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

Broken Girl in a Broken World

To be honest, I’m so broken.

I try so hard to always be upbeat, to encourage, to brighten your day. This is a very integral part of who God made me. We all need someone who redirects our focus onto the good, and reminds us to have hope. Because there is always hope.

I struggle with physical health issues. I don’t usually talk about them, because they make me feel weak, broken, and like I have less to offer. I think that somehow, my issues will turn you away.

Then God told me that this is part of His plan. That His power is made perfect in my weakness.

2 Corinthians 12:9 “But he said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ’s power may rest on me.”

So I won’t try to hide it. I have a big boot on my foot right now, something I wasn’t anticipating. Apparently I’m such a hardcore skier that I injured myself without even falling down ;). This road to recovery is coming at the most inconvenient time, as I just got a new job that has me on my feet all day. I haven’t started the job yet, so Lord willing I will be on the mend before I have to be on my feet.

This is definitely going to slow me down. I’m usually running around, doing Zumba, meeting up with friends, volunteering, hiking, you name it. So “slow” is not something I’m keen on. But I’m going to keep my eyes open and heart in tune to what God needs to show me. There is a purpose in this, even though I can’t see it.

Maybe you struggle with health issues too. You aren’t alone, and God is not punishing you. We live in a broken world, full of broken people. The way you handle your unfortunate health problems is a testimony to those around you; either good or bad. Will you choose to seek God, and be open to learning? That is my goal with my latest news.

Keep fighting the good fight! Don’t let your circumstances steal your hope and joy. For God’s love is constant, and never ends. These trials just make heaven seem so much more amazing, and I look forward to being there!

This song never fails to lift my spirit; hope it does the same for you!

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

Camp Craziness

Photograph by Tessa Powell

Photograph by Tessa Powell (Counselors at Upon the Rock Christian Camp, overseeing archery with 8 year olds)

Oh. My. Goodness. Camp was crazy. There were barely 2 minutes to close my eyes and rest, before I needed to jump out of bed and motivate some campers.

My prayer was that God would be glorified through the amazing people that served as staff for Upon the Rock Christian Camp.

God answered a hearty “yes” to that prayer! I had the privilege of being on a 3 woman counseling team that worked well together. We watched over and guided 6 little girls for 5 days.

We did archery, funyaks, Bible time, and campfire (to name a few). We were never on time to anything, but managed to get to Bible time every night (Must have been God’s will!). I was always protecting, loving, praying for and playing with these dear girls.

I was bone-tired, 3 days in.

It was a humbling experience for a girl that loves God, children, the outdoors, and the life-changing nature of Christian camp.

But this was part of God’s plan. I had tried to do it all, but He wanted me to be emptied of myself; my expectations, my plans, my energy.

That is when He filled me. Once I was empty, He filled me with His love, grace, and joy so that I could pour into the lives of the campers. Not on my own strength, but His.

It was the most challenging week of my life, but also very rewarding. One of my campers was asked “What was your favorite part about camp?”. She replied “I learned what it means to quench the Spirit’s fire.” My jaw dropped. Her answer wasn’t art, campfire, or getting her hair braided. Jesus had touched her heart; and that, my friends, is what makes all the effort and tears worth it.