Children, Expectations, God's Grace, God's Promises, Pregnancy

God Will Have The Last Laugh

Mother’s Day just passed and once again I was blessed with the opportunity to bless my beautiful mom. She means the world to me and I always make the effort to show her how grateful I am that she is my mom.  I hope that every mother out there had a wonderful Mother’s Day and realizes how special she is in the eyes of God!

However, there are many women, like myself, who are not yet mothers.  They may be waiting for the husband, the dog, and the two kids, or perhaps they have the dog already.  They may be unable to have children or may have put off children due to career and now they hope to one day be able to have a family.  Maybe they are mothers who have lost children.  Whatever the reason, we are without children but are also special in God’s eyes.  I repeat what God has told me, “you are not forgotten.”

Maybe someone has laughed at you or approached you with bewilderment or maybe you have laughed at yourself or even God at the notion of one day finally becoming a mother because the world tells you your biological clock is ticking.  Maybe you and your husband have tried numerous times to get pregnant but the end result has ended in frustration, heartbreak, confusion, grief and hopelessness.  God has not forgotten you!

Sarah can testify to this!

He said, “If I have found favor in your eyes, my lord,[a] do not pass your servant by.   Let a little water be brought, and then you may all wash your feet and rest under this tree.  Let me get you something to eat, so you can be refreshed and then go on your way—now that you have come to your servant.”  “Very well,” they answered, “do as you say.”  So Abraham hurried into the tent to Sarah. “Quick,” he said, “get three seahs[b] of the finest flour and knead it and bake some bread.”  Then he ran to the herd and selected a choice, tender calf and gave it to a servant, who hurried to prepare it.   He then brought some curds and milk and the calf that had been prepared, and set these before them. While they ate, he stood near them under a tree.   “Where is your wife Sarah?” they asked him.  “There, in the tent,” he said.  Then one of them said, “I will surely return to you about this time next year, and Sarah your wife will have a son.”  Now Sarah was listening at the entrance to the tent, which was behind him.  Abraham and Sarah were already very old, and Sarah was past the age of childbearing.  So Sarah laughed to herself as she thought, “After I am worn out and my lord is old, will I now have this pleasure?”  Then the Lord said to Abraham, “Why did Sarah laugh and say, ‘Will I really have a child, now that I am old?’  Is anything too hard for the Lord? I will return to you at the appointed time next year, and Sarah will have a son.”  Sarah was afraid, so she lied and said, “I did not laugh.”  But he said, “Yes, you did laugh.” (Gen 18:3-15 NIV)

Sarah was old y’all.  Her biological clock wasn’t even ticking, but God likes to show us He can do the impossible!  She even laughed at God when He told her that she would have a child.  Mine you, this wasn’t the first time God told Abraham and Sarah that they would have a child, and he laughed too.  Abraham fell facedown; he laughed…., the Bible actually says.  And before that incident, Sarah took matters into her own hands to try to solve her barrenness issues (read Genesis 16).  Let’s just say it was a mess. We all have tried to solve our own problems at one point or another, causing shipwreck.

But God!  His word does not return to Him void! Now the Lord was gracious to Sarah as he had said, and the Lord did for Sarah what he had promised.  Sarah became pregnant and bore a son to Abraham in his old age, at the very time God had promised him.  Abraham gave the name Isaac[a] to the son Sarah bore him. (Genesis 21:1-3 NIV)

I said all of this only to say be patient, trust God, rehearse His Word to yourself, and remember His promises.  He doesn’t lie!  Everything you have lost, God will restore and give you twice as much as before if you do not faint.  Believe!  It may sound crazy and impossible to your flesh but nothing is impossible for God.  Believe!  Whatever you are trusting God for and if it is to be a mother, then God will make it happen according to His time, His perfect will and His way!  Don’t worry, you won’t have to wait till 90, but wait with joy and expectation!  Neither sit on the sidelines position-less and hopelessly nor disobey and get in God’s way.

Dear Daddy,

Thank You for being Mr. Impossible for nothing is impossible for You!  Thank You that You are mindful of us all and thank You for every mother, godmother, grandmother, stepmother, mother-in-law!  In Jesus name, Amen!

