What's going on in my life

I miss writing this blog, but for various reasons, I've gotten away from it. I'd like to continue, even if no one out there even checks it anymore.

To start out, I figured I'd provide a "status update" of what's going on in my life these days:
I live in my own home, a condo which I love. I have a roommate, which is not a bad thing. I’m thankful for Bethany, and I believe that God provided her to me. I’m helping her out by giving her a room and bathroom of her own, and she’s helping me out—her rent matches almost exactly what Severn River Church was paying me.
My family brings me joy, although I wish that my father were in better health. I really wish that he were completely healed, but he isn’t languishing at death’s door. Like Job, he has never cursed God in all this physical trial. My nieces and nephews are a light in my sometimes dark moments, and I love spending time with them. My siblings are the pillars I lean on, and my parents are the love that formed me and still keeps me grounded in reality.
I work for the Y, and no, I’m not completely fulfilled. It’s a job, and I know how to do it well. I have good people I work with, most of whom are people of God. I’m thankful to the executives for the leadership program that I was selected for (an intensive 6 month leadership cohort for only 20 employees out of 1600). I’ve been using it to help me grow in my skills as a minister. I know that it’s making me confront issues that I need to confront in order to become the leader that God has called me to be. I hope to find a full-time ministry position, but times are hard, even in churches. For now, I’m thankful that God provided a way to pay my bills and keep my home. I have not “left” ministry, and I look forward to the chance to take on another church in need of outreach. I have great ideas stored up for the day that God opens the next door.

I’ve been depressed lately, but didn’t want to admit it out loud. I’ve just carried the secret deep inside of me, carefully guarding it, like I guard my tears late at night or in my car alone on the way to work every day. The funny thing is that I don’t think I’ve fooled anyone. My closest friends and family know without me admitting it or not. In fact, seeing their worry and hesitancy to talk about anything serious with me, adds another level of pain. I don’t want them to be worried, and I’d much rather they talk to me than about me. It’s like they are afraid of my anger or my pain, and while I know that they might not find it easy or pleasant to talk me for real, I need them to do that.
So, how do I feel about all this? Here's what I know: I am not what happens to me. I lead because of who I am, I make decisions based on who I am, not what has happened to me. I share these experiences with everyone who has led me to this place, with those who prayed me out, who followed me and hoped and believed in me. I also share those experiences with those who failed to believe in me, credited false motives to me, or believed the worst. I just don’t give them a voice anymore.
Before I was ever a pastor at Severn River Church, God loved me. In fact, He loved me before I was saved, filled with the Spirit, or called into ministry. He loved me regardless of my sermons, my years on the missionfield, my abilities, gifts, or personality. He loved me before I even knew Him, and He loves me still. He loves me today, when I struggle with where I am in life, compared to where I wish I was. He loves me whether I'm laughing or crying. He loves me, and nothing in my past, present, or future can separate me from His love or His purpose for my life.

That's what is happening with me lately; what's new with you?

Ariel Rainey