Sunday, March 18, 2018

It Just Takes One Person To Find Courage For Those Who Can't Find It On Their Own

You can’t fix the outside without also fixing the inside.

I’ve been learning this.  I have pretty dry skin. I’ve been putting on baby oil after showering, and using lotion - but it’s still dry. What I’m coming to learn is, that I need to drink more water. I can’t just fix the problem by applying something externally to it. I also need to address what is going on internally.

The same is true for almost everything. You can get a makeover, or lose weight but still feel insecure and ugly. Why? Because what is going on in your heart and head hasn’t been addressed. Only the result of what was going on in your heart and head, has been addressed.

We try so often to slap a bandaid on things. We have divorce care, but fail to have marriage enrichment classes and date nights to AVOID having to need divorce care.

We go get medicine for whatever ails us, but in some cases, fail to address WHY we are having a certain issue.   

Did you know that you can get sick from stress? From anxiety? Illness can be caused from things going on inside of your head, heart, and soul? And that’s why you can keep getting sick. That’s why you can’t get an external fix. 

You need to fix the INTERNAL.

And often, that is the much harder job. That’s why we ignore it. We don’t want to go “there.” We don’t want to acknowledge that we have hangups. We don’t want to admit that we are flawed.



Go to a place of business and poll the people in the office. How many of them have a doctor for this, a doctor for that, a prescription for this, a prescription for that. How many of them have personally been through a divorce, struggled with addiction, battled eating issues. How many? I bet you not one person can say “I haven’t dealt with any of that.”

We like to hide. But when someone comes out of the woodwork and says, “I’m really, really struggling to overcome this.” Do you know what? Others come out too.  Because, it just takes one person to have courage for the rest, who can’t seem to find it on their own.

You CAN be whole again. You CAN find healing. You CAN find freedom. But you have to go to the tough places. You have to deal with what’s on the inside as well as what’s going on, on the outside.

You can do it. I can do it. We can do it…. together. 

Monday, March 12, 2018

So What If I'm Not Everything You Want Me To Be?

I’ve tried. Oh, I’ve tried so hard. 

Over the years, I was a “people pleaser.” I always tried to say the polite thing. Do the nice thing. And I’m thankful those traits are part of my personality. But, having those traits have taught me some hard lessons along the way. Because, along the way, I got frustrated.

Shouldn’t “so and so” see that I tried hard? Shouldn’t that person know that I was being nice, intentionally? For them?  Shouldn’t that be enough? 

Why do I have to continually convince someone of my motivation? My heart? My character? Shouldn’t they now know fully, who I am?

The frustration came. In waves.

The tears fell. In droves.

I didn’t understand that it wasn’t really about ME. It was about THEM.

I can be nice. I can do something for someone else out of the goodness of my heart. I can encourage, support, advise. And then I have to let those gestures stand on their own. I need to not carry them with me, and wonder why those moments didn’t last as long as I thought they should. 

They had their moment of impact. They hit their target. My words. My actions. But for some people, that’s all they are ever going to do. 

I am not going to be everything that some people want me to be. Because if I were, they would literally suck the life from me. And from you, too. 

Some people are just needy forever.

They need reassurance, always.

And we just can’t be ALL to them. We can’t fill those expectations. Ever.

We can be stronger. We can grow. We can love and listen. We can hope and help. But then we need to walk on.

We have done our best in a moment that was meant for us to do our best.

For them, they want more. But for us, we gave all we were meant to give.

No more convincing needs to be given on our part. No more bending over backwards to repeat what we’ve already said. No.

We will never be enough for some.

And that has to be enough for us, just to know that.

Sunday, March 4, 2018

Is God's Presence With Us?

Exodus 33:15 

Then Moses said to him, “If your Presence does not go with us, do not send us up from here.”

There is no part of my life where I do not want God involved in it.

There is no part of my heart, that I do not want God to be in it.

There is no decision I make, that I do not want God to lead it.

And yet, so often I forge on ahead without asking Him to come along.

You too?

