evenTHOUGH

This life can be overwhelming. We can be overwhelmed by situations in our personal lives, anxieties about the world we live in, or even worries about our futures. Sometimes things in this life work out exactly the way we plan, but sometimes our plans completely fall apart. Sometimes we feel at peace and sometimes we look around and wonder how we will ever make it to tomorrow. Life is full of ups, downs, twists, and turns, but how do we approach God through it all?

Habakkuk was a prophet of the Lord that wrote a book in the Bible. Habakkuk’s book is a three-chapter conversation between him and God. Habakkuk’s prayers to God were full of fear because everywhere he looked, he saw destruction and violence. Habakkuk cried out to God asking Him why he had to watch and face so much misery. He asked God how long did he have to call for help before God intervened. How many times have we felt like Habakkuk? How many times have we seen violence or destruction in our lives and world? How many times have we asked God how long will we have to cry for help before He intervenes?

Throughout Habakkuk’s conversation with God, the Lord revealed to Habakkuk that there would be hard times, but that He had a plan. The Lord explained to Habakkuk that even when God’s plan seems slow in coming, he must wait patiently because it will surely take place and it will not be delayed (Habakkuk 2:3). Sometimes we can approach situations in life like Habakkuk. We can see destruction and immediately begin to fear. We cry out to God and feel as if He isn’t going to show up in time. We feel overwhelmed by this life and begin to question God’s timing and plans; however, we must trust in the Lord. We must believe in His plan and His timing. Just like God promised to Habakkuk, He promises to us that, if we wait patiently, His plan will SURELY take place and it will NOT be delayed.

In whatever we face throughout this life, we must trust and believe in God’s plans and timing. In Habakkuk’s prayer, he explained, “Even though the fig trees have no blossoms, and there are no grapes on the vines; even though the olive crop fails, and the fields lie empty and barren; even though the flocks die in the fields, and the cattle barns are empty, yet I will rejoice in the Lord!” Even though all Habakkuk saw was destruction and he had nothing left, he chose to rejoice in the Lord. He chose to be joyful in the God of his salvation because he knew that the Lord was his strength (Habakkuk 3:18-19).

Even though we face hard times, He is there. Even though all we see is destruction or failure, God is in control. Even though we see no solution and we are overwhelmed by our situation, God has a plan. Even though we feel like we will never obtain our victory or our callings, God has a perfect timing. We must wait patiently on the Lord because His plan for our lives will surely take place. We must be joyful because Jesus died on the cross for our salvation and we are strengthened because the joy of the Lord is our strength. Even though life is overwhelming at times, yet we will rejoice in the Lord.

about sarah

Sarah Barnhill, 21, is from Texas and is the middle sibling out of three girls in the Barnhill family. She recently graduated from Stephen F. Austin State University with her Bachelor’s degree. Her favorite snack happens to be Cheddar Jalapeno Cheetos!

Ruth’s Renderings

After the death of her husband, Ruth was still in her prime.

Young, of good reputation, and with no children. What a promising future awaited her! It was time to find a husband, be fruitful, and enjoy a life of provision while she still had the potential.

From a logical standpoint, Moab was the best place to have a bright and successful future. She was raised in this land, knew the people, and was familiar with the lifestyle. Going to another land where she knew no one, was not familiar with the customs, culture, or faith was absurd! How was she to find a good man? How was she to fit-in and become favored in the eyes of the Israelites? Not to mention, Bethlehem was not an easy journey through the desert and over the river Arnon.

How many times have we tried taking our future into our own hands? We have plans, dreams, and inspirations of exactly what we want to be. We have already mapped it out in our minds the steps we will take to get to that picture-perfect resolute “arrival”.

It isn’t until we surrender and hand the reins to God that we get the life we deserve. Ruth probably could’ve had a comfortable life in Moab. She could’ve married a handsome young Moabite man and made a life for herself. But, there was something in Ruth that knew a life surrendered unto this God she yet did not know, would be better than anything she could conjure for herself.

