Here: Five Minute Friday

Been quiet for a while now – it began to feel a little bit dangerous out on the web this past week+, so I’ve been waiting, pondering, praying. This is a great prompt from Lisa-Jo Baker today and it seemed like it might be a good way to put a few words back into this space. We shall see . . .

 

PROMPT: HERE

GO!

It’s cool and quiet where I am this night, the air is still after days of fierce winds.

It is not cool and quiet in my spirit, however. Wrestling, working through, wondering – these are ‘w’ verbs active in me these days.

My journey does not look like anybody else’s — and most of the time, I am perfectly fine with that. I enjoy being here, in the middle of the story that God is writing in my life.

But in the midst of a week that has been rife with conflict in some of the blogging corners I frequent, being in the middle of my particular story has felt unsafe, unwelcome.

And yet – here, exactly here, is where I am and who I am, and both of those ‘w’s are part and parcel of God’s work (there’s another of those consonants!) in me. Of this, I am certain:

I am a child of God.
I am a woman.
I am a pastor, not by whim or even by choice, to tell you the truth — but by call:
God’s call on my own heart, in a deeply personal and very real way.

I am also a daughter, a wife, a mother, a grandmother, a friend, a writer, a spiritual director, a wonderer.

I am strong-willed, yes, I am. But I am also teachable, open-hearted, and an encourager. I’ve lived a long time, I’ve undoubtedly forgotten more than people thirty years younger than I have even learned yet. I don’t say that in a prideful way, only in an honest one. Because, as I said, I have lived a long time!

I know that we are never finished learning in this life. Never.

We are never finished, period.

God is always about the business of transformation,
of mind-changing, heart-changing, life-changing.

But that change will look both the same and distinctly different from individual to individual.

ALL of us, if pulled by the magnetic power of God’s grace, will look more and more like Jesus — ‘gentle and humble in heart,’ servant to others, drawn to those who are on the edges. But because our Savior and our God is so multi-faceted, we are also different, one from another.

Here, where I am, will look different from there, where you are. I am blessed to see the changes God is working into your story; I hope you are blessed by the changes God is working into mine.

Please do not tell me that my story is any less valid than yours, any less Christ-like than yours, any less, period. Because underneath all the theological differences that might serve to divide us, we are the same, you and I: saved by grace, called to new life, freed from shame, empowered by the Spirit; we are loved, created, gifted, called.

And here? Right here, right now? THIS is where God has called me. And this is where God will move through me and in me and around me and over me and under me and beside me to keep that work of transformation going forward.

Right. Here.

STOP

Joining this, somewhat hesitantly, with Lisa-Jo’s crew tonight. 
Five Minute Friday

 

 

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Comments

  1. “Here I am … send me.”

    Thank you for this.

  2. Oh, and I’m so GLAD you’re here!

    Keep doing what you’re doing – and may the Internet always be a place that welcomes the Dianas – otherwise we should just burn it all to the ground.

    Xx

    • Awww, thanks, Tanya. I’m so glad you’re here, too – though I’ve been missing you this week. I’ve gotten no email notices of posts – so if you’ve been posting as usual, your subscription system is on the fritz. Which makes me very sad!!

  3. I LOVE the song “Bind Us Together”…there’s nothing more precious to me on earth than the Body of Christ…the “Body of the Wounded Healer”, as Ann Voskamp calls it. We’ve had several weeks of this, haven’t we? Where the differences in the Body have been in the spotlight…overshadowing the Cross of Grace…and it’s been grievous. Bind us together, Lord….with cords that cannot be broken…bind us together with love.

    xox

    • Amen, Patricia. Thanks for your kind words – as always, you are the grace of God in words out here. I love that song, too.

  4. Yes, there you are! And all you do is be obedient to His voice and stand on that.

    I echo Tanya – so glad you are!