Ladies, I EMPOWER you to remember that God will have the last laugh!  I EMPOWER you to trust God and remember His promises to you!  I also EMPOWER you to acknowledge and honor your mother and your Heavenly Father who gives every mom that nurturing ability!  I also EMPOWER you to be a spiritual mother to someone out there; encourage, disciple and nurture someone in the Lord!

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Ms. Tannika Moore loves the Lord and loves to write! Besides writing or editing, she currently works for a Trio program helping high school students prepare for college. She loves to build people up through God’s Word, encouragement, mentoring, 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.”

 

Focus, Motivation, Persistance, Self-Control

You Got This!

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

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

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

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

Dear Daddy,

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

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

What tactics do you use to overcome temptation?

Please help us bless and EMPOWER homeless women and their children as the beginning of a new school year nears!  For more information on how you can donate and help make a difference, please click here http://www.gofundme.com/cfeux8

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As a professional, Mrs. Khalilah Burton is a university administrator. She is also currently pursuing a Doctorate of Education in Community College Leadership. Khalilah is passionate about her faith journey and uses this key scripture as her inspiration: “And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose.” (Romans 8:28 NIV) Khalilah also serves as a guest speaker and panelist for various events for women and Christian empowerment. Her passion is mentoring young women and marriage empowerment. She resides in Orange Beach, Alabama with her wonderful husband Donald Burton, Jr. and their two daughters. They are members of New Beginnings Christian Center in Foley, AL.

Completion, Encouragement, Persistance

Run On In the Rain!

Who cut in on you to keep you from obeying the truth? (Galatians 5:7 NIV)

“Brown sugar melts in the rain!” This has been my retort for anyone who has requested that I participate in anything while it’s raining out for as long as I can remember. I don’t want to go anywhere, see anyone or do anything if it is raining outside. I am just not keen on exploring the world on rainy days; I’d rather stay inside, safe from all of the elements! So imagine my disgust one evening as I was out for a jog around my neighborhood and the sky opened to water the earth.

About 30 minutes into my run, I noticed the clouds beginning to gather and the sky turning dark. Thus, I picked up my pace because I was determined to make it home before it began to rain. Moments later I felt the first small drop on my cheek. I needed to get home before the real downpour came so I sped up a bit more.  But I didn’t make it. Torrential like rain pounded on the pavement as I struggled to see my way home. In that moment, I contemplated making four different choices: (1) just stopping under a tree for shelter and letting the rain pass. (2) slowing down to a nice brisk walk instead of jogging (3) calling my husband to come and pick me up (4) pressing through the rain and completing my run. I must be honest and say that choice number 1 was the most reasonable and pleasing one to me, and I was looking for a nice, friendly tree to hide under. However, as I searched for shelter, I couldn’t find one good tree. That’s when God spoke to me. He said, You were running a good race. Who cut in on you to keep you from obeying the truth? A little rain? Are you going to let a little rain hinder your plans? Is an unexpected downpour going to throw you off course from going where you intended to go and doing what you dreamed of accomplishing?” As tough as that was to swallow and as much as I was not feeling it, I maintained my speed and kept jogging. Did it feel good? Absolutely not! I could barely see as the water clouded my vision and my soggy hair began to fall into my face. My wet clothes were adding extra weight to my run. I was truly exhausted! But I didn’t stop; I kept running. I even cried a bit because the burn in my legs seemed to intensify. But I didn’t stop; I kept running.

What seemed like an eternity later (but was really only about a minute later), I reached a completely dry spot. I looked up expecting to see a gathering of trees holding back the rain but there was only an unobstructed view to the sky. It was not raining there and from the looks of the ground, it had never been raining in that spot. However, I turned around and it was still raining behind me! That’s when I got the revelation…I made a choice to push through my storm and once I did, God brought me to a sunny, dry place! I didn’t wait for the storm to pass; I pushed past my storm! 7-Tips-For-Running-in-the-Rain

Sisters, there are going to be many rainy seasons in your life. But you must run on. You cannot allow any circumstances to cut in on you and stop your progress. Often times, God just wants to see if you are willing to continue running the race in the midst of the storm to reveal if you are really as faithful as you claim you are. It’s like He is asking, “Do you really want what you asked for? If so, why are you stopping? Do you really trust Me like you say that you do? If so, then why don’t you believe that I am right here running in the rain with you?” When you change your mind and decide to push through regardless of the circumstances, you will be pleasantly surprised at how quickly you will be out of the storm. Just like me, you may find it very difficult to see as you run in the rain. But run anyway! If you are willing to press on, He will lead you when you cannot see your way out of the storm!

