Chambersburg, PA

Confessions from an Ex-Mean Girl

road-10ith words

There was a time, years ago, when I was a very. very. mean girl.

The type of girl you hoped wasn’t on the same bus as your innocent child. The kind that was cruel with words, relentless with attacks, and sought out every opportunity possible to humiliate any vulnerable school mate.

A bully to be precise.

I fed off of the tears of my casualties, as if somehow it gave me power . . . but if you know anything about the truth of bullies, you would know that they are actually very. very. weak and insecure. And I was no exception.

My brokenness, fragile identity, and complete lack of self worth combined and created a monster that I presented to the world as my false front, hoping no one would see the truth about who I really was.

It wouldn’t be until I was 26 that I finally met my Savior who was able to remove the monster, heal the broken little girl within, and secure me in my true identity as a precious, loved child of God.

The old me was placed far away. As far as the east is to the west. And the new me was born. No more mean girl. No more bully. No more monster.

For years I had almost forgotten about my bullying days, until I bumped into her . . .

I traveled back to my hometown to celebrate a most joyous occasion. My mom was being baptized. After seeing the radical transformation that occurred within me, my mom decided that there was only one possible explanation for my transformation . . . there must be a God!

She handed her life over to Jesus, was taking the next step of baptism at Grace Assembly of God, and asked me to be the one that prayed over her in front of her new church family. It was and will always be one of the greatest privileges I have experienced in this life.

Afterwards we spent time in fellowship with her new church family, that is when I saw her . . .

Instantly I was back in eighth grade. I could see my former self spewing vile words of hate upon her. Visions of me tormenting the younger version of her over and over again. I felt the heavy weight of conviction pressing down on me when suddenly I became shocked at what I remembered next.

To my utter surprise, I saw her trying to minster to me. I recalled all the times she tried to share about her Savior Jesus. And I watched her walk away from that old yellow bus, holding her bible in her hands, as I yelled profanities at her out the window of the back seat.

There are many sins I had committed in my former life, but few have caused me to feel more disgusted about myself then this.

When I saw those memories in my mind it was like the scattered pieces of a puzzle came flying together to create one clear masterpiece. I felt Jesus speaking to me, saying that even all of those years ago He was pursuing me. He showed me how He used one very sweet girl to try to reach me, even when I was one very ugly monster. He reminded me of how gracious she was, how she didn’t lash back out at me, and how it didn’t stop her from continuing to shine His light. She was everything even way back then, that I was just falling in love with now.

I approached her and couldn’t contain my tears. As I poured out my heart and my regret for all the cruelty I had inflicted upon her, her grace poured back out onto me. She shared how this was the very church she attended when she was a child, and had attended all her life. I was so impressed by her strength and love, so humbled by her grace, so in awe by her ability to truly exemplify what it means to be a follower of Christ.

That’s when I really broke, for I realized in that moment who I was really attacking all those years ago. I realized I wasn’t just attacking her, I was attacking Christ. His word says,

“Whoever listens to you listens to Me; whoever rejects you rejects Me; and whoever rejects Me rejects the One who sent Me.” Luke 10:16

I was rejecting the very Savior that would come and be the rescuer of my soul! The very one that would remove my monster, heal my broken heart and set me free all those years later, was the one I was attacking . . . and the realization broke me once more.

His love is truly amazing. That He would give up His life for a broken, rotten girl that would then in return reject Him for years. His love is so powerful that it strengthens His believers to endure the pains of persecution while they try to share the love of Christ.

“Blessed are you when people insult you, persecute you and falsely say all kinds of evil against you because of me. Rejoice and be glad, because great is your reward in heaven” Matthew 5:11-12

How truly great will her reward be, when she stands in front of the King!

Whether you find yourself today being a mean girl, an ex-mean girl, or a girl who is currently experiencing persecution, know this . . . there is a God that loves you. Who’s power is unstoppable. Who’s limits have no ends, and who desires to pursue you and bless you, and who has a great eternal reward waiting for all of those who turn to Him.

