prettying up; implementing some of the features that appeal to my writerly love of words. Going forward I want to recapture the intimacy of this space, once again writing as a means of sharing beauty, of bringing my girls into my story, of listening together to the riches in the silence. Most of all, it is on my heart to practice the art of listening to God in the midst of real life.

If that sounds like something you’re craving too, may I suggest that you subscribe to this space? I’ll post no more than once a week, just a fresh invitation of what it looks like to love God with passion and to love people on purpose.

I’ll be sneaking frequent peeks into the comments and I’d love to hear from you. Drop me a note— I’ll be missing you!

From my heart,

Diane

Posted
January 20
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The Deaf Shall Hear

In those days the word of the LORD was rare… 

Then the LORD called Samuel.

 Again the LORD called, “Samuel!”

 A third time the Lord called,”Samuel!” 

The LORD came and stood there, calling as at the other times, “Samuel! Samuel!”

I Samuel 3v1,4,6,8,10

Samuel’s first hint at hearing God’s voice was a call. A beckoning. An invitation to come close and listen.

But he didn’t know that at the time. He heard something but he didn’t know who was calling let alone what he was saying. And so he answered with the simple wisdom of a child,

Here I am.

When the same confusing urging called again, Samuel repeated the only response he could think of:

Here I am.

Again and again. Simple words of acceptance, of availability, of acknowledgement.

Here I am.

When Moses first heard that urgent calling, “Moses! Moses!” he responded the same way:

Here I am.

Isaiah said the same words when He heard God calling, searching for someone who would be willing to do His bidding:

Here I am.

For those of us who are learning to listen to the Voice of God in our lives, the first words we hear sound like an invitation. With Samuel and Moses and Isaiah, we sense a strange stirring, a beckoning  to come close.

Our hearts yearn to know and be known by Someone whose love we cannot possibly grasp, but whose Voice we long to hear.

There comes an alertness to something more, to something we need, to something we are willing to go after if only we can learn how.

In the early mornings as I light sweet smelling candles and arrange my tea on the table beside my chair, I tune my silent ears to that Voice.

Here I am, Lord.

I stand shivering before the heater, wrapped in the warmth of a shawl, my mind slowly untangling as my heart hears… something. Someone.

Here I am, Lord, here I am.

Often, the first words I sense are my name. Just as God called Moses, and little Samuel, and the great Isaiah, by name…

He whispers my name, and yours.

Di, come close. Listen.

And sometimes it’s just a feeling. A sensing in my slowly awakening spirit. A pulling of my heart that draws me into His presence.

Here I am— Lord, I’m here!

I curl into the corner of my big chair, open the only Word we know without doubt is His— that Word that is sharp enough to discern what I cannot.

And He pulls me into His heart as I read the stories, as I imagine Moses all alone, little Samuel longing for his mom, Isaiah, so afraid of what he cannot understand.

I read and I listen.

I pause to stare out the window, to sip tea, to ponder.

More than any other way, I am convinced that He speaks in and through and with His written Word. A poet/writer paints a picture of a-

“thin place through which the presence of God breaks into this world and bursts with unpredictable consequences into our lives.”

The Fire of the Word, Chris Webb

Yes! Yes!

I have seen that thin place— sensed His presence, His speaking in these Scriptures. I have entered in to see and know and feel and hear Him in the depths of holy silence that encases this Book.

Are you there yet? Being pulled into a place of listening? Sensing somewhere in your soul that Someone is calling you into intimacy?This is His invitation to come. To settle in with the Scriptures open, to read with ears wide open.

That stirring you sense is a beckoning to lean in and listen— not for solutions so much as for Him.

I am here, Lord! Speak, please speak! Your servant is listening.

From that quiet place where even the deaf can hear,

Diane

P.S. Are you hearing His beckoning in your spirit? Can you tell us what that sounds like for you? And if you’re longing to hear but can’t seem to— will you leave your name and I will pray? I’d love to take a whole list of you on my walk today.



[1] The Fire of the Word, Chris Webb

Posted
January 7
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How I Hear

People often ask me what I hear in the quiet of my world. How does a woman who is deaf function in a world that cannot fathom soundlessness? When I tell them about the cochlear implant and that I hear via a tiny computer in my head, they want to know if I hear normal now. Or do everyday noises sound different?

