In the Morning

Sometimes the day fades, and so does your confidence. You’ve been facing trials left and right, and nothing seems to change.

I have had a few challenging weeks lately. Bad news, my nephew being sick, stress at work, and now I have a cold. Life seems to kick you when you’re down.

But there is always the morning. Every day I open my eyes, I realize that God still has a plan for me. He has given me another day to make a difference. He is making a beautiful tapestry out of the story of my life. Every day and every person matters.

Psalm 143:8:

Every sunrise is a reminder that God loves us, and that His mercies are new. He hasn’t forgotten about you, dear heart. I want you to know that the One true God that you entrust your life with, loves you unfailingly and unconditionally.

When we diligently seek Him and prayer and read His word, He opens the way before us. Psalm 119:105 says,”Your word is a lamp for my feet, a light on my path.” He will show us the way we should go, as we wait in trust and hope.

He may not reveal as much of the path as we wish He would. But He gives us one step at a time-and gives us the courage to keep going even when met with changes and obstacles. Without the strength of the Lord, I would have given up so many times. You know what’s amazing? He believes in me; that with the Holy Spirit I am going to accomplish much for the His glory. All my sins and mishaps are forgiven, and will not keep Him from working through me to reach others for His kingdom.

I hope tomorrow morning brings new hope and joy for you! Remember His unfailing love for you, and praise Him.

Love in Christ,

Ariel

 

Picture courtesy of Pinterest

 

 

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On the Bright Side

 

It has been brought to my attention, that some people do have things go according to plan.

I was a little shocked, to be honest.

In my life, things don’t go according to plan all the time. Things I order online can get lost, or they send the wrong thing. I am a bona fide red light magnet. I have to allow 5 extra minutes whenever I go anywhere.

And I always pick the longest line at the grocery store. 😉

I’m not being cynical at all. These are just really common occurrences in my life, so I look at them as facts.

Things go crazy, life is turned upside down. But where is your focus when everything comes crashing down? A lot of times, my focus is on me. My troubles, my decisions, and how and when it will all end.

But that is where anxiety creeps in. When you are so focused on all the what-ifs, you lose sight of the big picture. Worse than that, you lose sight of the One who has the complete picture.

So here is your chance to take a step back, and try to see things from a new perspective. Yes, the little things in life will get to you. They will frustrate you so much that all you want to do in sink into self pity. But look up, and see that the Light is still shining.

Light of the world

John 8:12 “When Jesus spoke again to the people, he said, “I am the light of the world. Whoever follows me will never walk in darkness, but will have the light of life.”

Let His light shine on your circumstances, and you’ll see that they are not as dark and bleak as you had thought before. Even on your darkest, saddest days, His light still shines. Will you walk away from it, or towards it? Reside in the light of His Presence, and know the peace that passes all understanding.

 

 

heart ~Ariel

Bible reference: Bible Gateway

Picture: Pinterest

Think About It

Philippians 48

Philippians 4:8 NIV

Finally, brothers and sisters, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable—if anything is excellent or praiseworthy—think about such things.”

This is the way to control our thought lives. We must be willing to take every thought captive, and submit it to the will of the Holy Spirit.

Believe me, I know it is hard. But it becomes easier with practice.

What do you focus on? What gives you the most happiness? What are your doubts?

Whenever I become down or depressed, I take time to be alone, and pray. Then I ask God, are the things I’m telling myself true? Is what that person said about me true? Is that thought lovely?

He will tell you, if you take time to listen. I am so grateful God gave us a guide to live by. Some people may argue that the Bible isn’t relevant to modern day. They would be wrong. The truths and promises laid out in God’s word are timeless. We get to learn about the history of our faith, and the people God chose to lead the way. And most importantly, we learn about salvation through Jesus Christ.

Our God is timeless, trustworthy, and omnipotent. He is true, noble, right, pure, lovely, admirable, excellent, and praiseworthy.

So a mind and heart focused on Him is pure indeed.

Whenever your thoughts get out of control, take a moment and give them to God. Ask Him to replace your thoughts with His. Be filled the joy that comes from knowing that He loves you.

No matter what.

In Christ,

Ariel

Verses found on Pinterest and Biblegateway

Say Goodbye to Ordinary!

