Peace and Quiet

The crumpled wrapping paper has been tossed, the twinkling lights have dimmed. No more Christmas songs on the radio. What do we do now, after such a season of light and joy? Just get back into our old routine?
I’d like to suggest another way.
We just celebrated the birth of the Prince of Peace. So my goal for the New Year is to trust the Lord more and be filled with His peace. This peace is steady and unending, though we must slow down to receive it.
We all need some peace and quiet.

Colossians 3:15 Let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts, since as members of one body you were called to peace. And be thankful.

Colossians 3:15 is especially relevant for all of us right now. Let your heart be ruled and guided by the peace of Christ. We as Christians should be known for being peaceful and kind. And don’t forget the last part! Being thankful for all the blessings you have now, and the rest of the year will give you a positive outlook and contentment on a daily basis.

Philippians 4:7 And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.

Can we fully understand how the peace of God works? No, but we can rest assured that His peace is always available, and will guard our hearts and minds. Don’t be ruled by to-do lists, stressful situations, work, or disappointments. Pray that the Lord would fill you with His peace, and rest in the comfort of knowing God’s love for you never fails.

Love in Christ,

Ariel

Bible verses found at Biblegateway.com

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

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

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

A Thankful Heart is a Happy Heart

Thanks Snoopy

We all have things to be thankful for.

Since I’m a curious person, I have to ask… do you thank anyone? If a stranger opens the door for you, if you get the job you’ve been hoping for, or get a new car, or even if you got green lights on the way to your friend’s house, do you stop to give thanks? Do you desire to express gratitude somehow?

I often hear people complain. I try to counter their complaint by putting a positive spin on it. For example, if you come to me upset because you had an awful drive in to work, I will say at least it wasn’t in a blizzard (unless it was… then I will join you in your misery ;)! Either way, you got here safely, so all is well.

Blind to the Blessings

How recently have you talked to someone who refused to be positive? Not just a glass half empty, but bone dry? To hear them talk, you’d think that their lives are miserable… but most of the time, it’s actually their attitude and focus that keeps them from seeing the blessings all around them.

It’s Your Choice

When we choose to focus on all the things that are going wrong (aka not going according to plan), of course we’ll be miserable. Whatever you allow to dwell in your heart will grow. This can cause you to be joyful and thankful, or bitter and selfish. Why not try replacing negative thoughts with positive ones? Not only will this make you a more positive person, but it will encourage the people around you.

Now is a perfect time to reflect on all your blessings! A thankful heart is a happy heart. Think I’m wrong? Try it and find out ;).

I always love making lists of blessings. It always returns my focus to the One who gave me this life, and the people and blessings that make it beautiful.

Here’s my list:

1. Thanksgiving with friends and family

2. A new job

3. A reliable car

4. Sunny days that melt the blues away

5. God’s grace

There are many more that I haven’t listed! Whenever I start to feel down, I add to the list.

Happy Thanksgiving!

The Heart of a Dreamer

To Live

We are the warriors, ready to slay the dragon.

We dream of a world with more laughter and less pain.

We see more than meets the eye.

We are the Dreamers.

As a dreamer, we believe we can accomplish anything we set our minds too. And sometimes, we don’t understand when others give up easily.

Big Dreams, Big Risks

Do they not know that the biggest dreams require the biggest risks? That seeing something come to life takes a lot of sweat and tears?

Have you given up? Maybe you dreamed, and the dream came up empty. You tried, and everything fell apart… or you were too afraid to try. Did someone, somewhere, tell you that you couldn’t do it? That you’d never be good enough, smart enough, or good-looking enough to reach your dream? Please stop believing those lies.

Take a moment to soak this in: God isn’t done with you. He still has dreams and plans for your life.

Deep down, you know it’s true.

You let the dream go, thinking it could never be. But is that hope I see? That little seed of your dream has just been dormant. Now that it is seeing light, it wants to grow. Will you water it? Some days it may seem to just sit there, not growing or changing. But don’t let it wither away. Work at it, fertilize it, and give it sunlight.

Even More Beautiful

When the time is right, God will bring about a more beautiful bloom than you imagined. Actually, it will be quite different than what you thought the seed would produce. But isn’t that what makes it even more beautiful? The fact that you can tell it was not of your own doing, but Christ at work in and through you, bringing your dream into being?

Guess what?! You are not limited to one dream. On the contrary, you shall have many dreams. Not all of them will be your job to see through from start to finish. You will need people to join you in making your dream happen, people who believe in you, and people to make you think outside the box. Then they may take on your dream as their own, and God calls you elsewhere.

Keep Dreaming!

Either way, keep dreaming, keep fighting, and keep believing. The adventure with Christ is a lifelong one… and someday I truly desire to hear “Well done, my good and faithful servant,” from the One who loved me and held my hand every day of the journey.

Are you excited for an awfully big adventure?

 

Inspiration for this blog is from:

You’re Made for a God-sized Dream, by Holley Gerth

Let’s Be Independent Together!

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Yes, Yes I Am

You’re independent, they tell you. Independence seems to make singleness an attractive status, does it not? You can do whatever you want, whenever. What about the times you really want to be doing your “independent” thing with someone else? When you are hoping to share the adventure? More than that, you want to share laughter, ideas, and time.

This scene from Rudolph the Red Nosed Reindeer describes independence eloquently… and also makes me smile, so I hope it does the same for you!

Does independence free you, or cage you? Do you make decisions to go out, do more and learn new things, regardless of who (if anyone) is by your side? Or do you wait around by yourself, hoping someone will remember you? When you seclude yourself, you open the door to letting your thoughts and the lies you’ve heard become more and more real. You start to convince yourself that this is how it will always be, and that you don’t deserve someone.

That’s not true. We were created to be in relationship with God, first of all. It’s important to remember that God made Adam… and then He made Eve. It wasn’t good for man to be alone, so God sent Eve to fill that need.

God Knows the Desires of Your Heart

We cannot fill each other’s emptiness. The ache for companionship and love is only truly filled by God. Once your heart belongs to God, you are in the right place. God knows the desires of your heart… and if you are willing to ask Him to make His desires your desires, you are going to have a full, wonderful life! If He placed the desire in your heart to be married, He will fulfill that desire. He knows your spouse, and you, better than you know yourself. He knows what you need to be learning while you are still single, so that you will be ready to be the best you for the love of your life. I have to remind myself not to get so caught up with my plans and my timing… because God holds time in His hands, and has the bigger picture.

Choose to Live!

I’m going to live this day fully, by being the spunky independent woman God made me to be. Being single and spending time alone isn’t the worst thing ever. That’s when God speaks to your heart. But… I’m definitely excited for being independent together someday!