Best of 2011 Series, Self Forgiveness

Best of 2011: #3 — If You Live in a Glass House…

We are featuring our top EmpowerMoments of 2011. They made us laugh and they made us cry. They comforted us during troubled times and made us uncomfortable in our mess. But most important, they EMPOWERED us to be greater women all around! We are better wives, mothers, daughters, friends, servants and employees. We have been EMPOWERED to love harder, forgive more and listen better. We thank God for EmpowerMoments! Enjoy the Best of Series!

I know we have all heard the saying “If you live in a glass house, don’t throw stones.” Three months after God called me to be a minister, I messed up. After being celibate for a while I had sex and got pregnant. I thought I was going to die. All I could think was, “What will people say? What will I do now? How will I face the church?” And guess what– my thoughts and questions were accurate. Even though I was remorseful and realized the terrible mistake I made, “church folks” started to treat me like I had the plague. People were whispering and all my duties at church were stripped from me. I was terrified and petrified because I thought the way I was being treated was my punishment from God. But I was so wrong! Thoughts went through my head of getting an abortion or simply leaving the church! Genesis 50: 20 says what you meant for evil, God meant it for good. (ASV) See what the devil and people thought would destroy me, helped transform me into the woman I am today.  God led me to John 8 where the teachers of law and the Pharisees brought a woman to Jesus that committed adultery and they said she should be stoned because that was the law. Jesus responded by stooping down and writing on the ground. When they kept on questioning him, he straightened up and said to them, “Let any one of you who is without sin be the first to throw a stone at her.” Again he stooped down and wrote on the ground. At this, those who heard began to go away one at a time, the older ones first, until only Jesus was left, with the woman still standing there.  Jesus straightened up and asked her, “Woman, where are they? Has no one condemned you?” “No one, sir,” she said. “Then neither do I condemn you,” Jesus declared. “Go now and leave your life of sin.” (John 8: 7-10 NIV)

I went to the Lord and He reminded me that everyone sins and falls short. God revealed to me that He forgave me and I needed to forgive myself. He also revealed to me that it’s easier for people to throw stones at you and judge your situation than to deal with their own mess. Everyone has some mess, but they will throw stones at you in order to not deal with the stones that are in their houses and lives. The very situation that I thought ruined me made my relationship stronger with God because I had to lean and depend on Him. Psalm 121:1 says, “I lift up my eyes until the hills for whence cometh my help. All of my help come from the Lord, who made heaven and earth. (KJV) I learned man will fail you but God will be with you until the end. I kept trusting God and that very thing people threw stones at is now my wonderful husband and my daughter. My ministry and my worship are for real. Those very people that counted me out and threw stones at my situation have come back to me for an encouraging word or a prayer because God showed them that nothing could separate me from His love . If you live in a glass house, please don’t throw stones.

Dear Daddy,
Thank You for being a forgiving God! I thank You for never giving up on me or counting me out. I pray for those that throw stones, that You reveal their mess to them and help them clean it up. I thank You for teaching me that if You are for me, no one can be against me. I thank You for the courage to stand when people said that I shouldn’t. Thank You for being a God of second chances! In Jesus’ Name, Amen!

I EMPOWER you to not give up on God because He will never give up on you. God will forgive whatever sin you have committed and give you another chance. Do not let people determine your destiny; God already has a plan for your life!

Read a related EmpowerMoment: Send her away.

Mrs. Keviyona Ray is an ordained minister and co-pastor in training of The Christ For All People International Church. She is passionate about sharing the word of God with everyone she encounters. As a professional, Keviyona is a teacher for Chicago Public Schools. She loves her ministry of teaching and changing children’s lives. She is a devoted wife and mother of a wonderful daughter. Two of her favorite scriptures are Jeremiah 1: 5: “Before I formed thee in the belly I knew thee; and before thou camest forth out of the womb I sanctified thee, and I ordained thee a prophet unto the nations” and Proverbs 29:18: “Where there is no vision, the people perish: but he that keepeth the law, happy is he.”

Encouragement, God's Grace, God's Mercy, Motivation, Self Forgiveness, Sin

Keep At It!

“Therefore encourage one another and build each other up, just as in fact you are doing.” I Thessalonians 5:11 NIV

One day my daughter and I were at the playground and she wanted to try the monkey bars. She’s a very cautious little soul and a far cry from a “dare devil”. Assessing the situation she says, “Mommy, why when you try new things you fall.” I replied, “Because with new things, you don’t quite know how to do them yet so you have to learn. Sometimes you get help and sometimes you just practice practice practice.” And her proud reply was, “Practice makes perfect!!”

As she dodged the monkey bars and went to the swings I pondered on her question, “Why when we try new things do we often fall?” I thought about some of you, myself, and the women that inbox me about my walk with Christ. Often times when you are either a new believer, or trying to learn a new godly behavior, sometimes you fall. Not fall as in fall from grace, but fall as in stumble, or trip. You don’t quite get it yet.