I’m sure there were times that Ruth had her doubts. She had a discouraged, depressed, and hopeless mother-in-law. Naomi didn’t even have the confidence to be welcomed back into her homeland. So how was Ruth to feel? But, Ruth had devoted herself to Naomi and did her best in lifting her spirits and being her strength. Once settled in Bethlehem, their living conditions weren’t ideal. Ruth had to go into the fields after the reapers and collect the left-over barely to feed Naomi and herself.

Ruth had every right at this point to throw her hands up and yell, “I’m out of here! Why’d I come here in the first place?!” But yet, there was still an assurance within that she was where she needed to be. It didn’t look like a fairy tale story at the moment, but this was the best life.

Ruth stayed committed and surrendered to the Lord, and he brought her a man of more value and worth than any prized Moabite! On top of being very wealthy and successful, Boaz was a selfless and kind man. He provided for Ruth before even knowing her. He shared what was his and welcomed her to his table. He respected her and accepted her when she performed the ritual of submission. He did things properly and right before he took her as wife, being a God-fearing man. Boaz was beyond Ruth’s dreams for herself.

Ruth now had a wonderful husband, provisions and comfort, and a son that would be the blood line to Jesus Christ. This was the life God had given her because she surrendered her wants, control, and plans unto Him.

Ruth 3:12 “The Lord recompense thy work, and a full reward be given thee of the Lord God Israel, under whose wings thou art come to trust.”

These were the loving words of Boaz unto Ruth. God sees your submission and faithfulness to Him. You will be rewarded if you simply trust in Him, let Him lead, and let Him do the rendering.

about blogger

Charity Huba is a 23 year old Floridian, fond of the State’s hot summers and tropical beauty. She is a leader in youth ministry, music ministry, and Sunday school. She has her degree in Political Science and works for the government in the Division of Elections. She adores quality time with her loved ones, musicals, and moon-lit nights.

The Season of Waiting

In Ecclesiastes, we are told that there is a season for everything. In fact, Ecclesiastes 3:1-8 provides a long list of the seasons that we might face. There are seasons of joy, seasons of weeping, seasons of love, seasons of peace, seasons of loss, and even seasons of silence. It is explained that every season has a purpose, but what about those seasons that are almost unbearable? What about those seasons of complete frustration? What about those seasons where we feel like nothing will ever work out? What about the seasons of waiting?

We all have goals. Some goals are small, like only drinking one cup of coffee a day or making it through finals week. However, most of our goals are big ones that we dream and Pinterest about constantly. Goals such as owning your own house, having an actual career, getting married, having children, or travelling the world. These big goals are the ones we find ourselves constantly thinking or worrying about. These are the goals that we wish to obtain ASAP. These are the seasons we wish would just hurry up. Unfortunately, instead of being in those grand seasons we dream about, we are sometimes met with a completely different season. This is the season of waiting.

The season of waiting is not a very glamorous season. I mean, who has ever looked forward to sitting in a waiting room? The season of waiting can be uncomfortable, frustrating, and even a little discouraging. Maybe you are waiting to graduate high school, for a job opportunity, to go to college, to pay off loans from college, or to get married. No matter what you are waiting for, the season of waiting is never easy. It’s uncomfortable not knowing your next step. It’s frustrating not being able to do exactly what you want to do and when you want to do it. It’s discouraging to see everyone else’s plans work out while your plans are still on hold. The season of waiting is a hard season; however, there IS a purpose for this season.

When we are waiting on the Lord’s perfect timing, we must remember that the season of waiting is a significant time. It’s a time of building trust in God’s will. It’s a time of casting every single care on Him and believing that He will work everything out. It is a time to build strength and break down distractions. When the Lord ushers us into the season of waiting, this season is not meant to be a punishment. The Lord is using this season of waiting to remind us to look at Him, trust in Him, and follow Him. Lamentations 3:25 says, “The Lord is good to those who wait for him, to the soul who seeks him.” This reminds us that if we wait for the Lord and His perfect will, He will bring so many good things into our lives. Isaiah 40:31 reminds us that those who wait on the Lord will have renewed strength and will mount up with wings like eagles. Those who wait on the Lord will run and not be weary; they will walk and not faint.

