Family, Fasting, Health/Sickness, Mental Illness, Mother/Daughter, Prayer, Testimony Series

My Testimony: Standing in the Gap

Happy New Year EmpowerMoments family! We have surely missed you! As we kick off the new year, we are beginning with a series entitled “Testimonies & Lessons”. We believe Revelation 12:11 when it says that we overcome by the word of our testimonies. We pray that our testimony and lessons from last year will EMPOWER you to triumph this year! May God bless you and make 2014 the greatest year of your life thus far!

As I was listening to the conversation on the other end of the phone, I could barely take in what the social worker was telling me. She wasn’t walking. She wasn’t talking and needed assistance using the restroom. Many times, she would not make it. A few days later, the news came that she was in the hospital undergoing a battery of tests but the doctors were coming up with nothing. What happened to cause such a rapid decline in my mother’s health? The doctors chalked it up to severe depression. Nearly a thousand miles away, I felt hopeless and helpless. I prayed about it but it seemed as if things weren’t changing.

Although I wanted to get home, I didn’t have the finances for an emergency trip. I wanted someone I could trust to tell me that my mom was going to be okay. Thank God for the angels He placed in my life in the form of friends. One of my friends went to visit my mom in the hospital and gave me a good report. Before I knew it a few of my close friends pooled together the resources to make the trip home possible. My mom was released from the hospital because they couldn’t find a diagnosis but she reverted to being mute and didn’t have activity in any of her limbs. The thought of seeing my mom like that was heartbreaking. I wanted to do something.

Lord, have mercy on my son, for he is an epileptic and suffers severely; for he often falls into the fire and often into the water.  So I brought him to Your disciples, but they could not cure him. However, this kind does not go out except by prayer and fasting. (Matthew 17: 15-16, 21 KJV) I knew exactly what I needed to do. My mother needed someone to stand in the gap for her.

I studied Esther. When Haman sought to destroy the Jews, Esther’s uncle Mordecai told her that she had to do something to save her people or that she might perish along with them. Her answer was for her and all of the Jews to fast and pray. She too had to stand in the gap. For if thou altogether holdest thy peace at this time, then shall there enlargement and deliverance arise to the Jews from another place; but thou and thy father’s house shall be destroyed: and who knoweth whether thou art come to the kingdom for such a time as this? Then Esther bade them return Mordecai this answer, Go, gather together all the Jews that are present in Shushan, and fast ye for me, and neither eat nor drink three days, night or day: I also and my maidens will fast likewise; and so will I go in unto the king, which is not according to the law: and if I perish, I perish.  (Esther 4:14-16 KJV)

Like Esther, I needed God to change the situation around. I fasted for three days and nights without eating or drinking. I continued my daily routine of going to work but came home and prayed feverishly for God to heal my mother of whatever was ailing her. I found myself laying in the middle of the floor crying out to God on her behalf. I flew home later that week not knowing what to expect.

At first, my mom would only say one or two words and was confined to a wheel chair. By the second day, not only was she walking but she also got out of the wheelchair using only a walker as her guide. By the time the week was over, mom was back to her normal self. She had pushed the walker to the side and was walking completely on her own, taking herself to the restroom and functioning, as she should. I know that it was God who answered my prayers. Since that episode last spring, she has not depended on a wheelchair or a walker. Without God’s grace, this story could have ended completely different. I am thankful that He gave me the willpower to stand in the gap for her.

Dear Daddy,

Your word is true and fails us not. Thank You for healing my mother and providing me with the will to intercede on her behalf. Lord, I am grateful for the friends that You have blessed me with that don’t mind praying and giving out of the abundance of their hearts. Lord, I ask for a special blessing over their lives. With You nothing is impossible. I am forever grateful for Your love and the miracles that You perform. In Jesus’ Name, Amen!

Ladies, I EMPOWER you to stand in the gap for someone else. Are you believing in God for someone’s deliverance or healing? To get something different, you may have to do something different.  Remember, there are some things that come only by prayer AND fasting.  Consult the Lord and do His will. Remember, you don’t have to do anything in your own strength, for His grace is sufficient and powerful enough to help you stand in the gap. 

