Posts tagged from my heart


Just the other day I heard the words again…

“I want to read my Bible every day, I really do, but I’m just not disciplined…”

And this from a woman who works out and eats healthy and keeps her multi-tasking life in incredible order and her relationships in tack.

Not disciplined?

I don’t think so.

In fact, I think this highly disciplined woman, who wishes she was more consistent about poking her nose in the Word every day, is believing a lie about herself.

And she’s not alone. I hear it all the time.

I wish… but I don’t… because I’m undisciplined…

Discipline is not the problem.

Desire is!

And the reason the desire isn’t there is not because she’s bad or unspiritual or less-than-what-she-ought-to-be.

It’s because she doesn’t know what she’s missing.

Because if she had any idea how rich and full and satisfying— how need meeting and spirit-lifting this treasure filled time is— she’d never miss it.

And neither would you.

For the first decade or so of my spiritual journey of following after Jesus, I tried to discipline myself to read my Bible. And most of the time I was able to do it.

After all, Phil had led me that way from the beginning of our relationship. Every morning of our marriage I saw my husband get up in time to open the Word and spend anywhere from a few minutes to the better part of an hour systematically working his way from Genesis to Revelation.

But, frankly, I dreaded that discipline. It felt like getting up early to do homework. Not fun. Boring. Work.

Every once in a while something from the words I read reached out and grabbed my mind. But usually it was another’s words, some sort of devotional guide that spoke the loudest. I learned, yes, but I was far from thrilled with the process.

It wasn’t until I fell flat on my face in failure that the Word of God began to come alive for me. Faced with a shattered good-girl image, I became desperate for something more. Desperate to hear God speak to my failure, to show me how to live, what to do, how to sort through my unmanageable feelings.

Kind of like Job:

I had heard about You before,

But now I have seen You with my own eyes.

Job 42:5


And David:

I used to wander off

Until You disciplined me;

But now I closely follow Your word.

Psalm 119:67

And so my dear, disciplined friends, maybe what we really ought to be praying for is more desire. Asking God to wake us up every morning with the anticipation of a child at Christmas. Expecting God to speak to us, to feed us, to refresh and revive us.

Maybe we should pray that God will bring us to that place of desire as He did David. “ I desire You more than anything on earth.” (Ps, 73:25)

From my heart,


repost, Oct. 2013 




Ruth 2v1-23

The Gleaning (Part Three)

(Click here to listen to the third Ruth teaching)

Verse of the Week:



More Words from the Father:

Genesis 1

Psalm 90v12,16,17

Psalm 30v10

Psalm 57v2, 3

Psalm 138v8

Ephesians 2v10

(John 14v16; 15v26; 16v7)


From my Heart:

Tossing and Turning

I worried as I tossed and turned all last night. A running dialogue of what if’s and mustdo’s galloped behind my closed eyelids, robbing me of rest and leaving my bed a rumpled mash of misbegotten bed sheets.

It was a relief to wake up!

Rolling out of that wrestling ring of worry, I reached for two ibuprofen to ease the aches and pains my buffeted body bore, padded down to the kitchen to make my morning tea, lit a candle or two to chase away the sodden gloom, and drank in the healing Words of God.



Control (His, not mine!).

Soon my weariness lifted as I poured out my petty worries to God. Like a child, I showed Him my “owies.” Nothing earth-shattering or even heart-breaking, just daily stuff and my usual “How will I get it all done?” My self-imposed standards of perfection chasing joy and peace right out of my day. He reminded me - with the patience that makes me love Him all the more - of a few lessons already taught, if not yet fully learned. I’ll pass some of those on to you, in case you’re popping a few aspirins of your own…

1). Don’t cram too much into one day. Specifically, don’t crowd too many different categories of tasks into one day. Looking back at His plan for creating the world (a bit bigger than my burdens today), each day took on a logical, well thought through order. First light, then the skies, then land on which to grow food, then seasons…You see the idea? He had a plan. My frantic hurrying from thing to thing leaves me exhausted, discombobulated (I love that word!), dingy, and out-of-sorts. No wonder my head aches!

2). Acknowledge what you have done. Again, in the creation story, at the end of each and every day, the Lord looked back over His accomplishments and relished the completed creativity of His work. A simple notebook will do the job. Set it beside your bed and take a few minutes each night to list the things you did accomplish that day. Come on, write it down! You’ll be surprised how much you did on a day when you “didn’t get anything done.”

3). Remember who is in control (hint: not you!). If only I could get this one through my thick head! I am not in charge. I have abandoned my life to God and told Him in all sincerity that I want Him to control everything, everyone, every circumstance, every detail of my life. But He’s not so neat and tidy. He does things differently than I do. And He doesn’t usually tell me why! (Read Psalm 138:8).