How many times have you said to God, “Lord I’m going to live right! I am not going to have sex anymore until I’m married.” Only to find yourself lying there in the dark looking at the ceiling, defeated and embarrassed as the guy lies next to you peacefully sleeping. How many times have you said, “Lord, I am not going to deal with gossiping anymore; I am done with tainting my spirit and being an accessory to this foolishness.” Only to find yourself deep into a juicy phone conversation about the relationship you “heard” was about to end in a divorce. Or even, you promised God that you would read your Bible daily, only to remember 8 days later that you forgot about the promise and can’t find your Bible anywhere.

Along this Christian journey there are highs and lows, ups and downs. We try so hard to get it just right and sometimes we even fall. I’ve been there, you are not alone. Even “seasoned” Christians go through these falling periods. If we all were perfect, we wouldn’t need grace and mercy now would we? Don’t be mistaken, you do get to a point where you are able to judge your own actions and determine if it is pleasing to God, but you may miss the mark in your quest for obedience.  Paul even figuratively shares that he was inflicted with a thorn in his side to keep him humble. Your thorn may be a scar, an STD, or some other type of blemish. But God reassures Paul when he says, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” 2 Corinthians 12:9 (NIV)

I told my daughter that sometimes you need help with new things. I believe that everyone should have a mentor. I have a spiritual mentor, wife mentor, mom mentor, professional mentor and the list goes on and on. They are people that are not necessarily in “higher” areas of Christianity, but they are more experienced and serve as tangible vessels that God sent me. When I feel like I’m falling, want to fall, or have fallen, my mentors are there to give me godly advice and encouragement. The next thing I told my daughter was “practice makes perfect.” The more you work at, the better you get. I’ve often told my mentees, the more you practice, the louder your Holy Spirit gets. If you are not trying to live a life of spiritual godliness, your conscience is flesh-led. But when you decide to have “help” from the Lord, your conscience submits to the Holy Spirit and it speaks from within. (Read about the Holy Spirit as your helper in John 14.)

Some of you reading this are pretty frustrated with your walk. God told me to write this to you a few days ago, but I couldn’t seem to pull it together until now. I want to encourage you with this scripture, “Let us not become weary in doing good, for at the proper time we will reap a harvest if we do not give up.” (Galatians 6:9 NIV) The Holy Spirit is a helper and a sustainer. You may stumble sometimes in this walk, but you’ll realize that these “stumbles” actually propel you forward to a closer walk with God.

Dear Daddy,

Please forgive me for all of my sins. Those I have committed knowingly and unknowingly. On this quest of living a life more pleasing to You, please plant people in my life that will hold me accountable to Your ways. Help me to recognize Your Spirit and heed to its instructions. When I stumble, help me to realize that You are able to keep me from falling so that I can dust myself off and keep going. These setbacks are just a set up for my blessing. In Jesus’ Name, Amen!

Sistah Girl, I EMPOWER you today to keep going. Don’t get discouraged or feel that your walk with Jesus is in vain. This walk is a process, “So let it grow, for when your endurance is fully developed, you will be perfect and complete, needing nothing.”  (James 1:4 NLT)  When you hand over your problems, your walk, your faith, and your desires to Jesus, you can say, “Now unto him that is able to keep you from falling, and to present you faultless before the presence of his glory with exceeding joy” (Jude 1:24 KJV) KEEP AT IT!! Allow Psalms 121 to minister to you.

Read a related EmpowerMoment: Living Saved is an Inside Job

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

God's Love, God's Mercy, Honesty/Truth, Self Forgiveness, Spiritual Therapy

Unmasked

 We wear the mask that grins and lies,

It hides our cheeks and shades our eyes

This debt we pay to human guile

With torn and bleeding hearts we smile

And mouth with myriad subtleties.

Why should the world be over-wise,

In counting all our tears and sighs?

Nay, let them only see us, while

We wear the mask.

In 1896, Paul Laurence Dunbar published this poem which expresses the oppression of blacks in the U.S. and how they hid their pain and frustration behind a mask of happiness and contentment. It made me consider how many of us, though flourishing outwardly, continue to cover up the pain, hurt, frustration, and shame that we feel inwardly.  Sometimes the shame is not because of things that we’ve done.  Sometimes we’re ashamed of the people that we’re linked to, or the things that we’ve endured, or the feelings and inclinations that we have.  Sometimes it’s our inabilities, particularly financially, or past indiscretions—things that we really don’t want people to know.

Some of the desire to mask didn’t start with us.  It was handed down through learning.  As early as young children, we learn to cover: “Don’t tell people our (family) business” or “Fake it ‘til you make it”. We learn to lie for our parents (i.e. to bill collectors).  We are bombarded with conflicting messages very early.  Yet, we are expected as adults to undo what has already settled into our nature—deception.

