Many of you who read my posts know that my “word” for 2014 is DIVE.  I want to dive into all God has for me in 2014.  This past month, God has been really teaching me a lot about diving.  He is teaching me that in order to dive into all He has prepared for me, I must wait. 

For in waiting, we will find the right encounter to dive into, His.  I would never want to dive into something heart and soul just to find out it was the wrong ocean.  Or should I say I would never want to do this…again.  In the past, I have taken one too many steps into the wrong ocean.  I found myself in a pond asking myself is this really how is was supposed to be?  I do not want to find myself in this murky pond again.

God’s ocean is what I desire truly desire, don’t you?  We have to be careful of those worldly traps.  Those ponds that seem to hold potential for us or even our futures as we think.  Those ponds may seem to be the answer we have been looking for all along.  Those ponds may even seem to be what we were made for.  If you are like me and have actually dove, well more like stepped, into one of those murky ponds I happen to know you found the complete opposite of what you thought this pond would hold in the first place.  You found exhaustion, disappointment, depression, fear, confusion, and frustration.  If you haven’t found them yet, I promise you will.  These ponds do not hold our future, only God’s hands do.

Don’t let the freedom in the dive fool you.  It is for FREEDOM that you have been set free (Galations 5:1).  You have not been set free to step right back into the very pond that will soon trap you and leave you experiencing anything BUT freedom.

To find true freedom in Christ, we must dive into His ocean.  His will for our lives is where we will find His perfect peace.  Life will not be perfect, but it will be abundant (John 10:10).  Undeserving I am, but God loves me so much that He has given me His ocean on several occasions. 

Since the last encounter in God’s ocean, I have been desiring His embrace more than anything else.  This desiring time is so dangerous.  I cannot settle for anything less than what He has prepared for me in His ocean, and either can you.  I cannot give up on one prayer.  I cannot waste one minute.  I cannot take one step off His path and into that pond.  I cannot desire the blessings found in His ocean more than Him alone. 

The only place I want to be is in His will for my life.  If we are always looking for “something” we will always end up in that pond one way or the other.   For me, I have given my old life to God.  Every distasteful detail of it all.  My old life has died and now my new life is all hidden in Christ. (Colossians 3:3).  In order for me to find my life, I must find God.  That means seeking Him every moment I am able.  That means looking to Him for all I need and not those messy ponds.  It means desiring Him more than desiring the dive.  The dive can lead to destruction in the pond or freedom in His ocean.  As for me, I want to live each day as His and wait for Him to tell me when to dive into all He has for me. 

Who knows, even though my word for 2014 is dive, I may not do any diving at all.  I may just be waiting.  Whatever it may be I will not be wasting one minute.  I want to use the time He has given me to learn, grow, and be taught and loved by the One who calls me His. 




I Surrender All

I thought writing about India would be easy, easy for me.  I thought words would come pouring out onto paper and my pen just wouldn’t be able to keep up!  Four months after India and still trying to find the words to write proves these thoughts are far from true.

In India, I was nowhere to be found.  That trip was truly all Jesus.  He had to do it all for me.  This was the best part about my journey to India: The journey was His and my purpose was to surrender all of me each step of the way. 

I surrendered my fear as I stepped onto the plane headed for Mumbai.  I held onto God’s promise found in 1 John 4:18 There is no fear in love.  But perfect love drives out fear, because fear has to do with punishment.  The one who fears is not made perfect in love.  With God’s perfect love exploding from my heart, there was no room for fear to stand.  I had to hold onto this verse throughout the journey.

I surrendered my comfort as I stepped into my home away from home for the next couple weeks.  My comfort is nothing by the way.  Why do I so often think that I can do a better job than God at providing all of my needs?  I was uncertain as we arrived in India how asking God to comfort me would truly comfort me.  I was certain of His amazing comfort as soon as I opened up my “welcome card” placed in our room that housed one of my favorite verses:  John 10:10 The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy; I have come that they may have life, and have it to the full.  This verse was introduced to me by my sweet sister it is her life verse as she likes to call it!  Seeing this verse reminded me of her and reminded me that God will always comfort me in every uncomfortable place I find myself throughout this journey.

