Flashback Friday: She Is Me–The Shunamite Woman

Enjoy this flashback originally posted on March 12, 2012.

In honor of National Women’s History Month, EmpowerMoments is featuring a special series called ‘She is Me’.  Each writer will parallel her own life with that of a Biblical woman to enlighten and EMPOWER youCheers to being a WOMAN!

A Dose of Southern Hospitality

 It was Tuesday and yet I was already thinking about a meal that I would prepare for Thursday. We weren’t having company; however, I wanted to do what I love and cook a really nice family meal. I took out meat and seasoned it and cut up vegetables to roast with it, all in preparation for Thursday’s dinner. This isn’t anything out of the ordinary. I love to cook. That is my gift to others and how I show love. Nary a person enters through my door that I don’t try to fix a meal for and I am even known to visit others and take over their kitchen. Not only is cooking my therapy but it is an area where God has anointed me to bless and show love to others (if I do say so myself).

A man’s gift maketh room for him, and bringeth him before great men. Proverbs 18:16 KJV

The Shunamite woman was no different than I. She was anointed with the gift of hospitality and discernment. “And it fell on a day, that Elisha passed to Shunem, where was a great woman; and she constrained him to eat bread. And so it was, that as oft as he passed by, he turned in thither to eat bread. And she said unto her husband, Behold now, I perceive that this is an holy man of God, which passeth by us continually. Let us make a little chamber, I pray thee, on the wall; and let us set for him there a bed, and a table, and a stool, and a candlestick: and it shall be, when he cometh to us, that he shall turn in thither.” (II Kings 4:8-10 KJV)

We never learn her name but as the story goes, the Shunamite woman (who had no children and an old husband) was prophesied a son by Elisha for her hospitality towards him. Years later her son died and Elisha prayed and then laid on top of him. The child’s life was restored.  Later in II Kings 8:1-6 when a famine came unto the land, Elisha looked out for her and told her to move her family for seven years. After the famine, she wanted her land and house back and went to the King to plead for it. Ironically, Elisha’s servant was testifying of his master’s work before the King, specifically of him restoring the woman’s son’s life just as she came to plead her case. In verse six, ‘The King appointed a certain officer to Restore all that was hers, and all the fruits of the field since the day that she left the land, even until now.’

Like the Shunamite woman, God gives each of us gifts; however, when we operate outside of our anointing we can miss the opportunities that He has for us. The Shunamite woman recognized that Elisha was a man of God and showed love through her gifts. Her ministry was hospitality, but yours may be writing, entertaining, speaking, teaching or discovering. What is your ministry to others? Work in your gift and watch it make room for you.

Below are some key takeaways from the Shunamite woman:

  1. Use your gift to bless others. II Kings 4:8
  2. Although you have the gift sometimes you have to submit to the authority in your life. II Kings 4:9
  3. Do what you love without expectation.  II Kings 4:13
  4. When you are desperate sometimes you have to skip process and appropriateness. II Kings 4:22-23
  5. Obedience really is better than sacrifice. II Kings 8:2
  6. Using your gifts will cause you to reap favor when you need it most II Kings 8:6

Dear Daddy, 

Thank You for anointing me with my gifts. Lord, Your word says that my gifts will make room for me and bring me in the presence of great men. So, God I ask that you help me operate excellently in my gifts so that they will do just that. Help me to use my gifts for Your glory so that I don’t cast my pearls to swine. If something I am “good at” is not my gift, please show me so that my ministry to others is what You want it to be. Thank You for blessing me with gifts that will enlarge my territory. In Jesus’ Name, Amen!

Ladies, I EMPOWER you to discover your gifts and use them like the Shunamite woman. Learn from her and do what you love in a way that blesses others. I assure you that God will reward you for it.

Be sure to enter our National Women’s History Month contest: Enter Now!

