Hello! We have made it to May.
A personal highlight from the month: I hosted a prayer event after our weekly service and we brought our dogs. It was too cute.
Thank you again for supporting ministry during this season. Throughout April, I was continually thankful for how vibrant and comfortable my small group felt. God really laid the foundational work of making our group friends in the fall; we have been reaping the benefit of those sweet times spent in person during this covid season. These girls have become sweet friends of mine, and spending time with them has been encouraging in isolation. There has been a lot of laughter due to spotty wifi and funny faces from frozen scenes. Anyways, I have been grateful for being able to finish out this semester.
I wanted to share a testimony from a lady I’ve been studying with, Mariah. She is currently finishing her masters in social work. Pray for her as she starts her internship! Mariah has been someone who has inspired me a lot over this past year. She is a community builder and challenges me by how much scripture she consumes in a week. Seriously, the girl read all of Genesis in a week. It’s been a gift being able to watch her actively grow more like Christ. I asked if she could write a testimony for my blog, and boy, did she deliver.
"My journey to finding and following Christ has been one that’s been full of many ups and downs. Before moving out to Arlington, my view of ministry and who God was, was very unclear to me. For many years I was trapped in the mindset that limited my view of God’s goodness. My vision of who He was, was solely based on my circumstances and past experiences, which resulted in me slowly drifting away from my faith and relationship with Him. I fell into the routine that some of us are guilty of experiencing at some point and that was the routine of only attending church on Christmas and Easter and only praying whenever there was something I was wanting or “needing.” After being stuck in this pattern for so long, I began to view my faith as a lever that I pulled when I wanted a problem or situation to disappear, which made it quite difficult when my circumstances didn’t change. As my frustration and confusion began to build I slowly came to the realization that if my circumstances weren’t changing, maybe there was something I needed to do differently to better myself and my current season in life. That being said, I packed my bags and moved out to Arlington in August to attend graduate school here at UTA.
While attending UTA, I learned about a campus ministry called FOCUS through some friends but never really considered going. After weeks of having people reach out, I decided to attend one of their TNF’s at the beginning of October, and that was all it took for me to realize I needed to focus on my relationship with God. Seeing the love and passion that these individuals had for God was such a beautiful thing and inspired me in that exact moment to have and build a better relationship with Him. Over time I discovered that not only did these individuals within FOCUS have a strong love for our Lord and savior, they also had a deep love for one another.
After being a part of FOCUS for a little over 5 months, I have seen God transform my life and break the chains that weighed so heavily on me. Breaking my old habits hasn’t been easy, but with the love and support from the FOCUS community, I have been able to tackle and work through obstacles that I never imagined overcoming. As I write this, I am in awe of how far I have come. Though I can always be better and work on things to improve my character, I am finally in a place where I am loving the person I’ve become and that God has created me to be. It’s been a process to get to where I am, but I honestly owe the renewing of my heart and faith to the almighty God and the ENTIRE FOCUS community.
What I once viewed as some sort of lever, I now view as a lens. This lens consists of constantly focusing on God’s goodness, mercy, love, and promises, as well as Jesus’ sacrifice. God took the worst of who I was and placed it on Christ, then He took the best of Himself and put it inside me. This alone is, and will always be more than enough for me to praise and lift His name on high, and live my life according to His word".
To close, we’ve been finishing out the semester in our small group by studying James. It’s been a book that means a lot to me. It has so many great lessons like taming your tongue (James 3:9 says, “With the tongue we praise our Lord and Father, and with it we curse human beings, who have been made in God’s likeness”... Oh snap). But, the first chapter has such a timely reminder.
In verses 2-5, it says, “Consider it pure joy, my brothers and sisters,whenever you face trials of many kinds, because you know that the testing of your faith produces perseverance. Let perseverance finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything. If any of you lacks wisdom, you should ask God, who gives generously to all without finding fault, and it will be given to you”.
God is good and He wants to give us wisdom. Let’s approach Him with boldness.