One80 Podcast Episode 51
Diane Dassing, Dealer to Healer
This transcript may have errors that veer from the original recording found at https://one80podcast.com/listen/
Ryan Henry: This show mentions abuse, alcoholism, drug use and dealing, and promiscuity.
Today’s show features Margaret as host, and OneWay intern Kate Sperry is joining us as producer.
Margaret Ereneta: . Diane Dassing has an amazing turnaround story of redemption. After a troubled childhood, Diane found herself steeped in drugs and alcohol,
she even became a cocaine dealer. But fortunately, God had other plans for Diane, turning her from dealer to the healer. Welcome to Diane’s One80.
Friends. We have Diane Dassing with us today. We’re so excited to share her extraordinary One80. Thanks so much for coming on the show today, Diane.
Diane Dassing: Well, I am so excited to be here. It’s been a long time coming. We’ve been trying to get together for a while, right?
Margaret Ereneta: Yeah. God’s timing is perfect though. So this is, this is awesome. Today is awesome.
Diane Dassing: It is.
Margaret Ereneta: We are so excited, but we do start our shows with a random question. Would you rather give up the internet or tv?
Diane Dassing: T v for sure.
Margaret Ereneta: Okay. Watching a lot of tv?
Diane Dassing: Not so much me, but it seems to be on all the time and I would like to just pick it up if I could. We still have a tube tv, believe it or not.
Margaret Ereneta: so friends, those of you who have no idea what a tube TV is, and, and you also, you These are why you check out our show notes. We will link both of those. You’ll see a picture of what a tube TV is,
Um, so let’s get into your story. Diane, tell us where you grew up.
Diane Dassing: I grew up in a little town called Melrose Park and it was a, uh, large community of mostly Italian people, so I grew up knowing the family dynamics of that ethnicity and it was quite amazing. Big families, a lot of really close. People, uh, and we didn’t really have a big family, so it was wonderful to just kind of adopt into that family and, uh, get to know their heritage and just how they dealt with each other.
It was, it was comical. Some of it was a little scary, but it was really welcomed in my life.
Margaret Ereneta: Are you Italian?
Diane Dassing: I am not, not at all.
Margaret Ereneta: So, you were in this Italian community, but you yourself weren’t
Diane Dassing: No, I’m not. I’m, I’m German Dutch, scotch Irish and Swedish,
Margaret Ereneta: So we call that a Euro mutt.
Diane Dassing: my mom used to say a little bit of everything and not much of anything, so, yeah. But, uh, it was, it was a beautiful time, uh, getting to know all of the relatives of the people who were our landlords and, uh, grandma making wonderful smelling food that
permeated our yard and then she’d say, Hey, you wanna come over and eat something? And I always would. But it, it was really wonderful, wonderful time in that part,
Margaret Ereneta: Great. What about your family?
Diane Dassing: My mother and father, uh, were, it was my mom’s second marriage. And, um, my mother had been horribly abused by her first husband, so my dad was like her Prince Charming.
And uh, I had an older half sister as well. So it was me and my sister Debbie, and then my oldest half sister Carol. So Carol lived next door to us in the apartment above our house. And, uh, my mom was almost 40 when she had me, so they were older. Uh, and my dad was not with us long. , when I was seven years old.
He went to a retirement party and he had a, coronary heart attack, a massive coronary heart attack on his way home. Dr. He was walking. Neither of my parents drove. So he was walking back and he had, uh, had this happen. And the only reason they, the police found him is they were chasing some kids that had, broke some windows and they saw my dad laying there.
It was pouring rain. Uh, I’ll never forget that night waking up and hearing all these voices of people in my home that I didn’t even know who they were. And I was told that my dad had died.
Margaret Ereneta: Oh my gosh, I’m so sorry.
Diane Dassing: Yes, it was, it was a difficult time, mostly because I. Like, my mom had no friends. Uh, she didn’t really know what to do.
Uh, you know, today we have all these ministries that help with that, um, grieving and that kind of thing, but my mom didn’t know what to, to really do or how to deal with that. Nobody to talk to. She didn’t seek out help. But, uh, she did seek out the help of, uh, Jack Daniels, or, I’m sorry, Jim Beam and, uh,
sh yeah, she started drinking heavily.
And um, my mom was not a nice drunk, so growing up was pretty difficult as a whole.