Ms. Chancee` Lundy currently resides in Atlanta, GA and is a small business co-owner of Nspiregreen, LLC an environmental consulting firm. She is also a dedicated daughter, sister, friend, community servant, and child of God. She is passionate about causes that truly uplift the community. One of her favorite scriptures is Hebrews 11:6: “And without faith it is impossible to please God, because anyone who comes to him must believe that he exists and that he rewards those who earnestly seek him.”

It Does Get Better

In honor of Women’s Month, each writer will be writing our EmpowerMoments full of encouragement and lessons to our younger selves in a series titled Notes From Me To Me. Sit back and enjoy our reflections, and also think about what would you say to your younger self.

Dear Younger Me,

You have a lot going on in your life right now that is hard to deal with, but it life does get better. One of the biggest things you’re dealing with is your father being an alcoholic and him not keeping his promises to you. You’re also dealing with being bullied at school and not getting along with your mother. The bullying will cause you to have low self-esteem; however, bullying and low self-esteem are nothing new to you because you’ve been dealing with it since elementary school. You’re angry at your mom because you both had to move from Texas to Alabama to take care of her mother (your grandmother) who passed away the next year after the move. As a result of all of these things, you’re angry, hurt, and have a bad attitude. You don’t know how to handle but you will eventually learn to cope and heal through your ways of escape. So keep praying, reading books, writing in your diary, singing, and embracing those times alone and of reflection in your room.

And as you get older, you will learn some things that will give you a new perspective and courage to be the woman that God is molding you into.

  • Learn to accept people for who they are and continue to pray for them to become the people God desires them to be. You will learn to accept your father for who he is.  Your relationship with your father is rocky, but it gets better.
  • Learn to accept and love yourself. Remember that it is okay to be yourself and that you don’t have to do things for people to make them like you.
  • Value the love, the care, the sacrifice, and wisdom of your mother. I know you love your mom and you are angry about the change and so much more, but your mother loves you more than you know, and your relationship with your mom does get better too. She is going to be there for you no matter what happens in your life.
  • Also remember that it’s okay to speak up for yourself and don’t allow people to mistreat you.

The older you,

Venus

 

Dear Daddy,

Thank You for being there for me through every trial that I have endured. Thank You for healing me from my past hurt. In Jesus Name, Amen.

LADIES, I EMPOWER you, to write a letter to your younger self. It might be an emotional experience, but you can gain something from it.

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Venus Gilmore currently resides in Auburn, AL. She is an alumna of Auburn University. Venus has B.A. in Sociology with a concentration in Social Organization and Inequality with a minor in Social Work. She plans on pursuing a career in Social Services. She currently serves as the Mamie Reese Scholarship Director and College Transition Program Director of her sorority Theta Phi Sigma Christian Sorority, Inc. Venus is also a blogger for Radical7even. She is an active Client Advocate volunteer for the Women’s Hope Medical Clinic. She successfully balances all of these responsibilities with her favorite scripture as motivation: “I can do all things through Christ which strengtheneth me.” (Philippians 4:13)

What’s Up Wednesday: Enter Now

Everyone loves to win FREE stuff so be sure to participate! Come and join the winner’s circle!

win

In honor of National Women’s History Month, we decided to do an EmpowerMoments series title Notes From Me To Me.  If we could speak to our younger selves, what exhortation or instruction would we give?

As our EmpowerMoments writers share their notes, we want you to join in and share your notes to your younger selves as well as enter your name for a chance to win a $20 gift card and an awesome devotional!  In regards to your notes, please be brief and submit one or two sentences/lines.

**The fine print: Limit one entry per person. One random winner will be chosen by a random number generator from all entries. Although there will be one winner, all persons entering the contest are agreeing by entering the contest to allow us to share your notes via our Facebook page. Deadline to enter is March 31, 2015 at 11:59 pm. The winner will be notified on or around Friday, April 3, 2015. EmpowerMoments team members are ineligible to win prizes. For additional questions, please email contests@empowermoments.org.**

Life As You See It

In honor of Women’s Month, each writer will be writing our EmpowerMoments full of encouragement and lessons to our younger selves in a series titled Notes From Me To Me. Sit back and enjoy our reflections, and also think about what would you say to your younger self.

