Flashback Fridays

Flashback Friday: I Want To Be Her

Enjoy this flashback originally posted on September 18, 2013.

Proverbs 31My daughter just started kindergarten and the number one question school aged children are asked is “What do you want to be when you grow up?” As I’ve aged, gracefully might I add, I’ve done countless revisions, modifications, additions, extractions, and replacements in my life in order for me to be who I want to be as a woman. I’ve often wanted to be phenomenal.  Dr. Maya Angelou’s poem, “Phenomenal Woman” has always been one of my favorites. In her poem she describes the mysterious, sultry and noble woman; a woman who is breathtaking to say the least by her inner strength and grace. But overall, I really want to be like the woman described in Proverbs 31 as a Virtuous Woman.

In this passage, the Virtuous Woman is described as a hard worker, smart, wise (there’s a difference), a planner, and just overall awesome. I want to share some of my favorite passages describing her.

“She gets up while it is still night; she provides food for her family and portions for her female servants.” (Proverbs 31: 15 NIV) When I get up early, before sunrise, I find it the best time to provide food for my family. I don’t mean physical food, but spiritual food. It’s during those quiet hours that I like to spend time with the Lord praying over my family, anointing them on their sleeping foreheads with oil, or pleading the blood of Jesus over their lives. But I wish I could do this more often. Sometimes you are just worn out, burned out, and downright too tired. But God requires and deserves more. This needs to be a habit and not just a great idea.

“When it snows, she has no fear for her household; for all of them are clothed in scarlet.” (Proverbs 31:21 NIV) When I think of this, I think of us being prepared for drastic conditions. Have I clothed my family in prayer enough for us to withstand the “cold”? Are they covered in His scarlet blood, to be protected from the storm? In the physical sense, am I remaining keenly aware of my children’s threads, making sure they are appropriate, presentable, and teaching my daughters how to dress as a future woman of God? Are my husband’s stitches always crisp (even if crisp means me commenting on how nicely he ironed his own shirt J ).

“She speaks with wisdom, and faithful instruction is on her tongue.” (Proverbs 31:26 NIV) Many of you have read my past EmpowerMoments enough to know that I have the tendency to flip the lip, or at least want to flip the lip, a time or two. But this woman speaks with wisdom and in faith. Thinking on this passage makes me count it all joy, the trials that I have gone through. Wisdom can only be obtained from applying life’s lessons.

When I grow up I want to be her. I want to be wise in my decisions, smart in my living, and discerning when it comes to my friends and relationships. The Bible says, “For a good tree does not bear bad fruit, nor does a bad tree bear good fruit. For every tree is known by its own fruit. For men do not gather figs from thorns, nor do they gather grapes from a bramble bush. (Luke 6:43-44 NIV)  I want to bear good fruit. I’ve bore two girl children and I want them to grow up and be good fruit. Since the apple does not fall far from the tree, I have to be careful about what influences me. I want the Proverbs 31 Woman to influence me. While I don’t consider her perfect, she is definitely one who I would consider a role model who God placed in print for us to look at.

Dear Daddy,

Thank You for giving us standards. I appreciate the tangible examples You provide in Your Word that help to guide me to surpassing the Proverbs 31 Woman, by being a woman after Your own heart. Lord, helps us as women to be mindful of the things we let influence us. Please guard our thoughts and our actions. Our children and mentees are looking up to us for a pattern. Help us pattern ourselves after the women of God You have called us to be. In Jesus’ Name, Amen!

Ladies, I EMPOWER you to get a role model. If she is not the Proverbs 31 Woman, may she be someone, past or present, who exemplifies Godly attributes and points you in the direction of Christ. May she be someone who encourages you not to be like her, but to be like God.

Please take a moment to watch this video clip regarding the Virtuous Woman: The Proverbs 31 Woman Series

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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 is mentoring young women and marriage empowerment. She resides in Orange Beach, Alabama with her wonderful husband Donald Burton, Jr. and their two daughters. They are members of New Beginnings Christian Center in Foley, AL.

