Spiritual Therapy, Suicide

LIVE

This month is National Poetry Month and in honor and snaps of it, our EmpowerMoments will feature short poems relative to each writer’s topic.  So enjoy and be encouraged!

I Rest Today

It is in God’s hands I rest today/My burdens, my fears, my anxieties, He takes away/ to give me His life and His strength/For giants I will face/And to finish the race/To trust Him so/And bend my will/To receive His unfailing love, and to Him I yield/to believe the devil’s lies no more/To allow God to renew my mind with His Word, and my heart He shall restore

–Tannika Moore

These past two months I’ve received disheartening news close to home of young life being snuffed out from the bodies and souls of potential greats and also one’s attempt of canceling his dreams and purpose.  Hearing such news reminded me about how I once battled depression and it was during such a time, one day I decided to take my life.

The thief cometh not, but for to steal, and to kill, and to destroy: I am come that they might have life, and that they might have it more abundantly. (John 10:10 KJV)

I believed every lie the devil told me.  I was overwhelmed with grief and fear, and I thought my only resolve was to end it all.  My aid in my potential suicide was a bottle of pills I figured would help me close my eyes for good.  But GOD… He intervened while I was drowning in sorrow and my face drowning in tears.  It became hard to swallow the rest of the pills after the fifth one.  I was disappointed but God used that moment to tell me something so simple to my ears but powerful to my soul.  Taking your very own life is not an escape but an end.  An end to potential, towards better, to life’s lessons, to growth, to the future, possibilities, opportunities, love, joy, and an impact on others here in the earth realm where it’s needed.  God said, “you will never know how things will turn out (if you end it now).”

With that statement, I have come to realize that:

  1. God is the author and finisher of my faith (Hebrew 12:2).  Therefore, I have to trust Him and follow the story He penned just for me.
  2. He never once said it would be easy or even get easier.  But there will be good times, times of learning and growing, reaping and sowing.  No matter how hard the journey gets and no matter when the storms come, God will be my peace in the midst of any storm (John 16:33).
  3. There’s life after death, there’s sunshine after the rain, joy in the morning, and the tides will turn  and the seasons will change.
  4. I am valuable to God, His kingdom, and to those who love me although the devil will try and tell me otherwise.  Note: the devil is a liar.  Shut him down immediately with God’s Word/Truth and His promises!
  5. God also told me that my loved ones would be so hurt, and that I was loved and needed.  Even more so, God loves me, and you, more than we can fathom.  Give Him a chance to continue showing you His love daily.

I am grateful and am thankful for God’s mercy, love, and intervention.  I am still here and able to achieve my full potential and my destiny, and I am able to learn and grow and see God’s glory here and now on earth.

Dear Daddy, 

Thank You for Your unfailing love and Your saving grace.  Thank You that I am valuable to You and that I am fearfully and wonderfully made!  Thank You for delivering me and exposing the devil’s lies.  Thank You for placing in me potential and gifts, and with salvation, a hope and a future.  In Jesus’ Name, Amen!

Ladies, today I EMPOWER you to LIVE!  Don’t believe the devil’s lies that your life means nothing and that you are not valuable or loved.  God loves you!  He knew you before you were in your mother’s womb and He placed so many “nuggets” and “diamonds” in you that threatens the devil every time God wakes you up.  Don’t let the enemy talk you into aborting your destiny, killing your potential or hating the very being God took the time to create and His Son took the time and His will to die for!

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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. She loves to build people up through God’s Word, encouragement, mentoring, support, and her writing. In 2014, Tannika published her first book, a book of her poetry, titled Setting The Captive Free. She  also launched her Christian clothing and apparel brand called Fruitful & Fabulous inspired by John 15:8. 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.”

Comfort, Grief

Grief Support

Your friend loses a parent to cancer. Your classmate loses a sister in a drowning accident. Your church member has a miscarriage. Your cousin loses her husband to a heart attack. Your coworker loses her son in a car accident. Many of you have likely had an experience exactly or similar to one of these examples. What do you do? Likely, you want to immediately offer some comfort to the person impacted whether by offering words of solace or doing a nice deed. But have you ever considered just letting the person grieve?woman-friends-grieving-consoling-mdn

Then Jacob tore his clothes, put on sackcloth and mourned for his son many days.  All his sons and daughters came to comfort him, but he refused to be comforted. “No,” he said, “I will continue to mourn until I join my son in the grave.” So his father wept for him. (Genesis 37:34-35 NIV)

The Israelites grieved for Moses in the plains of Moab thirty days, until the time of weeping and mourning was over. (Deuteronomy 34:8 NIV)

These scriptures indicate that it takes time to grieve and that grief has a season. It is human nature to want to come to the rescue of those we love and care about even if the situation is something we can’t control or fix such as the death of a loved one. This EmpowerMoment is to encourage you to think before you act and to imagine yourself in the person’s shoes who you are attempting to help. Ask yourself, “would what I’m doing help me if I were in their situation?”