 

diane square Diane Swan is a Professional Christian Counselor, Speaker and Blogger who is passionate about using her God given gifts to assist ladies in living victorious lives in Christ. She enjoys sharing true life messages that relate to the complex lives of every day women and leaves them feeling equipped to be more than conquerors in all their battles. Diane and her husband Todd are the founders of Seven Swans Ministries, an organization devoted to living out the gifts of the Spirit by offering a unique array of services to encourage, edify and expand God’s kingdom. Connect with Diane anytime: Facebook Pinterest – Twitter – Website

Peace Be With You

chair with words

As a counselor, the number one thing people come to my office in search of is peace.

Peace in their marriage.

Peace on their job.

Peace with their circumstances.

Or sometimes just peace within their own mind.

And although I counsel them in their quest for peace, I am no different as well. I too go through times were my heart cries out for the comfort that only peace can bring.

Like many, I have gone through the searing loss of loved ones. I have endured the pain of tumultuous relationships on the rocks. And I have felt like a prisoner locked in the relentless maze of my own mind.

I have shut myself away, alone in a room, hoping the stresses and pains of life wouldn’t find me there. Perhaps you have done the same too.

You and I are not alone in this withdrawing activity. The disciples, after the death of Jesus, found themselves doing the very same thing. They hid away behind locked doors while their fears and grief surrounded them . . . that is until a visitor appeared.

The word says, “Jesus came and stood among them . . .”

That is the beautiful thing about Jesus, even locked doors can not keep Him from the ones He loves.

He appeared to them, just days after His death, and He spoke these first words to them, “Peace be with you!” John 20:19

Four very simple words, but with the power to transform the mood.

There was no peace behind those locked doors before He entered. There was no peace before He spoke those words. There was only pain and fear, confusion and regret . . . until He appeared.

He came with a proclamation. He came with a gift. He came as a victor with the power to issue them peace. He said it to them again. “Peace be with you!”

With those words He was saying, “Do not fear! Do not be troubled. Do not hide in this room any longer. Take heart because I am here and My peace I give you!”

Of all the things He could have came and said, of all the things He could have brought as a gift . . . He chose peace. He chose the exact thing they needed most.

I believe it is the same thing we are still in need of the most today. It’s the reason we lock ourselves away, hoping in the stillness of solitude we will find peace. There is comfort in knowing that if Jesus entered the disciples’ locked room, He too will come to us in our times of need . . .

“When we are grief stricken and mourning a loss,
when we are tired of fighting and living in chaos,
when we are tormented by the thoughts in our mind,
and when we are confused and don’t understand His plan or design . . .
He comes and enters our hearts and our minds, 
and leaves His gift of peace behind.”

Perhaps that is what you are seeking today . . . the gift of peace. My prayer is that as you read these words, in this very moment, you would feel His peace wash over you. Feelings of pain and fear, confusion and regret would start to fade away as peace takes up residence within you. And I pray as you receive this gift today, you would know that there is no place you can go, no place you can hide, and no troubles you can endure, that His peace can’t reach you and cure.

 

diane square Diane Swan is a Professional Christian Counselor, Speaker and Blogger who is passionate about using her God given gifts to assist ladies in living victorious lives in Christ. She enjoys sharing true life messages that relate to the complex lives of every day women and leaves them feeling equipped to be more than conquerors in all their battles. Diane and her husband Todd are the founders of Seven Swans Ministries, an organization devoted to living out the gifts of the Spirit by offering a unique array of services to encourage, edify and expand God’s kingdom. Connect with Diane anytime: Facebook Pinterest – Twitter – Website

My First True Love

love with words

Today I have been a mama for twenty years. Twenty beautiful and sweet years.

At this point in my adult life there is nothing that I have done longer than be a mama.

It has been my favorite job. It has educated me more than all my schooling combined. And it is what first taught me how to love.

She was my first true love, how appropriate that she was born just days before Valentine’s Day. When I first held her in my arms I was forever changed. It was like a chamber within my heart opened up and I was able to love in a capacity that I had never known before.

On this day I was no longer just Diane . . . I was Mommy!

It’s a day that marks one of the greatest joys in my life for the word says,

“Behold, children are a gift of the LORD, The fruit of the womb is a reward.” Psalm 127:3

Truly a great gift is she! Far greater than I ever deserved!

Even back then I wondered why I would have been given such a great gift. I was not worthy of such a priceless treasure and yet the Lord gave her to me anyway. And although I did not know Him at that time, it was my love for her that drew me to Him.

