Our Purpose as Winners

Today, at church, was absolutely amazing for me. It marked my first time back in church ministry after a two month hiatus!! I took a break from ministry given all that had happened in the past few months. It was one of the wisest decisions I ever made. I had a good break to find my identity in Christ once again.

I rejoined my church’s worship team. If I were to describe how I felt while worshipping, it was these three words: beautifulworthy, and alive. My God saved me from destructive and suicidal thoughts. Not only did He save me, but He still saw me as worthy to be a worker for His kingdom. I’m back in worship and praise, letting the melodies and lyrics resonate through my mind, heart, and to my soul. Letting Him – His glory and goodness – resonate through every bone in my body, so that others may draw near to Him. This is only because He is so faithful. He’s not done with me, yet.

You, my brother or sister, have a purpose, too. Whatever the struggle may be, simply surrendering it to God the Father enables Him to make such great use of it. We are so blessed to be able to surrender everything we have because of Christ, for He already bore our transgressions. If Christ won, then we are not losers. We are winners. We are winners of souls – servants of God who call on others to find their purpose and their great worth.

You are NOT done yet. Please, please don’t give up. I beg you. He holds you lovingly in His open arms. He’s not done with you. He was clearly not done with me. Better yet, I know He still has so much more for me.

because you will not abandon me to the realm of the dead, nor will you let your faithful one see decay. – Psalm 16:10

With much love,

– Ariel

Why

I love my journal. I write my prayers, my SOAP devotionals (Scripture, Observation, Application & Prayer – thank you Pastor Joey and Pastor Gigi!), my thoughts, random lists, and once in a while I’ll sketch in it. I strongly suggest anyone to take out a piece of paper and pen and to just write. Get your thoughts down and write what you’re truly feeling.

One day after work this week I sat at Washington Square Park and pulled out my journal. I made a quick sketch of the arch and the fountain. As I sketched I took note of the quote engraved on the arch by Washington:

Let us raise a standard to which the wise and the honest can repair. The event is in the hand of God.”

The quote simply solidified thoughts I’ve had for sometime. I keep thinking about the importance of honesty and knowing the “why.”

For example, you post a beautiful but filtered picture on Instagram of a moment in your life. Why? Is it really for you to keep track of your own memories, or is it for the rest of the world to see and to “like”?

Or you’re a college student who needs to make sure he/she is a part of this club, and that club, and that organization, and that non-profit. Why? To “look good” on your resumé?

As I also read the bible and write more of my SOAPs, I notice how honest and how real Jesus was. When He saw that his temple was being used as a market place, He was so angry and drove all of the animals and all of the people out. Jesus saw injustice and was angry. It was okay for Him to feel that way and to do what was right. He didn’t care if others disapproved of His actions. (John 2:15-16)

Can we all please take a step back and just be real? Imagine how much more productive your community would be if everyone looked inside themselves, rather than looked at what they believe others want to see. I realize more and more, too, that authenticity was the thing I once lacked. I had taken on responsibilities and lost myself along the way. I’d do all that I could to put down my “negative” emotions of anger and sadness, instead of giving it to Jesus. I was so controlling of my own emotions. I took the wheel. By the time I entered the psych unit, Jesus finally pushed the brakes and had me come to a short stop.

I drew this because drawing anything with an amazing view is one of my favorite leisure activities. It helps me to calm and wind down from long days (we all need something like that). I share this picture with you now to get you to think about why you do the things you do. I refer back to this page in my journal to ask myself the same.

IMG_6174 copy

My “why” to everything is now in the hand of God. With much love,

– Ariel

Ladies – Just have Fun

Just wanted to share that I treated myself to a pedicure for the first time yesterday. My feet and toenails are gorgeous now.

