Planting Seeds

This is going to be one heck of a blog post for being my first one back. So buckle up, snag tissues and chocolate and let’s go.

My momma is dying. No, she is being snatched away from us by the vile, hateful, straight from the pits of hell beast that is cancer. And by IMG_1815(1)snatched I mean, she was healthy 4 weeks ago and today we have hospice care. We have had 21 days to get our heads around the fact that she is even sick.

How does a person wrap their heads around a diagnosis of cancer? Beyond that, when it rampages through and robs you blind, how do you cope? Our family has the gift and blessing of faith. We are leaning into our faith and claiming God’s promises that her healing will come as soon as she shakes off this faulty shell. But I had to find that promise for myself this morning. I had to see it in black and white.

1 Corinthians 15:35-38; 42-44; 53-58

35 But someone will say, “How are the dead raised? And with what kind of body do they come?” 36 You fool! That which you sow does not come to life unless it dies; 37 and that which you sow, you do not sow the body which is to be, but a bare grain, perhaps of wheat or of [k]something else. 38 But God gives it a body just as He wished, and to each of the seeds a body of its own.

42 So also is the resurrection of the dead. It is sown [l]a perishable body, it is raised [m]an imperishable body; 43 it is sown in dishonor, it is raised in glory; it is sown in weakness, it is raised in power; 44 it is sown a natural body, it is raised a spiritual body. If there is a natural body, there is also a spiritual body.

53 For this [s]perishable must put on [t]the imperishable, and this mortal must put on immortality. 54 But when this [u]perishable will have put on [v]the imperishable, and this mortal will have put on immortality, then will come about the saying that is written, “Death is swallowed up in victory. 55 O death, where is your victory? O death, where is your sting?” 56 The sting of death is sin, and the power of sin is the law; 57 but thanks be to God, who gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ.


As we have fielded phone call after phone call and poured over every card, it has been laid out plainly and in technicolor for us. Momma didn’t wait to shed her perishable body to start growing fruit. Eighteen years of teaching have yielded fields of children, families, and coworkers who have been mentored, amused, and changed by Mrs. Diven’s life and lessons. Call her school and ask to be put on hold – her legacy is found in every voice singing “I Surrender All.” Forty years of friendships are revealing the joy and laughter that Mom brought to everyone who crossed her path. Her gift for sewing is remembered by my senior play cast as they thank her for Fiddler on the Roof costumes from 20 years ago.

We mourn our loss of course. But we know that she will shed her perishable frame and fruit will continue to grow and ripen as a result of her life.

58 Therefore, my beloved brethren, be steadfast, immovable, always abounding in the work of the Lord, knowing that your toil is not in vain in the Lord.

I am impressed then to find that “bare grain” that was planted in me by my Momma and use it to bring honor and glory to God while I’m still in my perishable packaging. To press forward and know that with His direction and guidance, it will not be in vain but will stretch her legacy beyond me.

For us it was writing. Momma loved to take the tales of her grandchildren, my father’s escapades, or just every day life and pass them through the lens of God and His word. She would call me and say, “Go online and pull up the paper! Captain Splinter Foot (or whichever grandchild had made that week’s cut) is Juniata County famous.” We’ll never know how many people saw those articles. We’ll never know who read them and how they were affected.

So I have decided to pick up that mantle. I fear I will not do it quite as well as an eighteen year veteran steeped in hymns and scripture might but I will try. I will work for the Lord as long as my perishable packaging will allow.

About Sarah

I hate when people ask me "who are you?" because it points out to me that I am about as average as you can get. I am a mom of four children- from middle school down to kindergarten. That said, my world consists of laundry, vacuuming, washing dishes and cooking meals just like every other mom on the planet when I'm not at work. So what makes me different? Why should you read this blog? Because I'm a mom just like you who struggles daily to see, follow and live the life God intends for me. If my struggle, walk, attempts and failures can help you on your path and walk, then I am doing what the Father has asked me to do. Amen? Amen and pass the Lysol!
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20 Responses to Planting Seeds

  1. Lisa Stamey says:

    Sarah, Hugs to all of you. Your Mom is a true blessing to all the lives she has touched. we are here for whatever you need.