She made me want to be better than I was. She made me want to be the best I could be . . . because she deserved better than I was. It was my great love for her that led me to the first true lover of my soul.

All these years later it still amazes me how the Lord uses all things for the good. How His ways are so much higher than our ways, and how He knows just what we need to make us take a turn towards Him.

He knew I needed her. He knew my love for her would save me from myself. And He was right!

How powerful love is! 1 Corinthians 13:8 says, “Love never fails!” There is nothing that is stronger than love, nothing that can overcome it, and nothing can stop it from fulfilling its purpose.

For some love is a mixed bag of pain and regret. Valentine’s day is just another reminder to them of hurts from the past or perceived emptiness in the present. And I would be lying if I said that love doesn’t hurt sometimes . . . because sometimes it does.

It hurts because when we love we are vulnerable, we are open to receive. It hurts when it is broken, and taken away. It hurts when it’s not returned and when it is rejected. And if you are like me you have felt all these many ways that love can hurt, but know this too . . . you are not alone . . . Jesus felt all these hurts and more.

He left the security of Heaven to make himself a vulnerable human. To offer himself as a sacrifice to the very people who were sacrificing Him. To accept into His kingdom those that had rejected Him, and to pay the price for all.

Yes He too knows just how much love hurts . . . but He also knows how powerful it is . . . it has the unique ability to set you free!

As Valentine’s Day approaches and as I celebrate 20 years of loving one very special girl, I am so thankful that I chose to not allow pain and regret to keep me from embracing the power of God’s love.

How about you? Which are you focussing in on today? Love or pain? I pray you choose the more powerful of the two, and fall deeper in love with the first true lover of your soul!

 

diane square Diane Swan is a Professional Christian Counselor, Speaker and Blogger who is passionate about using her God given gifts to assist ladies in living victorious lives in Christ. She enjoys sharing true life messages that relate to the complex lives of every day women and leaves them feeling equipped to be more than conquerors in all their battles. Diane and her husband Todd are the founders of Seven Swans Ministries, an organization devoted to living out the gifts of the Spirit by offering a unique array of services to encourage, edify and expand God’s kingdom. Connect with Diane anytime: Facebook Pinterest – Twitter – Website

Break the Stick!

snow woman with words

It’s so easy to say I am unqualified.

All you have to do is take a sneak peek into my life or my mind and it becomes painfully clear that I do not meet the qualifications.

I have this imaginary qualifying list I use as a measuring stick to determine if I am adequate enough to be used by God. I hold it up against all of my short comings and read the mark:

Spazzed on my children – DISQUALIFIED!
Grumbled at my husband – DISQUALIFIED!
Showed up late for church – DISQUALIFIED!

The list goes on and on . . .

Recently it reached its climax. After the completion of my credential examination I came home and my youngest son sweetly called me “Pastor Mommy”. The reality of my calling and the awareness of my shortcomings collided!

I thought about all of the times I had yelled and snapped at him in moments of frustration. The visual picture of myself resembled a crazy monster more than a credentialed minister.

I once again held that up against the stick and read the word – DISQUALIFIED!

How the enemy loves to scream that word at me. He loves to point out all of the things that would seem to make me ineligible to fulfill my call. He desperately tries to fixate my attention on my flaws so I miss seeing the one thing . . . the one thing that truly qualifies me . . . God!

The apostle Paul reveals to us this qualifying truth,

“It is not that we think we are qualified to do anything on our own. Our qualification comes from God. He has enabled us to be ministers of his new covenant.”   2 Corinthians 3:5-6

It is not our short comings that determine whether or not we are qualified to be used by God. Nor is it our strengths and abilities that enable us to fulfill the call.

Instead it is simply our faith and trust in God. It’s the final mark on that stick, and it’s the only one that reads – QUALIFIED!

I often wonder if the saints of the bible were tempted to use the same measuring stick.

Paul a Christian killer, Rahab a prostitute, Moses an old man, and Mary a young girl I’m sure heard the disparaging and discouraging lies of the enemy hissing DISQUALIFIED in their ears.

Or maybe they made a really wise choice, and decided to break the stick!

How about you? Are you ready to break the stick? What are the things you are holding up against it, and hearing the word DISQUALIFIED shouted at you?

Maybe you, like me, have gone through your own list: too old, too young, not good enough, not smart enough, current struggles and weaknesses, or a past filled with mistakes.