4). He has a plan and purpose for me. This is one of the most exhilarating, energizing truths to ever grip me. The fact that He has specific tasks for me to accomplish… assigned tasks just for me…wow! I read once that giving your kids chores to do around the house enhances their self-esteem. So I did. Lots of chores. They were the most self-esteemed kids on the block. And now I have a chore list from the Father…because He thinks I’m the one to do it. Every time I think about that, I sit up a little straighter, clear my desk, and get to work (read Ephesians 2:10). …and moms, remember that your tasks have names…

We don’t know if Ruth worried or if Naomi lay awake at night wondering what to do. But we do know that their lives were full of challenges. There was plenty to worry about. But this story is written for our encouragement - to let us see how our Father works behind the scenes to help us.

After all, Helper is one of His names!

From my heart,


(Check His name out in John 14v16; 15v26, and 16v7).



Mystery and Mystique

Many students of the Word see shadows of truths taught elsewhere in Scripture played out in this story of Ruth. These scholars tend to lend a metaphorical meaning into the biblical narrative. The dispensational theologians, such as Merrill Unger (Unger’s Bible Handbook) read all sorts of lessons and prefigures into many of the characters and events in Ruth. And while certainly not the original meaning behind the story, a speculative look at this form of interpretation is at the very least, insightful.

Here’s what he says:

1. Naomi reflects Israel, the chosen people.

2. Elimelech depicts Israel’s prosperity in the land, married to the Lord and faithful to Him.

3. The sorrows of Naomi speak of spiritual failure and chastisement.

4. Elimelech’s death in a foreign land illustrates Israel’s national rejection of the Lord during her years of exile.

5. Naomi’s return to Bethlehem suggests Israel’s decision to set her face homeward.

6. Orpah, who remained in Moab, speaks of the unbelieving mass of Jews who elected to remain among foreign lands when Israel was reestablished as a nation.

7. Ruth portrays the faithful remnant of the nation, which will ultimately come in touch with the Kinsman-Redeemer.

8. The barley harvest signifies the end of the age (Matthew 13v30).

9. Ruth resting at Boaz’s feet represents the truth that rest can only be found at the foot of the Redeemer.

10. Boaz is a type of Christ, our Redeemer.

Beware however, of pressing this too far. J. Vernon McGee, a well-respected expositor, writes that such interpretation is indeed “suggestive” but warns his readers against “wandering off into the field of speculation.”


The Gleaning

Ruth 2:1-23 (Part One)

(click here to listen to the third teaching in the Ruth study.)

Now we get to the good part. We’re agonizing with Naomi, fearful for Ruth, frustrated with the so-called friends who leave them tired and hungry at their doorstep.

And…in walks Boaz. Of course he was tall, dark, and handsome (actually the text leaves this bit of Hollywood drama out), just the man to come to their rescue. He’s John Wayne and Billy Graham all wrapped into one.

As Ruth resorts to the backbreaking labor of gleaning for leftover grain, she “haps” on the field of the one man who is both willing and able to rescue her from a life of destitution.

This scene is full of spiritual innuendo. Boaz, representing our own Redeemer, Jesus, is a man full of grace and good will. He cares about Ruth. He asks questions, shows concern, and offers hope. Then he lavishes grace upon her, immediately elevating her from starvation to salvation, all without asking anything in return.

This unexpected twist in our story leaves us longing for more. Somewhere deep inside every woman lies this yearning to be loved and protected. Now the story takes on even deeper implications as we begin to see the way our Savior rescues us right when we need Him the most.

Come with me as we follow the story of Ruth, gleaning our own treasures of wisdom and understanding sprinkled throughout the Scriptures. And keep an eye on Boaz, for I have a feeling you’re going to be falling head over heels in love with him before the story ends.


Verse of the Week:

“… be still” Psalm 46:10 NIV


More Words from the Father:

Matthew 28:1-10

Luke 12:32

Psalm 4:4

Psalm 46:10

Isaiah 61:1-11

Isaiah 43:1-3

1 Peter 1:6-9,

13; 2:18-25; 4:19


From my Heart:

An Impossible Obstacle

“And the angel of the Lord…came…and sat upon the stone.” (Matthew 28:2)

The stone stood as a silent sentinel, blocking the entrance to the cave. On the other side, or so she thought, lay Jesus, her Lord. And wrapped up with Him lay all her shattered hopes and dreams. Dead.

She’d come to say good-bye - farewell to faith.

She’d come to grieve - to let go of the hope that had held her in such wild expectation every time He talked.

It was over now. Best to be done with it and cope with reality…

deal with drudgery…

face her future…

But that stone blocked her way.

Falling to the ground in a heap of defeated despair, pulling her knees tight against her chest, she rocked back and forth, back and forth, as her sobs filled the early morning air.






Waves of grief shook her. Years of hurt overwhelmed her reason, spilling out upon the unyielding realities of that stone. There was nothing to do but die.

