Don’t think He doesn’t hear YOU!

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The temperatures were rising as my friend and I made our way to one of the many pools at the resort where we were staying recently.  As we entered the gate we saw an adorable sight! A mama Duck and 4 daring, tiny ( days old) baby ducks! Really so cute!!    However, as I watched this sight for a short period of time I began to realize what was really going on.

This mama and her babies had been in the pool a really long time; too long.  Mama duck kept jumping up on the cement border of the pool, then turning to her babies in a sound that convinced me she was begging them to jump too.  The jump was too high, too far.  The babies were tired.

Well, my friend and I were so concerned so we used numerous methods to “try” and help them climb out on their own.  A pool float, and chair leaning into the pool, a pool noodle set as an angle that would have allowed them to simply walk out!  There was a way out and yet they stayed far away from these different pieces of equipment not realizing that they were there for there own good!!

Frustrated I sat in my lounge chair assuming that “nature” would figure a way out, I should let nature take it’s course.   I tried to ignore their constant peeping, tried not to acknowledge their attempts to climb out revealed by a tiny knowing splash! Ugh, I could not stand the thought of those little babies drowning on my watch!!

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With all the resolve I could muster I stepped into the pool determined to lift these precious little ones out of certain failure.  When they saw me coming they were so afraid, fiercely peddling those tiny feet trying desperately to get away! Didn’t they know I had a plan for their good~~ to save them???

Finally I was able to “corner” those tiny babies in my much bigger hands and lift them out to safety! Whew!  When their “feet” hit the dry pavement they scurried away into the bushes leaving the pool area! They were Free!! I was relieved.

I always consider all the life lessons around me; fiercely looking for a deeper truth hidden there and God is always faithful to reveal precious thoughts to me!!

So often we stay in unhealthy situations: relationships, jobs, or ministries because we feel we cannot find a way out. The leap seems to high, just impossible!  The Lord in His goodness often provides “escape” opportunities; ways to move out of a season that is creating undo weariness, and many times we just can’t see it! We may even see those options as something to fear! ( like the floating device the ducks “could ” have utilized but were deathly afraid of!!

We serve a compassionate God and even when we miss all the signs He will reach down and “pluck us out” of a situation and put our feet on a firmer foundation. Initially we may feel shocked or uncertain -yet hindsight will reveal the depth of His love for us!  I have seen this so many times in my life. Situations that seemed like an end was actually a fresh start on “dry ground!”.

Never imagine that your Heavenly Father is not aware of how fast you are peddling and that, like me listening to the peeps of weary babies, He misses your tears. He does not!  So I encourage you to look at your life with a fresh filter! If you recognize you are weary and a change needs to come; Trust that He is setting out tools of escape for you and if you face a dramatic ending to something unhealthy consider that with His big hands He has lifted you out of the water because His heart was breaking at your cries for help!  He can’t rest when His children weep.

Trust that if He hears you He will not leave the “pool” until He has seen you through!! He is so good.  Let that soak in! 🙂

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Happy Birthday to a man I admire~~

013April 6th is my father, David Wray Jr’s,  birthday.  My father is a precious man.  If you could all spend one hour talking with him, you would know what I mean! My father is a man of wisdom and yet he is a man with a great sense of humor.   My dad is very kind hearted but can also be quite firm on what he values.

I wanted to take a moment to point out the elements that make a man a wonderful father:

1.  He allows you to make mistakes and loves you anyway.

2.  He is consistent in what he believes and stays true to his values.

3.  He shows affection often, listens well, and gives meaningful advice.

4.  He prays for his children.

5.  He makes time for his children.

6.  He loves his children’s mother.

7.  He doesn’t have a bad temper.

8.  He loves to create shared memories:  backpacking, fishing, vacations.

9.  He has a love and trust for God that is evident in all he does.

10. He is interested in his children’s lives and does all he can to be involved.

All of these represent the father that I have been richly blessed to have. It is my hope and prayer that my life is one that exemplifies that of a “loved” daughter.

Dad, thank you for overcoming obstacles, persevering when being a father of 6 daughters must have been overwhelming, for loving our mother so well, and for leading us, ultimately, to knowing that God is loving and trustworthy.

I love you.

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HAPPY BIRTHDAY DAD!!  🙂

Why Wait?