Ordinary.

This word is usually associated with being boring, normal, average, or just okay.

Maybe you view your life as ordinary. Maybe the monotony of your day to day life has worn you down, and caused you to see the glass as half empty.

But life is so much more than meets the eye! The possibilities are endless. God is infinitely creative, and loves to work in the lives of those who have faith in Him.

2 Corinthians 5:17

“Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, the new creation has come: The old has gone, the new is here!”
We don’t have to be the way we were before Christ came in and turned our world upside down. Actually, there’s no way we could ever be the same! He has called us out of darkness, and into His marvelous light.
The light reveals the good, bad, and the ugly. That must be why some of us run from it. But God can make beautiful things out of the ashes of broken dreams and stained lives.
Dig into His word. Pray. Find out all you can about the One you follow. As you pursue God with your whole heart, you are on the grandest adventure imaginable!
I’ll be honest with you. It won’t be predictable, easy, or always fun. But you know what it will be? It will be beautiful, peaceful, joyful, and full of the love that only God can give. This is how I live my life, and I couldn’t imagine it any other way.
I love this song by Gungor:
So what do you say? Want to exchange the ordinary for the extraordinary adventure God has called you to?

In Christ, Ariel

Bible verse found at: www.biblegateway.com

The Beauty of the Past

I just spent an amazing weekend helping my Upon the Rock Camp family put on a fundraising banquet. I have been a part of this camp since I was a camper. This is my 16th summer knowing and loving this family and the camp they have been building.

It reminded me how much I miss them, and wish that camp wasn’t such a long drive away.

You know what touched me the most about my visit? The fact that the girls, 15 and 14, remembered a lot of fun things we had done together, at camp and when I lived with them as a camp intern, really made my heart happy.

We reminisced about crazy camp stories, campers that tested our patience, and how we all felt like family.

They even named an action after me… called the sassy Ariel; using your index finger to show just how opinionated or serious you are about the matter at hand, and is also a friendly warning not to mess with the person speaking. 😉

We laughed and laughed, but eventually it was time for me to go. As I drove away early Sunday morning, I had tears in my eyes. I miss them, and wish the visit had been longer.

Even the sunrise seemed to bid me farewell:

20150426_060522

I want to ask you to remind someone about a great memory you have of them. It can be from years ago, or more recently. The fact that you remembered them will touch their heart in ways you can’t imagine. Go brighten someone’s day by showing you value and enjoy them!

heartAriel

He is calling, will you answer?

“Make every effort to accept as your calling the life I have assigned to you… If I have called you to a situation, I will give you everything you need to endure it–and even to find joy in the midst of it.” Sarah Young

Life; here and now, is what He has called you too! I always thought of my “calling” as something specific that would happen in the future. But He calls us every day! To rise up, face challenges, and bring Him glory. We are called to represent the light of Christ in this dark world.

I’ll admit I get caught up in my hopes for the future… and sometimes miss out on the blessings of today! God has called us to live in today, not worry about tomorrow. There are many people you will come into contact with today. How will you show them the love of Christ?

It’s true, loving others and reaching out will take you out of your comfort zone. It’s easy to fall into a routine, day in, day out. But His calling on your life remains. When you know the love of Christ, His spirit in you should make you eager to share it. His love is so deep, there is enough to spread throughout the whole world… so how about we start with our own little corners of it?

The situations at home, work, and within ourselves may be challenging. But when we are focused on God, He gives us everything we need to endure it, and even find some joy in the midst of it!

My current situation has me in a period of waiting… which is so against my nature. I like to go places, meet people, and experience new things. God has shown me that I needed this slow time to reconnect with old friends, build new friendships, appreciate my family, and grow closer to Him. He has been, and will be, my Joy!

Inspiration for this post is from the devotional “Jesus Today” by Sarah Young. I highly recommend it!

When will you believe you are wonderfully made?

Hi Friends,

I am excited to tell you that I have been featured as a guest blogger on Blogs by Christian Women! My post is about self-esteem and where we should find our true value. This post was written with women in mind, but men can also find encouragement from Psalm 139, my inspiration for the post.

Comparison is a good self-esteem’s worst enemy. In our perspective, we think that woman is prettier, smarter, thinner, and more graceful than we’ll ever be. She gets so much attention and everyone wants to be her friend. How can I be more like her?

