Posts tagged worry
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,


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.

GLIMPSES: From Worry To Wonder

Now all glory to God, who is able, through His mighty power at work within us,

to accomplish infinitely more than we might ask or think.

Glory to Him in the church and in Christ Jesus through all generations forever and ever! Amen.

Ephesians 3v20,21



Yesterday was an exhilarating day for me. Eleven years ago, on Easter morning, Phil and I saw the dream of starting a church come true.

With more fear than faith, we’d poured ourselves into the task, gaining confidence that God was really in it as He brought others—more gifted than ourselves— to join us. A retired finance guy to handle the administration, a gifted engineer to organize the set up and tear down, wise elders to lead, efficient women to manage and multi-task. So many willing to show up and do what needed doing.

But still we worried. Would it work? Would anyone come? What if they didn’t? What if we’d heard wrong?

So we worked harder than we’d ever worked before and prayed more than we’d ever prayed before. We knew we weren’t enough, but we were learning that God is.

And as the days and weeks passed, we learned deep the lessons of dependency, that…

When we don’t have what it takes to do the task God assigns us, He brings all that He is into the story and does more than we could ever do without Him.

Do you know that too?

This morning as you bathe and dress and feed that baby, wondering how in the world you will help him grow into a man after God’s heart?

When you wave your teenager out the door, wondering how in the world you will help her stay strong and pure and in love with Jesus?

When you sit at your desk and wonder how in the world you will get it all done?

The fact is, without Him you and I— we can do nothing of real value.

But with Him, in Him, following near and listening close, He can do so much more than we are capable of even dreaming!

Which is why yesterday was so exhilarating for me. To drive in and have to slowly follow people to their cars like a parking place stalker, then walk the long way into the jam-packed building, squeezing past lines of people waiting for the Gathering to dismiss so they could make the mad dash to get seats for the next one… then to raise hands in worship, bumping shoulders, hugging friends, hearing more stories of lives rescued, watching baptisms— so many!

This morning I wonder at our little faith. I apologize to this One I am learning to listen to. Again. And I feel Him smile, a little mirth added to our morning together.

He knows the task He’s put in your path is too big for you.

And He’s not worried at all.

But He knows that you are, and I think He wants you to know that…

He’s with you, fully present.

And that…

With Him… in Him… if you will listen and do what He says... learning to trust Him a little more…

He will accomplish what concerns you.

And I think you will be amazed. Astounded, just like I am, at what He is able to do with a man or a woman who is honestly all surrendered. Not perfect. Not super-gifted.

Just all His.

From my heart,


P.S. Do you face a daunting task today? I would love to pray for you. If you’ll leave a few lines in the comments I’ll join with you in bringing your worries to the One who answers so willingly and so well.


We lingered at the café, my friend and I, talking about how her life had fallen apart with her marriage and how she was learning, slowly, to trust God again. It hadn’t been easy.  After all the rejection and shame and horrors of her husband’s unfaithfulness, to believe that God cared seemed a stretch. After all, hadn’t she prayed and obeyed and done everything she could to get it right?

And hadn’t God failed to do His part? 

Nothing had worked out. Not the marriage, not the man, not the vice grip of addiction to sin that had strangled the life out of the once well-intentioned husband.

Who could blame her for worrying now? For hesitating to trust a God who hadn’t done what she’d been so sure He could and would and certainly should.

And that, my dear girls, is at the heart of all our worry.

That underlying knowing that God does not always do our bidding. That the platitudes aren’t true. That everything does not work out. That sometimes awful stuff happens and people don’t get healed and marriages do fall apart and we can’t do a thing to stop it.

In honest moments we wonder… 

How are we supposed to trust God with the truth?

You’ve heard the platitudes too, maybe spilled them on a hurting friend, that if we’ll…

only trust… let go and God let God… drum up enough belief… then God promises to work it all out for us.

A happy ending. Amen.

But life doesn’t work that way and neither does God.

Ask Paul. And Peter and John and James… their stories tell of a different kind of worry-free faith. Before pop-theology painted a gaudy façade over the truth. 

Every one of those men discovered a secret. Paul dubbed it The Secret.

I have learned to be content whatever the circumstances.

I know what it is to be in need,

and I know what it is to have plenty.

I have learned the secret of being content in any and every situation,

whether well fed or hungry,

whether living in plenty or in want.

