Sink or Swim

Sometimes the most exciting time of your life is the busiest time of your life.

Getting a new job, falling in love, planning a wedding, maintaining relationships, and figuring out what married life will be like with your new spouse can get your mind bogged down.

But you wouldn’t trade it for anything. Because when you stop to take a breath, your heart fills up with praise to the Lord. You know your circumstances would not be the same if it weren’t for God working in your life.

Yes, this may be a time in your life when you are stressed. When your temper gets short, and things seem to fall apart.

But this is also the time when you have to seek the Lord more. Because the more you have going on, the more you need Him. You need His grace, His love, and His peace. These aren’t things you will gain from your busyness. These are the refreshing things you have when you are still, pray, and read the Word.

I encourage you not to wait until you are sinking to start to swim. It may be swimming against the stream, figuring out how to make time for God. My heart only has peace when it rests in Him. So it’s up to you; to swim hard and fast after the Lord, or sink under life’s demands. I pray God gives you the courage and energy you need to follow Him, no matter what.

Love in Christ,

Ariel

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

Be Still

Be still

Stillness.

One thing I continually struggle with is being still.

I like to go, to see, to explore and discover. I am a hiker, a reader, a writer, a friend. So why would I ever need to be still?

Stillness is such a rare value in our world today. With crazy hectic schedules, and everyone working or going to school, being still just doesn’t seem to be an option.

That’s because we have chosen to fill our days to overflowing. But if we are honest with ourselves, how many of those activities do we truly enjoy, need, or do very well?

Whenever I get overwhelmed with the schedules and to-do lists, I forget to be still.

But Christians are called to be still; so that we can know God better. And when I make time in my busy day to be still before the Lord, He never fails to reveal His love and grace to me. When I truly quiet my own heart to seek His, he floods my spirit with peace. Have you felt this kind of peace? This is the kind of peace everyone wants, but few attain.

So I ask you, what would your day look like if you scheduled time to meet with God, to pray, and read His word? It will be more than worth it. The Lord will amaze you, if you give Him the chance.

Love in Christ,

Ariel

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

The Power of Words

Have you ever seriously considered the impact of your words? People care about what you say. Your cynicism or judgement can bring down someone’s spirit.

Words can build us up, and words can tear us down.

I had someone say something to me the other day, and it continues to bother me. He may have meant it as a joke, but knowing him as I do, I couldn’t see the funny side of it. I felt he condemned me because I had to go to work, and had to miss church on a Sunday.

Does working on some Sundays make me less of a Christian? What about my relationship with God?

Have you ever treated someone with disdain because of this same issue? I used to be a lot more judgmental than I am today. But God used college, time, maturity, and perspective to give me a kinder and more understanding spirit. I realized that it’s all about your relationship with God.

Don’t get me wrong, I long for fellowship… and the day where I get to do that regularly with my church family.

But please don’t tear down my spirit when it is already downtrodden.

I need you to speak life, to care about each person you talk to. You could totally make someone’s day, just with a few words of encouragement. Be the light of Christ in their lives. Don’t make them feel bad for something they have no control over. Your words can build them up, and give them hope.

So, will you use words to build up, or tear down?

 

In Christ,

Ariel

Who Are You?

"Just be yourself. Let people see the real, imperfect, flawed, quirky, weird, beautiful, magical person that you are."

Who are you, deep down?

Are you the person you had always hoped you’d be?

Why or why not?

I have always been one to support authenticity. You, being you. I don’t get hung up on what other people think of me.

But that wasn’t always the case.

I’m a recovering people pleaser. I still love to bring a smile to a person’s face, and do all I can to make their day brighter. But my goal in life isn’t to win the affection or attention of others.

My goal is to please and bring glory to God, every day. I used to think this was really hard to do. After all, how do you please the One who is holy and fully righteous?

You please Him by using the gifts and abilities He has given you to show His love to people. You please Him when you go out of your way to help someone. Spend time with Him in prayer and quietness. Realize that he delights in you!

“The Lord your God in your midst, The Mighty One, will save; He will rejoice over you with gladness, He will quiet you with His love, He will rejoice over you with singing.”
Do you believe that God loves to rejoice over you? That you are His beloved child?
The opinions of others will never change the fact that God. Loves. You. You don’t have to live your life trying to gain approval from the world. If you are seeking the Lord and His will in your life, I can assure you that you will see His love and peace fill your heart and soul.
Are you ready for that?
In Christ,
Ariel

When Plans Go Awry

We plan, we muse, we decide. We think we know exactly what will happen, because we were so meticulous and disciplined in our efforts to plan the ideal day.

But at the end of the day, it’s not up to you.

It’s not up to you at the beginning of the day either.

I struggle with this, but you know what? I’ve gotten so much better.

Because when my plans go awry, I know God’s plan must be better.  He knew He had to derail my plan, so that I would follow His. It’s not that I’m always stubbornly walking in a different direction, but rather I don’t always see that my way is not compatible with His.

And then there are times when you realize the evil one has tripped you up… making it hard to find the narrow road again.

Plans change, but God does not. I want that fact to reassure you, not scare you. We can fully trust God because He is unchanging, and promises to work things together for the good of those who love Him.

Now, my daily hope is that God will guide me in the plan that He has for me. I want to be so close to His heart, that my first reaction is to be kind, loving, and understanding when things turn upside down.

Don’t fall into the pit of complaining and negativity when your plans fall apart. Once you get down there, it may be hard to dig yourself out. I’d like to challenge you to see it as an opportunity; to follow a new path, meet new people, and show God’s love to those you may not have even seen today, if it weren’t for Him taking the wheel.

Every time I surrender, and remember that God’s got this, I am filled with peace.


No matter where I am. No matter who I am with. No matter how many plans fall to the wayside. When my focus is on glorifying God with my life, He will turn my topsy turvy life right side up… and fill my heart with joy.

 

Praying you realize God’s plans for you are good, and that He will give you everything you need to press on.

In Christ,

Ariel

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

The Sun Makes All the Difference

Spring is struggling to overtake the cold of winter in Colorado. I went on a prayer walk this morning, and it was a chilly 48 degrees. Not too bad for a girl that likes the cold.

But factor in the wind and clouds, and it makes for an unpleasant walk.10425173_10202929640681786_4259218163954076281_n

Until the sun came out.

Have you often stopped to appreciate how the sun makes all the difference? I turned around, and let the sun warm my face despite the cold breeze.

It was powerful, bright, and cheered me up.

Then I realized that even more important than the sun, is the Son that makes all the difference.

The life and sacrifice of Jesus Christ changes the way I live my daily life. Because of His gift of grace and eternal life, I am a new creation.

2 Corinthians 5:17, “Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, the new creation has come: The old has gone, the new is here!”

Do you believe the sun is still shining on the bad days? Are you letting the Son shine in and through you? What would your life look like if you were seeking to please Him above all else?

Cristi, a good friend of mine, helped me put it in perspective a few years ago. We were discussing how things had gotten stressful, and how we couldn’t see the end of it all. It happened to be an overcast day. By the end of our conversation, we came to this mutual conclusion: Even though you can’t see the sun, you know it’s still there. It’s that way with God too; He is always at work in our lives, bringing about His good plan in our lives… even on the hard days. Hold on, sunny days are coming!

At work, when I’m with friends, and when I am writing, my desire is to share God’s love and encourage others. You may feel like the world around you is crashing down, and that the sun may never shine again. If you gain anything from these words today, I hope it is this:

When Christ is in you, the sun is always shining. There is always hope… Because the Son makes all the difference.

In Christ,

Ariel