Knowing how much I absolutely detest being in the rain, yet the fact I completed my run in the rain gave me a new sense of accomplishment. It gave me the confidence to believe that I can truly overcome challenges. Your rainy patch is for your development. Do not stunt your growth because you would rather hide under a tree while the storm passes. Or even worse, phone a friend who you think can save you from the storm. Run on in the rain! After all, the rainy days are what makes beautiful things grow!

Dear Daddy,

I know that sometimes I do not willingly submit to pushing through the rainy days of my life. Please help me when I try to resist my growth process. I am committed to growing in You, and if that means that I have to experience some storms, then please help me endure. I know that I can rest confident in knowing that even in every downpour, You are my shelter! Thank You for my rainy days because they are helping me to blossom into a beautiful flower! In Jesus’ Name, Amen!

Ladies, today I EMPOWER you to simply run in the rain! You may be experiencing a storm in the areas of relationships, finances, losing a loved one or anything else, but know that the One who allows rain to come knows how much you will grow from this storm! I EMPOWER you to not just wait for the storm to pass, but to outrun your storm! Leave the rain behind you!

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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.

Blessings, Encouragement, Expectations

Expect the Unexpected

Now to him who is able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine, according to his power that is at work within us, to him be glory in the church and in Christ Jesus throughout all generations, for ever and ever! Amen. (Ephesians 3:20-21 NIV)

My husband and I have been thinking about, talking about, and praying about sending our oldest son to preschool for quite some time. Right now our sons are in a home-care environment and the wonderful lady who keeps them will allow them to stay until they are four years old before she mandates they enter a school setting in an effort to be prepared for Kindergarten. Our oldest is now three years old and we knew from the beginning that there was a chance we’d put him a school-type setting before he turned four to provide him more structure and to give him more time to transition and adjust.

After looking at various preschools, we decided on the one that we think will be the best for our son. When I went to inquire about enrollment, I was told that we could place him on the waiting list (for a “small” fee of course) but he would not be guaranteed a “spot” until spring 2015. I was initially frustrated with this because upon checking a few months before, there were “spots” available. Now just like that, enrollment was at maximum capacity and no guarantees could be made until a year later! He’d be four by that time! We placed him on the “list” anyway resolving ourselves to the fact that if it was the Lord’s will for him to start sooner then provision would be made for him to start at that appointed time.

Well, as I was driving home the other day, a friend of mine, whose daughter also goes to this preschool, called me and told me I should call and follow up with the school to check my son’s placement on the list. Honestly, I didn’t think it would do much good but figured it couldn’t hurt to check.  I called and the lady who answered was precisely the lady over enrollment. She informed me that our son could start at the beginning of this school year on August 11th! I’m sure she thought she was talking to an idiot for a moment because I was speechless. When I managed to find the words to say, I stumbled over them. I finally got all the information I needed and then hung up the phone, all the while asking “how in the world did that happen?” I thought the earliest he may get to start would be October. That was me estimating based on some unknown and extraneous factors floating around in my head, lol. That’s what we do; we start to use human reasoning and think “well maybe it is going to or has to happen this way, or if it even happen at all.”  Sarah and her husband Abraham also had a moment where they started to reason, and they didn’t understand at first how what God promised them would come to pass. God told this elderly couple they would have a child and many generations of children from that child on, but Sarah laughed and her husband assumed that God would make him a father of many nations through his son he already had with his servant (you got to read more about this if you are not familiar). However, God gave Abraham and Sarah a child of their own! (Genesis 17, 18 & 21)

Just like God blessed Abraham and Sarah with the unexpected, He did the same for me and my husband. August 11th is just around the corner and my son will start preschool! Whew! Only God could have orchestrated such an occurrence. I’m a little nervous about him starting school but that’s another story. The moral of this story is God can and will do the unexpected when we least expect it! While I was busy trying to figure it out, He already worked it out! Expect the unexpected! You never know what blessings God has in store for you!