Unfortunately, most of us are like nicely packaged gift boxes.  We look wonderful on the outside, but what’s inside isn’t that great.  It’s amazing, because even as Christians we claim to be free, but most of us struggle with internal bondage.  We haven’t laid all of ourselves on the altar, because, “if truth be told”, some of us don’t believe that God would love us if He knew the naked, uncovered us.  We don’t allow God to cover, because we refuse to uncover.  Instead, we wear our masks to work, church, for our friends, and sad but true, even in our homes.  In essence, we have a form of godliness, but we deny the power of God to work in our uncovered lives (See 2 Timothy 3:5 NIV).

In writing this, God showed me that masking has been man’s response to shame since the earliest of times.  Adam and Eve covered themselves because, when they realized their nakedness, they felt ashamed and afraid of how they would be seen (See Genesis 3 NIV).  Those whom God breathed His very breath into hid from their own Creator and Savior.  They, like many of us, were afraid to be exposed.  They didn’t understand that God already knew their condition.  He was waiting for them to uncover.  Once they did, God took it upon Himself to cover them—first with earthly garments, then with sacrifices, but ultimately with His blood.  It’s because of this blood, that not only can we be saved, but we are also free to uncover. “If any man be in Christ Jesus, he is a new creature, old things are passed away, behold ALL THINGS are become new.” (2 Corinthians 5:17 KJV).  We don’t have to wear masks or feel ashamed.  God already knows and He loves us nonetheless.

Dear Daddy,

Thank You for helping me to understand that You see behind the mask and love me in the midst of the hurt, pain, and shame that I try not to reveal.  Help me to live a life that’s truthful and honest even though doing so can make me feel vulnerable. When I feel the need to mask, help me to remember that when I am uncovered, I position myself for healing and it is through that healing and testimony that I can best glorify You.

Ladies, I EMPOWER you to pull off the mask.  God knows the hurt, pain, and frustration that you are covering.  He is prepared to heal, cover, and restore, if you are willing to lay yourself before Him open and honestly.  I EMPOWER you to trust God with your all.  He is faithful and one whom you can trust.

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

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Encouragement, Goals & Dreams, God's Love, Inspirational, Motivation, Preparation, Procrastination, Self Forgiveness, Self-Esteem

Born to Win

I AM living the life of my dreams and still feel empty BUT I was born to WIN!

I AM impatient, slothful and a backstabber BUT I was born to WIN!

I AM an abusive person BUT I was born to WIN!

I AM addicted to drugs BUT I was born to WIN!

I AM single and lonely BUT I was born to WIN!

I AM married to a jerk BUT I was born to WIN!

I AM a horrible wife BUT I was born to WIN!

I AM an alcoholic BUT I was born to WIN!

I AM not healthy BUT I was born to WIN!

I AM childless BUT I was born to WIN!

I AM a whore BUT I was born to WIN!

I AM envious BUT I was born to WIN!

These things may be a part of your past or they may be your present BUT you were born to WIN.

“Before I formed you in the womb I knew you, before you were born I set you apart; I appointed you as a prophet to the nations.” (Jeremiah 1:5 NIV)

While listening to a story about one of my brothers the other day, a profound sadness came over me. I wasn’t in my usual stressful, I need to do something to “fix” this mode, but I was sad. I was sad because HOPE had left the building. My brother lived a rough life, was in juvenile by the time he was 12, in and out of jail throughout his life, and holds a membership in the “just can’t get right” club. Now in his late 30’s, he currently finds peace in the bottom of a bottle. With all of his shortcomings, he is one of the absolute sweetest persons that I know. He is extremely protective of his family, loving and generous. I want nothing but the best for him but I have learned that me wanting it for him is not enough.

As I talked to him later that day, I could tell that he felt hopeless. “How can I succeed in life when I have a criminal rap sheet, no high school diploma and I keep bouncing from place to place? Every time I try to do right, something happens that takes me back to square one. I want to be a good father and provide for my children and be there for them but me and their mothers don’t get along. I just hate the way that my life turned out.”

Some time later, Jesus went up to Jerusalem for one of the Jewish festivals. Now there is in Jerusalem near the Sheep Gate a pool, which in Aramaic is called Bethesda and which is surrounded by five covered colonnades. Here a great number of disabled people used to lie—the blind, the lame, the paralyzed. One who was there had been an invalid for thirty-eight years.When Jesus saw him lying there and learned that he had been in this condition for a long time, He asked him, “DO YOU WANT TO GET WELL?” “Sir,” the invalid replied, “I have no one to help me into the pool when the water is stirred. While I am trying to get in, someone else goes down ahead of me.” Then Jesus said to him, “Get up! Pick up your mat and walk.”  At once the man was cured; he picked up his mat and walked. (John 5: 1-9 NIV)

I am not sure of anywhere else in the Bible where Jesus asks if someone “wants” to be healed. Think about it. This man has been lying at the pool for 38 years and STILL has not made his way in. Maybe I’m a little gangsta because I’m thinking how did someone beat you EVERY time? This also seems like Jesus’ train of thought. Yes, you are in the right place but what are you doing to get well? How bad do you want it? What are you willing to do for it? (Whew! – you missed your shout right there!)