As Christians, we can quickly go into “bible mode” to “comfort” those in the throes of grief. We say things like “I know you loved her, but God loved her best” or “He’s no longer suffering, he’s with Jesus.” The list goes on and on. You may have heard it or you may have said it. The truth is depending on where the person is in the grief process those words are futile.

Having had significant experiences with tragedy and grief, here are a few helpful points:

1. It is ok to let a person grieve and it is ok for you to not try to “fix” it because you can’t. A lot of times silent presence is the best support you can give. You don’t have to fill the time with chatter and “comforting” words. Grieving a loved one is not something you can put a Band-Aid on and though the words coming out of your mouth make you feel better, it likely (at that time) has no impact on the person you are “comforting”.

2. Use the art of distraction. If you are searching for a way to help a grieving person, try taking them out to dinner or inviting them on an outing.

3. Provide them with resources for support such as books, support group information and bible verses without being pushy or overbearing. This allows them to look at the information at their own pace.

4. Let the griever lead the way. Let them set the pace for discussion. Let them cry if they want to cry, scream if they want to scream and so on while you be supportive and not try to quell the emotions.

5. Intercede on the griever’s behalf. This is probably the best and biggest way you can support the person and they don’t even have to know you are doing it. A lot of times the griever may have trouble praying through the despair or may be angry with God about what has happened. It is during these times that you keep them lifted and when they “come back around,” they are thankful.

There is a time for everything, and a season for every activity under the heavens: a time to be born and a time to die, a time to plant and a time to uproot, a time to kill and a time to heal, a time to tear down and a time to build, a time to weep and a time to laugh, a time to mourn and a time to dance, a time to scatter stones and a time to gather them, a time to embrace and a time to refrain from embracing, a time to search and a time to give up, a time to keep and a time to throw away, a time to tear and a time to mend, a time to be silent and a time to speak, a time to love and a time to hate, a time for war and a time for peace. (Ecclesiastes 3:1-8 NIV)

Dear Daddy,

Thank You for allowing me to comfort someone in need as they are grieving a loved one. Guide me to do what is most helpful for him or her. Allow me to be a vessel of strength, faith and prayer for them during this most difficult time. Help me to understand that even though I can’t bring back their loved one, You are sovereign and know the plans for all of us. Keep him or her in Your arms of protection and salvation as they go through this difficult time. In Jesus’ name, Amen.

I EMPOWER you to reassess how you comfort those who grieving. I EMPOWER you to be patient with those who are grieving. I EMPOWER you to be the best support person you can be. Most of all, I EMPOWER you to keep the griever before the throne of Christ.

How can I be a better grief support person?

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Mrs. Coretta Collins is a wife and mother who enjoys reading, writing, movies and spending time with family and friends. She is avid about health, healing and helping which serves her well as a Family Nurse Practitioner in a hematology and oncology practice. Striving to be led by the Lord throughout life and having overcome significant challenges, her favorite scripture is Jeremiah 29:11, “For I know the plans I have for you declares the Lord, plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you a hope and a future. Coretta is a member of St. John A.M.E. Church, Birmingham, Alabama. She resides in Calera, Alabama with her awesome husband and two wonderful sons.

Blessings, Comfort, God's Peace

The Definition of “Miracle”

mir·a·cle noun \mir-i-kəl\ :  an extraordinary event manifesting divine intervention in human affairs  miracles

About a month ago, I shared the story of the battle that my 3-month-old baby was facing with her defective heart. (Read Not By My Own Might) If you recall, I was praying for a miraculous healing for my daughter. I wanted God to supernaturally close the hole in her heart so that surgery would not be necessary.  I believed in His power to divinely intervene because I read Biblical stories of Him raising the dead and healing the sick. I had even received two testimonies from modern day people who were in her same predicament and God, in His infinite wisdom, miraculously healed them. One day they had holes in their hearts requiring open heart surgery, the next day they didn’t. Surely if God did it for them, He would do it for me! After all, He is no respecter of persons and I’ve heard over and over again, “What He’s done for others, He will do for you!” I was confident that my miracle was coming and I was even more confident that I knew what my miracle was…

Last Monday, my baby girl underwent a four hour surgery to repair the defect in her heart.  In the days leading up to the surgery, I was receiving phone calls from concerned family and friends. The first question most of them asked was, “How are you holding up?” When I responded in a relaxed tone that I was doing great, they immediately thought I was masking how I truly felt, but I was sincerely OK. Honestly, I was also amazed at how calm I was. There was no anxiety, nor worry, or any negative vibe in my being; I was simply at peace! The morning of the surgery I thanked God for a successful procedure and once again prayed that He would be with the medical team as they worked on my baby. Everyone around me was calm and at peace. My family and I laughed and joked as we waited for the word that all was clear. We KNEW everything would be well and God made it well.

