Diane Ellis: Real Estate Associate

Diane is a native of Seattle, WA, and knows the distinctive neighborhoods and the unique small towns and communities that make up the greater Seattle area. She graduated from the University of Washington in pre-law and also has an Associates of Arts degree in interior design. Diane grew up in a marginally religious Episcopalian home where she attended church on Sundays and lived her life disconnected from the church during the rest of the week. She admits that she never saw any connection nor relevance between what she did on Sunday morning in the church and the rest of her life. She never learned much from the church about the Story of the Bible and knew practically nothing about Jesus except as a swear word. She could not conceive of a living Christ or having a relationship with God. She eventually left the church scene rejecting the whole concept of organized religion. She saw too much hypocrisy and very little authenticity. As she has reflected back over her life, she has seen how many places God and her life intersected even though she was not aware of it at the moment of intersection. She has always had an ability to read people and situations which she calls a strong sense of intuition. She told me that she had often been accused of knowing more about people than they knew about themselves, which was a bit scary for her at times. Because it was uncomfortable, she spent many years trying to squash this ability. She has lately realized that God was continually trying to thrust her into a different story by delivering her from many risky and questionable situations, and just in the nick of time at that. She recalled to me one specific incident when she was about twenty years old. She, a practicing agnostic, and her college roommate, a practicing Jew, were working on a college philosophy assignment. They were to define and describe their philosophy of life, i.e., what story they were living in. Early in the morning after hours and hours of debate, they felt they had arrived at a theory that would unlock the secret of their life. The theory fit them well. They sensed they had discovered something significant, the key to life as it was really meant to be. The moment was so profound that this discovery scared them. They called it “the River of Life” theory. As she learned later, there were some uncanny similarities between their theory and the way living in God’s Story works, but there were also some obvious and notable differences. Only later did she begin to understand the metaphor of a river of life at the conclusion of the Story in Revelation. It was another piece of her story puzzle that was there, but she didn’t know where it fit. Diane married into a large Catholic family which, for her, served as another reminder of the hypocrisy in the church. She knew that there was no room for her in a flock that housed such people. Her focus turned to her marriage and kids and she lived what appeared to be a successful life for the next twenty-five years. Her storied life came crashing down on her as a series of catastrophies of epic proportions began to take place in her life. Her life story of a river of life was taking a pounding. She was no longer able to use her philosophical story to alter what was going on in her world. When her life blew, her river of life story didn’t hold water: it wasn’t enough. Little did she know that she was about to enter a new story, but first she had to sift through all the stories that she was offered into which to place her life. She looked into eastern philosophies, marginal religions, new age, charkas, energy healings, and on and on. Christianity was not even in her field of vision as she made her search. She was looking for something that would stand the test of time, something that made sense to her shattered world. She was unknowingly being led to live in a different story, one that she now believes God had always intended for her to live in. She began to realize that God was orchestrating people, events, and leading her down a path toward living in this new way. In her business venture as a Real Estate Associate, Diane met Leigh Buchan, another Associate in her office. She saw her life was different. There was a glowing calm in troubled times. She wanted to know her story, so she began to ask intense and constant questions. A conversation developed. All of the stories she had tried for life had not passed muster. She would not afford herself another catastrophic event to happen to her. Whatever Leigh’s story was, it had to be real and authentic if she was going to embrace it. Late one evening while she was questioning Leigh about the reality of the Jesus Story, she told me that she was so profoundly touched by God that she could no longer question his existence. She heard God speak to her telling her that he was real and that she could trust him. This was the first of several power encounters that she had as God was drawing her into his Story. For years even though she had a river of life story that kept her life moving forward, Diane had thousands of pieces of a puzzle strewed all over her board of life without knowing how the pieces fit together. But as she began to commit herself to God’s Story, she began to see how those pieces formed a new story for her life. As the pieces being put together caused her to see this new story clearer and clearer, she rediscovered her squashed intuition and began to understand God’s purpose for its use in her new story. She has become deeply involved in her community of faith. Her involvement with Go the Second Mile with a mission fits her like hand and glove. The home group that she leads is a live adventure in learning how to live out this new story of life focused on others in the world. Recently, several of the home group members were baptized as they took a step in their own journey in their story. Diane loves to give titles to her place in God’s story by placing the moments of her life into their own time periods, which helps her focus on the story she’s living in. She calls this momentology. From the “Reluctant Christian goes Public” to “Crawling with Other Babies” to “Learning to be a Disciple,” she moves forward in this new story as she presses forward toward the calling and ministry of her life. To equip her she recently took a year training through VCC that took her through the Bible three times, once looking at the background of the Old and New Testament Story, the concepts that are useful to help her understand the contents of the Story, and finally a primer on Old and New Testament theology.