Direction/Guidance, God's Provisons, Growth/Maturity, Humility, Submission/Surrendering

The Illusion of a Self-Made Woman

LORD, you establish peace for us; all that we have accomplished you have done for us. (Isaiah 26:14 NIV)

I am educated, have a career, decently paid, live in a safe neighborhood and drive a nice car. You could say that I am living the “American Dream”. Everything that everyone sees currently is all a blessing from the Lord. If people were to really understand the struggles, the sleepless nights and late night prayers crying out to my Heavenly Father, they would understand that this dream came with a mighty high price tag. Even with all the struggles that I endured, they now seem like a distant memory and I at times get caught up in the material blessings that God has given me. In fact, at times I can begin to believe that this wonderful life I have been given is due to all of my hard work. I fall under an illusion that I am a self-made woman.

Being a self-made woman means that I have not submitted myself, my thoughts and desires unto God. This life I am living is about me, my needs and wants. The illusion that I have built this life for myself can lead me to make decisions and then ask God for His input after I have already made my decision.

I must admit that for the past few weeks I have not been in prayer or studying the Word like I once had. Although, I believe that I love God and have a heart for Him, I was so busy making my own decisions that I wasn’t respecting His authority in my life.

Then like Paul I was given a thorn in my flesh. Therefore, in order to keep me from becoming conceited, I was given a thorn in my flesh, a messenger of Satan, to torment me. (II Corinthians 12:7 NIV)

Last week was one of the most challenging weeks I have had in quite some time. In fact my well put together world crumbled rapidly in a 24 hour period. I had no idea what decision to make and I was at a loss. Things that seemed so important just the day before paled in comparison to what I was facing. Could I actually deal with the situation? The answer was no, in my own power and strength I couldn’t. It was due to this “thorn” that for the first time in weeks I reached out to my Father in deep and sincere prayer. I knew that there was nothing humanly possible that could be done and I humbled my haughty heart to the Lord. I was in prayer like never before and made plans to begin fasting.

I thank God, for His perfect timing and orchestrated “thorns” in my life. Those are instances of Him calling me back to His loving arms. Do not allow thorns to harden your heart, allow them to draw you closer to Him. He might not remove the challenge but He can give you the strength and peace to endure it.  Allow the “thorns” to remind you that EVERYTHING that you have is from God and not from your own strength.

Dear Daddy,

Thank You so much for blessing me with material items, but help me to remember that things are not my source. Help nothing, not even my own desires, separate me from the path and plan that You have destined for my life. Help me to remember that I am made to worship You.  Help me to allow You to humble me when needed.  In Jesus’ Name, Amen!

Ladies, I EMPOWER you to let God be ruler over every decision that you make. Do not allow things to become idols in your life.

______________________________________________________________________________

Ms. Renee` N. Chaffin is a single mother who has a heart for helping those less fortunate. She has been active in the non-profit sector, whether through volunteerism or professionally, for the past six years.  She is passionate about sharing the love of God, her testimony and empowering people to discover their true potential that was bestowed on them by King of the Universe. Renee` is currently pursuing a Master’s in Public Administration. While on her pursuit of higher education, she is on a seven year journey to challenge God to do ‘exceedingly and abundantly above all she can imagine’ in seven areas over the next seven years. Check out her journey at http://radical7even.wordpress.com. Her favorite scripture is I Peter 5:6: “Humble yourselves, therefore, under God’s mighty hand, that he may lift you up in due time.”

Direction/Guidance, Growth/Maturity, Strength, Trusting God

Is There an ‘S’ on Your Chest?

For many years I have been the “go-to person”. People always seem to think that I can solve any situation. Because I have been relied on in this capacity, I started to believe this was true. From this, an agenda or schedule rarely existed and caused a serious overload in my life; however, I would keep going because I knew helping people was the “right thing to do”. I was just like the Energizer Bunny or more like SUPERWOMAN! I would go and go and go and go, complete with the cape around my neck and ‘S’ on my chest! I arrived on the scene and you would hear, “Bum, bum, bum, bummmm!” After a while, “bum, bum, bum, bummmm” turned into frustration, the cape was wrinkled, and the ‘S’ withered. Then I heard His voice, “Did I tell you to do that?”

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. Proverbs 3:5-6 KJV

Do you make plans daily without permission or direction from God? Do you find yourself doing things because you think it’s the right thing to do? Do you operate with an ‘S’ on your chest? YOU SHOULD! However, that ‘S’ should stand for SPIRIT! In everything we do, we should be SPIRIT-led!

