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.”

Focus, Motivation, Persistance, Self-Control

You Got This!

The other day I was mentally gearing myself up to dedicate more time and energy to a healthier lifestyle. I was reflecting and became frustrated because I thought, “Lord, why do I have this constant battle with food!” It is not the exercise, I did Insanity and jogged afterwards. But I have a love affair with food. I can start my day off well with egg whites, spinach, and tomatoes with a side of green tea, snack on humus and carrots later, then have a whopping burger and fries for lunch, because I HAD to have it! I was talking to my husband about this and all the excuses of being so far away from my close group of runners and work-out-a-holic buddies and we both came to the conclusion that sometimes you have just have to GET IT DONE! You have to find and inner motivation to get going and keep going. Your success is not dependent on other people. Well, I reflected more and continued my conversations with God regarding my focus and He replied,

More in You“No temptation has overtaken you except what is common to mankind. And God is faithful; he will not let you be tempted beyond what you can bear. But when you are tempted, he will also provide a way out so that you can endure it.” I Corinthians 10:13 NIV

I was so empowered at that moment. I read it over and over understanding and realizing that God will not allow me to be tempted beyond what I can overcome. I can overcome these pesky temptations with trigger foods. The more and more I thanked God for providing this insight the more clarity I gained with being focused on this vision.

Many times the enemy will come in to distract us and cover our eyes with defeat. Not only did Paul teach us “I can do ALL things through Christ who gives me strength,” but God just reminded me that He is faithful and will provide a way out!

Dear Daddy,

Thank You for reminding me in Your Word that You will not allow temptation to greet me if I can’t overcome. Thank You for making me feel strong in knowing that not only have You already equipped me to be able to overcome it, but that You are faithful and provide an exit and an escape. Lord, I thank You for strengthening me and giving me power through Your Word, Your love, and Your faithfulness. In Jesus’ name I pray, Amen.

Ladies, I EMPOWER you to OVERCOME IT! You got this! Your battle may not be food. It may be sex, shopping, lying, or some other distraction that does not allow you to be your best self in God. God will not allow these things to come to you if He didn’t provide a way out. Stay watchful, He has a way out of this!

What tactics do you use to overcome temptation?

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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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.

Change, Growth/Maturity, Trials, Trusting God

Changes And Challenges

Do not conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is – His good and pleasing and perfect will. (Romans 12:2 NIV)

Changes and challenges will come as quick and unexpectedly

as a Chicago winter,

Embracing you like a warm touch

or piercing you like a splinter

 

Fear lurks

when patience and faith are absent,

And embracing life outside your comfort zone

can be taxing

 

Think for a second about the plans you made

some plans we create will be interrupted or halted

only to be changed or necessarily rearranged in proper fit

because change is always approaching and sometimes coming quick

 

You can’t control what happens to your life,

You will learn thru time

that you have most control over what you do,

and how you react to

than some of the challenges that come for you

 

So to whom it may concern,

Hold onto your grace,

Life isn’t always comfortable

and things don’t always go your way,

Sometimes we settle for the ordinary

because the unknown can be scary

Sometimes we let fear take control

because it is comfortable and that’s all we know

Yet embracing change allows us to grow

 

And trusting in God through the challenges and the process

Reminds us that God is the same today, yesterday and tomorrow, and He knows best

He has the strength and authority to get you through any discomfort and any mess.

Change allows us to stretch, elevate and spread our wings,

to venture toward new territories and experience new things

to leave comfort zones, same actions, same results and same old ways behind

Growth comes from challenges, but transformation must start with the renewing of your mind

from Setting The Captive Free by Tannika Moore

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.

___________________________________________________________________

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.”

 

 

Black Music Month Series, Fruit of the Spirit, Submission/Surrendering

My Everything

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!

Remain in me, and I will remain in you. For a branch cannot produce fruit if it is severed from the vine, and you cannot be fruitful unless you remain in me.  Yes, I am the vine; you are the branches. Those who remain in me, and I in them, will produce much fruit. For apart from me you can do nothing. (John 15:4, 5 NLT)

It took me a minute to figure it out. I was used to being at the top of my game; I wasn’t a stranger to losing, my life was blessed… I had no reason to think otherwise.