Somewhere in the periphery of her mind she sensed movement, but her sorrow was too great to stop and listen. But there.

A sound...A scrape.

Was that a cough?

Her sobs slowed, again a noise.

Fear froze her. Oh no, what now?

Slowly, hesitantly, as if she could wait away the next disaster, she looked up.

An angel sitting on the stone,

that gargantuan…


uncontrollable mountain of impossibilities…

And the stone was moved…just like that.

Is a stone blocking your way to life? To peace? To joy? Have you worn yourself out trying to push it away? Have you exhausted your soul trying everything to change your circumstances? Are you sweaty and angry and defeated and discouraged? Have you lost hope?

Sit still awhile. Sit at the tomb of your tomorrows and let yourself grieve what might have been…should have been. Cry it all out.

And when you’re done,




be still…

In the ashes of your grief, in the failure of your fantasies of how life ought to be, sits Jesus. In dazzling white He sits atop that stone…

immune to impossibilities…

with a different idea of the ideal.

And while you’re there, let Him fill you with His hope and His dreams. Let Him store those tears away, pack up your past, relinquish your regrets, and give you a new start, a new life … a renewed hope.

After all, He rolled away that stone.

From my heart,





How do I begin to introduce you to Boaz? Here is the man every woman dreams of: a hero, a warrior, a friend. He is successful, driven, relational, kind, and appealing. He is godly, he takes initiative, he notices things, he listens, he leads. People like him, his reputation is irrefutable, his integrity undeniable. This is a man that a woman can trust implicitly.

The rest of this story is so real, so raw. Naomi with her bitterness. Orpah who walks away. Ruth with a reputation to overcome. From whence came this perfect man? How does he fit in this story of grief, of heartache, of broken people? What was the author thinking?

God wrote this book. Oh, He used the pen of a person, for sure. But He is the author. He created the characters, narrated the plot, came up with the protagonist and the antagonist, the beginning, the climax, and the sweet ending. So what’s He up to with Boaz?

The term that theologians use is “typology.” Boaz is a type of Christ. In other words, Boaz is a picture - painted with words and images, impressions, and dialogue - of Jesus, or at least of some aspects of Jesus. Other types of Christ include Joseph, David, Adam, and Melchizedek. Each tells a story of something God wants us to discover about His son. And while theologians emphasize the Kinsman- Redeemer aspect of Boaz, I think there is much more here to draw us into a love relationship with Jesus.

Look at the way he blesses his workers (Ruth 2:4). See how he shows interest in someone in dire straits (2:5), how he protects (2:9), and serves, even though he is clearly the boss (2:14). Hear his gracious speech (2:11) and his blessing directed at Ruth (2:12). Notice how Boaz takes care of Ruth’s needs, leaving her satisfied and overflowing (2:14). Look at his mercy in giving her far more than she deserved (2:16). This guy is amazing!

But there’s more. Boaz’s name means “strength.” He is extremely wealthy, a landowner, and a local leader of significant influence. He respects the Mosaic Law and knows its intricacies well enough to untangle what could have become a mess for Naomi (4:1-10).

Boaz’s reputation continued long after his death. Look at his influence on his son and grandsons: Obed, Jesse, David, Solomon. King Solomon was Boaz’s great, great grandson. In an obvious reference to the honor he felt towards his heritage, he named one of the foundational pillars in Solomon’s Temple after this man (1 Kings 7:21).

Take some time to ruminate on the qualities of Boaz painted so painstakingly in the story of Ruth. Observe, notice, list, circle, and underline. He is no braggart who trumpets his goodness, so you’ll have to dig a little. Read between the lines. Warm up to him and watch how everyone else in the story does as well.

As you discover the beautiful characteristics of Boaz, let these truths fill you with the beauty of Jesus. Feast on the richness of Jesus, the man. Relish the pursuit of Jesus, the lover. And by all means, worship Jesus, our Redeemer.


Ruth 1v6-22

The Journey (Part Five) 

 (Click here to listen to the second Ruth teaching.)


Verse of the Week:




More Words from the Father:

Psalm 37

Matthew 11:28-30



From my Heart:

Pages from the past: May 1991


I am discouraged.



Wanting to run away from loneliness.


It doesn’t happen to me very often.

Usually I am the strong one.

Not now.

Right now I am the weak one.

I am tired of battling.

Tired of giving.

Tired of loneliness.


No martyr’s cross has gotten me to the scarred place.

Just myriads of little crosses

all lined up back to back

like so many dominoes

precariously placed

threatening to wipe me out.


In this place of weariness

no one knows but You.

The great façade hides

well the tears…

the doubts…

the fears…


Come to Me,” You gently say,

“Come take My rest.”

You take me as I am

wanting nothing in return.