No matter what your perceived short comings may be, the truth is this . . . God has already qualified you for whatever He is calling you to.

Let’s step out together in confident faith and trust in God, break that stick once and for all, and remember we have already meet the only mark that is needed!

 

 

diane square Diane Swan is a Professional Christian Counselor, Speaker and Blogger who is passionate about using her God given gifts to assist ladies in living victorious lives in Christ. She enjoys sharing true life messages that relate to the complex lives of every day women and leaves them feeling equipped to be more than conquerors in all their battles. Diane and her husband Todd are the founders of Seven Swans Ministries, an organization devoted to living out the gifts of the Spirit by offering a unique array of services to encourage, edify and expand God’s kingdom. Connect with Diane anytime: Facebook Pinterest – Twitter – Website

Winter . . . This Too Shall Pass

woman-snow-tree with words

If you live in Pennsylvania it’s not hard to tell what season we are in.

Snowmageddon has swept across the state leaving mounds of snow in it’s wake, and the reality that Winter is finally here!

For some they have meet this long awaited snow season with excitement. While others begrudgingly attempt to move through these days with the hope that a famous furry groundhog will soon report the coming of an early Spring.

In our home there was a mixture of emotions. Our young children squealed with delight, the teenagers gave thankful praise for a few extra days off school, and the hubby and I imagined some sweet moments cuddled up together by the fire.

For us we can handle the onslaught of winter storms when we know it will eventually come to an end. But it made me start to think . . . what happens when we are in a life season that seems to be lasting longer than the average four months of a wintertide?

I know I have gone through life seasons that felt like they would never come to an end. Like I was stuck living in Narnia during the time of the eternal winter in an oppressive state of depression. It’s not hard for me to relate that long, dark, cold, and dreary time in my life to winter because that is the season in which it started.

It began with the loss of a loved one in one winter. The heavy grief and depression carried through the year to the next winter only to be meet with another devastating loss. I felt like I was living in the land of perpetual grief, and at times I wondered if I would ever emerge into a new life-giving season.

Looking back now it’s easy to say it didn’t last forever. And as I was huddled up in my home this weekend I was reminded of some lessons I learned during that eternal winter.

First I learned to accept the season I was in. I didn’t want to be in a winter of grief. It felt completely unacceptable to me, and yet it wasn’t until I came to terms with it that I was able to move forward. I had to accept that it was what it was, and all of my distain for that time wasn’t going to change it.

Second I learned that I had a choice. I could either allow the eternal winter to freeze me and leave me stuck in the same place, or I could choose to do life even in the midst of it. During that time I intentionally choose to create moments of happiness in what felt like a season of despair. Just like this weekend when the snow came piling down, I made a choice to enjoy it with my children instead of viewing the snow as an unwanted guest.

Third I learned to find the beauty in winter. This was a hard one because during times of grief and loss, pain and strife, the only thing that seems beautiful is the times before all the pain initially occurred. But I forced myself to remember God’s word, “He has made everything beautiful in its time. He has also set eternity in the human heart; yet no one can fathom what God has done from beginning to end.” Ecclesiastes 3:11. He was faithful to show me glimpses of beauty in the middle of my distress, and it gave me strength to keep moving.

And finally I frequently reminded myself that this too shall pass. The only things that last for all eternity are the words and truths from God. “Heaven and earth will pass away, but My words will never pass away” (Matt 24:35). His word says that someday all things will be made right, all tears will be washed away, and we will be with Him in beauty and peace for all eternity.

Perhaps today you are finding yourself in your own eternal winter. Wondering when this long life season will ever end.  My prayer for you is that the lessons I learned from that similar time would bring you hope, and encourage you to move forward in faith until this season has come to an end.

 

diane square Diane Swan is a Professional Christian Counselor, Speaker and Blogger who is passionate about using her God given gifts to assist ladies in living victorious lives in Christ. She enjoys sharing true life messages that relate to the complex lives of every day women and leaves them feeling equipped to be more than conquerors in all their battles. Diane and her husband Todd are the founders of Seven Swans Ministries, an organization devoted to living out the gifts of the Spirit by offering a unique array of services to encourage, edify and expand God’s kingdom. Connect with Diane anytime: Facebook Pinterest – Twitter – Website

The Spirit of Competition

two-women-bikes with words

Have you ever played a friendly game while hanging out with the girls, when it became obvious that one of them was overly in-it-to-win-it?