Then the trials came, the testing began, and God began to allow His purifying fires to burn. I started to lean to my own understanding. I trusted in my own strength, my own intelligence and my own knowledge to get me through. Yet, all that I had by myself was not enough.

And when I inevitably came up short, I grew frustrated. When I failed, I was depressed. When I missed the mark, I got angry. When I took wrong turns, I lost precious time.

Like I said, it took me a while, but I figured it out. Once I figured out that I had to make God my source, it all fell into place. God had to be my main source. He had to have full control. He had to direct my every footstep. He was the One who held every answer I could ever hope to know. When truly I made God the head of my life, everything else fell in line. Even those things that I would think were disappointments, missed opportunities, and failures – in time, God showed me how He caused them all to work together for my good (Romans 8:28).

We have to learn how to remain in God. When we remain with Him, we aren’t moved by circumstances. Our attitudes aren’t changed when things don’t go our way. We don’t get out of character just because our surroundings change. When we remain in God, He is able to remain in us and allow the fruit of His Holy Spirit (love, joy, peace, gentleness…) to come out of us.

Dear Daddy,

I thank You that when I remain in You, You allow me to be fruitful! Help me to remember to look to You as my source instead of trying to do things on my own. Open my eyes to all the ways You are causing things to work together for my good. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.

Ladies, today I EMPOWER you to remain in God no matter what circumstances come your way. I EMPOWER you to hear and obey the voice of the Lord as you seek Him to direct your every step!  

Enjoy this song by Jonathan McReynolds titled “Everything”:

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Tiara Wilkinson just released her first book “Days of Purpose & Destiny” which is available on Amazon and Kindle. You can find more information at www.daysofpurposeanddestiny.com. Tiara also serves as the Youth Leader and on the Pastoral Care Team at Christ Worship Center in Riverdale, Illinois. 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.

 

Black Music Month Series, Contentment, Praise/Worship

Have A Praise PartY

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!

Have A Praise PartY!

I shall rise above the ashes.

I shall rise above the bitterness in my heart.

I shall rise above the comments about me snickered behind my back.

I shall rise above my poverty.

I shall rise above depression.

I shall rise above the inadequacies that so distinctively bound me to deep seated insecurities.

I shall ignore the voice that makes me doubt.

I shall move the mountain of darkness that clouds my hope for freedom.

I shall look to the hills, where my help comes from, my help comes from the Lord. Psalm 121:1-2 (paraphrased)

I shall set my mind on things above, not on earthly things, Colossians 3:22 NIV

These are the phrases that go through my mind when I sing this song. For many people this song is nothing but an irritating repeat on their local radio station, but this song literally brings tears to my eyes. Why? Because it causes people to break out from and ignore their circumstances and to dare to be HAPPY! Because of God’s freedom, I am at liberty, I feel like a room without a roof! When I decided to have a relationship with Christ, I was no longer bound by the chains of my past shame or by the thoughts of man. This song rings freedom. The freedom to not be perfect, to not look like everyone else, to not dance as good as everyone else, to not look as good or dress as nice, but to be Happy regardless of your current situation or circumstance!

I become teary eyed because I serve a God who has the audacity to bless me in spite of my wrongs, short comings, lies, disobedience, and ways that aren’t so good. He humbles me. The Bible tells me, because I love and accept Jesus and recognize my responsibilities as a Christian, my past has been erased, my sins where like scarlet, but he made me white as snow (Isaiah 1:18 KJV). Therefore, I am able to lean on Jesus who will keep me from falling, having the ability to present me faultless to the Father (Jude 1:24 KJV).

That makes me Happy.

I am Happy because “We are hard pressed on every side, but not crushed; perplexed, but not in despair; persecuted, but not abandoned; struck down, but not destroyed. We always carry around in our body the death of Jesus, so that the life of Jesus may also be revealed in our body.” 2 Corinthians 4:8-10 NIV.