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Flashback Fridays

Flashback Friday: She Is Me–Sarah

Enjoy this flashback originally posted on March 7, 2012 in honor of National Women’s History Month.

In honor of National Women’s History Month, EmpowerMoments is featuring a special week-long 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!

Busy Being God Jr.

Nearing graduation from college, I thought I had it all figured out. I was NOT moving back to Chicago, but instead I was going to make my home in the south, get a great job and start my life with my self-chosen future husband. It sounded like a wonderful plan to me, but God said, “No, if you listen to me and do it my way, I promise that I have a MUCH better plan for you.” Not really convinced that His plan was going to please me the way that mine was, I began working hard to put my plan into motion. I applied to several jobs in the southern region and began making preparations for life that my future and I would lead together. I was hell-bent on helping God out! How many of you can be honest and admit that He has promised to do some things in your life, but you couldn’t understand how what He told you was better than what you had envisioned? Or better yet, you didn’t see the evidence of the promise coming to fruition fast enough so you decided to be God Jr.? If you are afraid to admit it, I’ll show you someone who is just like me…

God promised Abraham (Abram) that his wife, Sarah (Sarai), would have a son and that from that child his descendants would be too great to number. Abraham believed God’s word; however, Sarah couldn’t imagine that at her old age she would really be able to bear a child. That was heartbreaking to her because she knew her husband really desired a son so that his offspring could inherit his kingdom. So, just like me, she set out to assist God in making things happen.

Now Sarai, Abram’s wife, had not been able to bear children for him. But she had an Egyptian servant named Hagar. So Sarai said to Abram, “The LORD has prevented me from having children. Go and sleep with my servant. Perhaps I can have children through her.” And Abram agreed with Sarai’s proposal. So Sarai, Abram’s wife, took Hagar the Egyptian servant and gave her to Abram as a wife. (Genesis 16:1-3 NLT)

Sarah’s plan seemed like the perfect fix to her solution…and so did mine! She would now have a child through a surrogate mother and her husband would be satisfied. Likewise, I refused to believe that God truly wanted me back in Chicago. I wouldn’t settle for missing out on my one true love in life, so I went on several interviews with very reputable companies. Everyone was pleased with my resume` and my overall package. I was promised jobs from at least three employers. I even started searching for a permanent place to stay. I’m sure I was thinking that God should’ve been thanking me because I was helping Him out tremendously!

Oh, but my plans, just like Sarah’s, went awry! Abram had intercourse with Hagar, and she became pregnant. When she found out that she was pregnant, she became proud and despised Sarai. (Genesis 16:4 GNT) Sarah’s plan fell apart right before her eyes! Instead of carrying a child for her mistress, Hagar began to hate Sarah and wanted to keep the baby. My plans quickly unraveled too. Of the three job leads that I had been promised, each one fell through in a matter of days. I even attempted to reach my interviewer at one of the companies and I was told that no one by that name had ever worked there! I was baffled. Why was this happening to me? I knew that my plan was suitable for my life! Instead of admitting that I was trying to operate in direct opposition of God’s will, I immediately starting pointing the blame finger. As you can imagine, the recruiters from those companies were at the top of my list. Again, Sarah and I were running neck and neck! Then Sarai said to Abram, “You are responsible for the wrong I am suffering. I put my slave in your arms, and now that she knows she is pregnant, she despises me. (Genesis 16:5 NIV)

In all of our blatant disobedience and disrespect to God, He was still so gracious to the both of us. He STILL kept His promise that was made to us, even though neither of us had an ounce of faith in the words that He spoke over our lives. In efforts to sabotage a job in Chicago, I never showed up to the interview and never gave a reason why. However, God STILL kept that position for me. Even in my adamant state to hold on to a man that I just knew was my future, God STILL brought the man that He designed specifically for me into my life to become my husband. Even though Sarah chose not to cling to God in her season of barrenness and instead took matters into her own hands, He STILL blessed her with a child. “Now the LORD was gracious to Sarah as he had said, and the LORD did for Sarah what he had promised. Sarah became pregnant and bore a son to Abraham in his old age, at the very time God had promised him.” (Genesis 21:1-3 NLT) Oh what a gracious and merciful God we serve! And I think I can speak for both Sarah and me when I say that God was right—His plan was much better!