Dear younger me,

I know that what you are going through seems really rough right now in these teenage years, and you think when you get a little older and on your own things will be better because you will be in control of every aspect. However, I’m here to tell you that that’s not how it works. You will learn that quickly. So take a deep breath and let’s talk about this thing called life.

  1. Your life will not turn out the way you want it to. I know that sounds cruel, especially since you have it all planned out. You have to remember, though, that, “You were bought at a price, do not become slaves of men.”(1 Corinthians 7:23 NIV). The world likes to be in control but you let your Heavenly Father be in control without resistance from you. This life you are trying to plan out doesn’t belong to you. It belongs to someone who is greater and has something better in mind. So pray and ask God what He wants to do with it. He has your best interest in mind and He’s the one who can make it turn out greater than you ever thought it could! Let it go honey so you can work on purpose. It will make everything easier.
  2. Change will become your new best friend. I know right now you are used to things going a certain way. You are in your comfort zone, but you can’t stay there. Change is going to happen when you least expect it so get ready now! The way you do that is by getting deep in the word of God. You are not too young. This is your guide on those days when you feel confused and don’t know where to go or what to do. His word will be a lamp to your feet and a light to your path. (Psalms 119: 105 NIV)
  3. Start saving money now!!! You are young so this is the perfect time to get your finances together. If you get this down now, you are going to be in a better position later. Instead of worrying about how you’re going to make it, you will be able to help someone else who is struggling. Save little by little and watch it grow! (Proverbs 13:11 NIV)
  4. Rejection is a part of life. You are going to feel broken. You are going to wonder why. Be encouraged though because God has not rejected you. He accepts your flaws and all and He will NEVER leave you! He loves you and always will. Your rejection will help you see a little of what God experiences when you reject Him. The pain that you will feel will help you grow in your relationship with Christ. It will also help you to learn to let go of what you cannot control. It may not feel like it but it is a beautiful process and you are going to come out better on the other side! (1 Peter 2:4-5 NIV)
  5. You are worth the wait! You will be tempted and you will want to give in sometimes but know it will be worth it. People who don’t understand will try to convince you otherwise and some people will try to deceive you. Be prepared. Stand firm on God’s word and know that He has something great waiting for you. Remember, “You were bought at a price. Therefore, honor God with your body.” (1 Corinthians 6:20 NIV) This is your preparing season so get your heart and mind right for when God transitions you. Trust me that you are dodging some bullets and will be so thankful later! “Daughters of Jerusalem, I charge you. Do not arouse or awaken love until it so desires.” (Song of Solomon 8:4NIV) It may not happen when you want it but it will happen…..one day.
  6. Don’t be afraid. “For the Spirit God gave us does not make us timid, but gives us power, love, and self-discipline.” (2 Timothy 1:7 NIV) Watch who you listen to, the music you hear, and the things you watch. The spirit of fear is everywhere and will try to take over every aspect of your life. Don’t let it. It shows lack of faith and trust in God and also will keep you from so many blessings God has for you to share with others. Be bold for God. It looks great on you!

Dear Daddy,

Thank You for walking through this journey called life with me. Help me to remember that You have already mapped it out for me, and if I study Your word, I will know what to do. In Jesus’ name, Amen.

Ladies, I EMPOWER you to let go and give your life to God in every aspect. He has a brilliant plan in place. If you get on board with Him, you will see all He has in store for you. He loves you more than anyone ever could and He will always make sure you are taken care of, so trust him!

____________________________________________________________

Misha White currently resides in Daphne, AL and is a recent graduate of Tennessee State University with a Bachelor’s of Science Degree in Biology. She aspires to serve women to achieve the best spiritual and physical health possible using the Word of God, regular exercise, and healthy eating habits. She is a loving friend, sister, and daughter. One of her favorite scriptures is John 16:33 (NIV), “I have told  you these things, so that in me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world.”