Doesn’t the thought of that just make you want to shout?

Dear Daddy,

When I think of Your goodness, my soul cries out HOLY HOLY, how great You are! Lord, help us to be able to look over our circumstances. Help us to force our attitudes into happiness until You see fit to move us. Father, help us to remember that in due time, You shall make every crooked path straight and every insecurity certain. Help us to smile, dance, love, and laugh so that we may be a light to others. May we be the vessel in which Your glory can shine!

Ladies, I EMPOWER you to be HAPPY! H.ave A. P.raise P.artY. Get up out of your chair, listen to these lyrics and dance like no one is watching. God already said that all things will work to your good, so instead of pouting, get up and dance!!

Are you committed to being HAPPY in spite of your circumstances?

Listen to Pharrell Williams’ song Happy and dance as if no one is watching

Please click here if you cannot see the video.

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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.

Black Music Month Series, Obedience

What Are You Running For?

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!

The word of the Lord came to Jonah son of Amittai: “Go to the great city of Nineveh and preach against it, because its wickedness has come up before me.” But Jonah ran away from the Lord… (Jonah 1:1-3 NIV)

Recently, I ran from something God told me to do. The very thing God instructed me to do was scary, unattractive and nothing close to what I wanted for myself. To some, it may be exciting, and they would kill for the chance to go where God is taking me. However, once He revealed his plan and allowed me to see some of the major players in His plan, I took off. Fear took over and the excuses began to flow: “Lord I’m not good enough. I’m crazy; God can’t be saying this to me. This isn’t how I saw my life going. Oh Lord why me? Is there somebody else you can send? Look, that’s fine but I just don’t want to do it, etc.”

Then the Lord sent a great wind from the sea, and such a violent storm arose that the ship threatened to break up. (Jonah1:4 NIV)

Just like a storm arose due to Jonah’s disobedience, God sent a storm in my life because of mine. Soon after, everything began to fall apart. I was holding on to some relationships I really didn’t want or need, but came in handy as excuses. The relationships became extremely nerve wrecking and then I pulled away from the people. Everything ceased to fulfill me. I had to jump ship in order to find peace. Then they took Jonah and threw him overboard, and the raging sea grew calm. (v.15)

After jumping ship, just like Jonah was swallowed by the great fish, I was pushed into isolation. While there, I repented and began to hear God more clearly. Again, He told me what he wanted me to do with plenty of confirmation. It was not any more exciting or glamorous than before. However, this time I realized what God wanted was necessary in the journey He has planned for me. I had to realize and remember that my calling isn’t just for me, but for others.

In Jonah 3, we see Jonah finally obey God, the Ninevites turn from their evil ways, and God have compassion and spare their lives (v.10).

A while back I asked God to make an example out of me. I didn’t realize what I was asking then. At every turn, I have seen someone watching me and a number of people, especially young women, take to me. Now, I understand why God is taking me in the direction He is and the importance of me sucking it up and doing exactly what He told me.

Dear Daddy,

Thank You for Your mercy and Your grace. Thank You for second chances. Thank You for Your unconditional love and Your patience. Thank You for not allowing us to get too far before You pull us back. Thank You for guiding us, leading us and protecting us. Please give us the courage, strength, peace and guidance needed to do Your will. When we become afraid, please allow us to find peace in knowing You have not given us the spirit of fear but of power, love, and a sound mind. (2 Timothy 1:7) In Jesus’ name we pray, Amen.

Ladies, today I EMPOWER you to stop running! Even when the thing He tells you to do is scary, unappealing and so not like you imagined, trust Him and obey. God will walk with you and give you the grace to get that thing accomplished. Remember also that your calling isn’t just for you, but more so for others!

