Updated: Jan 14
By Ariana Altiery-Rivera
God's Brave Women - Ariana's Story
A few years ago, I sat on a bus in the Dominican Republic next to my church’s missions director, Marisol. Our ride was long, the bus was crowded and the scenery just got more rural as we went. We stopped off at a dirt town and more passengers got on. A mother with three small children struggled to hold their hands, carry the baby and carry their bags. At this point in our trip I thought I knew Marisol pretty well. We had been together for almost a month, living in an orphanage teaching children and serving the leaders. I knew that she would offer to help the woman, so I watched.
As the poor and struggling mother passed our seats, Marisol reached out to her and offered to hold the baby for the duration of their trip. The mother sized us both up, checking to see if we looked dangerous and then, in an exhausted and relieved tone, said yes. Marisol held the tired toddler on her lap. We quickly realized from the little girl’s skin that she had a disease. There were bumps and boils all over her arms. I mentioned it to Marisol, thinking that maybe we shouldn’t be so close, and she turned to me and said, “no weapon formed against us will prosper, we’re just loving her.” So we held and hugged and played with that little girl for hours. That moment taught me what I need to know about bravery as a Christian. Bravery is behaving like you believe something.
"That moment taught me what I need to know about bravery as a Christian. Bravery is behaving like you believe something."
Last week my husband and I announced to our world that after Thanksgiving we are going to pack up our lives here in Chicago and move to Nashville. That means leaving all we know. Our families are here, our friends, our church, my great-paying steady job, basically our security. We’re going because we know that home has become our comfort zone. On a trip to Nashville earlier this summer, after visiting a horrifying apartment complex, I had a bit of a breakdown in our hotel room at the end of the night. “Why are we leaving everything behind again?,” I cried out through my tears. My husband laid down next to me and said, “Ariana, if we stay in Chicago, we can live a good life. But I think we will miss out on God’s creativity if we do. Asking Him to do for us, what we have already seen Him do for others, will keep us from seeing how big He really is.”
The next morning, I woke up with a pep in my step. I was still skeptical, but I had decided to cling to my husband’s words from the night before and behave like I believed him. We were packing up to leave because we had appointments to see more apartments. As we were leaving, a friend of Aaron’s in Nashville texted him. Aaron mentioned we were in town looking at potential places and he suggested a town just outside the city that we hadn’t seen before. In the car I did a quick Google search to see if there were any apartment complexes we could afford and maybe visit that day. The first one that popped up looked great. We picked our apartment that day.
Moving away from everything you know is scary. Heck. Sometimes it feels downright stupid. And it feels weird calling someone doing something stupid, brave. So I won’t call myself brave. I will just say that in this season, I am choosing to behave like I believe the words spoken over me. I think that feels easier to swallow. If we discuss bravery like a small daily decision vs. a whole state of being and trade being a brave person for having a brave moment, it feels more realistic. I feel like it can apply to me.
"If we discuss bravery like a small daily decision vs. a whole state of being and trade being a brave person for having a brave moment, it feels more realistic. I feel like it can apply to me."
We met with our pastor a few weeks ago to tell him about the move, and he spoke this over us: “No eye has seen, no ear has heard, and no mind has imagined what God has for you on the other side of your faith.” That’s part 1 Corinthians 2:9 and part his encouragement. It fired me up, and I am clinging to this word and behaving like I believe it. I’m willing to share this word with you women. Read it like it is being said to you (in actuality it is because The Word is for you!). Let's adjust our behavior to reflect our new beliefs. Let’s be brave together.
Check back next week as another Courageous Sister shares her story!
And by the way...
You are Brave!
If these ladies' words registered with your heart, make sure to grab your copy of the BRAVE WOMAN MANIFESTO: Five Things to Tell Yourself When Life Gets Hard for FREE by clicking HERE. God has made you in His image, which means you are full of His strength and grit. You may not feel this way all the time, but girl... You are Brave. You were born to be.
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Ariana is a wife, writer, and a women’s leader. She’s passionate about making marriage fun, road-trips and women telling their God-written stories. She is leaving her hometown, Chicago, later this year and along with her husband, Aaron, pursuing a more creative life in Nashville. You can follow this journey by following their new joint account @ariveracompany on Instagram. She is currently working on a book about her life and recovery as a pastor’s kid and building a women’s community at @theheysociety. You can follow her on Instagram @heyaririvera for testimonies, encouragement and pretty manicures!