Time to Trust

Trust.

Commit

Sometimes it feels like I’ve got it down.

It becomes second nature… until things get turned upside down. You get pulled in a million different directions, and everyone and everything is top priority. It’s nice to feel wanted, and you wish that warm feeling would stay.

But it gets pushed out by the demands. Time squeezes you tighter, and breathing gets harder.

But you know it won’t always be so hard. You look back and see times in your life that weren’t this hectic.

I think that’s why God lets us have seasons when He sends us just a few smaller things to trust Him with. So we can learn to walk in faith, one step at a time. He is training us to be able to take the leap of faith He knows is coming down the road.

Being able to commit your life to someone requires incredible amounts of trust. You have to trust that the other person will love you and care for you for a lifetime. When they love and serve the Lord with their whole heart, this is possible. Not only is it possible, I’ve seen it happen.

I’ve seen this love and trust in the marriage of my parents, fiance’s parents, and grandparents. Through mentors, Sunday school leaders, and pastors. Because Christ is in them; and they are seeking the Lord daily. Their bond is deeper because their love is drawn from the Lord; and poured into their spouse.

Christ is selfless, understanding, and encouraging. He also gives reality checks can remove us from our stupor of self-focus. He cares for us so deeply, so unconditionally.

And that is what He calls us to do for our spouse.

I will be getting married soon, and I am so excited for that day! Joe is a man that truly loves the Lord and serves Him with his life; and I am honored to become his wife. The thing that first attracted me to him is the Jesus I see in him; and I know that love and attraction will only continue to grow. I love everything about him, and look forward to a lifetime of adventures with him!

In Christ,

Ariel

P.S. Thanks for being such an encouragement Joe! Life with you is a grand adventure 🙂

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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

Follow Through

Why don’t many good people follow through on what they say they will do?

I’m talking about the basics. Your friend tells you she/he would like to have dinner or coffee with you. You set a time, and are happy that you shall see your friend again. The time comes for coffee, and they bail on you. As if they had never suggested it in the first place.

It’s disappointing, isn’t it? It seems as if your time and expectations mean little to nothing. You had set aside time for them, and are hurt that they don’t respect your time. It especially hurts when your main love language is quality time*.

I’m not saying all your friends do this to you. I certainly have a few steady friends that I can count on, and their friendship is priceless.

When your friends let you down, don’t let it ruin your day (or week). We all have different characteristics, and once you know someone well, you will be able to appreciate them for who they are, quirks and all! Friendship takes two people who work on it, so if it is always one sided, that’s a different issue.

It makes me remember the one who never lets me down… God. Does He always work in the way I hope or expect? No. But He never leaves me to figure things out on my own. His love never fails. He continues to guide me, moment by moment, through His word and the Holy Spirit.

Romans 8:38-39

“38 For I am convinced that neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither the present nor the future, nor any powers, 39 neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord.”

*Don’t know your love languages? Check out the fun, free online short survey at: http://www.5lovelanguages.com/profile/  I really enjoyed taking the survey, and it helps if your family and friends take it too. Then you know how they receive and show love.

2015: Year of Confidence

I think confidence is contagious.

Think about it; whenever you are around a person that exudes confidence (not arrogance), you gain some of their strength. When they leave, you wonder what they have that you don’t. What makes them so free, so sure of who they are?

They know everything happens for a reason. They aren’t always striving for control, because they realize they have none. It can be scary to look out into the future, and not know what’s around the bend. But I serve God and believe He has great plans for my life, and I trust Him to work through all the trials to bring about something beautiful and more creative than I could’ve done on my own.

When I start to see all the obstacles and problems piling up around me, I get overwhelmed. How can I handle all these things? Why do I need to face this? It’s then that I stop myself. It’s not about the how and why. It’s about WHO. Who is with me? Who gives grace abundantly? Who has never left my side?

The same God that tells me I belong to Him. That His perfect love casts out my fear. The God that showed me exactly who I was, at a critical time in my life.

He continues to show me who I am; the Christian woman He has designed me to be. I just shake my head in disbelief at how far I still need to go. But then I smile when I look back, and see how far God has already brought me! It makes me excited for 2015-because God is going to do great things!