Enjoy this song by Shekinah Glory Ministry called Yes:

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Bettina Allen is currently working in security, with prior experience in customer service. She loves to read, write and dance. She loves God and is on a mission to be as close to Him as she possibly can. Bettina is constantly learning and growing from life’s experiences. God has given Bettina a word and she would love to share that word, along with all of the lessons He has taught her, with others. Bettina resides in Georgia and attends Life Church of Atlanta. Her favorite scripture is Psalm 119:105 – “Your word is a lamp for my feet, a light on my path.”

God's Promises, Patience

When Is “It” Going To Happen?

“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)

“No one who hopes in you will ever be put to shame, but shame will come on those who are treacherous without cause.” (Psalm 25:3 NIV)

“Wait on the LORD: be of good courage, and he shall strengthen thine heart: wait, I say, on the LORD.” (Psalm 27:14 NIV)

Have you ever felt as if the things you’ve prayed for were taking too long to happen? Have you grown tired of waiting? I know the frustration of waiting because I am feeling that way right now. Sometimes people think that because you’re a Christian you never get frustrated or you never have any issues. I have been single for almost two years now and I’m wondering when I’ll be in a relationship again. I’ve been out of college for three years and haven’t gotten a job in my field (Social Services) yet. I also wonder when I’ll be able to get my foot in the door so I can start my career.

I would like to share the stories of two women mentioned in the Bible who too probably wondered when God would change their situation. They are Hannah and Sarah. Hannah was married to Elkanah. Elkanah also had another wife named Peninnah. Peninnah had children and Hannah didn’t. Penninah would tease Hannah about her being barren (1 Sam. 1:6). I could imagine how hurt Hannah was by that (1 Sam 1:7-8).  Who would want to get teased about not being able to conceive a child? Hannah prayed for God to bless her with a son and promised him that she would dedicate him back to God.  Hannah was praying deeply to the point that the priest Eli thought she was drunk while she was praying (1 Sam. 12-14). Hannah’s lips were moving but there was no sound coming from them.  God blessed Hannah with a son named Samuel. Hannah kept her promise to God and God also blessed Hannah with more children (1 Sam. 1:24-28; 1 Sam. 2:21).

Sarah was married to Abraham. Sarah and Abraham both were of old age. God told her husband that they would have a child (Gen. 3:3-4). Sarah didn’t believe that she would have a child at her old age (Gen. 18:11-12). God gave Sarah and Abraham a son (Isaac) just like he promised (Gen. 22:1-2). Before Sarah got pregnant with Isaac, she told her husband to sleep with her slave Hagar because she couldn’t have any children (Gen. 16:1). Hagar had a son named Ishmael. Sarah began to dislike Hagar because she was able to have a child and she wasn’t (Gen. 16:4-5).

I know that God will bless me with the things that I desire if it’s according to His will just like He did Sarah and Hannah. I have to continue to have faith and trust Him. Everything will happen according to His timing. God always keep His promises.

I believe that there are things that we can do to motivate us towards where we want to be in our lives (i.e. vision boards, positive affirmations, setting goals). I also believe that we have to put to action things that we would like to change. “For as the body without the spirit is dead, so faith without works is dead also.” (James 2:26 KJV)  However, before we set goals or put to action anything, we should pray and ask God for His direction.

Dear Daddy,

I know that You have great things in store for Your people. Help me to wait on Your timing. I’m not in control, but You are. Give me patience and endurance. In Jesus’ Name, Amen!

Today I EMPOWER you to wait on God. Don’t move ahead of him and get an Ishmael because you’re not willing to wait. Ask God to give you strength and hold on to His promises. Ask God to help you to exercise your faith.

What are you waiting on God for? What has he promised you?

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

Kindness, Love Series

Love is…Kind

For the first two weeks of February, EmpowerMoments will be doing a series entitled Love Is.  “Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud.  It does not dishonor others, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth.  It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres. Love never fails.” (1 Corinthians 13:4-7 NIV) We pray that you are EMPOWERED, enlightened, and blessed as our writers share what Love Is based on God’s Word!