But when He, the Spirit of Truth (the Truth-giving Spirit) comes, He will guide you into all the Truth (the whole, full Truth). For He will not speak His own message [on His own authority]; but He will tell whatever He hears [from the Father; He will give the message that has been given to Him], and He will announce and declare to you the things that are to come [that will happen in the future]. He will honor and glorify Me, because He will take of (receive, draw upon) what is Mine and will reveal (declare, disclose, transmit) it to you. John 16:13-14 AMP

It is unfortunate that God provides us with a spiritual navigation system but we don’t use it. We prefer to drive in circles as opposed to getting directions from the Holy Spirit! The Holy Spirit knows the plan of the Father and desires to give it to us, but we MUST be in relationship with Him. God, the Father, tells Jesus His plan then Jesus shares it with the Holy Spirit. It is our job to spend time in the Word and prayer to get revelation of the plan of God. Giving direction isn’t the only job of the Holy Spirit; the Holy Spirit has several jobs that are important to us.

And I will ask the Father, and He will give you another Comforter (Counselor, Helper, Intercessor, Advocate, Strengthener, and Standby), that He may remain with you forever. John 14:16 AMP

God loves us so much. He doesn’t want us blinded by any situation. He has equipped us with His Spirit to be able to endure until the end! The most awesome part is that His Spirit dwells on the inside of us!

Dear Daddy,

Father, in the name of Jesus, I ask for Your forgiveness for endeavoring to live without Your Holy Spirit. Father, I ask that I am led daily by Your Spirit. I welcome the Holy Spirit to lead and guide me to all truths. I will acknowledge You in all my ways. I give You permission to direct my path and order my steps. I thank You, Lord, for a spirit of conviction if I endeavor to do anything without You! Holy Spirit, take over my will right now. In Jesus’ Name, Amen!

Ladies, I EMPOWER you to remove the “SUPERWOMAN” off your chest and replace it with “SPIRIT-LED WOMAN”! I EMPOWER you to allow the Spirit of the true and living God to lead you so that you can receive the results God desires for your life! I decree and declare that when you place SPIRIT-LED WOMAN across your chest, God’s super will be on your natural and you SHALL do SUPERNATURAL things in the earth!

(Ladies, please embark on this journey with me of truly allowing God’s Spirit to lead you. There are some excellent things that God desires to happen in the earth this year; however, they cannot be fulfilled without INTIMATELY knowing the Spirit of God!)

Are you guilty of trying to be SUPERWOMAN, and not SPIRIT-LED? Share your story with us below.

______________________________________________________________________________

Ms. Rodnisha L. Anderson resides in Chicago, IL and serves as an elder at Life Redeeming Ministries. She works diligently with the Singles and Intercessory ministries. She is married to the Lord and becomes whatever she needs to become to reach the people for the building of God’s kingdom. Rodnisha truly desires to witness successful single women thriving in the kingdom of God.  Her favorite scripture is 1 Timothy 4:12: “Don’t let anyone think less of you because you are young. Be an example to all believers in what you say, in the way you live, in your love, your faith, and your purity.”

Direction/Guidance, Evangelism, Leadership, Mentor/Mentee, Mentoring, Teacher/Student

Remember Where You Came From…

…And the One Who Brought You Out!

But you are a chosen race, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a people for his own possession, that you may proclaim the excellencies of him who called you out of darkness into his marvelous light. (1 Peter 2:9 ESV)

Recently I started working with a group of girls at an elementary school in a poverty stricken neighborhood. The group that I work with is in sixth through eighth grade. Twice a week for an hour, we get together for empowering sessions. The sessions are on a wide range of topics from financial empowerment to self-esteem empowerment. Upon first meeting the girls, I was a bit taken aback. For such a young group of girls, they seemed to be very forward and extremely boy crazy. Everything that came out of their mouth was something perverse or vulgar. I couldn’t believe how comfortable they were tossing subliminal sexual messages around in my presence. It was almost as if all they wanted to discuss were things that were associated with the opposite sex. Again, I was nearly appalled at some of the things the girls were asking and telling me.  When leaving that session, I got in my car and had a quick pow wow with the man upstairs. Knowing that He sent me on this assignment, I reminded Him that I was going to need His assistance to be effective as the task at hand. Many questions started swimming around in my mind. A few of them went like this: How did they get like this? What type of parents do they have? At this rate, will they be successful in high school? Why are they so into boys at such a young age?