__________________________________________________________________

Ms. Chancee` Lundy lives in Washington, DC and is an entrepreneur as she is the co-owner of Nspiregreen, LLC, an environmental consulting firm. She is also a dedicated daughter, sister, friend and community servant. She has used her gift of public speaking to lead workshops across the globe speaking to crowds as large as 10,000 people. Her guiding scriptures this week are Philippians 4:11-13 “Not that I speak in respect of want: for I have learned, in whatsoever state I am, therewith to be content. I know both how to be abased, and I know how to abound: everywhere and in all things I am instructed both to be full and to be hungry, both to abound and to suffer need. I can do all things through Christ which strengthened me.

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Addictions, Encouragement, Faith, Fasting, Inspirational, Mother/Daughter, Patience, Prayer, Trusting God

There’s A Monster In My House!

The following are excerpts from my memory journal. Although they weren’t actually written in a cute floral notebook, they are indeed truthful. Each one of these memories is an indelible mark on the walls of my mind…

July 2, 1988

For as long as I can remember, there has been a monster in my house. I am not really sure what type of monster it is, but I know when it shows up. Sometimes I can even see the monster on my Mommy and Daddy’s face. Something about them just doesn’t look the same. Then they start acting differently and I wonder if the monster is making them act that way. I didn’t think I was afraid of monsters until this one started showing up. I really hate it too so I hide in my room because I don’t want to see it. But when the monster leaves, they are back to normal and once again we are a loving family.

July 2, 1995

I’m too old to believe in monsters but now my little sister can see it. I try to reassure her that monsters aren’t real but she is still scared. It’s so evident that something evil is still showing up around here every day. My Mommy still acts strange when it shows up. I’m not sure if this evil thing is affecting my dad because he isn’t here anymore. Through my intellect and nosiness, I am going to get to the bottom of this. After all, I really need to know so that I can promise my baby sister that there’s nothing to be afraid of.

July 2, 2002

Over the past several years, I finally got it. Yes, it is a monster. Yes, it is evil. It’s a demon from the pit of hell. I am still a bit confused though because it doesn’t act like the monsters that I see on TV that are like it. I have since moved to another state so that I won’t have to deal with it. Now I feel kind of guilty because I left my baby sister to fight the demon alone. I pray that she’s ok. I wonder if she even understands what she is up against. God, please protect my sister and please kill the demon that resides in the house with her. Amen.

July 2, 2009

My sister is now older and she too understands what we are up against. It’s gotten really rough these last few years, but today God answered our prayers! I haven’t been this excited in a long time! I have been consciously, and subconsciously, battling this thing—this monster, this evil thing, this demon—for nearly all of my life. As an adult, I have been worn out on the battlefield and needing backup many days. But today, the one person that needed to jump in the battle stepped up to the frontline. My Mommy said, “I’m tired of being on these drugs.” It was at that moment that the monster started searching for a new place to stay…

October 24, 2011

That life-changing moment was nearly three and a half years ago and when I talk about it, my emotional response is still the same. That day, I immediately got on the phone and sought help. When I found The Women’s Treatment Center, they wanted to do a phone screening with her. She picked up the phone in the kitchen as I listened attentively in the bedroom. The exchange went something like this:

Q: “How long have you been using?”

A: “About 25 years.”

*The monster was pissed off as he grabbed his suitcase.*

Q: “What do you use?”

A: “Crack- Cocaine.”

*The monster shoved his chains of bondage in the suitcase.*

Q: “How often do you use?”

A: “Everyday.”

*The monster packed up his anger and depression.*

Q: “How much money do you spend to get high?”

A: “Whatever I have.”

*The monster grabbed all the rest of his junk (selfishness, pride, bitterness, greed, stubbornness, etc.) and stuffed it in his luggage.*

Q: “Are you ready to stop using?”

A: “Yes.”