Dear Daddy,

I thank You for this multi-part lesson on faith, obedience and patience. Lord, I ask that You help my unbelief. If there are areas where my faith wavers, please strengthen those places. Help me to believe You and stand on Your word, regardless of what I feel like should happen. Lord, I pray that You would turn my heart so that I yield to every command that You give me. Help me to take my hands off of situations so that You are in control. Finally, I ask that You teach me patience. I understand that the only way to learn patience is by waiting, so I ask that You give me the strength to hold out for Your promises. In Jesus’ Name, Amen!

Ladies, today I EMPOWER you to believe God the first time! I EMPOWER you to understand that He doesn’t need your help determining His will for your life, nor has He ordained you as God Jr.! Instead of trying to manipulate things to your suiting, I EMPOWER your faith to increase, your obedience to be automatic and your patience to strengthen.

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.

Flashback Fridays, Submission/Surrendering

Flashback Friday: Holding On Too Tight!

Ladies enjoy this flash from the past which was originally posted on August 29, 2012.

A while back, I was thinking about the lessons and messages that I have been receiving about surrendering. At that very moment a movie scene popped up in my mind.  It was a scene from a comedy/drama/romance movie called Ghost (1990).  In this particular scene, con-artist Oda Mae (played by Whoopi Goldberg) is instructed by Sam (Patrick Swayze) to give a FOUR MILLION DOLLAR check to nuns because Sam wants to make sure the money is used for good and out of the hands of his friend/colleague Carl.

With clinched teeth, a forced smile, and a tight grip, Oda Mae has a hard time giving up that check.  I like to give, but I probably would have a hard time releasing that check too.  Four million dollars!  Watching this scene is hilarious, but the Holy Spirit helped me to realize that Oda Mae responds like many of us, and particularly me, with our lives.

If you cling to your life, you will lose it, and if you let your life go, you will save it.  (Luke 17:33 NLT) Maybe we grip our lives because we want to continue holding onto the control of our lives and do things our way.  Maybe it is because we want to obey and surrender only when it is convenient. Perhaps we think that if we surrender, we are going to lose our lives physically.  It is possible that we believe that God doesn’t want us to have joy and fulfillment or just maybe we think life is satisfactory the way it is.  Even more, we are probably focused on pursuing worldly things or we lack patience and trust in God to do what He says and has proven He can do.  In any event, we are afraid to let go and give control to God.

I must remember that when God created me, He didn’t intend for me to live independent of Him. Therefore, in order to move forward in my Christian walk, I must fully SURRENDER!

I have been gripping my life like Oda Mae gripped that check.  I have been gripping everything that God wanted control over or wanted me to release.  I have been gripping my many plans, my fears, my money, my concerns of what others think about me, my dating/love life (or lack thereof) and my need to do everything and be everything for everyone.  I have even given Him areas of my life and subsequently I have taken them back.  I’d say I believe and then the next minute I don’t believe.  Jesus asked the boy’s father, “How long has he been like this?” “It has often thrown him into fire or water to kill him.  But if you can do anything, take pity on us and help us.” “‘If you can’?” said Jesus.“Everything is possible for one who believes.”   Immediately the boy’s father exclaimed, “I do believe; help me overcome my unbelief!” (Mark 9:21-24 NIV)

Since I have been alerted to my lack of surrender to God, the Holy Spirit has helped me loosen my grip on my life and those areas that I gave God little to no access.  I have also surrendered plans that were of good intentions because it wasn’t what God wanted me to do at the time.  I have finally severed the last means of communication between me and my ex-boyfriend/first love; I am going to trust in God to bring a God-fearing, handsome man along just right for me.  I have learned that I have to seek God’s counsel in everything I do.  I have also learned that I can’t be everything for everyone.  It is okay to take the ‘S’ (Superwoman) off my chest unless that ‘S’ stands for SURRENDER (everything to God).

