Miscellaneous

Inside Monstro

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!

“We do not want you to be uninformed, brothers and sisters, about the troubles we experienced in the province of Asia. We were under great pressure, far beyond our ability to endure, so that we despaired of life itself.” (2 Corinthians 1:8 NIV)

When the depths of your soul are crying, but your face is dry.

When your heart is under attack, but you aren’t dying.

When you are young, but your tears are old.

When you’ve never had asthma, but you can’t catch your breath.

When you’ve never been in the military, yet you’re constantly on the battlefield.

When you’ve been sweet to so many people that it’s given you a disease.

When words become daggers so the only place you feel safe is in silence.

When the pressure is raising in your blood, but you are 120/80.

When your best friend is your pillow because it’s the only one to catch your tears.

When you have stage four pain, and stage three hurt but the doctor says she can’t find a tumor.

When you go to the altar Sunday after Sunday after Sunday only to still feel…

When you’ve never been blind, but you can’t see hope.

When you are unable to explain to people what you are going through because words haven’t been invented to express this pain.

When you’ve been pregnant and carrying a load way past your delivery date and it’s unbearably uncomfortable.

When you can’t fake the funk.

When the beat is up-tempo, but your lyrics are dark.

When writing isn’t your escape.

When no amount of food can make you full.

When you told God you had enough five years ago.

When you are just living to die.

When you are just living to cry.

When you want to give up.

When you want to cave in.

When you’ve given it all you got.

When you consider the end.

That’s when darkness comes in

“Indeed, we felt we had received the sentence of death. But this happened that we might not rely on ourselves but on God, who raises the dead.” (2 Corinthians 1:9 NIV)

 

Lite

For this reason, ever since I heard about your faith in the Lord Jesus and your love for all God’s people, I have not stopped giving thanks for you, remembering you in my prayers. I keep asking that the God of our Lord Jesus Christ, the glorious Father, may give you the Spirit[a] of wisdom and revelation, so that you may know him better. I pray that the eyes of your heart may be enlightened in order that you may know the hope to which he has called you, the riches of his glorious inheritance in his holy people, and his incomparably great power for us who believe. That power is the same as the mighty strength he exerted when he raised Christ from the dead and seated him at his right hand in the heavenly realms, far above all rule and authority, power and dominion, and every name that is invoked, not only in the present age but also in the one to come.” (Ephesians 1:15-21 NIV)

Dear Daddy,

Sometimes life takes us places we had no intention of going and we wonder how to get out of the whale’s belly. Sometime we wonder if we will even survive or if this will be our final resting place. But we thank You for allowing our mustard seed of faith to be enough for your grace, mercy and love. Father, with You and your everlasting, never-fading love, we can find peace in this uncomfortable position. We channel Your strength to carry us through. There is nothing You can’t overcome! We submit to Your will and get out of Your way. In Jesus’ Name, Amen!

Ladies, I EMPOWER you to always remember how the story starts isn’t how it will end. We have to remember that light comes in different forms and how we are looking for it may not be how it will present itself. We must always remember to be thankful and count the smallest of blessings even when it feels like nothing is going right. Lastly, remember “For you were once darkness but now you are light in the Lord. Live as children of light (for the fruit of the light consists in all goodness, righteousness and truth) and find out what pleases the Lord.” (Ephesians 5:8-10 NIV)

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

 

Miscellaneous

Flashback Friday: Bag Lady…Let It Flow

Please enjoy this flashback EmpowerMoment which was originally posted June 22, 2011.

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.”

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Ms. Chancee` Lundy lives in Washington, DC and is a small business owner 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  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 strengthens me.

 

Miscellaneous

God’s Perfect Will For My Life

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!

Let it go

Let it be

‘Cause I found out, Oh Lord

Your will is what’s best for me.

Your Will Is What’s Best For Me

This year has been very interesting, and it is not even half way done yet. I have done many things that I thought I would never do. At the beginning of the year, I resigned as co-pastor of my church. I did not resign as a member, but God spoke to me and told me I was released. If you know me, you know I do not quit at anything, but I also know that obedience is better than sacrifice.