Uh, the difficulty with my mom’s drinking was that she, She didn’t hit me or anything like that. She wasn’t abusive that way, but verbally like she wanted to argue. She did that quite a bit. the interesting thing with when you grow up in an alcoholic home is when you are not at home, everything is wonderful and happy and you’re having a good time, you know, with your friends and that.
But as soon as I would come to the doorway or actually to my fence, I could either hear her playing, uh, you know, like Englebert Humperdink albums, if anybody even knows what vinyl albums are.
Margaret Ereneta: Uh A man Without Love!
Diane Dassing: Uh, yeah, Tom Jones, who was
Margaret Ereneta: She’s a Lady.
Diane Dassing: Oh, come on. And just, yeah, I had a thing for Tom Jones. We won’t go into that.
But anyway, I would hear this music and, and as I got closer to the, to the stairway, I could smell the smoke. She smoked cigarettes and the, the alcohol and I never really knew what I was gonna deal with that night, but it just created this, uh, fear in me as to what I was gonna have to encounter when I went in the house.
Margaret Ereneta: Okay.
Diane Dassing: So what I tended to do was, um, to find an escape mechanism, right? So I would go by Karen’s house, who was my neighbor and my very best friend. We were two days apart, and I would go by her house sometimes, but you know, sooner or later you had to go home. And, uh, I remember by the time I was 14, like my mom never discussed my dad’s death.
It was like he never even was a part of our family. She didn’t talk about it and I sure didn’t wanna ask questions about it cuz it would cause her pain. So I just didn’t, didn’t speak about it, neither did my sister Debbie. By the time I was 14, Debbie was two years older than me, so she was already, she already had a boyfriend.
She was out of the house a lot. So I was the one who got to deal with my mom. However, I kind of picked up on uh, her bad habits. So I had some friends, got involved with, uh, kids that were smoking, drinking, um, not only smoking cigarettes, but smoking pot. And I found that I really enjoyed that, uh, got involved with, older men cuz one of my girlfriends was doing that.
And that’s kind of how I coped with it. And I realized that, trusting anybody, especially men, was really difficult because, you know, men left me feeling, uh, abused, used discarded, And so it was really a, a hard time in my life.
But that’s what I knew to try to deal with what I was going through, cuz I didn’t talk to my friends. They all had both parents, most of the ones I knew anyway.
so I coped with smoking, drinking, doing whatever to guess. Looking for love in all the wrong places would be a good kind of line to say about that.
Margaret Ereneta: So let’s, let’s back up a little bit and I wanted to ask about the faith component
in your family.
Diane Dassing: So we went to, uh, my mom took us outta public school when I was really young. Uh, first grade, uh, I went to kindergarten, first grade, and public school. And then she moved us to Catholic school, which was two blocks away. Both schools were a couple blocks away. So I went to Catholic school and even though I.
We had the church component, the faith component, and uh, I went to church every Sunday, mostly because my mom demanded that I go, she did not go, but she made basically me go, I don’t even remember my sister, my sister Debbie, going at all. But I went and didn’t connect at all with the message or the, uh, music.
I, I did, just didn’t connect with any of it. And my friend Donna and I, we just went to church because we were told we had to go. So, that was grade school. And then I went to an all girl Catholic high school, which I. Those girls were really something like I, I can’t even, I never even thought of doing some of the things that they did.
I don’t know what my mom considered this was gonna help me or better me because it was crazy. But during my high school years is when I met my husband and I never made the connection with anything with faith or God or anything. It was just like what I was walking through life to do and I was supposed to do.
I didn’t feel any draw to God or anything during that time.
Margaret Ereneta: You went to church, but you just, you went through like the motions.
Diane Dassing: Exactly.Mm-hmm. So my friend and I, you know, in the church they have the candles, you know, lined up and then you put money in it. You light a candle, you say a prayer for somebody. Well, the money box, the thing was open, so my friend and I went and took all the money from there.
Then we found a door that went back in the back of the sanctuary that wasn’t locked. So we went in there and we stole the host that they used for communion and we stole those. And we went, went back to, my house and we played, um, of course I was the priest and she would kneel down and I would give her the host just.
Enacting church and never thought anything about it. I mean, I, I just said that we stole it, but I didn’t really consider it stealing. See, I had no idea what sin was or stealing was. I did not get the concept of any of that.
wow. So you had no, like, moral compass, Well, yeah, when I was in, in school, no, not so much. I was 14 years old, when I started high school. And that’s when I started to be promiscuous. The girls that I went to school with were already in relationships. They were talking about it.
