“I’m not sure I’m saying it exactly the way he did, but they were ‘Don’t ever wrestle with the Holy Spirit — never argue with the Holy Spirit,’” says Dianne. “He was very encouraging, really helpful to me. It was a special time to talk with him.”

And so, she stepped up and let CYF Pastor Julie McCain know she would like to be considered. Understand, Dianne is beyond qualified. She is one of those people whose love of kids and passion for teaching are core elements of her personality, as is her abundant faith. Her teaching experience and credentials are impeccable.

She wasn’t looking for a job. In fact, she had taken open-ended time off from teaching to devote herself to her flourishing professional life as a writer. Her work includes the 2020 young adult novel, Sticks and Stones and its upcoming prequel, Finding True North, which is set for publication by Acorn in January 2023.

She also has — a scripture and prayer-filled website with God-weaved Journey blog postings. (Recommendation: read them if you haven’t already). She led faith and fitness exercise classes here and elsewhere until waylaid by Covid. She led small groups of teens in Bible Studies prior to taking on her new position.

Dianne and her husband, Charles, who have been married for 32 years themselves, saw both their eldest and youngest child get married last year. It has been a busy time indeed.

But as the saying goes, ask a busy person…

She notes that she and Pastor Julie agreed on an interim period in which she and the Ascension youth could see how it could all work and mesh before making her appointment official. Now it is.

As far as Dianne is concerned, when she met the kids, it sealed the deal. “I know it was hard saying goodbye to Addie. She was amazing,” acknowledges Dianne, speaking of her predecessor, Addie Behm, who stepped down to focus on her health.

As for what she’d like to accomplish as youth director? “My overarching goal is to have kids continue to be excited about Bible study. We just recently moved it to Sunday evenings in hopes that would accommodate kids who have a hard time with their schedules Monday nights,” says Dianne. That’s Sundays, 5 PM to 6:30 PM.

“We hope to keep building it as a place where they feel welcomed, feel they belong. One of my favorite quotes from one of the kids was that it’s a really good way to start the week. I want it to be that for all of them.”

There is a July trip to Luther Glen ahead for the high schoolers. There will be outings and other activities, all God-centered, of course.

“I want to fill the need well,” says Dianne. “It’s a hard time to be a teenager,” she acknowledges. “They have a lot to deal with.”

Having the right guide can make all the difference.