Then Samuel said, Do you think all God wants are sacrifices— empty rituals just for show? He wants you to listen to him! Plain listening is the thing, not staging a lavish religious production. Not doing what God tells you is far worse than fooling around in the occult. Getting self-important around God is far worse than making deals with your dead ancestors. Because you said No to God’s command, he says No to your kingship. (1 Samuel 15: 22-23, MGS)

After I resigned, I began to pray because I knew God was the only one that would tell me to step down and give me the courage to do so. My concern was “what was my next steps for my ministry?”  A few weeks later, my pastor told me that God told him “in all things praise and worship, that I had the authority to shift the atmosphere, and that I would be called Ambassador Keviyona Ray.” Now I am not hooked up on titles at all but all things praise and worship was a great task and I was up for the challenge. My friend told me, “It’s not your will, not even God’s permissible will but His perfect will for your life.”

The next thing was my house. Now I was blessed with my house and I love it. I knew that I would need to invest in a roof eventually because the roof was old and no insurance company would cover it. I made it home from work one day and a major part of the roof was laying in my yard. I instantly called my husband and told him we would need to find a new place to call home because we couldn’t afford to invest in a roof right now; however, I did not make any initial movement. My friend reminded me, “It’s not your will, not even God’s permissible will but His perfect will for your life.” Someone came and looked at the roof and I now have a brand new roof on my house. I didn’t have to come out of pocket with anything. Imagine if I would have decided to proceed with moving my family somewhere else. I would have missed what God had for me. Trust in the Lord with all your heart, and do not lean on your own understanding. In all your ways acknowledge him, and he will make straight your paths. (Proverbs 3:5-6, ESV)

Now my employment is always a topic of discussion this time of year because I am always usually tired and need a break. This year was different. I decided that I was actually leaving and there was nothing anyone one could do about it. I decided to seek my own employment and God stepped in. I am changing jobs but God has taken total control of the situation. God has begun opening doors that I have more options than I can figure out on my own. For I know the plans I have for you, declares the Lord, plans for welfare[a] and not for evil, to give you a future and a hope. (Jeremiah 29:11, ESV) Again my friend told me, “It’s not your will, not even God’s permissible will but His perfect will for your life.”

Dear Daddy,

Thank You for always knowing what is best for my life. God, thank You for ordering my steps even when I think I am making the right decisions. God, I am praying for the women that are reading this EmpowerMoment and are looking to their own understanding. I pray that they have faith that You will work on their behalf. God teach them to let Your perfect will be done in their lives. In Jesus Name, Amen.

Dear Women of God,

I EMPOWER you to stop looking to your own understanding and instead look to God. I EMPOWER you to trust God to help you make life-altering decisions. When you pray, ask God in whatever decision is made that His perfect will be done in your life. I EMPOWER you to have faith and believe that God knows what is best for you!!!

Please take a moment this morning and enjoy this song by Darius Brooks:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YZvYIL2m9AU

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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.

Miscellaneous

Faith Fortification

I recently went to a church program and the theme was about fortifying your faith. I had not really thought about faith fortification much before but that theme resonated with me.

James chapter 1 verses 2-4 says Count it all joy, my brothers when you meet trials of various kinds, for you know that the testing of your faith produces steadfastness. And let steadfastness have its full effect, that you may be perfect and complete, lacking in nothing.

Here are a few definitions listed for faith according to Merriam Webster. a (1) :  belief and trust in and loyalty to God (2) :  belief in the traditional doctrines of a religion b (1) :  firm belief in something for which there is no proof (2) :  complete trust.

Here’s what Merriam-Webster had to say about fortify.

Fortify- to strengthen (a place) by building military defenses (such as walls, trenches, etc.)

: To make (someone or something) stronger

: To make (yourself) feel stronger or less fearful

I was saved at an early age. If memory serves me correctly, I was about 8. I was then baptized with my grandmother. Learning about faith, hearing about faith, singing about faith, reading about faith, being a person of faith has been just about a part of my entire life. Growing up in a faith-filled home with faithful family, I was faith full. So I knew all about faith, how to have it, what it meant and what to do, or so I thought. I had lived most of my life with a “less than fortified” faith. I had faith but I also never had any major challenges to my faith.