How many times, have we walked (or ran) ahead of the Lord?

How many times have we asked for His blessing….AFTER we had already made a decision?

I know that no matter where I am in life, the safest place to be is where my God wants me to be. It’s the BEST place to be.  

I don’t want to experience anything apart from Him. I want His glory in it.  I want His divine hand all over it. And I want to know, as I’m feeling His presence, that He has personally come down to me, and been with me every step of the way.

Let us pray. Let us ask God to not send us anywhere without His Presence going with us.  Let’s ask Him to hold us back; if something (or somewhere) is going to lead us away from Him.

Let’s ask.

Let’s always seek Him as our companion. For being somewhere without His presence, is an empty place to be; indeed.

Sunday, February 25, 2018

Our Low's Are Not God's Low's

Our “lows” are not God’s “lows.”  This thought danced across my mind as I read about how a friend had been struggling in the past year. I read about how they wondered where their journey would lead, and what, exactly, God had in mind for them.

We all go through “low’s.” For some of us, we doubt and question God. But, I think for more of us, we just wonder when we will see the end result of what He has in mind for us. We wonder when the hurt will pass, when the testing will seem to end, and when the rewards will be apparent.

We want to hurry across the field of misery into the promised land.

But, what if what we see as a field of misery…. Is indeed…. God’s promised land for us? What if that’s where all the jewels are? Not on the other side, but in the midst of the lessons, the growth, and the climbing?

We see our low moments as “low’s” in our life. But I don’t think God always does. I think He sees them as opportunities.

I can envision a tender-hearted God with tears glistening in His eyes out of love for me, and what I am going through in the hard moments of life. I can envision His loving arms ushering me through, and staying firmly by my side.  But not because these times are hard for Him. But because they are hard for ME.  He is there in His mercy and grace, because of His deep love for me. He is soft-hearted because He knows how I can struggle and writhe in heartache. 

They are MY low’s. Not HIS. 

He has the advantage of seeing the big picture. He knows I must be chiseled and molded to be the best version of me. Even if I hate it and fight against it.

So He walks with me and listens to me tell others of my tears, my pain, and my weariness. 

Low’s.  The very moments we hate, are the very moments that draw us the closest to our Savior’s side. And isn’t that the very place we want to be the most?

If I can close my eyes hard enough, maybe I can see the opportunity that my God sees - in the lowest moment of my “low’s.” If I can close my eyes, I can feel His heartbeat next to mine, and know I never walk through anything alone.

He is there. And He won’t LEAVE me there - alone. 

Saturday, February 17, 2018

What Do You Want Your Life To Be About?

I sometimes think about how I will think or feel when I’m in my 80’s.  Will I be in a retirement home, or still living in my house? Will I be fairly healthy and active still, or will I be in a wheelchair? Will loved ones visit me often, or will I feel all alone? 

Mostly, I think about how I will reflect on my life. Will I have loads of regrets on how I spent my time, or will I have great stories to share, and more ones taking place?

I want my life to be about something that matters. I don’t want to live to be a mature adult, and look back and see that I wasted it. That I focused on things that didn’t really matter. When I’m in my 80’s – I’m guessing that how well I tended a garden, or how many books I read won’t matter very much. Those are great hobbies – but they don’t impact lives. And that’s what I want to do.

I want to know that my children and grandchildren value me, because of the time I invested into them. 

I want to know that I tried to help as many people as I could. 

I want to feel content knowing that I gave “my” time to God, and let Him handle the scheduling. I don’t want to look back and see that I was busy with time wasting things…but rather God-causes. 

I want to see that I made a difference in the lives of those around me.

I think everyone wants their lives to matter. The hard part is not getting distracted by other things. Jobs, social commitments, hobbies, finances, illnesses, and other stresses in our day-to-day life, can so easily consume all of our time. They can consume all of our minds, as well. But, we may fail to see that in the process, they are pulling us away from a destiny and purpose that God may have in mind for us.

