Thursday, June 30, 2011

When Faith Trumps Fear

I’ve got this “issue” with fears. Never had it as a kid. Didn’t have it as a young adult. But as a mom and adult – it came in like a flood and has been trying to be an unwelcome friend in my life for at least 12 years now.  I keep telling it to go away, but somehow it sidles back into my life again.

I’ve learned how to use God’s power in my fight – for you can’t always rationalize with fear. And when I try to overcome it on my own, I lose. But when I use the arsenal that God has given me; I am victorious.

I have learned a few things in this battle with fear. One of those things is how easy it becomes to let fear trump your faith. Whatever the situation, fear grows quickly if it is not controlled or tamed. And it grows bigger than our faith. For I believe in the fear MORE than I believe in my faith. Not intending to; mind you. My faith is everything to me. But for a moment – I lose sight of what I believe in. I take my eyes off of the TRUTH, and I let my fears become the truth for me. Even if they have not happened or might never happen. For they are always the “what if’s…”

I have learned that when I swallow and let my faith trump my fear – when I BELIEVE….that is when I overcome. That is when I find peace. And that is when God shows me tender mercies.

I try not to give voice to my fears anymore. I don’t want Satan to know anymore than he already does about my life. I don’t want to give him more ammunition against me than he already has. But I CAN give voice to God’s truth. His Word has so many Scripture verses that bring comfort, healing, and joy. His Word is a light when I might otherwise slip into the darkness.

I still deal with fears. I probably always will. But at least I’m learning how to defeat them – one by one – instance by instance. At least I’m learning how to see the signals and stop fear in its track when it tries to suffocate me, hinder me, and just generally tie me up in its arms. I can now see when it’s starting to trump my faith. And I can flip it around by calling on the One who gives me the power to be immune to its pull on my heart. I can instead, let my faith trump my fears.

Each time I do, I feel a little more courageous, a little more free, and a lot more loved by my Heavenly Father.

Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Getting a New Perspective

Every time I go on a mission’s trip, I come home with a new perspective. Whether it’s an area of my life that needs tweaking and changing, or simply some spiritual growth and insight that needed to take place; I get a fresh view on things.

I usually realize how much it was needed.

I see how when you are in the same cycle of things – how you cannot be objective enough to distance yourself and look at things through a different lens. We need to get away to do that.

Not everyone can go away on a missions trip to get a new perspective (although I would highly recommend it.) But we can all get away. It’s simply a matter of intention and choice. If only we could see how much it is needed in our lives! Those blues you are feeling, the frustrations, the “blahs” of having the same thing day in and day out happen in your life – you can get a new perspective on how to change those by simply getting away from the situation.

Whether for an hour, a day or a week – our hearts, souls, and bodies hunger for that time of renewal and perspective. If you can’t go on a short-term mission trip or get out of town, simply go to your local creek and sit on the bank or go to your public library and find a chair by the sunny window. Whatever it may be, you need it more than you think you do.

Give yourself time to immerse yourself in whatever is going on around you. Let God whisper to your heart and find the worries and stresses start to fade and shift into clarity and focus.

Not all of our problems will go away by getting fresh perspective. But a lot of times, they will take their rightful place of priority and we will find that God has spoken to us about what needs to be done concerning them. He will give us an action point.

I’m so excited for my next opportunity to get a fresh perspective as I have some things in my life that I’ve truly been seeking God’s direction on. I pray that even if He touches only on one of those things – that a fresh breeze will blow through my soul and give me the excitement and direction I seek.

I pray the same will happen to you. That you will make the choice and be deliberate about taking some time away from your cycle of living and see how God wants to speak to your heart. Things don’t always have to stay the same. We don’t have to BE the same. Let God work in you and for you. Today.

Sunday, June 26, 2011


Thank you so much for your prayers. Our family and our team arrived safely back in the U.S. on Friday night. I've been home just about 48 hours right now and am looking forward to catching up on some sleep this week!

We had a great trip. Our team worked well together and the people of Guatemala have firmly planted themselves in my heart. I loved loving them, and I loved being loved and welcomed BY them.