Be bold in prayer. Ask God to instill deep confidence and joy in you. Listen to His guidance and follow, because He knows the way. Keep your eyes open. Then be amazed at the work He does in and through you! I will be praying that God makes 2015 your year of growing in confidence, and embracing the person He designed you to be.

Proverbs 3:5-6 (NIV)

“5 Trust in the Lord with all your heart
    and lean not on your own understanding;
6    in all your ways submit to him,
    and he will make your paths straight.

Bible reference: http://www.biblegateway.com

 

Where’s Your Anchor?

anchor 2

Choppy Waters

You’ve come a long way, and parts of the journey were so much harder than you expected. Sometimes you thought you couldn’t bear the pain and disappointment a moment longer.

What got you through those hard times? I pray that all of you have friends or family in your lives that have helped you shoulder your burdens, lend a listening ear, and just be there for you. I personally recommend having a mentor who is not a relative. They can give you a perspective that is totally new, and get you back on track.

My anchor in the storm is Jesus Christ.

I’ve panicked a time or two as I saw water gushing into my boat. I’m not even a good swimmer, so being surrounded by water (aka trials) could naturally cause anxiety. I wasn’t prepared for this… but God knew that before the storm even came, that I would not feel ready. He knew that I would have to trust Him, and not my own strength.

In Matthew 8, we read of a stormy gale the disciples found themselves in. The disciples struggled with fear and panic during this storm even though many of them were seasoned fishermen!

Matthew 8:23-27 Jesus Calms the Storm

23 Then he got into the boat and his disciples followed him. 24 Suddenly a furious storm came up on the lake, so that the waves swept over the boat. But Jesus was sleeping.25 The disciples went and woke him, saying, “Lord, save us! We’re going to drown!”

26 He replied, “You of little faith, why are you so afraid?” Then he got up and rebuked the winds and the waves, and it was completely calm.

27 The men were amazed and asked, “What kind of man is this? Even the winds and the waves obey him!”

Jesus was not concerned by the waves. In fact, I think He knew they would come. This was an opportunity for the disciples to anchor their trust in Jesus. But their fear caused them to panic.

Even the Wind and the Waves

I’ve felt the rebuke, similar to the one the disciples heard that day. They saw Jesus do a miracle… just think, the wind and waves obeyed Him! The disciples were humbled and amazed. Their faith was strengthened because of it. When God acts, it doesn’t seem to be in our timing, or in the way we expect. Looking back, I’m sure the disciples could see times they could have acted differently, trusted more, or been more prepared.

We can’t undo our past, but we don’t need to. God’s grace covered them, and His grace covers us. We learn from the past so we can have a better tomorrow. We need to live today for God’s glory, and trust Him for tomorrow.

So… where is your anchor?

 

https://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=Matthew%208&version=NIV

Fear Not

La Veta

Isaiah 41:10

“Fear not, for I am with you;
Be not dismayed, for I am your God.
I will strengthen you,
Yes, I will help you,
I will uphold you with My righteous right hand.’

There are many things we fear in this life. Loss, pain, and public speaking, to name a few. Right now, my friends and I seem to be struggling with fear of not being fully prepared. We aren’t seeing the bigger picture God is so faithfully painting.

Leadership

When given a leadership position, whether that is at school, camp, or church, the burden of responsibility weighs heavily on our shoulders. Sometimes we think we aren’t qualified for the job, or that it was a bad idea for us to accept the position.

Do Great Things

God has called us to do great things! All for Him and His glory. When we humbly take on a leadership position, God is with us. We should not be dismayed, for God is already working in and through us! He is upholding you with His righteous right hand. Pray that He equips you with the skills, compassion, and fortitude to be a leader that brings the people in your care closer to the Savior. Be amazed at what God will do… in our weakness, He is strong!

Tomorrow my friends and I will be camp counselors. I pray that God will give the staff and campers open hearts to learn from Him, to see His love, and to enjoy the adventures He has planned! I am so grateful God has given me the opportunity to serve Him at Upon the Rock Christian Camp again this year.