That all changed in 2006. The year that my life changed forever. What happened next started the faith fortification process. Faith is good but faith tested and tried is the way to fortified faith.

We went into the year with excitement; we had purchased our first home! I was carrying our first child who was due to be born in March of that year. However, mid-January things started to go downhill. After months of trying to find the cause of her symptoms, my mother was diagnosed with stage IV ovarian cancer. I was her biggest cheerleader and did my best to make sure she had what she needed to conquer cancer. February rolled around and my friends and family gave me a baby shower one Saturday.  By Monday evening, I noticed that the baby wasn’t moving as much as he usually did. After arriving at the hospital, we learned our baby had no heartbeat. He had died inside me. The doctor told me I would have to deliver the baby, and a day and half later I did, after almost 36 weeks of pregnancy. It was a truly complicated, complex and emotionally wrenching experience to say the least. I along with much of my family prayed and believed and had faith that our baby, little Walter Eron Collins, would be resurrected. Surely, if Jesus could do it for Lazarus, He could do it for us.

I began to heal physically before I did emotionally and my mother and I were trying to take care of each other with the help of family and friends. She was well into chemo now and the symptoms of her cancer along with the side effects of the chemotherapy were really weighing her down. Nevertheless, she continued to persevere and keep the faith. Spring turned to summer and summer to fall. We were making trips to the cancer center almost every day. Late October, mom was admitted to the hospital. She had started to decline and was very weak. Once again we claimed healing. We had been claiming it all along. We prayed without ceasing and had faith that God would heal her. She didn’t make it back home. That November she passed away at only 48 years old. We were devastated. I didn’t know if we’d make it through it all.

After all this my “less than fortified” faith was in the toilet. It was shattered. I felt like God had failed me again. I was so sad, angry, and hurt. I thought “God, you’ve already taken my baby, now you take my mom too.”    I started to question everything I believed. I was so broken. I couldn’t believe the God I’d known and been exposed too would allow all this to happen. I’d seen miracles happen! I’d witnessed healing! But it didn’t happen where my mom and son were concerned. What was happening? I didn’t know then, what I realized later, that my faith was being fortified.  My very foundation was shaken. I was angry with God but through it all I never left Him, though I felt like He’d left me.

This journey has been one of ups and downs and has been a significant challenge. I’ve had to daily defeat the attacks of the enemy as I continue to repair my faith walk while trying to be an example to others as well. God has been gracious to me on this journey and step by step my faith is being recovered, my faith is being fortified. I’m experiencing less and less doubt. I’m once again becoming more confident in the promises of God. I truly know what it means when people say “if He doesn’t do it, it wasn’t because He couldn’t…” I had to gird myself in the word. When the enemy would allow a negative thought to come in my mind, I had to counter it with a positive one, usually a scripture.

So now I’ve come to a point where I really know what faith is. I know what it means to have a faith walk. What is faith? It is the confident assurance that what we hope for is going to happen. It is the evidence of things we cannot yet see. Hebrews 11:1 (NLT) The devil tried to take my confidence! The devil tried to encase me in doubt! The devil tried to counter all the teachings, hopes and word that had been given to me through the years! But God! God wouldn’t let it be!

This is the way you fortify your faith. Use your storm; don’t let the storm use you! Turn the test into a testimony! Stand on the promises of God no matter how dark the night. Hebrews 11:6 says that without faith it is impossible to please God. I know that pleasing God is the only way to get to heaven so I have to have faith. Faith must be nurtured. Faith must be fortified.

Dear Daddy,

Thank You for faith and thank You for faith fortifying experiences that draw us closer to You and help us to know You more intimately. Thank You for doing what is best for me even when I don’t realize it or understand it. Help us to remain faithful to You no matter the circumstance. In Jesus’ name, Amen.

Faith-filled ladies, I EMPOWER you to see challenges and obstacles for what they are…opportunities to fortify or strengthen your faith. I EMPOWER you to keep your faith no matter how difficult the test or trial. I EMPOWER you to count it all joy! You will be victorious in the end! To God be the glory!

________________________________________________________

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 in Birmingham, Alabama. She resides in Calera, Alabama with her awesome husband and two wonderful sons.

 

Miscellaneous

Flashback Friday: My Scene in the Quicksand

Please enjoy this flashback Empowermoment which was originally posted August 13, 2012. 