As I reflected on the events of the day later that evening, I was grateful for all that God had done in watching over her during surgery and ensuring that she came out with a healthy, functional heart. However, if I can be honest for just a moment, I had to question God. I wondered what happened to my miracle. I inquired of the Lord: “How come You didn’t miraculously close her hole like you did those other people?” “Why didn’t You show up just in the nick of time in the operating room and amaze the doctors as they discovered that surgery was no longer needed?” “Where was my miracle in all of this?” He didn’t chastise me for asking; He simply showed me the miracle. My miracle was allowing me to function in the midst of chaos. My miracle was inspiring those around me. My miracle was keeping my mind clear and my heart focused. My miracle was walking with me each day; I was just so caught up in what I thought a miracle should look like. My miracle was PEACE!

You will keep in perfect peace those whose minds are steadfast, because they trust in you. (Isaiah 26:3 NIV)

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

My miracle of peace was wrapped up in these two scriptures that I had been meditating on since the hole was discovered. I repeatedly shared with those around me that I was so peaceful about everything that I couldn’t even explain it. Only a perfect God could give me perfect peace which defies all laws of understanding. Based on the definition of ‘miracle’ above, God had indeed sent my miracle. Anytime you experience something that you cannot do in your own might, you have just been privy to a miracle!

My miracle testimony is to remind you that your miracles may not come how you believe they should. Don’t get so caught up in what Joan’s or Sharon’s miracles look like. Their miracles are simply to remind you that God is able to do it, but that doesn’t mean that He is going to do it the exact way He did it for them. God’s desire is to get the glory out of your situation and the miracle He delivers to you will do just that.

Dear Daddy,

Thank You for the gift of miracles! You marvel me each and every day! Please forgive me for downplaying past miracles that You performed for me.  Remind me that miracles are not always dramatic happenings with flashes of lightening in the sky, but that any time You divinely intervene in my human affairs, a miracle has been performed. I thank You for past, present and future miracles in my life! In Jesus’ Name, Amen!

Ladies, today I EMPOWER you to seek God for your miracle. He is not a cookie cutter God who delivers miracles and blessings all the same way. The miracle that He has for your situation is just as unique as the miracle that you are!

Share your recent miracle or blessing with us today or what miracle are you seeking God for?

Read a related EM:  Are You Expecting?

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

Anxiety, Evangelism, Grief, Relationships, Salvation, Self Forgiveness, Word of God, Worry

Kicked Even When You’re Down

When I saw my ex-boyfriend’s number pop up on the caller ID, I was prepared to tell him that I would call him back after I completed my homework. However, I was not given that opportunity. After saying hello, I realized that it was his sister calling to tell me that he had passed away a couple of hours ago. At that very moment everything around me seemed surreal including the phone call. I just knew that it was a cruel joke and in a second someone would jump out and scream “GOTCHA!” Instead, my heart instantly grew heavy because I was uncertain as to how to handle a loss of this magnitude.

I told the story last year of dealing with the losses of both my grandmothers five months apart, but for some reason dealing with the death of someone that I grew to love was totally different. The pain seemed to be a thousand times stronger and I couldn’t put my finger on exactly why. Was it because at points in our relationship I loved him more than God and myself? Or maybe because I told him on many occasions I would pray for him and didn’t? Perhaps, I felt guilty that I didn’t discuss God enough with him? Or better yet, I was uncertain of where he would spend eternity…

All of these questions, concerns, and emotions came to surface over the next couple of days after hearing of his death. I would go from being so happy to feeling so defeated in my Christianity because I lost someone I loved and was so confused about what lied ahead of him. The devil began attacking my thoughts every chance possible by forcing me to question who I was in the body of Christ to allow something like this to transpire. I mean how can I, an intricate part of the intake of new members at my church, fail to offer salvation to someone that I have known for years. From that Sunday until that following Saturday at the service, I went back and forth with the enemy giving in to those outlandish thoughts on many occasions because it was hard to immediately cast those thoughts down. We demolish arguments and every pretension that sets itself up against the knowledge of God, and we take captive every thought to make it obedient to Christ. (2Corinthians 10:5 NIV)

It was at the home-going, that I received confirmation from my ex-boyfriend’s aunt that I would indeed see him again in eternity. During her words of encouragement, she stated that she prayed with him before he passed and he accepted Jesus Christ as his Lord and Savior. I was extremely overjoyed and found myself screaming “HALLELUJAH” and weeping hysterically. The very thing that the enemy was using to place me in a state of mild depression over the past few days was canceled immediately as she declared those words in the atmosphere. Not only did I feel better knowing that he was present with the Lord, but I was instantly released from the bondage that the enemy was attempting to attach to me. My praise session ended up having a dual meaning that gave God all the glory that He was due! For the Lord will not cast off forever, but, though he cause grief, he will have compassion according to the abundance of his steadfast love. (Lamentations 3:31-32 ESV)

Dear Daddy,

Thank You for showing up right when I am at my breaking point. Things that take place in the natural can cause me to give into the enemy’s ploy, but that is when You show me that You are always in control. Help me to stay aware of the attempts from the devil when I am in my most vulnerable state. Keep my ears, eyes, and heart alert at all times, but most important, keep me guarded with Your Word, love, and grace. In Jesus’ Name, Amen!