Through the testimonies of Hannah and Ruth, I am reminded that when you trust God and let go, you gain so much more!  Hannah, who yearned and prayed fervently for a child, gave her son back to the Lord. She promised God that if He gave her a son she would do this so she took him to the priest and allowed the priest to raise and ready him for his destiny. (1 Samuel 1:1 – 2:10)  She made him a coat and visited him every year but she had to let go.  Ruth left her family to go with Naomi, her deceased husband’s mother.  She surrendered to God and a new course for her life.  Consequently, she married again, gave birth to her first child, and was able to also bless Naomi—her mother-in-law.

Surrendering my life doesn’t necessarily mean I lose it physically.  Instead I will gain my life, the life God designed for me all along with peace, fulfillment, and deeper intimacy with God.  Surrendering my life doesn’t just benefit me, it benefits others too.  Oda Mae didn’t get that money but she was able to help bless the nuns and their charity as well as help Sam unite with the love of his life, Molly, and save her from danger.

Dear Daddy,

Thank You for pruning me, defining my character, and setting me apart.  It is not easy to go through this process, nor is it easy to render control of my life to You.  But please help me let go!  Help me to trust You and remember that my life is no longer my own.  I am here to glorify You.  In Jesus’ Name, Amen!

Ladies, today I EMPOWER you to trust the Lord with your lives.  After all, He knew you before you were in your mothers’ wombs.  He created you and knows your purposes.  He has your best interest at heart and will never fail you.  So, don’t worry about your children.  Put them in God’s hands.  Release that person with forgiveness and God’s Love.  Let go of that relationship He doesn’t approve of.  Seek Him before you make plans.  Let go of always needing control.  God is qualified to manage your life more than you.  When you let go, you’ll experience God’s liberty and peace!

Ladies, what areas of your life do you need to surrender to God? Share your story with us.

Read a related EmpowerMoment: Surrender It

Please watch the $4 Million scene from Ghost!

Please help us bless and EMPOWER homeless women and their children as the beginning of a new school year nears!  For more information on how you can donate and help make a difference, please click here http://www.gofundme.com/cfeux8.

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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. As a compassionate person and encourager, she loves to encourage people according to God’s Word and help them to see, think and become better through her support, actions and writing. This April, Tannika published her first book, a book of her poetry, titled Setting The Captive Free. For more details, visit stcfpoetrybook.com.  On July 10th of this year, she  also launched her new Christian clothing and apparel brand called Fruitful & Fabulous inspired by John 15:8.  For more details about Fruitful & Fabulous, visit fruitfulandfabulous.com.  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.”

Flashback Fridays

Flashback Friday: Closer to God

Ladies enjoy this flash from the past which was originally posted on May 8, 2014.

From the earliest I can remember, I have loved to learn. I was a voracious reader and read any and everything I could get my hands on. I was the child who wanted summer break to be over, so school could begin again. I read through encyclopedias and highlighted new words in dictionaries. I just wanted to know everything!

My spiritual journey has reflected the same characteristics. Even at a young age, I took notes on Sunday sermons. If something interested or intrigued me, I would research it more on my own time. My father, who was a pastor, would be the recipient of all of my curious questions on Christianity and the Bible. I loved attending conferences and workshops, and eventually my quest for knowledge led me to seminary.

Although we serve a majestic, holy and awesome God and will never be able to tap into the fullness of Who He really is, we have the privilege of getting to know more about Him every day. Our God does not stand off looking down on us. Through Jesus Christ, we are able to come close to the Lord and get to know Him intimately.

I no longer call you slaves, because a master doesn’t confide in his slaves. Now you are my friends, since I have told you everything the Father told me. (John 15:15 NLT)

Come close to God, and God will come close to you. (James 4:8 NLT)

Yet, how often do we go after a closer relationship with the Lord? Even myself, with all of my chasing after knowledge, I have to make it a priority to chase after relationship as well. We have been given so much through the gift of salvation. However, many of us miss out on our benefits. We should be seeking to know more and more about the Lord on a daily basis.