  5. Diana – I have been reading your blog for awhile now and I find it thought provoking and at times, my own thoughts and words. I too am a second career professional minister in a main line denomination. I too have been called back into active ministry (Interim’s) after a short retirement. I too am a sandwich generation person who struggles with similar issues. I too have lived a LONG time (although not as long as other relatives) and have forgotten far too much. Keep on writing what you write – you feed my soul. Continue to post your pictures and comment on the weather – it feeds my soul through memories (Lompoc, Vanderberg AFB). Keep on doing what you do so well – you are unaware of the hearts and minds you have touched. 1 Peter 4: 10

    • Oh my goodness, Margie – you have no idea how your words bless me this day. Which is quite gloomy, actually. :>) typical summertime weather for Santa Barbara, although a bit cooler as it’s only April. Thanks so much for coming out from behind the curtain and sending such kind words. Where are you living now?

      • Diana I am presently in Texas, living in a small community just south of Dallas. For over 50 years husband and I have moved many places but this seems to be our last stop. I was planning on meeting you at the jumping tandem retreat but circumstances have intervened. May your presence and input at that gathering be priceless.

        • Thanks so much, Margie, for filling me in a little bit. And I am sorry you will not be in Nebraska next week. I am just now, this afternoon and evening, trying to finalize my thinking for the homily in the closing worship service, though that may not actually all come together until we’re actually there. Time will tell. Thanks for your blessing of this event – I am looking forward to it and appreciate your prayers for us all.

  6. I am a better person because you are here. Just as you are.

    • Megan, you are kind and so very dear. But no, you are not a better person because I am here. You may be aware that you are better than you think you are – and that piece I will gladly own. But YOU are a fine person, a God-person, and therefore a good person – because of who God is and because of who you are, not because I am here. Love to you this gloomy Santa Barbara afternoon. . .

  7. Your thoughts bring a gentle wave of peace during, like you said, a week rife with conflict on the blogosphere. We need more lovely, peaceful words. I’m glad you chose to write this.

  8. Hello! I’m stopping by from FMF. I loved what you said about being in the middle of the story that God is writing in your life. Thank you for sharing what is on your heart…I really appreciated your thoughts!

  9. Bless you for being here.

  10. Dear Diana, you’ve gotten good comments so I’ll just add two things others haven’t mentioned.
    1. Your church posts are meaty, they give me a second chance at the lectionary that day and a gorgeous glimpse of the art to enrich my heart. Thank you for that. You preach really good sermons and I’m (ahem) a bit picky! So I’m really glad you followed God’s call and with your husband’s support.
    2. If you find yourself free on the 27th and want to join (in)RL after all, stop by, it’ll be a pretty small group but you’d be very welcome. I live up the road from the Chapmans.
    Grace and Peace!

    • Thank you, Beth – they give me a second chance at the lectionary, too! And thanks for the sermon kudos and I’m glad I followed that call, too. It could not and would not have happened without my husband’s full and total support/encouragement/partnership. And I’m delighted you’re hosting an (in)RL event. I might be able to get there – and I might not. I’m in Nebraska the previous weekend and feeling a bit pushed for open space on my calendar. I’ll see. Thanks for the invite – and the encouragement.

  11. A wise man told me once, “God wants you right where you are.”

    I havent worked out all of the theological details of that statement yet — knowing I , um, have been in some terrible places. But the fact remains, he can start his marvelous plan from right here, right now

    • Oh, yes, David. From any point, wherever we find ourselves. Thanks for reading and leaving good words. I appreciate it!

  12. Amen, Diana. I like what you are saying here. A Lot.

    • Thank you, Michelle. I am so glad your weekend went well – and I am not at all surprised by that, either!! You rock.

  13. LOVE this writing and your openhearted sharing and vulnerability and oh it is all so good and true. Thank you.

  14. Beautiful, Diana. So thankful for your wisdom – we need you and your voice. This is a good word, and I receive it.

    • How lovely to see your name and beautiful face in my comment section, Sarah. Thank you for reading – and thank you for the tweet, too! This was hard to write – I had a completely different one the first 5 minutes I tried. But this one came out better – I felt more ownership of it, I guess – after I whined a bit in the first one then trashed it. :>)

    • What Sarah said. Yes.

      • Thanks, Lisa-Jo. So lovely to hug your actual neck tonight over there in the wilds of this amazingly lovely Nebraskan countryside.

  15. You put into words simply that “disturbance in the force” my heart has been feeling for a while. The dangerous places trying to flood in and make me jumpy. Wiser women say “be still” – He’ll tell you what you need to know. And I TRY. Goodness how I try, but that danger makes me feel more like I need to fight or flight or simply do something.