If you have never had the frustrating pleasure of playing a game with me, you would probably not be aware that I am one of those girls.

All of my life I have had an EXTREMELY competitive spirit. ALWAYS.

Whether it’s cards, kickball, or Jesus help me if I am playing the game of Quelf, there is one thing you can be certain of . . . I play to WIN! (side note suggestion – if you have never played the game Quelf, go out and buy it now . . . HYSTERICAL!)

Perhaps I developed this tendency from growing up in a house full of siblings, all vying for the attention of our busy parents. Or maybe I sought the affirmation or authority I felt winning gave me. Either way this contending propensity became a strong component of my core character.

At first glance that might not seem like such a terrible characteristic, but the hidden ugly truth is this . . . the spirit of competition is actually the antithesis of the spirit of Christ.

This spirit is a self seeking, self serving, and self advancing spirit. In a moment of achieving a desired result it sneakily shifts one from seeking to glorify God to seeking to glorify man, in my case wo-man.

If my competitive nature stayed contained to recreational games and sports it would not be so terrible, but what happens when it starts to leak into other areas of my life?

How do I know when this is happening?

Well for me, there are a few tell tail signs. Once jealousy, irritability towards my advancing sisters, or critical thoughts of them start to enter into my mind, I know there has been a perimeter break in my competitive zone. At that point the spirit of competition has creeped it’s ugly head out and attempts to keep the spirit of Christ unseen in it’s shadow.

I am embarrassed to admit that I have struggled with this, but at the same time I am comforted to know that I am not the only one.

Even Jesus’s disciples struggled with this self seeking spirit. Many times they disputed about who among them was going to be the greatest in the Kingdom of Christ. James and John actually had the audacity to ask Jesus, “Grant us that we may sit, one on Your right hand and the other on Your left, in Your glory” (Mark 10:37).

What they were really saying was, “Put us in higher positions than everyone else!”

The word says that when the other ten disciples found out what James and John had asked they were indignant. The end result of members in the Kingdom competing against each other is always strife and division.

It was never God’s plan for us to compete in our calling because the reality is that the Kingdom of God is not a competition, its a collaboration. Its the whole body of Christ coming together, and working together in unity on the same team . . . team Jesus . . . for the same purpose . . . to glorify Him.

My prayer, with this admission, is that the Lord would forgive me, forgive all us that has ever made our ministry about us instead of Him. Just like the disciples all those years ago, that fought to be first in the kingdom, may we always be reminded of Jesus’s words, “Anyone who wants to be first must be the very last, and the servant of all.” Mark 9:35

I pray we all grow in the spirit of Christ, for then we will surely see the advancement of His Kingdom.

 

diane square Diane Swan is a Professional Christian Counselor, Speaker and Blogger who is passionate about using her God given gifts to assist ladies in living victorious lives in Christ. She enjoys sharing true life messages that relate to the complex lives of every day women and leaves them feeling equipped to be more than conquerors in all their battles. Diane and her husband Todd are the founders of Seven Swans Ministries, an organization devoted to living out the gifts of the Spirit by offering a unique array of services to encourage, edify and expand God’s kingdom. Connect with Diane anytime: Facebook Pinterest – Twitter – Website

Self Preservation or Brave Determination

woman-mountains with words

I have a natural tendency towards self preservation. I suppose we all do, it’s an inborn instinct with the design to prevent harm and ensure life.

On the surface it doesn’t sound like a bad thing. We make choices, what appear to be wise choices, to keep ourselves safe.

We drive carefully, we avoid dark alleys at night, we park in well lit areas, and hopefully we follow laws meant to protect us. All wise choices, all done to play it safe.

But what happens when our playing it safe mentality transfers to our spiritual walk and keeps us from experiencing the miraculous?

One my favorite women in the bible is the woman with the bleeding issue. For twelve years she suffered with prolonged bleeding, and although she spent all her money on physicians, none were able to heal her infirmity.