Dear Me…The New Wife

In honor of Women’s Month, each writer will be writing our EmpowerMoments full of encouragement and lessons to our younger selves in a series titled Notes From Me To Me. Sit back and enjoy our reflections, and also think about what would you say to your younger self.

Dear Me…the New Wife,

What a beautiful wedding!!! And now for the real stuff, the stuff I wish you knew before you said “I do.”

  1. Really, really, really take a long look at his imperfections and then remember yours. This man is imperfect just like you. While I know you see a greater man in him, don’t deny the flaws he has today and try to “change” him. There is a difference between tolerance and acceptance. Now is the time to put this into action. You cannot tolerate those imperfections because tolerance has a point where it becomes intolerance. You have to ACCEPT them. Paraphrasing from John 8:7, Jesus said, He who is without sin cast the first stone! This scripture will save your marriage from some of the battles that are coming. Further, this is what it means to love and not be self-seeking. Understanding this was the toughest pill I had to swallow, but it will get you to a better place with him sooner than later. You’ll thank me for it.
  2. Pause! This word, phrase, verb, whatever you want to call it will save you and your new husband a lot of heart ache. Don’t be so quick to respond, quick to anger, or even quick to judge. Remember this, “A soft answer turns away wrath: but grievous words stir up anger.” (Proverbs 15:1 KJV) You have a characteristic that in many cases, down the road, will be used for your good, but you have yet to learn how to refine this. Your quick tongue can literally kill your husband. “Death and life are in the power of the tongue; and they that love it shall eat the fruit thereof.” (Proverbs 18:21 KJV) Think of it this way, a man’s ego is like bark on a tree. It is what protects him, what makes him strong, what helps to shield him from adverse external threats. Well, a nagging wife is like chipping away at that ego. It is like tearing off the bark of a tree. It doesn’t grow back so quickly and sometimes never. So be careful how quickly you “fire” back.
  3. Manipulation is NOT submission! Let’s remember, you are the one who chose to marry this man and you are the one who chose to follow God’s plan for your husband to the head and priest of your home. Don’t try to manipulate situations and circumstances to try and trick him into “following” your plans and ideas, and then act like you are submitting. Or worse, hiding things and decisions from him. Everything done in the dark comes to light and you don’t want the trust in your marriage to be strained because you don’t trust his judgment. That isn’t fair; you have to give him a chance. Trust freely, God ordained this marriage and this man to be your covering. To truly submit is to have an understanding that although you have these great ideas, you need to present them to him on the front end and ALLOW him to make the final decision, trusting he has your best interest at heart. Fast forwarding nine years from today, I can tell you, this will be one of the best things you can ever do!
  4. Throw the TV out of your bedroom…in your head. I don’t literally mean throw out your television, but I do mean throw out the thoughts in your head that you have seen or heard about what men like when it comes to intimacy. Have conversations about your husband’s preferences and likes before you start swinging from chandeliers because you thought that was how “it was supposed to go.” Learn how to love him. “Love is patient and kind,” (I Corinthians 13:4a NIV) That means love considers the thoughts of others.
  5. Finally, pray more for him. I think it is great that your marriage has a Godly foundation, but you two are going to come against some trials that will knock some of the most seasoned relationships off of their feet. Intimately learn how to pray for him. Have more conversations with God on how you can be a Godly wife and a Godly friend to him. The wisdom that God will give you early on will help you when the children come, when the moves occur, and when you have to sacrifice for things that are uncertain.

Your future is so rich with this man, trust me. Nine years in your future, I can tell you, it is going to be GOOD! But take heed to my advice, it will be even better than what I am witnessing right now…and that’s hard to beat!

