Bloom & Boom

When you plant a seed, whatever plant it may be, it grows with the right natural elements such as sunlight and water. You can also buy things to help like Miracle-Gro. Put a seed in the right soil and it will just grow and keep growing till it is fully grown. But, if you try and plant something in a drought without watering it because you are waiting on rain, it won’t grow. It will just die with the potential of what it could have grown up to be.

“And he shall be like a tree planted by the rivers of water, that bringeth forth his fruit in his season; his leaf also shall not wither; and whatsoever he doeth shall prosper.”

Psalms 1:3 KJV

If you feel like you can’t grow where you’re at, it’s because you are trying to grow something without nurturing it and eventually you are robbing yourself of that blessing or calling. God plants you in places on purpose. You are where you are at for a certain reason. You cannot sit in a drought and expect God to grow you. You have to nurture your calling in that season of doubt or fear or whatever you’re going through. If you feel like you’re not good enough, pray about it because you can grow from that feeling if you pray through it. Like the old saying goes, “You grow through what you go through”. And it’s the truth. If you feel stuck in where you’re at, just keep praying for growth. Keep practicing if you’re a musician. Keep praying for wisdom if you want to be a speaker or a writer in His kingdom. Keep serving humbly no matter what you want to do. Because that is what you have to do in your season of drought or else you will be left with a seed that had so much potential, but unfortunately died. Nurture your faith. Nurture what God gave you or you’re left with less than what you started with. If you can’t appreciate what you have to nurture, how will you appreciate more?

“Wherefore laying aside all malice, and all guile, and hypocrisies, and envies, and all evil speakings, As newborn babes, desire the sincere milk of the word, that ye may grow thereby: If so be ye have tasted that the Lord is gracious. To whom coming, as unto a living stone, disallowed indeed of men, but chosen of God, and precious,”

1 Peter 2:1-4 KJV

Instead of letting sin and evil things grow in your dry season, let love and the fact that God chose you to serve Him grow. If we forget the feel of His presence, sin can come in and grow just as quick as blessings. We often let this feeling of being lost from His presence keep us from feeling Him in the midst of our chaos. When all along He is right there. Just reach out and say His name. You are precious in His sight and you only need Him to grow.

Daily prayer and reading your bible repeatedly isn’t just good for your spiritual growth. It is also good to keep you planted in what good works He has brought you to. If He has called you to do something for His kingdom, you need to know more about Him before He can use you. It’s kind of like turning in a resume to a company you have never heard of and don’t know anything about the position you are applying for. If you don’t know where to grow, let God plant you. And just bloom where you are. That’s all it takes.

Chelsea Hockensmith Bio

His Promise Still Stands

There is a pattern to the life of faith that often follows a sequence of promise –> excitement –> waiting –> doubting –> testing –> refining –> reinforcement and –> eventual fulfillment.  This is essential to grasp if we ever hope to serve God as mature  women in the faith.

Instant gratification and impatience have become hallmarks of our society. We only have to “tolerate” 5-15 seconds of advertising before getting to a Youtube video. We are promised “instant weight loss,” “instant success,” and “3 Easy Steps…” to achieve just about anything.

Waiting, enduring, and learning patience, exercises of the will and character that have been integral to Biblical faith for thousands of years are not exactly hot topics in an age where we can scroll through our boredom at the rate of 13 Instagram pictures a second.

For now, I just want to highlight 3 appropriate responses to God during a season of waiting, waiting….and maybe even waiting some more:

1)     Gratitude for God’s Abundant Mercy

When God asks you to wait for His perfect timing you have to recognize that this is actually a form of His mercy to you.  By forcing us to wait, God protects us from becoming spoiled children and develops our character.  We will never be effective servants of the King if we are too much like the spoiled rich girl who has Daddy wrapped around her finger and always gets what she wants, right when she wants it.

He wants us to be people of character who recognize that the world does not revolve around us.  So He often asks us to wait and learn patience.  You should thank Him for this, because when God asks you to wait, He is actually doing you a favor.

As Paul says, when we are waiting on God,

“we also rejoice in our sufferings, knowing that suffering produces endurance, and endurance produces character, and character produces hope, and hope does not put us to shame.”  (Romans 5:3)

2)     Hope in God’s Anticipated Action  

Although this is one of the more counter-intuitive aspects of our walk with God, it is actually the case that the longer God makes you wait for something He has promised the more your faith and expectation in the fulfillment of His Word should grow.

The longer you wait, the closer He is getting to fulfilling His word and the more that reality should propel you to even more faith and hope in what is about to come to pass.

Even as you are waiting on God don’t miss the opportunity to praise Him for what He is about to do.