At that time, because she was considered ritually unclean according to the Jewish law, she was not to leave her home nor touch anyone. For the average healthy woman this was not an issue, but since her blood flow would not stop, this law became an impossible burden. (As a side note on the law, it was at least in part created to be a benefit to the woman. During this time of the month Jewish women were excused from their normal duties. They didn’t have to cook or serve meals to their family members, amongst other things, and instead got to use this time as a “quiet time for herself”. . . ahhh . . . who made that stop?? Just saying.)

But one day this woman made a choice. What might on the surface look like a very bad choice because it meant she was breaking the law, she still choose to leave her house anyway. Knowing she could have been humiliated, knowing she could have been disgraced, she bravely determined to reach out and touch the hem of Jesus’s cloak, and she was instantly healed.

The law she was bound under was never meant to imprison her, it was meant to protect and preserve her. But when protection and preservation prevent your ability to prosper, it’s really not preservation after all.

Sometimes preserving ourselves keeps us stuck in the status quo. In that place we think self defeating thoughts, masked as wise choices, to prevent imagined disgrace . . .

“I can’t step out and do that, what will other people think? I’ll make a fool out of myself”

“I have been dealing with this for so many years, why get my hopes up that it could change only to watch myself fail and be humiliated.”

“There’s no way I can accomplish such an incredible calling, I might as well not even waste my time and try.”

Sometimes we are so busy trying to preserve ourselves, that we can protect ourselves right out of our calling. Whether that is a calling to be healed, a calling for restoration in a relationship or financial situation, or whether it’s your life calling, your divine destiny to fulfill . . . at some point we all have to make a decision and answer this question . . .

“Am I going to live in the shallow waters of self preservation, or am I going to dive into the depths of the miraculous with brave determination?”

The woman with the bleeding issue would never have experienced the miraculous if she didn’t bravely step outside, cross the line of fear and intimidation, and with FAITH grab ahold of the King.

So I ask you today, what side of the line are you standing on?

Are you standing on the side that is more concerned with self preservation, playing it safe? Or are you willing to step over the line with boldness into brave determination?

I know out of fear I have spent far too long in the shallow waters, afraid to cross the line and see what would become of me on the other side. But bravery is not the absence of fear, it’s the willingness to move forward in spite of it.

I want to see the supernatural, the miraculous, and I’m willing to more forward . . . how about you?

Let’s take this brave step together and remember the affirming words of the Lord,

“Behold, I am the LORD, the God of all flesh. Is anything too hard for me?” Jeremiah 32:27

diane square Diane Swan is a Professional Christian Counselor, Speaker and Blogger who is passionate about using her God given gifts to assist ladies in living victorious lives in Christ. She enjoys sharing true life messages that relate to the complex lives of every day women and leaves them feeling equipped to be more than conquerors in all their battles. Diane and her husband Todd are the founders of Seven Swans Ministries, an organization devoted to living out the gifts of the Spirit by offering a unique array of services to encourage, edify and expand God’s kingdom. Connect with Diane anytime: Facebook Pinterest – Twitter – Website

The Truth of Who I Am

woman at window with words

The enemy loves to try to tell us who we are.

He insidiously sneaks into our mind. Tainting our thoughts, he attempts to turn them from truth into lies.

Lies that tell us we are insignificant, inadequate, insufficient, incompetent, and insecure.

Within the confines of our mind we begin to question who we really are in the darkened shadows of his disparagements.

If only we would remember this one truth when he hisses in our ears . . . the devil is a liar!

He speaks lies.

Lies meant to discourage, depress, derail, and ultimately devour our souls.

Since he has no ability to create, he instead tries to manipulate. Taking truth he turns it into lies, attempting to plant it deep into our mind, and our identity. But no matter how much he tries, lies are never truth.

John 8:44 tells us that the devil is a liar and the father of lies–there Is no truth In him. In fact, whatever the devil speaks, the opposite of what he says is the truth. We do not live in the devil’s lie, but instead we live in Christ who not only speaks truth but He is The Truth.

In Christ we are significant. In Christ we are adequate. In Christ we are sufficient, competent and secure. We are everything we need to be in Christ.

The devil has taken those two little letters, i and n, placed them before words of truth in attempt to adhere our identity to lies. May we always remember were they truly belong.

This term “in Christ” is used 160 times in the holy scriptures, 36 times in the book of Ephesians alone. Paul wrote to the people of Ephesus with a burning desire in his heart to strength their faith by revealing a larger scope of God’s eternal purpose of redemption for believers in Christ. He wanted every believer to be built up and walk in the identity and power of who they are in our glorious Savior.

“Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us in the heavenly realms with every spiritual blessing in Christ.  For he chose us in him before the creation of the world to be holy and blameless in his sight. In love he predestined us for adoption to sonship through Jesus Christ, in accordance with his pleasure and will – to the praise of his glorious grace, which he has freely given us in the One he loves.”
Ephesians 1:3-6

We have been blessed with every spiritual blessing. We have been chosen, and predestined to be born again into his glorious graces, and live a life in the fullness of Christ.

That is the truth of who we are. That is the truth of our identity.

During this time of year when we all are remembering the birth of Christ, take time to also remember that you have be reborn in Him and all that He is.

Take time to identify the lies the enemy has slipped into your mind, and let the light of truth shine brightly upon them.
Let’s pray:

Dear Lord Jesus,

Thank you for loving me enough that you left heaven all those years ago, to come to earth so that I may have eternal life in you. Please help me everyday remember your great sacrifice, and the gift I have received because of it. Assist me to walk in the truth of who I am in you, untainted by the lies and manipulations of the enemy. Remind me in moments of weakness that I am all that you say I am, and no less. Thank you Jesus, in your precious name I pray, Amen.
diane square Diane Swan is a Professional Christian Counselor, Speaker and Blogger who is passionate about using her God given gifts to assist ladies in living victorious lives in Christ. She enjoys sharing true life messages that relate to the complex lives of every day women and leaves them feeling equipped to be more than conquerors in all their battles. Diane and her husband Todd are the founders of Seven Swans Ministries, an organization devoted to living out the gifts of the Spirit by offering a unique array of services to encourage, edify and expand God’s kingdom. Connect with Diane anytime: Facebook Pinterest – Twitter – Website

Being Rooted and Established in Love

rooted and established with words

Sometimes I forget.

In the middle of my life frustrations, under the heaviness of my fears, during the irritating moments of unwanted distractions, and in the presence of my own ugly sin . . . sometimes I just forget.

I forget how much He loves me.

The frustrations, fears, distractions and sin seem to so slyly shift my focus onto them, becoming my new perceived reality. Causing my mind to drift farther and farther away, I soon fail to remember the genuine truth and I just forget.

That is of course until . . . until the lover of my soul helps me to remember.

Recently, in a moment of absentminded despondency, He lovingly refreshed my memory. I was reading my devotional and came across this scripture:

“I pray that out of his glorious riches he may strengthen you with power through his Spirit in your inner being, so that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith. And I pray that you, being rooted and established in love, may have power, together with all the Lord’s holy people, to grasp how wide and long and high and deep is the love of Christ, and to know this love that surpasses knowledge—that you may be filled to the measure of all the fullness of God.” Ephesians 3:16-19

And then just like that, I remembered once more.

I remembered that I am not only loved, I am rooted and established in love.

I am like a tree with deep roots that is secured in the depth of the revelation of God’s unconditional and limitless love for me. The deeper my roots penetrate the soil of this knowledge, the more secure I am against the winds of frustrations, fears, distractions and sin.

I am like a building established upon a strong foundation of solid rock. The storms may come and the waters may rise, but His love for me is stronger still.

Perhaps your mind, like mine, in a moment of moodiness wanders away from the truth of God’s great love. Do you too find yourself in situations feeling discouraged by the irritants and adversity around you? Maybe you have forgotten how wide and long and high and deep is the love of Christ for you.

Because if His love is that great, if it is that massive in amount, then surely He loves you enough to assist you in overcoming any circumstances you may face.

I believe that is why Paul wrote this scripture. He was praying that the people of Ephesus would know the depths of God’s love so that they would be strengthen and empowered by it, able to remain secure regardless of what they endured.

My dear sweet sisters, it is my prayer for you today that when life is pulling your focus, you will pause and remember how deep God’s love is for you . . .

