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Wednesday, April 30, 2014

Metamorphasis/Assurance/Hope/Joy


Hey guys.
It's been a long time. 
A lot has happened, but that'll happen in four months.
I almost feel like I should be reintroducing myself, because it's true that every year you get older, you learn more, you have experience both that try to build you up and try to break you.
I'm twenty.
Writing it out makes it seem like such a landmark, and every year I change so much, I look at past pictures and it's almost like looking at a different person, because in so many ways, I was a different person. Every year I become a different person. 
My face changing always surprises me. This year, a little rounder, slightly different structure, my hair a little longer, more scars, but somehow, I don't mind.
It's hard to describe a period of transition when you're in it I think. When the dust is sort of settling, and there's hope in your heart despite of everything, because the future doesn't look bleak anymore.
I can look beyond today with hope.
Three months ago, that was all but stamped out.


Although I can't go into extreme detail right now, this past fall and winter and spring have been a time of pretty serious upheaval for me, causing me to question a lot of things I once relied on, and to really examine myself and what I believed and what I would ascribe to. Now before everyone goes and thinks that I've decided not to be a christian anymore--nothing could be farther from the truth. I love God, and without Him my life wouldn't have any meaning. But throughout the past six months I've run into some very serious spiritual questions which shook me to my foundations and nearly broke me. Honestly, I'm still working through some of them. Questions like: Why do we have to suffer in order for God to refine us? Can I really trust that my voice in my head that I could always trust as God's voice? Does God really have my best interests at heart? If so, why is all this happening to me? Why would He lead me into this blackness with seemingly no end in sight? Am I doing something wrong? Why won't God heal me? Healing happens instantaneously in the Bible, why isn't it happening to me? Do I just need to be patient like Job? Why is He letting me hurt this much?
I'm not saying every question is right or justified, but that's what I was feeling. Looking back, I still don't understand it all, but I know God never turned his back on me, the times that we weren't communicating were because I turned my back on Him, I was so hurt and angry that I didn't want to hear His voice. He was always reaching out with love, but I felt like He was a scam artist, promising happiness and giving me a broken heart. 
Although I have had times of reconciliation with God, and I no longer feel that I've lost my best Friend, I'm not quite the same person spiritually as I was before. My biggest prayer is to find a middle ground, to be confident in my spirit in knowing that what I believe is true and that God is good and He loves me and has a wonderful purpose for my life, and feel that same joy that makes me jump and dance and shout and cry in worship and adoration, and at the same time be so rooted and grounded in the Word. 
I know nothing is impossible with God, and I know I'm my biggest impediment to freedom and joy 90% of the time. But please just pray for me, all you out there. 
When I look at my life through unbiased eyes I realize that everything has a purpose, and most of the pressure I'm feeling right now is coming from myself, and He does His best to relieve my burdens even though I so often try to take them back again. 
He is my Beloved, and everything has a purpose, He made the highest heavens, and He has a plan for me, Oh my soul, what stops you from being joyful at the knowledge of this truth that surpasses all ages, that He died for me so that I can commune with Him and spend all eternity with Him, starting now?


I can get so caught up in my worries and my fears that I forget to give things to God, I got kind of out of the habit of doing that this fall, but I want to kick start my joy and faith and love in Him once more, and make my love relationship with Him the only thing I think about as I become one day further into eternity everyday. 

But I'm officially not in the teens anymore, I'm my toe into my twenties, which is so strange to think about, but at the same time it's exhilarating. That uprising, swelling feeling of hope is starting to birth in my heart again, that the future is big and wide and colorful, and the world waits to be explored and I want to explore it. I want to explore this earth God has given us, and all it has to offer, and I want to serve God while doing it, and drink in every second and not take for granted one moment. That's all I know right now.

The best way I can describe it all is that I'm growing and changing, and it isn't a necessarily pleasant process, like being wrapped up in a cocoon isn't really pleasant, but I must by joyful in my growth for without joy, hope, and faith in the Lord, what is this life but dust in my mouth? 
I've given excuses for my lack of joy for too long, I'm too stressed, I can't trust, I can't be happy unless everything is resolved, my life is going the way I thought it would---all that doesn't change the fact that I must chase after joy and all the fruits of the spirit, I must run after the Lord with all my heart, only to realize that He's closer than I every could have dreamed, and He loves me more than I every could have dared to hope or imagine. 

I'm not saying I know what to do in every situation, or even how to proceed right now. But there is reason to worship, there is reason to pray, there is reason to drink in the Word, there is reason to Hope because we are not alone in this existence, and even though it often seems so improbable, there's a God out there who cares more about us than pretty much anything. 
That's reason for joy. That's reason for hope. 


