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

Transitions: Trampled on the Floor

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

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

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

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

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

Dear Daddy,

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

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

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

Read a related EmpowerMoment: Seasons Change

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

Black Music Month Series, Blessings, Completion, Encouragement, Focus, Goals & Dreams, Inspirational, Motivation, Persistance, Preparation, Procrastination

Go Get It!

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!

Lord, what is this feeling that I’m feeling? I’m content, but I am uncomfortable.  Settled in life, but unsettled in my spirit.  Have you ever felt like this? Sometimes God has to shake some things up in order for us to see that we are not reaching our potential.

The very first time that I heard Mary Mary’s new song “Go Get It” I felt that God was talking directly to me.  I had continued to struggle with a move that God has continued to reveal to me that I am supposed to be making. However that is often times easier said than done.

So Lord let me get this straight. You want me to quit my job, move someplace I have never been nor do I know anyone? You want me to move from the comfort of my home to the discomfort of the unknown? Daddy I love you, but that is asking a bit much.  God then reveals His answer to me:

For if ye shall diligently keep all these commandments which I command you, to do them, to love the LORD your God, to walk in all his ways, and to cleave unto him;

Then will the LORD drive out all these nations from before you, and ye shall possess greater nations and mightier than yourselves.

Every place whereon the soles of your feet shall tread shall be yours: from the wilderness and Lebanon, from the river, the river Euphrates, even unto the uttermost sea shall your coast be.

There shall no man be able to stand before you: for the LORD your God shall lay the fear of you and the dread of you upon all the land that ye shall tread upon, as he hath said unto you. (Deuteronomy 11:22-25 NKJV)

The Lord sometimes wants us to do things that may not seem ideal for us, but that will in the end place us where He wants us to be. How many things has God told you to go get that you still have not claimed? Nobody else can receive what God has designed for you to have.

My biggest problem was that I was scared.  Scared to do something that put me in a position where I did not feel in control. I realized that I claim to trust God in every aspect of my life, but it was really only the areas that made me comfortable.  How will I ever get something I never had if I never do anything that I have never done?

“Fear not, for I am with you; Be not dismayed, for I am your God. I will strengthen you, Yes, I will help you, I will uphold you with My righteous right hand.” (Isaiah 41:9-11 NKJV)
I am still seeking God because I am still nervous, but I know that God directs my path and He has not placed in me the spirit of fear. I am ready to go out and get what God has set out for me to have.  As the song says “It’s like you’re looking through a telescope; you see where you going to be”.  I can see where God is taking me.  Now I must get on board and go get what God has for me!

Dear Daddy,

I come before You asking for guidance and the faith to receive whatever it is that You have for my life.  I need You to continue to push me into a place where I will strive to have things that You have designed specifically for me.  I ask that You will continue to strengthen me in the areas that I am weak.  I need You to lift me up and give me the push that I need in order to receive what You have for me. In Jesus’ Name, Amen!

Ladies, I EMPOWER you to be strong enough to step out on faith and stretch your limits.  Don’t always stay where you are comfortable in life, but know that blessings and breakthroughs come in some of the most uncomfortable places.  Know that whenever you are weak the Lord is strong.  Follow His lead, and you will not be steered wrong. 

Envision where He wants to be and how you will go get it as you enjoy Mary Mary’s “Go Get It”:

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Ms. Sherita Shelton currently resides in Nashville, Tennessee.  She holds a Bachelor’s degree in Psychology and a Master’s in Professional Counseling and is currently pursuing her counseling license.  Sherita works as a therapist and case manager for children as well as adults.  She facilitates groups for single women and offers mentoring and individual counseling for her clients.  Sherita’s favorite Bible verse is Proverbs 3:5-6: “Trust in the Lord with all thine heart; and lot not on your own understanding. In all thy ways acknowledge him, and he shall direct thy paths.”

Completion, Focus, Growth/Maturity, Motivation, Organization, Preparation

Wise Women Build!