    But wiser, older women – who have known more people then I have yet to meet… they keep saying, “Be still or wait or hold your tongue or pray.”

    He’ll tell us what we need to know…. when we need to know it.
    I’m grateful there are wiser women – like you, who have walked the road less traveled.

    • Jessica – or J.K. – or hey-beautiful-you – I get this, honey. So take a deep breath, keep walking in the direction of God’s voice to you (or sitting still, as the case may be). Somedays that feeling of unease can rise up and whap you – I know that. Two things help – movement – like taking a walk (or a run, if you’re into that) and the Jesus prayer, preferably combined with said movement. Also, after a walk or a run, sitting quietly and doing some centering prayer. Because centering is what we most often need, isn’t it? Not the panicky place or the obsessive place or the compulsive place – but the centered place. Tougher to do with young kids – but not impossible. Hang in. And ask for help when you need it – prayer from others does help.

  16. Ro elliott says:

    I love…love this….aren’t we all just becoming….and aren’t the ways and mysteries of God so deep and wide that we will be discovering until we meet Him face to face….I am so thankful for His Grace…and how age can soften hard lines….and helps us celebrate each person’s “hereness “….may we leak Hismlove wherever we are…

  17. Diane, I love your words and presence so much. I am thankful for women like you who have gone ahead and are still making Way. Still making sacred. We need you and I love your heart so much. // Btw, I’ve read your posts about your life in Africa, but I felt so raw and thankful reading it, I couldn’t even comment. Just want you to know.

    • Oh, dear girl – you make me cry! I am grateful for your words of encouragement and truly do hold my age/experience/story very tenderly as a gift I want to offer to others, most especially younger, strong women who are sensing a call from God in a particular direction in ministry or in marriage or both. Thank you, Idelette – for who you are and what you do and how you live. You’re a gift to this wild world and I am grateful for you.

  18. I like your strong willed voice and your silent voice makes me miss you.

    Praying for peace in the storm.

    Fondly,
    Glenda

    • Thank you, Glenda. Appreciate your encouragement and your prayers. Hope you get some sun and blue skies in Seattle!

  19. Beautiful Diana. Such rich and deep and meaningful words for five minutes. Glad you shared it.

    • Thank you, Shelly. I will admit this was a second attempt! But it was 5 minutes – however, the first 5 minutes helped to provide some needed clarity for this one. Thanks for reading, my friend.

  20. Ahhhhh… like a refreshing drink, you are!
    This strong-willed thing… me too. And I used to complain to God about it, and ask Him to change me into the person I thought I should be, until one day He told me that He made me that way, He wasn’t going to change it, and that my strong will was a gift from Him. It took me a little while to get my head around that, as you can imagine, but I do now look at the term ‘strong-willed’ as a compliment rather than in insult!

    • Thank you, Donna. Indeed, I agree with you that being strong-willed is a gift from God – I’ve known that to be true many times. (Not always, of course. :>) And as I raised my kids, I was both frustrated by and grateful for the strong wills I saw in them. These strong wills take us places in life, and as we’re empowered by the Spirit, they can be very helpful in standing firm, being true and taking risks. Always, they need tempering with gentleness and service, but strong wills, in and of themselves, are not negatives.

  21. Diana, I’ve ‘seen’ you around some of the blogs I love and am always moved in some way by your words there, in the comments. I just want to say, thank you. Your words here, from a life lived longer than mine, speak life and truth to my own wondering, wrestling heart. Amen, to our stories looking different and still having loads of room for Christ to be present and glorified in them. I haven’t always felt safe to be where I am these past couple of weeks, and so I receive these words, too, as things I need to tuck away.

    • Amber – thanks so much for introducing yourself and offering such fine words of encouragement. Let me offer them back to you, for there is room for lots of different stories about the work of redemption and the call of God as we gather round the foot of the cross and the empty tomb. You will always be safe here – so glad you came by.

  22. I don’t know what we would do or who we would be if you weren’t “here”. Thank you abundantly. Beautiful post.

    <3 <3 <3,
    E

    • You are so kind and good, Erika. But you know what? You’d do just fine without me here, yeah, you would. I’m so glad I am where I am, so glad. But I also know that God will use me as long as I breathe (and I mean ‘use’ in a good way) and when I’m gone, there will be someone else to do whatever it is I do. Count on it. Love to you – and thanks for stopping by.