For so long, I’ve felt like the women I see in movies that get stuck in quicksand running from someone or something.  They are treading, splashing, and trying to keep their heads above the sand so they don’t sink; inevitably, one of two things happens: they get rescued or they sink.

My scene in the quicksand lasted much longer than it should have.

For as long as I can remember, I’ve been jumping into situations that look good from a distance and after getting caught up, I would try to run but quickly start to sink.  I would find myself over and over again wearily treading the ‘quicksand’ and barely able to keep from sinking.  I have always felt His favor was upon me and in hindsight I recognize that for a long time I took for granted that He would rescue me from the quicksand that I kept finding myself in.

I prayed and prayed for God to change the man I was in love with or give me the strength to leave him, but at night I’d cling to him with all my strength as if to prevent God from removing him.

I prayed for better jobs and for more money to do what ‘made me happy’ and then I would swipe my credit card until it could be swiped no more.  I would get upset, run, and sink again.

Time and time again, I’d pray for God to help me control my impulsive emotional eating, for me to just be content with Him, and not look for satisfaction through food.  Then the moment I finished my prayer, I would go eat my ‘last’ bowl of ice cream or two, wake up too big for all of my clothes, and run yet again.  And yes, I sank again.

My desires and actions did not align with my prayers or what I claimed were my values.  I was holding onto everything that I was praying so hard to be able to let go of!

But God!

One day he dropped a scripture that I knew backwards and forward into my spirit and it took on a new meaning: “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)

And just like that I felt like I could stop running.

I recognized that while I thought I was running to God, crying, praying, and begging for His help, I was running from Him!  I realized that I needed to run to Him with my burdens, issues, concerns, and prayers and give them to Him.  I realized I had to give myself to Him, if I wanted to stop running and sinking.

“Cast all your anxiety on him because he cares for you.” (1 Peter 5:7 NIV)

I had to let go of everything.  I had to surrender.

Dear Daddy,

Thank You for always being willing to carry burdens that You know I cannot bear on my own.  Thank You for Your constant reminder that You will never leave me or forsake me and that I can always bring everything to You.  I pray that I will continue to surrender more and more of myself to You each day.  In Jesus’ Name, Amen!

Ladies, today I EMPOWER you to refuse to sink!  When you feel that you are drowning, allow God to be your life jacket and put all your weight on Him.  He will pull you through! 

What are you holding on to that is weighing you down, causing you to sink lower, and pushing you farther away from God?

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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.”

Miscellaneous

Stop The Madness!

“Insanity is doing the same thing over & over expecting different results.” – Albert Einstein

I recently made a conscious decision to no longer put myself in situations that I don’t want to be in with guys and to really stop settling. I’ve been single for three years and being single, as you know, can get lonely at times. I would tell guys that I’d meet that I just wanted to be friends, and we would end up just hanging out and being cool. We would start off being on the same page and after a period of time I’d discover they were romantically interested in me. When I didn’t share the same feelings as they did, they would become mad at me. After they got over the fact that I didn’t share their feelings, we would become cool again… eventually things would end between us.

I’m happy to say that I’m no longer talking to any of those guys. I never expected to have those guys in my life over a drawn out period of time. They stayed longer in my life than they ought to have stayed. After doing intense self-evaluation, I noticed the same cycle repeating itself over and over again. I had to ask myself why I kept going through the same situation. The common denominator in all of the situations was me: Venus. I was the problem! Ouch! I allowed the situations to continue longer than they should have. I should have cut it off when the guys’ desires and my desires didn’t match.

I was telling myself that I didn’t want to settle, but my actions weren’t matching up with what I said in my heart. I had to take responsibility for putting myself in those situations. God showed me the root of my patterns. The root: I was broken and vulnerable after my last relationship ended three years ago. I was also broken from the relationship that I was in prior to my last relationship. So the situations with the guys stemmed from me being broken. Wow!

