A Woman to Be Praised

Today, we are bombarded with the feminist movement and the many different meanings it holds for people (don’t worry, this is not an article about feminism, that’s a whole different conversation). That the thought of being a Proverbs 31 woman is outdated and old-fashioned, or only for moms. But, I want to encourage us to not get caught up in that feminist mentality or argument that being a Proverbs 31 woman is outdated, but to focus on the women that God is calling us to be.

Charm is deceitful and beauty is passing,
But a woman who fears the LORD, she shall be praised.
Proverbs 31:30 NKJV

Charm is deceitful, and beauty is vain,
but a woman who fears the LORD is to be praised.
Proverbs 31:30 ESV

The Bible says charm is deceitful. Charm is defined as “the power or quality of giving delight or arousing admiration”. A synonym for deceit is misleading. So, another way to interpret this verse would that arousing admiration is misleading, and that beauty is vain.
As girls and young women we have power, but we must be mindful of how we use it. We do not want to be a stumbling block for those around us, we do not want to be a distraction from what is truly special about us and what separates us, which is that we are chosen of God and we are filled with His Spirit.

I pray that instead of being girls who are focused on the material things, the charms and beauty we have, that we are girls who choose to become a woman who embodies the characteristics God desires of us.

To be modest – 1 Timothy 2:9

To be kind – Proverbs 31:26

To have self control – 1 Timothy 2:9

To fight for those who can’t fight for themselves – Proverbs 31:8-9

To be trustworthy – Proverbs 31:11

To be good – Proverbs 31:12

To honor and be honorable – Proverbs 31:25

To be willing to work hard and not be idle – Proverbs 31:13-15, 27

To plan and make decisions carefully – Proverbs 31:16

To be strong – Proverbs 31:17, 25

To be wise – Proverbs 31:26

Let us be girls, who are rising up to become Proverbs 31 women.

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Save this image for your wallpaper as a reminder!

 

Sabrina Hope

Remember Your Roots

Dear Fellow Apostolic Girl,

Remember your roots. When you look at a statement such as this, you may think that I am referring to remembering your family tree and heritage. But in this case, I am referring to the roots that have sustained us and built us up from our personal pasts and experiences. The roots that grew as a result of your testimony.

Often times, we look at our past, and the mistakes we’ve made, or what we’ve been through, and try to bury them away. We want to hide from those feelings so we push them away from us. Many times, we were put through a time of trial or testing and in that time, we learned some hard life lessons, or grew from hard experiences where we had to learn to trust on the Lord. For those of you who may be going through something like that right now, let me encourage you that there is a bigger picture that goes beyond what we can see or comprehend. Proverbs 3:5-6 says “Trust in the Lord with all thine heart; and lean not unto thine own understanding. In all thy ways acknowledge him, and he shall direct thy paths.”

We often use the scripture from Jeremiah 29:11 “For I know the plans I have for you, declares the Lord. Plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you a hope and a future.” Let’s look at that scripture in a different translation to give more perspective. “For I know that thoughts that I think towards you, declares the Lord. Thoughts to prosper you and not to harm you, thoughts to give you a hope and a future.” The Lord can map out our lives according to His specific will, for each moment in time. No matter how much He has done this, He will never force you to follow His will, so… when we step outside the will of the Lord, we then take control of our own lives, and may get caught up in something that was not planned for our lives. BUT the mercy and grace of the Lord is never-ending and never-failing. Praise God! There is always room for another chance for us to fall back in line with the will of the Lord. And when we do, the result is a testimony of what the Lord brought you out from.

Victor Jackson said this, “God factors your failures into your future.” What an incredibly true and encouraging statement. As a child, I was always told that “God uses the bad things that happen, for good.” And it is true. He takes those experiences and trials we’ve been through and uses them to reach others. Sometimes, I think to myself that the Lord may have put me through something for the sole purpose of being able to reach others who are going through the same thing. The important thing to realize, is that no matter the mistakes you’ve made, the trials you’ve suffered, God can and will use it as a testament of where He has brought you from, and it then becomes your job to share with others as the Lord leads. Our testimonies should be used as an encouragement to those around us. They give us opportunities to reach and relate to people we would have never related to before. Testimonies glorify God and are a constant reminder of His grace, mercy, and mighty works.

I challenge you to share your testimony, and let it be a constant reminder of who God has called you to be, and where you would be without His love. I challenge you not to hide from your past, but to share your experiences with those who are in need of hope, encouragement, advice, and love. Most importantly Sisters, I challenge you to trust in the Lord, and let Him direct you.

Bethany Marsh

 

Enjoy Everything

To give some background on what this phrase means to me, this phrase of ‘Enjoy Everything’ became a sort of motto for both my family when, 8 years ago, my 19 year old cousin was killed by a drunk driver in a hit and run. In his pocket there was a To-Do list for the next day, one thing to do was pay a ticket and there were a few other things. But, the last thing on his list was simply Enjoy Everything. In hindsight, this phrase and the simple yet powerful reminder it provides has been applicable to my entire life.