This is how I handled the situation with my brother. Instead of being my usual overbearing self and telling him what he “needed” to do, I decided to ask him, “What do you want?” I began to minister to his spirit and let him know that YES you have made some mistakes but God equipped you with everything that you need to survive. God wants you to win. He wants you to be wildly successful. He wants to use you as an example. He wants the glory from your story. Your life is not over and your past and present don’t have to dictate your future, but it is your choice. It’s never too late to start over; do you want a different life?

What, then, shall we say in response to these things? If God is for us, who can be against us? No, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him who loved us. (Romans 8:31,37 NIV)

Do you hear that? We are MORE THAN conquerors! Is your present condition, casting a gloomy forecast over your future? Have you given up and began to believe that “these are the cards you were dealt?” Tell me, whose report will you believe?! I believe you were Born to Win!

Dear Daddy,

Thank You for Your infinite wisdom and giving me an approach when I didn’t have one. Continue to remind me that I was born to WIN. You equipped me with everything that I need to survive and succeed. You don’t hold a flashlight over my past and You have the power to change my present. Thank You for making all things new and for giving me a chance to get it right. Pour Your spirit on my family members and remove the blinders that make them see a gloomy future. Soften their hearts so that they turn to You and seek Your forgiveness. Impart clear direction in their minds, faith and the will power to change. In Jesus’ Name, Amen!

Ladies, I EMPOWER you to know who you are and whose you are. You are a child of the King. In Isaiah 1:18, He tell us “Though your sins be as scarlet he will wash them white as snow.” You were Born to Win! You can’t believe the report of man. You must believe the report of the Lord. As the song says, “His report says I am healed; His report says I am filled; His report says I am free, His report says Victory.” Sounds like a winner to me!

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

Abortion, God's Love, Grief, Self Forgiveness, Sin, Spiritual Therapy

No Title Necessary

I took one last glance at the clock before the doctor instructed me to start the countdown.  I did as I was told and began 10…9…8…7…6…5… The next thing I remembered was waking up in the recovery room.  The procedure was over and my anesthesia had worn off yet only twenty minutes had elapsed.  It wasn’t until the nurse came to check on me that I remembered exactly what I had done… I had just aborted my unborn child! 

I found out that I was pregnant a month prior and that very day I made up my mind that I was NOT having a baby out of wedlock.  I was of age where I could have taken on the responsibility without a doubt but I was too selfish to do so.  I was in a relationship with the father but I refused to go through this struggle with a man I had only been dating a few months.  Basically, I came up with every reason as to why this was the best solution to my problem but truthfully the real battle was yet to come.

“Jesus replied ‘No one who puts his hand to the plow and looks back is fit for service in the kingdom.’”(Luke 9:62 NIV) I was certain that I had handled my business but I was having the hardest time forgiving myself and forgetting it ever happened.  The enemy used the un-forgiveness in my heart to infect every aspect of my life.  I was still in a dead end relationship because I felt as if I owed him something because I never told him about the abortion.  I was finishing my last semester in school but I was clueless as to what was my next move would be in this game called life.  To top it off, I let God down and went against His Word in more ways than one.  However, as the above scripture stated, being consumed with looking in the past promotes missed opportunities to do kingdom work.  It is imperative to remember that we must not misconstrue the underlying message of the Word–our past does not dictate our future but we must NOT intentionally disobey God because of His promises. 

“No, brothers and sisters, I am still not all I should be, but I am focusing all my energies on this one thing: Forgetting the past and looking forward to what lies ahead, I strain to reach the end of the race and receive the prize for which God, through Christ Jesus, is calling us up to heaven.” (Philippians 3:13-14 NLT)

Ladies, I allowed the devil to control my life for years because I was afraid to forgive myself when God had already forgiven me.  I prolonged my walk into my destiny because I was determined to dwell on a bad decision.  Once I was able to shake the stronghold the devil had on me I was able to rejoice in the fact that I am not what I have done or the situations I’ve been through but rather I represent where I am headed- PROSPERITY!!

Dear Daddy,

Thank You for forgiving me even when I found it hard to forgive myself.  You have always been there for me and words can not express the joy that alone gives me.  Please help me keep my head forward, not looking back, so that I may be certain that I am doing the work needed to advance Your Kingdom.  No longer will I be a prisoner to my past but rather I am victorious because of YOU!  Thank You Daddy!!  In Jesus’ Name, Amen!

I encourage you to EMPOWER one another to leave the past behind and walk BOLDLY into your future!  Ladies, put your chin up, stick your chest out, and keep your back straight for the time is now to accept the calling on your life. No more pity parties with the enemy because its time to celebrate Jesus!!!  Be Blessed!!! 🙂

P.S. Since today is my last day as an EmpowerMoment writer,  I just want to thank all of the readers for allowing me to share my testimony with you. This experience has probably helped me just as much as I endeavored to help each of you. Being transparent has allowed me to walk into my destiny and completely line up with God’s will. Thank you for being apart of this journey. MUAH!

