Blessings, Honesty/Truth, Mentoring, Obedience

Set the Stage…

“But seek ye first the kingdom of God, and his righteousness; and all these things shall be added unto you.”  Matthew 6:33 KJV

I was talking to one of my mentees a few moments ago and she asked me about a situation with her and her boyfriend. She was upset and distraught because now that he was angry over something simple, she felt as though she couldn’t move into his apartment with him, which happens to be a few states away. I tried my best not to be so blunt, but I think that’s why she asked me for advice in the first place.

This was my actual instant message:

“To be honest, it doesn’t seem as though you are setting up things in your favor anyway. You have to set the stage for God to bless you; He won’t do that if you are staying with a man you aren’t married to. (Sorry, you know I’m straightforward.) God blesses obedience. This seems like such a simple issue for him to get mad over (a shirt), but sometimes God has to wake us up in order for us to see the big picture. You are worth too much to degrade yourself like that. #straightnochaser.”

Sometimes we don’t even realize that we are asking God to bless our mess. As I grow, I look back on my life and some of my old prayer journals and I either try to hide from God in embarrassment or laugh at the thought of me actually thinking God was going to bless my mess.

I remember dating a guy in college that I thought was a god. I am not kidding! I fell into the depths of compromise and even found myself compromising my beliefs, my spirituality, and even my comfort zone. It was just nothing good about it. I stumbled upon an old prayer journal, which had to be burned immediately, that spoke about asking God to bless our “union” and for us to have a prosperous life together. Looking back, I realize that I didn’t even set the stage right. We weren’t seeking God to guide our friendship. As a matter of fact, I think we ignored God.  We didn’t act in love (to be patient and kind), and instead acted in lust. His good looks drove me and not his heart. “Do not lust in your heart after her (his) beauty or let her captivate you with her eyes.” (Proverbs 6:25NIV) I flat out disobeyed this nugget of guidance.  I liked the way he talked and not the content of his conversation. I did not approach him with my standards, my love for God, and my seriousness about living a life pleasing to God. I did not use this scripture to strengthen me: “Be on your guard; stand firm in the faith; be courageous; be strong.” (1 Corinthians 16:13 NIV) I didn’t set the stage right for God to bless that relationship. God’s word says, “Delight thyself also in the LORD: and he shall give thee the desires of thine heart.” (Psalm 37:4 KJV)

I was not acting in obedience. “If they obey and serve him, they will spend the rest of their days in prosperity and their years in contentment.” (Job 36:11 NIV) How was He going to bless my mess?

As with all of my mentees, I uncovered myself and shared my mirrored past with her. I wasn’t trying to play the “you shacking so you are going to hell” card because that was not the point. The point was, you can’t expect God to pour out prosperity if you aren’t in position to serve and receive.

Dear Daddy,

Words cannot express the number of times Your mercy has spared me. Where I am today is only a testament to how You’ve carried me, forgiven me and loved me. My future rests in Your hands and as I strive to continue to be a woman after Your heart, please keep my mind and heart sensitive to Your direction.  I know that it’s only with You that I can make it to be what You’ve called me to be. Thank You for Your big eraser that has erased my past and given me a clean slate. (Isaiah 1:18 NIV) In Jesus’ Name, Amen!

Ladies, I EMPOWER you today to set the stage right! Check your situation. Make sure that the life you are asking God to lead has His stamp of approval and if you aren’t sure, then line it up with His word and see if it matches. If you still aren’t sure, then wait. The Lord will not steer you wrong. Sometimes waiting is the best option. “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)

To my mentee,

Thank you for trusting me to give you advice in this matter, you could have picked anyone. Throughout our talk, I was confident that you knew the answer anyway and I am blessed to know that you felt empowered to continue to be “God’s Girl” after our chat. Thank you for letting me share our story. God’s got ya back. I know for a fact that you will be alright! God’s blessings to you on your first year in college!

Mrs. Lady K

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.

Mentor/Mentee, Mentoring, Mother/Daughter

Don’t Leave Them, LEAD Them!