  2. Linda Mills says:

    I am so sorry to hear this news about your Mom. Praying for you and your family as you go through these days. Love you bunches. Mama Mills

  3. Becky Arnold says:

  4. Amber says:

    Dear Driven family, you are all loved. And we are supporting you in prayer. Words fail me, but the Holy Spirit is intervening on my behalf. Feel the sweet arms and comfort of our Lord during this time.
    Member of the CRC family

  5. Erin Bell says:

    Prayers Sarah. When I heard the news about your Mom one of the first things I thought of was how she made the costumes for Fiddler. I still have part of mine and my nieces like to dress up in it. You and your family have my prayers.

  6. Tricia Swartz says:

    Your mom was both of my girls teacher! I love the job that she did with them! She has been a blessing to JMS and my family! Thankful that we have the Blessed Hope that one day we will spend eternity together! Prayers for your mom and your family ❤️

  7. Sarah, my heart is hurting for you and your family. I am so sorry you are facing this so unexpectantly. Cancer IS an ugly beast, but God conquers all! In hopes of giving you comfort, I will share with you that I was with my mom when she passed away from cancer in 2000 at 52… It just happened to be her and I alone at the time, as I laid beside her and listened to her labored breathing. When she took her last breath, it was as if the air in the room dramatically changed…I was not alone because He was there, there was no denying it. I hope the love that surrounds your family lifts you up in this sad time.

  8. Deb Richmond says:

    Sarah & family, My granddaughter Zoe was in your mom’s class at JMS this past school year. I’m a teacher in a public school. I work very hard and put in many extra hours at my job. But your mother blew me away. Hardly a week went by that Zoe didn’t say, “Oh, Mrs. Diven taught us to remember that by singing a song…saying a rhyme…connecting to this idea.” My granddaughter fell in love with sewing this year. Good thing, because I avoid sewing buttons whenever possible. Zoe learned to make sour dough bread and quite a number of other recipes that we tried at home. She created a product to sell to raise money for the school’s mission trip. I’ve surrounded myself with teachers all my life…it’s hard to get away from them in my job… and your mother was one of the best teachers I’ve ever known. What a blessing it was for Zoe to spend third grade with Mrs. Diven.

  9. janessa says:

    Your parents mean a lot to our family so you are in that circle of God’s love stemmed by others. Prayers are with you all during this time. Our kids are a bit set back with this news of her. You see she was there for them when they lost their brother in an accident, Now we all have this feeling wow she is going to see him sooner then us. Makes us a bit jealous in that area but not all the struggles that come with it. Different time in the day we will tell each other God still does miracles but we all know this one may not be done here on earth. But we still hold onto faith & grace. Hugs to you all.. The Graybills

  10. Tabitha Goodling says:

    On many occasions your mom has left me speechless — and I am a writer. Your momma is someone who made me want to embrace the kids at the school even more. I was her sub often the last two years when she had doctor appointments. I was in awe of all she did. My daughter Lydia was shy and scared until third grade. Mrs. D taught her to be bold in who she was. Since then she has had a lead in a spring musical, taken on soccer (she used to fear sports) and this week she was one of two JMS kids who boldly prayed outloud for your mom during our prayer vigil. (Even I was surprised by that move). She was brave enough to write a speech about Mrs. D and read it aloud during her retirement chapel in May. I was shocked how my daughter grew…since third grade she has said her life goal is to be a teacher. This week as she cried tears of sadness, she told me she wants to be like Mrs. D told her — a good teacher — who shows Jesus. Will she make good on that promise even if she is not a teacher, “You betcha, baby” — something Mrs. D often told Lydia. 🙂