 “…The wise woman builds her house, but with her own hands the foolish one tears hers down…” (Proverbs 14:1 NIV)

This scripture has been on my mind for the last week or so.  I sought the Lord on why He keeps bringing this scripture to the forefront of my mind.  I did not believe it had any application to my life.  I was certainly not tearing down my house!  As I meditated more deeply, God revealed to me tearing down my house was not the issue; I was not building UP my house.

The word ‘build’ means to establish, increase, or strengthen.  A wise woman is always in BUILDING MODE.  This goes for the smallest things like the old shower curtain that needs to be replaced and other small updates that would make the home more inviting.  This also goes for bigger, more long term building such as a savings account with funds for at least 6 months worth of expenses just in case something should happen.

I had to admit, I was not being a wise woman because I was NOT in building mode.  I was more in maintenance mode, just keeping the status quo, nothing more, nothing less.  I tried to justify my behavior by saying, “Well, it’s just me!  If I was married or had kids, I would do more!”  However, the scripture does not say, “A wise WIFE…” or “A wise MOTHER…” it says, “A wise WOMAN!”  This means married or single, with or without children, EVERY woman who desires to be wise is REQUIRED to build up her house.

Dear Daddy,

Thank You for continuing to show me who I am so that I may continue to evaluate and make changes in order to become the woman that You have called me to be.  I thank You for calling me to greater wisdom in You.  I decree and declare that I will be a wise woman in EVERY area of my life.  I ask that You help me to consistently work to build up my house:  physically, spiritually, financially, and emotionally. Show me what I need to do, lead me to other wise women that will put a demand on me and challenge me to grow even wiser in You.  I praise You for the awesome destiny that You have for me and I also praise again You for calling me to greater wisdom.  In Jesus’ Name, Amen!

Ladies, I EMPOWER you to be a WISE woman and build up your house.  If you don’t know where to start, here are several things you can do:

1.        Get around WISE women.  “[S]he who walks with the wise grows wise, but a companion of fools suffers harm…” (Proverbs 13:20 NIV)  For example, you can’t become a wiser woman in your marriage if you only spend time with foolish women who slash tires, bust windows, and curse out their men in public.  You can’t become a wiser woman in your finances if you only spend time with women who spend their whole paycheck on their hair, nails, and Saturday night outfits.

2.       Read and HEED the word of God – “Listen to my instruction and be wise; do not ignore it…” (Proverbs 8:33 NIV)  Take inventory of what you’re doing, does it line up with the Word of God?  If not, it is time to make some changes.

3.       Most important, SEEK THE LORD – “If any of you lack wisdom, he should ask God, who gives generously to all without finding fault, and it will be given to him…” (James 1:5 NIV)  God will reveal to you what you need to do specifically in order to build up your house if you ask Him.

What are doing to ensure that you are constantly in build mode? Share your tactics with other women below.

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

Growth/Maturity, Preparation, Restoration, Stress, Submission/Surrendering, Trials

Sandpaper

“Blessed is the one who perseveres under trial because, having stood the test, that person will receive the crown of life that the Lord has promised to those who love him.” James 1:12 NIV

One of my hobbies includes furniture restoration. I was speaking to my mother the other day about restoring a dining room set she gave me. I expressed to her my insecurities of staining or painting it because of a failed attempt to restore an old desk I found some years ago. When I found the desk, it was thrown on the curb, but I saw potential. I could see where it would go in my living room and how it would serve as a functional piece in my home. I dragged it home, had my husband patch up a hole in the back and we prepped it with primer. After the primer dried we painted it a rich ebony color and I was ecstatic about it. A few months later the paint began to wear off. The area of the desk we use and rely on the most is worn and the old part of the desk is showing. Explaining this to her I said, “Mom you know what? I forgot to sand it!” Her reply was, “The condition of what’s underneath will determine the longevity of your finish.”

I was slapped with an EMPOWERMOMENT! God found me on the side of the road and saw potential! He saw where I fit into His kingdom, and how I would serve a functional place in His home. But He has to sand me first…OUCH!