You know the way it is

down here,

You know the way I hurt.


Fill up the empty places, Lord,

the aching places of my heart.

Hold tightly to my weakened hand.

This weary child needs help.


From my heart,




The Journey

The journey the two widows took from the land of Moab to the town of Bethlehem in Israel was a long and arduous trek. Their way would have started out on a high plateau about 3,000 feet above sea level, bordered on the east by the Arabian dessert and west by the Dead Sea. They would have had to cross the River Arnon (in present day Jordan), then travel north along the King’s Highway, through the multitude of wadis (steep ravines) which characterized the area. Their path would have led them alongside Mount Nebo, the mountain Moses climbed to meet God before his death. They would have crossed into Israel by the fords of the Jordan River near Jericho, following the Jericho Road 15 miles west to Jerusalem. From there, the rough dirt roads would have taken them five more miles into the town of Bethlehem. Depending on where they were settled in Moab, the trip would have been 70 to 100 miles in length, most likely entirely on foot.



Ruth 1v6-22

The Journey (Part Two)

Verse of the Week:



More words from the Father:

Colossians 3:8-14

Psalm 139

Luke 10:41,42


From my Heart:

What About Me? 

On pondering Ruth’s boldness, her verve, her enthusiastic embracing of hardship, I find myself asking, “What about me?”

Have I arrived at this place, in this role, because God led me here? Or did I take a few too many wrong turns along the way and then settle in just to survive? Am I here…doing what I’m doing…being who I am…because I’ve so entrusted my life to the Father that I have followed every hint, every word He has spoken and landed finally in my sweet spot? Am I in that place intended for me to serve Him?

Or not?

Did I, instead, take the reins in my own hands to drive me and everyone else around me down the road I chose…the path I preferred? What if, deep down inside, I don’t want to be this person I’ve become along the way? What if I don’t want to do the things that define me?

What if…

I don’t want to play the role of policewoman/Nazi-commander in my home anymore? Will the world collapse around me if I turn nice? Will clothes mold in wadded up piles? Will the health department have to step in and close down the kitchen if I’m not there to catch every crumb? Will my husband bankrupt us? Will he go off and buy a Maserati the minute I let up?

What would happen if I let go of control?

Should I warn them first?

“By the way, I’ve decided to play the nice guy from now on. No more scolding, sulking, silently disapproving. I’ve decided to be like Ruth and Sarah. Oh…and Mary. Definitely like her.”

“From now on I’ll ask nicely, or not at all. Because I love you, with all your faults and flaws, you don’t have to fit yourself to me any more because I find you fascinating and fun, intriguing, and delightful.”

What would happen after I scraped them off the floor?

And what if…

I don’t want to be bound by my birthdays anymore? Are the freshman 15 and baby-fat and middle-age spread inevitable? Or could I push my slothful self out the door, slip into my running shoes and change all that? And if my body is indeed the temple of the Spirit of God, aren’t I somewhat obligated to try?

What if…

I quit complaining? Would I be okay if nobody knew I had a headache? I once tried not to complain for a whole week. I couldn’t do it. I couldn’t even make it through one whole day! My conversation is laced with common complaints.

“My, its hot…







boring today.”

What if I stopped all that?

What if I never said a bad thing about anybody ever again? Would I have anything to talk about?

The real question is, “Can I change?” Can I overcome my past patterns to become who I want to be…who I believe God made me to be? Can I overthrow my history, much like Ruth did, to reinvent myself? Can I really change by choosing?

One glance through Scripture convinces me I can. The change in Peter between who he was at the end of the gospel of Luke and who he emerged to be in the beginning of the story of Acts is nothing short of astounding! He went from whining wimp to warrior preacher in how many days?

What about Paul? Talk about an about-face!

And John? Jesus nicknamed him and his brother, James, the “sons of thunder,” clearly referring to their raging tempers. A look at his trilogy of letters in first, second, and third John reveals an entirely different temperament. There he’s known as the “Apostle of Love.”

If they can change, can’t I?

I can almost hear Jesus break in to interrupt my raging thoughts… “Martha, Martha…hush now…settle down…you are worried and bothered about so many things.” “Mary,” He gently reminds me, “has chosen the good part.

Choosing the good part…again,

From my heart,



Wisdom from the Scriptures


Naomi’s life started out well. Pleasant, as the meaning of her name suggests. She grew up in the town of Bethlehem, situated in the bread basket of Israel. Her childhood would have evolved around agriculture: plowing, planting, gathering, preparing, and the celebrations which accompanied ample harvests.

She married well. Elimelech was of the elite tribe of Ephrathites, thought to be the founding fathers of Judah. Their family originated with Caleb, Joshua’s consort in their spying days.1

But then her life took a downturn. Due to an apparent famine, Naomi’s husband chose to defy the dictates of the Mosaic Covenant2 and migrate to the land of Moab. There, she lost her entire family to premature death; first Elimelech, and soon thereafter, her two adult sons, Mahlon and Chilion. She found herself abandoned and alone in a foreign land, estranged from the God of her childhood, far away from all that was familiar and safe.