Look at your normal weekly schedule. What is it full of? Is that just a season or phase in life, or has it been that way for a few years now? If it has, maybe it’s time for a change.

It’s so easy to get comfortable with the way things are – but often times we get so comfortable that we aren’t fulfilling the call that God has for us! We either overlook it, avoid it, or ignore it. And it’s far too easy to do, when that call may scare you.

We only get one chance at this thing called life. We only have this one shot in life to matter – to make our lives count. If your heart is being pulled for the orphans in another country, do something about it! If you wish you could be a part of something larger than yourself, stop wishing and do something about it! God gave you that desire for a reason.

What do you want your life to be about? 

When you’re getting older in your years and you look back on your life – will you have made it an adventurous story by thrusting yourself into the opportunities that were presented to you? Or will you simply sit by quietly in a chair, and wish you’d done more, seen more, and experienced more? 

Ask God today to show you and lead you where He wants you. Ask Him to help you make the most of your life.

 I promise you – He will.

Saturday, February 10, 2018

Sometimes, Something Needs Changing

There are times in life where we are presented with opportunities to become better people. Maybe something happened and we were really embarrassed that someone found out something about us, or we were quick to defend our actions.  

There are times where we want to slither out quietly from a room and hide, or we have to go into “explain” mode before someone even questions our motives or intent.

Red flags. All of them.

Not one of us is able to go through life without being presented with an opportunity to take a hard look at ourselves. Maybe we have gotten too brazen with our speech, we have become critical, we judge too quickly without knowing facts, we too easily keep our mouths shut when we need to speak up….. the list goes on and on and on.




We can become careless. Sloppy. Unaware that we’ve let a part of ourselves grow into something that we don’t want to be known of us.

Not too long ago, I was attending an event with my husband and daughter.  In front of us was a family with a huge group of adopted or foster kids. I mean, like 10 kids.  They were standing up and down. Going back and forth. Constantly. We hadn’t been there an hour, when I, (who was sitting on the end), was already tired of having to stand up, or scoot to the side, so they could get past me to walk down the stairs. 

It was a real distraction from the event we came to see.

After stifling some heavy-duty sighs on my part, and a face that was showing increasing irritation; one child came by me and climbed over my legs without waiting for me to move.  I turned and exclaimed to my daughter and husband - “They didn’t even wait for me to move that time!” 

My daughter, in hushed tones, said, “Mom, you said that really loudly.” To which, the father in front of us, turned around and addressed us. 

Yep. He’d heard. 

Consider me mortified. 


I was not trying to be rude. My patience simply wore out. Thankfully, he was gracious about the whole thing. And believe me, he so easily could not have been! He said the kids could go out another way, and he recognized that they had a hard time sitting still.

Regardless, my daughter and husband were still embarrassed. And I was embarrassed. 

It gave me pause. Pause to consider how I could’ve handled the situation differently.

I cannot control other people. And other people will indeed bother me and irritate me from time to time. But what does my attitude, my actions, and my speech say about ME?

That was something for me to think about.

It was a wake-up call for me. A time to look at how I might need to do some work on my own heart, and not let my speech get out of hand. For I’d gone near the edge a few times, and lucked out. This time, I didn’t. Someone heard me. And even though I didn’t say any swear words or anything, it still brought embarrassment to my family… and to myself.

We all have things we can work on. And we all get those “red flags” in our life. Maybe we get it when we realize we’re getting too impatient at the grocery store, in the gas line, or out on the road. Maybe we need to fix something in our hearts and our actions where it concerns our neighbors.  

It happens to all of us. Sometimes, we just need to change ourselves a little bit. Fix and stitch a little “something” that needs fixing and stitching.  

Will you see those moments when they come? Will you love yourself enough to be the best you, you can be?

I hope so.

Friday, February 2, 2018

I Have To Be Enough For ME

I was having one of those afternoons. One of those times of reflection where I was frustrated.  I was frustrated because I didn’t feel like I was enough for someone. I was loving them and my love, wasn’t enough. 

I guess their expectations were higher than I could give. 