Those thoughts will destroy you…

Please read more at: http://blogsbychristianwomen.com/2014/11/believe-wonderfully-made/

Thank you! Hope you have a lovely week. 🙂

Snow Day!

snoopy comic

Snow Days are Special

When you grew up like I did, snow days were pretty much non-existent. So when you finally have one, it is so special!

Why, you may ask? Because I was homeschooled… and I loved it! My mom is a great teacher.

Living in Colorado, we’ve had tons of snow. But since our school work literally surrounded us, we got to keep studying when there was a fresh coat of snow in the backyard. After studying, we could go outside to play.

The Day Finally Came

There was 3 feet of snow, and no one was going anywhere. I was still a kid, about 12 years old… and the snow was magical. My mom declared a snow day (aka no studying), and dad even stayed home from work!

We dug out igloos, built snowmen, and had a snowball fight in our big backyard. Back then, I didn’t really like snowball fights, because my brothers were really rough. Nowadays, if you challenged me to a snow fight, I would be up for it! The day wasn’t complete without snow slushies-using only the purest white snow, of course.

As we 4 kids came back in, we all began to thaw as mom made us hot cocoa. Everyone had flushed faces, cold hands, and warm smiles.

This week of November has been decidedly arctic. With temperatures dipping into the negatives, the snow seems warm compared to the air. I’m a little jealous of my Arizona friends right now!

The roads were so icy, and it was -1 outside. I called my awesome boss, and he let me stay home! So I spent the day figuring out a quilt design, doing laundry, watching ridiculous wedding shows with my mom, and making grilled cheese and tomato soup. There was no snowman building, because when it’s this cold, staying inside is waaayy more fun. I had a wonderful day!

What’s Your Favorite Snow Day Memory?

I’d love to hear about your favorite snow day memory in the comments below! Stay warm, drink some cocoa, and share some stories with friends and family this weekend. 🙂

Do you want joy that lasts?

Joyful journey

Joy.

What is it? Do you think it is the same as happiness? If it was, why do we have a different word to describe it?

God has taught me a lot about joy the past couple years. These have been the most challenging years of my life. I had a difficult job that had me crunching numbers all day (and, as you can see, I prefer writing), moving away to college (and graduating!), and relationships that broke into a million pieces… and left me broken as well.

Wait. I thought this was supposed to be about joy!

It still is. The back story is necessary to show that joy is not the same as happiness. I was not happy trying to develop the math side of my brain, or happy that a close friend told me they’d be there, then broke off our friendship completely.

At those low moments, God wrapped me up in His arms. He gave me peace, and peace’s friend joy showed up too. I decided I wanted them to stay. I love this quote that defines joy:

“Joy is the settled assurance that God is in control of all the details of my life, the quiet confidence that ultimately everything is going to be alright, and the determined choice to praise God in every situation.” Rick Warren

Trusting

Settled assurance reminds me of peacefully trusting God. As a child of God, in the end everything will be alright. It will be way better than alright, it will be awesome! It is a determined choice to praise God. Another way of doing that is thanking Him. Have you tried thanking Him for the trials, such as health issues or broken relationships? Yeah right, you say. Honestly, a few years ago, thanking Him for those things would’ve sounded ridiculous to me too. But not anymore.

Why? Because when I thank God for what He will do through the difficulties, I am showing Him I trust Him. His ways are much higher than mine, and I believe He has a plan for me.

“As the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways and my thoughts than your thoughts.

What Now?

The situation may not change. The friend may never ask for forgiveness, and your health concerns may stick around. What truly changes is our attitude. Thanking God, and therefore praising Him, opens your heart to receive the amazing, incomparable joy that He gives lavishly. Go on and soak it up!

John 15:10-12 

“If you keep my commands, you will remain in my love, just as I have kept my Father’s commands and remain in his love. I have told you this so that my joy may be in you and that your joy may be complete. My command is this: Love each other as I have loved you.” (Jesus’ words)

Thanks for reading! I’m praying that you will be abundantly blessed with the joy of the Lord.

 

References:

https://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=John+15:9-11&version=NIV

http://rickwarren.org/devotional/english/the-definition-of-joy