So again I remind you, there is a season for everything and every season has a purpose. When you pray for the Lord’s will, He will bring you into the season He chooses. We must trust in His timing and wait upon the Lord. We must find purpose and beauty in the season of waiting for “…God has made everything beautiful for its own time (Ecclesiastes 3:11).”

Things you can strive to do during your season of waiting:

  1. Create a routine every day for reading your Bible and praying
  2. Establish good habits
  3. Examine your life and discard worldly distractions
  4. Pray for the Lord’s will
  5. Remember that the joy of the Lord is your strength
  6. Be a light for Jesus
  7. Get involved in church and volunteer activities
  8. Prepare yourself for the next step in your life
  9. Memorize scripture
  10. Glorify God in everything you do and everywhere you go!

about sarah

Sarah Barnhill, 21, is from Texas and is the middle sibling out of three girls in the Barnhill family. She recently graduated from Stephen F. Austin State University with her Bachelor’s degree. Her favorite snack happens to be Cheddar Jalapeno Cheetos!

T-Shirts, Tacos and Other Matters of the Heart

At thirteen years old, I remember sitting in my first youth group session. Our youth leader drilled into us, “The heart is deceitful above all things, and desperately wicked: who can know it?” (Jer. 17:9) I said, “okay,” and successfully for the last ten years I’ve steered clear of the Target t-shirt aisle blaring declarations of, “follow your heart.” I never once bought a journal or wall decor with anything that read such condemning words. I would never say them verbatim to a friend. No matter the circumstance, I’ve always known better than to promote following the thing that was so deceitfully wicked.

But for the first time in those ten years I’m realizing that despite my bold protest, I’m not sure I wholly knew what that sentiment meant. I mean, maybe in the big ways I did; I certainly never pursued my childhood dream of becoming a rockstar (although as a teacher, I still think I fit the rockstar description), but in the small day-to-days, I have found myself making decisions based off of how I felt. With every decision comes a consequence, and it took a few hurtful consequences for me to realize that emotionally charged direction is exactly the same thing as following one’s heart.

So, in our perseverance to become women of God, let’s take a moment to understand what following your heart truly means:

First, the sentiment: follow your heart. This idea means that your own internal sense of ”knowing” is something worth following. Your own experience can guide you to the brightest of futures and that as long as you have the courage to pursue it, true happiness will follow! Very Disney-esque, amiright? While this notion is somewhat empowering, it’s fallacy is in the idea that we — our human nature — could create the best life for ourselves! This is Biblically wrong because we know that only God is omniscient and has a perfect will for our lives; I could never make a more perfect plan for my life than Him! And frankly, it takes a large portion of pride to believe that I could. Following your heart denies logic and faith in God, but instead grants approval and direction to that which, the Bible says, “proceeds evil thoughts, murders, adulteries, fornications, thefts, false witness, blasphemies” (Mt. 15:19) — that is a lot of mess for one heart! And, even if theft and blasphemy and the other such doesn’t seem to be a regular battle for you, honestly, how could this very same heart that ominously whispers “eat Taco Bell,” at 11:00pm make consciously good decisions for my life! I know very well I should not eat Taco Bell that late. I’ve seen others do it and regret it; I’ve done it and regretted it — but that doesn’t stop the neon sign and cheesy quesadillas from beckoning me! Nevertheless, because experience, logic, and testimony reminds me, I am able to keep driving and say: “No. That’s not a good choice for you. Sure, it’s nice now, but later, it won’t be.”

Now, if only we applied this same cautionary dialogue to so many of our other decisions: “Sure, he’s nice and cute, but maybe I should moderate how much of my heart I invest…” Or, “Yes, what she did was wrong, but that text message is a feeble line of defense that will only leave you both hurt…” Too often, our day-to-days include little decisions that snowball and can eventually leave us wounded! This is why Proverbs tells us to “keep thy heart with ALL diligence; for out out of it are the issues of life” (Pro. 4:23). The Bible is commanding us to guard our hearts! That means keeping our walls up in the small ways and being intentional with our emotions. By the Holy Ghost, you do have the power to gauge your reactions. And for the days where emotions win out (because we’ve all been there), know to learn from your mistakes. You will feel anger, love, sadness, joy, happiness and so much more, (And, when you direct those emotions they can be used for good! Passion about the right things is a good thing!) but, you can pray that the Lord gives you discernment to know when you’re being heart-lead and the power to be able to stop and approach with caution and care.