Called a “female Job” by many commentators,3 Naomi becomes a spokesperson for every woman who suffers. In the narrative you get a clear look at Naomi’s hurting heart. She is exposed, bearing her pain for all to see. Naomi feels that God is against her (Ruth 1:13, 21), that He has afflicted her (1:21), and brought misfortune upon her (1:21). She feels empty (1:21) and bitter (1:20).

And yet, little does she know, God is lovingly dictating even the most excruciating of circumstances. By the middle of the story, Naomi is dishing out wise advice to her daughter-in-law. She exhibits a keen understanding of her culture and even an underlying sense of God’s purpose for His people. And she gets her happily-ever-after ending. Holding her grandson, Obed, in her arms, Naomi’s life once again takes on meaning and purpose. Her friends bless her and help her to recognize that God is restoring her life and giving her hope for her future.

In this raw and wrenching depiction of pain, the God of Scripture gives us permission to go ahead and ask those questions that defy easy answers, to rail against the circumstances that upend everything we hoped for.

Naomi’s story is a story of a God who listens…and cares.


When my daughter Elizabeth was a little girl she loved to play beside me in the kitchen. Wrapped in a too-large apron, standing on a chair, my little Beth stirred and created and chattered joy beside me.

As she grew older she ignored my closely followed recipes and experimented with ideas of her own. Beetza’s Pizzas were a favorite of her brother’s friends who crowded into our kitchen for more.

Overtime, Elizabeth began to discover both the benefits and the beauty of pure, whole foods. She developed a passion for feeding her own family delicious meals, searching for recipes and inventing her own.

What fun we’ve all had tasting her creations-in-process!

Elizabeth has led the way in our family towards a more God-honoring way of feeding our bodies. She’s helped us to see, in that hope-filled way of hers, the importance of choosing to cook and gather and eat the way we were meant to.

I am proud to learn from my daughter. And I’m thrilled that she’s taking time from her busy life as a wife and mom and ministry leader to share her research and recipes with all of us.

Every Friday Elizabeth will bring us something new. A meal, a treat, a fresh way of preparing what’s in season. She’ll add to our ideas and motivate us to love in the Kitchen.

Now it is my turn to learn at my daughter’s side. Join us, will you?

From my heart,


Welcome to Letters

Several months ago, my son Matthew asked me a question: Would I do for him what I had done for his older brother many years ago? Would I write down specific advice as to what to look for in a wife?  These letters are my answer.

As I write these letters to my son I invite you to listen in. To think, to ponder, to question. We’ve started a conversation here, one of those intimate talks between people who believe the best for each other, whose lives are intimately intertwined in hope.

From my heart,

Diane (aka Mom)

Join us on every Monday for a fresh Letter to My Son.


Hello! Welcome to our newly redecorated and reorganized site at He Speaks In The Silence.

I hope you will take some time to meander through the blog and see what we’ve been up to. We will still be making some changes here and there over the next few weeks and I’ll be adding pictures and descriptions of my family as well as the team who make this blog happen.

We will be offering fresh posts nearly every day.

On Mondays I will continue the series of Letters To My Son. I just can’t seem to find enough space to tell him all I want him to know about choosing and pursuing a woman to be his wife someday.

Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday will be spillovers from my own time of listening to God early in the morning with my Bible as my guide. These will be short, in the moment Glimpses straight from the Scriptures.

Friday is Elizabeth’s day in The Kitchen to bring you fresh, wholesome recipes and ideas to try on your own. We’ll also occasionally feature women who have elevated the tasks involved in making a home into art and beauty.

Every Saturday we’ll be posting from a Bible Study I wrote and taught on the story of Ruth. We’ve formatted it to be used either all alone, curled up in your favorite chair, or with your best friends gathered close and a few others added in.

On Sundays we’ll be featuring a favorite Scripture or two. I’m going through my marked up Bible and giving you some of the verses and phrases and simple truths that have caught my heart and changed the way I think.

And that’s our week!

It is my hope that this will be a place of encouragement and instruction.

That in reading these words and entering my world you will become captivated by Jesus. That you will see how He works and hear how He speaks. And that by knowing how He has helped and taught me, you will want more Him.

May I suggest that you subscribe to have fresh posts delivered straight to your inbox? I’d love to ask questions from time to time of those on our email list, just be sure I’m writing about the things that concern you.

I am humbled and so very grateful to be a part of your life.