I surrendered my words as I stepped into a room filled with sixty princesses of the Most High King.  I had a talk to give to these girls all about the Armor of God and all about God’s truth.  I decided to prepare a “safe” part of my testimony to share with the girls as well.  That day I stood in front of such precious princesses and my safe testimony was nowhere to be found.  Truly, God took over my words.  I do not remember what was spoken.  All I remember is looking deeply into the hearts of these “broken” girls and seeing Jesus’ healing touch inside of each one!  These “broken” girls became His beautiful creations right in front of my eyes!  It was like nothing I had ever experienced before in my life.  God was transforming the pain I had endured for so long into a beautiful remedy for bringing these girls to Jesus’ feet.  Pretty soon, we were all pouring out our hearts to God, letting Him in to fill all of the breaks, pains, torments, and memories.  The best part of our hearts are the scars, for in these scars is where we feel, see, and know God’s infinite love for us!

I learned all about true surrender when I sat next to Princess One as I will call her.  After God’s talk through me, Princess One told me she needed to talk to me.  She so sweetly explained to me through a shaken voice that she has never shared what has happened with her to anyone but because I shared my testimony, she wanted to tell me everything.  I sat there with my hand in hers, as tears rolled down both of our cheeks, and I listened while she explained the tormented past she has endured.  I smiled as she shared the hope she has found in Jesus through miracles He alone has done in her life.  I rejoiced with all of Heaven as this sweet princess surrendered her life to Christ and rededicated her life to our Lord and Savior!  I felt my heart jump with joy as she excitedly told me she hopes that when she is my age she will get to share her testimony with others, just like I have.  All I could do was smile and say, “And I hope I am there when you do.”

You never know what surrendering your life to Christ will look like, but I can assure you His blessings will be far better than anything you can ever imagine!

A Glimpse of A Journey to India

“But that is not fair!”

“God never told us life would be fair Diane!”

This mini conversation was spoken by my grandmother and I pretty much every day when I was little.  There were so many things that were not fair.  Each time I began to complain about my “unfairness” my grandmother so gently reminded me of the truth that this life is not fair.  That was not a comforting thing to hear.  I did not want to be reminded of the unfairness, I wanted life to be fair!

After spending ten days in India, the phrase, “this life isn’t fair” takes on a whole new meaning in my heart.  Honestly, I could write an entire book filled with sentences ending in that is not fair.  Each sentence would start with something I saw or something I heard while in India. 

Coming back to Pittsburgh, back to my beautiful family, beautiful apartment, heels, clothes, and chocolate cake doesn’t feel good, it just feels really unfair.

When I left for India, I was nervous to leave behind my life.  No make-up, heels, cute clothes, and comfy bed for ten days.  I know this does not seem like a big deal, but for a girl who has always had an excess of wants and needs kindly handed to her, taking a step away from all of that onto a plane to India was a huge deal for me.  The only thing that kept me headed to India was God’s hand in mine leading the way. 

Landing in Mumbai, all that was going through my mind was, “What am I doing here, please someone put me on the first plane back to home as soon as possible”.  I am glad that those thoughts quickly found their way out of my head.  Finally, in the crowd of hundreds of people I recognized a face!  I do not think I ever been more excited to see someone I knew than in that moment of seeing Brock at the airport, and I didn’t even know him that well!  After about ten wet wipes, chocolate cookie crumbs, and a sip of warm bottled water, I decided to remind myself of how I found myself in a car in India in the first place.

God answered my prayers that I have been praying to Him for the past two to three years.  I prayed that He would show me His will for my life.  I asked Him to give me His desires for my life and get rid of my own.  I remember the moment I cried so much realizing that Jesus gave up His life for me and I told Him that day I wanted to give up my life for Him to use me however He wants to.    

As we were driving around lots of lost stray dogs, bodies lying on the side of the street, and shops that looked like they would crumble down to the ground if you so much as blew on the walls; I noticed a big smile filling my face.  I realized in this moment that I am here, because I asked God to bring me here. 

I had no idea two years ago that God’s will for me would mean being in India, but He knew, and He has been preparing me for these ten days since before I was a “screaming grape” in my daddy’s arms.    