I can do all this through him who gives me strength. 

Philippians 4:11-13 

Lesson #2 about Worry:

It’s not what I do that matters, it’s what Jesus has already done.

Here’s what I mean:

On that day a month or so ago when I melted down in a grand display of run-a-muk anxiety, at it’s root was worry.

  • Worry that I would fail
  • Worry that I wasn’t organized enough or good enough or able enough to do what I expected myself to do.
  • Worry that others would think less of me

But I’d forgotten something vital. I’d forgotten The Secret.

That whether I do right or do wrong…

Whether I am a shining example of organizational skills and stellar hard work, or a pathetic failure at anything admirable…

I am not the point.

My perfect performance is not the point. Whether my family is perfect or my job stellar or my bank balance growing, is not the point.

Because Jesus took me in all my inadequacy and placed me in His beauty. Its not about me anymore, its about Jesus. I, in all my brokenness, am hidden in Him, all tucked into His perfection.

As long as I remember that, my own less-than-perfect performance won’t destroy me.

And as long as I remember that, I don’t have to demand that God work everything out all hunky dory the way I wish it would be. 

And that, my dear friends is the reason Paul and Peter and James and John and all those others whose stories weren’t perfect could be content and at rest and filled with peace and joy and hope in the midst of the messiness of real life.

But see that lovely word again, dear friends, Paul learned.

And that’s what you’re doing.


Slowly but surely you and I are learning the how-to’s of being women at rest in Him. We are learning the Secret.

From my heart,



If thou faint in the day of adversity, thy strength is small. Proverbs 24:10 KJV


If you falter in a time of trouble, how small is your strength!

Proverbs 24:10 NLT


Dear girls,

Just a couple of weeks ago when the pressures of packing and sorting and moving collided with news of my father’s failing health, I faltered… fainted… imploded in a great revealing of the smallness of my own strength.

And ever since that day I’ve been afraid of doing it again.

The chest tightens up.

Heart speeds up.

Worries well up.


And some of you know exactly what I’m talking about:  fear of fear.

Once unreasonable fear has wrapped you in its grip and pulled you under to a place of panic, you will forever fear the fear.

The fear itself becomes more frightening than whatever it was that scared you.

And it leaves you weak. Small of strength. Faltering. Fainting.

Just the woman, just the way, I do not want to be.

And so I have set out on a quest for wisdom from the Wise One who promises wisdom if we’ll only ask. (James 1:5) Every morning I’ve been up early, asking for Him to show me the way out this chest tightening anxiety that is so fearsome, so weakening, so… not what I want.

I’m filling my journal with scribbles and stories of His words to me about the how and why and when and what-to-do when I worry too much.

It’s time I pass some of those lessons on to you. Because you worry too. Too much. Too often. And you’re being weakened by the worry.

Here, my girls, is

Lesson #1 About Worry: 

Anxiety starts with that first socially permissible step called fretfulness.

Intense anxiety is not, as some would lead us to believe, purely biological in basis.[1] No one falls into a full-blown anxiety attack out of nowhere.

And anxiety is not some sort of guerilla tactic of the Evil One that hits us out of the blue. Instead, the enemy of our souls sneaks in to exploit our weaknesses, hoping to render us ineffective and weak.

Though the dark spiritual and the physical may need to be examined, that is not where anxiety starts.

Anxiety starts with fretting— those socially permissible comments we toss out in conversation.

What if…

I’m worried about…

I’m afraid that…

And instead of taking those first alerting signals to the Father we try them out on other people. What’s been silently brewing inside comes bubbling up and we hand the words to those who care about us, hoping they’ll make it go away.

They, in turn, often dismiss our worries and say something inane like, “Don’t worry, you’ll be fine.”

Which makes us go underground again. Only now that we’ve put all those jumbled thoughts into words we know what we’re worried about.

So we pray about it. After all, we’re told to pray about everything, right?

Well, sort of. But I’ve learned that there is praying… and there is praying. 

How many hours have I fussed at God in the name of prayer? Gone on long rambling prayer walks where I worried out loud at Him the whole way. Telling Him what to do, how to go about doing it, when He needs to get on it.

That, my dear girls, is not praying. It is spiritual fretfulness. Just the kind of thing that shuts out His voice and shuts in the worry.