Create your fall haiku for our monthly contest. Click here for more details.

Ms. Latasha Sampson is an accomplished writer who is currently pursuing her Masters Degree in Human Resources Management.  She resides in Nashville, Tennessee where she is a faithful member of Mt. Zion Baptist Church.  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

Family, Grandparents, Self Forgiveness, Sin

Her Future Has A Past

“For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the LORD, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.” Jeremiah 29:11 NIV

Talking to my grandmother is one of the highlights of my week. I know her as Madea and love her very dearly; after all, she raised me and shaped me into the person that many of you know today. She taught me how to cook, survive, be a lady and to guard my “reputation.” We had our rough patches when I went through my VERY rebellious stage (another blog) and there were times when I disappointed her with my actions. She loved me still.

My Madea

To me, my grandmother was close to an angel and it drove me bananas whenever I heard anyone try to talk down about her, even if it was my mother. She is a God-fearing, religious, deeply spiritual woman who has a tremendous amount of faith. I remember when she came outside with the holy oil to anoint my car after I first bought it. 🙂  She has raised at some point the majority of her 23 grandchildren and her house is a regular drop off spot for the pack of great-grands.  We, the grandchildren, recognize that our Madea has her ways but we still would trade nothing for her. She makes us birthday cakes and gives her last to support us. I grew up watching her sacrifice so that we could have the basics and even a little more. She is the quintessential grandmother!

Unfortunately, the lady that I know and the woman that her children and older people from around town know are NOT the same. You see, some time before I made my grand entrance into the world and when I was too young to remember, Sallie Pearl was a DRUNK and a chain SMOKER. She was known for her alcoholism and her addiction to nicotine. I even have an aunt who was born so small that she could fit in a cigar box, as a result of her addictions. Her six children lived with her and various relatives as they were growing up and the majority became teenage moms. Her husband, my grandfather, was the same. We never met because he died from cirrhosis of the liver as a result of his alcohol consumption. It’s hard for me to imagine all of this because this woman that I hear stories about is just not the woman I know.

“…Though your sins are like scarlet, they shall be as white as snow; though they are red as crimson, they shall be like wool.”( Isaiah 1:18 NIV)

Her road to forgiveness with her children was not easy but I thank God for the twins, Grace and Mercy. My grandmother tells me that when she got saved she asked God to remove the taste of cigarettes and alcohol from her and just like that He did. No special pills, patches or miracle drugs – just a simple prayer. She has been sober and smoke free since 1986.

Every saint has a past and every sinner has a future. Though many love to bring up who she WAS, Madea’s past was the prologue to her future. After she stopped dating Jesus and began having a relationship with Him, she put down the bottle and picked up the Bible. He used her to take care of her grandchildren when our mother(s) became ill or were no longer able to. He used her to give us a strong foundation in Jesus and He has used her to touch other people’s lives through her acts of kindness and generosity.

Like my grandmother, many of us have pasts that are filled with things that are often times to shameful to talk about BUT God can and will use you too. As the saying goes, God does not call the equipped; He equips the called. You don’t have to believe me, in your quiet time check out His word:

  • Jacob was a LIAR–  Genesis 27:19
  • Rahab was a PROSTITUTE –  Joshua 2:1
  • David had an AFFAIR and was a MURDERER 2 Samuel 11:3-27
  • Jonah RAN from God (Read the entire book)
  • Peter DENIED Christ Matthew 26: 69-70
  • Lazarus was DEAD John 11

Dear Daddy, 

Thank You for showing us forgiveness and blessing us with grace and mercy. For the person reading this now, I ask God that You remove ANY doubt that they may have about their future. Let this EmpowerMoment reach them so that they will know that even they can be used for Your purpose. There is no sin too great that Your Love for us has not covered. Let us not run from Your calling but run to it. In Jesus’ Name, Amen!

Today I EMPOWER you to walk boldly into your future. Despite what you may have done, who you may have been or what you didn’t do when you should have done it, know that your past was only a stepping stone to get you to the place where God has called you. Know that He predestined your past and your future. He has great expectations of you because He has already equipped you.

Create your fall haiku for our monthly contest. Click here for more details.