3-be_kind_heart1

Recently upon exiting the grocery store, I noticed a lanky young man standing near the entrance/exit.  He was wearing a thin jacket or  and jeans, and I think he had on a hat but no gloves.  He looked as if he was either waiting on a ride or possibly waiting in the store until the bus came.  Outside, it was snowing and very, very cold.  I could see he was cold and I felt empathetic towards the young man.  I thought if I am cold with what I am wearing, surely he is cold with what he isn’t wearing.  He was not dressed warm at all; he had on no layers of clothing.  I immediately wanted to help him in some kind of way.  I pulled out my black gloves, one of the few pair I keep on me, and gave them to him.  He gratefully took them with no problem and I was relieved that at least I could help keep his hands warm.  Nonetheless, I prayed that God would keep him completely warm as I finally exited the sliding doors.

Whether someone blesses you with a night off from preparing dinner for your family (see Better TO GIVE Than TO RECEIVE), blesses you with the money to meet a financial need, blesses you with money for a new coat like I was blessed with or blesses you with encouragement to make it through a lonely or hard time, love is showing itself by its kindness.  Whether you bless a shelter with barely used clothes, bless someone with a smile and a warm hello, bless someone by babysitting her child so they can get some rest or bless someone who doesn’t have transportation with a ride to church, you too are showing that love is kind.

If love and mercy had a child, it would be kind.  Being kind is showing sympathy or understanding, being considerate, agreeable, generous, beneficial and charitable.  However, kindness is more than just doing nice things for people; it is BEING kind no matter what.  We are to be kind even to the people who talk about us, look at us sideways, and get on our nerves.  I’m not saying be naïve or gullible, or even let people abuse you, but remember that kind is a characteristic of God and kindness is one of the fruit of the Spirit.  “But to you who are listening I say: Love your enemies, do good to those who hate you, bless those who curse you, pray for those who mistreat you.  If someone slaps you on one cheek, turn to them the other also. If someone takes your coat, do not withhold your shirt from them. (Luke 6:27-29 NIV)  So as daughters of the Only Wise God and King of kings, we are to exude His character and become more like His Son every day.

Dear Daddy,

Thank You for Your loving kindness.  Thank You for being mindful of me and genuinely concerned and compassionate towards me.  Show me how to continually and genuinely exude Your love, mercy and kindness to others.  Give me the grace to be kind no matter what the situation or how a person is before me.  Daddy, please also give me the discernment to know when and how to show your kindness to others.  In Jesus’ Name, Amen!

Ladies, today I EMPOWER you to be K.I.N.D (Keenly aware of others needs, Integritous, Nice and Devoted to God).  Show God’s unfailing love every day.  Someone needs your smile, your hug, your attention, your prayer, your help, your extra pair of gloves, or that spare coat you haven’t worn in a while.  Most important, they need to know that the Lord loves them and He died on the cross to save them and have eternal fellowship with them.  

Find ways to demonstrate God’s love to others every day.  Please visit http://www.volunteermatch.org  if you are interested in finding opportunities to volunteer with nonprofits.

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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. She helps assist Chicago Public School students with their reading, writing, etc. as well as helps them consider and prepare for college. God, the Creator and Great Father has also created her to be a compassionate person and encourager so 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. 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.”

Love Series, Patience

Love Is…Patient

For the first two weeks of February, EmpowerMoments will be doing a series entitled Love Is.  Love is patient and kind. Love is not jealous or boastful or proud or rude. It does not demand its own way. It is not irritable, and it keeps no record of being wronged.  It does not rejoice about injustice but rejoices whenever the truth wins out.  Love never gives up, never loses faith, is always hopeful, and endures through every circumstance.” (1 Corinthians 13:4-7 NIV) We pray that you are EMPOWERED, enlightened, and blessed as our writers share what Love Is based on God’s Word!