Um, as I mentioned, my friend was in, involved with older men, and so I followed suit and realized that my decisions were causing me more heartache because of the way I felt afterwards. You know, feeling alone, unloved, discarded, and I wanted to fix that. And I just used drugs and alcohol to mask that pain as well.
Margaret Ereneta: Okay. So like your mom, you were medicating, but your pain was a different pain. Yes. But still, you were also medicating your pain and dealing with your problems with drugs and alcohol.
How did it make you feel to, to kind of numb your feelings with drugs and alcohol?
Diane Dassing: so when I was doing, uh, probably in the depths of it when I was really engulfed in drugs and alcohol, and I did that basically to escape because I didn’t realize that I needed to deal with these feelings and these emotions. So I just did what I knew. This is what I grew up with. My mom didn’t talk about her emotional wellbeing or how she felt or going through the process of grieving. And when you grow up in an alcoholic home, like you don’t talk about those things. Everything is a secret. You don’t tell anybody what’s going on in the home. But I, I remember my neighbors would come over, and be talking to us and I always felt like they looked at me like they felt sorry for me, which I realize that now is, they did feel sorry for me cuz they knew my mother was an alcoholic.
Margaret Ereneta: Hmm.
Diane Dassing: And I didn’t realize that
Margaret Ereneta: You couldn’t even put your finger
Diane Dassing: no, yeah. I was just, this is how normal things, this is normal life, right? So yeah, I knew I needed to make some changes, but there comes a little later.
Margaret Ereneta: So how bad did your normal get? I put in air quotes that you can’t hear on a podcast. How bad did your normal get before you realized this is not normal?
Diane Dassing: Boy, before I realized that was not normal was, was quite a ways into me coming to faith, really. So, uh, like I said, I met my husband Rick. I, I was working at a place called Cock Robin when I first spotted him. Oh, he was so good looking. Oh, blondish brown hair, dreamy green eyes and, oh, this part, he had a tattoo. Ah, what a rebel. Right? So definitely Prince charming material. Well, Rick was,
Margaret Ereneta: And he’s still the love of your
Diane Dassing: he still is.
A lot of people ask me, are you guys still married after all this? It’s like, yes, uh, I was f. Close to 16, and he’s six years older than me. So yeah, do the math on that. My mother was not thrilled about that age range. However, Rick was really good to me, so he asked me to marry him sooner or later, you know, more sooner than later.
Uh, I was 17 and he was, um, 23 at the time, so we go off to happily ever after. But Rick was in the service, so he served in Vietnam. So he had his own set of baggage.
Margaret Ereneta: and then so did I, and we didn’t talk about it because it was always, if you don’t talk about it, it’ll go away. I’m sure some somebody out there knows that program.
Diane Dassing: Right.
Margaret Ereneta: Mm-hmm.
Diane Dassing: And, uh, so we didn’t talk about it. And then we were married for a couple years and then we decided as many other people do, Hey, let’s start a family. Right? Let’s bring some kids into this mess that should fix it right up. Well, uh, we had our daughter, Lori, and after about five minutes of motherhood, I realized, wow, this isn’t what I thought it was gonna be. I mean, it, it’s rough, it’s selfless. You have to take care of somebody else all the time. And I wanted to be happy, so I thought I need to devise my own plan. And so I was working at a bar right across the street from where we lived. And you know, when you work in a bar, there’s this element of not only drinking, but a lot of times there’s drugs involved.
So me being the networker I am, I found a connection and I started to deal cocaine from that bar
Margaret Ereneta: what made you go from maybe using drugs to dealing them? Like was it desperation? Like why, how did you go from one end to the other? Like that?
Diane Dassing: okay, so while I was working at the bar, I saw another, Customer who he was dealing. And I saw him making quite a bit of money and people were, were all over him. And I thought, Hmm, I could do that. And yes, I, I actually thought money would make me happy. So I went down that avenue and I thought, Hey, I could start my own business.
I already have clientele. I am already, uh, a well known bar, keep here, and had quite a few friends and that. So I thought I’ll just start, you know, kind of edging him out and doing my own thing. So I started to, and I, I started to deal there and I made a lot of money
Margaret Ereneta: Do you have an example of a time that it, it got really dangerously bad?
Diane Dassing: Yes. I think the, the time that I had the realization that this was not a good thing is that, so our daughter, she was, so, she was at a school down the street from us and I had this, I don’t know if you wanna call it a vision or whatever, but this idea popped into my head that it was in the newspaper that I had been arrested and gave all the details they had pictures of, of Rick and Lori, and.