I get good questions from good people who care, people who want to know so they can know me.

The truth is, I don’t remember what normal sounds like. Though I’m certain I do not hear what everyone else hears; I rarely get the punch line of jokes, though I automatically laugh with everyone else (why is that?).  The worship music our church is known for sounds more like a rhythmic clamoring of pots and pans than the beauty I’m sure must be coming to everyone else’s ears. I need help to interpret my 3-year-old grand girl’s cuteness. And I use my eyes to navigate my way in public places lest I miss something important.

The fact that I can hear at all astounds me every day. The gift of the cochlear implant is a miracle of epic proportions. When I “unplug” from the shear exhaustion of listening, I hear nothing. Nothing at all.

Listening to God is a lot like being a deaf woman who hears through a computer. We hear imperfectly, missing punch lines and often misunderstanding what we thought we heard Him say. Whenever I hear someone proclaim with astonishing confidence that they know that God told them they were on their way to success and riches, or they are sure they know what is wrong with someone struggling because God gave them a word… something inside me questions. Really?

What I hear in my spirit sounds different than promises of success or solutions to other people’s dilemmas.

Take this morning…

I got up early as I usually do, padded out to the kitchen to make my pot of tea, fed the dog, then made my way through the dark to my little cabin in the back. I stood in front of the heater, shivering and worrying about the fact that I’ve taken so much time away from my desk lately and all the things I really should be accomplishing and doing and planning and finishing…

Then heard that sweet shushing I have come to know as the Father’s way of reminding me to quiet those sounds of shame. To allow Him to lead me beside quiet waters where He waits to refresh my soul.

Ah, yes Lord! I’m coming.

Curling up in my big chair by the windows that overlook the woods, I pour my first cup of steaming tea.

Good morning, Father, here I am. Foolishly worried again, I confess the wrongness of my thinking. As if my own effort, that striving to work harder and longer and more… could accomplish anything of Kingdom value. I know better, yet here I am again.

I sense His presence as we talk, that quiet calm that settles somewhere deeper than my fretting, that sets me free from striving. Trust relaxes my tense shoulders as I breathe Him in.

I open my Bible to the place I’ve been reading all week, asking for His words, leaning in to listen— not for direction so much as for what I may be missing in my blundering obliviousness to His Spirit. The words on the page fairly hum with Him, my Lord and Lover. A reference of a phrase that catches my attention leads me off on a rabbit trail to Genesis, then I Samuel, back to Exodus.

“God remembered Noah…” (Genesis 8v1)

Hannah, “deeply troubled”, “pouring out my soul to the Lord”, begs God to remember her… (I Samuel 1)

“God heard their groaning and He remembered… God looked on the Israelites and was concerned about them.”(Exodus 2v25)

Concerned. God is concerned for His people.

My heart awakens. Excited now, I flip back and forth to every reference I can find. Why have I never noticed this?

I know God cares, but in this moment I know His care. He is concerned and His concern changes everything.

In the still dark morning, I worship.

God remembers

The Creator of this beautiful world is concerned…

In the midst of that moment of worship, I “hear” God’s concern for a woman I know and love. She’s one of those gracious women who would never, ever tell me that life is rough right now. I’m not sure she’s even capable of the whining and complaining that most of us weave into every day conversation. All I know is that her husband is laid up at home recovering from surgery and that her daughter is in the hospital with pneumonia.

I sense God asking me to show this friend His concern for her, to remind her that He remembers. And even though I know she knows… sometimes it’s hard to really know when exhaustion and worry muddle our minds and beeping machines drown out His voice.

In the midst of those moments of awe-filled wonder at who He is, the strangest thing happens inside of me— all my worries and stresses don’t matter anymore. My heart is filled with the delight of a task assigned to me by the God who remembers, who is concerned—who is asking me to show His concern to one of His hurting ones.

Now when I move to my desk to plan my day and the week ahead, instead of pressure, I feel energized.

Listening to God is an adventure of discovery. Of being led, of being the skin of God to someone who needs His touch.

I have time, plenty of time, for His plans for me. What was it that I was so uptight about?

What I hear in this quest to listen to God are real words that catch me up into real purpose— words that incite wonder and amazement, words that elicit a joy that overcomes my tendency to uptight, worry-filled fretting.