I’m sure you understand. I’m sure you’ve felt that way sometime too. Yes?

I was “stewing” over things, talking and re-talking to myself. How had I come across? How had I handled things? 

It grieved me. Truly. It grieved me for two reasons.

1)I didn’t feel like I was free to love how I was gifted to love. I felt like it was always demanded of me to be MORE.

2)  I grieved, because I knew that my love was not coming across and that it was also hurting this other person. I grieved, because I felt that THEY grieved.

And there was not a lot I could do about it.

Sometimes, there are just communication barriers. You can talk till you are “blue” in the face. You can try to phrase things differently. You can be who THEY want, once in awhile (but then you are unhappy because you are not being true to yourself.) 

No…. Sometimes there are just communication barriers and there will always BE communication barriers in this relationship.

It sucks. Let’s just say it as it is, ok?

As I was talking and re-talking to myself, I realized that even though I would continue to TRY with this person, that I could not ever be enough for them. NO ONE, can fill every hole and spot, in someone else.

I realized that I have to be enough for ME. 

Being enough for me, means that I have to love with all I have. I have to forgive. I have to remain compassionate and try to put myself in their shoes. But I also have to put up boundaries. I have to remain true to myself. I have to let some things go. Some things remain unsaid.

Relationships are such a web. They are a web of emotions, expectations, history, dreams, memories, and so much more. We would do ourselves so many favors if we could purge all the “extras” that we place on relationships, and simply accept them as they come!

But, we don’t.

So, we sit in moments like the one I had that afternoon. And we think. And we re-think. And we let a small tear fall down our face over what “isn’t.” And then, I hope like me, you will straighten your shoulders and lift your head. Not in defiance, but in peace. In understanding.  Know you did enough. Even if someone else doesn’t see that. 

Be enough for YOU. 

And let that be the final word.

Saturday, January 27, 2018

How Can I Feel God's Presence, If I Don't Offer Up Mine?

Lately, I have noticed something missing from my life. Something missing from my heart. From my spiritual walk with the Lord.

I do devotionals. I listen to Christian music. I talk and share with Christian friends. I read Christian books, quotes, and Bible Studies.  I listen to Christian speakers on podcast. I go to church.

Yet - still - something missing.

I have felt… ‘dry.’  I have craved hearing God’s voice. I have craved wanting to feel His presence in my life.

For me, I pinpointed an area in my life that was missing. Despite all I was doing, all I was trying to live and BE for the Lord - I was missing out on actually reading His Word. For myself.

It’s easy to get ‘snippets’ of Scripture. Let’s face it, we are a “read it in 5 minutes and be done” kind of culture. But it had been a long time for me, since I had actually just pulled out a chapter of the Bible, read it, digested it, pondered on it, and let it speak to my heart.

The key. It was the key to what had been missing.

How can I expect to hear God’s voice when I don’t take the time to read what He has to say to me? 

How can I feel His presence, if I don’t offer up mine?

Christian music is fantastic.

Devotionals are wonderful and they help us prioritize and focus on areas of our lives. But, reading God’s Word? Irreplaceable.

My hunger - my cravings for the Lord - have led me right to what I need the most. Him!  Him through His words.

Nothing can replace the Bible. Nothing. 

And it is so easy to be fed bites of God through all these other means, without really getting full on Him. We go through the motions, but we still can’t put our finger on what we are missing.

Well, now I can. 

I’ve been filling up on appetizers, when I should have been filling up on the main course…. His Holy Word.

I pray I will continue to not get enough. Because I want to continue to crave - to continue to seek - and to continue to grab His Word. 

I don’t want to stop wanting. For it led me straight to Him….. which is exactly where I need to be. 

Thursday, January 18, 2018

Sometimes We Just Need a Little Push

Some of us are very blessed. We just live, “blessed” lives. We have homes that we feel so “at home” in, children who we adore and love to hang around (and who enjoy us as well!), marriages that are vibrant and thriving…. Do you feel ready to throw up yet? No one has it that perfect do they? Well, yes, sometimes it seems that way. Some of us are just…… very…… blessed. 