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

Forgiveness, God's Love, Growth/Maturity, Inspirational, Self Forgiveness, Self-Esteem, Spiritual Therapy

If You Live in a Glass House…

I know we have all heard the saying “If you live in a glass house don’t throw stones.” Three months after God called me to be a minister, I messed up. After being celibate for a while I had sex and got pregnant. I thought I was going to die. All I could think was “What will people say? What will I do now? How will I face the church?” And guess what– my thoughts and questions were accurate. Even though I was remorseful and realized the terrible mistake I made, “church folks” started to treat me like I had the plague. People were whispering and all my duties at church were stripped from me. I was terrified and petrified because I thought the way I was being treated was my punishment from God. But I was so wrong! Thoughts went through my head of getting an abortion or simply leaving the church! Genesis 50: 20 says what you meant for evil, God meant it for good. (ASV) See what the devil and people thought would destroy me, helped transform me into the woman I am today.  God led me to John 8 where the teachers of law and the Pharisees brought a woman to Jesus that committed adultery and they said she should be stoned because that was the law. Jesus responded by stooping down and writing on the ground. When they kept on questioning him, he straightened up and said to them, “Let any one of you who is without sin be the first to throw a stone at her.” Again he stooped down and wrote on the ground. At this, those who heard began to go away one at a time, the older ones first, until only Jesus was left, with the woman still standing there.  Jesus straightened up and asked her, “Woman, where are they? Has no one condemned you?” “No one, sir,” she said. “Then neither do I condemn you,” Jesus declared. “Go now and leave your life of sin.” (John 8: 7-10 NIV)

I went to the Lord and He reminded me that everyone sins and falls short. God revealed to me that He forgave me and I needed to forgive myself. He also revealed to me that it’s easier for people to throw stones at you and judge your situation than to deal with their own mess. Everyone has some mess, but they will throw stones at you in order to not deal with the stones that are in their houses and lives. The very situation that I thought ruined me made my relationship stronger with God because I had to lean and depend on Him. Psalm 121:1 says, “I lift up my eyes until the hills for whence cometh my help. All of my help come from the Lord, who made heaven and earth. (KJV) I learned man will fail you but God will be with you until the end. I kept trusting God and that very thing people threw stones at is “now my wonderful husband and my daughter. My ministry and my worship are for real. Those very people that counted me out and threw stones at my situation have come back to me for an encouraging word or a prayer because God showed them that nothing could separate me from His love . If you live in a glass house, please don’t throw stones.

Dear Daddy,
Thank You for being a forgiving God! I thank You for never giving up on me or counting me out. I pray for those that throw stones, that You reveal their mess to them and help them clean it up. I thank You for teaching me that if You are for me, no one can be against me. I thank You for the courage to stand when people said that I shouldn’t. Thank You for being a God of second chances! In Jesus’ name, Amen!

I EMPOWER you to not give up on God because He will never give up on you. God will forgive whatever sin you have committed and give you another chance. Do not let people determine your destiny; God already has a plan for your life!

Mrs. Keviyona Ray is an ordained minister and co-pastor in training of The Christ For All People International Church. She is passionate about sharing the word of God with everyone she encounters. As a professional, Keviyona is a teacher for Chicago Public Schools. She loves her ministry of teaching and changing children’s lives. She is a devoted wife and mother of a wonderful daughter. Two of her favorite scriptures are Jeremiah 1: 5 – Before I formed thee in the belly I knew thee; and before thou camest forth out of the womb I sanctified thee, and I ordained thee a prophet unto the nations and Proverbs 29:18 –  Where there is no vision, the people perish: but he that keepeth the law, happy is he.

Black Music Month Series, Forgiveness, Growth/Maturity, Self Forgiveness, Spiritual Therapy

Bag Lady…Let It Flow

I must confess I am a certified pack rat but I get it honestly from my grandmother. I am not yet a hoarder but I do have a problem letting things go. It’s difficult for me to get rid of things because everything has some perceived sentimental value. Yes, even the stuff I forgot I owned until it was time to move again.

Unfortunately, this habit of holding on extends beyond physical objects. Every now and then, I realize that I am holding on to emotional baggage too. As a matter of fact, if you could see the baggage, I am sure it’s enough to fill its own storage unit. Just like the physical objects that I own, I often don’t realize the emotional bags that I am carrying until something triggers a memory. Recently I found myself extremely emotional over things in my past that I thought were no longer an issue. Apparently these feelings were buried alive and had never died. When these feelings erupt, I have a meltdown or become seriously angry.

How many of you, like me, are riding on an emotional rollercoaster? Your back is hurting from all of the bags you are carrying and your mental space is crowded.  We can’t reach higher ground in Christ, meet our full potential or have a great relationship with the person God called us to be with until we release the baggage of our past. In the words of Erykah Badu “You can’t hurry up, cause you got too much stuff.” We need to LET IT GO!  Cast ALL your anxiety on Him because he cares for you. (I Peter 5:7 NIV)

Are you carrying bags of anger, shame, fear, guilt, distrust, malice or rejection?