From my heart,



GENERATIONS... what every woman ought to know

More than three decades ago a family of six moved into a home around the corner from our tiny house on Trevor Drive in San Jose.  They were just back from the mission field with four teenagers, each of whom quickly rose to leadership in our church’s youth group simply because they were so compelling and cheerful and genuinely godly.

I was pregnant with our first son, reading books and studying methods and just generally terrified that neither of us had any idea how to do this whole parenting/raising children/ life of faith task. This family waltzed into our lives at just the right time to give me courage and hope that maybe we could someday have what they had so beautifully built in their family— an honest-to-goodness Jesus centered home filled with passionate-about-Jesus people.

Bill and Laurie Keyes showed us the way ahead. They inspired us and taught us and encouraged and trained us. They met with us and answered questions, allowed us to poke into their lives, opened up their hearts to us to show us that they were real.

And they poured wisdom into us.

Our four kids grew up on “the Keyes say…” Their words became cornerstones for the way we arranged our lives. Validation for why we did what we did and why we didn’t do things a different way.

Their wisdom made sense to us.

So you can imagine my deep-down delight when they agreed to come and share some of that wisdom with you!

On Saturday morning, September 29th, Bill and Laurie Keyes will speak at Generations… what every woman ought to know.

If you are like I was all those years ago, a woman seeking wisdom, hope, encouragement, courage. If you long to build a house on the Rock and need the keys to know howyou will not want to miss this!

The Details

When? September 29th

What time? 9-11 am

Who? Women of any and every age

Childcare? No

What? A lovely light bit of food and drink

Where? Solid Rock Westside

Why? Because there is just so much we women need to know… and Bill and Laurie Keyes have so much wisdom to bring into our questions.

Come! Bring your mom, your sister, your best friend. Bring any woman you know who needs real life wisdom. Because that is exactly what Bill and Laurie do best. They show how to do life wisely.

Really, girls, this is one you absolutely do not want to miss!

From my heart,






Proverbs 31:17

She girds herself with strength

And makes her arms strong.


She sets about her work vigorously; her arms are strong for her tasks.


She is energetic and strong,
a hard worker.



Dear son,

You were born into a family of hard-working women. Not a lazy, bon-bon munching, soap opera watching one among us.

Do you remember how your Gramma Ruth used to hustle about the house? Always slightly out of breath as she tackled her tasks? Yet when we’d come for a visit she’d have all the time in the world to sit and listen and laugh in delight at her family. In reality she’d prepared for days in advance, baking, shopping, making up beds, dusting and setting out flowers and fresh towels.

So when we got there she could just enjoy us.

And how about my mom? She’s made quilts for each of us— long hours of cutting and sewing and designing just what we want. Basketball quilts for your cousin, cozy quilts for Rebekah, airplane pillow covers for you. And we won’t even talk about her cookie baking, lest we both start to salivate right here on the page.

And there is a purpose to all their hard work, Matthew.

They both poured their strength into making their families’ lives better. 

This woman described in Proverbs 31 did the same. And we get a hint how in this verse and the ones to come.

First of all, she inconvenienced herself.  She had to tuck her long, flowing robes into her belt so she could work hard and efficiently.

Secondly, she humbled herself. Remember, this was the wife of a king. When she cinched that belt up, she was intentionally choosing to set aside her position of royalty and get to work.

And she strengthened herself. And while this must have included physical strength training, I think it was more than that. I think she purposefully chose not to be whiney and weak and demanding and needy. Instead, she got up early every morning to put on strength of spirit by connecting herself with God and choosing to serve Him by caring for her household.

Matt, look for this kind of woman. And be this kind of man. 

Because this is just what Jesus did when He walked into the Upper Room, just hours before He knew He would die.  He saw (and probably smelled) all those dirty feet of His disciples, knew that none of them were about to tackle the unsavory task, tucked His robe up into His belt, and washed their feet.

And in so doing, He strengthened all of them for the days ahead.

Matthew, ten years from now you’ll most likely be married with a baby and maybe a toddler or two and more work than you can possibly get done in a day. If you have a wife by your side who is willing to put her shoulder to the tasks with you, who cheerfully and vigorously pours herself into whatever needs to be done, who is willing to do more than her fair share just because she’s that kind of woman— well, my son, you’ll be singing her praises just like King Lemuel did.

How can you tell if the woman you date is “energetic and strong, a hard worker”?

Here’s my list for the day: 

  1. She makes lists in order to figure out what needs to be done.
  2. She keeps a calendar in order to fit it all in.
  3. She adds that extra flair to what she does.
  4. She whistles while she works- seriously!
  5. She knows when to set aside her task and sit and listen.
  6. She is all about making others comfortable.
  7. She is planning for a future that involves helping others.

I think you can see from this list that the purpose of this woman’s work is not to get rich and famous. She works in order to make the lives of people she loves better, more comfortable, happier... beautiful.

