Texas Strong

I sit here, watching the rain come down just thinking about my Texas. My Texas is filling with water. My Texas is structurally falling apart. My Texas is hurting. My home, the place where I was born and raised, is hurting and my heart is breaking. With every passing hour, there is another picture of homes being torn apart and another picture of people crying out for rescue. With every passing hour, there is more destruction happening in my Texas.

But in every passing hour, I see hope, I see love, I see unity, I see God. I see God in a man carrying children out of the water and into safety. I see God in mothers shielding their children from the rain. I see God in strangers grabbing their boats and heading into disaster to rescue their neighbors. I see God in companies supplying basic needs. I see God in people sheltering each other from the storm. I see God in people loving others. I see God in Houston today. My state might be hurting, but God’s love is more evident than ever.

Today as I stare at the rain I can’t help but think of Matthew 5:45 and Isaiah 43:2. The Bible says that it will rain on the just and the unjust. Rain will come whether it is actual water falling from the sky or metaphorical rain in your life, you must expect rain. However in that rain, God promises in Isaiah 43:2 that when you pass through the waters, He will be with you. He will be the emergency responder heading into the storm to rescue you. He will be the family offering you shelter. He will be the neighbor sharing food and water. He will be with you wherever you go, even unto the end of the earth (Matthew 28:20).

I am proud of my Texas. I am proud of the unity I see in this beautiful state and in this beautiful country. I am proud to call myself a Texan and an American. I am proud of my fellow Texans and Americans helping those in need. I am praying for my neighbors in this time of need. Along with others, I want to be light for God in the midst of this time of darkness. I want to represent the Lord and represent Texas Strong.

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!

Praying Selflessly

I can testify to what it feels like to be on pins and needles in your prayer life. We all have (or will) come to a moment where an important decision must be made. It’s never easy to determine what to do. It could be deciding where to go to college, your job choice, where to live, whether to date (or marry) that handsome young man, where to travel, how to handle confrontation- ugh! You don’t make it through this life without stressful obstacles that cannot be avoided.

So, we immediately plunge into what we know is best- prayer. But, I have experienced times where even with all my prayer about a particular circumstance, I still felt stuck.

Although prayer is powerful and you can never get enough of it, if you are firstly stressed, anxious, or obsessing over an issue, your “prayers” only make you more frazzled. Pray about it, fast about it, and ask to hear from the Lord. Then, gracefully…move on.

We women are notorious for overanalyzing, overthinking, and having a hyperactive imagination. (It’s because we are geniuses). But, it can also be harmful when we are praying and interceding for ourselves. Pray without ceasing does not mean to do so while being tormented by worry and confusion. That is simply not of God. He is not cruel. He hears your prayers and sees your pursuit of an answer. So, do not live like you are having to fight for your cause every day.

What is the solution to releasing stress, anxiety, and fear? All I can do is tell you what has worked for me. I encourage you to try it out for yourself and tell me how it works after a few days of practice!

I pray for others.

We all know friends, family, coworkers, and saints in our local churches. Each person is facing their own battle, needs protection and guidance, or could just use a spontaneous blessing from your prayers. It is so liberating to get your mind off of your own problems and be concerned with others. You’ll start to notice that you don’t feel as anxious, worried, or fearful.

Because the simple truth is beautiful. While you are praying and interceding for others, God has others doing the same for you. You make God’s business yours, He’ll make yours His.

Philippians 2:3-4 “Let nothing be done through strife or vainglory; but in lowliness of mind let each esteem other better than themselves. Look not every man on his own things, but every man also on the things of others.”

This scripture perfectly explains how we should behave in our prayer life. Although praying for yourself is essential, it is a whole new and wonderfully rewarding experience to pray on the behalf of others.

I’ve witnessed it myself and practice selflessly praying for others when I find myself overwhelmed in my own circumstance. It works! After all, the heartbeat of Christ is to love and care passionately and selflessly. If we want to truly follow after a lifestyle like His, we’ll do the same.

about blogger

Charity Huba is a 24 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.

AG Moms: Bump Style

Hey Apostolic Girls! It’s been a while since I’ve contributed to AG and I am so excited to be back! Since you last heard from me, I have added a sweet baby girl to my now family of five (Brooklyn, age 4, Bronx, age 2 and Gramercy, age 5 months). I love being a momma bear to a young family and I’m ready to share some mommy lifestyle pieces that I’ve been brainstorming for months… ok maybe years. I truly hope to inspire, entertain, and begin to build a strong community of Apostolic moms to support each other through this blessed and, let’s be honest, sometimes difficult journey we call “motherhood”.