Dear Daddy,

Thank You for being faithful and omnipotent! Thank You for working things out on my behalf and the behalf of my loved ones. You are awesome! You are mighty! Thanks for handling everything, no matter how simple or complicated. Thanks for Your unexpected surprises that remind me to stay in awe of You. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.

Expect the unexpected my sisters! I EMPOWER you to do so! Trust God and let God do what He does best! I EMPOWER you to surrender and believe that God knows and has what is best for you! I EMPOWER you to prepare to be amazed! I EMPOWER you to expect the blessings!

Can you recall a time when God did something unexpected for you? Are there areas in your life that you would like God to do the unexpected?

Please help us bless and EMPOWER homeless women and their children as the beginning of a new school year nears!  For more information on how you can donate and help make a difference, please click here http://www.gofundme.com/cfeux8.

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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.

Faith Fridays, Miscellaneous, Motivation, Self Love, Weight Loss

Faith Friday: Find Love In Yourself!

Faith Fridays are all about providing a visual to strengthen your faith. Some times we just need to witness the awesome moves of God in someone else’s life to remind us that He is real and can still perform miracles in our own lives! If we just believe, anything is possible with God!

But do you want to know, O foolish man, that faith without works is dead? (James 2:20 NJKV)

It’s great for us to believe God to change our situations, but it’s worthless if we don’t roll up our sleeves and do SOMETHING! Today’s Faith Friday video showcases a young lady who did just that and in the midst, she found love within herself! Take a look…

If you can’t view the video, please click here.

 

Focus, Goals & Dreams, Miscellaneous, Procrastination

Let’s Get S.M.A.R.T.

God really spoils me! Yes, I experience seasons of disappointment, hurt, pain and hardship but in the end it all works out for my good. I’ve heard many Christians say, “What God has for me no man can take away,” but I’m learning that maybe no “man” can take it away but “you” can.

To prove that “you” can get in the way of your own blessing, look at  the children of Israel who weren’t able to see the land God promised to them because of constant disobedience, “The Lord replied, “I have forgiven them, as you asked. Nevertheless, as surely as I live and as surely as the glory of the Lord fills the whole earth, not one of those who saw my glory and the signs I performed in Egypt and in the wilderness but who disobeyed me and tested me ten times—not one of them will ever see the land I promised on oath to their ancestors. No one who has treated me with contempt will ever see it.” (Numbers 14:20-23). Or what about King David, an awesome man of God yet his mistakes hindered him, “This is what the Lord says: ‘Out of your own household I am going to bring calamity on you. Before your very eyes I will take your wives and give them to one who is close to you, and he will sleep with your wives in broad daylight. You did it in secret, but I will do this thing in broad daylight before all Israel.’” (2 Samuel 12:11-12) Or even Judas, a man who walked with Jesus became so overwhelmed with his personal failure he pulled his own plug. “When Judas, who had betrayed him, saw that Jesus was condemned, he was seized with remorse and returned the thirty pieces of silver to the chief priests and the elders.  “I have sinned,” he said, “for I have betrayed innocent blood.” “What is that to us?” they replied. “That’s your responsibility.” So Judas threw the money into the temple and left. Then he went away and hanged himself.” (Matthew 27:3-5)

I am a dreamer. A particular personality assessment deemed me a “strategic futurist thinker”, meaning I’m always looking for better ways to improve things. In my eyes, the future is bright but what I lack is execution. I have big and amazing ideas but lack follow through. I’ve been told the promise on my life but lately it seems more of a fantasy than a reality and it is no one’s fault but my own. I’ve taken advantage of God spoiling me and allowed laziness and procrastination to enter my life.  January is almost over but don’t lose sight of your goals! Below is my action plan for 2014 to help better execute my ideas.

