Saturday, March 16, 2019

To Be Strong




Being a strong person doesn’t mean being harsh, bold, or ‘tough.’  It means being gentle despite how many times you’ve been hurt, being kind when you want to say something rude, and being soft, when you so easily could grow bitter.

Being a strong person doesn’t mean engaging in the fight. Sometimes it takes greater strength to turn away from one.

The world encourages strength. But what IS strength? We all know what physical strength looks like - but emotional and psychological strength are often hidden. For they don’t show themselves as easily.

And they are usually the opposite of what our human nature wants to exhibit.

If you want to truly be strong, refuse to grow hard. 

If you want to be a strong person, refuse to give up on yourself, or those you love.

If you want to be strong emotionally, always look for things that grow yourself, encourage yourself, and motivate you to be a better person.

To be strong - means to withstand the unfair things in life without looking for ‘payback’. Without looking to ‘get even’. And without looking for ‘revenge.’

To be strong - means to accept that something didn’t go the way you wanted. And to decide to be happy with the new direction, anyways.

Inner strength brings great power. It brings great peace. And it brings immeasurable joy. Because you are able to stand on shifting ground.

So when you hear about being a strong man or woman, remember it’s not just being able to lift weights, run far distances, and push your body to the limits.  It’s about being able to still smile despite countless disappointments, love through the hurts, and believe despite the obstacles.

True strength is in forgiveness. Patience. Gentleness. And trying to understand.

I want to be a strong person. I want someone to look at me, and say, “How can she still be kind after all of that? Or, how can she be so positive after all of that?”

I want inner emotional strength.

How about you?

Thursday, March 7, 2019

The Test We Always Try to Walk Around






Have you ever left something out in your house just to see how long it would take someone to pick it up? I have. I call it “the test.” 

It usually doesn’t work.  

But I’ve tried many times over the years, to leave out those dirty socks on the living room floor, the empty glass on the counter, or the piece of trash. I’ve been curious (and fascinated at the same time) to see how long it would take someone to deal with it. But I found out, that people will usually just walk over it, or fail to see it in the first place.  It’s almost as if they are “blind” to it. Even if it shouldn’t be there.

And if they do see it, I think they secretly hoped that if they ignored it long enough, that “mom” would take care of it.

And it often resulted in just that. 

When my kids were home, I often tried these “tests” over the years. And as I have reflected on them (and the failure of them) - I have wondered if God has His own tests that He has tried out on us. 

Do you think He does? 

I wonder if God “tests” me to see how long it will take me to deal with a certain situation, or if I will take care of something on my own; without Him having to clearly point it out to me. And I wonder, how often I walk over or around these tests. How often do I fail to see them altogether? 

I wonder how often I ignore these things, hoping that God will take care of them for me?

Maybe this explains why we have to learn the same lessons over and over again. 

Maybe this is why we seem to have certain things happen continually to us in life. We just don’t take care of them the first time they cross our paths.

We try to avoid, look away, ignore, and pretend that we don’t need to deal with things.

But we do.

I hope that I’ll be more aware the next time God might see fit to “test” me. I hope that I’ll see what it is that He’s waiting for me to pay attention to.  And I hope that I can learn to take care of things in the right way, with the right attitude, so that He doesn’t have to give me the same test over and over again.

For, I really don’t want to fail a test. 

And I REALLY don’t want to have to take it over and over, and over again.

How about you?

Tuesday, February 26, 2019

Those OTHER Fears



Fears.

A lot of times, when people refer to ‘dealing with fears’ they are talking about tangible fears. Things like..

  • Being afraid of heights.
  • Being afraid of the water.
  • Being afraid of snakes, spiders, or bugs.
  • Being afraid of flying.

But what about those OTHER fears? Those ones that we all carry within us… but don’t really talk about?

  • The fear of being laughed at.
  • The fear of making the wrong decision.
  • The fear of not being understood.
  • The fear of being rejected.
  • The fear of being ugly?


There are SO many fears and insecurities that we carry with us daily, that affect our choices, or lack thereof.

We can’t even decide where to go eat dinner with a group, or what movie to see. We don’t accept friendships because we’re afraid to open up. And we never go out without that name brand shirt, or having our makeup and hair completely done.

We are afraid of ourselves.

Add these, on TOP of the natural fears that a lot of people have of heights, or flying… and you have a crippled society.

So why not try one brave thing today? One brave thing that to someone else, may come so naturally?

  • Try to speak up in a group if you normally stay quiet.
  • Try to invite someone over to your house and LEAVE a little dust or a dish out. 
  • Try to give your opinion in a kind, gentle way.
  • Try to admit you made a mistake.