The embarrassment. I just felt the, the shame and embarrassment of it all.
Margaret Ereneta: Hmm.
Diane Dassing: And that was right before I had the incident with the police.
Margaret Ereneta: Wow.
Diane Dassing: I almost sold to an undercover guy. And, uh, the police used to come in and rent space at the, at the bar. I was working at all the time. So I knew a lot of the police officers and he came in with this guy that I had, I had sold to in the past. So I was already freaked out when I saw him standing there with the cops.
So I, I refused to even give him a drink or anything. And then the following day, my boss had one of the other bartenders call me and say, you don’t have to come in anymore. We found somebody to replace you out of the clear blue sky.
So, um, I realized that I had been lucky for a really long time and I needed to start making some changes in my life.
Margaret Ereneta: Did Rick know about this dealing?
Diane Dassing: No, he did not know a thing,
Margaret Ereneta: Did he find out that you got caught?
Diane Dassing: he did, I did not get caught, so to speak. I just lost my job.
So I just, I just went with that. And, you know, when I think about it, I should have been honest with Rick. I should have told him what I was up to. I mean, we were already dealing pot. I mean, you know, what’s, what’s the deal to add cocaine to it?
Uh, and I didn’t tell him I lied to him. I deceived it. It really is heartbreaking when I think of that part of my life that I kept from him. And so I was kind of, even though I didn’t go to prison, I created this prison in my of my own with deceit and all of that. and I started to feel that desperation, like, I need to make some changes, man.
I could have got caught here and done jail time and all this stuff. I, I needed to change some things.
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Margaret Ereneta: Mm-hmm. So you’re feeling, a, a lot of feelings right now. You just got caught, by at least your boss and, um, really your cage was rattled and these other emotions are coming forth now. did you feel conviction that what you were doing was very much wrong at this point?
Diane Dassing: I didn’t feel that so much as, as I have been lucky.
Margaret Ereneta: Okay.
Diane Dassing: Yeah. I didn’t even get the concept of this is wrong at all. So didn’t get the concept that that was wrong, but I knew that I needed to change something. So growing up in the Catholic church, right, I’m starting to feel like I need to go to confession. So I called the church. And I asked for the rectory and, and the priest that answered the phone was somebody that I knew.
He actually baptized me and I thought, oh my gosh. I started asking questions about when is confession and all this stuff, and I’m thinking, he knows it’s me. He, I mean, you know, I’m 33 years old almost. He hasn’t seen me since I was in first grade. I, I don’t think, or he hasn’t seen me in many, many years.
Like he wouldn’t know my voice and that, but, and he told me about the hours of confession and I, when I hung up the phone, I’m like, that is just, that’s not it. That’s not what I need, but it’s something I just can’t put my finger on it.
Margaret Ereneta: But I think it’s cool that, you know, you, you were sitting there in, you know, going through the motions in church, not believing anything, but yet at the right time it comes back.
You do. I mean, it’s like you did learn, you were paying attention and enough to know when you actually had send and you needed to confess.
Like you had tools that you were given and they
did come out at the right time.
Diane Dassing: Yeah, that is, that is really something, isn’t it? Because I never connected the dots then. And so with this feeling of, I needed to change some things, so we were in this business that we were going on a, uh, we were gonna be gone at a conference and they had a, they had a Sunday service. And so the people that we had been talking to said, you really need to go to, um, the Sunday service. So I never, Rick and I hadn’t gone to church, and forever. We would go Easter and Christmas, you know, with the, with the, his parents and that kind of thing. Um, but to make a statement, you know. But other than that, we really did not go to church at all. So, so this couple, uh, they were just wonderful to us.
I mean, they were so kind and understanding and, uh, we didn’t really expect anything from them, but we realized that they were just, they included us. I mean, we would go out with them and we would laugh till we cried. Uh, they never judged us or anything, and they never seemed shocked at what came outta my mouth.
And when I tell you my. Language was like, so you put a, maybe a sailor, a truck driver and a, i, I don’t know, mix them all together. That was my mouth. Horrible. Like you would not want, yeah, it was not good. But they didn’t seem shocked at anything that came out of my mouth. And then they invited us to church.
Margaret Ereneta: Oh.
Diane Dassing: So I said, yes, yeah, we’ll go. And then Rick shoots me this look like, what are you doing? And, but I, we love them. They were so nice to us. And I thought, I go, well, I’ve already said yes. So we’re going and we sat in that church service and the pastor, so he is so animated and his, uh, eyes were bright blue and he was, He was just funny now it’s my 33rd birthday, so it’s January 2nd. And so he’s talking and
I didn’t, you know, ever hear the whole gospel.