Goal Action to achieve Completion date
Spiritual growth
  • Read at least 12 books in the bible
  • Intentionally pray, mediate or worship at least 70 minutes a week
  • Invite someone to my church
  • One random act of kindness a month
  • 40 day fast
  • Fast 5 times this year
  • Find a co-parent church
  • Dec 2014
  • Ongoing
  • Dec 2014
  • Ongoing
  • Feb 2014
  • Dec 2014
  • August 2014
Healthy living
  • Drink more water
  • Drink less alcohol
  • Drink less coffee
  • Do juicing cleanse
  • 25 by 25! (25lbs by 25 yrs. old)
  • Be active at least 4 days a week
  • Run in a 5k
  • Run a 5k by October 2014
Obtain financial freedom from consumer debt
  • Create and stick to a budget
  • Separate gas, grocery, bill and play money in separate accounts
  • Grow savings and emergency account 100%
  • Raise credit score 30%
  • Ongoing
  • Jan-Feb 2014
  • Dec 2014
  • Dec 2014
Forward progression at work/establish myself as a thought leader
  • Establish myself as a thought leader within my organization
  • Develop stronger leadership skills
  • Obtain a mentor in my organization
  • FY15
  • FY15
  • April 2014

Dear Daddy,

Thank You for guidance and wisdom to see Your plan through. God, You are doing a mighty thing with my life and I want to assist by putting in the hard work that You deserve. Lord, I want to pray against any distractions or hardships the enemy is sending my way to detour me from my goals. I thank You, Jesus, for patience and grace on this journey. In Jesus’ Name, Amen!

Ladies, I EMPOWER you to make SMART (specific, measurable, attainable, relevant and time-bound)  goals this year. Supernatural is great because the testimony elevates people’s faith but it is my belief that when God has you work for something it gives you the ability to EMPOWER others in an unbelievable way. Appoint people to hold you accountable but understand at the end of the day YOU must do this.  Create a list and in December 2014 we will revisit this! Good Luck! This year remember 1 Chronicles 28:20: “Be strong and courageous, and do the work. Do not be afraid or discouraged, for the LORD God, my God, is with you. He will not fail you or forsake you until all the work for the service of the temple of the LORD is finished. (You are God’s temple.)

What is one of your SMART goals for 2014?

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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. One of her go to scriptures is, “Rejoice always, pray continually, give thanks in all circumstances; for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus.” (1 Thessalonians 5:16-18 NIV).

Focus, God's Peace, Trusting God

Finding Calm in Chaos

You will keep him in perfect peace, whose mind is stayed on You, because he trusts in You. (Isaiah 26:3 KJV)

Ever since I was blessed to have the opportunity to join the EmpowerMoments team, it seems as if my life has become busier than ever. Before, I had time to do anything I wanted. Now, everyday it’s something new. At first, I felt like I could handle it but then, I became overwhelmed. I felt like I really had absolutely no time for God.

I must admit that I allowed the enemy to stress me out, especially when my car broke down on the side of the highway while I was trying to help my sister after her car broke down. We were both on the side of the highway with our cars side by side. After neither one would start, I found myself feeling very discouraged.

My dad and I arrive to rescue my sister and while he was working on her car, my car stopped. I went from thanking God for allowing us to all be safe to panicking because neither car would start. I called the car lot where I purchased my car and asked that a tow truck be sent. They gave me the run around for about an hour or so. My frustration then escalated to anger. Before I knew it I was yelling at the people because they didn’t want to help me.

All I could think about was all of the things I had to do that day and how I was sitting on the side of the road wasting time. Then I grew frustrated with my sister as I recalled how I had called her the night before with explicit instructions about getting to work the next morning. She failed to listen and as a result, we were stranded!

In the midst of all that chaos, a close family friend called and offered to come and pick us up. However, my sister declined her offer! We were sitting in the car in 0°weather! I couldn’t understand why she would turn down some help! My blood pressure immediately shot up and I had to get out of the car and try to calm down.

In that moment, all I could do was scream. I was trying to ask God to calm me down but every time I looked at my sister I became frustrated all over again. Every time I looked at my car, I became angry. It was just difficult to shift my focus from my issues at hand to the One who could change my circumstances.

Eventually, I made it home and that’s where I began to relax. I sat on the sofa and prayed and asked God to forgive me for being so angry. He calmed me down quickly. There was no trace of anger or frustration anywhere. He placed it on my heart to apologize for getting angry so I called everyone I’d yelled at and apologized. I felt a lot better and was able to ask God to let His will be done. I realized I’d been going through a storm and needed to focus on God to help me through it.