Even when I am old and gray, do not forsake me, my God, till I declare your power to the next generation, your mighty acts to all who are to come. (Psalm 71:18 NIV)

At the beginning of the summer, my younger cousin and I decided that we would go for a brisk run a few times a week.  In the days leading up to our first run together, she talked a lot of trash about how far she could run. She told me that if I wasn’t able to keep up with her then I was truly out of shape. She went on and on talking about what she could do, much like many other young people I know. The evening of our inaugural run proved to be a much different story than what she had proclaimed for several days prior. After jogging for about a minute and a half she had to stop and take a break. I thought, “Surely, this can’t the same girl who told me that I was out of shape?!” There was at least a two block stretch between the two of us for the duration of our 45 minute run. Under normal circumstances, I would have used that entire situation as an opportunity to rub it in her face and remind her of all the trash that she talked beforehand. However, God used the situation to show me what my responsibility as an older, wiser woman is.

As we grow older, we tend forget that we were once the same hard headed, know-it-all, think our men and friends are God, can’t tell me anything, young girls that we despise so much. It’s so easy to get frustrated and give up on the younger women. However, we have been given specific instructions about how we are to train and mentor the ones coming behind us:

Then they [older women] can urge the younger women to love their husbands and children, to be self-controlled and pure, to be busy at home, to be kind, and to be subject to their husbands, so that no one will malign the word of God. (Titus 2:4-5 NIV)

As I mentioned before, I was a great distance ahead of my cousin but I would periodically turn around to make sure that I could still see her. I had to ensure that she was still making progress. As long as she was still pressing forward, I was leading her along the path and not leaving her.  It is imperative that the older generations don’t get so caught up in running our race that we aren’t checking on those coming behind us. Yes, it may take them a little longer to understand or even want to understand, but we have to make sure that they are still pushing forward. If I couldn’t see her when I turned around, I would pause for a moment to give her a chance to get in my eyesight. Maybe it’s time that we pressed pause on our lives to check on the progress of the young women around us.

Occasionally along our running path I would notice a large stick or stone. Since I knew she was coming behind me, I would take a moment to kick it out of the way. I was concerned that she would not see the hazards and stumble and fall. It seems that we have gotten to a point where we want the younger generations to overcome all of the obstacles that we had to and struggle the way that we did. I definitely think we must be cautious in our approach so that we aren’t nurturing a bunch of spoiled brats; however, it is equally important that we make life a little easier for those coming up in the rear. Share what you have learned so that they don’t have to make the same mistakes. Because you are more mature and wiser, you can recognize hazards in relationships or friendships long before they see them. Help them to recognize and remove those things and/or people that would be detrimental to their future.

My cousin made it home about ten minutes after I did. Again, I could have taunted her and reminded her that I was the one out of shape. Instead, I chose to congratulate her on a job well done. After all, the race is not given to the swift… More important than me winning was me celebrating how far she had come. Ironically enough, I didn’t have to say anything. Her first words were, “Whew! I’m really out of shape!” I know it’s definitely tempting to get in her face and say, “I told you so!” after she makes a mistake. But if she has already realized what went wrong along her path, then celebrate her progress! Revelation is cause for celebration!

One last important point to remember is that we too can learn something from the youngsters. This entire EmpowerMoment was a lesson learned from a 22-year-old. Please don’t ever get to so “learned” that you aren’t teachable—even by those younger than you.

I know that these teenage girls and young 20 somethings can be a handful, but we cannot give up on them. We have been given a biblical charge to train, mentor and love on them until they get it right. Remember 10, 20, maybe even 30 years ago when you were the same person you now want to write off…

Dear Daddy,

Please forgive me for the times that I acted as if I was better than the young ladies that You have surrounded me with. Help me to live a life that is fitting to be imitated. Give me the words to speak that would encourage, uplift and inspire the younger generations. I thank You for entrusting young women in my care; help me to live up to Your expectations. In Jesus’ Name, Amen!

Today, I EMPOWER you to take an active mentor role in that young woman’s life. If you aren’t sure who that young woman is, ask yourself whose decisions and actions really baffle and anger you. You are the one that God wants to use to EMPOWER her! Choose to make an investment in the lives of your daughters, nieces, cousins, students, co-workers, etc.

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.