For “salvation is nearer now than when we first believed” (Rom 13:11).

Even though seasons of waiting can tend to wear us down, forcing us to face our own doubts, fears, and insecurities, always remember to praise the Lord in the midst of your waiting.

3)     Surrender to God’s Perfect Purposes

We all start out in our relationship with God wanting to be more or less in control of the operation. This is called idolatry.

Yes we want God, but we kind of want Him on our own terms.  We want a God we can fashion and shape, a God who will serve our needs and our agenda.  It is especially in the moments of waiting on God to do things His own way, in His own time, that reveal to us just how deeply entrenched the idolatry truly is within our hearts.

Part of why God is making us wait, is for us to fully let go of our own will.

And in that surrender you will find a comfort in knowing that God is God, that He does not need your advice, that His ways are higher and better than your ways, and that He is good to the deepest core of His being.

“Therefore, do not throw away your confidence, which has a great reward.  For you have need of endurance, so that when you have done the will of God, you may receive what was promised” (Hebrews 10:35-36). 

And the Joy of Fulfillment is coming…

Whether you are currently waiting on a personal promise God has given to you specifically, or are simply longing for the promise of eternal salvation and deliverance that we all share as followers of Jesus, always remember that no waiting on God is in vain.

He never forgets, He never goes back on His Word, and the joy you will experience on the day of your vindication will be that much greater simply because you waited well.

“And it will be said in that day, “Behold, this is our God for whom we have waited that He might save us.  This is the LORD for whom we have waited.  Let us rejoice and be glad in His salvation” (Isaiah 25:9).

“So let us know, let us press on to know the LORD.  As surely as the sun rises He will appear.  And He will come to us like the rain, like the spring rain watering the earth” (Hosea 6:3).

Francesca Vitug Bio

10 Truths To Tell Yourself

1. Your worth is not determined by what just anyone tells you.
“Live from the abundant place that you are loved, and you won’t find yourself begging
others for scraps of love.” -Lysa TerKeurst, Uninvited

2. You are loved unconditionally.
“Now before the feast of the passover, when Jesus knew that his hour was come that
he should depart out of this world unto the Father, having loved his own which were in
the world, he loved them unto the end.” John 13:1.
“He that hath my commandments, and keepeth them, he it is that loveth me: and he that
loveth me shall be loved of my Father, and I will love him, and will manifest myself to
him.” -John 14:21.

3. You are never, ever alone.
“Be strong and of a good courage, fear not, nor be afraid of them: for the LORD thy
God, he it is that doth go with thee; he will not fail thee, nor forsake thee.” -Deuteronomy 31:6
“And the LORD, He [is] the One who goes before you. He will be with you, He will not
leave you nor forsake you; do not fear nor be dismayed.” -Deuteronomy 31:8

4. You are forgiven.
“When He saw their faith, He said to him, “Man, your sins are forgiven you.” -Luke 5:20

5. You are beautiful.
“I will praise You, for I am fearfully [and] wonderfully made; Marvelous are Your works,
And [that] my soul knows very well.” -Psalms 139:14

6. You were given a promise that is un-breakable.
“For the promise is to you and to your children, and to all who are afar off, as many as
the Lord our God will call.” -Acts 2:39
“For all the promises of God in Him [are] Yes, and in Him Amen, to the glory of God
through us.” -2 Corinthians 1:20

7. You are protected.
“The God of my strength, in whom I will trust; My shield and the horn of my salvation,
My stronghold and my refuge; My Savior, You save me from violence.” -2 Samuel 22:3

8. You are blessed.
“Behold, I have received [a command] to bless; He has blessed, and I cannot reverse
it.” -Numbers 23:20
“Blessings [are] on the head of the righteous, But violence covers the mouth of the
wicked.” -Proverbs 10:6

9. You are going to be okay, even if you don’t feel okay right now. (And if you do, it’s gonna stay that way!)
“Cast all your care on him because he cares for you.” -1 Peter 5:7

10. You have a purpose.
“Upon your inception you, yes you, were given a very specific purpose that only you
can accomplish. You were placed into a certain region of the world, into a certain family, into a certain culture that only you are capable of reaching.” -Nicole Soto, Worth It

Sabrina Hope

Freedom Tax

Freedom. It’s kind of ironic, huh? You are free, but it’s not. We go about our lives having the choice to do certain things, go certain places, be certain people. Except the people who fight for that freedom are not.

You see, Jesus died for our freedom. As do the men and women we honor on this day. Why only today? It seems that national dog day is more important than those who sacrificed themselves for this country. What about pride month? Is it right that they, who are only 15% of the world, are more honored than our fallen and current veterans? Okay, well let’s talk about it. Everyone is worth their right to freedom. It matters though how and where you get your freedom. Everyone has freedom in Jesus name.

