Growth can be very uncomfortable and this month’s blog reminded me of that. It was honestly a bit uncomfortable for me to write because of the eerie similarities Hilary and I have. Throughout the interview, I broke down a couple times because many of the memories of my past are still painful. However, the more we hold on to our past, the more shame to linger. True freedom requires spiritual growth and growth takes time. Hilary is such a great example of that and I am truly honored to be able to share her inspiring story of how she overcame an unhealthy season of her life.
I first met Hilary when I began attending Family Church. She is such a phenomenal woman; leader of the youth ministry, mother of two, pastors wife, model, actress, and fellow blogger. We first linked up for coffee and realized then I had to share her story. As Hilary stated after hearing my story she realized she wanted to be a part of this campaign because as women we all have a common denominator, struggle. She wanted the opportunity to be a part of something bigger than herself, a part of a community to show how God uses us in ways we can never begin to understand.
Hilary has been married to Matt Ansell for 6 years; in her About Me page on her blog, she describes him as "this guy who is as crazy as I am, who happens to be smoking hot, and is pretty amazing." When she first met him she stated she was very career driven, that is the word she initially used to describe herself. As the interview went on she admitted she was very self-centered, didn't treat people very well, and was not the nicest person. She was only a part of relationships (whether it was friendships, business relationships or romantic relationships) with people who could do something for her. This, of course, caused her to continue meeting people that would let her down.
Feeling empty and unhappy lead her to hook up with a lot of guys. She began to link her self-worth to sex because in those moments she felt wanted, desired, and sought after. For a long time, she hid who she really was due to fear of pushing people away if she showed them who she really was. Without knowing her that long, the moment Matt met her, he saw her for who she could be and not who she was. Never having experienced this before scared her, and she slowly began to push him away. I believe many of us could relate to her story in some shape or form, I know I did. For so many years, I searched for love in all the wrong places. Being married meant nothing to me back then, all I cared about was my happiness and I would stop at nothing in the attempt to find it. Just like her, I was in a very unhealthy season of my life. And only by the grace of God were we able to overcome that season. Throughout this journey, I have come to understand that you can't build a life of purity with a foundation of sin.
The old me would allow sin and shame stop me from building a real relationship with God. Hilary also realized the flip in her life was when she continued to seek God despite her mistakes. It was at that moment that God began to break down walls in her life. She talks about how God has strengthened her marriage and how through His grace, her brokenness has been made beautiful. In addition to her sharing her amazing God-centered marriage, we talk about being a pastor wife, her role as a leader for the youth ministry, being a mother, and juggling her many roles.
God has answered many prayers in her life. One of the most powerful ones has been their son's heart condition, which you can read more about it here. In the end, we both have come to understand that God uses our stories for great things, even the most painful moments. Our hope is that women who may still be stuck in their insecurities, feeling like their not enough, or unworthy will let go and let God.
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Crystal Arriola is a woman on fire for God. In this months podcast, we talk about her healing journey, faith, and the truth about network marketing. To learn more about her follow her journey.