*The monster slammed his suitcase shut and stomped out of the house…NEVER to move in again!*

Today I write in my virtual journal not to alienate my mother or air all of her dirty laundry. Rather, I write that you too may overcome. They overcame him by the blood of the Lamb and by the word of their testimony…” (Revelation 12:11 NIV) If you’re the daughter or sister or mother of the one who’s living with the monster, I say to you, STAND! “…And when you have done everything you could, you will be able to stand firm.” (Ephesians 6:13 ISV) I prayed for my mother for over 15 years without seeing ANY progress. (1 Thessalonians 5:17) Be relentless in your pursuit! I am reminded of Jacob who wrestled with God throughout the night. I imagine from God’s response that He was tired of Jacob the next morning: “Let me go; its daybreak.” (Genesis 32:26a MSG)  Jacob’s response: “I’m not letting you go ‘til you bless me.” (v. 26b) Seconds after that exchange, God blessed Jacob “right then and there” as it reads in the Message translation. And just like Jacob, I clung to God and got on His last nerves until He blessed that situation!

In addition to standing and praying, I FASTED. In Matthew, the disciples were trying to cast demons out a little boy when Jesus reminded them that some only go by praying AND fasting. (Matthew 17:14-21) The spirit of bondage has a strong hold and depending on how long it’s had a grip on your loved one’s life, you may need to do more than just pray. I denied myself so many things that I loved (food, music, TV, people, outings, etc.) because I loved my mother MORE. What are you willing to sacrifice for the one that you love?

Lastly, I ask that you love them right where they are. As a teenager, one of the best pieces of advice that I received was to ask God to show me how to love my mother the way that He loved her. With that, my daily prayer became, “I love my mother where she is, but I praise You, oh God, for where she is going!”  Remember, “Most important of all, continue to show deep love for each other, for love covers a multitude of sins.” (1 Peter 4:8 NLT)

Dear Daddy,

Thank You for my ______. God, I ask that You keep them safe during this period of their life. Lord, please give me the words to say that would aid in their recovery. Teach me how to war in the Spirit on their behalf. Please help me not to give up on them because I know that You won’t give up on them either.  God, I will not let You go until fix this! I know that You are able! I thank You right now for my _______ but I praise You for where they are going! In Jesus’ Name, Amen!

Ladies, I am sure that you know someone who is residing with the “monster.” Today I EMPOWER you to STAND up for and with them! I EMPOWER you to PRAY for them without ceasing! I EMPOWER you to go on a sacrificial FAST for them! And finally, I EMPOWER you to LOVE the hell out of them!

Today’s EmpowerMoment is dedicated to my lovely mother! You are a champion and hero in my eyes! Congratulations on 844 days of being free and clean! I love you!

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.

Fasting, Forgiveness, Growth/Maturity, Prayer, Relationships, Single in the City Series, Singleness

Single In The City 4: The Test

A few weeks back I decided to embark on a fast, hoping that my sacrifice would open the door for God to reveal things about MYSELF that I may not be aware of.  Over the course of four days I prayed intensely, praised His name radically, and poured out my heart in an effort to find out about the real me.  During that time God showed me a few surface characteristics but the real discovery was yet to come.

Days after I returned to my regular scheduled eating routine, I received a friend request from a person I had pushed to the wayside years ago.  I received a simple “Hello” from a man that I had written off the day he broke my heart and kept it moving to the next chick.  This man that I had not seen or heard from in years managed to find me on this social networking site and instantly I remembered ALL the bad things that transpired between us when we were younger.  However, something inside of me told me to be cordial and accept the friend request. In reality, I really just wanted him to look at my pictures and know that I was the best thing he NEVER had!  Much to my surprise it was actually quite refreshing talking to him again; so much that I agreed to meet with him during my upcoming trip to Chicago.

“On the contrary: If your enemy is hungry, feed him; if he is thirsty, give him something to drink.  In doing this, you will heap burning coals on his head.” (Romans 12:20 NIV) I was not aware of this man’s intent at that time but I was determined to be obedient to the word of God.  BUT…when I laid eyes on him the first thing I thought to do was re-hash all the drama to get closure for myself.  I tried to stop but the questions and sarcasm kept slipping out.  The crazy thing is he just wanted to apologize for everything and of course see if he still had a chance. NOT!