Ladies – don’t forget to treat yourself and relax every once in a while! We’re all God’s princesses. We deserve the best 🙂 With much love,

– Ariel

Words and apologies

The words of the reckless pierce like swords, but the tongue of the wise brings healing. (‭Proverbs‬ ‭12‬:‭18‬ NIV)

I started reading the book, Speak Love by Annie F. Downs. After reading the first chapter and a half of the second, I immediately thought

Crap.

She speaks about the power of words – how they’re used to either build up or destroy. As I thought about myself in the past, I couldn’t help but tear up. I used to hate myself. I’d curse myself out, call myself “stupid,” and just blatantly told myself to die. I’m realizing now just how powerful those words were. They sought to destroy my soul.

Not only was I destroying myself with my words, but I hurt the people I loved most:

To my beautiful sisters, Alissa and Andrea, I’m so sorry. I’m sorry for having said awful things to you both when you’ve always been nothing but good to me. Please forgive me as God has.

To anonymous, I’m sorry I pushed you away with such harsh words. I’m sorry for piercing you in the times you tried to help. I pray for God’s faithful hand upon you.

To myself, I’m sorry I hated you so much. I’m sorry for not taking good care of you as God wanted me to. No longer are you the things that I once told you. Instead you are beautiful, intelligent, brave, and precious in God’s eyes.

Annie Downs mentions that the beauty of it all is God’s forgiveness. He is so good. He forgives me and says it’s all good girl. What’s even better is that I believe that through this blog He’s given me a chance of redemption – to speak words of love and encouragement, instead of words of hatred and death.

I strongly encourage anyone to read this book! I only started reading it yesterday and I don’t want to put it down. God bless and happy reading! With much love,


– Ariel

Honest(l)y

Today is Wednesday, May 27th, 2015. I had my third appointment with my psychiatrist earlier today.

I noticed how much easier it is for me to tell my psychiatrist/therapist how it is that I am truly feeling. I can be as honest as possible with them. It’s a big step after being known in the psychiatric unit for “beating around the bush” with my own problems. Whenever the psychiatrist asked me “why” it was that I was feeling a certain way, I’d groan at her and say, “why is my least favorite question.” I’d talk a lot, but never actually spoke. I was afraid to admit my true feelings.

I told my psychiatrist today about the anger I’ve been feeling lately. I told her about the stories I’d hear about other people committing suicide, getting anxiety, or beating themselves down with extreme negativity. I cried when I told her the two words that bother me the most because of these things: People die.

This session helped me to see that in therapy, I can tell what it is that bothers me or makes me happy without feeling ashamed. I can be vulnerable if I want to. Talking about what’s been new lately has been a great exercise of getting me to be not just honest with the therapist/psychiatrist, but to be honest with myself.

Therapy is something we can all benefit from. It keeps my feelings, thoughts, and emotions in check. How can we continue living our lives if we’re simply not being real with ourselves? With much love,

Ariel

—ness

Thankfulness and Mindfulness are my new favorite “–ness”s since I’ve been out of the psych unit 😄

Yeah, a lot of things may have happened before to have gotten me to feel fed up with life: school, relationship problems, hurting myself because of doing things that I shouldn’t have done, stressful responsibilities – but can we just stop and think about where we are now?

As I write this I’m currently on my way home from an awesome-sauce weekend in North Carolina with family. It’s been a week since I finished with classes(!) It’s a really beautiful day out. The skies are bright blue with puffy, dragon-looking (sorry – I’m a childhood/special education major) clouds. I’m thinking about the many people in my life who love and support me. I’m even thinking about how thankful I am for the people who were supposed to be there for me, but weren’t. They helped me to see who and what it is that I really need in my life.

Stop and think for a second and ask:

Where does God have you right now?

  • Where are you standing/sitting?
  • What are you doing?
  • What are you thinking and/or feeling, and why?

If you’re thinking about something and letting it catastrophize into x, y, and z, then stop. What was your initial problem? How can you deal with that, and that alone?

Just slow down, and think about it for a second. God has you where you are for a reason 🙂 With all my love,

– Ariel