Today I must stand up and make a confession in front of all of you – I am a yeller. I don’t confess this with a proud demeanor or proclaim it like I want recognition. In fact, I am quite ashamed of my behavior. Because I am embarrassed of how ugly I can sometimes act, I work hard to mask it from the world outside my home. However, if my children are overly rambunctious and my husband is pushing all of the wrong buttons, my patience wears thin and I can instantly become unglued. Next thing you know I am screaming, hoping that my increased tone will convey to my family that I’m fed up and I mean business. Unfortunately, my actions only result in deflated egos for my girls and the commencement of a very heated discussion between my husband and me. Once the situation has simmered down a bit, I start reflecting on what transpired and then I start to feel like the most horrible mother (and wife) on earth!

One day, as 2013 drew to close, I was crying out to God for His assistance with this matter. Since it wasn’t the first time that we’d had the conversation, I asked Him for forgiveness and patience. A snippet of my prayer probably went a little something like this: “Lord, please forgive me that I keep stumbling in this area. Thank You for your continued patience as I work, with Your help, to remove this from my life.” Before I could go on any further in my plea for help, He halted my prayer. God said, “You want Me to be patient with you, my child? Well how come you aren’t extending that same level of patience to your children? In the same way that it is taking you several attempts to get it right, so it is with your daughters. However, just as I am a patient, loving parent that gently corrects you, so must you be with your children. As a matter of fact, those are not even YOUR children; they really belong to Me. I have just placed them in your custodial care while they are walking the earth.” Can we say “OUCH”?! At that moment, God gave me a sobering glimpse of how my unacceptable behavior was affecting not only my family, but me. I was potentially hindering God’s patience with me because I was refusing to be patient with my baby girls.  It was in that small sliver of time that I made up my mind to forever cease the yelling in my home.

The scripture for this series begins with, “Love is patient”, but a couple verses back is where everything is put into perspective. If I speak in the tongues of men or of angels, but do not have love, I am only a resounding gong or a clanging cymbal. If I have the gift of prophecy and can fathom all mysteries and all knowledge, and if I have a faith that can move mountains, but do not have love, I am nothing. If I give all I possess to the poor and give over my body to hardship that I may boast, but do not have love, I gain nothing. (1 Corinthians 13:1-3 NIV) Yep, I can speak in tongues until I am blue in the face. And sometimes God gives me glimpses of things that are to come. And I even have some crazy faith to believe God for some extraordinary, unimaginable things! And I will give even when I don’t have to give. BUT what does all of that amount to if I have no love? And what is love, you ask? Love is patient!

A sneak peek at my 2014 vision board
A sneak peek at my 2014 vision board

A few days into this year, I solidified my intent to stop yelling by placing a constant reminder on my vision board. Today I am writing each of you in hopes that if you too struggle with yelling at your children (or spouse, or parents, or employees, or anyone) that you would join me on a quest to make our lives yell free zones. Remember that our words carry weight and we essentially can birth or abort when we open our mouths. (Proverbs 18:21) So many times we equate this scripture to mean that we have to watch what we say. But today I challenge to consider that it also means that we should be mindful of how we talk to those connected to us. So again, I invite my fellow, soon-to-be ex-yellers to join me in lowering our tones and raising our love! After all, love IS patient!

Dear Daddy,

Please forgive me for any time that I have allowed my emotions and circumstances to get to the best of me and cause me to start yelling. Regardless of what is going on around me, I know that with Your help, I can calmly and respectfully address anything. I pray that You teach me to extend the same patience to others when they test me that You extend my way when I push the envelope with You. I declare that 2014 is the beginning of a yell-free lifetime. In Jesus’ Name, Amen!

Ladies, today I EMPOWER you to increase your patience while decreasing your tone. Remember that no person, not even your child, is yours to treat as you wish. Thus, I EMPOWER you to gently and patiently convey your feelings and voice your concerns without screaming at the top of your lungs. Never forget that “Love is Patient”!

For additional help in this area, please visit Orange Rhino, a site devoted to helping women love more and yell less.

If you are an ex-yeller, please share with us below how you stopped.

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Mrs. Kristen Harris is a wife, a mother, an entrepreneur and a dedicated servant-leader. 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.

