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

Stuck in a Fairytale

Sometimes, when life get to us, we can feel lost. We feel lost until the next church service. Then it all comes back to us – just to lose ourselves again. Have you ever heard the metaphor of “getting lost in a book”? Where you read a book that so good you just can’t put it down? Living the life of an Apostolic Girl can be like that.

You see your friends out going to parties and it looks like they’re having so much fun. You see other teenage girls with boyfriends. You look at someone’s swim suit post and at how many likes they get. You start to get lost in this lie social media tells of how great their lives are. Until… you learn that teenage girl got pregnant. That boy from your High School overdosed. Their mom committed suicide. These things are real. Instagram is not.

It’s easy to get lost in a fantasy world. People can take one look at your life on instagram and call it perfect, but you have to see what’s behind the filter. It’s hard to not get lost in a perfect world. People get jealous and they want what they’ve been told that they can’t have. Being an Apostolic might mean you have to sacrifice some things. But it is all in God’s plan. Just imagine all the horrible things God has saved you from! You do not have to feel lost, because all you have to do is pray and give your baggage to Him. And, He can do it over and over again.

The Bible says “Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen.” – Hebrews 11:1

This is something that we need to think about. God wants us to have faith in his works. He needs us to have faith in Him and understand why He leads us away from the temptations of this world. You are never too lost to be found.

chelsea blogger

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.

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!

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