It’s like when two people fall in love. They spend hours talking to each other, finding out things about each other, and getting to know how the other person ticks. And good relationships thrive on keeping that communication open, building on the initial foundation and allowing the happenings of life to reveal the intricacies of each person. As each person learns something about their love they are able to love their partner more effectively because of that knowledge. It takes work and effort to keep this up as time passes and changes come as people grow. But real love is up to the task.

When was the last time you learned something new about the God you serve? When was the last time you shared a time of intimacy with Him? When was the last time the Lord revealed something new to you?

Seek the LORD while you can find him. Call on him now while he is near. (Isaiah 55:6 KJV)

Dear Daddy,

Thank You so much for loving me! Thank You for giving me the privilege to know You intimately. As I take time to come into Your Presence, allow me to hear Your voice and all that You have for me. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.

Ladies, today I EMPOWER you to enhance your relationship with the Lord. I EMPOWER you to go after a deeper knowledge of the God you serve. I EMPOWER you to tap into your benefits as a friend of God Almighty!

What ways are you drawing closer to God?

Please help us bless and EMPOWER homeless women and their children as the beginning of a new school year nears!  For more information on how you can donate and help make a difference, please click here http://www.gofundme.com/cfeux8

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Tiara Wilkinson hosts the devotional blog “My Morning Ti” which encourages believers in their Christian walk. She also serves as the Youth Leader and on the Pastoral Care Team at Christ Worship Center in Riverdale, Illinois. Tiara will be publishing her first book “Days of Destiny and Purpose” in the spring of 2014. Her favorite passage of the Bible is Psalm 27 which reminds us that the Lord is our strength, so we have no reason to fear anything.

Flashback Fridays, She is Me Series

Flashback Friday: Naughty Girls In The Word – Orpah

Ladies enjoy this flash from the past which was originally posted on March 25, 2013.

In honor of Women’s History Month, ladies enjoy this  ”bad girl” series as we share our personal connections with women in the Bible who are notorious for being bad.

Notorious to Noteworthy!

But Naomi said, “Return home, my daughters. Why would you come with me? Am I going to have any more sons, who could become your husbands? Return home, my daughters; I am too old to have another husband. Even if I thought there was still hope for me—even if I had a husband tonight and then gave birth to sons— would you wait until they grew up? Would you remain unmarried for them? No, my daughters. It is more bitter for me than for you, because the Lord’s hand has turned against me!”

At this they wept aloud again. Then Orpah kissed her mother-in-law goodbye, but Ruth clung to her. (Ruth 1:11-14 NIV)

Many are familiar with the story of Naomi and her daughters-in-law, Ruth and Orpah. In case you don’t know about these women, all three lost their husbands while living in Moab, Ruth and Orpah’s hometown. Upon their husband’s death, Naomi decided to return to her native land of Bethlehem; her daughters-in-law chose to follow her.  That is until somewhere down the road when Naomi urged them to return back to Moab. It was then that Orpah kissed and dismissed while Ruth chose to continue on the journey. The story goes on to tell of Ruth’s favor in Bethlehem and how she met an exceptional man named Boaz and ultimately contributed to the lineage of Jesus. In essence, she literally birthed royalty. For this reason, most celebrate Ruth for her faithfulness and commitment to Naomi. We find that Orpah is notorious while Ruth is noteworthy. (Her story being so noteworthy, that an entire book of the Bible was named in her honor)  A noble woman she was indeed, who was richly blessed because of her sacrifice, but what about Orpah?

I was guilty of praising Ruth for her choices and completely dismissing Orpah’s actions as unfaithful and detestable until I realized just how much we really have in common! I thought about the journey back to Bethlehem and why Orpah could have possibly abandoned her mother and sister-in-law. Then it clicked—the very reasons I have abandoned various journeys I’ve been on. I started off well with good intentions, but eventually kissed them goodbye. Let’s consider some of the things that were likely going through Orpah’s head, prompting her to turn back:

“It’s just easier to go back to what I know.” – As Orpah walked the road with Naomi and Ruth, she was probably thinking about what she was leaving behind. So once the opportunity arose to go back, she returned to what she knew. Why? Because it’s always easier and comfortable in the place that you’ve always known. As an aspiring business mogul, I have walked away from “safe” jobs to pursue my passions a couple of times. I started on my journey, but turned back and returned to the safe place simply because it was easier. However, those turnarounds didn’t get me any closer to my destiny.

