Bloom Where You Are Planted - A Letter from Ali
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To my sista-friends:
When I was little, I always dreamed of a big, adventurous life, traveling the world with my family, seeing incredible things. I craved adventure. As I got older, reality opened my eyes that my life might not be as grandiose as I had imagined… in fact… it was probably going to be ordinary. Yes, I would go on to do great things and it would be a fantastic life, but I probably won’t be a popular celebrity with world renown recognition; I probably won’t find a cure for any disease; and I most likely won’t write the next best-selling adventure novel. My life probably won’t look extraordinary in the eyes of the world.
I’m a youth director at a church in an unknown city in Texas. My life consists of the routine, everyday lists and tasks that need to get done. I have a family and friends to love, a career to put my heart and soul into, and a God to serve in whatever capacity He asks of me.
Our hearts crave adventure, but what happens when our life looks seemingly mundane…. What if it even looks….. ordinary? Does God still use us? Is life still worth living?
Yes. 100% yes. All the yes.
It’s in the ordinary where we find our sanctity.
During this time of Advent, I think of the means in which our Savior collided with our world. He was born in a small, probably smelly barn in an ordinary city; he was surrounded by ordinary farm animals; his throne, a feeding trough for the animals made of ordinary wood. However, it was by His very presence entering into the ordinary that those means became extraordinary.
Jesus used the wood of the cross as a means to save the world through his death. God can use the seemingly ordinary, unimportant things in our life and elevate it to be used in unimaginable ways. The same thing with your heart. Jesus is using you in the everyday, mundane tasks to bring about His Kingdom in this world.
So I’ll continue being present to wherever I am, doing the job that has been set before me, not wishing I was anywhere else other than where my feet are planted. There’s a reason why the Psalms say He is a light unto my path, where my feet are planted, and not my horizon. It’s only where my feet are planted can I do what God is calling me to do. My sanctity is found in the ordinary, knowing that God is using my ordinary heart to show His extraordinary love to this world.
Get to know Ali
Co-Youth Director and Professional Hand-Letterer & Watercolorist
Please introduce yourself!
My name is Ali Hoffman. I am sassy and single 27 year old living in Dallas, Texas working as a co-Youth Director at a parish. I’m in charge of faith formation for 6th-12th graders. I’m also a professional doodler/hand letterer/watercolorist and CarSync Dancer (insta: TheOodlesOfDoodles).
What do the first two hours of your day look like?
I love sloooow, peaceful, relaxing mornings. The very first thing I do in the morning, as soon as I open my eyes, is say, “Good morning, my Love… Mother Mary, teach me how to love Jesus perfectly as you do.” I go to work later in the morning, so I have enough time to drink a cup of creamer with a dash of coffee while I get ready, dancing wildly in my bathroom. Then I usually head out to my office to get ready for my work day!
Describe your favorite part of your current occupation.
Honestly, just being with the youth, especially on longer trips, mission trips, conferences, retreats, etc. I love getting to know their hearts, what they struggle with, what’s hard about their lives… I also LOVE being silly with them. One of my all-time favorite things are the different silly shenanigans we can come up with for our youth nights. Lip Sync battles are a reoccurring favorite.
In my side job, I love creating pieces from the imagination of my clients. They essentially give me a quote, verse, or phrase to letter and usually give me free reign to design. To see what I can come up with and exercise those creative muscles is so rewarding.
What's one fear that keeps you up at night?
Honestly, the fear of not moving when the Lord says “move.” There have been times in my life where I KNOW the Holy Spirit is nudging me to reach out to whoever is in front of me, and I become paralyzed to inaction. I want to be so docile to the Holy Spirit that I immediately move where He leads.
Tell us about the first time you experienced a strong sense of belonging in the church.
When I was a missionary with NET Ministries, I traveled with a team of other young adults. The sense of Catholic Community for those years really opened my eyes to show me how much I am apart of this universal Church. I didn’t grow up Catholic, and when my dad moved our family into the Catholic Church, I was confused, angry, hurt, and was intent on not remaining Catholic when I was an adult. However, serving with NET Ministries completely changed my life in how I view my role not only in the Church, but in the world.
Tell us about a woman you look up to!
Number one woman in my life, hands down, is my mom. She is the definition of joy; she never holds grudges, but quickly forgives and continues to love fiercely. She is one of the hardest working women I know… and she loves to laugh :) Another woman I want to emulate my life after is Saint Teresa of Calcutta. I have a *healthy obsession with her and how she lived her life. I want to view the world through her eyes — moved to action through compassion, and really seeing people for who they are, as living, breathing tabernacles made in the image and likeness of God.
Favorite character ever. Go!
Either Leslie Knope from Parks and Recreation (TV) because she is an encouraging, compassionate leader and she knows how to get stuff done (and she loves to dance AND eat waffles, win win) — OR — Hadassah from the series of books, Mark of the Lion by Francine Rivers. Set in Rome right after the fall of Jerusalem and the persecution of Christians in late first century, Haddassah, a Christian slave in a wealthy Roman family, shows what it means to truly live in a hostile world towards Christianity, all the while loving her enemies and serving Jesus above everything. It’s an AMAZING series.