There was a lesson in all of that confusion. God allows us to experience storms in order for us to grow. We lose sight of Him in the midst of our storm and we panic as soon as the enemy attacks. If we don’t see a way out, we go into a frenzy and lose self control. We stop trusting God, make mistakes we wouldn’t otherwise make, lose faith, and forget to trust Him. We have to remember to focus on God when there is chaos all around us.   He already knows when and how the situation will be fixed. He knows what’s best for us and has promised to keep us in perfect peace as long as our focus is on Him.

Dear Daddy,

Please help us stay calm and encouraged while we wait on you. Please give us the perseverance to wait on you. Please give us confidence in knowing that you will never leave us in the midst of a storm but will always be there. Please bless us in the way you have intended and keep our eyes, hearts, and minds focused on you. Please help us to give all of our worries, concerns, fears, doubts, and insecurities to you. You can handle anything far better than we can. Please help us to not allow our situation or the people we’re around at the time to discourage us or cause us to stray. In Jesus’ Name, Amen!

Ladies, I EMPOWER you to trust God in the midst if your storm. He is always there with you and will never leave you. I EMPOWER you to shift your focus from the storm you’re in to the One who has the power to keep you in perfect peace during the storm. 

What has your attention?  Put your focus back on God.

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

 

Focus, God, God's Grace

My Secret Ingredient…

Come close to God, and God will come close to you. Wash your hands, you sinners; purify your hearts, for your loyalty is divided between God and the world. (James 4:8 NLT)

This time of year many women are celebrating Christmas with their families, enjoying vacation time, and sharing cookie recipes!  Even though those things are okay, this is also a good time for reflection.  I, myself, usually take a journey through my journals and agenda books that I have been keeping through the year.  I try to see what has made it to “primary” position in my life and what I need to work on for the next year.

This being humbly said, finally my need for God is recognized and 2012 has proved it.  Yes, after evaluating this year, I can honestly say that I have been more productive in the things of God and my natural life.  I have been praying more, spending time in my word more, giving more, and following Christ more.  How is this?  I was honestly struggling in 2011 in my relationship with the Lord.  I was not reading my word daily, praying daily, or practicing what I believed and that was okay with me.  This year (2012) was totally different; I had a craving to get into my word, a desire to do for others more than myself, and a belief in the Lord for impossible things this year.

What is my secret to my success in 2012?  The secret is having a daily relationship with the Lord and drawing closer to Him that has caused me to have humility and greater faith in His abilities.  The same God who directs the earth in its orbit and who rises and sets the sun has become my top priority and in return He supplies me with daily strength and grace to follow Him.

Being a complete individual, gracious wife, loving mom and a dependable friend is what I am. The only thing that has helped me become these things is my relationship with God.  It’s closer than the past years and I believe that it will only grow closer by grace.

Our personal relationships with the Father have more impact on our daily lives than we give credit to.  Paying attention to it is something that can have a significant, positive impact on our work and personal relationships.  I’m working daily to have a Jesus-centered personal life that will spill in abundance into my other relationships and obligations. 

My question now is do you believe that God upholds the universe?  Changes the seasons?  Gives life?  If you have the faith for these things, then rest assure that He will never prove that He is unable to fulfill His own promises towards you.  Your relationship with Him matters and once He becomes FIRST on your agenda, and schedule, then every other area in your life will be affected for the advancement of His kingdom.  That’s it—the secret to my life—I have learned to draw closer to God daily.

Dear Daddy,

We look to You as we end this year and begin another one.  We render our hearts to You now, asking that You would humble us so that we may receive Your grace.  We desire to walk with You Lord and we believe that You would come along and take our hands. Thank You for Your everlasting love.  In Jesus’ Name, Amen!

I EMPOWER you to turn it around in 2013!  If you know you haven’t drawn closer to the Lord as you would like to or done so in the past, you can begin right away to change that.  Just do one small thing that you said you would do, each day.  Start off by spending the first 5 minutes of your morning with Him or joining a small group to go through your bible.  Just act on His word and come close to God, and God will come close to you. 