I have been thrust into a bit of culture shock as the first 48 hours at home were busy ones. But I'm ready to see how God plans on working in my heart over the next few weeks and what will take root as time goes on.

I hope to have some pictures and a video up for you to see in the near future. And if you have any questions about going on a short-term missions trip, taking your children on the field, or Guatemala - please ask. :)

~ Dionna

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Don't Forget!

Are you praying for me? I'm still hanging out over here in Guatemala. I don't know if I will have had the opportunity to send out any tweets - but if so you can check at: and also, check our church's missions blog at - we have been blogging as we serve the precious children of Guatemala over here.

From experience, I can tell you that as we're nearing the end of our trip - I'm probably

a) getting pretty tired from full days and less sleep

b) feeling emotional from the things I've seen and the feelings that are surging through me

c) Getting somewhat comfortable with our new daily routine yet at the same time getting ready for the "comforts" of home and trying not feel guilty for "said" comforts.

d) Feeling more alive than I've felt in the last year as every time I serve God on the field, His purpose and calling on my life are fanned into flame.

e) Trying to gain perspective and footing for what I know I will face internally upon my return home.

Please continue to keep me, my family, and our team in your prayers. I'll be back in a few days.

~ Dionna

Sunday, June 19, 2011

I'm In Guatemala

I’m in Guatemala right now. As you read this, I might be nervously trekking up the side of a volcano. We’ll see.

Our family is on its second mission’s trip together. As a family. Serving God. It’s one of the things I love doing the most. Serving together.

We are here with our church ministering to kids at feeding centers.

Won’t you pray for us? It’s rainy season in Guatemala and mud slides are always a threat.  And did I mention the active volcano? And the fact that my children are here as well? Ahh – a mother’s heart is always on the prowl scoping out the dangerous territory of life, isn’t she?

Honestly, bringing my kids on the field is one of the best things I’ve ever done. When we took them to Panama in 2009, I saw God impact their hearts. I knew if I had the chance, I’d take them on the field again.

So here we are.

If you’d like to see how we are doing and what we are up to – we will be blogging on our church’s mission’s blog. It’s at

We covet your prayers for good health, safety, and for God to move on our behalf. And as a mom….I just want the truth and word of the Lord to be implanted all that much more firmly in my girls’ hearts – so that they never consider letting go.

Friday, June 17, 2011

It's Fun Being Used By God

I remember when I was dating my husband, we went on a whitewater rafting excursion with his brother and neice. I don’t know what possessed me to do this – possibly the fact that I was in love.  But, I did.

I was terrified pretty much the whole time. As someone who is not a strong swimmer, I just panicked at the thought of being tossed out of the raft and having to swirl in those cold, white, waves until someone could rescue me.

It’s pretty hysterical to look back at some pictures they took from shore right before a rapid. Everyone had their oars in the “ready” and you could see the rapid right in front of our raft. Me? I let go of my oar and was holding onto the raft with my eyes closed. So funny.

(I'm second from the front - notice my hands holding onto the rope?)

God kept me safe. As He has so many times.

I think of how terrified I was on that excursion and remember afterwards, once I knew I was safe and it was over with – thinking…that was amazing!  

That has happened to me so many times. I’m scared in the moment and out of my comfort zone, but when it’s over and done with, I realize how amazing it was and that it actually WAS kind of fun.

The same is true for the “God-experiences” I’ve had in life. My God loves to take me out of my comfort zone. He does it regularly. He loves to stretch me. So often, I’ve felt uncomfortable, scared, and nervous about what He’s asked of me. Each time, He has kept me safe. Maybe I’ve closed my eyes and hung on – but when I obeyed….I realized afterward, how amazing it was.  Because in my own strength, I can accomplish so little. But when God’s involved – I’m always in for the ride of my life.
I’ve learned over time, to open my eyes a little bit. I want to see what God has in store for me.  I’ve learned to trust a little bit more and to loosen my grip slightly. Because I’ve realized that it’s fun to be used by God. The things you see and experience – you never would have unless you obeyed Him. Sure, I’d much rather be in my comfort zone and feel all safe and secure as He uses me. But the thing is – I don’t think I would feel the emotions as much as I do when I realize how much God came through for me or on behalf of me. I don’t think I would feel the elation of joy knowing what God accomplished if I felt comfortable doing it without Him!

