Imagine yourself standing in a large atrium in which there are many doors spaced along its walls and no other hallways in which to exit.

In my mind, my life is like that atrium.  It’s filled with beautiful plants, some flowers, and beautiful daylight streaming down from the upper story windows.


pine cones in a snow covered evergreen -


For too long, invitations to exit into a new world have appeared on countless doors in the atrium.  However, the doors are locked and access to the new world is prohibited through those doors.

Remember when you were in high school, standing in the hallway at your locker on the first day of school with a new combination lock in your hand…. fervently attempting to dial the correct numbers in the right sequence so that the lock would open and you could access your locker?   Usually it was just a few tries and you got it right.

I’m not in high school any more, yet the doors to a new life all seem to be filled with combination locks.  The difference… I don’t have the correct combination of numbers to release those locks.  It’s frustrating.

I like to think I’m in control of my life.  But, I’m not.  And you aren’t either.

Today you may feel like you’re in control.  Today you may be living a beautiful life beyond one of the doors that I’m trying to access.  Yet, tomorrow, you may join me in the atrium, in a whole new reality, where you not only feel totally out of control but discover not much of anything is within your control.   But, don’t despair!  

I know that place!  I’ve been living too long in the atrium.  And as much as I’d like to get out… yesterday would not be soon enough… this is the place where growth happens.  Even if you’re resistant.

And we know that God causes everything to work together for the good
of those who love God and are called according to his purpose for them.

Romans 8:28 NLT

 Free 5x7 Printable of Romans 8:28 at

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My spirit has been hard and it’s been malleable.  Regardless, God has been at work in me and around me.  And he is and will be for you too.

Right now I am willing to do almost anything to get one of those doors to open.  But, in my heart of hearts, I know that door will open at God’s leading and not by my continual spinning of the combination dial.

Remember Paul and Silas in prison?  There they were behind bars and shackled with no possible way to get out.  Did they try to stage a break out?  No… they sang songs of worship instead.

I don’t know about you… but I think I need to spend more time in worship.

It seems to me that God expects us to do the things we can do while we live in our atrium.  Both before and after our doing we need to do what Paul and Silas did.  It’s in worship we will come to know God in all his glory and power. There our faith is renewed.  There the chains fall off.  There, we grasp our place and open our hearts to the ONE who opens the locked door.


winter woods at


Our exit might not be as spectacular as Paul and Silas.  But I do know… it is God who will make the way… not us. I also know that in the meantime God is not wasting time.  Some days, it feels like nothing is happening.  Yet, scripture reminds us God is at work.

And the Lord–who is the Spirit–makes us more and more like him
as we are changed into his glorious image.

2 Corinthians 3:18 NLT

In the midst of what appears to be a terrible, horrible, no good, very bad day/month/year/decade, we need to remember God is very much at work… transforming us into his glorious image.  And that out weighs all the difficulties.

Some of this is head knowledge… some of this is heart knowledge… but all of it is Truth.

Some days I don’t very much care that I’m being transformed into God’s image because my eye is on the short-term goal.

It’s taken me a long time to get to this point… to seeing what is happening in my life and being grateful for the change.

Speaking of gratitude.  I know today is only eleven days in to the New Year, but the evening gratitude journal keeping I talked about doing, I’m not only doing,  but it’s something I look forward to at the end of the day.  I enjoyed doing Ann Voskamp’s joy dares in the past… but this adaption is working for me in a fresh way.    I write down ten things I’m grateful for every night and find many nights that I could keep going way past ten.  No matter how icky the day… I’ve got plenty of good things to write down and rejoice in.   And yes… it really does push the needle on my joy meter.


snowy day -


It’s JoyDay!

If you want more JOY, please join me in this weekly gratitude counting ‘seven’ — the good and the not-so-good and give thanks.

I’ll start!

God, I’m grateful…

  1. on these very cold days for warm food and heat.
  2. for knowing that you have a plan for us, yet to be unfolded.
  3. for the beauty of the snow, even if I don’t like driving in it.
  4. for having a camera and being able to take photos of the exquisite and beautifully white blanketed world.
  5. for your constant unconditional love.
  6. for encouraging friends.
  7. for an external cooling fan for my laptop.

Okay… it’s YOUR turn!

Pop down to the Share Your Extraordinary Thoughts section below and tap in your ‘seven.’  I dare you!!

Thanks for stopping by today.
May your week overflow with God’s presence and joy!


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  1. Mary Barber says

    I love your blog. You say exactly what is on my heart, only better than I can articulate. God has truly gifted you with the ability to write. At the beginning of this year, although not a NY resolution, I have vowed to write 1 thing per day that I am grateful for on my face book page. So far, I have not missed a day. No doubt I could write many things but limit myself to just one. Thank you for inspiring me.

    • Diane says

      Mary, you are so sweet. Thank you for your kind words. I’m so excited that you are sharing your one gratitude each day on Facebook… that’s pretty special.
      All the best for a joy-filled week!