“This is going to be a long journey! – The distance between Moab and Bethlehem is between 35-60 miles, depending on the route taken. This would translate to a 7-10 day trip by foot. Couple that with the rugged terrain and the fact that they had to cross the Jordan River and climb nearly 2,000 feet in elevation to reach Bethlehem, it’s no wonder she turned back!

It’s just not worth it; there’s nothing there for me anyway.” – Naomi even told her daughters-in-law that there was no use in going on any further since she had no sons for them to marry. I am pretty sure this heavily influenced Orpah’s decision to return home. Her logic could’ve been that she’d rather be lonely and manless at home among her own people, than in a foreign land where she was unfamiliar with many. Ruth’s success and happily ever after proved that Orpah’s thinking was flawed. After hearing about her sister-in-law’s nuptials and other blessings, she had to wonder how life could’ve been for her if she only traveled on. I can’t help but to think about the countless times that I stopped mid voyage  never to return to the path. Who knows where I would be today…

As women, we start many journeys in life: school, marriage, motherhood, career, entrepreneurship, ministry, friendship—just to name a few. I know how easy it is to turn back when you think of how comfortable life was where you came from, or when you consider how long the journey may take, or even still when you don’t know if your work is going to pay off in the end. Today, I make a pledge to God, you and myself to continue on my journey and I pray that you do the same. When those feelings of doubt, fear and inadequacy begin to creep in, I encourage you to combat it with these scriptures:

“Now finish the work, so that your eager willingness to do it may be matched by your completion of it, according to your means.” (2 Corinthians 8:11 NIV)

“… being confident of this, that he who began a good work in you will carry it on to completion until the day of Christ Jesus.” (Philippians 1:6 NIV)

“Better is the end of a thing than its beginning, and the patient in spirit is better than the proud in spirit.” (Ecclesiastes 7:8 ESV)

Dear Daddy,

I know I have left my journey many times when things seemed tough or when I couldn’t predict how the journey would end. Please forgive me for not staying my course. Please give me tenacity and commitment to complete the many journeys that You have placed in my life. When I get weary on the walk, renew my strength! In Jesus’ Name, Amen!

To my Orpahs: I EMPOWER you to stay your course! You may have returned to Moab, but there is still time to get back on the road to Bethlehem! Your destiny depends on your faithfulness to complete the journey! Change your notorious name of Orpah to a noteworthy name of Ruth!

Have you started a journey and went back to what was familiar when the road ahead seemed dim? Share your story with us.

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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 three lovely daughters where she is an active member of New Life Covenant Church.

Flashback Fridays

Flashback Friday: 12 Months To Live

June is Black Music Month! To celebrate, each of our EmpowerMoments will be based on Black music for the entire month. This includes Black songwriters, producers or performers. Stay tuned as we use various genres of Black music to tell our stories and exemplify the beauty of God’s love! He can be found virtually anywhere if we earnestly look for Him and listen intently! Happy Black Music Month! Dance as if no one is watching!

Preface

“There’s a curse on this family at the age of 23; at the age of 23 your cousin died, your other cousin was paralyzed, and both your grandmother and mother had a miscarriages. I’m not trying to speak negativity… I’m just saying pray over your 23rd year of life because it could be a rough one.” Those were the words spoken to me a week before my 23rd birthday. From the time I was a child I always felt 23 was going to be my YEAR! God even confirmed that He set this year aside for me, but I really didn’t know that I had death in store.

Month 1

While driving down the same street my cousin died on, I heard a voice say, “You have 12 months to live, how are you going to use your time? I suggest you do what you want, go out, live life because in 12 months you’ll die.” I took the advice from the voice in my head and lived it up. I filled my soul and drowned my unknown sorrows, feeding my impulses which lead to a mirror of repulsion. I blacked out. When I finally woke up, I laid in my shame and promised never to intoxicate my soul. And that’s when my detox began.