I can’t believe that he or she did me like that!Dearly beloved, avenge not yourselves, but rather give place unto wrath: for it is written, Vengeance is mine; I will repay, saith the Lord. Therefore if thine enemy hunger, feed him; if he thirst, give him drink: for in so doing thou shalt heap coals of fire on his head. Be not overcome of evil, but overcome evil with good. (Romans 12:19-21 KJV)

But Lord I am scared! What will happen if I…?-  For God hath not given us the spirit of fear; but of power, and of love, and of a sound mind. (II Timothy 1:7 KJV)

Lord, I am so ashamed how will I ever get over the mistake I made? – he will have compassion upon us; he will subdue our iniquities; and thou wilt cast all their sins into the depths of the sea. (Micah 7:19 KJV) Decide to forgive yourself; God has already forgiven you!

I am reminded of Toni Braxton who tells us to “Just let go, let it flow, everything’s gonna work out right ya know…” Toni is right; holding on to excess stuff gets us nowhere. Make a decision to rid yourself of baggage because “aint no feeling like being FREE”.

Dear Daddy,

I trust that You hold my future in Your hands. Help me to get rid of the pain of my past so that I am free to walk into my future. Help me to forgive myself because You have already forgiven me. When negative emotional currents try to overtake my spirit help me to rebuke them and release them never to return. When others do things that would add baggage to my life, Lord, let it roll off like water off a duck’s back. Lord, help me to get my mind under subjection so that I can truly be free. In Jesus name, Amen!

Ladies, I EMPOWER you to LET GO! Make a decision to cry your last cry over whatever it is and move on. Leave the baggage behind and stop picking up new bags along the way. From now on deal with the situation in the moment but don’t take it with you. I EMPOWER you to know the things that you can change and the things that you cannot. Seek God’s wisdom and let Him order your steps. This is your last day as a Bag Lady!

Celebrate Black Music Month with the wisdom of  Erykah Badu in “Bag Lady”

and Toni Braxton as she tells us to “Let It Flow.”

Enter this month’s contest by clicking here.

Ms. Chancee` Lundy currently resides in Atlanta, GA 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, community servant, and child of God. She is passionate about causes that truly uplift the community. This week she is leaning on Psalm 23:1 The Lord is my Shepherd I shall not want.

Black Music Month Series, Faith, Forgiveness, Growth/Maturity, Inspirational, Obedience, Patience, Self Forgiveness, Self-Esteem, Spiritual Therapy, Trusting God

The Potter’s House

Dear Daddy,

My spirit is broken. This holding pattern that You have me in is breaking me down and sometimes I wonder if “my next” is ever on its way. Some days, I feel like my life is shattered because so many things are not happening when I thought they would. Lord please help me because I am broken and I need to be fixed. In Jesus’ name Amen!

Are you walking around in need of repair?

Broken Spirit– As much as I love being an entrepreneur, right now it is taking its toll on me. The many days of rejection and waiting have started to break my confidence, my motivation and my spirit. Furthermore, you could have never convinced my 20-year-old self that my 31-year-old self would not be married with children. Are you waiting on God’s promises but becoming discouraged with his timeline? Do you feel a little less than your normal self? Did something happen and you just haven’t been able to forgive yourself or another person? Do you find yourself with a negative outlook because of personal experiences? A broken spirit can leave you in a state of despair and depression.  A merry heart doeth good like a medicine: but a broken spirit drieth the bones. Proverbs 17:22 (KJV)

Broken relationships– I have lost some friends, boyfriends and family on this journey of life. They didn’t die a physical death but our relationship died. It has caused me much pain, sadness and anger because although I think I am “Ms. Fix It” I haven’t been able to repair these relationships. Ultimately, I have to let them go. Do you have broken or abusive relationships in your life? You need to pray about it and ask God to mend them and if it’s not meant to be release them.

Broken Heart– Are you emotionally battered from a broken heart? Did someone hurt you and you can’t get over it? Are you still in Heartbreak Hotel? Have you lost someone that you loved and their death has taken an emotional toll on you that you can’t recover from? What is it that is causing that tightness in your chest and silent cries at night? He healeth the broken in heart, and bindeth up their wounds. Psalm 147:3 (KJV)

Broken Home- For a long time, I held resentment in my heart for what I thought was abandonment by mother. Why didn’t she want us? …and where was Daddy? As I got older, I realized that it wasn’t that she didn’t want us but that her mental illness rendered her incapable of properly caring for us. When I found the dad that I had never known, I realized that he wouldn’t have been able to be the parent I needed either. Did you come from a broken home? Divorced parents? Single parents? Absent parents? Abusive parents? Alcoholic or drug addicted parents or siblings? BROKE parents? Are you still blaming them for your broken childhood?

Many of us are walking around broken. We have holes, tattered edges and pieces missing from us. Some of us have been broken for so long we have  accepted the brokenness as normal, made a feeble attempt to put a patch on it and keep moving. We don’t wear tattered clothes so why are we living with tattered spirits. In order to be restored we must be repaired.