  11. Michele Ebright says:

    We felt Gods leading toward JMS late last summer. Many people told us that we would have Mrs. Diven and how lucky we were because it was her final year of teaching. My son was what she called special because he has dyslexia, ADHD, etc. She wrapped that boy in love and humor and taught me to love him better all year long and accept him as Gods blessing. Sometimes that’s hard in the midst of raising a strong willed child! I have all my emails from her still because they are chock full of advice, humor, stories and I am glad I kept them. This diagnosis is ripping the hearts of my family and the whole JMS community. My son said tell her thank you for teaching me to cook. I say tell her thank you for following her calling to teach. And praise God for letting this last year of her life be a gift to my family that will live forever. So very very sorry for your dad and you girls. She talked of you all often and her love for you is abundant.

  12. Skip Kline says:

    When any of us get to the end of our lives, we should be so blessed as to say “God used me to further His kingdom.” That is most assuredly true of the remarkable Paula Diven who is still of use to God in a legacy that lives on through the thousands of lives she touched. But, if I may be so bold, let me point out that not only did she allow herself to be used by God, but she did so with humility, passion, class and humor. She is the very personification of tireless, dedicated, caring and loving. In a word: beautiful.

  13. Steve Shearer says:

    I learned of your family’s situation a few days ago, you all have been in my thoughts and prayers ever since! My heart goes out to u all in a very profound way. God will walk her through the gate as she takes her journey, and he will help you through the loss with the love and memories you have. God bless you all and I’m only a phone call away if anything is needed

  14. Karen Helmuth says:

    Oh, Sarah. This news hurts my heart. I wish there were words, but there are none. I so wish now I had been able to attend your parents’ retirement party… they’ve always been special people to me. Please know they and you are in my prayers. And may you all find that the Everlasting Arms of your Father are underneath you, holding you, loving you during this difficult time.

  15. Cindy Auker says:

    I do not know your mother on a personal level,but I have heard so many good things from parents and students at JMS. She has touched so many lives.So sorry your family has to go through such a terrible thing.Thoughts and prayers to all of you!!

  16. Joyce Rickenbaugh says:

    So very sad that Paula will be gone from our presence. But rejoicing knowing she will be with Jesus and have a new body. I had a grandson in Paula’s class and what a wonderful teacher she was and so very gifted. Paula made learning fun and yet she was stern only because she wanted the best for her students. My heartfelt prayers and love to all of you. …

  17. Mary Jo says:

    Sarah, I was blessed to “live across the hall” from Paula for 12 years, while teaching at JMS! She is such an inspiration! She was always ambitious, tireless, unselfish, dedicated, creative, prayerful, caring, and willing to give of herself and her things, anytime, anywhere. I too am having a hard time wrapping my mind around this, but your mom has always desired her life to be for God’s glory. Even in this, He will be glorified. Her retirement plan is for her is way better than she had planned, but we left on earth must see it with the eyes of faith. Sending prayers to Harry and all the rest of you.
    Mary Jo Barner

  18. Chrissy says:

    Your mom is a wonderful lady she does great things she helps people she maid a dress for my daughter it will be very special to me and her Jesus has a great daughter is feel for all of you God bless you all prayer to you all she will be missed but her memory lives on she is the greatest mom you have a great friend and sisters love you always Paul chrissy

  19. Hannah Laughman says:

    ❤️My heart is aching as I read this news. Your mom had a very important part in my crucial teen years, she probably didn’t realize just how much. I think of her in little tasks that bring her to mind and of what she taught me when serving others. Praying for you all❤️

    Lord, please bring peace to this family, strength. Thank you for being here in this. Amen

  20. Janel Showers says:

    I am sure she will hear “Well done, thou good and faithful servant.” Mrs. Diven has been a wonderful blessing to our family. We are praying you and your family through this time. I’m so sorry. -The Showers family

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