One of my best friends told me to pray prior to this reunion; luckily, I took her advice because what God had to say was astounding. “And when you stand praying, if you hold anything against anyone, forgive him, so that your Father in heaven may forgive you your sins.” (Mark 11:25-NIV) I dated this guy as a teen and I never would have thought that I was STILL upset with him at 25.  Instead of me dealing with the situation back then I decided to just change my number and never look back. Although that seemed to ease my heartache, I would have never imagined that it put a wedge between me and my true love- Jesus.  I had convinced myself that I forgave him when I cut off contact but clearly my emotions were bottled up, until this encounter.

Ladies, there is no reason to bury feelings because God will bring them to the surface at random times.  Your best bet is to forgive ASAP because you never know how many blessings you miss harboring unknown negativity.  Ironically, after signing our peace treaty I have yet to hear from him. I believe I passed the test this time for sure. I accepted the facebook request but more important, I sincerely accepted his apology.

Dear Daddy,

Thank You for revealing repressed feelings to me.  There are so many ways the enemy attacks that I may not catch them all but You are there to get me back on track.  Lord, thank You for being my magnifying lens and focusing in on things that drive a wedge between us.  I am far from perfect but You still love me! I pray for the ability to forgive and the strength to do so no matter what just as You have done for me so many times before.  In Jesus’ Name, AMEN!

I challenge you to take a moment and EMPOWER yourself to forgive all of it… all the pain, confusion, misunderstanding, heart breaks, turmoil, and stress caused by others! If Jesus can do it daily with each of us, I know we are just as capable!!!  Be Blessed Ladies!!!

Ms. Latasha Sampson is an accomplished writer who is currently pursuing her Masters Degree in Human Resources Management.  Her favorite scripture is “No weapon formed against you shall prosper, and every tongue which rises against you in judgment You shall condemn” Isaiah 54:17.

Faith, Fasting, Growth/Maturity, Trusting God

SteadFAST and Unbreakable

 “Growing in Jesus” is a common phrase amongst church folks but who really knows what it means?  Growing older means another year of life, growing taller means a few extra inches, but growing in Jesus is a lot harder to distinguish. Ultimately, the closer the relationship with Jesus, the more you are willing to give LESS of yourself and take in more of Him.  It seems easier said than done but it requires the two F’s- Faith and Fasting!

Faith is simply trusting and believing that God will do what He said He would do.  As Christians, faith is imperative in all situations and it allows us to rest on the promises of our Father.  However, fasting is an act that not as many Christians partake in. “THEN was Jesus led up of the Spirit into the wilderness to be tempted of the devil.  And when he had fasted forty and forty night, he was afterward an hungered.” Matthew 4:1-2 (KJV)  Over the years I have heard just about every misconception there is about fasting but I still do it in a heartbeat to show my love and devotion to my Father.  A key purpose of any fast is to show my humility to such a deserving God.

There have been many times I have consistently prayed about something with no results, but when I know God has something for me, my body, mind, and spirit yearn for intimacy with Him.  It is then that I start my fast!  I learned a while back that I can fast at any given moment so that I may hear the voice of God more clearly.  Thus, a fast isn’t only dictated by the Pastor but the Holy Ghost from within and can be channeled at anytime.

Whether sacrificing food or recreational activities, whenever weakness begins its creep I get on my knees, open my bible and spend some much needed QT with my Daddy.  Somehow by the time I say AMEN I end up with a much bigger blessing!

Dear Daddy,

Help me to grow in You, Lord.  Keep my spirit open to receive more of Your goodness and mercy.  I ask that You give me the courage to embark on a new fast, the strength to withstand adversity during and after, and the perseverance to continue on that I may mature covered in Your blood.  In Jesus’ Name, Amen!

Ladies, take a moment to EMPOWER yourself to grow in Jesus.  Every Christian’s resume’ must include fasting as an act of worship. If you’ve never fasted before, it’s time to get to it and those who have fasted, there’s always room for another.  Have a blessed week!

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 Ms. Latasha Sampson is an accomplished writer who is currently pursuing her Masters Degree in Human Resources Management.  Her favorite scripture is “No weapon formed against you shall prosper, and every tongue which rises against you in judgment You shall condemn” Isaiah 54:17