God is now restoring me, healing me, and making me whole. I had to realize that I have to put a stop to the negative patterns and no longer waste my time on these guys that I do not desire to have in my life. I desire to be in a committed relationship with a Godly man. I would like to have a friendship that leads to a relationship that leads into a marriage. How can my Godly husband find me if I’m entertaining fools? In my last EmpowerMoment, I discussed a situation that I was in with a guy named “Jake”. In a nutshell, there were too many red flags with Jake and I had to shut it down. I’m finally at the point where I’m done with entertaining foolishness. I can’t take it anymore. I deserve and want better for myself. I’m taking dating with a purpose seriously. If a man isn’t bearing any good fruit, isn’t Godly, and isn’t displaying the characteristics that I need in a mate, he has to go! NEXT!

Dear Daddy,

Thank You for showing me the root of my patterns. Help me to not repeat the cycles in my life. I don’t want to be insane! I want to be set free! In Jesus Name, Amen.

Ladies I EMPOWER you to pray and ask God to show you the root of your issues so that you can receive His healing. It can be a scary and hurtful process but the reward is great. Psalm 147:3 (NLT) states, “He heals the brokenhearted and bandages their wounds.”

What things are driving you insane?

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

Miscellaneous

Divinely Hemmed & Beauty In The Process

A couple of mornings ago, I was looking for something in my car, and I ran across a book I’d bought a year ago. While flipping through the pages of the book, I found a torn notecard I wrote that said, “I met God who slowly, painfully, and divinely pieced me back together again.” Immediately, I started to reminisce on the difficult times, headaches, and heartaches that led up to the person I am today, and I couldn’t help but to thank God. There was a time, when I first got saved, that I almost traded in my salvation card because living in the world seemed SO much easier than being saved. At least, I didn’t have this target on my back that the enemy was constantly aiming for. Now, I can look back and almost sit in awe at how beautiful the process has been. Every difficult season was a season spent at Daddy’s feet, crying out to Him and praying in my personal intimate time.

Before I got saved, I spent my life tearing the very fabric of who God had created me to be. With every party, every drink, every guy, I was completely shredding who I was. “You hem me in, behind and before, and lay your hand upon me,” (Psalm 139: 5, ESV) It wasn’t enough for me to just get saved. God had to completely change who I was. I needed to reflect Him. He had to go behind me and hem the fabric I’d ripped in the process of finding myself in this world. He’s gone before us, even before the beginning of time, to make sure that we’re hemmed into what He has for us. “My frame was not hidden from you, when I was made in secret, intricately woven in the depths of the earth. Your eyes saw my unformed substance; in your book were written, every one of them, the days that were formed for me, when as yet there were none of them,” (Psalm 139: 15-16 ESV). He lays His hand on our lives. The very God that SPOKE creation into existence cares to lay HIS hands on MY life?! On YOUR life?! Sigh, just beautiful.

Dear Daddy,

Thank You for the ability to find beauty in the process. Thank You that You love us past salvation, that You love us enough to not leave us where we were first found. Help us to strive to want to reflect You daily. When we’re having bad days, and we feel like we can’t go any further, remind us of how far we’ve come. Thank You for Your strength that is available to us. We love You. In Jesus’ name. Amen.

Ladies, I EMPOWER you to ask the Holy Spirit to reveal to you the beauty in your everyday process. Yes, living for God is not easy at all, but it is worth it. I pray God will reveal how well He has hemmed you in that when people hear your testimonies, they can’t even see the rips and tears that were once the core of who you were. I EMPOWER you to seek those intimate moments when they come. Satan, so badly, wants to steal your joy, your purpose, and your praise, but it’s hard to give him ground when you learn to find beauty in the difficult times.

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Alexis Perry lives in Hamilton, Alabama where she is a full-time student at The Ramp School of Ministry. She has a passion for seeing women and youth find their true identity in Christ. She aspires to have a women’s ministry centered around true identity, adoption into God, and intimacy with the Father. One of her favorite passages is Psalm 139: 1-3 (ESV), “O Lord, You have searched me and known me! You know when I sit down and when I rise up; you discern my thoughts from afar. You search out my path and my lying down and are acquainted with all my ways.”

Miscellaneous

When the Paint Chips Away…

When the paint chips away, what will people see beneath?