The dramatic is so appealing in Hollywood films; it’s romantic, it’s passionate, it’s heartbreaking, it’s the spice of the movie! But remember, our lives are not movies; but rather, they are so much better. After the screen fades to black, we have lives to live and God-given futures to fulfill and furthermore — lives to change. How can we change lives if we’re so caught up in the inward-thinking of our own?! God has amazing things in store for you! There are great things he wants to do in you and through you! So let’s start by leading our hearts instead of following them.

about alexys

Alexys Rea Griffin is a 22-year-old coffee connoisseur, bibliophile, Disney aficionado, and fresh-flower-lover. Seeking her English Literature degree from Florida State University, Alexys devotes her time to the Campus Apostolic Ministry at FSU as well as Kids Ministry at her local church. Do you do Instagram? ‘Cause so does she: @alexysasalways

My Spring Obsessions

Every season brings about one or two new fashion trends. Usually this means that you can buy a couple key pieces to bring your wardrobe up to date! You do not have to buy an entirely new closet. If you plan strategically you can have a fresh look with just a few buys. Here are my top 3 favorites for Spring 2017!

bell sleeves

1. Special Sleeves – It is ALL about the sleeves for Spring 2017. I am obsessed with ruffled sleeves, bell sleeves, and puff cuffs. You name it, I love it. You might not find these in stores like Marshall’s or TJ Maxx (my favorites) because it’s a very new trend. But you can find it in stores that have brand new inventory like White House Black Market, Dillard’s or any mainstream store in the mall. They are the perfect piece to add to your pre-existing closet. Wear these tops with your favorite skirts to give them a new spin!

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2. Floral Print Dresses – Every designer is in on this fashion statement for Spring 2017. Big, bold, bright floral prints are on dresses for Calvin Klein, Ivanka Trump, Tahari and other more mature brands. You can also find them just as easily at Old Navy, Forever 21 and department stores. I just snagged a stunning maxi dress with a beautiful blush pink rose print from Nordstrom Rack for $36. It is literally spring on your dress and it makes me so happy!

chunky heels

3. Chunky Heels – They aren’t wedges but they aren’t spiked pumps either. They are a new and improved heel. A little more comfy than tall, thin heels and a little edgier than wedges. I’m loving this new style and it goes great with whatever you’re wearing. The thin strap and chunky heeled sandals in particular (see above photo) are incredibly versatile and would fit into your closet seamlessly. This pair is from Dillard’s and are Steve Madden brand. They are also trickling into your usual shops like Ross, Marshall’s and TJ Maxx around the $40 price mark.

What’s your favorite new fashion trend? Share it with us at mail@apostolicgirl.com and we will feature it on our next blog! Whatever has you smiling this Spring season, I’m just incredibly delighted that everything floral, colorful and feminine seems to be trending. It’s a great day for modest fashion! So put on those chunky heels and float about you wonderful girl, you.

shenae-blogger

Shenae Elizabeth Andrus, is the founder of Apostolic Girl. She is married to Pastor Joel Andrus from Milford, DE where they serve at Lighthouse Christian Center. She loves her fur-baby, Behr, enjoys Starbucks runs, shopping, traveling the globe, music ministry, motivational speaking and co-adventuring with her hubby.

Record Keeping

Todays society is built upon record keeping. We keep record of everything: birth certificates, medical charts, school reports, immunizations, and even work-related documents. We begin our record keeping at birth and continue this system for the rest of our lives. Some of us are more organized than others when it comes to record keeping, but either way, it is a huge part of all of us.

We think of record keeping as more information based; however, God keeps records out of love. God knows the number of hairs on your head, the day you were born, the plans He has for your life, and so much more! God keeps tons of records about you, but there is one record God refuses to keep.