“Go down to the potter’s house, and there I will give you my message.” So I went down to the potter’s house, and I saw him working at the wheel. But the pot he was shaping from the clay was marred in his hands; so the potter formed it into another pot, shaping it as seemed best to him. Then the word of the LORD came to me.  He said, “Can I not do with you, Israel, as this potter does?” declares the LORD. “Like clay in the hand of the potter, so are you in my hand, Israel. (Jeremiah 18:2-6 NIV)

Only a potter can take something that is malformed or devoid of form and turn it into a stunning usable work of art. When it gets cracked, he can fix it and when it’s torn into a billion pieces he can put it back together again. Just because you have a BROKEN PAST doesn’t mean you have to have a BROKEN FUTURE.  The potter yearns to put you back together again.

Dear Daddy,

Thanks in advance for blessing someone through the EmpowerMoments. There are many lives including my own within reach of this blog that suffer from: broken hearts; broken spirits; broken homes and broken relationships. Jesus, I ask that You provide total restoration. Remove the fix a flat and patches and make us like new tires, ready to roll and meet the demands of the road of life. Lord, I know I can find everything I need at the potter’s house. In Jesus’ Name, Amen!

EMPOWER yourselves by allowing the Potter to repair you like new. He can fix all of the brokenness in your life and restore you.

Allow gospel greats Walter & Tramaine Hawkins to minister to your soul:

Ms. Chancee` Lundy currently resides in Atlanta, GA 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, community servant, and child of God. She is passionate about causes that truly uplift the community. This week she is leaning on Psalm 23:1 The Lord is my Shepherd I shall not want.

Forgiveness, Growth/Maturity, Inspirational, Self Forgiveness, Self-Esteem, Spiritual Therapy

The Mostaccioli Massacre

Sunday, March 27 was my mother’s birthday and I decided to host a small dinner for her at my house. I only invited a few close family members and friends. I’m not a big cook so I kept the menu short and sweet. I settled on one of my few specialties, mostaccioli. Anyone who has ever tasted my coveted pasta dish knows that it’s the bomb dot com! My special blend of sauces, herbs and meat is just scrumptious, if I must say so myself! Unfortunately, that day when my house was full of “just left church growling bellies” my mostaccioli was the absolute worst! It was so nasty that I couldn’t even it. What went wrong, you ask? I changed my routine and used a different brand of ground turkey simply because I saved a few dollars. I literally could not sleep for nights after that horrible mistake. I was so consumed with thoughts of how people were talking about me and my food. I was so ashamed and upset that I messed up. I literally could not forgive myself for making such a silly mistake. You’re probably reading this and extremely confused wondering why it bothered me so much. Well, when I make a mistake it really affects me. In the same light, when I sin I have a hard time forgiving myself and I’m willing to bet that some of you struggle in that area as well. Preparing a bad pasta dish is definitely not a sin but the effects of that incident are similar to how we process our mistakes. Let’s answer some questions to help us work through this our self-forgiveness:

  • How did I mess up like this? Well, I decided to take the cheaper route and buy some turkey that I was unfamiliar with. Maybe your route was easier or quicker. But the easiest paths often lead us down a road that we really shouldn’t be traveling and into sinful behavior.  “Enter through the narrow gate. For wide is the gate and broad is the road that leads to destruction, and many enter through it. “ (Matthew 7:13 NIV)
  • I’ve messed up so badly, what will people think of me? As I said before, I was so concerned with what people were saying and thinking of me as a result of the food that was eaten in my home.  Maybe your mistake has been broadcast for the entire world to see. It’s hard for us to move past our mistakes because we’re too worried about what the world thinks of us. Obviously, I’m not trying to win the approval of people, but of God. If pleasing people were my goal, I would not be Christ’s servant.” (Galatians 1:10 NLT) (And if everyone is honest, they’ve prepared a bad meal or two themselves! wink wink)
  • God forgave me, why can’t I forgive myself? I was literally tossing and turning in my bed wrestling with this yucky food incident. I was so mad at myself and left wandering how I could mess this up. But then I remembered what I told you at the beginning of this rant—I’m not a big cook! So, yes there was room for error! Romans 12:3 tells us not to think more highly of ourselves than we ought. (NIV) Remembering that you are HUMAN, that you were BORN INTO SIN and that you will NEVER BE PERFECT should make it a lot easier for you to forgive yourself for that slip-up. Stop being so hard on yourself!

Truthfully, I’ve held onto my mostaccioli massacre far too long. Today I’ve decided to release to it! And yes, I will attempt to create my dish again…we can’t stop pursuing our assignments simply because we mess up! Only next time I will stick with what I know works and I challenge you to do the same. Follow the Word because it’s the tried and true recipe for success!

Dear Daddy,

Thank You for Your unfailing love! Please forgive me for my slip-ups. I know there is no condemnation for those who are in Christ. Now that You have forgiven me, free me to forgive myself. Show me where I stumbled so that I don’t have to walk this path again. In Jesus’ Name, Amen!

Ladies, today I EMPOWER you to forgive yourself for any mistakes that you’ve made.  Repent and release yourself because God already has! Walk in freedom today my dear!

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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 more than anything. 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.