So why not start at the beginning? Something most mommas have to deal with at the beginning of our journey into motherhood, maternity style. Now I feel I should preface this with a disclaimer, I do not claim to be a fashionista or style-icon of any kind. However, over the course of three pregnancies, I do believe I have learned a thing or two about how to dress a baby bump modestly and on a reasonable budget. Here are a few tips I put together specifically for this Apostolic community and the AG mommy readers. Enjoy!

maternity 11. LAYER, layer, layer! It can be very difficult to find modest maternity wear that is both belly hugging, and not too tight on the rest of the body. In fact, towards the end of pregnancy it can feel like an impossible task. We want to dress modestly but we do not want to look like a walking human tent. One way to achieve this is to layer your more form-fitting maternity pieces (dresses, skirts) under longer, looser items (tunics, vests, cardigans, jackets, etc.) This will give you a cute, hey I’m obviously pregnant hold the door open for me vibe, but should still maintain your personal modesty. Also, adding skirt extenders or knit skirts under dresses that become too short once your bump starts to grow is a great trick as well. Shorter waist length tops can also be layered over tighter fitting shirts and dresses to add another layer of modestly or even just spruce things up a bit.

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2. That leads me to my next tip, buy maternity basics! Some pieces I can not live without during pregnancy are white, black and navy (long or short sleeved depending on the season) knit maternity tops, a black maternity dress, a maternity jean skirt (harder to find but sometimes you can find them in Facebook resale groups) and a black knit knee-length skirt (maternity if you want but also a size up in a normal knit skirt works as well). I found all of mine at H&M but you should be able to find them at Target, ASOS US online or many other maternity stores. These pieces are really the gift that keeps on giving. They are great for layering and should fit you throughout the entire maternity process. They recommend that when buying maternity you buy the size that you normally wear. So for example if you wear a medium shirt at Target, a medium maternity shirt should provide you with the right fit.

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3. All knit everything. Ok well not “everything” but knit fabric is a maternity must. Many knit pieces will see you through your entire pregnancy, even postpartum and beyond! Finding things that you know you can wear after you have the baby just makes the maternity shopping even more justified. There are many online modest boutiques you can find that sell a number of different knit dresses whether they be A-line, empire waist, maxis, etc. Find a style that you like both during and after pregnancy and use different accessories (belts, scarves, vests, etc.) to better cater these pieces your body and bump style.

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4. Belts! Belts saved my life during my pregnancies. Cinching the “waist” of regular tops and dresses right above your belly helps to accentuate the bump and make everything look a little less shapeless. There is definitely a time and place for a subtle, hidden bump but when you want to give your belly a little more attention this is the trick for you. There’s no need to add holes to belts you already own, just look up some tricks for tying your belts (Pinterest, Youtube) and skip the holes altogether. It is also not a bad idea to invest in a couple new, slightly larger belts, one more casual for every day outfits and a nicer one for church and dressier occasions. I like to go with shades of brown and rose gold personally but of course black and more colorful belts work great as well. This also helped open up the possibilities of my pre-pregnancy wardrobe and gave me more wearable options for what I already had, without having to make a bunch of maternity specific purchases.

5. Shop online! Let’s get real. The typical mall maternity stores are not always full of trendy maternity options, and when you do find something cute, it is rarely very modest. There are a ton of great online options for maternity wear including ASOS US, Zara, H&M, Old Navy and Gap (some stores have a few pieces but you will do much better shopping their online selections), and even Modest Resale sites. This is a great way to shop a wider selection and find things that fit your personal style more appropriately than what you may find in your normal retail stores and in person.

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6. Knot your shirts, pull up your skirts. Knotting your shirts works for knit and woven shirts and can add a more interesting element to your outfit as well as help accentuate your bump. Again, this is a great way to repurpose things you already have. Shirts that may no longer cover your belly can be super cute knotted up with a high waisted skirt! Also, pulling your skirt up above your belly can keep those favorites in your outfit rotation a bit longer especially if they are a bit longer.

I’m sure I could talk on this subject for hours but I will leave you with these six tips. Whether you are repurposing your current wardrobe for your growing belly or finding some new maternity staples, I hope you find these suggestions helpful! I’d love to see how you style your own modest baby bump! Use the hashtag #AGmodestbabybumpstyle to share your pictures and tips with us, we would love to hear them!

about christi

Christi Witt is a mother of 3 from Cincinnati, OH. She attends Calvary Church where she is involved in music ministry. She’s a strong believer in Jesus, caffeine and the power of chocolate. Her greatest job is being a stay-at-home mommy, crafter, creator, and maker!