Women of God, I EMPOWER you to be aware of the devil’s efforts to take us out every chance that he gets or better yet every chance we give. “The thief (devil) comes only to steal and kill and destroy; I (Jesus) come that they may have life, and have it to the full.” (John 10:10 NIV) Times of trouble, distress, mourning, etc. are the game winning moments for the enemy, but it is up to us to declare a victory for Team JESUS! Have a BLESSED week! ☺

Share with us your God-led victories over the devil’s tricks, traps and plans to derail you in any way.

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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. She serves tirelessly with the Evangelism Team there. Latasha also works at Mt. Zion as a member of the Administrative Support Staff. 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

Anxiety, Comfort, Pain, Prayer, Spirit of Fear, Stress, Trials, Worry

Speed Dial or Backup?

I had it all planned out, my EmpowerMoment about the Olympics, but alas it will have to wait for another day. As I drafted thoughts and intermittently checked Facebook, I noticed that I had a message. Nothing unusual, right? The person was asking me if I was indeed related to the person she was asking about. Since no details were in the message, I confirmed that the person was my brother but wondered why she was asking. It was as if my heart sunk before I got the answer. I was feeling like Diana Ross in The Wiz, “Don’t Nobody Bring Me No Bad News.” She said, “You need to call the hospital…” First I was angry because I had to find this out on Facebook and was upset that no one in my family called me, but as I spoke to them I realized that this incident just happened and they hadn’t yet made it to the hospital. I called several people but no one answered. I called the hospital, but they didn’t know anything. I immediately went into panic mode. Here I am hundreds of miles away and couldn’t do a single thing. I felt absolutely powerless.

Talking about it would make me feel better so I dialed and dialed but no one picked up. Why wasn’t anyone answering my phone calls? Exasperated, I decided well maybe I should talk to God.  The problem with this was instead of God being my first point of contact, I was making Him my alternative. Seek the Lord while he may be found; call on him while he is near. (Isaiah 55:6 NIV) Unlike me or any of the people that I was calling, God is omnipresent and omniscient. He had the ability to listen to my prayers and be with me while also taking care of my brother many miles away. What I didn’t know He already knew.  I took a moment to cry out to God about it and ask Him for healing, peace, comfort and intervention. I cried unto the Lord with my voice, and he heard me out of his holy hill. Selah (Psalms 3:4 KJV)

Here I was with immediate access to Jesus. I didn’t have to go through a priest. I didn’t have to depend on anyone else because I know how to pray; yet, instead of using the main line, I was seeking comfort in others. My brother was ferociously attacked, but he is alive and for that I’m thankful.

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

In our human nature it is easy to reach out to others instead of reaching up to God. He is never too busy to respond. As a matter of fact, He wants to hear from us. He yearns to be our source of comfort and relief if we would only turn to Him. You may find yourself in a similar situation. Things are going awry and you are busy dialing everyone’s number but your Heavenly Father’s. While He knows already, He still wants to hear from you. Your heart is anxious and you are worrying about a situation where you have no control. My situation involved a family member but yours may be career, kids, finances, relationships or addictions. Whatever the situation is, know that you don’t have to handle it alone. As the old song use to say, “Jesus on the main line, tell Him what you want. Call Him up and tell Him what you want.”

Dear Daddy,

Thank You for direct access. Lord, help me to remember that You are not my backup but to keep You on speed dial. I am grateful that You are an answerer of prayers and that when I call You hear me. Relieve my anxiety and provide strength in my weakness. In Jesus’ Name, Amen!

Today I EMPOWER you to simply make your requests known to God. Make calling Him your first priority. Put all of your trust and hope in Him and He will hear your prayers.

Has God had to remind you to seek Him first in times of trouble? Share your story with us.

Read a related EmpowerMoment: Come And Talk To Me

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

Forgiveness, Growth/Maturity, Honesty/Truth, Relationships, Spiritual Therapy, Throwback Thursdays

Throwback Thursday: The “Non-Factors” In Our Lives

It’s Throwback Thursday! This EmpowerMoment was originally published on August 20, 2011. Enjoy this blast from the past!

…And Other Lies We Tell Ourselves

Recently, I’ve heard more and more people use the expression, “He/She is a non-factor!” or “That/This is a non-factor!”  Being the curious person I am, I asked my godsister where the expression came from.  She told me it came out of the reality show, “Basketball Wives.”  Again being curious, I decided to watch an episode of the show on OnDemand.  Long story short, I said out loud, “CLEARLY, they are lying to themselves about these things being non-factors!”  The people and things said to be “non-factors” are very real factors given that they were constantly discussed or there was always some kind of emotional response every time it/they were brought up.  I continued to sit watching the show shaking my head at what I saw as foolishness when God checked me!  “How dare you judge someone when you do the same thing with the so-called “non-factors” in your life!”  Instantly I was convicted!