With absolutely no answers and still a boat load of questions, I solicited my weekly prayer partner for assistance. As she prayed for my strength, wisdom and courage to deal with the girls, I nodded my head in agreement. However, as she continued on asking God to remind me of how far I’d come and to remove any judgment on my part, I had to open one eye. Surely, she wasn’t talking about me! Oh, but surely she was! I was instantly convicted; for a moment in time, I was looking down on those young girls. There I was casting judgment on girls who reflected pieces of me. At some point in my life, I was exactly who they are now…it’s just no one knew about it. At some low era of my existence, I did the very things that they were discussing so freely…I was just never caught! I shared with you just last week a laundry list of things that I was guilty of. (See She is Me: Lydia) With a rap sheet like that, how dare I look down on those girls!

Besides the fact that God truly loves us, do you know why He even bothered saving us? It was so that we could be useful to the building of His Kingdom.  “For God saved us and called us to live a holy life. He did this, not because we deserved it, but because that was his plan from before the beginning of time–to show us his grace through Christ Jesus.” (2 Timothy 1:9 NLT)  Every single thing that we have experienced in life was not just for our own development; it was to benefit God’s people as well. There is someone, somewhere that needs to hear YOUR testimony. In my case, those girls need to know that I have walked in their shoes before and I know what dark places those paths lead to. With the right balance of love, honesty and firmness, I can help deter them from walking the path of death. But, if we get too arrogant or puffed up with pride, we miss the opportunity to minister and deliver those who are in captivity.

Many Bible readers are familiar with the header scripture. We love to proclaim that we are ‘a chosen nation, a royal priesthood, a holy nation’. But the part that seems to get tossed to wayside is the latter part of that verse.  You are His possession and were chosen that you may proclaim the excellencies of him who called you out of darkness into his marvelous light. Yes, He called me from that dark, grungy place of promiscuity, lust, fornication, drugs, alcoholism, etc. into the brighter place of salvation, forgiveness, love, redemption and restoration. However, it’s more important WHY He called me from that hopeless place—to help others who are in currently in that dark space and cannot see the way out for themselves.

I am determined now more than ever to make an indelible impact on those young ladies. I understand more fully just how important my story is to the next person. So, the next time God sends a lowly soul to you, please don’t rest in the seat of judgment.  Remember where you came from and the One who brought you from that place. Extend the same love that He extended to you. You may be the only person standing between them and salvation and/or deliverance.

Dear Daddy,

Please forgive me for the times that I placed judgment or looked down on one of Your children. When there is someone struggling with an issue, help me to embrace them the same way that You embraced me when I dealt with my issues. Teach me unconditional love that covers a multitude of sins. Lord, I ask that You send people to me who I can minister to based on the things that I have experienced in my life. Give me the courage to share my testimony so that others may come to know Your healing power. In Jesus’ Name, Amen!

Ladies, today I EMPOWER you remember where you came from! Recall that you used to be in that dark place and recall how God transitioned you into His marvelous light. With that on your brain, I EMPOWER you to minister to those who are still in that place. Who better to help them than one has walked a few miles in their shoes? Remember, they shall overcome by the blood of the lamb and the word of our testimonies! (Revelation 12:11)

Read a related EmpowerMoment: Dont Leave Them, Lead Them!

Mrs. Kristen Harris is a wife, mother, entrepreneur and dedicated servant.  She is extremely passionate about women’s spiritual advancement, hence the founding of EmpowerMoments.  As an avid reader, Kristen enjoys reading the Bible and other non-fiction pieces. Her driving inspiration is when God says to her: “For I know the plans I have for you, plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.”  (Jeremiah 29:11) She currently resides outside of Chicago, Illinois with her wonderful husband and two lovely daughters where she is an active member of New Life Covenant Church.

Direction/Guidance, Growth/Maturity, Preparation, Submission/Surrendering, Trusting God

Planners Anonymous

Hi, my name is Katrina and I’m a planner!

I am self-proclaimed planner.  I plan out my day. I plan out mostly every task I complete during my day from cleaning my house to completing a report for work. My family and friends look to me to plan family events and vacations.  I take a certain level of pride in my ability to plan something out and make arrangements should anything go wrong.

While I enjoy this gift God has given me, it has also become a curse.  I’m a planner to the extent of planning my whole life!  I just knew how I wanted everything to go–my occupation, style of home and car, when, where, and how I wanted to get married, and the number of kids I wanted along with their names and genders.