Share with us your progress or this coming year’s actions you will take to have a Jesus-centered life.

Read a related EM:  Are You There God, It’s Me Chancee?

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Mrs. Lisa M. Purnell-Marshall is happily married to the wonderful and inspiring Antoine L. Marshall. She is the proud mother of two gorgeous girls. Her voice is one of the leading and authentic voices for breast-feeding, especially for the African-American community and Generation Y. She currently works inside of her home and plans to become a professional licensed lactation consultant in 2014. She and her family are members at Spirit of Liberty Church located in Markham, IL. Embracing the love that God has for her, Lisa labors to live an acceptable and pure life through the leading and keeping of the Holy Spirit so that her attitude, words, and actions attract the glory of God. In her free time she loves receiving manis and pedis. Her favorite promises that she find comfort and reassurance in are: Psalm34:19: “A righteous man may have many troubles, but the LORD delivers him from them all” and Luke 6:38: “Give, and it will be given to you. A good measure, pressed down, shaken together and running over, will be poured into your lap. For with the measure you use, it will be measured to you.”

Children, God's Promises, Strength

Just Stand!

Therefore put on the full armor of God, so that when the day of evil comes, you may be able to stand your ground, and after you have done everything, to stand.  Stand firm then, with the belt of truth buckled around your waist, with the breastplate of righteousness in place, and with your feet fitted with the readiness that comes from the gospel of peace. (Ephesians 6:13-15 NIV)

I like to fix things!  I actually, oftentimes, have a YEARNING for fixing things.  No, I am not talking about fixing broken things around the house; I am talking about fixing a problem or situation.  For the most part, I am pretty good at fixing situations (if you ask me) and I feel good after I have fixed one.

Recently, I ran into a situation that I have not been able to fix. My 8 year old son has become the ‘bad boy’ at school.  I have received phone calls from ALL of his teachers, the principal and vice principal about his behavior, behavior that is so out of character for him that I have asked on more than one occasion if the right parent has been called!  “Is there another Dion in the third grade?”  “Did you actually see him do that or did another student tell you he did that?”  I tried all the normal ‘fixes’ that I use when he misbehaves (which is hardly ever the case especially in school): no TV, no video games, no extracurricular activities, talking to him until I am blue in the face, and praying. Still, the phone calls and write ups continued.  Things came to a head about a week or so ago when I got a call saying that he was being suspended and I needed to pick him up from school NOW. I hung up the phone, sat at my desk, and cried. Literally.  Who was this child, and what had he done with my Dion over the past month and a half?  Why is he going to school embarrassing his self and me?  What can I do that I haven’t already done?  “…..take up the shield of faith, with which you can extinguish all the flaming arrows of the evil one.  Take the helmet of salvation and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God.  And pray in the Spirit on all occasions with all kinds of prayers and requests.  With this in mind, be alert and always keep on praying for all the Lord’s people. (Ephesians 6:16-18 NIV)

Now this EmpowerMoment is obviously the abbreviated version of the story, and while I mentioned that I prayed, if you paid any attention to the list of things that I did, prayer was at the end.  Don’t get me wrong; I pray for my children every single day, all day, but I had allowed this situation to beat me down so badly that I was exhausted.  On many days I felt that the situation could not be fixed, but when I hung up the phone, God reminded me that there are certain situations that only HE CAN FIX!  He reminded me that when I have done all that I can do, I need to JUST STAND!  Finally, be strong inthe Lord and in his mighty power.  Put on the full armor of God, so that you can take your stand against the devil’s schemes.  For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms.” (Ephesians 6:10-12 NIV)

Dear Daddy,

Thank You for entrusting me to be the mother of two of the most awesome boys in the world!  Thank You for Your word and for being there to fix what I can’t!  Lord, please continue to guide me and my children on the paths that You would have us take, and when we are unsure, please remind us to stand on Your faith and Your word.  In Jesus’ Name, Amen!

Ladies, today I EMPOWER you to JUST STAND when you have done all that you can do!  Stand on your faith, the word of God, and know that His armor is all that you need to get through the broken situation or all you need to repair that problem that is too big for you!

If you are in your JUST STAND period, what promises of God are you standing on?