There were so many things and people I said I was done with, situations that were “non-factors” in my life; however, I was still talking about them!  Every time I saw them, every time they were brought up in conversation I had an emotional response whether it was:  sadness, anger, longing, self-pity or just plain ol’ attitude complete with rolled eyes and lips smacking!  I realized that I had some real issues in this area.  The Bible says, “…Cast your cares on the Lord and he will sustain you, he will never let the righteous fall!” (Psalms 55:22 NIV)  I realized I “said” I was done with certain things and situations but had not truly given them to God because I had no peace concerning them.  I also realized that I had not moved on from certain people I “claimed” to be over and free from.  God charges us to “…bear with each other and forgive whatever grievances you may have against one another.  Forgive just as the Lord forgave you, and over all these virtues put on love…” (Colossians 3:13-14 NIV)

I was holding on to them through my unforgiveness and I DEFINITELY was NOT showing them Godly love (see 1 Corinthians 13).  I immediately asked God for forgiveness and asked God to help me really give ALL my cares to Him and also help me to genuinely forgive those I was holding on to.  While I am still in this process [and believe me it is definitely a PROCESS], I believe God will be true to His word, “…he who began a good work in you will carry it on to completion…” (Philippians 1:6 NIV)  Now I can speak to co-workers that I had not spoken to since we fell out last school year, without it being a struggle.  I recently saw an ex-boyfriend that I thought I would never get over and there was nothing there. I even congratulated him on his marriage and truly meant it.  That was a real victory for me; I truly believed that I would never get over him. HALLELUJAH!!!  I can now admit that celibacy has been and continues to be a real struggle for me. I put on the façade that it was so easy for me and said something similar to a desire for sex being a non-factor in my life. This could not have been FARTHER from the truth!

God has shown and continues to show me that if I continue to surrender everything and everyone to Him, He can and will free me from things and people that do not go along with the destiny He has for me.  I will then be able to say, “That/This/He/She is a NON-FACTOR in my life,” and it be the honest to goodness truth!!!

Dear Daddy,

Thank You for Your conviction and Your correction.  Thank You for never letting us be so comfortable that we stop striving to grow in You.  Thank You for always being a loving father that not only convicts and corrects but also leads us in the right direction and remains with us as we go on our journey.  We ask that You continue to show us the areas in which we need to grow.  We ask that You remove anything or anyone that would hinder the perfect plan that You have for our lives.  We also ask You for wisdom that we let go of the things that You want to remove and accept those things that You want us to have.  We pray that You replace the people that we have had to let go with DIVINE connections who You will use to help us get to the destiny You have called us to. In Jesus’ Name, Amen!

Sisters I EMPOWER you today to be Honest with yourself, expose the so called “non-factors” that are FACTORS in your life and begin to take the following steps to become free from it or them:

  1.  PRAY – Be completely honest with God about it/them 
  2. Don’t seek it/them out – stop bringing it/them up in conversation, stop going on their Facebook page, unfollow them on Twitter if you have to.  Remove any triggers (music, movies, pictures, etc.) that will take your thoughts to it/them.
  3. Check yourself – Two wrongs don’t make a right.  Speak even if they don’t.  If they are talking about you, don’t respond with gossip of your own.
  4.  In ALL THINGS acknowledge GOD, be consistent in your prayer life, continue to study God’s word, never stop thanking and praise God for all the things he has done/doing/will do, and never stop acknowledging who He is/has been/continues to be in your life.

Have you falsely convinced yourself that someone or something is a non-factor in your life? How has this post Empowered you to deal with it?  Share your story with us in the comments.

Read a related EmpowerMoment: Pierced

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Ms. Katrina Richard is an up and coming professional residing in Chicago, IL.  She strives to incorporate knowledge and life-skills to teenagers in her profession as a high school history teacher.  Katrina is very active in her church community where she serves in the prayer ministry as well as in the nursery.  She has a passion for serving in the lesser known areas of ministry because she believes every facet of ministry is important to kingdom building and spiritual development of the believers. Her favorite scripture is Jeremiah 29:11 — For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the LORD, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.”

Blessings, Career, Contentment, Employment, Encouragement, Faith, Faithfulness, Goals & Dreams, God's Grace, Miscellaneous, Patience, Patience, Persistance, Preparation, Restoration, Spiritual Therapy, Strength, Transitions Series, Trials, Trusting God

Transitions: Trampled on the Floor

The past few years of my life have been ones of transition, endless waiting and sometimes disappointment. I’ve alluded to and written about it many times. Long story short, I left my job in Texas to start my own business and moved to Atlanta for a three-month transition. In my mind that is all it would take before the business was up and running and I could move to my real destination, Washington, DC (because this is where the business was based). That three months has turned into over two years and I reached a point where I was tired of telling people that I was moving anywhere because I just didn’t know when/if it would happen. As a matter of fact, I actually told people I was moving to Washington, DC nearly two years before I left Texas so in total this has now been a four year wait. If you have had any experience with God you know that many times your best made plans aren’t a part of His plan.

