Community

To my church, maybe I am just one person, a face among many. But among the many faces, there are some that absolutely bless my heart.

I have been through some really tough times this past month, but God has truly met me in my need. It’s been hard, choosing to cleave myself off of a friend. I was not good for her. I was not healthy for her and I was not helping her to grow. But, in that loss and I have learned great joy. I truly believe God meets your needs and fills them to the brim, if only you let Him, lean into Him and move with Him. For a long time, I was resisting Him. I was pushing against Him, trying to figure out my own way. I have recently begun surrendering my will to Him, letting Him lead and guide me. I have given up friendships and choices to Him, and it has been tough.

I have asked Him for grace to accept the situation. I wholeheartedly believe I have. Through many steps, I have given up my will to Him, and forgiven myself for my mistakes and let Jesus really pay the price for my sins, all the while still knowing I’ll fail, but doing my best and giving my all to being obedient to Him; if only to glorify Him.

All this to say, today has truly filled my heart with so much joy. I volunteer my time to the children’s ministry at the check-in desk. Here, I can move and float between classrooms, and help new families settle into this huge church’s giant kids system. In these moments, I have learned children’ names, their quirks and I’ve been able to connect to families. While I was helping another family, a mother waited by the desk with her son, waiting for me to have a moment to take a step back. When I was finished, I heard saying, as she waved her son’s hand at me “Say bye to Ariana!”

Another family passes by, as I travel the hallways, greeting families and bidding them a good week. One family, who’s youngest daughter I simply adore and just love to pieces, sees me. As they pass they call to their daughter, “Ariana’s saying bye! Say bye!” She runs past me, waving and smiling, shouting bye quickly. I happily respond my goodbyes and wave a goodbye to her parents as well. They flash a grateful smile, “Bye, Ariana. Have a great week.”

Such small gestures, but such a huge blessing. As He has promised,

And God is able to make all grace abound to you, so that having all sufficiency in all things at all times, you may abound in every good work.

2 Corinthians 9:8

I was also able to help a family by putting them into the system. I try to be as bright and cheerful as I can so that the kids feel comfortable and excited to join such a large and new classroom. The eldest daughter was so happy to say her name and birthday, and guide her younger sister through the sign-in as well. She also told me her baby sister’s birthday, which is required for our kids ministry to sort children into their age-appropriate classrooms. I commented on how she was so helpful, and she seemed to seem with pride. And after classes, as the left to go home, waving them good bye and calling them by name seemed to help their parents feel comfortable that they would belong.

And finally, one of my church members and her husband pass bye. She greets me with a warm hug and we walk together, laughing and talking about dogs. My husband joins us and we laugh about various things. Racial ambiguity, languages, dog-sitting, and we all sit in service together. For her and her husband to treat myself and my husband like life-long friends and to ask to see more of us outside of church, for her to offer babysitting my dog and ask for me to baby sit her own children; it was the prayer for friend sand family at our church to come true. It felt like the pieces of my heart were coming together, and it is all because God. I have let Him in and let myself be vulnerable to Him, and as He has promised He is here to cherish and protect my heart. “…To give me life, and give it in the full” (1 John 10:10).

I also really wanted to bless someone, and today this woman sat behind me in sermon. As we wrapped up our Sunday with a final three worship songs (Jesus Paid it All, Tremble and O, Praise the Name), I had the blessing and privilege of hearing her absolutely beautiful voice sing praise to God and cry out to Him in worship. Before she walked off, I had to turn around to her, and just tell her how much I loved her voice and found it so beautiful. I hope she felt blessed. I pray that she felt joy, God’s joy through my words.

I am so thankful and so grateful for these small moments that have passed and may fade into the many Sundays of the year. This is why I want to – to the point of having to – write about it. So one day I can look back on it and see God’s amazing love and remember it. Remember how much it means and meant to me. To see how much I mean to Him.

I want whoever is reading this to know, you might be one person. But to God you can be used to love and spread joy.

I pray blessings for anyone and everyone who reads this.

Have a happy Sunday!

God Bless
w/ love

Ari

Leadership?

I’ve never particularly viewed myself as a leader. At least, I haven’t for a long while. I suppose it’s because I used to, as a kid. And no one seemed to notice that, or I did not interpret it in that way. I don’t know, who thinks that abstract as a child? I was rarely noticed, growing up. I was usually in the background, second to someone else. Someone else would be thought of the be the leader or to be the head. To be fair, it is because they always stepped up. In a vicious cycle, I shied away from the leadership role, and when no one noticed my attributes, it affirmed my insecurities. Interesting how the spirit of insecurity can really drive that deep.

But I renounce that and give this to God. I’ve recently taken up a leadership role in my church’s children’s ministry and I am excited. I cannot wait to have my gifts and talents be used for God. and I cannot wait to see how He grows me and changes me. I can only pray for strength, because being leader means taking responsibilities for others, and taking care of my team, watching and shepherding them, and being someone who is there to support them. It’s kind of scary, too. It’s a huge responsibility.

I also have so many dreams for this team. It’s a small part of a huge ministry of a huge church, but even the eardrum is a small part of the body. I want to be a support for parents, be able to help them and guide them through the complex system of our Children’s Ministry. I want to be able to support other teachers, and be a member they can reach out to. I have so many ideas, so many dreams and maybe, that’s why God has placed me here.

It was so encouraging to hear that the Head of the Children’s ministry and someone who was once her assistant both thought of me right away for this position. It was affirming. And, hearing that really helped solidify my belief that this is where God has taken me and is guiding. This is where I am meant to be, and this is where He wants me to do His works, for His glory. In Him, with Him and Him through me, I can be a leader. I can be the leader I once thought I could be. I hope in my leadership, I am humble like Jesus and love on my team the way He loved on his disciples. I pray that my dreams and goals line up with God’s and through me He can execute a part of His glorious plan.

All in all, I am so excited to serve Jesus. I am so excited to be used by Jesus. I am so excited to be a part of this plan- this masterpiece. I cannot wait to see His plans unfold and fall in love with him. Love him deeper, love Him harder and to feel His great and immense love for me. This place in my faith, I am so happy. I am so overwhelmed and excited to have God and have a relationship with Him. I have not desired God so much in so long and it feels so good to yearn for Him, His love, His presence, Him again.

Father God,

thank you for choosing me. I am not worthy. But by Your actions, Your blood I have merit. Please use me, in anyway you can. If it scares me, help me to lean in You and trust in You. Help me to walk in faith through the fear. Show me a truth today, tomorrow see me do it.

Ariana

Thank you for reading. I am in this place in my faith where, I feel so close to God. I really want to reach out to Him, be with Him.

God bless
w/ love

Ari