So he’s up there and he’s talking about the Christmas story and the birth of Christ and then his life and the whole picture of Christ living a sinless life. And then he died a horrible death and sacrificed his life so that I could be in right rela. I felt like he was just talking to me and I could be in right relationship with God if I made this decision to start a journey of faith and be connected again to God, and it was because of Jesus and his sacrifice.
That allowed that to happen, and I was just falling apart. I was bawling and I knew that this is what I needed. So they did a, you know, you could come forward and, uh, I left all of my belongings in this big arena. Just left him at the chair, went up to the front and wanted to hear more about this. And that was my beginning of my faith journey where I, uh, prayed to receive Christ and asked him to change my heart and asked for forgiveness and all of that.
That was my 33rd birthday,
Margaret Ereneta: wow.
Diane Dassing: and that started the whole journey.
Margaret Ereneta: What did it feel like that day when you prayed that prayer? Did you feel something?
Diane Dassing: Totally felt. This is it. I mean, I felt like the Hallelujah Chorus was singing by Angels, honestly,
because it was, yeah, it was like, wow. I, I felt so much lighter. Like the burden had definitely been lifted. And then all of the people that we were sitting with were hugging me saying, welcome to the family.
Congratulations. Which I didn’t get why they were saying that, but hey, they were hugging me and I was feeling great. So I’m like, oh, yeah, you know. Uh, but Terry and John, the people that, uh, invited us to church were so wonderful they started to mentor me, uh, in, in such a powerful way and just be so kind.
And, uh, they had brought us to a church that was close by our house, and we started to attend there regularly. So we went for about, I think it turned out to be about 11 years.
Diane Dassing: and when I look back on that, I realize that I was like in this incubator for 10 or 11 years, whatever it was, and I would go to church and I would hear the message, and it was starting to penetrate my heart. And I kind of did that. Now I’m a good girl and God had taken away the desire for drugs, um, on that day.
Like I, I don’t even share that a whole lot because he doesn’t do that with everybody. I think that’s unique for me. I. get a little, uh, anxious about that. I didn’t have to go to treatment. God just took, took it away. And also, like, I couldn’t cuss anymore.
I, I could not, the words would not come out of my mouth. So that was amazing
Margaret Ereneta: and
you said you had a potty mouth before
Diane Dassing: Oh, you could talk to Rick about that, It wa Yeah. A friend of mine that I ran into that knew me well, she realized that I became a Christian because she goes, we’ve been talking for 10 minutes and you haven’t dropped the FBO once.
Yes. How about
Margaret Ereneta: fruit
there with not swearing that other people noticed.
Diane Dassing: that really tells a story. That was my beginning of my faith journey my 33rd birthday,
what that meant is Lori was 13, so we started to go to church when she was 13. And really, I was at work in the evening. So Rick was the one that was taking care of her at night, taking her out to play, doing, you know, all of that. He was really the parental role model, and he did a.
A much better job, I would say, than I did. But after we started going to church and changed, I mean, she saw a definite change and it wasn’t too long after that. Then Lori made the decision to for Jesus, and it was at an Easter service and we were at church and we hadn’t talked to her about it. We didn’t offer that to her.
I didn’t nudge her. I didn’t, you know, flying elbows, nothing. She just. She just took a stand right then and we were just elated. It was wonderful. And she’s been in bible study groups with me, and when I went to speak for the, uh, uh, another ministry that I was involved in, she would come out and travel with me and she’s heard the same old story a gazillion times and she says, mom, every time you give it, it’s different.
And so we ha would have a great time when we were out doing that together. And she is, she is a best friend. Uh, she is, uh, so sweet and kind, compassionate, and I just love her. She’s very gracious when I get choked up and talk about like, I am so sorry about some of the things
Margaret Ereneta: Yeah.
Diane Dassing: when she was in grade school. I would drive her to school in the morning and I was like half in the bag. I was hungover from the night before and I would just be screaming at her in the parking lot and I felt terrible about that. And she is, she’s just gracious. And she’d go, mom, I don’t even remember that. And part of me wants to believe that Margaret, but I just think it’s too hard for her to deal with really talking through that.
And so I just say, thanks for your grace, Lord cuz I don’t, I don’t have an answer for that, but
Margaret Ereneta: hmm.
Diane Dassing: I’m just, I’m grateful.