And watch.

If you’re around the right kind of people, they will affirm you. They will forgive you. They will give you grace and mercy. They will listen and consider. 

They will accept.

Why?

Because they want that same kind of acceptance. They understand those same kinds of fears.

They. Are. Just. Like. You.

If we’d only allow ourselves to be human, we’d see how relatable we all really are to each other.

It’s ok to have fears. We all have them. But don’t let them cripple you. Don’t let them hold you back from enjoying life and RELAXING in who God made you to be.

Those OTHER fears? It’s time to start ruling over them…. Instead of letting them, rule over you.

Sunday, February 17, 2019

God Will Not Overlook What You Have Done For Him



Everyone has those days when they wonder if what they are doing is doing any good at all. It’s so easy to get discouraged and frustrated at times. It can feel like you are spinning your wheels doing so much ‘stuff’ that doesn’t really make an eternal impact.

Satan is so good at stealing our joy and purpose. We are easily distracted by disgruntled and unappreciative people in our lives. Most of us have a lot of responsibility on our shoulders, and it is so easy to feel overwhelmed with all of those weights and responsibilities we feel that we have.

Everyone has those days. Everyone gets down sometimes and feels like they aren’t valued and that they don’t matter. The thing is, you DO matter. You ARE valued. Very much so!

 “God is not unjust; He will not forget your work and the love you have shown him as you have helped His people and continue to help them.”  Hebrews 6:10

God sees the work you are doing. He sees your motives and the pureness of heart you carry with you for the people you serve and lead. He knows your frustrations and all of the effort you put into leading and loving those people that He’s placed in your life.  

Don’t give up. Don’t quit. Keep giving your 100%. Keep maintaining that honor and integrity. Continue to love those God has placed in front of you. He sees your work. He won’t overlook your passion to use your gifts for Him and He won’t forget about you. He sees every last detail, and His hand is moving with you and for you, even now.

Discouragement may come. Frustrations may flitter in and out of your days. Distractions come about, and people will criticize what you do. It’s part of the cost of the call in being a leader. Just continue to be faithful to the Lord in the position He’s given you. And He will be faithful to you.



**Originally published HealthyLeaders.com Jan 2014


Friday, February 8, 2019

Let the Sun Shine.....



It's such a treat for me, when I get to meet my readers. And Cynthia over at cynthiacano.org treated me the other day, when she let me know that she not only reads my blog, she nominated it for a Sunshine Blogger Award.

Cynthia wants to know the following questions about me. So, I'm answering for her, but hoping you learn and enjoy from my answers, as well!



1. Where are you from?   I was born and raised in Oregon. Yes, the beautiful Pacific Northwest. I lived in Las Vegas for two fantastic years after high school, returned to Oregon, then ended up in Idaho for 15 years with my husband. I currently reside in Texas, where I thank God all the time for bringing me. Because I LOVE IT HERE.


2. Besides blogging, what do you like to do in your spare time!   Shop. :) And believe me, the spare time to shop is less and less these days! And travel. I'm not a fan of long overseas flights, but I love exploring a new locale. (Preferably not a cold one.)


3.  What was your favorite Bible story as a child?  What is it now?  Wow. I don't think I've ever been asked this question! I think as a child, I mostly loved the story of Mary and how she became the mother of Jesus. And now, I think, it would be the story of Esther. How a woman is thrust into a situation that is uncomfortable and overwhelming. A position where she must have felt so terribly alone at times, and yet God uses her faithfulness in an extraordinary and powerful way.


4. When and why did you get started on blogging?  I was running a newsletter for moms along with a discussion group when blogging first became BIG. I thought it would be a great extension of all of that. But after many years, I discontinued the newsletter and group - and continued to write the blog more as a way to share what God was teaching me on my journey in life, and to let others know they weren't alone in what they were feeling or thinking. To encourage; basically.


5. What's been your best experience with blogging so far?  Hearing someone say God used what I wrote to speak to them. 


6.  What is your niche and how did you come about that?   First, I said I was a mom blogger. As I evolved with my writing and in my faith, I labeled myself as a faith blogger. Then a faith and family blogger. As I expanded into ministering on facebook and curating encouraging things from others - I realized my niche is three-fold. Faith yes. But it's more about encouragement, character, and identity. I feel very strongly about character - and that is wrapped up in who people are - and who they THINK they are.