Dear Daddy,

Thank You for the sanctity of marriage. Thank You for making it Holy, honorable, and a reflection of your love. Lord, I pray that You strengthen each wife, fiancée, girlfriend and lady in waiting with Godly wisdom on how to love, respect, and honor her husband. May You bless their conversations, their interactions, finances, love-making, their friends, and their children. Lord, teach us as wives how to be women after your own heart, how to pause and listen to the Holy Spirit and how to be a true helper to our husbands. In Jesus’ name I pray, Amen.

Ladies, I EMPOWER you to include God in your marriage. This sounds so simple, yet is so hard to do. Marriage can reveal your true character, and for me, I found I wasn’t so great. But letting God into your heart and allowing Him to mold you as a wife will be the best thing you can do for your marriage. Check out more of my marriage posts here.

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As a professional, Mrs. Khalilah Burton is a university administrator.  She is also currently pursuing a Doctorate of Education in Community College Leadership. Khalilah is passionate about her faith journey and uses this key scripture as her inspiration: “And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose.” (Romans 8:28 NIV) Khalilah also serves as a guest speaker and panelist for various events for women and Christian empowerment. Her passion for servant-hood is implemented through serving her community with Girl Scouts and her sorority, mentoring young women, and marriage empowerment. She resides in Daphne, Alabama with her wonderful husband Donald Burton, Jr. and their two daughters. Currently, they are seeking a  church home in their new city.

See Your Self Standing

Faith Fridays are all about providing a visual to strengthen your faith. Some times we just need to witness the awesome moves of God in someone else’s life to remind us that He is real and can still perform miracles in our own lives! If we just believe, anything is possible with God!

Delia found herself confined to a wheelchair after a drunk driver crashed into the vehicle she and a couple of family members were riding in.  Paralyzed from the waist down, this woman of God continued to press in her faith and her everyday life.  She believed that God would heal her but after years went by she began to lose hope and doubt that God would.  Along her journey of being confined to the wheelchair, she met a man of God who would become her husband.  He would encourage her to keep her faith in being healed.  He would pick her up and hold her while dancing with her.  She said her legs would dangle as he danced with her. But it was these words, that he said to her that stuck out to me:

See yourself standing!

Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen. (Heb 11:1 KJV)  Faith is believing and knowing it IS, no matter what it looks like or how it feels like.  After years of being confined to a wheelchair or whatever you feel confined to, it is easy to lose hope or doubt God can or will answer your prayer.  But women of God, I EMPOWER you to see yourself standing and hold onto your faith.  Don’t lose sight of that vision, don’t let doubt extinguish your hope!

Please watch this video of a woman of God sharing her journey towards healing.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=g7OTrZMqs1A

(Please click on the link above)

Fearfully and Wonderfully Made

In honor of Women’s Month, each writer will be writing our EmpowerMoments full of encouragement and lessons to our younger selves in a series titled Notes From Me To Me. Sit back and enjoy our reflections, and also think about what you would say to your younger self.

Dear Fearfully and Wonderfully Made,

I have read your journals young lady. I have heard your cries. I have seen you shrink back because of fear and intimidation. I know you were depressed and even attempted to swallow down a bottle of pills to end your inward pain. But what you will soon realize is that there is someone you decided to accept in your life and as your life who will carry you throughout the storms and your fears, and lead you to strength, precious moments, and your destiny. So keep living and take one day at a time.You are going to learn patience and you are going to learn how to navigate through your fears and the devil’s intimidation.

Oh, keep writing! That is a God-given talent and God will use that talent as well as your sensitivity to encourage and help others. You were called weak and you were even made to feel not beautiful, overlooked, and like you could not survive life. But God, who promised He would be your dad and fill that void of not having a father, will help you get through it all. He will also help you to see yourself the way He sees you. Child, you are FIERCE, and you haven’t even realized it yet!

I will praise Thee; for I am fearfully and wonderfully made: marvellous are Thy works; and that my soul knoweth right well. (Psalm 139:14 KJV)

There are some things I have learned that you too will learn. Just hold them dear and never forget them.