I’d like to encourage you to hang on. If God is asking you to do something that you KNOW is clearly His voice speaking – don’t get out of the boat. Stay in. Hold on, close your eyes if you have to, but hold on. When all is said and done and you are on the other side, safe – dry – and realizing what your eyes have seen and what your heart has experience….you will see what I mean when I say it truly is “fun” to be used by God. 

And you may even thirst for it again.

Thursday, June 16, 2011

"Go" Is Not a Suggestion But a Command

Mark 16:15  He said to them, “Go into all the world and preach the good news to all creation.

I did not have a heart for missions until my husband went on a missions trip. That was followed by God prompting me to go onto the field as well. It wasn’t until then, that my heart changed and I realized the importance of missions.

Why is that? I grew up in the church. I listened to missionaries from a very young age. But I never seem to have grasped the value of it all. Missions never “grabbed me.”

I’ll tell you what grabbed me. People did. I love people. I love people all over the world. They are so precious. So unique. So fascinating. It took me going onto the field and seeing that little girl with the huge brown eyes and the hand that so easily reached up to mine – it took that to grab me. It took the smells, the hugs, and the love.

It shouldn’t have to be that way.

I have no illusions about missions. I don’t believe that I can go into Central America for 5 days and change someone’s life forever. I do however, believe a seed can be planted and that through the work that I invest and the emotions I go through, that MY life can be transformed forever. So then I go home, and I impact those in my own close circle. Maybe then they’ll have the desire to go onto the field and be transformed. Maybe they’ll feel what I felt when I impacted someone’s life (even if in a temporary way) for the Lord. Then they’ll go home and speak to those in their circle. And so on – and so on.

Most of us are waiting. Waiting for the right missionary we like. The right field to go to. The right timing to spend the money. The right time we feel healthy and well. When we will wait ourselves right out of opportunity.

God told us to “GO.” It was not a suggestion. It was a command.  We can trivialize it or rationalize it all we want – but it was a command. I see no, “If it works out for you,” or “If God particularly calls you” in there anywhere. No. He said, “Go.”

It saddens my heart to think that as much as I love the Lord, I would have chosen to not obey this particular commandment of God if my husband hadn’t first had the desire to go to Africa. That set off a whole chain of events that changed our lives forever. To think I would have missed the importance of this – well – it breaks my heart.

Not all of us are gifted speakers or teachers. We aren’t all people-oriented. But the neat thing is – you don’t have to be. There are opportunities as varied as people themselves; all over the world. You can go and simply work with your hands on a construction project. You can clean or serve food. You can just hold and love little babies in orphanages. You can go teach sports. You name it – someone probably has a ministry like that somewhere.

The only real prerequisite you need is love. God’s love.

Every single one of us should “go.”

Because He told us to.

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

Making It Harder Than It Needs To Be

I’m a thinker. Sometimes I think too much. I think all around a situation, a possible outcome, scenarios, what-have-you. Think. Think. Think. I just. Want. To get it. Right.

It can be tiring.

You can just plain over-think things at times. I’m so guilty of that.

I can’t tell you how many times I’ve planned, thought, research, planned some more – only to have it all be for nought. God often brings His own agenda to us on a platter.  Of course I’m tempted to ask Him, “Why didn’t you just tell me that in the first place?” But I think He could reply with an, “Why didn’t you just trust Me in the first place?”

We often make things harder than they need to be. We stress too much. We plan too much. We over-think, we correct, we align, analyze, structure, and line-up.  It is good to be wise and it is good to make sure what we do in life is in line with God’s Word – but I think we just step ahead of His game too often.

I heard the saying once that said if you’re not sure what direction to go in, or what to do “just start swimming.” I liked it.  It’s not wrong to start swimming in a certain direction. God will stop you if that’s not what He wants for you. And if it is, you’ll often find the current pick up along the way. No need for over-thinking along the way… “Am I swimming in the right direction? Do I have the right speed? The right form? Am I taking enough breaths?” Harder than it needs to be.

