An Interview with Dianne Jago
Introduce yourself as if we were on a coffee date! Tell us about yourself.
Hi, I’m Dianne! Thank you for taking the time to get to know me a little. :) I am a military wife with three kids, and we live in an old farmhouse located in Central Pennsylvania. My husband and I are also both seminary students. Ethan is pursuing his Master’s in Apologetics to one day become a pastor, and on a very part-time basis, I’m working towards a degree in theological studies.
In early 2014, I started Deeply Rooted Magazine which is a bi-annual print publication about glorifying God in womanhood. Our heart is to encourage and equip women to become deeply rooted in Christ and show them how the Gospel impacts their day-to-day. We do this through Word-filled articles, beautiful imagery, and clean design.
Would you be drinking coffee or tea?
I’m all about flavored lattes so I would most likely have a salted caramel mocha latte in hand. :)
When did you start following Jesus?
I was raised by Christian parents and said the sinner’s prayer in kindergarten. After facing a few rough years of middle school filled with bullying, racism, depression, and a whole lot of insecurity, I asked my parents to send me to a Christian school. I needed discipleship, but after dealing with several years or rejection from my peers and now being in a new environment, I discovered that my desire to be liked outweighed my desire to know God. Before I knew it, I found my identity wrapped in my social status and my boyfriend. I headed down a path that I knew wasn’t honoring to God, and I was tired of feeling guilt and conviction over it. I didn’t want to be a hypocrite, so I told God that I was choosing my boyfriend over him (along with my way of doing things). I didn’t just run from God; I openly rejected Him.
But oh, am I so glad that my story doesn’t end there. Praise be to God that He is a pursuer of His people! He put many people and roadblocks in my life that revealed the emptiness in my best-laid plans and this pointed me to my need for a Savior. I will never forget the day I cried out to Him and confessed the fact that I was a sinner headed for an eternity without Him. I thanked Him for sending his son Jesus to live a sinless life and for humbling Himself to die on the cross as the ultimate sacrifice and payment for someone like me. I asked for forgiveness and committed my whole being to Him. The result of that decision was pure joy, love, and peace. From then on the course of my life was forever changed.
What is your definition of a Well-Watered Woman?
I immediately think of Jeremiah 17:8 which says: “He is like a tree planted by water, that sends out its roots by the stream, and does not fear when heat comes, for its leaves remain green, and is not anxious in the year of drought, for it does not cease to bear fruit.” This woman is deeply rooted and bearing fruit because she is abiding in her life source. Just as the tree sends it’s roots out by the stream, the well-watered woman roots herself in Living Water.
How do you give Jesus the first moments of your day?
I hate to say it but the Lord has been revealing to me how much I idolize and prioritize sleep and so it’s been an ongoing battle with me and my snooze button knowing that I soon have to load up three kids and drive my son to school. That said, I’ve been making it a habit to help wake myself up by meditating on a verse I have memorized. Giving Jesus the first moments of my day has been a learned habit as my natural tendency is to check my e-mail or Instagram to get my brain going. On the drive to school, we listen to worship music in the car as a means of heart preparation. Once I am home and get my girls settled and fed, I eat breakfast as I spend time in the Word.
What sort of spiritual season do you find yourself in now? What verses are you clinging to in this season?
One thing the Lord continues to impress upon my heart is how reading, studying, meditating upon, and memorizing His Word is my lifeline.
It was just earlier this year I was in the car listening to a message where the speaker asked, “Is the Word of God sufficient? Is it enough for you?” At that moment in time, I faced a challenge and kept turning to everyone around me for advice. Seeking counsel is not wrong — especially since I was turning to Jesus-loving friends and mentors — but I was so busy talking about the problem to others that I hadn’t given myself time to be still and seek His guidance through His written Word. I began to pour over pages of Scripture and what I found was better than any vent-session could offer. I discovered story after story of His perfect character revealed; I saw hope for a future that went beyond my temporary circumstance. He is a faithful God who is working every detail of every story for His glory, and His Word proclaims that. His Word is precious. It's purpose is multi-faceted. It is sufficient for all things and it's become such a treasure to me.
“Forever, O Lord, your word is firmly fixed in the heavens. Your faithfulness endures to all generations; you have established the earth and it stands fast.” Psalm 119:89-90
“Do your best to present yourself to God as one approved, a worker who has no need to be ashamed, rightly handling the word of truth.” 2 Timothy 2:15
“But be doers of the word, and no hearers only, deceiving yourselves.” James 1:22
What practices and routines help you remain rooted deeply in the Word of God?
1.) Prepare Your Heart
Heart preparation is essential to profitable time in the Word. Preparing your heart means dealing with unconfessed sin. It means releasing our worries and the busyness of our mind so that we can approach His Word with a clear mind. It means so much of what is written in Psalm 119 — that God would incline our hearts, open our eyes, and give us understanding.
2.) Seek True Understanding
We must work at a proper understanding of Scripture. So much of our frustration with Scripture (not understanding it, feeling like it’s not relevant, “not getting much” out of it) stems from approaching it poorly. We must take off our 21st-century glasses as we read it and grasp that the original authors wrote it at a specific time to a particular people. This means doing the extra work to consider who wrote it, what was going on in history when the author wrote it, the audience it was written for, why it was written, how it fits into the entirety of the Bible, etc. When we come to the Word removed of our biases and agendas, and we earnestly ask God to reveal Himself, then we can be confident in how we understand and draw out the application to our personal lives.
I love me some good commentary but one day my husband lovingly confronted me and said, “I don’t think you give the Holy Spirit time to illuminate the passage because you’re so quick to turn to your commentary.” Since then, I’ve taken the time to stop reading and chew on the passage. And guess what? The Holy Spirit does reveal the meaning to me! Sometimes it’s at that exact moment, and other times it is while driving in the car or doing laundry. Can I just say that it’s so reassuring when I then compare that to a commentary written by brilliant scholars and we both came to the same conclusion? That’s the power of the Holy Spirit.
When we take these steps, we glean so much more than if we were to approach it halfheartedly. As a result, our desire to remain in the Word becomes more consistent because we have tasted and seen that the Lord is good.
Who is a “well-watered mentor” or example in your life, and how has she or he helped you become a well-watered women?
My husband has played an integral role in my walk with God. He faithfully readers his Bible and that has been an encouragement to me. He always has an open ear to hear whatever it is God has been teaching me or to answer something in an area where I may be struggling. There are number of things I could go on and on about but one area, in particular, stands out to me: Because of his love for apologetics (defense of the Christian faith), he has challenged me to figure out why I believe what I believe and to always be ready to give a reason for the hope within me (1 Peter 3:15). I’ve come to realize that Christians don’t have to have blind faith and that we can intelligently give evidence that supports our beliefs. This has not only strengthened my walk, but it’s been a great springboard for us to share with our kids. Rather than parenting with a model of “You just need to have faith” it’s caused us both to dig deeper.
What books are you currently reading and would recommend to our community?
Grasping God’s Word by J. Scott Duvall and J. Scott Hayes
Biblical Doctrine by John MacArthur
These are thick books but don’t let them intimidate you. They are both excellent references and material to strengthen your Bible reading and Biblical worldview.
If you could tell every woman on this blog one piece of wisdom what would it be?
Love the Lord your God with all your heart, soul, strength and mind (Luke 10:27) and seek first His kingdom and his righteousness. (Matthew 6:33) If you do this, everything else will fall into place according to His will.