So often people wait until someone passes away to tell them of their value; of their impact. I have seen in the news that many express their adoration, respect, and love for people AFTER their lives have ended.  Why do we do this??  I have been pondering this lately.

My parents are very much alive; for this I am so incredibly thankful!!! Their friendship and impact on my life is truly immeasurable! I am going to allow you into my heart as I express my feelings, my thoughts to them while they are vital and healthy~~I will not wait until it becomes an obituary!

Mom and Dad, David and Beverly Wray~~~I love you.

More than loving you; I respect you. I could never ask for parents with greater love, richer hearts, sweeter spirits, and a tenacity to love others than YOU!

How I got so blessed, so fortunate to have you as my parents is a real mystery for which I will be eternally grateful!

Thank you for loving God and for accepting Christ as your Savior! That decision alone impacted my life more than you can ever know.

Thank you for being willing to allow black boys from Kenya to live with us in the 60’s ` in the height of Racism without caring what others might think.

Thank you for adopting my two sisters whose lives carried promise but had endured much neglect, loving them as your own and calling them your daughters~ your example and depth of love is so precious!

Thank you for a lifetime of safety, of love, of discipline, of teaching, and mostly a legacy of great faith.

I remember singing in the car, learning to cook, sewing, camping, picking apples, singing in the church choir,  and learning to play piano.

Thank you for teaching us empathy and letting us purchase and deliver gifts for those who were hurting and lonely on our street (Green Valley Road) at Christmas time.  These opportunities to love others during the holidays had HUGE impact on the person I have become.

I remember many heartfelt conversations, as well as needed challenges.  Because of your tough love at the age of 19; you helped me to grow into the woman God wanted me to be!

Mom, Solvang with you was precious. The chocolate on the side of the bathtub as you drew water for me spoke of the greatness of your love and the sensitivity of your heart!

Dad, you are my sweet spiritual mentor~~ we have shared hours and hours of conversations that have let me know two things: how deeply you love God and how richly you love me.

Mom and dad~ you have been our greatest cheerleaders, our wisest counselors, our sweetest helps in times of emotional and financial need, and the most precious grandparents to our children who completely adore you!

I love you both. I am so thankful that I get to see you, love you, talk and laugh with you whenever I want to!!! I am so very blessed!

You mean the world to me! I love you

Dianna

Is there anyone you want/need to share your heart with??? why wait??

DO IT TODAY! 🙂

“LIFE” happens to everyone

As a young girl in a strict thinking church denomination I can remember hearing of the illnesses or challenges in the lives of people in our church.  Conversations involving these folks would inevitably be followed with questions like, “I wonder what God is teaching them”, “they must have sin in their life” or “satan is really attacking them.”    Now, It isn’t my place to say whether those statements had any truth in those situations, yet as I watched my life and the lives of so many others I am much more reticent to attach those thoughts to someones life challenge.

I have seen hurtful and unkind people soar, while kind, giving people face challenge.  I have seen careless people experience financial blessing while frugal friends have faced financial loss.  I have seen folks who have a passion to have a large family experience pregnancy disappointments while others who are irresponsible with the children they already have appear to have a seamless time having more children.  I have watched people who focus on their physical health; making good choices in both food and exercise, face cancer or heart disease while others without concern for their health live to be 99!

“LIFE” happens to everyone.

We all face challenges in this life~ we have all looked toward heaven in wonderment asking God “but Why Lord? “.  Those who would be honest might speak of feeling abandoned by God, over-looked somehow, or perhaps have even questioned whether God exists at all.

As I interact with so many precious people on a regular basis I hear heart wrenching stories of loss and challenge. I remember last year when my nephew was so brutally taken from us all…I spent weeks crying out to God and asking “Why?”.  However, I am learning more and more that God never promised that we would be untouched by the challenges in this life.  He never expressed that an unchallenged life is proof that we belong to Him, nor that a challenged life is proof of His abandonment.

I address this simply to set the “plumb line” straight again. The Word says we will face trials and challenges, we will not always be in favor with people, we have bodies that may not be in perfect health in this life….BUT…………..

John 16:33 says; “I have told you all this so that you may have peace in me. Here on earth you will have many trials and sorrows. But take heart, because I have overcome the world.”