As I was strolling through my neighborhood, I noticed one of the buildings, which was painted a beautiful mint color, had a portion of chipped paint. In fact, the exposed section was just a little larger than a dinner plate. With the missing paint, it was easy to see that the original color of the building was a deep red. It actually made me realize what this “new” condominium building used to be. This building along with the several others was nothing more than renovated public housing. That exposed red brick let me know that at some point these houses belonged to people who couldn’t afford the high rent but at some point they were sold, renovated and sold again to the highest bidder. No longer were they stocked with cheap appliances but they now had the best of the best – wood flooring, granite countertops, and stainless steel appliances.

Therefore if any man be in Christ, he is a new creature: old things are passed away; behold, all things are become new. 2 Corinthians 5:17 KJV

Like these renovated condos, this is who we are destined to be if we accept Christ into our lives. No longer should we contain the spirit of sin but through His death on the cross our sins were reconciled. We don’t contain worthless characteristics but are filled with those things that are valuable to the kingdom. We put off our old self for our new self. God is able to do a major renovation on our lives and when that happens the sins which consumed us are washed away as we are filled with fruits of the spirit – But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, gentleness, goodness, faith, meekness, temperance: against such there is no law. Galatians 5:22-23 KJV

When people are around you? What is their experience? Do they see a new creature or do they see someone who blends in with the crowd? Does the paint chip away when you are angry? Are there times when people say, “she has changed but don’t let her get upset, because the old her comes out.” If the old things are truly passed away you should be a representative of God’s renovation at all times. No one is perfect but we strive towards perfection. Daily, we press toward the mark.

Dear Daddy,

 Thank You for making me brand new. Help me to exemplify the major renovation that You have done in my life. When the paint chips away, let me still show everything that is great about having a father like You. Remind me that I am not stocked with the cheap stuff because I am a child of the King. You supply me with all of my needs and give me the best of the best. When the paint chips away, people should still see the new me – one that is more precious than the most precious jewel. In Jesus’ name, Amen.

 Ladies, today, I EMPOWER you to reflect on who you are when the paint chips away. Who are you when no one is watching? When you do have the chance to show God are you instead showing who you used to be? Recognize that you have to upkeep God’s renovation so daily strive towards perfection. When the paint chips away, determine that you will still be a glaring example of a child of the King.

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 Ms. Chancee` Lundy lives in Washington, DC and is a small business owner 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  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 strengthens me.

Miscellaneous

Take A Moment!

grunge_road_sign__stop_smell_the_roses_sjpg3051Have you ever felt lost or confused about life? I recently was. When I say lost, I mean you just feel like what you’re doing is pointless. Sometimes I’ve had the feeling that what I do is never enough. It sometimes seems that when I’m trying to achieve a goal, it is the most important thing ever. So, in order to achieve the goal I work really hard to acquire it and once I do, I see that there is something else I want or feel I need. It’s like a never-ending process! So why then am I working so hard? I went to school for five years and have a degree. I was so excited about this achievement until I started looking for jobs. Although I had a degree, it didn’t make the process easier for me to find a job. Then my mind went to me needing a Master’s degree. Well, then I started thinking about after getting that degree, would I be satisfied? I then would hopefully start my career, and then what? I would just hope to find some secure job that would let me stay with the company for years so I could retire and go back to not working. I thought to myself that this cannot be what life is about.

I’m sure some of you can relate. I was trying to find some deep meaning to all the madness. I think I was trying to get too deep. I decided to pray about these feelings and the Lord told me to read Ecclesiastes. When I first started reading it, I wasn’t sure that this was the best thing for me to read with one of the first statements being, “Everything is meaningless,” says the teacher, “completely meaningless!”(Ecclesiastes 1:2NLT)

Well, as I kept reading, I saw that the writer also said, “So I decided there is nothing better than to enjoy food and drink and to find satisfaction in work. Then I realized that these pleasures are from the hand of God.”(Ecclesiastes 2:24 NLT). I understand that in life you may feel lost and like somethings are just pointless, but don’t let the enemy get you so down in your thoughts that you become depressed. Stop looking for some deep reason for everything and just enjoy the gift of life! Enjoy the wind blowing in your face, instead of complaining that it’s too windy. Put on some rain boots and go walking in the drizzle instead of rushing to get inside. Literally, stop and smell the roses! Even if you do none of the things suggested here, just take a moment to sit back and take in the everyday beauty of life and how complex and awesome everything around you is!