Do not fret. It leads only to evil doing.

Psalm 37:8 NASB

Fretting, we are warned, leads not to solutions, but to doings. Evil doings. Bad stuff.

The frightening, weakening, embarrassing episode of intense fear I experienced a couple of weeks ago did not start with whatever it was that tipped me over the edge.

I began that walk to the edge of the cliff with a slow meander onto the pleasant path of acceptable fretting.

And that is right where I must stop the worry if I’m going to be free of it. Fretting cannot be tolerated. Like an alcoholic who dare not take a sip, I’ve been warned now about where worry leads.

It is time for me to take that slightest tightening of my chest and turn it into a question for my Father.

“Why am I worried Abba?”

To talk to Him. To listen. To confess that… I am afraid and short on trust and taking on too much and wishing I hadn’t and what’s wrong with me?

And then to let Him do His redeeming thing on me, in me, through me, to me.

It’s just a small lesson, I know. But it’s a start. A realization that I am weak. That worry has weakened me. That it starts with fretting. That apart from Him I’m a mess.

That He loves this mess that is me enough to get to root of it so He can get rid of what weakens me.

Isn’t that just amazing grace?

From my heart,



[1] That said, a check up is wise when experiencing the physical symptoms of anxiety. All it takes is a few out of order hormones or a broken down thyroid to slip some people over the edge from ordinary worry to panic attacks.



Our old sinful selves were crucified with Christ so that sin might lose its power in our lives.

We are no longer slaves to sin.

For when we died with Christ we were set free from the power of sin.

Romans 6:6,7


I've been swimming since Sunday in the warm waters of Romans, chapter six. Dave Lomas, a friend of John Mark's preached a breath-taking message on what it means to be in Christ. One phrase has taken hold of my mind and just won't let go. He said,

Be who you are.

And by that he wasn't referring to 1990's pop-culture ads. He wasn't talking about individuality or giftedness or feel-good-about-yourself best sellers. He was talking about our identity- who I am.

Am I Diane, wife of Phil?

Or Diane, mother of John Mark? and Rebekah? and Elizabeth? and Matthew? Amma to five kids who love me  because I never say no?

Am I Diane, writer of a blog, teacher of women? Or am I Diane, cleaner of my house, cooker of meals, walker of my dog, Jackson?

Who am I really?

And this morning it dawns on me that  first and foremost I have chosen to be a slave of God. That is who I am- on purpose.

But now you are free from the power of sin and have become slaves of God.

Romans 6:22


So why in the world do I worry?  Written in my journal this morning are these words:

It strikes me this morning that all my tense worrying is ridiculous! Why would a slave worry? Or strive? Or fuss about not doing it good enough and now-no-one-will-want-to-read-it-and-oh-dear-I-don't-know-how-to-do-this...

 After all, as a slave of the Most High God, all I really need to do is check in with Him and make sure I'm doing what He wants. I don't have to be perfect- I'm a slave. I don't have to hurry- my Master is kind. I don't even have to prove myself- He liked me enough to buy me with His blood.

And that's why worrying is ridiculous. Because the truth about why I worry is this: I worry because I forget who I am.

I am accepted. Romans 8:1

I am loved. Romans 8:35-37

I am enough. Romans 8:15-17

I am forgiven. Romans 8:3

I am sought. Romans 8:30

I am free.  Romans 8:2

I am His. Romans 8:33

And so this morning I've rolled all my worries on my Master. I've let go control and asked Him for a chore list: What do You want me to do? Say? Write? 

I'm reveling in this rest that comes from letting Him lead me. Wondering why I keep slipping back into the old worrying-way. And I'm writing it down so I remember and so you remember... that all you and I really need to do is...

Be who you are.

From my heart,


repost from march 2013

I know I'm not the only worrying, fretting woman... how about you? What are you worried about? Dare you write it down and give it up? Dare you be who you really are? I'd love to know if you'd be willing to leave a comment.


“Therefore I am now going to allure her;

 I will lead her into the wilderness

and speak tenderly to her.

There I will give her back her vineyards,

and will make the Valley of Achor a door of hope.

There she will respond as in the days of her youth,

as in the day she came up out of Egypt.