From my heart,


P.S. Do you have a story of someone who worked for your benefit? Someone who set aside her comfort in order to make your life better?





8 Scary Things We Women Do…

when we think we need a man to make us happy.

Dear son,

A couple of letters back, I began to warn you to be alert and aware of the kind of woman who has the potential to sap you of your God-given and much needed strength. I let you know how close I came to being that kind of wife to your dad. And how he took me by the hand and helped me to know that only in utter dependence on God would I ever have the hole in my soul filled full.

Because even though I was honestly seeking God with all my heart, I still thought that being married to a godly man would make me feel forever loved and happy and fulfilled.

I think most women think that deep down. And it’s wrong.  It doesn’t work that way, not even a little. And it’s not supposed to. No man can satisfy a woman in those deepest places of her restless heart. Only God can do that— and for most of us women it takes a lifetime to figure out how that really works.

Now that I’ve scared you half to death, let me offer just a couple of words of practical description to help you recognize and avoid a needy woman. Remember, I’m describing who I once was, who I fight not to be even now.

#1  A man-needing woman will need more of you than you have to give.

#2  A man-needing woman will insinuate that you are not “there for her enough”.

#3  A man-needing woman will put you on the defensive- a lot.

#4  A man-needing woman will use her sensuality to bind you to her.

#5  A man-needing woman will often give in to intense expressions of emotion, requiring excessive      amounts of assurance from you.

#6  A man-needing woman will want you all to herself all of the time.

#7  A man-needing woman will generate a great deal of conflict.

#8  A man-needing woman will argue that you need to help her more rather than seeing her calling to be your help.

Please notice, my son, that a man-needing woman is not a bad woman. She may be beautiful and gentle and sweet and sitting in the front row with her Bible open at every gathering.

But until a woman figures out for herself that men are not meant to fulfill her craving need for more, and that only a close and intimate and dependent connection with God can fill that craving, she’ll be a strength sapper.

And you, my dear son, need every ounce of your hayil to do what God is calling you to do and to do it with the “vigor” (vs. 3) of a king.

From my heart,


Dear girls,

Don’t hate me! I get it, I really do. Yet I also know that the truth is what sets us free from ourselves.

So let’s be honest with each other, confess our weaknesses to each other, and go after all that God has waiting for us if we’ll only ask.

So… comments anyone? Do you see this in yourself?

Go ahead and make up a “pen name” for this one if you want… no need to completely terrify our guys!

Somehow I think if you’ll be honest here you’ll give all of us the courage to keep learning.

From my heart for you,


REDEEMING WHAT IS BROKEN... between you and your mom
(my daughters Elizabeth and Rebekah and I)
I am a mom. And I am a daughter.

When I was watching my body swell with the miracle of my firstborn three decades or so ago, I knew I wanted to do some things differently with my children than my own mother had.

Something inside of me needed to prove to all the watching world that I was not my mom. That I was me. And that in being me I could be a better mother than mine had been.

(my granddaughter Scarlet and I)

I was wrong.

Because, you see, in rejecting so much of my mom I  gave my children just me. And I wasn’t enough for them. I didn’t have all that they needed. And I made so many mistakes in the process of trying to prove something that wasn’t right.

And to be honest with you, I hurt my mom by failing to value who she was.

The truth I see now is that my mom is an amazing woman. Her own mother was nice and sweet and gentle and not very involved in her life. They didn’t talk about important things, she never said no or be careful or maybe you shouldn’t go there or do that. And that messed my mom up a bit.

(my mom and Scarlet)

And so my mom determined to raise us differently. She talked to me. Told me things I didn’t want to hear, warning her head-in-the-clouds daughter that life is not a fairy tale and I’d better watch out.

And she did stuff with us. She was the den mother and the chaperone and the driver of the car on trips to the beach. Everybody hung out at our house because she always had homemade cookies and enough food to feed the crowd. And she was fun.

And now you’re wondering what in the world I would reject about that?

I know.

I would saved all of us a whole lot of trouble if I’d simply made a few adjustments to allow myself to be me while still listening to mom.

My mother and I are friends now. Two women on polar opposite ends of the personality spectrum, we work hard to get along, to value each other, to give each other space to be who we are. It’s not always easy and it doesn’t always work as well as we’d like, but we’re trying.

I’ve put together a list of things I have discovered in this process of becoming friends with my mother that I hope will help you with yours.

(my granddaughter Sunday and daughter-in-law Tammy)

I realize that there are some really mean and hurtful mothers out there who have caused immense pain. And I know that some of you will never be able to actually call your mom your friend.

But we can all try, can’t we?

And we can all take responsibility for our own responses.

You can be gracious and lovely and strong and nice back. No one can take that away from you.

And so with Mother’s Day just behind us and my mom visiting this week, here are…


1.    Accept her

This is what I failed to do for a long time. Instead of loving who she was, I poked and critiqued and compared.