I’ve never once heard assurances that success waits right around the corner if only I’ll try harder and do more, set goals and make them happen. I’ve yet to hear grand prophesies or proclaimations.

In the quiet of listening, I hear what matters to God— and somehow He makes it matter to me.

From a heart still learning to listen and loving it,

Diane

P.S. I love to take your name with me as I walk through the woods and talk to the Father who remembers and is concerned for you. If you’d leave a message comments section, it would be my honor to pray with you and for you.

Posted
January 5
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When God Speaks

It is cold and dark as I boil water for tea— my favorite tea— the one I save for special occasions but cannot bring myself to purchase because it’s ridiculously expensive— the tea Matt and Simona gave me for Christmas even though it’s ridiculously expensive.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The path to my cabin in the back is layered in ice that crunches underfoot. I wonder, Does crunchy ice make noise? It feels like it must, each careful step creating a crevice of pebbles and ice.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The frozen rain that is inundating the Northwest pelts my face. By the time I open the door to my cold cabin, turn the wall heater to high, light a cinnamon scented candle, and settle into the big white chair by the window, my flip flop clad feet are numb. I tuck them into the heating pad and sigh.

In the quiet I sense His presence. A presence I love. A sense that God is near, that His gift of Immanuel, God with us, is not confined to Christmas. I am not alone. I am not isolated by the soundlessness of deafened ears, as I feared all those years ago.

The silence of my world is sacred— a trust from the heart of a good God. An extravagant gift that came to me unbidden, unwanted.

How I wish I had not worried and fretted and raged all those years ago. I wish I had known that He speaks—

I wish I had known how beautiful God’s voice would sound in the silence.

Today my book launches— the book that tells my story of learning to recognize and know and love that Voice. The book that tells the whole story that I didn’t want.

On Christmas morning I gave my book to each of my four children, even tried to make a sort of speech about this gift from my heart, then gave up on words and gave in to tears.

The sad truth is, my deafness hurt my children. And facing that truth as I wrote hurt me. What mama wants her children to learn hard things by watching her stumble through hard things?

But the bigger truth is, my deafness helped each one of them to grow up clinging to the Father. They watched and they listened as God took my anger and turned it into joy. They saw my struggles, were embarrassed and dismayed at a mother who couldn’t hear. And every one of them— John Mark, Rebekah, Elizabeth, and Matt— chose to follow this One who rescued me from despair.

And that, my dear friends, is simply grace.

From a heart reveling in God’s inexplicable goodness,

Diane

P.S. An excerpt from He Speaks In The Silence is posting today on the Proverbs 31 Ministry devotional. And another here, on Zondervan’s website.

Posted
December 23
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For The Men In Our Lives: WHAT EVERY WOMAN REALLY WANTS FOR CHRISTMAS

Dear Husbands, Fiancees, Boyfriends, and “Just Friends”, 

The women you love want you to know what it is they really want– more than beautiful clothes or sparkling jewelry, more than fancy dates or exotic vacations. These are real things every man can give… if only he will. 

I posted this two years ago. We haven’t changed, this is still what every woman really wants for Christmas:

 

We’ve browsed through magazines, linked onto websites, and made our wish lists. Clothing sizes, shoe preferences, colors and particulars. Everything we think our men need to know in order to give us a Christmas to remember.

Now, armed with ideas, men are heading to the mall, determined to get that one thing they hope will make a woman happy.

And so, I have a list of my own to give the men who love the women I care about. It won’t break the bank or your back, but it will give her exactly what she really wants from you this Christmas.

Ten Things To Give The Woman You Love For Christmas:

1.  Your Attention– full and undivided.

Uninterrupted by cell phone rings and texting dings. She knows you can’t give it all the tim e, but for Christmas won’t you try? Do it on purpose.

2. Your Eyes- it’s the stuff of romance.

When a man looks into a woman’s eyes she knows he sees her. But it doesn’t have to be Hollywood mush. Just a moment of linking up, of homing in on the window to her soul. Dive deep. There’s a person of unique value in there. Look for what she cannot say.

3.  Your Touch- purposeful and affectionate.

A way of showing her you connect with her. Women crave those brushes of love against their skin. To run your fingers across her heart, you’ll need to step into her space and bring her into yours.