Hosea 2v14,15 NIV

All week I have been praying for the many women who wrote in response to last week’s faltering description of what a marriage looks like when both husband and wife lay all their wants and needs at the foot of the Cross. (Why he's not your Prince Charming)

And all week I’ve been pondering what to write next, waiting in the early stillness to hear that Voice.  In light of the cry from so many women whose hearts yearn to know more of what it means to be gathered into that kind of intimacy with God, to have their fears calmed and their needs met, I just cannot blithely blunder into a post about marriage.

So every morning I’ve asked… what should I say, Lord? I barely understand this myself, how can I communicate Your wisdom to women who crave more than concepts? Women who need to know how? Women who are awakening to Your call to come close? Is there a tidy formula I can line out? Steps 1…2…3…?

Instead of giving me words with which to tie a tidy bow around this gift of the gospel and the Cross and the way to both intimacy and dependency, I have felt His leading me to understand His love just for me…

My insistent read-through-the-Bible-in-a-year-in-chronological-order chart placed me in Hosea this week. Three days to whip through 14 chapters. But I can’t do it. Can’t get beyond chapter two and that first bit of chapter three. His words have captivated me, held me in grip of sorrow.

Because I am that woman I have so often self-righteously despised. Hosea’s wife, the promiscuous woman whose wayward wanting of more is an appalling picture of who we become when we refuse to be satisfied by God and God alone.

I know, I know, the story is supposed to be about Israel’s straying from Yahweh. But I cannot help myself. I am her!

And maybe some of you are too.

When you are sad  who do you tell first?  Your husband-who-is-supposed-to-listen-without-solving-it?  Your Facebook friends? Your mom? 

When you are worried do you first make lists? Check websites? Go for a run?

Is the measure of your worth tied up in people’s approval? Their kind comments and adulations about something they think you’re good at? Or is your value today dependent on whether or not your husband thinks you're beautiful and tells you- again?

Then maybe, like me, you are in danger of missing the greatest love of all. Maybe He’s right there waiting. Watching as you scurry and fret and work yourself to exhaustion to get it right.

And then this morning He spoke. Not in booming pronouncements or attention getting steps… but in that soft way He has of satisfying the place no one sees. That aching, wanting place.

"I will allure you to the wilderness because I love you... Because when you don’t feel good and nothing makes it better and you can’t get it right and no one is enough… I will bring you in close and fill you full… of Me."

The wilderness, my dear girls, is just where He wants us.

Not because we’re failures.

Not because we’re not as godly as that woman who seems so happy all the time.

And certainly not because we’re not good enough mothers or lovers or friends or worker-outters or whatever it is we think we’re supposed to be right now. 

That wilderness is where He wants us because it’s where we hear Him. 

He whispers there, outside the cacophony of all the sounds that compete for our attention.

Tender words.

Words of hope.

The kind of real hope that isn’t dependent on us doing more. Or being better. Or getting it right. 

“Throughout the Scripture, we see that God sometimes does His most powerful work in wilderness settings. Therefore, if you’re in such a place right now, take heart and take hope. As He did with His people, God has drawn you there in order to humble you and prove you— but also to do you good.”  (Jon Courson, Hosea)

Do you know what this means?

That very feeling of failure that nags at you is His whisper to come…

Your inadequacies are your beauty. Because in your weakness, He is so strong that He becomes all you need and when He becomes your everything, you finally become who you really are.



Wholly His.

Will you let Him lead you into that wilderness place?

Dare you stop trying to solve it and just listen?

Will you trust Him with the tensions in your story, knowing the real happily-ever-after ending will be worth it even if the right now is not the way you wish it was?

The wilderness never lasts forever, dear ones. He draws you there, speaks tenderly to you, and then causes you to blossom, producing hope in the midst of the “Valley of Achor”, that place of trouble.

And then… then He becomes all that you ever wanted.

“I will make you My wife forever,

showing you righteousness and justice,

unfailing love and compassion.

I will be faithful to you and make you Mine,

and you will finally know Me as the Lord.” 

Hosea 2v19,20 NLT

Hoping… and praying… that we will grasp this kind of love…

From my heart,


P.S. Are you in that wilderness place, wondering why? Or have you been there in the past and found Him faithful even when life hurts? Will you tell us about it?

Next week I’ve got another story I can hardly wait to share... it's about our first fight... and what I know now that I wish I'd known then... because, dear girls, he's really not your Prince Charming!