  • The devil is a liar. You already know who he is, but what you failed to realized is that he has been deceiving you all this time even during your time of depression. Girl, you are valuable to God, to His kingdom, and to your family. You are beautiful and some man would love to call you his wife one day. Even if you are weak, passive, too nice, you are going to realize that that is okay because you will be known for your strength and perseverance. Confused? It is okay to be nice, it is okay to be what they call weak, because He that is in you, is greater than he that is in the world, and therefore, you are strong.
  • Learn to say no, now, please! Your mom has been teaching you how to stand up for yourself and how to be much bolder. It’s hard to say no but God doesn’t require you to be a people-pleaser, just compassionate. Just say a simple, ‘Yes, I will,’ or ‘No, I won’t.’ Anything beyond this is from the evil one. (Mat 5:37 NLT) That simple. Your ability to let go of the fear of man and learn to say no will benefit your mental and physical state.  Worry and stressing over pleasing others can make you sick!
  • No one can steal your joy if you let them and if you nurse the offense. You have no problem treasuring the moments, great times and new ventures in your life, but you do give away your joy at the drop of a hat. You shut down and retreat back to your shell.  God says that offenses will come and to not be easily offended. Sounds easier said than done, but make up in your mind to not nurse the offense and let it go! Hold on to your joy! It is one of your most prized possessions.
  • Let go! Sometimes you unknowingly invite manipulative and worrisome people in your life. They will drain your strength like Dracula. God also will keep, thank God for His mercy, talking to you about surrendering every area of your life to Him. You are afraid to let go of every detail and put it in His hands. You will realize that you cannot do anything without Him.
  • Save emergency money! No explanation here; don’t do it and see what happens!
  • Treat yourself! Mom taught this to all you and your female relatives in the family. I think you the only one it will take a while to catch on. I know you love to do for others, but God says love others as you love yourself. Hmm, you missed the second part.
  • Date. Stop being scared. Mom always said a man is not going to just fall on the couch.  Your first love will break your heart, and although you will not lose heart to love again, you will procrastinate in getting back out there.
  • Don’t be afraid to enjoy your blessings. Sometimes jealous people will make you feel like you have to hide what God put in you or did for you. This will sadden you because you weren’t always confident and you lived in your inadequacies and fear, so now you are learning to appreciate yourself and your talents and gifts. You lift up others also and when someone else gets blessed, you rejoice. So why can’t people rejoice with you!  Don’t worry about it or try to find out why. Be sensitive towards their feelings and walk in love, but don’t be afraid to praise God for what He has done for you!
  • Allow God to renew your mind. Your old way of thinking and handling things will not suffice as you get older and grow spiritually. Your mind can be a war field if you don’t keep those thoughts in check and upload God’s Word and perspective even of yourself in it.
  • Trust God and laugh hysterically daily! No explanation needed; just do it!

Dear Daddy,

Thank You for showing me that I am fearfully and wonderfully made. Thank You that I was so valuable to You that Your only begotten Son took my place on the cross, and gave me life and that much more abundantly. In Jesus’ Name, Amen!

Ladies, today I EMPOWER you to know that you are fearfully and wonderfully made!  Know that God can use your past for the good of your future, and He has a blueprint already drafted for your destiny. Seek Him for it and trust Him!

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Ms. Tannika Moore loves the Lord and loves to write! Besides writing poetry or editing written work for family and friends, she currently works for NEIU Educational Talent Search program, helping high school students prepare for college. She loves to build people up through God’s Word, encouragement, mentoring, support, and her writing. In 2014, Tannika published her first book, a book of her poetry, titled Setting The Captive Free. She  also launched her Christian clothing and apparel brand called Fruitful & Fabulous inspired by John 15:8. Her favorite scripture comes from Philippians 1:6, “For I am confident of this very thing, that He who began a good work in you shall perfect it until the day of Christ Jesus.”