As we arrived at the YWAM campus in I knew I was definitely in God’s will and not my own.  I personally, would never choose to spend my “vacation time” at a place that had no comforts of home other than a perfectly placed welcome card on the table.  As I read the card my heart filled with confirmation that I am exactly where God wants me.  John 10:10 The thief comes only to kill, steal, and destroy but I have come so they may have life and have it abundantly.  This verse has been the life verse for me and my sister since she first introduced it to me about a year ago and it just so happened to be the verse used to fill the left hand side of my welcome card.  When I closed the card, I thanked God for bringing me so much comfort in this uncomfortable place.

The first night I learned just how uncomfortable living in God’s will is.  I know this sounds pathetic for a 24 year old girl to admit, but I am a little bit scared of the dark.  When I cannot see what is in front of me, I am filled with anxiety that he is going to jump out at me.  Wouldn’t you know, shortly after closing my card, the power went out.  Quickly darkness filled my sight.  I tried not to be scared, but I failed on my own.  Martha’s “candle flashlight” seemed to of saved the night, but only later as I was not sleeping in my bed; I realized God saved the night.  God was bringing my fear to the forefront.  He wanted to battle my fear with me, when I just wanted to sleep in the comfort of that candle.  He wouldn’t let me close my eyes in peace until I realized He is my light, I don’t need to be scared of the dark.  With His gentle nudging I switched off the candle (yes it had a switch not a flame) and I went to sleep in His presence. 

The first full day in India, I learned that when you are in God’s will, you still have fears.  Your fears do not go away just because you are doing what God wants you to be doing.  I thought for sure that because I was following God to India, He would make sure our path was bug free.  So, when a bug crawled in my pink shoe and all over my foot I was more than a little irritated.  I was furious.  How dare these dumb bugs try to cause to me to be paralyzed with fear.  Yes, it is true this 24 year old girl is not only scared of the dark, but also bugs.  Although, petrified might be a better word to describe my bug fear.  The moment after the bug freak out is one I am very thankful for.  God used Martha and Brock to comfort me.  They assured me that everyone has fears and it is ok.  I was reminded that God is always there through the fear.  It is all going to be ok.  And from that moment on, yes I saw terribly disgusting bugs and used the bug zapper ferociously, but I was fearless when it came to encountering a bug on our path.  Little did I know, God was not only taking care of these little fears, but the big ones too.  He is always taking care of me, and for that I am very thankful.

On October 19, 2012 I shared the following fear of mine in one of my posts for an online Bible Study for the book, A Lady In Waiting.

I have had thoughts of going oversees to work in a ministry I have come to love but I stop those thoughts from being anything other than thoughts because I am scared if I let that thought flourish and even start praying for that thought then I will end up far away from my family helping women who hurt so badly find Jesus; instead of having the dream wedding I have always dreamed of.  That was really hard for me to write, but it is or was should I say unfortunately the truth.  Today I decided to pray for that thought.

Eight months exactly after that first prayer for India, I find myself arriving back home from the very place I was fearful of going.  Now, five more days later, I find myself craving to go back!  It is amazing what praying God’s will for your life will cause you to do, especially when you do not fully realize what it is you are doing.

When I first decided to go to India, thanks to a very prominent sign from God, I had no idea what we would be doing.  After we met to discuss plans for the trip, my heart was once again filled with confirmation that I really am supposed to go to India.  Everything we would be doing in India, putting on a retreat for young girls who are victims of human trafficking, loving on girls we pray for every day, sharing God’s love with ones who are desperately in need of Him, now this is what God has been preparing me for since that wet May day when I rededicated my life to the Lord.

Before I left for India, God opened my eyes to see that He has been using every little and big thing in my life from the first scream to the last tear He hasn’t let anything go to waste.  The trouble I found myself in when I thought I was with the man who held the key to my heart is being used by God to minister to young girls who are now literally holding my heart.

The first day of our retreat, I honestly had no idea what to expect.  From the instant our table had to pick a name and together chose “Freedom in Christ” I knew this trip surely was going to bless each and every one of us involved far more than we could have ever expected. 

To Be Continued…