7. How long have you been serving Christ for?  All of my life. I think people "label" serving Christ into things like being a Sunday School teacher, teaching Bible Study, or working in ministry. All GREAT. All are indeed acts of service out of a heart that loves the Lord. But to me, serving Christ is also being honest in my day-to-day life. Being compassionate to someone who is hurting. Being a loving and faithful mama who teaches my children about the Lord. Praying over those my heart is burdened for. Having integrity, even when no one is watching. And loving people. Not just HIS people. But showing love to ALL people.


8. If you could turn back time, what's one thing you would change or do better?   Ok. I had answers to this written down, then I deleted all of that. Because, of course, there are always little things we would change. But the biggest thing I'd change is to speak my mind more (in gentleness) and establish healthy boundaries in my life earlier on. Instead of just trying to keep the peace all of the time, or please others. I may be in my late 40's - but I'm finally learning to do this. Learning at an earlier age would have been so much easier!


9. What are some of your favorite books?   I do like to read. And I used to LOVE to read. But now with my social media work for two nonprofits, and my own writing, I just don't have time to read a lot for pleasure. And in my spare time, looking at more words isn't always what I want to do. :) But, I'd have to say over the years some of my favorite books would be..."Why Christian Kids Rebel" by Tim Kimmel, "Out of Captivity," the true story of three American's captured by the FARC in Columbia, Hinds Feet on High Places, novels by Lori Wick, Heaven by Randy Alcorn, and Bible Studies by Beth Moore.


10.  Share one word of advice for new bloggers.   Be yourself! Talk about what you enjoy and love - not what you think will bring in many followers and readers. What you are passionate about is where you will flourish. Love rocks? Blog about rocks! Love your baby? Blog about your baby! Struggling with finances or weight? Blog about that! There will be people out there who resonate with your topics. 

Proofread.

And lastly, don't write too long. People have a short attention span. A 30 minute post isn't going to be read or finished by most. So keep it on the shorter side.



Thank you again. Cynthia. I am thankful to have you as a reader, as well as those of you whom I've never talked to.


~ Dionna




Wednesday, January 30, 2019

Rise Up



We all have those insecurities we carry with us in our hearts. Those areas of life that we think we’ve dealt with, but they crop up once more, waving themselves blatantly in front of our faces.

We all shoulder these hidden things as “burdens” in our lives. In our hearts and souls. These are the things that no one knows - except us and God.

I had one of those moments recently. One of those times, where I had to carry my emotions to the Lord in a weakened, emotional state of, “not again.” A moment of, “of course, This is the way, it’s always been for me.”

I knew, of course, that it was satan whispering in my ear. Not my Lord; who finds me precious, valuable, and capable.

But, still, those inner feelings rose to the surface with great force.

Then, a song came on over my speaker. “Rise Up” by Andra Day.  In a flash, that inner determination and perseverance I’ve always had - rose to face-off with the voice of the inner insecurity.

“I will rise up.”  

It was as if God was telling me to not let this ‘thing’ defeat me. To not let me view myself with this harmful label.

I was a fighter. I AM a fighter. I am God’s fighter. HIS warrior.

I can overcome. As can you.

We can rise up a thousand times, if that’s what it takes. We can rip those defeating, harmful, sabotaging issues that will come to face us, over and over and over again.

And we can win.

God can bring us to our feet when the world wants to shove us to our knees. Tweet This.

We can rise unafraid and be comfortable in being the best version of ourselves we can be. No one can be the best at that, but us!

All we need is the hope that God can so easily serve us. The one that He can patiently deliver into our lives time and time again.

And when that happens? The tears that will come to our eyes will be ones of humble thankfulness instead of tears of woeful feelings of not being good enough.

So, rise up with me. Rise up and battle for your own soul. 

You can defeat the enemy’s whispers. 

You don’t have to stay broken down anymore.

Rise up. Rise unafraid. Rise up - even if it takes a thousand times. Rise up even in spite of the ache.

Do you feel that strength that lives inside of you? It’s there because of God. He’s there….giving you hope and helping you.

He finds you precious. He finds ME precious. And He’s not about to let lies become what we believe ourselves to be.

So, rise up. Rise up with conviction. 


But, rise up.

Friday, January 18, 2019

You Can Find a New Familiar



The burdens. They come. They come and it’s as if, at times, we feel like they will never leave.

They become thorns in our flesh that we carry with us daily.

I think, sometimes, we find that we don’t really know how to remove the thorn from our lives. We accept the fact that it will be stuck in our flesh forever.

We’re just not very good at asking for help.

We’re not very good at letting others speak into our lives, and helping us unload that burden that came to stay with us.

But, we don’t have to stay “stuck” forever.  