We made some good friends at church and um, and then I started to feel that EMP poking me on the shoulder saying, Hey, you’ve been good for a really long time. You deserve to have a little fun.
Why don’t you forget all that God stuff for a while? And we received a gift of a computer from Rick’s brother, and I got involved in some activity on the internet that caused a whole lot of shame and guilt. And then I found myself revisiting some old bad behavior.
Margaret Ereneta: Mmm.
Diane Dassing: went on for months.
My secret life. And I remember calling a friend of mine, we actually made the decision to start walking a faith journey. We made the decision for Jesus on the same day, and I called her and I was telling her what I was up to. And her way of consoling me was to say, oh, you’re not really doing anything wrong.
Margaret Ereneta: Oh, so you finally confess to somebody and they, they don’t acknowledge it. Oh.
Diane Dassing: And I was like, okay. So I realized that when I hung up from her, I knew that wasn’t the answer, but when I hung up from her, I remember sitting there thinking, you know, when I made that decision all those years ago See, I just wanted the quick fix. You know, I wanted the, Hey, I’ll get outta jail free, so to speak, and I’ll just, uh, you know, I’ll give more to charity.
I’ll go to church every week. I’ll, how do you want me to do this? But, you know, changing a life, I, so I got the fire insurance, but I did not make Jesus Lord of my life.
Margaret Ereneta: Okay.
Diane Dassing: And I was like, God, I, I don’t know what I need, but I need, I, I don’t know what I need. So I made a phone call to a 12 step group and the, the Gail told me where to go. I went to the meeting. I was fighting with God the whole way. I went to the meeting, I sat in the parking lot, I called this Gail and I said, I don’t know where this, I don’t know where it is. I can’t find, I’m sitting in the parking lot and I’m telling her I can’t find it. I’m sure, I’m sure she’s been lied to a few thousand times.
But anyway, so, and she goes, she was so gracious. She says, well, maybe next week we’ll talk, I’ll give you better directions and whatnot. And I sat in the parking lot and I was like, Lord, I think you’re after me. And I know I’ve messed it up a hundred percent. And right now, if you can meet me where I’m at, God, her show me that you’re real.
If you want me to go into this meeting, you’re gonna have to help me, make me whatever, because I just can’t do it. And then, then I’m in the meeting like, like he just like beam me up, Scotty kind of thing. And here I am in this meeting.
Margaret Ereneta: wow.
Diane Dassing: For the next, and I went back four or five times and all I could do was cry.
The whole time I listened to what everybody else said, I couldn’t really share at all. I just bawled my eyes out. But in that meeting, I realized that this is full of so many of my best friends that I never even met.
Uh, they could relate to me and I could relate to them and their struggles. And in that meeting is where I learned that you have to ask for forgiveness, but you also have to let the Lord by his spirit take control of you, like to lead you to guide you.
I didn’t get that before, and that’s really at that date, That is when things really started to get just. A wild ride. I’ll call it rollercoaster ride, but amazing.
Margaret Ereneta: So you had the second part of Jesus being your Lord and your Savior. Not just your Savior, but your Lord. So what was the, tell us, take us to the ride with you.
Diane Dassing: Okay. Well, um, I asked my pastor like, what do I need to do? God started to give me the ability to, I was having dreams and I was hearing scripture verses I started to open my Bible and just some things that happened where I realized that the Holy Spirit is real.
So here’s one instance. I was walking in with my groceries.
I put down on the floor and I felt this, you need to call this, this Gail. and I want you to speak to her and I’ll tell you what to say when you call her. And I, I go, okay, yeah, I’ll do that later. And he is like, you’ll do it right now. I heard that in my spirit.
So I left the groceries there. I went upstairs, I opened my Bible and it was a verse in Jeremiah, I call this girl, first of all, I’m debating with God, you know? I’m like, she’s gonna think I’ve lost my mind. She doesn’t really know me. I don’t really know her, how I had her phone number. I don’t know. And I called her and I said, Hey, you don’t know me.
And she goes, well, yeah, Diane, I know you and you, you know, whatever, how the connection is. And I said, well, you might think I got a screw loose, but I feel like I’m supposed to call you and tell you this verse. And Jeremiah and I read it to her in silence. And I’m like, um, hello? And she’s sobbing and she says, Diane, I am so grateful that you called me because I know exactly.
Why God had you call, and I know what that verse is. It’s an answer for me. And you just keep being obedient to the Holy Spirit girl. Thank you
Margaret Ereneta: wow.