Read a related EM:  Who Can I Run To?

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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.”

Children, Faith, Health/Sickness, Strength, Trials, Trusting God, Victory

Not By My Own Might…

Do your best, prepare for the worst—then trust God to bring the victory. (Proverbs 21:31 MSG)

Recently I have been in one of the most serious faith tests of my life thus far. I have been challenged to believe God for some truly supernatural things and to take the limits off of Him like never before. And while I have always had crazy faith, my current issues are testing to make sure that what I say I possess I truly do. A tremendous part of having faith in God for your life is trusting that He is truly going to do what is best for you. As the retire president of Control Freak Anonymous, I know how easy it is to want to intervene when God is busy working on your behalf. Sometimes our little handiwork makes us think that we have really assisted God and accomplished something. Then God gets jealous because He wants to get the glory from our situation, so He permits circumstances that we have NO power to transform. Even if we tried with all our human might, called in family and friends to help, and exhausted every resource we had, we still wouldn’t be able to rectify the situation. That is where I am today…

My newborn daughter is facing some serious health complications. Initially, we only knew that she wasn’t gaining weight as a baby her age should. We later found out that her failure to grow properly was linked to an extra large hole in her heart. Her tiny little heart is working so hard to meet the demands of her body that she is burning more calories than she is consuming. The doctors are not optimistic that the hole will close on its own because it is such a large one. They have suggested that the only way for her to be healed is open heart surgery. Of course upon hearing this news I was devastated, as any mother would be. I sulked in my sadness for a day or two, but then I got it together. (Ladies, it is ok to pause and get in your feelings for a moment, BUT you HAVE to get back up quickly. If you don’t, the enemy is going to wear you out. After all, the devil can’t hit a MOVING target!)

After I got up and got back on my post of praise, prayer and worship, I had a nice talk with Jesus. I felt helpless because I couldn’t fix my baby. This was more than a past due electric bill issue or relationship problem—I could handle those with my own power. I am believing God for a supernatural, miraculous healing of her heart and that would require His help. In prayer, the Spirit whispered these simple, yet powerful words to me: You do your best and let me handle the rest. What exactly does that mean? It means that my job is show up for the fight; it’s His job to get in the ring and battle on my daughter’s behalf. My best is wholeheartedly trusting in God’s word. When it says that He heals the broken in heart and binds up their wounds, I trust that. (Psalm 147:3) Knowing that He sent forth His word to heal my daughter, I get peace of mind. (Psalm 107:20) When I read that He is watching over His word to perform it, I relax because I don’t have to perform it. (Jeremiah 1:12) When I recall that this will only be successful with heaven’s help, I don’t have to rely on my own might and power. (John 3:27)

I know the hole is the same size it was when it was first discovered.  I know that the surgery has been scheduled. I know that with a surgery such as this comes many risks.  Those are the facts. However, my faith dictates what I believe. I believe in the power of prayer. I believe God’s word is true. I believe God is STILL a healer. I believe God can close the hole so tightly that one would never know that it existed. Should He not choose to close the hole, I believe God to keep her through the surgery. I believe that however the plot of this story goes, God is going to get the glory! Simply put, I just believe God!

Dear Daddy,

As I face situations that are beyond my control, I rest easy knowing that I have You on my side. You control everything; the wind and seas halt at Your command, so I know that You are able to calm my storms as well.  Lord, when my faith begins to falter, please remind me of Your word. Please remind me how You saved me before and didn’t need anyone’s help. I thank You for being what I need to be successful and victorious. In Jesus’ Name, Amen!

Ladies, today I EMPOWER you to rely on the strength of God, not your own might. If you are in a very challenging situation right now that is truly testing your faith, pause to thank Him right now! He is perfecting your faith and ensuring that He gets the glory out of your life. When this storm passes (and it will pass), you will be able to say without a shadow of a doubt, “Nobody did this, but GOD!!!

A host of prayer warriors have joined me in praying for a miraculous healing of my daughter’s heart. This EmpowerMoment is dedicated to each of them. May God blow each of your minds with His mighty power!

After realizing that you can’t do it yourself, what have you released to God?

Read a related EmpowerMoment: She is Me: Sarah

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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.