I put myself in danger of two major things happening when I planned my life out like this:  (1) I didn’t submit any parts of my life to the will of God to do whatever He wanted to do. (2) I became anxious when I started to see that some of my plans were not working out the way I had hoped. In MY plan I should have been married working on my first pregnancy by now (twins, one boy and one girl)!

GOD’s WILL

“…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 hope and a future…” (Jeremiah 29:11 NIV)

Yes, God wants us to live life on purpose; however, He wants us to live out our purpose through consistent submission to HIS will for our lives, not our own!

BEING ANXIOUS

“…Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving , present your requests to God.  And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus…” (Philippians 4:6-7 NIV)

God wants us to CALM DOWN!!

I have since stopped making plans based on my will and have submitted my desires to the will of God for Him to do with them as He chooses.  This course of action is best because God will take your life in a direction and bless you in such a way that is beyond what you could  have EVER imagined for yourself.

“…Now to him who is able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine, according to his power that is at work within us…” (Ephesians 3:20 NIV)

Dear Daddy,

Thank You that Your will is perfect.  We thank You for loving us so much that You have entrusted us with an awesome destiny to reach.  We are grateful for the opportunity to help build the kingdom of God and bring You glory.  We ask that You help us to continuously submit our plans to You.  Help us not to get out of Your will by making our will more important than Yours.  Please forgive us for the times that we have done so. In Jesus’ Name, Amen!

Ladies, today I EMPOWER you to submit your plans to God.  There is a song we sing at my church that simply says, “I surrender, I open up my heart to whatever you desire!”  I promise God will take you places you never imagined that you could go.

Which one of YOUR plans can you submit to God today? We’d love to hear about it! Share it with us on Facebook or Twitter!

Read a related EmpowerMoment: Control Freaks Anonymous

Ms. Katrina Richard is an up and coming professional residing in Chicago, Illinois.  She strives to incorporate knowledge and life-skills to teenagers in her profession as a high school history teacher.  Katrina is very active in her church community where she serves in the prayer ministry as well as in the nursery.  She has a passion for serving in the lesser known areas of ministry because she believes every facet of ministry is important to kingdom building and spiritual development of the believers. Her favorite scripture is 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 hope and a future.”

Decision Making, Direction/Guidance, Finances, Growth/Maturity, Marriage, Preparation

In Preparation

Lately I have been a bit overwhelmed with life and the issues that it brings. I feel like I am leisurely walking through a slow moving storm. The rain isn’t stopping and the thunder is rolling. An emotional rollercoaster doesn’t quite capture the essence of my state of mind but as I begin to sulk about these feelings, I hear a small voice tell me “This is what you asked for; it’s your preparation.” There was a time when I just prayed and as my requests were granted I would realize that I wasn’t truly prepared for that “thing” that I asked for. Looking back, have you ever been there? I pray for financial increase but can I really manage money in a way that honors God or am I still wasteful? For example, when I was in college, apparently I had “money to blow.” After I graduated I saw a financial statement that indicated the tens of thousands of dollars that I received over the years in “refund checks.” I can’t put my finger on one tangible item from that time period. All I can think of are the “could’ve, should’ve, would’ves.” I don’t want to make those same mistakes with the requests that I have laid before Him now so I always ask God to prepare me for my “asks.”

“…My son, do not make light of the Lord’s discipline, and do not lose heart when he rebukes you, because the Lord disciplines the one he loves, and he chastens everyone he accepts as his son.”Endure hardship as discipline; God is treating you as his children. For what children are not disciplined by their father? Hebrews 12:5-7 NIV

Among my many desires I ask God to prepare me for are my husband, my children, financial increase and deliverance for family members. That’s not so bad, right? Well, herein lies the problem. I thought that preparation meant showing me where I may be lacking in some areas and helping me improve. No, it’s more than that. This preparation phase has taken some discipline and correction from Him. It has meant letting go of people in my life, making tough decisions about family and the resurgence of suppressed memories and issues that were buried in the deep crevices of my mind. This is NOT what I was expecting! It’s sometimes painful and lonely but that small still voice has deemed it necessary. (Remember the Olive Press) Remove all of that “stuff” and grant me knowledge and understanding…

The ear that heareth the reproof of life abideth among the wise. He that refuseth instruction despiseth his own soul: but he that heareth reproof getteth understanding. Proverbs 15:31-32 KJV 

How can I be a good wife and mother when I am not mentally prepared to fully show up in a relationship, much less a marriage? How can I create generational wealth and become a billionaire when I can’t manage being a “dollaraire?”  How can I make tough choices when I shy away from ones that should be easy? In this time of preparation, my thoughts are challenged and I am questioning the way I handle some things. Okay God, I get it! You can and will grant the “ask” but if I learn and take the time to be molded in YOUR preparation phase, I will have the maturity to manage my requests once fulfilled.