The purpose of sanding, especially reclaimed or unfinished wood (insert shout here), is to prepare the foundation to withstand and absorb the permanent stain. Sanding removes the entire old finish, and sometimes there are layers and layers of old stuff. Sand paper has various grades. Some grades are not as rough and they are used to sand areas that do not require much smoothing. Other grades are heavy duty and are very abrasive, but their purpose is to smooth out the tough patches. They are used when the wood is rough or “resistant” to softer grades.

My friend, if you resist God’s pruning, instruction, chastisement, denials (yes, there are some), and delays, He can’t sand you for the proper finish. A finish that will be long-term. Are you wondering why He denied your opportunity for that car or home purchase, why He removed that man, why He did not allow you to be employed at a certain place, or why He has even placed you in a “desert” period in your life? God is sanding you! Peter reminds us in his first letter, “Humble yourselves, therefore, under God’s mighty hand, that he may lift you up in due time. Cast all your anxiety on him because he cares for you.” I Peter 5:10 NIV. He knows that you are struggling and you can ask for comfort during your sanding process, but that will NOT eliminate the sanding.

For some of us it requires the heavy duty sand paper to ensure our foundation is smooth. I often wonder why God would keep dealing with me in certain areas such as my mouth. Well this area requires much “sanding” because it is a high traffic area, the area that He will use to His glory the most! So if it is not sanded properly, I will not have a sustained “finish.” I will continue to revert to murdering souls with my words opposed to speaking life.

I’ve found that simple furniture only requires a quick sanding. In my case that would be something like helping the needy. I have a giving heart so being obedient in this area is easier for me. But furniture with intricate detail, which will serve multiple purposes, and will ultimately bring life into my home, may require days and long hours of sanding. This would be self-control of my mouth!

“Let perseverance finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything.” James 1:4 NIV. In the end, the stain, the permanent finish, and the final product have a lifelong glow but it must be sanded first…OUCH!

Dear Daddy,

I come to You with honesty, sharing with You that sanding hurts. It’s abrasive and it makes me cry at night, feel lonely, and sometimes I can’t even see the light at the end of the tunnel. But there is more truth, I know that this pain is temporary and that You are growing and preparing me for the finish! You are preparing me to handle those blessings that You have for me. God I ask that while I’m in the process, help me to hear, accept, and act on the things that You will have for me to learn. Thank You God for being faithful, being a comforter, and a sustainer of peace. For I know that all things will work out for my good (Romans 8:28). In Jesus’ Name, Amen!

Girlfriend, I EMPOWER you not to resist your sanding, but rest in the truth of knowing that God knows your desires. Delight yourself in Him by being content in the place He has you, by praising Him in the pit, and worshipping Him because of who He is, and He will give you the desires of your heart.

Has God taken you through a sanding? Encourage one another by sharing one of your sanding experiences below.

Meditate on James Chapter 1

Read a related Empowermoment: The Olive Press Series

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As a professional, Mrs. Khalilah Burton is a College Biology Instructor. She is also currently pursuing a Doctorate of Education in Higher Ed and Community College Leadership. Khalilah is passionate about her faith journey and uses this key scripture as her inspiration: “But they that wait upon the LORD shall renew their strength; they shall mount up with wings as eagles; they shall run, and not be weary; and they shall walk, and not faint.” (Isaiah 40:31 KJV) She and her husband serve as Co-Service leaders and Co-Group leaders of SustainedLove, which supports marriage get-a-ways from Family Life. Khalilah also serves as a guest speaker and panelist for various events for women and Christian empowerment. Khalilah resides in Millbrook, Alabama with her wonderful husband Donald Burton, Jr. and their energetic four-year old daughter. They attend Vaughn Forest Church.  Check out Khalilah’s Christian weight loss blog here.

Goals & Dreams, God's Promises, Patience, Preparation

I Am Not Ready!