  2. What a lovely and inspiring blog. Yes, once we step through the “veil of tears” as my friend calls them, we become different people. We can never see things the same again. We do see things through His eyes more clearly and our minds and hearts have a new focus. Even when we walk into a new situation, we take our new hearts and everything changes.
    Have a blessed day and thank you for sharing your heart and what you have learned.
    Shirley in Virginia

    • Diane says

      Thank you Shirley… what a nice thing for you to say. 🙂
      That “veil of tears” is pretty life-changing. It’s not fun, but I glad God uses it to makes us better.
      Thanks for stopping by, today. May your week be blessed beyond imagination!

  3. Teresa Villasenor says

    Hooray for:
    1. My mother’s new (and not horrible) doctor!!!
    2. A sweet husband
    3. A stray kitty friend
    4. Learning a new skill- 10-key by touch
    5. Finding a Christian hairstylist (great haircut, low price, good fellowship)
    6. Living in a city with a full-service, 24-hour, ad-free, high-quality classical music station 😀
    7. Finally having my new married name on all the important stuff!
    Bonus: this post! I’ve been in the atrium for seven years, through my own doing (believe me). Thanks for timely encouragement.

    • Diane says

      I’m so excited for you to be out of your ‘atrium’ Teresa and for all the wonderful blessings you’re experiencing right now.
      May your week overflow with joy. 🙂

  4. Debbi Saunders says

    I am thankful for:
    1. Knowing that you have a plan for me as yet unfolded. I borrowed your. #2 Diane 🙂
    2. The Spiritual growing pains that I have been experiencing in the last few weeks!
    3. The Spiritual growth , clarity of vision, wisdom, direction that has resulted from those growing pains.
    4. For wonderful new spiritual leadership in our school,!
    5. Increasing spiritual connection with my 3 prayer partners at work.
    6. God using me to minister to others.
    7 . that there are 3 pay checks this month!
    I have been in the Atrium for over 20 years. Through choices that I have made , some my husband made and some that we had no control over! I am encouraged that a new new door will open at the exact time the Lord intends it to!

    • Diane says

      Debbi… it is hard to be in this place. I’m so happy that you are seeing the benefits of those growing pains… sometimes we don’t for a long time. God is doing an amazing work in your life and through you in the lives of others.
      Keeping you in my prayers and trusting God to bless you in unexpected ways this week. [[hugs]]

  5. Mel says

    I value your presence in my life, your honesty, your integrity, your messages…–this post is an example of these in action. Sometimes we don’t get to know whose lives we touch in this medium, in the world at large. I just want you to know you make a difference….here, now, IN the atrium.
    G-d’s using you exactly where you are.

    My joys:
    –hearing of your increased joy with your ‘new’ practice/discipline at the end of your day.
    –clearing out and deep cleaning the poor guest room that gets used for ‘other stuff’. Yes, deep cleaning brings me joy. I’m weird like that. LOL
    –completing one project at work (with great success!) and being gifted a second one! Go ME!!LOL
    –getting to celebrate with another their 33 years of sobriety. Talk about awesome.
    –safe travel on the snowy roads and having a boss who llet’s me decide what’s “safe” for me.
    –the questions a five year old asks….they make me laugh.
    –my morning conversations with G-d and my desire to tell on myself even though I know He already knows. LOL

    And I’ve been in and out of the atrium a number of times. Sometimes it was a short gig, sometimes it was years and horrid, and terrifying. Some were of my own doing, some not. All of them helped me become who I am today….I would’t trade any of them in. But boy, in the frenzy of trying to get the right combination — ….. I’d like to think I’d hear the voice of wisdom telling me, as if oft time does, “surrender, let go….”

  6. Debbi Saunders says

    Diane, I know how hard it is and it has been a very long time for me , but I am so honored that He has used me to minister to others.
    ! But God is doing an amazing work in you as well through your incredible blog! Look how He has grown your blog and all the lives that you have touched! Even in this incredibly hard and painful season in your life… I will be holding you both close in prayer <3 He knows how discouraged and weary you are and He promised never to leave or forsake you. A big hug <3

  7. Gwen says

    Today was befitting to me. The looking out and no combination works. For so long. But there are joys even while without freedom to leave and go
    1. Dinner brought to us and tasty too
    2. Mom so cheerful
    3. How easy it was to take Jenna places at age one
    4. Curt can work. Pray his head continues to do well pray his blindness half in each eye–is healed soon
    5. All the birds eating in the tree outside the window
    6. I’m so very very tired Lord. I can trest.

  8. bobbi duncan says

    Sweet, Diane, Your words are so articulate that I can feel your pain, and, perhaps, too, I can feel it because I can so empathize as my own life has had some horrific ones to bear. I often think I’ve had the life that I’ve had just so I could better understand and help others going through bad times. Maybe God knew you were someone He could count on to go through the fire and come out a stronger person who could help others….just look at how your blog is already doing that! Sometimes, things (real hardships) can seem so overwhelming, but get better with time, and some things change our life from the one we once had, forever, but I truly feel God can help us forge on with a different life, where there is still SO much to enjoy and be thankful for. I don’t know what your particular trials are, but I do know I can pray for you… that God will do what He knows to be best for your life. I hope you can feel all the hope and love in my prayer for you.


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