Dear Daddy,

Thank You for showing me that Your thoughts are higher than my thoughts and Your ways are higher than my ways (Isaiah 55:8-9 KJV). Continue to prepare me so that I can bask in the future that You have for me. Although the preparation phase can be painful help me to grow from it and mature so that I can act with wisdom when the time comes. Prepare me so that I can be the best me with each request that I ask of You. In Jesus’ Name, Amen!

Ladies, I EMPOWER you with the understanding that you do indeed get what you pray for but sometimes you can be unprepared for it. I EMPOWER you to endure the preparation phase and learn the lessons so that you can be fully present when God grants you the desires of your heart.

For more information about preparation, read the entire 3-day Olive Press Series and In Preparation…It’s More than Just Spiritual.

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.”

Direction/Guidance, Faith, God's Love, God's Protection, Patience, Stress, Trusting God

Still In Troubled Waters

The time is 12:44 pm CST on Monday, September 5, 2011. Location: Somewhere in the Gulf of Mexico.

I’m sitting here in my cabin, with two other girlfriends, looking out at 50 foot waves crashing against our cruise ship. At this point we are 4 hours and 45 minutes late to our destination. Let me set the scene for you. I am stuck in the middle of the Gulf of Mexico on my return from a Girl’s Getaway to Mexico. Tropical Storm “Lee” is stirring in the Gulf and the waters are beyond turbulent.  My girlfriends and I are pretty much disappointed, to say the least, that we are stuck in the middle of no where, missing our babies and husbands, but amazed at the force of the waves as they rock our ship. Why are we in the middle of “somewhere” in the Gulf? Glad you asked! Our captain informed us that the port on the coast of Mobile, AL is closed due to the inclement weather. There are no ships allowed to dock at this time. Furthermore, the Captain notified us that although we were almost to Mobile, he had to turn around and detour further south into the Gulf. He had to move the ship to a safer place as we wait out the storm. When he came on the loud speaker informing us that we have been moved to a safer place, I thought to myself, if this is called safe (rocking cabins, 50 foot waves, etc) then I don’t want to see what’s at the dock.

This is where my EmpowerMoment came in. Here we are stuck, waiting off course of our travel route to sit in a rough rocky, yet safer place.

Sometimes God will allow us to sit in a turbulent place in life because what’s ahead is even worse than where we are now. Have you ever wanted to hurry and let a season pass? If our captain were to “hurry” us to the port anyway, just because he could, we may have faced worse conditions. Sometimes it is “meant” for you to ride out the storm. You have to ride out that period in your life, even if it’s rocky.

When Jesus woke up, he rebuked the wind and said to the waves, “Silence! Be still!” Suddenly the wind stopped, and there was a great calm.  Then he asked them, “Why are you afraid? Do you still have no faith?” (Mark 4:39-40 NLT)

Another interesting thing about this storm that I’m currently in is I am not able to reach out to anyone. I’m typing this EmpowerMoment on my laptop, but the internet is down. The phones are busy because everyone else on the ship is trying to use them. So what can I do? I have to sit here and trust that God is in control of the waters. Jesus can calm the waters and quiet the seas and I am holding onto this faith that He will. Often times while in life’s storms, we try to reach out to people. We call our friends, parents, significant others and so forth for comfort and reassurance. But sometimes you’ll pick up the phone, dial about four numbers, and no one answers. This is when God is reminding you that He is the only one that can comfort you, even in the storms He places you in on purpose.

Dear Daddy,

Thank You for getting us through the storms safely. Thank You for evoking a spirit of peace and assurance on our ships. Thank You for driving. You know best when I need a detour or a boost to propel forward. As we go through life’s waves and storms, help us to have the same confidence that You are with us. In Jesus’ Name, Amen!

Sistah Girl, I EMPOWER you this day to 1) Recognize that some detours and storms in life are purposeful obstructions to protect us from what’s ahead  2)  Remember, “Even though I walk through the darkest valley,I will fear no evil, for you are with me; your rod and your staff, they comfort me.” (Psalms 23:4 NIV) and  3) “Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God.” (Philippians 4:6 NIV) Don’t complain while in the storm and don’t add worry to your situation by being anxious. Even in situations as tumultuous as the one you are in now pray to God in thanksgiving…it could be worseBe blessed, and stay encouraged.