But they know not the thoughts of the Lord, neither understand they his counsel: for he shall gather them as the sheaves into the floor. Micah 4:12 KJV From my brief study, I found that sheaves are stalks of grain and they were gathered on the threshing floor during harvest time for a two-step process. First the actual grain was separated from the chaff. To do this, oxen would pull a metal spiked sledge that would break the heads of the grain from the stalk or they would just trample them. Next the broken stalks were tossed into the air and the wind would blow the lighter chaff away while the heavier grain would fall back on the floor where it could then be gathered for use.

My time of transition has been like the sheaves on the threshing floor. I went from making a very lucrative salary to making zero, zilch, nada. Months would go by and I had nothing but what I could borrow or get from someone else. My mini-vacations that I would frequently take turned into staycations in my room. I found myself in an “asking” position when I was usually the giver. Shopping excursions were non-existent as my belly became wider, clothes became tattered and shoes wobbled to the side. When I could no longer afford my health insurance, the aches and pains started. I went from being a mover and shaker, featured in Ebony Magazine to feeling insignificant. Finally my car called it quits. Although I grew up poor, THIS was a very unfamiliar position. Throughout this process I have felt a gamut of emotions: happiness, depression, bitterness, envy, contentment and disappointment. I had good days and many bad ones. During the process, I felt beat down and trampled but it was only to extract the good grain. Without the threshing floor, the harvest would be incomplete.

I had to learn more about myself and have many things extracted and tossed so that in the finishing process only the good grain was left in me. Sometimes God humbles you by removing the frills and unnecessary things to get you to the place He has ordained for you. A place where you are truly dependent on Him and can recognize that it is His goodness, and not your own doing, that gets you your blessings.

If we are faithless, he remains faithful for he cannot disown himself. 2 Timothy 2:13 NIV Admittedly during this process, my faith wavered; yet, God remained faithful. Did I get everything that I wanted when I wanted? No! However, He absolutely never failed to supply my needs. This month (July) represents a turning point in my life. After a little over two years in business, I received my first paycheck from my business one that will come consistently versus “some” money at any random month. From my time in the threshing process, I know how to use my money wiser so that when God grants me the increase that I need and desire, I will make sound investments versus temporary gratification. My “giving” strategy will be a lot different because when I couldn’t give I realized that people would always find a way without me. It made me realize that I was a resource and not their “source.” I learned that lesson for myself as well. As I sit in a hotel room now after a second trip of apartment hunting in Washington, DC, I have ultimately learned that if we can only learn to trust God and His timing He will prepare us for our harvest.

Dear Daddy,

Thank You for my time in the threshing process as You prepared me for the harvest. I ask that You continue to let those traits, people and other characteristics that are not useful blow off of me into the wind. Help me to be anxious for nothing because You have told me that in due season I will reap a harvest. You have been faithful to Your Word even in the midst of my doubt. God, I ask that You continue to build my faith as I move into the next phase that You have prepared for me. In Jesus Name, Amen!

Ladies, today I EMPOWER you to trust Him in the process. Although it’s hard because what you see what’s happening in other people’s lives (marriages, babies, career advancements, notoriety, goal accomplishments, financial prosperity) may seem foreign for your own. Know that He is preparing you for your harvest by extracting those things that aren’t useful for that next phase in your life. Trust that He is faithful to you because it is who He is and who He has always been.

Are you waiting on God and feel as if it is not going to happen? If you examine yourself, is it that God has you on the threshing floor? Share your story with us in the comment section.

Read a related EmpowerMoment: Seasons Change

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

Comfort, Death, Encouragement, Forgiveness, God, God's Love, Love, Miscellaneous, Restoration

The Dress

This past week I pulled a dress out of my closet that had been hanging there for over three years. The reason it’s been in the closet so long is two-fold:

1. I had gained weight and not been able to fit the dress since I last wore it.

2. It was the dress I wore to the funeral of my first love, the father of my children.

At the beginning of this year, I decided that I was going to make my health a priority. As I made lifestyle changes, I started shedding the excess weight I’d been carrying around. Although I didn’t know where I would wear the dress next, I knew I would be able to wear it in a matter of time. When I took it out of the closet last week, I had no problem putting it on and it actually looked better than it had the first time I wore it! But it was bittersweet.

I was now going to wear the dress to the funeral of my nephew, my sister’s son.