We don’t have to sit in an unhappy marriage. There are so many out there, who not only want to help us have a thriving marriage, but have the tools to show us HOW to get there.

We don’t have to stay “stuck” in a cycle of living a legacy of an emotionally dysfunctional and unhealthy family. There are people who have been there, and can help us get into new thought patterns, and establish boundaries.

We don’t have to stay “stuck” in loneliness, low self esteem, eating issues, or whatever the “thorn” for us may be. 

It’s just that we seem to stumble over ourselves - get in our own way.  And we block our own path to asking, accepting, and receiving help.

Trust me. I know that sometimes it’s scarier to remove that thorn and step into freedom, than it is to live with it. Because living with “it?” It’s familiar. We know how to do that. We don’t know how to do the “other” thing.  But I promise you, if you ask for help? You won’t be walking into that new way of life alone.  There will be someone to walk and talk you through it. 

Step. By. Step.

You don’t have to stay “stuck.” You don’t have to sit there and watch everyone live the life you wish YOU could live. Because you CAN!! 

Reach out for it. Admit where you are now, so that you can get to where you want to be. (Tweet this)

The first step is always the hardest. But you can find a new familiar. A better familiar.

A familiar you thought you could only dream of.

Lay those burdens down. Let someone help you remove that thorn. Take that first step.


Don’t wait any longer to be the YOU, you were meant to be.

Wednesday, January 9, 2019

It's All In What You Tell Yourself



I was watching a movie recently, and I cracked up at the internal messages they had the lead character telling herself, as she faced different dilemmas throughout her day. One line really amused me. Every time this lead character was faced with something hard, she would internally tell herself… “I AM a fierce warrior.”

I knew right away, that this was a line I could really use in my own life.

The actress, would tell herself this, when she had to deal with something she dreaded.

She would tell herself this, when she had to swallow and deal with something hard.

She would internalize, “I am a fierce warrior.”

I LOVED it.

I could use this phrase so often. Couldn’t you? The messaging is FANTASTIC.

When we are faced with dealing with something hard? Instead of feeling sorry for ourselves, we can swallow, tilt our face towards it, and say, “I am a fierce warrior.” Then walk into it the situation with that kind of determination. That kind of confidence.

For it’s all in what you tell yourself.

You can look at a storm and say, “The sky is falling.” or… you can look at a storm and say, “There is going to be a fabulous show tonight!”

It’s all in how you look at it, and it’s all in what you tell yourself about what is coming.

We can feel like the world is against us. And we can so easily fall victim. But we can also, easily become warriors.

I know which one I want to be.  I know what messaging I want playing inside of my head.

What kind of messaging and internal thoughts do you want playing inside of yours?

Look at whatever you’re facing today, take a deep breath and tell yourself that YOU are a fierce warrior. Then walk into it.  

Walk into it, with belief in yourself.

Tuesday, January 1, 2019

Did We Open Up? Or Did We Shut Down?



Do the changes and transitions in your life open you up….or close you off and shut you down?

Each season of our life brings with it changes, adjustments, and alterations that need to be made personally, internally, and sometimes - physically.

Our children grow up.  Illness happens.  Loved ones move away.  Jobs change. And these things, are really only the most predictable things that can happen on our journey of life.  There are those other “less predictable” things that can happen along the way, as well. The unexpected things. The life-altering, how-can-I-breathe-today kind of things.

And then months and years go by.  

How are we different from those changes that happened in our lives? As we look back on them, did we let them overtake our heart and soul? Did we stay stuck there in that moment, or season - letting it permanently embitter our hearts? Did we use it for good?

Did we open up? Or did we shut down?

I think one of the most common traits we see in people we admire and respect, is that they never close off their heart.  They continually open it up. They push themselves to learn, grow, and persevere DESPITE what happens in their lives. And sometimes, maybe, BECAUSE of what happens in their lives.

You are a “well” of untapped possibilities.  You can dig, and dig deep inside, and you still have so much more to give and learn about yourself. Why would you close that “well” off, to a thirsty world?

Life loves to throw curve balls at us. It loves to change the directions of our path. It is gifted at stepping in, scooping us up, and dropping us down into something that is both foreign, and uncomfortable for us.

But we can use those moments, as opportunities. We can take those lemons, and turn them into delicious lemonade that gives us just the nourishment and fuel we need, to keep running our race in life.

No one can avoid changes in life. They. WILL. Come.

But don’t let them close you off. Don’t let them shut you down. 


You only have ONE life. ONE.  Open your arms and love with abandon. Live with joy. And use those hurts and pains, to gift you with great gentleness, compassion, and understanding that someone else in your life will need.