  23. Oh how I loved this so much. Yes we are all the same…needing grace. Yes we are all different…when we will embrace the beauty in those differences instead of using them to fight each other? But I have to say how thankful I am for you, and my mentor, and others who have walked before us that are so willing to share about where you’ve been and where we are heading. Speaking life and encouragement always pointing to Him in everything. Thank you. Blessings.

  24. Oh sister, this was so good; such a balm for my weak and weary soul. A blessing upon you..for where you’ve been, and for where you will go.
    Peace and good to you.

  25. Another stellar post, Diana! The number of comments already submitted indicate the depth to which your words reach into our hearts. As another senior who has logged many hours of study, soul-searching, and learning experiences, I take great encouragement from the fact God is never finished with us. He will continue to grow us and USE us until our final day on earth. Your last words ring out with confidence: “THIS is where God has called me. And this is where God will move through me and in me and around me and over me and under me and beside me to keep that work of transformation going forward.” Thank you, Diana, for your strong dose of hope!

    P.S. Just so you know, I’ve been out of commission again, due to a secondary bacterial infection that followed the flu bug of ten days ago. (And I did get my flu shot!) Hopefully the siege is over, and I’ll be able to comment regularly again.

    • So sorry you’ve had such a siege of illness, Nancy! Always happy to see your kind words – thank you for them today.

  26. Tina/@teenbug says:

    “Because underneath all the theological differences that might serve to divide us, we are the same, you and I: saved by grace, called to new life, freed from shame, empowered by the Spirit; we are loved, created, gifted, called.”

    THIS. THIS. THIS.

    Thank you!

    • You’re welcome, Tina. This is the piece I stand on — there are no differences that matter at the foot of the cross.

  27. Really like this! So vulnerable, tender…yet strong–Beautiful! Thanks for sharing with us!

  28. “we are the same, you and I: saved by grace, called to new life, freed from shame, empowered by the Spirit; we are loved, created, gifted, called.”

    I love this and say ‘Amen’ from down here in Sydney Australia. I have just found your blog through SB linking you up, I’m going to have to sit down with a cuppa and have a good read 🙂

  29. Oh my, my, Diana. *Tears* here, lovely lady. I want to reach through the screen and squeeze you. You know, I just happened upon this {and I am so very glad} because I re-visited Seth’s post on church infighting. It touched me so deeply, marked me forever. Because I was searching, wondering, sad, confused, much like you. And the words: “I believe in God the Father, almighty maker of heaven, maker of earth, and in Jesus Christ his only begotten son, who is our Lord. And I believe in the Holy Spirit, one holy church, the communion saints, the forgiveness of sins. I believe in the resurrection and in a life that never ends…(And I did not make it–no, it is making me–it is the very truth of God and not the invention of any man). I believe that song had to be truly inspired of God. It is still touching people in a powerful way today.

    You know…can I quietly whisper…. some of the places from which come the most discomfort for you… I’ve been in those young, having-my-eyes-opened places, and boy am I glad I didn’t have a blog back then, when I was in such a stage of severe learning. Now I feel like I’m starting to come a little more full-circle (I’m 34–just old enough to know enough to make me dangerous), but I still don’t feel I have all the answers on biblical submission and women and men and all that jazz. All I know is this, and I quote: “Because underneath all the theological differences that might serve to divide us, we are the same, you and I: saved by grace, called to new life, freed from shame, empowered by the Spirit; we are loved, created, gifted, called.”
    Yes, Yes, YES! *She applauds and cheers*.

    All is know to be true in my soul is grace, all I know to be evident and real and powerful in you and in me is His freedom. I am thankful for you, lovely (((Diana))), you are a treasure. You have shepherded me and continue to do so. Please keep writing and showing us the way. So much love to you. {P.S. Sorry to leave such a novel of a comment, but I’ve been struggling too and needed this conversation!}

    • Nacole, you are always welcome here, no matter when you find your way to a particular post! I am grateful that your journey is bringing you to a place of deeper peace and I pray that God’s Spirit will continue to enfold you into a community where you feel safe and valued.