Simply trusting is something so basic and simple that it almost eludes me at times. But I desire it so much. I don’t want to learn things the hard way or make things harder than they need to be. 

We say we trust God; but application is often a very different story when we look at our lives.

Today, let’s all just start swimming.  Laugh, love, and talk to God along the way. Seek His face but don’t over-think things.  If God’s in your heart and you have a heart that desires to please Him – there should be no doubt that He’d ever let you go in the wrong direction.

Saturday, June 11, 2011

A Shout-Out For Baggies

Packing. I don’t really enjoy it. It’s hard to pack for multiple people when you’re a mom. On top of that, my youngest is notorious for making a huge mess of her suitcase. I’ll have her clothes all nicely put in there and a few days into a trip, she can’t find anything. When I ask why – I find her suitcase looking like this….

My husband came up with a fantastic idea. We now (all of us) use baggies to help us organize our clothes. It is heavenly! I love it! It keeps things neat and it also creates extra room! Clothes that would be otherwise wrinkled are a lot less so and you can find what you are looking for without dumping everything out of your suitcase.

Gallon size baggies, quart size baggies, sandwich baggies – you name it – they work great! So much nicer! I’m a convert. I don’t think I’ll ever pack the old way again without using baggies to help me organize, keep things neat, and create extra room (so that I can pack extra clothes!).

Not convinced? Take a look at these pictures.

All I know is that I think my husband is a genius because without meaning to, he provided a way for me to truly pack more on vacations. Every girl’s gotta love that! And if you have a “messy” for a child like I do, then you’ll love this even more for helping them not make a mess out of their whole suitcase. They can just open up a new baggie every couple of days for a new outfit or shirt without digging through 8 other things to find it. Easy as that.

Try it out on your next road trip or vacation and let me know how it worked for you!

Thursday, June 9, 2011

You Just Might Surprise Yourself

It’s too easy to stay the same.

It’s too easy to do what you’ve always done.

When you are scared and life looms before you – it’s too easy to close the door on what “could be.”  You may fail. You may fall. You might make the wrong decision. Everyone could point their finger at you and say, “I told you so.”

That’s the hard thing. To take the risk. To go on that road less travelled or the road that hasn’t been travelled at all. To dream the impossible and then start pursuing it. To believe.

It’s far easier to just give up on yourself. To settle. I mean, what you have is probably all you’ll ever get –right? It’s easier to accept that than to jump for that golden ring.

But inside, you wish, you hope, you yearn for something bigger, better, more meaningful. You long for a change in life – in yourself.

Life IS hard. Life DOES change. It pulls and tugs on you. Asking you to step forward, step up and rise to the challenge.

Are you ready? Are you willing?

You can do it.

Don’t take the easy way out and stay the same doing what you’ve always done; being who you’ve always been. Take the risk. Pursue the dream.

Discover what you are truly capable of.

You just might surprise yourself.

Tuesday, June 7, 2011

You Can't Make People Value You

You can’t make people value you. I’ve tried.

I’ve tried to give them things, love them with all of my heart and be there to help out whenever and wherever.  Somehow – with some people, certain things are just lost in the translation.

I think it’s because they are viewing things with a heart that is “me” focused. When I say that, I’m not necessarily saying that they are unkind people. Merely they are people who have a circle created around their world and they have not learned (or have not been taught) how to open that circle to include others.

Usually, their life is focused on what they are going through or feeling. So you can give them everything under the sun – but they will still not see the value in who you are as a person, or how much you could mean to them. It’s just not gonna happen.

So what do you do?

Well, for me, I pull back. I still love them. I still maintain integrity in all of my dealings with them. I want to be honorable in all I do. But I pull back. I don’t invest my heart in someone who it is not safe with and I don’t invest my time in someone who does not appreciate it.  If these people mean something to me, then I pray for them. I love them, but in order to protect the emotional health of my own life – I pull back. I let them discover (in God’s timing – if He so wills it) that I am someone that could be a dear, cherished person in their heart and life. But that is something that they have to decide and choose. I can’t do it for them by buying them, hoping it for them, or simply being extra good to them.