As a professional, Mrs. Khalilah Burton is College Biology Instructor. She is also currently pursuing a Doctorate of Education in Higher Ed and Community College Leadership. Khalilah is passionate about her faith journey and uses this key scripture as her inspiration: “But they that wait upon the LORD shall renew their strength; they shall mount up with wings as eagles; they shall run, and not be weary; and they shall walk, and not faint.” (Isaiah 40:31 KJV) She teaches Young Adult Bible Study and Sunday School and also serves as a guest speaker and panelist for various events for women and Christian empowerment.  Khalilah resides in Millbrook, Alabama with her wonderful husband Donald Burton, Jr. and their energetic three-year old daughter. They attend St. Luke Christian ChurchCheck out Khalilah’s Christian weight loss blog here.

Direction/Guidance, Encouragement, Friendships, Inspirational, Mentor/Mentee, Mentoring, Submission/Surrendering

It’s Your Turn

Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of compassion and the God of all comfort, who comforts us in all our troubles, so that we can comfort those in any trouble with the comfort we ourselves receive from God.” (2 Corinthians 1:3-4 NIV)

I look in the mirror and I see an ugly face and skin. My cheeks are full of pimples and I have hair on my chin. I don’t have eyebrows that evenly grow. My teeth are so crooked, I’m embarrassed for them to show.

The more I stare I see imperfection at its best. I don’t like what’s under my shirt; I wish I didn’t have these breasts. My mid section ain’t so smooth and my thighs aren’t either. My gate isn’t the most gracious, sometimes I seem to teeter.

I never had many friends because I never fit in. My social skills aren’t the best, so I prefer to stay shut-in. My outward thoughts have grown like vines, deep rooted within me they have become intertwined. So to the point that all I see is an ugly person in the mirror staring back at me.

I have no life, no drive to finish school. I might as well believe what the mean girls say and proclaim that I’m a fool. At work, I wonder how I ended up here; working with these people that are the least bit sincere. In and out of my office chair, the women come and they go. Only to get a welfare check and leaving to do, only the Lord knows.

Today was interesting I saw my client Sherry. She was downcast and depressed and didn’t seem too happy. For some strange reason she began to pour, out her soul of disappointments, insecurities, and cried some more. I felt very strange, almost like I knew, the pain she was feeling, because within me, it had already grew.

I picked up the Book that I read from time to time, and a still strong voice came from within in me, because I knew those words weren’t mine.

“I know your road has been rough, but the Father is there for you. He sees the pain and agony you feel but He has a message for you in it too. The smile you hide out of shame, has been painted with my grace to comfort other’s pains. Your face, to you, may seem unkempt, but your uniqueness helps people to remember you and the aura you’ve kept. See you are an extension of me, I don’t walk on the ground. I use you and your quirkiness to comfort the lost and to spread my love around. I can’t clutter your life with friends because your purpose is much higher. I’ve called you to be my messenger, to make someone’s day that much brighter. Your job is an assignment, ordained by me. To see if you are ready, to handle what proceeds. I didn’t allow you to finish college because your focus was all wrong. Had I not awakened you, you would have kept singing that same “woe is me” song. So here I’ve faced you with you and now the time has come. You have a choice to either run and hide, or use your past to help someone.”

Immediately she vanished and was nowhere in sight. My first thought was to run, because of my initial fright. But there was that voice again, so still yet sincere that said, “That was you in that chair talking to me. See, you are one of my angels that Earth so desperately needs. Go forth and hold your head high, you already had wings. But for some strange reason you suppressed them with insecurities. All of your life I’ve been there for you, but there’s a Sherry out there waiting to feel words of healing from you.”

Ladies, we all have issues and insecurities. We have those “Why me Lord moments” and sometimes, “Why not me?” But as I sit here and type this EmpowerMoment, I want you to step outside of yourself and look for an opportunity. An opportunity to tell someone that God made them in a special way for a special purpose. If He can love me, hide my faults, and ease all of my fears, He can definitely do it for them.

Dear Daddy,

Sometimes I just get into a pity party and wonder why You made me the way You did. But then I have to remember, the trials I am going through are so that someone else can relate, can feel comforted, and can experience healing through the restoration You’ve granted me. Help me not to miss it! Help me to be ready for her, when she comes to sit in my chair. In Jesus’ Name, Amen!

