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Thursday, September 24, 2015

Transformation

So apparently, the whole process of creating a blog vision and executing it takes longer than I thought, but I wanted to write and update you guys on my life, what God's been teaching me, and just be a little bit more casual on here.

The vision for the other blog is very much still being developed, I want to create an online resource for Christians struggling with acne, and other issues, and I want to create a place where I can share what God's been teaching me, just teach in general, summarize sermons I've heard at church, post sermons I've heard on youtube, and in general just create a place where people are simultaneously challenged, encouraged, and feel loved and at home. That's the big vision.

The problem is pulling it all together, creating it, and making it not all about image and good graphics and pictures. If this blog is going to be a thing, and going to be a part of my ministry, I want it to be led by God completely, and orchestrated and held in place by Him and FOR HIS GLORY, because if it's done in my own strength and for my glory, then it's all just in vain.
So I have been, a bit, but will be praying more how the blog should be created/designed, and how I should organize it, because I'm not sure how to connect the acne portion, to the christian resource portion, or if that should be a completely separate site. We shall see, and thanks for bearing with me throughout this process!

Now on to my life, what's been happening lately? Turns out, quite a lot!
August and September have been very full for me, I moved back into my parents house, and have a nice little nook here, started my senior year of college, joined the leadership team at BCM, and got a new job. It's taken some adjusting, but I felt throughout the summer that God was leading me to a new season in the fall, and that He definitely was, and although of course, there are some hard patches, God's been awesome at guiding the process and equipping me and blessing me in so many ways.

As I keep telling you about my life has been, I'm going to have to take a moment to brag on God, because He has been so amazing, answering prayers left and right, provision after provision, He's been growing me so much lately!
Before school even started, He called me to a week of prayer for the semester, for me, for the things He's going to do, and in the middle of it, He convicted me about evangelism, and actually gave me the boldness to evangelize to someone (PRAISE GOD!!), and He's just been doing so much in my life that I am just overflowing with thankfulness. 

And I'm not joking or over exaggerating when I say there has been SO much change and transformation, both in the past few weeks, and throughout this past year.  
Tomorrow and all of this weekend I'm going to the annual BCM beach retreat, that happens every fall semester in September, and I was just remembered how God used the Beach Retreat to connect me with Him again last semester, and how things were last semester and how different things are now because of Him.

I'll be going on my college ministry's beach retreat tomorrow, and thinking back to last year's beach retreat I remember how lost, confused, in pain, insecure, and alone I felt. I had just been through an incredibly painful time in my life, and was still limping emotionally, mentally, and physically like a wounded animal, I was insecure about my acne, and was unsure about anything having to do with God. I wanted answers, I wanted to feel closeness to Him, I wanted to know why I had to go through all that pain, and I wanted things to get better.
And You know what? God heard me, and He answered my prayers. He met me during that trip, especially during the special time we have with God alone, on the beach, where I got to cry, and yell at Him, and ask Him why He let me go through all that, and then let Him come to me and comfort me. To understand that His love for me was like the waves hitting the shores, over and over again, never stopping, an eternal motion. That He had a plan for me, and He loved me. 
He met me after that trip and continued to meet me throughout this entire year, and He's changed and taught me so much.
Sometimes I complain and cry about my life now, and wish things were better, but I shouldn't, not only because complaining is a sin, but also, when I look back and remember all He has done, and look back at the pictures and the journal entries I wrote, and everything He's done in my life, and repairing my relationship with Him, and growing me and disciplining me, and training me vigorously in godliness and holiness, showing me that He died for me and He loves me--that He is the Lord of everything and to be respected, feared and obeyed--I can only be overwhelmingly thankful. (A gigantic run-on sentence, I know. Bear with me friends, it's late, and I'm hungry!)

Now, fall is officially here, even though it still feels like the end of summer here, and God's been teaching me to die to myself and live for Him and for others, to pour myself out as a drink offering, and put my focus on loving, reaching out to, ministering to, evangelizing to, and encouraging others. 
So often I can be so self focused, and only think about my relationships with others in terms of what they are and aren't providing for me, but God's been reminding me and teaching me, and it's been AWESOME to see what He's been doing. 

And He's been blessing me all the way through it, through friends who call me in the middle of the night to help me with a speech when I posted online I was having trouble with it, to a hike in the woods where the beauty of the Florida woods just hits and warms my heart, He's constantly reminding me what a good God He is. 
And if you can believe it, I haven't even told you the half of what all He's been doing in my life! Hopefully those will be later posts :)

Be praying for me, and my walk, the blog vision, development, and execution/my ministry, and for the Beach Retreat this weekend, that I would yield myself and pour myself out to serve and love others, and that God would touch and speak to many hearts and lives this weekend--including mine!
I'll leave you with this passage: 

1 Corinthians 15:58


58 Therefore, my dear brothers and sisters, stand firm. Let nothing move you. Always give yourselves fully to the work of the Lord, because you know that your labor in the Lord is not in vain.
I love you all, and will be writing soon!
--Ariana

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