One day last week, I was on my way to the mall to purchase the last outfit I would ever buy my nephew, the one he would go to his grave in. It was then that God began to speak to me about the dress. He told me that while I considered this dress as my ‘funeral dress’, it was a representative of so much more. Do you not know? Have you not heard? The Lord is the everlasting God, the Creator of the ends of the earth. He will not grow tired or weary, and his understanding no one can fathom. He gives strength to the weary, and increases the power of the weak. Even youths grow tired and weary, and young men stumble and fall; but those who hope in the Lord will renew their strength. They will soar on wings like eagles; they will run and not grow weary, they will walk and not be faint. (Isaiah 40:28-31 NIV)

The black dress actually represents God’s love for me! He loves me so much that He has built me up and given me the strength to face the challenges of the black dress each and every time I have been confronted with them. When I had to bury the father of my children, God made sure that I stood strong, was able to love and comfort my children and recognize that even though I was hurting about how he was taken, I got better instead of bitter because of the love of God! When I had given up on myself and my desire to live a healthy lifestyle, was overpowered by the fear of gaining all the weight back again, there that black dress hung as a symbol of strength once again, reminding me that God loves me and will give me the strength to overcome the battle I have with my weight. On those mornings when I didn’t want to get up and do my workout, I could see that black dress; it stood out amongst all the clutter in the closet and I continued to push through.

As I was trying to mentally prepare myself to go back to the funeral home to make the final preparations for the homegoing service of my nephew—whom I will always remember as the snotty nosed little brother I never had, who I have lost so much sleep over this past week because of the way he was taken—I recognized once again that when it came time to step into that black dress and head to the funeral, the love of God would be all around me, holding me up and giving me the strength I needed to take each and every step that day!

Dear Daddy,

Thank You for always being the strength that I need when I feel I have nothing more to give, say or do. Thank You for loving me through all of the good and bad times and assuring me that You will always be right by my side. I pray that when doubt begins to creep in, I will first look up and call on Your name because I know that I can do all things through You! In Jesus’ Name, Amen!

Mighty ladies of God, today I EMPOWER you to embrace the strength that you have as an heir to the kingdom of your heavenly Father! Refuse to allow the doubt of people and situations to have any effect on that which you know to be true and continue to stand on His word!

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Ms. Tiffany Huff is the devoted mother of two boys, a blogger, lover of food and travel, and aspiring entrepreneur with a passion for helping others live out their purposes. She is looking forward to growing in her walk and honoring God through sharing her EmpowerMoments. One of her meditation scriptures is Romans 12:2: “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, pleasing and perfect will.”

Abortion, Comfort, Death, Encouragement, God's Love, God's Mercy, God's Protection, I Am Free Series, Inspirational, Pain, Self Forgiveness, Spiritual Therapy, Throwback Thursdays, Trials

I Am Free: The Love Letter

It’s Throwback Thursday! Enjoy this blast from the past. To commemorate our nation’s independence this week, we are featuring a series entitled “I Am Free”.  Read this week as our writers share how God has delivered them and set them free!

I am FREE from my past!

Dear God,

I have been hearing how people are so “blessed and highly favored” or “too blessed to be stressed” but Lord, I need to be real for a moment. I have been holding onto something and it is eating away at me. I am still mad that You birthed me to a crack head mother and a dead beat dad. I was probably a mistake and not even supposed to be here; I definitely could tell that I wasn’t wanted. I am still upset that You allowed my uncle to rape and molest me without coming to my rescue. How could You do this to me? All of this hurt and anger I have built up has made me to live a life full of mistakes, pain, and hurt. I made a mistake when I aborted those babies and I regret it every day. Are you punishing me, still? God, I am so sorry, but I didn’t know what to do; I didn’t know who the father was. I am so upset with myself for disappointing You. On top of all of this, the one woman I did love and whom I considered my mother, you took her away from me too. So how can I walk around as if I am blessed and highly favored? I’m hurting; I’m sad, mad, and angry. I feel left out Lord…I thought You loved me. I cry myself to sleep at night because I’m lonely and sad. I’m depressed at the thought of not being loved by anyone. I stick out; I don’t fit in, why am I like this?

Love, Your Wounded Baby Girl

Dear Daughter,

I chose your mother as a vessel to be used by me. Before you were created in her womb I knew the plan for your life, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future (Jeremiah 29:11).  I took my time to knit you together (Psalms 139:13). I was there, although grieved, when you were sacrificed and your virtue stripped from you. But I am also a God of restoration. I heal the brokenhearted and I tend to your wounds. (Psalm 147:3) I made a promise to you that I am with you always even to the ends of the earth (Matthew 28:20) You say that you aren’t attractive, I say I made you in my image.(Genesis 1:27) I made you fearful and wonderful. (Psalms 139:14) I made your hair like lamb’s skin, your eyes like the sun, you lips full like ripened fruit, and your stature like the rolling hills. I made you on purpose, I made you like me…you are beautiful. My spirit was grieved when you aborted those babies and of course I also know of  your other wrong doings.  But remember that son I sacrificed? He shielded you with His blood and mercy and presented you to me faultless (Colossians 1:22) Walk in freedom my dear! Your earthly mother was my angel, she taught you how to fly, take care of yourself, and she showed you me. It was time for her to return so that you could do what I have for you to do. There are younger daughters that walk around in guilt and shame every day. Who can touch them but you? Who can show them that I can heal the wounded heart but you? Who can show them that a daughter of a crack head can be a Queen of Success, but you? My Son can plead on your behalf because He took on all sin. You can plead on someone else’s behalf because you have walked where they have walked. Don’t hold your victory, share your story to edify me that someone else, some hopeless little girl like you once were, can be saved. You were restored a long time ago, now walk in it. I love you.