Months 2 – 5

Summer-time Chi encompasses the city air with peace. I finally felt 23. I was working at my dream company and enjoying life. And then, the last piece to my puzzle was placed, I met a guy. He was tall, well-dressed, well-spoken- a suave frat boy. He impressed me and stimulated me mentally. As he unveiled his truths I fell deeper. The more we talked- the more open I became. I wore love on my neck and he grabbed it, seizing a narrow moment in time.

Month 6

For the first time in my life I made love. In my head, I fabricated details and illustrations of the man I wanted my man to be. I created an image of love that was never truly there. My thoughts continued to water the seed of love in my mind which eventually spouted attaching to my heart.

Month 7

Then the man I grew to love came to me and said, “It’s only so far I can go with you. You’re an amazing person but this just isn’t going to work.” I felt like Job when God gave the devil limits on his life. (Job 1:12)I never allowed myself to be so open and vulnerable so even though I felt God was protecting me it still didn’t lessen the blow.

Month 8

Our love story was like a firework. We had an undetected ascend but when we finally hit our peak it was beautiful, however it faded quickly and I was left with the smoke filled air to navigate through.

Month 9

The love that I use to wear around my neck, I threw away. I tucked it somewhere unknown. I didn’t want anyone to find it, not even myself. I never wanted to love again because the pain I felt was something I never felt before.

Month 10

I cried in darkness and crucified my pain. I walked with Jesus; feeling the nails of rejection, the beatings of disappointment, the crowning of failure. At the moment Jesus cried out and so did I. I begged God to bring me home and abort my mission. I asked that He protect my family and friends and give them acceptance of my absence. Life was no longer making sense but I felt that death was the only way I could find peace.

Month 11

An angel entered my life. I was a broken soul just looking for answers and a way out. She rescued me from judgment and shame. She washed me clean and purified my soul, giving me the ability to love again. She prepared me to meet my King. For months, I had been so distracted with the smoke from the fireworks that I didn’t realize the show had been over for a while. I was now out of time.

Month 12

I woke up and finally the sun was shining. I didn’t realize where I was because shame, guilt, humiliation and disappointment were no longer my alarm clock. I had peace. Then my Holy Spirit spoke, “I gave you the desires of your heart. You prayed to wake up to Me. For that life is over. Get up and walk in your new.” At that moment my love was freed. I realized that in order to truly live I had to die. In my final month of life, I surrendered and my love was set free and given to God.

And so I insist—and God backs me up on this—that there be no going along with the crowd, the empty-headed, mindless crowd. They’ve refused for so long to deal with God that they’ve lost touch not only with God but with reality itself. They can’t think straight anymore. Feeling no pain, they let themselves go in sexual obsession, addicted to every sort of perversion.

But that’s no life for you. You learned Christ! My assumption is that you have paid careful attention to him, been well instructed in the truth precisely as we have it in Jesus. Since, then, we do not have the excuse of ignorance, everything—and I do mean everything—connected with that old way of life has to go. It’s rotten through and through. Get rid of it! And then take on an entirely new way of life—a God-fashioned life, a life renewed from the inside and working itself into your conduct as God accurately reproduces his character in you. Ephesians 4:17-24 Message

Dear Daddy,

I thank You Father, for always being a rescuer. God, it took me to lose everything to completely turn my life over to You and now that I have I’m so thankful to serve You. In Jesus name, Amen!

Ladies, I EMPOWER you that “when temptation and impulses come to rape, beat and violate you; they can control your mind but it’s not over, there is hope for you to live again. Repent. God loves you. Just seek His face, get in the word and renew your mind…to fight the impulses and your life.”

As you reflect on 12 months to live, please  enjoy Mail Music’s Impulses.

Click here to listen to the beautiful music of Impulses.