What arrogance!

And what a waste.

When I finally began to let her be who she is, I began to see how great she really is and has been all along. She is incredibly organized and disciplined and smart and giving and open and fun. I really like her- imagine that!

2.    Forgive her

Holding a grudge against your mother is pointless and harmful and unwise and unproductive. You saw her at her worst. And your kids will see enough of you in their lifetimes to figure out everything wrong with you too. Set yourself free from all that pain she caused you before you end up dumping it all over your own children.

3.    Learn from her mistakes

Be honest with yourself about what she did wrong. Then choose differently. You don’t have to make a show about it like I did all those years ago. In fact, I’m inviting my daughters a little further into my story to allow them to build on my mistakes. There are things I’d do differently if I had a chance and I’m talking about some of those things with my girls.

A little humbling? Yeah, but amazingly liberating at the same time.

4.    Be grateful

It’s so easy to criticize your mom. To take potshots at her way of doing everything from laundry to love. What if instead we decided to start listing every memory we have that we’re grateful for? What if we stopped comparing her to The Perfect Mom and chose to value her instead?

5.    Show it

Every mother lives with a certain amount of shame. We remember every time we yelled, or were cross, or didn’t do enough. Some mothers harden up to put that pain into an untouchable vault, denying any wrongdoing ever. Others get all needy, sucking their children of every last vestige of affirmation available.

When my children point out something they value about me I hold those words close inside and relish every syllable. Its not thanks we need so much as recognition of who we are as women. And it’s my own children who have uncovered this need. They are generous with their words to me. And it’s making me see that I’ve been stingy with my mom.

6.    Know when to speak up

Sometimes a mother has hurt her children so deeply that it becomes impossible to overlook those flaws.  And sometimes a mother continues to hurt her adult children with her unedited words or unaccounted for actions. That’s when we’ve got to gather every last vestige of courage, risk the relationship, and obey the Scriptural injunction in Ephesians 4:25 to “Speak the truth in love”. The actual Greek wording is something like “Speak! Speak! that truth in a loving way.”

My advice to any daughter considering such a step would be to seek out godly counsel before going there. We’re such emotionally intense creatures- especially when it comes to relationships, that we would be wise to allow someone else to weigh in on our plan. After all, mothers get their hearts hurt too and most of the bad stuff can really be overlooked.

May this One who craves connection with us clear the way for you to have close and loving connection with your own mothers and daughters and sons in the year to come.

And may He give you the courage to do the hard work of learning how.

From my heart,


P.S. Thanks, Mom, for allowing me to be who I am. Love, Di


RED, GREEN, YELLOW: how marriage is supposed to work

I received this delightful note from one of our women who is a teacher in a school in Salem. I was struck by the wisdom of a child. I’ve added a few comments of my own to his essay… not that it needed one bit more! I think this little guy pretty much says it all.

Hi Diane

I have so enjoyed reading your blog on marriage lately.  I’ve also been listening to Mars Hill’s sermon series on marriage.  And then yesterday, I came across one of my middle schooler’s art projects while grading.  The assignment was to create a sculpture that represented a human relationship, emotion or attribute.  He chose marriage.  And he is in 6th grade.  My heart was so glad, after reading his essay on his sculpture.  I don’t work at a Christian school, so to hear this from a child was priceless!  Just wanted to pass it along to someone who appreciates what God does through marriage as much as I do!

Art and Primary Spanish Teacher

Abiqua School

The reason behind this sculpture is happiness or marriage.

This is a feeling that first time marriage people will never forget. This feeling for most people is the best feeling they will ever feel in their lifetime.

In the painting you may see that if you picture their faces together as one,

they look half and half.

That is what married people should commit to.

I chose red as a color because red represents all of the arguments and problems and miscommunication that will be a part of marriage but the two people will stay strong and carry on.

I chose green as a relaxing color because you now work as a team and everything you do is now one.

I chose yellow as a color because it represents how much you want to do this and how enthusiastic and happy you are about your decisions.

Red, green, yellow.

Red because conflict is a reality when two people choose to become one. Because becoming one takes a whole lot of dying to self and forgiving and covering over all those irritants that threaten to undo us. And because for most of us it’s an embarrassingly messy process. And life intrudes and things go wrong and we have a million opportunities to choose- grace and mercy or disapproval and rejection?

Green because a great marriage creates a space that is so restful and refreshing that a whole family- and indeed an on looking world- can find peace and hope and rest there. And because green is a symbol of growth and newness and that’s what a God centered marriage between two people creates in this whole crazy process of becoming one.

Yellow for the sheer joy of participating in a miracle. Like my daffodils blooming in the midst of a dreary day, a marriage done right brings delight to everyone who gets to glimpse this outlandish idea of God’s.

And I think that’s enough said…

From my heart,