Diane Dassing: much. So that was the time that I was like, wow, this stuff is real. Like God speaks to his people and he, he moves you by his spirit to do things. And so yeah, that was, that was like my first really str I, I could tell you a hundred stories, honestly, Margaret, uh, of things like that that happened.
But it was just, that was the first time when I was like, okay, this, this really is real. It was so exciting,
Margaret Ereneta: So where did God take you on this wild ride? After you said yes and started saying yes, better.
Diane Dassing: I did. And most of it was starting to get into his word because I had this idea that God was like, The other men that I knew and in my past, it had been ones that just got what they needed or wanted, and then that was it. Um, I think I heard God as father so much, but I really didn’t, I hardly knew my own father because he worked nights, so we didn’t have a whole lot of time together.
And unfortunately I don’t have a whole lot of memory about my dad. So when they, when God is called Father, there was a disconnect for me. And I had put human characteristics on God, who, who’s not human, he’s holy. And so there was a bit of a, a problem there. So I needed to learn who God really is and what his character is like, and.
Uh, how he loves me personally. Uh, I always use us and, and you, but I had to start saying how God loves me and how do you do that? You opened the book. So I got into Bible study. The first one I was in, uh, uh, was a group. It was, it was kind of general, so that was great. But then I got into a precept study, precept upon Precept.
It’s a Kay Arthur study and the first book we did was the Gospel of John,
Margaret Ereneta: Yeah.
Diane Dassing: and it was, first of all, the teaching was so, Personal and so descriptive. When Kay was, uh, reading the scripture and then giving some history, I could see it like in my mind. I could see the, I could hear the horses walking. I could h see the dust flying from the feet of people.
I could smell the smells. I could see the, uh, description of the sea. It was just so I needed it so bad. It was like a sponge. And so we, I was through the whole gospel of John Precept upon precept, and my faith just started to soar. I felt that was such a great book for me to study because it made Jesus, you get to see him as a person.
And how he loved the disciples and how people treated him. I mean, the whole thing, all the way to the cross. How he, he really, it was anguish and all of it, so it, it made me feel like I really knew him. I was really getting to know him, and I really, ever since then, it’s been solid. Like there was not really a whole lot of doubt because it was just so, so tangible, so real, so embedded.
Uh, it was just a amazing, but I, and then I realized, wow, this is what everybody needs to do. They need to open their Bibles and read it. It’s just like he planned it that way. Yes. So that I really started growing in my faith.
Margaret Ereneta: That’s great. And then, um, you went into ministry, so tell us about that.
Diane Dassing: Okay. So. I had, um, always wanted to be staffed at a church.
So, uh, I was already involved in the support and recovery ministry. Uh, I was already going to secular meetings as well, or a A S A G, uh, all of those meetings. , so when I was approached to be a director of support and recovery at a large church in Naperville. It was scary, it was exciting. It was quite a process but Rick and I both knew that’s exactly what I needed to do. So I got to see, I had a front row seat to see God doing amazing things. So I was, I oversaw marriage ministry and there were marriages that were put back together.
There were people who were stuck in addiction that got free from that. Uh, we had a service where we had a worship component, a message component, a testimony component, and then a small group breakout.
you know, not everybody’s perfect. We haven’t all arrived. I mean, some people had some sobriety under the belt. Some were really in a struggle. just so many different things and God did miraculous stuff over there.
It, it was just, it was, uh, so exciting to be a part of that. And, uh, I, I did that for about five and a half years. And then, uh, the Lord, uh, told me it was time for me to step down. And, um, I thought he doesn’t know what he’s talking about because we went from, from having 40 people there on a regular basis to having, I don’t know, close to 200 And it was just phenomenal. And I thought, God, you don’t jump ship, like when things are going good, And, it was very clear that to me, I was starting to love that ministry almost more than I was really loving God or listening to him is how I viewed that. But I, I do remember.
When it was time for me to step down in writing the email saying somebody else is gonna have to take over from the teaching team. And, uh, it, it was one of the hardest things I ever did in my life.
Margaret Ereneta: Yeah.
Diane Dassing: Uh, I still cry about it when I really think about it cuz I loved doing it and the people that I served with and so many of the people that got healed and free during that time.
Um, but what he, what he did was he, he allowed me to let go of that so I could start something different cuz you can’t sit there and juggle all this, all this stuff together at one time. So I wrote a support and recovery curriculum, and it’s called Step Into Freedom and.