Or view the video for a visual of the words:

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Ms. Dené B. is a student of life who enjoys human studies and social media. She graduated from Loyola University Chicago where the motto is “Preparing People to Lead Extraordinary Lives,” She took her education and school spirit to heart and now is a young adult striving to live an extraordinary life while helping others achieve the same. With a Bachelor of Arts in Advertising and Public Relations and minors in Sociology and Visual Communication, Dené worked at a top PR firm but her greatest accomplishments resides in volunteer work with Autism Speaks and Big Brothers Big Sisters. Currently, she finds herself pursuing a vision God placed in her of starting her own business. One of her go to scriptures is, “Rejoice always, pray continually, give thanks in all circumstances; for this is Gods will for you in Christ Jesus.” (1Thessalonians 5:16-18 NIV).

Black Music Month Series, Flashback Fridays, Trusting God

Flashback Friday: Yesterday

Ladies, enjoy this flash from the past which was originally posted on June 29, 2011.

The blogs that we have shared over this Black Music Month have been inspirational and very telling. Some of them have been personal experiences and some have been messages inspired by God for others. They have had common themes of love, gratefulness, healing, faith and moving forward. It has been a purging process for many as they anxiously await the message of the day and the song affiliated with it; but these are more than just words and songs. We are writing to share experiences and reach souls.  We want you be the best you! Leave everything else in yesterday.

“Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy and my burden is light.” Matthew 11:28-31 NIV

I had enough heartache and enough headaches
I’ve had so many ups and downs
Don’t know how much more I can take
See, I decided that I cried my last tears yesterday

Being happy is a choice. When your soul is exhausted and you find yourself at your wits end turn to Jesus and He will give you rest. Many times we get so bogged down in the moment or in the seasons of our life that happy is nowhere on our horizon; however, if you let go of the baggage and decide to have no more drama you will find yourself pretty close to Happy’s doorsteps. This journey to happiness doesn’t mean that you won’t experience pain, heartbreak, failures and other disappointments but it does mean that you will put it in perspective and move forward.

Trust in the LORD with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding. Proverbs 3:5 NIV 

Either I’m going to trust you or I may as well walk away
‘Cause stressing don’t make it better
Don’t make it better, no way
See, I decided that I cried my last tears yesterday

As I write this I am reflecting over the thousands of situations I have stressed about in my lifetime. I can’t think of one situation where my stress resolved the issue, got it fixed faster or better. Can you? Why is it so hard to trust God when He is a God who has NEVER failed us? God gives us the power of choice and we can either trust that He is going to do as He says or we can stress about it and give up. My grandmother always tells me “talk to God about it Chanceé and see won’t He fix it, He can do it all.” 

There ain’t nothing too hard for my God, no
Any problems that I have
He’s greater than them all
So I decided that I cried my last tears yesterday

Behold, I am the LORD, the God of all flesh: is there any thing too hard for me? Jeremiah 32:27 NIV

As we put our Yesterdays in their proper place, we may feel alone but I am reminded that He always has eyes on us and never leaves us. Are not five sparrows sold for two pennies? Yet not one of them is forgotten by God.  Indeed, the very hairs of your head are all numbered. Don’t be afraid; you are worth more than many sparrows. Luke 12:6-7 NIV

Because God is the truth, I can confidently move away from yesterday and every thing associated with it.  I can let He who watches the sparrow have control so that I can get to happy.

Dear Daddy,

In my moments of weakness, remind me that You are the burden bearer and the heavy load sharer. Lord, help me to recognize those things that belong in Yesterday so that I can move to higher ground today. As I make decisions that may be unpopular and uncomfortable remind me that You are always with me and will never leave me alone. Thank You for being true to Your word and watching over me even more than You do the sparrows. In Jesus’ Name, Amen! 

Ladies, I EMPOWER you to make a decision on your future and cry your last tears YESTERDAY. As difficult as it may be, turn it over to God because realistically what can YOU do about it? In your daily walk, remember He constantly watches over You so there is no need to worry. God’s got it!

In celebration of my last blog for Black Music Month (and because I am having a praise break), please enjoy this double play:

“Yesterday” by Mary Mary

“His Eye is on the Sparrow” by the Mississippi  Children’s Choir

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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.