It’s sad.

It’s sad that some people just simply overlook, ignore, or fail to see what’s right in front of them. But it’s life.

Most people have some sort of relationship in their life that fits within these certain dynamics.

Relationships and friendships are messy. They bring deep joy and great pain. They support you in life’s toughest moments and they let you down as well.

We are human.

It never feels good to be taken advantage of. To be taken for granted. It’s not fun to feel like others always assume you’re “okay” with things. But it’s life.

If you’re in one of these relationships, don’t give up. Don’t bail out. Just pull back and let God do the work that needs to be done in their lives (and sometimes your own.)

Let Him nurture and protect your heart and soul, while prodding and pricking another’s.

Sunday, June 5, 2011

The Wolves Are Watching

This last Winter a man was lost in the mountains near my town for two nights. Thankfully, he was found and rescued. I remember watching the tv news reel and listening to him speak of how three wolves settled near his shelter. He said that they were just watching him.

And I thought, how creepy!

Then I had another thought. We all have wolves watching us. We may not think about it consciously, but Satan is out to "steal, kill, and destroy." The wolves are watching us. Waiting for us to fall asleep or get distracted so they can move in to have us for dinner. And yes, it's creepy.

We need to be very vigilant about our walk with the Lord. Very intentional about our lives and our choices. We can't let our guard down for a second. 

We may think no harm will come to us if we just make that choice ONE TIME, or we just do that SMALL THING - that it won't really matter. But there are wolves watching our every move. They are analyzing us and waiting for that weak moment to pounce.

This life is a battle. There shouldn't be any pretending that it's not. We are in a battle for our souls. We should be doing everything we can to make sure we have our spiritual armor on.

Satan is cunning. But he can't get near us if we are on to his tactics and ways. He may be watching us - but we should also be watching out for him. All it takes is a split second for him to send in the wolves....

Thursday, June 2, 2011

Keeping Your Family Stocked Up

I feel like there’s always something around here that needs to be replaced. I can buy new jeans for my girls and just when I think I’ve got their closets up-to-date, then I discover that they need new shoes and have outgrown their old ones. So I go out and get that accomplished to discover that we need new towels and washrags. I’m not joking. We still have some of the towels we got when we got married and that was 16 years ago. So lest you think I’m snobby and constantly have to have plush towels --- I say…oh how I wish!

So I buy one new towel set (the others will have to wait) and a few new washrags and am told that my daughter’s curling iron broke. I’m still searching for new pillows to replace the “flattened-to-a-paper” ones we have now.  And my egg slicer broke. Oh yes, and don’t you love it when you open the cupboard to find you’re almost out of toilet paper?

Now, mind you, these are examples. They all did not happen to me in the past week or month – but they HAVE all happened to me around the same time that I needed to get other supplies for this family and this home.

Who knew that keeping a family “stocked up” would be a full time job? Not only that – but I have to spread out my purchases between paydays.

I’m amazed at just how many supplies it takes to run a home and family efficiently and smoothly. No one wants to use a moldy kitchen scrub brush. (That reminds me, I’ve been used a broken dustpan for a month now!)

How do you do it? How do you keep your family stocked up on everything? For me, I have to prioritize. A thin and frayed towel may not be as important as a new coat for school and even though I’d dearly love to replace some of the hand-me down furniture that we STILL have after all of these years….they get relegated to the backseat.

The one thing I’ve noticed about always having to seek out something for my family is that we always seem to have just enough. We’ve never gone shoeless, shirtless, or without food. We’ve never had to “drip dry” after a bath or shower, and even though sometimes some of our things are old, they have held in there for us as long as we’ve truly needed them.

And it’s kind of fun to shop for new things – even if it IS a kitchen towel. Sure, sometimes it gets overwhelming to have multiple needs at once…but it’s a blessing to be able to fulfill a need and have my family look to me to complete it.

I guess it’s all in how you look at it.