How Deep the Father’s Love For Us by Selah

How deep the Father’s love for us
How vast beyond all measure
That He should give His only Son
To make a wretch His treasure

How great the pain of searing loss
The Father turns His face away
As wounds which mar the Chosen One
Bring many sons to glory

Behold the man upon a cross
My sin upon His shoulders
Ashamed, I hear my mocking voice
Call out among the scoffers

It was my sin that held Him there
Until it was accomplished
His dying breath has brought me life
I know that it is finished

I will not boast in anything
No gifts, no power, no wisdom
But I will boast in Jesus Christ
His death and resurrection

Why should I gain from His reward?
I cannot give an answer
But this I know with all my heart
His wounds have paid my ransom

diane square Diane Swan is a Professional Christian Counselor, Speaker and Blogger who is passionate about using her God given gifts to assist ladies in living victorious lives in Christ. She enjoys sharing true life messages that relate to the complex lives of every day women and leaves them feeling equipped to be more than conquerors in all their battles. Diane and her husband Todd are the founders of Seven Swans Ministries, an organization devoted to living out the gifts of the Spirit by offering a unique array of services to encourage, edify and expand God’s kingdom. Connect with Diane anytime: Facebook Pinterest – Twitter – Website

Those Who Look to Him are Radiant!

radiant ladies

What a weekend!

When the Women of Purpose come to town, specifically Chocolate Town USA, Hershey PA, everyone is in for a real sweet treat! This year was no exception!

Ladies from all over, rolled into the conference matching this year’s theme . . . Radiant!

The sea of sisters in Christ filled the Hershey Lodge and gathered together to seek His presence. Anointed messages and testimonies were shared. Spirit filled worship saturated the air. And women were touched and transformed in the midst of it all.

We heard from Sharon Jaynes . . .

sharonjaynes 2   

Marie Monville . . .

marie monville

Shari Braendel . . .

shari braendel

and we were lead in worship by none other than Kim Walker-Smith . . .

kim walker smith

It was a powerful time of learning to leave the past behind, and move forward in His presence. After all, His presence is truly what makes the difference.

Sure ladies can put on their best outfit, and adorn themselves with fine jewels, but soaking in the presence of God is the only way to achieve a Radiant supernatural glow.

That is what I love most about this weekend every year. For a couple days I get to just soak in His glory, and I leave so filled I can’t help but reflect it!

This year there was also some added bonuses! As a new member of the Women of Purpose team I helped with the behind the scenes details (I had no idea how much seriously goes into an event like this!), I had the very fun privilege of getting to personally know some of our speakers, and I even had the honor of leading the ladies in a time of offering during the Friday evening service.

diane speaking photo at wp

But one of my favorite duties was introducing these beauties, The Treble Tones . . .

treble tones
Here is a video so you too can hear their anointed voices:

Do you want to know one more thing about this conference that I love . . . It happens every year!

Just like when Moses’s face would radiate from being in the presence of God, the longer he was away from standing in His presence, his radiance would start to fade. He would have to go back before the Great I Am for the glow to reappear.

Ladies, we are no different than Moses. If we want our faces to shine with the light of the Lord, then we need to be in His presence. This conference is a great opportunity to come together with thousands of your sisters in Christ, and soak up all the glorious light you can. I know when that time of year comes around, I am ready for my fill up so my face can shine once more.

So get out your calendars because next year you not only have the opportunity to attend the annual conference in Hershey (which by the way is our 100th year celebration!), but you can also attend one of our events during our Spring Tour!

2016 celebrate

Here are the dates:

2016 Spring Tours with Guest Speaker Dannah Gresh:

Three Locations:
April 9 – Monroeville, PA
April 16 – State College, PA
April 30 – Reading, PA

2016 Women of Purpose Conference Celebrate with Guest Speaker Liz Curtis Higgs

November 11-12 – Hershey, PA

Screen Shot 2015-11-23 at 9.58.41 AM

 

I hope all you sweet sister friends join us next year as we celebrate all that the Lord has done!

 

“Those who look to Him are radiant; their faces are never covered with shame” Psalm 34:5

 

diane square Diane Swan is a Professional Christian Counselor, Speaker and Blogger who is passionate about using her God given gifts to assist ladies in living victorious lives in Christ. She enjoys sharing true life messages that relate to the complex lives of every day women and leaves them feeling equipped to be more than conquerors in all their battles. Diane and her husband Todd are the founders of Seven Swans Ministries, an organization devoted to living out the gifts of the Spirit by offering a unique array of services to encourage, edify and expand God’s kingdom. Connect with Diane anytime: Facebook Pinterest – Twitter – Website