This sentiment of “Enjoy Everything” can be applied to the various situations we all have gone through and will go through. Good or bad.
As I prepared this, I sat down and read Ecclesiastes; most people are familiar with Chapter 3, the first verse states-

“There is a time for everything, and a season for every activity under the heavens”.
The chapter continues and goes through different situations and conflicts. I won’t go through all of them, but I definitely encourage you all to read Ecclesiastes. It only takes about 10 minutes, and it is so applicable- at least for me, to this season- and it serves as such a great reminder on perspective.

Each season and moment in our lives has rewards, heart breaks, and challenges. I think, for those in this college season in our lives, we can think of something that fits each of those categories. Maybe the reward of A’cing an exam or utilizing a student discount. Maybe the heart break of failing a class or being away from your family. For those in a season of Middle or High School- maybe the reward of winning a sports game or making a team. Maybe it’s the heartbreak of losing friends who you thought would be with you forever.

Obviously, there are worse things and I am sure each one of us has been through our own personal seasons of heart break, of challenges, and of rewards. But, I want to encourage us to enjoy everything in every season. Even if that season is watching as doctors turn off life support. Even if that season is burying someone you love. Even if that season is losing everything you have.

I know I sound crazy- I am telling you to enjoy things that break your heart into a million pieces and that change your life. But, here’s the thing- God is working for our good, always. My dad, and I am sure you have heard this if you have been to church or around Christians, always says, “God is good, All the time”. He is good and He is working for our good. When we are in the thick of the situation, of the challenge, it is hard to see the good and it is hard to imagine there could be anything good about it. But, God.
God sees the big picture, God is shaping us; He is molding us into who we are destined to be. When God breaks us, He is still there- He is holding us and crying with us, His heart breaks with ours. Then, in His perfect timing, He picks us up and makes us into something even better. In Ecclesiastes, it also says that a sad face does good for the heart.

We can trust Him. Why? Because we have a promise, His promise.
His promise in Romans 8:28, that He will make something good out of the storms that bring devastation in our lives.
His promise in Isiah 66:9, that He will not cause pain without allowing something new to be born.
His promise in Jeremiah 33:6, to heal us and give us abundant peace and security.
He is working for our good, always.

I don’t know if any of you can relate to this but, a lot of times I find myself neglecting the season I am in, planning and dreaming for the future, thinking once I get there I will be happy, content, and can finally enjoy my life. But we shouldn’t be waiting to enjoy the next season, we should enjoy the one we are in.
As much as we don’t like to think about death and our lives coming to an end, at least I don’t; we only have a certain amount of time on the earth to make a difference and to live our earthly lives. Some people have a longer time, some shorter. When we are laying on our death bed at the end of our lives we won’t have a “next season” to plan and wait to enjoy- besides Heaven of course.

Each new challenge, each heart break is a chance for us to grow and to let God do what He wants in us and through us. Throughout my life, growing up, I never, ever thought what I have gone through to be part of my testimony and may be able to help someone else one day. I wouldn’t change a thing about my life or experiences.

Enjoying everything takes faith. Faith doesn’t mean everything will be great, it’s believing God knows what He is doing even when. He has our back, He promised and He can’t break His promises.
This ride of life may be bumpy, but we can have peace in the fact that He is working for our good.

sabrina hope

 

It Takes Time

Remember when you were a kid and you would get a cut and want it to go away as soon as possible? So, you’d pick at it or try to cover it with a band aid. Your parents would get on to you and say that you’re just making it worse or you’re just making it heal slower. Well, they were right.

The more you try to pick on your wounds the more it will take longer to heal. Covering it with a band aid won’t help either because no wound heals overnight. They say that time heals all wounds. It’s true.  You see, healing does take time. It doesn’t have a timeline.  But what does this word “healing” actually mean? According to Google, it means, “the process of making or becoming sound or healthy again.” So now the question is, how long does someone have to wait until they can finally say “I’m healed”?

Healing happens over time. It’s something that cannot be rushed. It’s an everyday process. You got to be patient with yourself and push yourself to be brave enough to heal. Healing is hard and I will tell you this, there will be days where your mind will be full of questions and you will feel desperate for answers that do not exist. There will be moments where all hope is lost and you will feel like you have not made any progress. Healing is messy and can get ugly. Sometimes it can be breaking and painful. But, there will also be days when you feel free and hopeful, even when you thought you had no hope left. There will be moments where you will feel supported and loved by the people around you and that healing won’t be too far away. And those moments are the ones you should hold on to.

Healing also happens when you’re alone at night or when you’re sitting in your car at a red light and suddenly you remember everything that hurts, and it feels like you’re getting stabbed in the chest repeatedly. Now your whole body just feels heavy, your heart and everything inside you hurts. Because, healing is pain, but it is also triumph. To be honest, you will always scar, but it will serve as a reminder that you made it!

The bible says  For I reckon that the sufferings of this present time are not worthy to be compared with the glory which shall be revealed in us.” -Romans 8:18

It takes time. It takes pain. It takes hopelessness. It is not an easy process. But, healing will come. And when this pain is over, the joy that He will bring in your life will be incomparable. He has a plan for your life. God brought you this far and He will get you through.

So this New Year, I pray for everyone that’s in the process of healing. Don’t give up on yourself! Keep pushing. Give your broken pieces to the Healer. Little by little, every day, as healing slowly finds its way to you and as your wounds become scars which will be proof of how gracefully you healed, your heart will be full of joy, hope and love. You will be better than okay.

francesca vitug

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!