1 Corinthians 13 explains to use what love truly looks like. In this chapter, we learn that “love is patient, kind, does not envy, does not boast, and is not proud.” We learn about what love is and what love isn’t; however, in verse 5 we learn one thing that love can do.

1 Corinthians 13:5 says that love “…keeps no record of wrongs.” Love does not keep any records of when we mess up.

In 1 John 4:8, we learn that God is love. God is love and love does not keep records of our wrongs. When we mess up, when we sin, when we do something we know is not right, God does not keep a running list of everything that we have done wrong. Through repentance and asking for forgiveness, God’s blood that He shed for us on the cross washes away everything wrong in our lives. By His mercy we are forgiven and are not given the punishment we deserve. By His beautiful grace we can move forward and live a Godly life full of joy and peace.

If God does not keep a record of our wrongdoings, neither should we. When we have received God’s forgiveness, we must let go of the past so we can move forward. Forward into the path God has chosen. Forward into the calling God has placed on our lives. Forward into our relationship with Him. Of all the records that are kept about us, I am so thankful for a God that removes the record of our sins as far as the east is from the west.

about sarah

Sarah Barnhill, 21, is from Texas and is the middle sibling out of three girls in the Barnhill family. She recently graduated from Stephen F. Austin State University with her Bachelor’s degree. Her favorite snack happens to be Cheddar Jalapeno Cheetos!

Just a Piece of Paper

Forever the statement will be etched in my memory…

We were hurriedly checking into a hotel in Jacksonville, FL trying to get into the room so that we could change from our travel clothes and get to a church service on time. In conversation my husband and I happened to mention to the hotel receptionist just how long we had been married. To which she replied, “It’s just a piece of paper.” I was in shock and regrettably did not get to respond, but the comment still haunts me and the answer still burns in me. So now, to this young lady and others that have this mindset, I have to challenge that statement.

Tell the graduate from High School or the student who just got their doctorate that it’s “just a piece of paper”. Tell the 16 year old that just got their drivers license, that proudly shows it off to friends and family, that its “just a piece of paper”. Tell that to the physician that has his license on the wall. Tell the new home owner that signed a mortgage and keeps it safely in a fire vault that it’s “just a piece of paper”. Tell the elderly man that holds the hand of his dying wife after over 50 years together that it’s “just a piece of paper”.

The day I walked down that aisle, I knew that I was wholeheartedly committing my future to the man waiting for me and it forever redirected my life. That piece of paper has represented years of commitment and memories and has affected the lives of so many around us. There is a universe of difference between a private promise and a public vow. That public vow shows you are willing to put your name on the line and to commit unselfishly to the cause of another.

No job will hire you if you forego the interview process that includes a contract and agreement. How much more important is an agreement that says for better or worse, richer or poorer, in sickness and in health, till death do us part?

In fact, we invited several hundred friends and family to our wedding and just two years ago to our eldest daughter’s wedding to witness the signing of this piece of paper. This piece of paper’s value can not be declared like that of a $100 bill, because how do you put monetary value on unselfish, undying commitment. The risk it takes for two people willing to lay it all on the line.

I have a family that has directly been effected by that piece of paper. In fact we had a big 25th celebration over “just a piece of paper”. Friends and family far and near came because of that marriage license.

Just because some may make light of that paper and not keep their commitment, does not make it less valuable for those who do. In fact, this piece of paper becomes more valuable with age because behind it stands years of commitment, stickability, and happy and sad tears in a world where this kind of loyalty is becoming rare.

Moms, let us combat the flippant attitude of this world. I encourage you to find your marriage license and share with your children it’s value. Let us show the next generation that it is so much more than a “piece of paper”.

Mark 10:9 – What therefore God hath joined together, let not man put asunder.

about-mom

Tammy Huba and her husband, Daniel, pastor in Tallahassee, FL. She is a graduate of Jackson College of Ministries with a Bachelor’s of Music. She is a motivational speaker, accomplished musician and vocalist, but most of all… the mom to three incredible girls.

*Featured Image: Intimate Weddings