4.  Your Stories- give her a memory, a picture in your mind that you’ve tucked away somewhere of her being who she is and you loving that part of her. Tell it well and she’ll know for a moment that you really do know her.

5.  Your Hope- she sees everything not right with the world she’s trying to create for those she loves.  Tell her it’s okay, that perfection isn’t perfect, that love is messy and so is real life and you love her no matter what.

6.  Your Honor- What is the thing she does remarkably well? Have you told her? Have you told her in front of others? It’s not a woman’s way to brag about herself. Can you be her trumpeter?

7.  Your Depths- Give her those hidden hopes and dreams and thoughts and observations that will never be part of a quick phone call. She wants to know you way deep down inside.

8.  Your Help- Christmas can be overwhelming for a woman. So much to do and so many glossy pictures of others doing it better. Get up and help her. Lend a hand. Make life a little easier for her so she can be who she really is. And jump in before she gets crabby about all the work, she hates herself for being like that.

9.  Your Generosity- Can you choose in the midst of the pressures of real life to give a little more extravagantly than anyone would expect? Add a flourish. Make her coffee and cover it with whipped cream. Buy her something she doesn’t need. Bless her.

10.  Your Love- That’s what she really wants.

Every woman I know wants to be loved. To be considered better than average in a world that measures our success by means we’ll never attain.

To be  held in a place so uniquely special to you that you’re willing to give your attention, your eyes, your touch, your stories, your hope and honor and depths and help and generosity just to be sure she knows how much you love her.

We want to feel loved.

You have it in your power to give that kind of love this Christmas to your wife or your girlfriend, your good friend, your mom.

Will you?

From my heart,

Diane

P.S. Women, do you have anything to add to this list?

Posted
December 18
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DAY EIGHTEEN

When Plans Change Will I Still Delight?

“The mind of man plans his way but the Lord directs His steps.”

 Proverbs 16:9

NASB

I think I’ve learned this lesson a million times and I still don’t fully grasp it. I make plans, envision how life ought to be, then stress and worry and fret when something not-planed inserts itself into my ideal.

This December has included lots of re-directed steps. And do you know what?

The delight I feel every single day is just as strong as when my planner looked neat and tidy and like a shoe-in for the Perfect Christmas.

Here we are, one week ahead of the Big Day. My floors are grungy from all the times I’ve invited my adorable granddog to play at my house while Matt and Simo are working.

I haven’t done hardly any of the gazillion we-do-this-every-Christmas tasks.

Our tiny guest room looks like a robber’s den of stashed loot: Fed Ex and UPS boxes, and a crazy assortment of gifts that are not going to get wrapped creativitively. Nope, this year it’s going to be a brown bag year. Quick and easy.

And all that behind-edness has me smiling instead of my go-to response of worry.

Why?

Because I’m learning few things. Slowly… but honestly, these truths are sinking into my soul enough that God’s redirecting is feeling fun and right.

  1. I’m learning that what my kids want is me. They want me happy and hope-filled more than they want Pinterest-worthy packages.
  2. I’m learning that my husband wants me happy.  That he lights up when I walk around our cottage with a smile on my face. That’s what he really wants. More than my home-made fudge sauce or those delectable peanut-butter balls or the lopsided ginger bread house no one wants to eat unless they’re on a midnight sugar binge.
  3. I’m learning that playfulness is important to joy. Even when I’m not caught up on all the things I thought I really out to do. Even when I don’t have time to dog sit my granddog ‘cuz I should be cleaning and getting it together. That pup is fun. He insists I play and my whole soul is lighter when I do.
  4. I’m learning that people love me even when I don’t perform as I thought I should. That my friends couldn’t care less that I haven’t made a hand crafted present in decades. Those I love, love me back— whether I’m “amazing” or not. Especially when I’m not.
  5. I’m learning that worry is a waste of energy. That when I fret about what needs doing I lose my passion for people. People who don’t care about the pretty packages or homemade fudge sauce. People who do care if I’m joy-filled, fun, all-in, and interested.

That’s why all those re-directed paths have seemed more like delight-filled opportunities this year. Because they are.

And that’s why I am praying for a long list of women who’ve asked. Because I know His heart is with those whose burdens are a lot more than smudged floors and long to-do lists.

Delighting in this day,

Diane