Love, God

This letter was written from parts of my life and the various lives of women that I have encountered on my journey. As Christians we sometimes seem insane to believe and love a God that has allowed misfortune to happen to us. But what the devil meant for your bad, God will turn around for your good. Sister, know that God loves you and the triumphs we overcame are stalks of wisdom that can be used to heal and comfort someone else. And know this, all things work together for the good of them that love the Lord and are called according to his purpose (Romans 8:28). It takes time to heal, but in time you shall be healed.

Dear Daddy,

I know sometimes I get angry or ashamed of my past. “Hear my prayer, O Lord, and give ear to my cry; Do not be silent at my tears. (Psalms 39:12)”. Teach me how to let go so that I can use what You have implanted in me for Your Glory and to help someone else. I know that you are a rewarder of those that diligently seek You. Heal my wounds, and if they are already healed, strengthen me to walk in your boldness with liberty. Help me to bless someone that needs me; keep my eyes and ears sensitive to her call. In Jesus’ Name, Amen!

Today, EMPOWER yourself by sharing with God all of your angers, fears, and disappointments and TRUST that His word will not return void.  Psalms 6:9 reminds us “The Lord heard my cry for mercy; the Lord accepts my prayer.” Start seeking to encourage and EMPOWER others that may be going through what you have OVERCOME. God has given you confirmation in His word that you are already restored and healed, for His word says, “Forget the former things; do not dwell on the past. See, I am doing a new thing! Now it springs up; do you not perceive it? I am making a way in the wilderness and streams in the wasteland.” (Isaiah 43:18-19)

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As a professional, Mrs. Khalilah Burton is a 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 and her husband serve as Co-Service leaders and Co-Group leaders of SustainedLove, which supports marriage get-a-ways from Family Life. Khalilah 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 four-year old daughter. They attend Vaughn Forest Church.  Check out Khalilah’s Christian weight loss blog here.

Black Music Month Series, Comfort, Death, Grief, Spiritual Therapy

Not a Good-Bye, but a See You Later

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! Happy Black Music Month! Dance as if no one is watching!

Man is like a breath; his days are like a fleeting shadow. (Psalm 144:4 NIV)

This is for my peoples who just lost somebody
Your best friend, your baby, your man, or your lady
Put your hand way up high
We will never say bye (no, no, no)
Mamas, daddies, sisters, brothers, friends and cousins
This is for my peoples who lost their grandmothers
Lift your head to the sky ’cause we will never say bye

Bye Bye by Mariah Carey

This past week I have learned that three young parents under the age of 30 have recently died.  Most of the deaths were unexpected.  At 25, I am not faced with the thought of death often.  So to experience death this many times for those who seemed to have so much life ahead of them has been difficult.  It makes me appreciate life more because we truly don’t know when our time is up.  One thing that brings me comfort is the fact that I know that these individuals died in Christ so I will see them again.

This EmpowerMoment is to encourage you ladies to remember each day you have here on Earth is a gift.  Do not waste time holding onto grudges or wait too long to reconnect with someone that has been on your mind.  I recall having seen one of the individuals that passed just a few months prior.  We talked about our children and how we should get together soon; unfortunately we never made the time to do so.  I admit my attention is spread pretty thin.  I am a full time single mother, part-time graduate student, full-time employee, but at the end of my life I doubt these will be the things that will catch my attention.  My relationships with others will be at the forefront of my mind.  I know this to be true because when one of these young women passed all I could think of was all the times I could have made more attempts to spend time with her.

She was a person with a sweet spirit who was always willing to help the less fortunate.  My friends and I have decided to do something for her young daughter and I made a promise to myself to call, write, text or see someone that has been put on my spirit.  I don’t want to have another regretful memory.

RIP LaChant Kelly, Mudi Mafemi and Peaches. Gone, but not forgotten. We will meet again!

Dear Daddy,

Thank You for each day that You have given to me and my loved ones.  Forgive me for any time that I have not used my time and resources wisely.  Help me to be loving and kind to those around me so I may properly glorify Your name.  I ask for a special outpouring of Your Spirit for those currently grieving.  Give me the strength and courage to handle each task You have set before me.  Help me to not get caught up in the lie that I will always have more time.  In Jesus’ Name, Amen!

Ladies, I EMPOWER you to make each day the Lord has given you count. Go after dreams deferred, reconcile broken relationships, and take risks. Tomorrow is not promised to any of us, but make sure you remember, “It’s not the years in your life that count. It’s the life in your years.”

Please keep the families of LaChant Kelly, Mudi Mafemi and Peaches in your prayers.

Listen to Mariah Carey’s “Bye Bye”:

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