There’s probably been well over a hundred people that have gone through it and have gotten free. And you know, you gotta take a deep dive, right? Anything that’s surface is not gonna, is not going to bring too much healing. And those of us who have really gone and dug deep into the bottom of the, well, we need something that’s going to help us with that.
So you gotta take a deep dive. And so that was, a wonderful time to see people going through their program and getting free and that kind of thing. So I’m still doing small groups. I’m leading small groups. I’ll always love that I mentor women. I still do that. I don’t think I’ll ever stop doing that.
And just really, I. Loving people that I, I just have a passion for people who have struggled with the same thing that I have. And to know that it is never too late, never too late. He’s the God of the, the first chance, the second chance, the last chance, the fat chance. Right.
And he, he’s never tiring of us.
So that is so great. I’m glad he didn’t get tired of me. Um, so it’s heartbreaking when I hear somebody say, oh, they’ll never change. And I just smile and I go, I know people said that about me too. And Valla totally different.
Margaret Ereneta: wow.
so Kate Sperry is our intern and she, um, is producing this show and she’s gonna ask our last question.
Hello. So take us back to the Diane that was, you know, hitting rock bottom, with just the drugs and alcohol and the self-medicating instead of facing, uh, the hurt that was actually there. What advice would you give to others who are self-medicating like you were instead of facing their problems?
Diane Dassing: That’s a really good question. The advice I think I would give to somebody would be there is a better way. We all tend to think that we are. The ones in control. Like I would go, Hey, it’s my life, right? I should be able to do whatever I want. But I’m telling you, I’m not the judge of anything. And I am definitely not an experienced, uh, teacher.
I’m not the be all, end all, you know, queen of knowledge. But there is a better way because if I turn to an expert who can give me the tools I need, advice that I need, that has nothing but the best in store for me, that wants nothing but the best, then that’s the person that I wanna talk to. And that, of course is the Lord. Because us humans, we’re all flawed. Mean I’m, I could say I’ll never let you down. That’s a big lie cuz I’m gonna let you down. I’m gonna hurt you. I hope I don’t betray you, but chances are that I might. And so I’m not perfect. But there is somebody who’s perfect, who has nothing but great things in store and wants to do the best for you.
He has a best life plan for you. And that’s God. So it’s, there is, there is always hope. Hope is never gone. That’s what I love about God. Like I said, he’s the, the next chance, fat chance. Right. He never gives up. That’s what’s so wonderful about him. I mean, I think we all get to a point where we’re just think we’re lonely.
Nobody else understands us and things are never gonna change. That is, that’s not true. That’s a lie. And we start believing things like that unless we have something to counteract that. And that is the truth. So, and that comes strictly from the word of God. And that’s what really flipped the switch for me, that I had these ideas that weren’t really true and believed lies, and I needed to change that.
So open in the word is really what, what happened that changed me significantly.
Margaret Ereneta: Yeah. Wow. Jesus says he’s the way, the truth and the life, and he’s where his abundant life is, so that’s amazing.
Diane Dassing: That’s right. He is, he is the truth, not a truth. Not a way. Not the,
Yeah. That’s amazing. Thanks Diane for being on the show. Your story is so inspiring, inspired, and brought me and Margaret to tears. Um, and we just can’t wait to see, um, just how people are gonna react and respond to your story. Um, it truly is beautiful and it was a blessing to hear it.
Diane Dassing: Oh, thank you so much. It is really my honor and my joy to be able to share it, and I really pray that God will use it mightily for
Margaret Ereneta: Yeah. Awesome. That’s amazing.
Kate Sperry: This is Kate Sperry producer of today’s show. For today, send off one way. Intern Liv, LaDuc a student out. We in college wrote the spoken word for Diane. Please enjoy.
Liv LeDuc: No example to follow. So she went with what she knew. Substances to deal with grief. But it brought out anger too. A marriage heavy with. Baggage heart’s that? Wouldn’t let God in. Ignoring past traumas only led to more sin. At the young age of 20, her daughter was born. The responsibility was unwanted. So drugs became the norm.
By the grace of God, the dealing was halted. Though the idol of money was still looming large. Her only option was turning to a God who was fully in charge. New friends, encourage the couple toward the Lord. Hearing the gospel for the first time left her absolutely floored. Salvation and forgiveness only found in Christ.
Became a desire that truly enticed. A God who loved her and sacrificed himself for sin. On her 33rd birthday, she eagerly let him back in. Now she uses her past to share the good news. The gospel saving grace can be your story too.