Ladies, I EMPOWER you today to realize that God doesn’t see you like you see you; He sees your heart, your past, present, and future. I EMPOWER you to walk up to that sister today and EMPOWER her with God’s love. I’m sure she needs it.

Poem inspired by Psalms 139 

As a professional, Mrs. Khalilah Burton is College Biology Instructor. She is also currently pursuing a Doctorate of Education in Higher Ed and Community College Leadership. Khalilah is passionate about her faith journey and uses this key scripture as her inspiration: “But they that wait upon the LORD shall renew their strength; they shall mount up with wings as eagles; they shall run, and not be weary; and they shall walk, and not faint.” (Isaiah 40:31 KJV) She teaches Young Adult Bible Study and Sunday School and also serves as a guest speaker and panelist for various events for women and Christian empowerment.  Khalilah resides in Millbrook, Alabama with her wonderful husband Donald Burton, Jr. and their energetic three-year old daughter. They attend St. Luke Christian ChurchCheck out Khalilah’s Christian weight loss blog here.

Direction/Guidance, Growth/Maturity, Inspirational, Motivation, Obedience, Submission/Surrendering

Consider Your Ways!

Some days I feel like a hamster on a wheel. I am spinning and spinning but going nowhere.  I am doing all of the things that I think are important to get results and the results compared to the effort are meager at best. I put one dollar in the bank and I have to withdraw two. Like Paula Abdul sang, “I take two steps forward, I take two steps back.”  What’s really going on? Although this may not be my self-proclaimed “season,” it has caused me to take an assessment of myself and ask God to show me what, if anything, I am doing to cause a delay in my harvest.

In that spirit, I have recommitted myself to my morning devotionals. Admittedly for the past year or more, I have hit the “dismiss” button on the alarm every morning at 5:00AM. I’m not perfect but I am working on it. During a recent devotion, I was lead to a story in Haggai (don’t know if I have ever truly studied that book) that spoke volumes into my life and I hope it will speak to you as well.

This is what the LORD Almighty says: “These people say, ‘The time has not yet come to rebuild the LORD’s house.” Then the word of the LORD came through the prophet Haggai: “Is it a time for you yourselves to be living in your paneled houses, while this house remains a ruin?” (Haggai 1:2-3 NIV)

To give you some background, the temple of Lord was destroyed and was in ruins and He told the people to rebuild it. The people started on the temple but failed to complete it. Instead they focused on their own homes and personal satisfaction. It is now some years later.

Now this is what the LORD Almighty says:
“Give careful thought to your ways.
You have planted much, but harvested little.
You eat, but never have enough.
You drink, but never have your fill.
You put on clothes, but are not warm.
You earn wages, only to put them in a purse with holes in it.”            

(Haggai 1:5-6 NIV) 

Whoa! I re-read this time and time again. It was as if the words on the pages were jumping out at me. Surely Ecclesiastes tells us that there is “nothing new under the sun.”  These verses from BC described exactly how I was feeling in 2011 AD.

This is what the LORD Almighty says: “Give careful thought to your ways. Go up into the mountains and bring down timber and build my house, so that I may take pleasure in it and be honored,” says the LORD. “You expected much, but see, it turned out to be little. What you brought home, I blew away. Why?” declares the LORD Almighty. “Because of my house, which remains a ruin, while each of you is busy with your own house. Therefore, because of you the heavens have withheld their dew and the earth its crops.  I called for a drought on the fields and the mountains, on the grain, the new wine, the olive oil and everything else the ground produces, on people and livestock, and on all the labor of your hands.” (Haggai 1: 7-11 NIV)

Surely, God was holding back the blessings on these people because they were too busy handling their own affairs to handle His. “You expected much, but see, it turned out to be little. What you brought home, I blew away.”

As I studied this passage, I came across a few questions that I am truthfully still dealing with. 1. Has God told me to do anything for Him that I am procrastinating on? 2. Has God told me to stop doing something that I haven’t? 3. Am I really just in a “waiting” period?

Continually, I am asking for revelation and guidance because I don’t want to be like the people in Haggai who are earning wages only to put it in a purse with holes. I don’t want Him to withhold the dew or the crops out of my life. I am serious about reaping the harvest that God promised me and I dare not be a stumbling block to my own blessings. I am considering my ways and I encourage you to do the same.