So how come we can’t lift our hands to the one who bought our eternal freedom? Everyday the Lord has made! Not just Sunday or Wednesday, but everyday. It’s not a sense of freedom that we strive for as apostolic young ladies, it’s the sense of worth and dignity in knowing we are bought by perfect love.

Proverbs 31:10 says it point on, “Who can find a virtuous woman? for her price is far above rubies.”

All women are worth the price of freedom. We just struggle in earning that freedom. It seems easier to feel free in the world, but you pay the price of eternal bondage. Our fallen veterans are known to deal with depression and other physiological damages. It’s disheartening to find that they turn to the darkness of the world in order to ease the pain. They forget that only one thing can help them through these times, and that’s the freedom Jesus bought them.

Imagine what freedom we could feel from this world if we truly knew how to sacrifice. Fasting is one way to start. It can even be a 5 minute prayer. You should want to return the debt of freedom to God. The type of freedom you choose is up to you. Just think about where your freedom will truly take you. Will you be free to worship in Heaven? Or will you be in bondage forever? Jesus gave us this choice because He wants us to have freedom. Just like all of Israel was set free, he wants us to be free to worship and dance in his presence.

Use your freedom because not everyone has the opportunity to freely worship God. Being modest can be a struggle, but we are saved. But being a proverbs 31 woman is not all it takes. Know where your freedom comes from!

Chelsea Hockensmith

I’m Engaged!

I don’t want to be that annoying girl. You know, the one that talks about her boo and relationship all the time? But, can you let a girl testify!

I recently got engaged to an incredible man of God and I never knew the human heart had the capacity to feel this much love and joy. I’m 25 and we dated for a year and eight months. This is a little older and a little longer than most traditional “church culture” relationships. But, I wouldn’t have had it any other way. Why? Because it was God’s perfect timing. I would like to share a bit of advice to the woman who’s finger has yet to be graced by a ring.

I encourage you ladies to never compare and envy the women around you. That’s a dangerous thing to do. Because that’s when you try to take your love story out of God’s hands and write it yourself. But, I assure you- He’s a way better author.

Be content as a single woman. Do not wait for life to start. Before I met Jericho, I had my own apartment, had become our church’s youth leader, was finishing up college, and was pursuing God’s will for my life as an individual. Granted, I wasn’t against a relationship, but I wasn’t seeking it out either. If you are not content without a relationship, you never will be with one.

Expect God to surpass your expectations! I know many women have created lists, naming off each characteristic they want in their future husband. If you’ve done that, I don’t want to discourage you. But, God superseded my expectations and dreams. Jericho is not what I envisioned! Even the way we met. I am the pastor’s daughter of a small church in Tallahassee (a lot of people don’t even know that’s the capital of Florida). I would’ve never thought God would’ve led the love of my life through our church doors as a FSU college student from New Jersey, a new resident of Tallahassee, who found our church online.

Don’t settle for mediocre. Be with someone who wows you! Where you have to seriously ask yourself, is this person real? “Too good to be true” does not exist with God. It is true no matter how unbelievably amazing! If we truly believe God is miraculous and a miracle worker, why can’t we expect Him to display that in our future spouse?

There’s been a debate over if there’s “the one” or if it’s simply a choice and God blesses whomever you choose. I don’t want to get too involved, but I will say that prayer, fasting, and seeking advice from Godly counsel is necessary when dating and moving towards marriage. It is the scariest and most stressful decision ever! But, God confirms His Word. It may not be easy, but He will make His way known. He is not the author of confusion. Genesis 24 gives us a perfect example of that when the servant prayed for the spouse God wanted for Isaac. God led Rebekah to the well and made it known the individual He wanted Isaac to marry according to His will.

Be encouraged, ladies, no matter your age or situation. Fairy tales are real if you do it His way. Trust and believe. Don’t rush His timing or doubt His will.

“Delight thyself also in the Lord: and he shall give thee the desires of thine heart. Commit thy way unto the Lord; trust also in him; and he shall bring it to pass.” – Psalm 37:4-5

To my darling husband-to-be, “I hold you in my heart, for we have shared together God’s blessings.” – Philippians 1:7 

Charity Huba

Beauty On a Budget

Every girl deserves to be able to nurture her skin, hair, and face, no matter the amount of her checking account. I’m a State worker, with rent and bills to pay, and every day expenses. But, I have found a few “tricks” to still get quality beauty care on a tight budget.

“Like” and comment below if you enjoyed this Vlog!

Charity Huba

 

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