I believe God wants you to enjoy the works of His hands! He loves us all so very much and He does have a plan. At times it’s just hard to see it. So while you are waiting to understand, just enjoy the beauty of life. In due season, God will reveal to you your next move and where to go. Let’s not forget He did tell us, “For I know the plans I have for you,” says the LORD. “They are plans for good and not for disaster, to give you a future and a hope.”(Jeremiah 29:11 NLT).

Dear Daddy,

Thank You for speaking to me in my time of need.  Thank You for reminding me that You are in control of everything and I can rest in knowing that. Thank You for the reminder for me to stop and enjoy all that You have given me. Please continue to help me rest in You and enjoy this thing called life. In doing so, I will be able to see all it has to offer me!

Ladies, I EMPOWER you to stop and smell the roses! When you feel lost and feel like your work is in vain, take a moment to stop and enjoy where you are. If you can really take time to think about it, you will see just how blessed you really are and how beautiful life is.

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Misha White currently resides in Daphne, AL and is a recent graduate of Tennessee State University with a Bachelor’s of Science Degree in Biology. She aspires to serve women to achieve the best spiritual and physical health possible using the Word of God, regular exercise, and healthy eating habits. She is a loving friend, sister, and daughter. One of her favorite scriptures is John 16:33 (NIV), “I have told  you these things, so that in me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world.”

Miscellaneous

Dear Naomi

Dear Naomi,

You are in my thoughts. You are in my mind. I wrote you a few letters and haven’t heard back. Why are you silent? Are you okay? I’m crying out because I’m having troubles discovering my place in this world and finding my voice. I need your wisdom, I need your guidance, Naomi.

Where are you?

I yielded your teachings to me as a babe but have I been winged from your milk? Why in my older years are you silent? Naomi, I lack wisdom and maturity. It’s not that I’m immature but you are older and wiser. Life is blindsiding me by things I know you’ve experienced.

Why don’t you reach out more?

Why don’t you warn me from the pit falls and potholes you’ve fallen into? Why must my generation stand on our own feet instead of your generation’s shoulders?

Naomi, my mother, are you listening?

Naomi, my aunt, are you there?

Naomi, my neighbor, do you hear my cry?

Naomi, you raised me, you helped mold me. Naomi, are you scared that there are too many generations between us? Naomi, I am scared because eventually that entire generation died and was buried. Then another generation grew up that didn’t know anything of GOD or the work he had done for Israel. (Judges 2:10 MSG)

Naomi, do you remember when your mother taught you: And also all that generation were gathered unto their fathers: and there arose another generation after them, which knew not the Lord, nor yet the works which he had done for Israel. (Judges 2:10 KJV)?

It’s the same words, Naomi. It’s the same God, Naomi. We may speak differently but we are saying the same thing, Naomi. I don’t want the times to separate us.

Teach me to be a woman of substance and valor. Give me your wisdom, teach me when to speak up and when to remain silent. Teach me the power of being woman, the quiet confidence, how few words can be so profound, the art of submitting, the strength of womanhood, the power of leading, how to be a magnificent woman.

Naomi, my vision is clear, my mission is simple but my path – my path is bumpy. I wish you would look back and let me know where the noticeable potholes. Pass down history that only your eyes have seen, share experiences that only your body has endured, pray with me how your great grandmother prayed with you, my sister. Share with me the mighty acts that God our LORD has done in your life. (Psalm 145:4 NIV)

 

Sincerely,

Ruth a.k.a aspiring Proverbs 31:10-31 woman

 

Dear Daddy,

I thank You for Your wisdom that is overflowing and everlasting. I pray for a divine relationship to enter my life immediately to provide more wisdom and courage that is needed in this chapter. Guide our relationship and be present in our every meeting. We give the glory back to You for this new relationship and know that you are the Author and King of wisdom, not man. In Jesus name, Amen!

Ladies, I EMPOWER you to appreciate the relationships you have with your sisters in this world. Naomis of the world reach out to the Ruths and Ruths be open and apt to learn. Understand there is a generation gap and that you will always be both Naomi AND Ruth. Development is never done, nor is growth.

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