Where I Serve

For the longest time, I knew that as a Christian, you are supposed to give your time, money, and talent to the Church. It’s what I was taught at a very young age, and my mom lived this out to it’s fullest. She was a great example of this. If she wasn’t home when she was a stay-at-home mom, she was at church giving her time and talent as an artist. So as a youth, I gave my time helping at events for the church and parish school I attended. My mom also gave me 50 cents or a dollar to give on Sundays to get me into the habit of giving money to the Church. (I know some people have a hard time with the concept of giving money to the Church especially with the bad reputation of certain, not all, megachurches abusing the concept. The truth is that God asks for our first fruits of our labor. Ten percent is they general rule of thumb, but God wants us to be cheerful givers. If you aren’t cheerful about giving a certain amount, He will be happy with what you do choose to give. If you don’t want to give anything but you feel forced, He doesn’t want it. That’s off topic, but for some verses on where this is stated, check out Leviticus 27:30-33, Numbers 18:21-28, and Matthew 23:23-24. Anyways, what I was lacking was serving with my talents. I sang in the choir but it wasn’t for him. I just liked singing. As I have gotten older, I noticed I either lost that talent or I never really had it to begin with. Let’s face it, I suck, but that’s okay haha.

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Wrapping up the youth pastor to “gift her” to her new job

As I was figuring out what I wanted to do with my life and how God wanted use me for His glory, I figured out that the struggles I went through after high school were meant for more. They didn’t happen for me to suffer. God put it on my heart to bring children and adolescents closer to Him so that they wouldn’t feel the need to turn to someone like a boyfriend or girlfriend to feel loved. So this brought me to youth ministry.

I started with teaching 8th and 9th grade at the church I grew up in (Catholic). As my relationship with God transformed, I went to a different church (non-denominational). I then worked with the 4th and 5th grade student. I then went to middle school, and I am now working with the 2nd grade students. I tell you… THESE KIDS ARE AMAZING! They give me so much energy for God and lift up my entire week. They say the cutest things like “are you a mom? You should be a mom! You would be great at it!” Haha. And that was even after I had to scold a child for being too rambunctious. I wasn’t even being their best friend. I was being the adult like you need to be when parents put their kids in your care. I get to see them grow in their immature faith. I get to see them get out of their comfort zone. I mean, seriously… like 10 year old boy wants to be singing Silent Night when he’s a “cool kid.” Well, I saw it! I honestly cannot wait to do this full time and as my job!

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Paper Plate Twister

Christians are called to serve God and those around us. 1 Peter 4:10 says “Each of you should use whatever gift you have received to serve others, as faithful stewards of God‘s grace in its various forms.” So I want to encourage you to find where you can use your talents or time to serve God’s people and those that don’t even know Him. 

Call to Action: How do you currently serve? How could you serve but just haven’t found the courage to start?

 

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XO Ashton

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Storms Can Be Messy

Despite my age, I have gone through many storms in my life, and some were not as big as others. Through these experiences, I have learned many things about life, others, and even myself. Instead of letting these hinder my life, I have taken the lessons learned to heart. Now, don’t get me wrong… I let them get to me at first, but then I really take a hard look at how it could work forms good instead of staying in the depressive state it brings me to initially.

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Storms in nature make a mess. Leaves and branches fall, and houses get torn apart. Everything too weak to withstand the storm gets blown away. Life storms do the same thing. They can strip us of our personality and character. Storms make a mess of our life, but we can use this as a chance to rebuild. We can make new and better habits for our lives. For me, this included personal development books and podcasts, going back to school, new friends, a new church, and new hobbies like this blog.

I believe that God allows us to go through these storms of life so that we can be reshaped and renewed. Instead of getting mad at Him, we should continue to praise Him and ask for Him to show us how He can use this for our near or distant future. I love the song “Praise You In This Storm” by Casting Crowns because it really paints this picture well. You can view it down below.

Here are some Bible verses for some inspiration

-Trust in him at all times, you people; pour out your hearts to him, for God is our refuge ~Psalm 62:8

-I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me. ~Philippians 4:13

-The Lord is my strength and shield. I trust him with all my heart. He helps me, and my heart is filled with joy. I burst out in songs of thanksgiving. ~Psalm 28:7

-So we do not lose heart. Through our outer self is wasting away, out inner self is being renewed day by day. For this light momentary affliction is preparing for us an eternal weight of glory beyond all comparison, as we look not to the things that are seen but to the things that are unseen. For the things that are seen are transient, but the things that are unseen are eternal. ~2 Corinthians 4:16-18

 

XO Ashton