Romans 14 says ” Bless those who persecute you. Don’t curse them; pray that God will bless them. 15 Be happy with those who are happy, and weep with those who weep.

Hebrews 13:5 says ” I will never leave you OR forsake you.”

Just those few verses alert me to the fact that He knew our questions would come; He is not surprised when we don’t understand the challenges we are facing. Yet, I imagine in those times that His compassion is over-flowing on our behalf.

As I again reflect back on those questions that often overshadow our judgement of one another as we watch each other navigate perilous waters; let’s be grace filled and slow to judge the circumstances as a “sin issue” or a “teaching opportunity ” for God.

Because….as we all know….”LIFE” happens to everyone.

If today “LIFE” is happening to you~ then I wish you His strength and grace today.

MAJESTY~

Psalm 121:1-2~

I lift up my eyes to the hills– where does my help come from? 2 My help comes from the LORD, the Maker of heaven and earth.

Arriving in Colorado Springs this past week I had the joy of walking through the massive rock formations at the Garden of the Gods.  I was so struck by their creative beauty and majesty.  Certainly years of rain, wind, and snow have affected the shape and height of these formations~~ and yet they stand.

As I was walking the view gave me a real visual of the Majesty of God~ He stands tall, weathers the test of time, and shelters those who hide in His shadow.   Looking towards the ground I could see trash, broken glass, marks of footprints, even doggie do-do! Not such a fantastic sight…  BUT–when I looked up to the majesty before me I was struck with Awe and Wonder.

Perhaps if we all keep our eyes on “His Majesty” -our perspective with be re-newed, strength re-vived, and our hope will be revitalized!!

Keep looking UP!! 🙂

Goodbye 2011.

I have had the “habit” of keeping a journal every year where I write down my thoughts, concerns, hopes, and expectations for the year ahead.  I find it fascinating to pick up an old journal and walk, again retrospectivly , through the pages of my life.  There has never been a more interesting reflection for me than my musings at the end of last year where I had penned my thoughts and hopes for 2011.  Looking at those thoughts now I am almost embarrassed by the simplicity of my words.  Looking towards a fresh year I had hoped for so many fascinating experiences and opportunities, crazy sweepstakes wins, good growth of the ministry to which we were involved, and prayers that God would safely bring Christopher home.     2011 did hold some of those elements but OH, what a difference a year makes.

* Christopher Ryan Smith did go home in 2011, but not to “our ” present home; but home to be with the Lord.

*  We moved from the home in Tumalo that was rich in memories.

*  We stepped away from Ministry Coaching International where we had served for 12 years.

At the time of my pre-2011 journal entries, I would not have imagined these events occurring.

As I have walked out the unexpected changes in my life this year I have learned a number of things about loss, change, grief, transition, family, and even friends. I have learned a great deal about myself as well and as I enter a new year I sense that I am not the same person I was last year.

With all that I have learned in one very impacting year, the greatest truth I have learned is that God is faithful.  God’s abiding love, compassion, mercy, and grace have carried me through emotions I had never navigated before.  The closeness and comfort of the presence of God has astounded me as He has held me so gently.

I have also learned, again, the power of the Word of God.  Whenever I would find myself in places of challenge, grief, or discouragement I would find great comfort and hope in the words found the Bible. For instance, Hebrews 13:5 says ” I (God) will never leave you nor forsake you”, Jeremiah 29:11 says ” For I (God) know the plans I have for you, plans to prosper you and not to harm you. Plans to give you a future and a hope.”

None of us can predict what 2012 will hold. I can journal today for the year ahead of me and I can list my hopes, my vision, my dreams and my goals, just as I did last year. The exception this year is that at the very top of the list for 2012 I would pen my desire to know and trust God more; that no matter what comes my way I would be prepared to celebrate the joys or withstand the fierce winds as they blow.

I am not sad to see this year come to a close, but I am deeply grateful for the truths I have learned through the storm.

Many of us have faced incredible challenges this past year; I am certainly not alone in this.  I pray that you , too, have found a “safe place to catch your breathe and press on ” in the caring arms of a God who loves you.  I pray that as you enter a new and uncertain year ahead you will have confidence in the promise found in Hebrews 13:5.  I also pray you will have joy in the journey.

Goodbye 2011~~~pretty happy to see you go……………………