Dear Daddy,

It’s easy to repeat “Seek ye first the Kingdom of God and His righteousness, and ALL these things shall be added unto you” but help me to live it. Remove me from getting in the way of my own blessings. Lord reveal to me where I am falling short and not being obedient to Your instruction. Lord, don’t withhold the dew! In Jesus’ Name, Amen!

Today I EMPOWER you to consider your ways! God may have you in a holding pattern because He is waiting on you to do as He has instructed before He patches the holes in your purse or ends the drought on your land. 

Today is your last chance to enter our contest! Click here for more details.

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.

Direction/Guidance, Goals & Dreams, God's Protection, Growth/Maturity, Inspirational, Obedience, Patience

Divine GPS

 The Lord is my shepherd; I have all that I need. (Psalm 23:1 NLT)

I was on my way to a dinner when I decided that I would take a different route to my destination.  I figured that I would get there faster taking a detour, even though I wasn’t exactly sure where the new route would take me.  Before leaving, I made up my mind that I knew the roads well enough not to use my GPS.  After getting lost, I was still reluctant to use the GPS because my pride convinced me that I could find my own way.  Well, after wandering aimlessly for far too long, I swallowed my pride, pulled out the GPS, keyed in my destination and arrived 30 minutes late.

At that moment, I was convicted by the Holy Spirit.  God showed me how MY STUBBORNNESS HAD PREVENTED ME FROM GETTING TO MY DESTINATION.  Of course, my own direction had gotten me most of the way—the GPS rerouted me with only 2 turns—but, most of the way wasn’t the goal!  Yet, rather than use the aid designed specifically to help me reach my destination, I chose to rely on my limited knowledge, which resulted in a late arrival.

Similar to my failed attempt to detour, many of us find ourselves lost or late fulfilling our destiny because we are reluctant to follow God’s direction.  We are convinced that we can manage on our own; that we have it figured out; or that there’s a better, swifter way.  Even though He is readily accessible (just like my GPS), our stubbornness can prevent us from grasping that God is indeed all that we need and that RELIANCE ON HIS GUIDANCE ACTUALLY WORKS IN OUR FAVOR.

Christ wants us to take up our crosses daily and follow Him daily (Luke 9:21 NLT).  At times this may seem difficult, lonely, and His way often feels like it takes way too long.  Yet, He does not want us to follow Him for His sake.  GOD’S PLANS ARE INTENDED TO PROVIDE A SHIELD OF PROTECTION TO ENSURE THAT WE REACH OUR DESTINY.  We can’t always see why He guides us as He does but His direction is the safest and most secure.  It is up to us to recognize and trust that His ways are wise and best.  When we begin to fully trust God, we will understand more clearly what David meant when he declared, “The Lord is my shepherd; I have all that I need.” (Psalm 23:1 NLT)  David only needed the Lord because he understood that a good shepherd protects his sheep and leads them safely along the right path—“He lets me rest in green meadows, he leads me beside peaceful streams…He guides me along right paths…Even when I walk through the darkest valley, I will not be afraid, for you are close beside me.  Your rod and staff protect and comfort me.” (Psalm 23:2-4 NLT). 

Dear Daddy,

Help me to remember that You are the ultimate GPS and that Your direction is purposely designed for my protection.  When I’m anxious and feel that my plan is quicker and better, help me to remember your Word which instructs me to “be anxious for nothing.”  Father, help me when I’m feeling tired, alone, and even forgotten.   Remind me that “the steps of a righteous woman are ordered by the Lord” and that Your divine plan and wisdom are intended to “prosper me and not harm.” In Jesus’ Name, Amen!

Today I EMPOWER you to trust God!  Have faith that God’s direction is designed specifically to help you reach your destiny and know that His way is filled with divine protection.  I EMPOWER you to run your course with patience, perseverance, and, most important, with our Lord. Always use your GPS (God’s Protective Shield)!

P.S. Study Exodus 13:21 and notice how God does not direct Israel through the main or shortest route, because He knew that they may get discouraged and abandon the promise.  He takes them through a lonely, dry area but, with His direction, they reach the place that God destined for them.

Ms. Latasha McCrary is an active member of St. Luke Christian Church in Huntsville, AL where she serves as a Young Adult Facilitator and is training as a Life Skills Coach. She is passionate about the practice of law and views her profession as an extension of her calling to serve. Latasha firmly believes that “Service is the price we pay for the space we occupy” and is grateful for God’s continuing favor evidenced in her life. “By this I know that you favor me, because you have not let my enemies triumph over me.” Psalms 41:11