We know we are blessed and we can feel thrilled about it all. So thrilled in our “blessedness,” that we get too comfortable with where we are sitting. 

Our lives are comfortable with us, and we are comfortable with them. 

What happens then, when we realize that we may be comfortable with where we are at, but God is not?

Sometimes I think we’re taken unawares by God because we so easily forget that it is HE that is in charge of our lives – not us. Even if we may feel like we are running them just fine, on our own. 

God has a purpose for our lives and at times; He needs to give us a gentle push to let us know that He feels its time to move us along to something else. To something new. In these cases, I’ve found that we can either go willingly as God directs, or we can fight Him on it. In which case, He can force us to move along – which is much more painful and uncomfortable!

It’s not that we’ve done something wrong, or that God is disciplining us when He sees fit to throw a curveball into our otherwise neat plan of a life. We can all get complacent. And being “blessed” is not wrong or bad. It may just be, that He has some special things to show us.  It may just mean, that He sees our potential and delights in growing us to become stronger, wiser, or more pliable in His hands.  I liken it to when you see a really smart kid start to coast in the classroom because the work is too easy for them. They need to go to the next level or they may never reach their full potential – as do we at times.

While I often find myself complaining when I think God wants to stretch my character or do hard things in my life, I think it’s truly an honor to be felt “worthy of the call” in His eyes. I think if left untouched, I would regret not learning and seeing the deeper truths and closeness that only He can give me. And to be honest, sometimes God just asks more of us for His reasons alone. I may never know the “why.” 

I think God wants me to try and see what He sees…. Not just in my life but in the life of those around me and in the life that He’s personally created for me. I can’t do that if I sit “comfortably” in my well-oiled, self-run life.

If you are one of the “blessed” that God has chosen to recently “shake up” – don’t fear and don’t despair. He loves you! He holds you, and your agenda safely in His hands. He knows what you value, and what matters deeply to you. The risks that He might ask of you, (or me), may bring more to your life than your comfort ever could.  So step forward with great faith, and trust. 

I promise you won’t fall. In fact, you just may soar on those new wings He has chosen to unveil to you. And you will be blessed, beyond measure. 

Tuesday, January 9, 2018

My Year of Surgeries

2018 has barely begun and I’ve already faced my first surgery…. An umbilical hernia. I got it when I gave birth to my first daughter, but it wasn’t a problem until this year. I jokingly told her, ‘“You DID this to me!”

I am facing another surgery in the spring. Jaw surgery. 

I am calling this, ‘The year of Dionna.’  And when I say that, I don’t mean that in a celebratory way. I mean it, in a “everything is going to happen to me this year” kind of way.

I don’t welcome it.  But I’ve been preparing myself to face it. I am ready to tackle it head-on.

Sometimes, we just can’t run from things. And believe me, I ran from getting braces and facing jaw surgery for years. YEARS. It didn’t help. It only prolonged the inevitable.

I am not one to hide. I’m not one to pretend.

Am I scared? Yes.

Can my mind run rampant with all the things that can go wrong? If I don’t stay intentional with my thoughts… yes.

Am I optimistic? Also, yes. I’m ready for some issues to be remedied. Fixed. I have lived with them pretty well. But I’d like to not just “live with them” but live WITHOUT them.

I am always thinking about these things. The upcoming surgery is always in the back of my mind. But I am asking God for HIs perfect plan to unfold through all of this. A skilled surgeon. A recovery that is smooth. Peace of mind. Rest. Encouragement. 

Won’t you keep me in your prayers? I hear jaw surgery recovery can be pretty tough. And I will be traveling a few hours away for mine.  As it draws closer, I will need courage, wisdom, discernment, and peace.

And hopefully, when the end of 2018 comes around, I will feel so blessed for all God has done for me through ‘the year of Dionna.’ May I be better, stronger, wiser, and humbled for how His plan triumphed over my own. 


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