I preach to myself as I write, for even as I do, the doubts rise, memories flash before my eyes, my brain whirs, trying to steal my joy, take away my faith, because the enemy knows where to hit me. But he can't change that God has changed me. He can't change that God loves me. 
Doubts rise higher and I try to keep my head above water, how much longer before I trust Him to hold me up again? Hopefully right now, hopefully tomorrow.
I am in a cocoon and you are too. 
We aren't DONE. 
Isn't that marvelous? We'll never be done, because our lives are hidden with Christ on high. We must continuously ask for our minds to be renewed, for Him to continue completing the good work He began within us, for Him to make perfect those who are being made holy.
Doesn't the Word just fill up a hole inside of you? That thirst inside you, gasping for truth?
My Dad says this benediction sometimes before church ends, and it fills me with such a warmth and security every time I hear it, and so now, as this post comes to a close, I pray this over myself and you, dear reader.

14 For this reason I kneel before the Father, 15 from whom every family[a] in heaven and on earth derives its name. 16 I pray that out of his glorious riches he may strengthen you with power through his Spirit in your inner being, 17 so that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith. 
And I pray that you, being rooted and established in love, 18 may have power, together with all the Lord’s holy people, to grasp how wide and long and high and deep is the love of Christ, 19 and to know this love that surpasses knowledge—that you may be filled to the measure of all the fullness of God.
20 Now to him who is able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine, according to his power that is at work within us, 21 to him be glory in the church and in Christ Jesus throughout all generations, for ever and ever! 
Amen.

Ephesians 3:14-20

Doesn't that just fill you with His peace and assurance? That His love surpasses knowledge, and He will strengthen us with power through His spirit? That He can do immeasurably more than we ask or imagine?

But anyways :) Thank you for reading this post, thank you for caring about my life, and whether I know you or not, I pray that God just showers revelations of His love upon you.
I'm not done and neither are you.
But thankfully, we can go through this journey of life together, looking upward towards the Father.

All God's love,
Ariana




Thursday, January 2, 2014

One


2013 was like a roller coaster, that built up and up and up and then, without warning, hung over the edge for a second, and then plummeted, narrowly carrying me with it. I can't say that I accomplished everything I wanted to, but I'm learning. I had the best semester I ever had, and I had the worst semester I ever had. I had unrestrained joy and sorrow so thick that it nearly took me under, I had times of close intimacy with God and times where I was so angry with Him that I didn't want to pray. Times where I was surrounded by friends and a times where I almost completely isolated myself. Times when I cried and danced for joy, and times when my heart was utterly broken. I was content being single, and then adjusted to being in a godly relationship with an awesome guy. I did the right thing sometimes, and other times I did the wrong deliberately. 
So this year's New Year's post is going to be a little different. Most new year's posts involve hopes of big accomplishments--"I'm going to learn to play the ukulele! I'm going to stop eating chocolate! I'm going to lose 50 lbs! I'm going to learn a new language!" Most people make these resolutions in hopes of DOING more, of becoming a better person, but this year, I don't need more accomplishments, I need to take who I am, and where I am, reflect, heal, move on, and grow. Instead of being Martha who was so concerned with the things she was doing, and the details of her tasks and goals and to-do lists that she lost sight of the One thing that should matter, the only thing we should live for, and that is sitting at Jesus' feet, worshiping Him and soaking in His presence, and learning from Him, always learning and growing.  
My hopes for this 2014 are a little different.
I will have One goal, to repair my relationship with Jesus, to bring my broken heart to Him and move forward.
I hope to heal and grow.
I hope to conquer the fears holding me back.
I hope not to get back to where I used to be, but to move on to someplace better, to find a place in my faith where I have hope in peace that moves with me as I grow.
I hope to take nothing for granted, to give thanks for everything, and to pray every day, no matter how low I feel. 
I hope to walk in the anointing and calling Christ has given me, to not undermine myself or think of myself as lesser, but to take opportunities and live unashamed.
I hope to give more of myself to other people, to not let any insecurity hold me back from loving people, taking risks and dreaming dreams, being bold, saying yes more but still feeling secure saying no, trying new things and letting go.

I don't want a year obsessed with changing myself and image, I want a year where no matter what I'm doing, I can feel the presence of Jesus with me, and I can feel his peace within me. I want a year of no matter where I go, or how I grow, or how i stumble and fall, that I make being with Him the most important thing in my life, because in the end, what else matters?
2013 wasn't the perfect year. 2014 year isn't going to be a perfect year. But as long as I have Jesus, it's worth it, and it'll be good.
And to all of you who have stood beside me in some of my darkest hours, my family, my awesome boyfriend Zach, my girlfriends, I can't thank you enough. When I felt like giving up you guys kept me from going under, kept me from giving up on hope and faith, and didn't let me just sink. You fought for me, you prayed for me, you guys helped bring the joy that I had in 2013, and you lessened the sadness that I had. Thank you for loving me, praying for me, and never giving up on me. 
Here's to a new year.
2014.
It's going to be a good one.

Always,
Ariana