God's Will, Patience

My Daddy Blocked It


pic-road-block

“For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways,” declares the Lord. “As the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways and my thoughts than your thoughts.” (Isaiah 55:8-9 NIV)

How many times have you prayed and prayed for something only to see it never come to pass? Better yet, how often have you prayed and when you didn’t see it happen, you tried to force it with your own might? I can relate all too well.

I remember when I broke up with my first “real” boyfriend. We had been an item for almost four years and I thought he was my future! Although we had an ugly breakup, I was certain that we would reconcile because I just knew that he was going to be my husband. For several months after we parted ways, I called and called him, never to receive an answer. I would pop up over his house only for his roommate to tell me that he wasn’t home when I could clearly see his car in the driveway. I would even send him gifts in hopes that we would soon pick up the pieces of our relationship and move on. After several months of carrying on in that ridiculous manner, I finally decided that it was time to move on. To say that I was crushed and heartbroken would be a severe understatement. I felt as if the future that I planned had been completely destroyed in the blink of an eye. I just couldn’t imagine how I would pick up the pieces of my life, put them back together again and move on.

I’m sure a vast number of you can understand my story of a failed relationship and the quest to restore it. You may have compromised your character, morals, or reputation trying to rekindle a fire that had been permanently extinguished. Just like me, in the moment you exhausted every effort and resource trying to make the situation go in your favor. Even if relationships aren’t the area that you can relate to, there is something in each of our lives that we are desperately trying to hold onto. Meanwhile, God is behind the scenes playing Master Puppeteer. He keeps moving that man, job or money just out of your reach. You can still see it, but He is teaching you to look past what you think you need and trust Him for what He knows you need! His thoughts are much higher than anything we could ever fathom for our lives.

Did you ever consider why you are having such a hard time trying to force something to be? Maybe it was never destined by God. Maybe your Daddy is blocking it! As I sat dialing and re-dialing my ex-boyfriend’s number day after day, getting my feelings hurt when he did not answer, I pleaded with God to just restore our relationship. However, it seemed like the more I pursued my ex-boyfriend, the less interested he was in me or the broken pieces of our past. He completely vanished from my presence and wanted nothing to do with me.  Nothing that I did was working and it was not until recently that I found out why.

I ran into my old flame at the post office and he explained everything to me. As I was going through the whole breakup ordeal, I had been confiding in my daddy. Knowing what a terrible effect it was having on me, my daddy called my ex-boyfriend and told him to stay away from me. He was not to call, visit, text or email. My daddy had put a restraining order of sorts on the poor guy. He said that he really wanted to answer my calls and talk to me, but my daddy blocked it! (And he was scared to cross my daddy!) Wow! I had no idea back then, but it all made sense after he told me!

Our Daddy is also blocking things in our lives too! We are trying to manipulate stuff to make something happen but no matter what we do, it just won’t work! God has  has allowed that man to refuse to act right; He won’t convince that girl to like you; He has already spoken to that employer and restricted them from hiring you. It seems harsh now but He is keeping you and wants to bless you with that which is greater! You cannot see it now, but by and by, when God’s plan is revealed to you, you will fully understand that what He is blocking pales in comparison to what He is allowing to come your way! Remember, if Daddy blocked it, then it is no good for you! For Psalm 84:11 reminds us that no good will He withhold from us if we walk blameless and upright.

Dear Daddy,

Thank You for blocking it! I know sometimes I get angry or frustrated because things are not happening the way that I would like, regardless of how hard I try to make them work. Please remind me to seek You first for information regarding my life. If you block it, then it was not a good thing for me to have. Help me to trust Your word on that. In Jesus’ Name, Amen!

Today I EMPOWER you to stop trying to remove the block that God placed in your life. If He placed a roadblock on your journey, it is because He knows that you don’t need to go that route or He is trying to keep you in place for something greater!

Share an experience with us when you wanted something so badly but later realized that God blocking it was the best thing that could have happened to you.

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Mrs. Kristen Harris is a wife, a mother, an entrepreneur and a dedicated servant-leader. 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.