I recently received two 9-week old kittens from a relative.  It was either I take them or they were going to be sent to the Cruelty Society where most likely they would be put down.  I never had a pet, but I figured how hard could it possibly be?  I named them Bree and Bella, bought food, toys, and other supplies.  I thought, “Oh this is so cool, I’m a mommy!”  After three days, I was ready to PUT THEM OUT!!  They woke me up at 5 a.m. crying, I was constantly sweeping and wiping up litter that they had tracked all over my office floor and desk, and because they can’t seem to keep their food in their bowl I was forever wiping up behind them so ants would not be attracted to my home.

I also lost some of the freedom and autonomy I have always enjoyed.  Instead of being out all day, I have to make sure I come home to check on the kittens.  When I would rather just go get in the bed and crash, I have to go play with them.  Every morning before I go to work I have to scoop their litter box, put out food for them and refresh their water bowl.  After a couple of days of this I found myself thinking about how to nicely give them away.  Just then God spoke saying, “But you say you’re ready to be a man’s wife and a baby’s mother?!”

After the shock wore off, emotions subsided, and reflection began, I had to admit that I am not ready for the things I have been asking God for since I was a little girl.  As far back as I can remember I have desired to be a wife and a mother.  Everything else–education, career, financial independence–was secondary to that desire.  As a matter of fact, I initially pursued these things as means to an end.  I figured that accomplishing these things would make me more desirable as a potential mate.   I have BEMOANED (to express distress or grief over) singleness for a long time, always asking WHY would God make this desire so strong in me, if He doesn’t have any intention of fulfilling it?

Truth is I’m NOT ready!  If I can’t deal with two kittens who are for the most part self sufficient, how can God trust me with a husband who will need me to be his help meet and babies, tiny human beings who would be TOTALLY dependent on me?  Now that I am in a place of honesty with myself and God He can begin to work in me to get me to a place where I will be ready. “Delight yourself in the Lord and he will give you the desires of your heart.” (Psalms 37:4 NIV)   I am encouraged that God has not forgotten about me, “At the time I have decided, my words will come true.  You can trust what I say about the future.  It may take a long time, but keep on waiting—it will happen!” (Habakkuk 2:4 CEV) I did not like this scripture, I couldn’t stand the “…it may take a long time, but keep on waiting…” part.  That is until I realized the purpose of my wait…to get me ready!

We all have desires and requests before the Lord.  If we were really honest, many of us would admit we are not ready for the things we are asking God for.  How can God trust you with millions when you don’t tithe from hundreds?  How can God trust you with your own business when you are not diligent with the current job you have?  We cannot move to our next level and get to our destiny until we get honest and just admit….I am not ready!

Dear Daddy,

Thank You for revelation and conviction.  Thank You for revealing the areas I need to work on in order to be ready to carry out the whole purpose for my life in You.  With a spirit of humbleness, I admit there are some things I have been asking You for that I am not truly ready for.  I ask that You work on me and through me to get me ready.  I ask that You bring me to a place of reflection before I bring requests to You.  Before I ask You for anything, help me to evaluate not only if I’m ready for that thing, but also if my desire lines up with Your will for my life.  In Jesus’ Name, Amen!

Ladies, today I EMPOWER you to BE HONEST with yourselves and God.  Do a personal inventory of all the things you have been praying and asking God to do for you and through you.  First, seek God’s will regarding these things. Does what you want line up with God’s will for your life?  Secondly, ask yourself, “Am I REALLY ready?”  If God gave you that thing TODAY, would you be willing and able to handle everything that goes along with it, the good, the bad, and the atrocious!?  If your answer is no, again seek God and ask Him to help you. Ask Him to work on you and remove every issue that is hindering you.

Are you really ready for what you are petitioning God for? Tell us about it below.

Enter our monthly giveaway by clicking here.

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

Assignment, Preparation, Purpose, She is Me Series

She is Me: Esther

In honor of National Women’s History Month, EmpowerMoments is featuring a special week-long series called ‘She is Me’.  Each writer will parallel her own life with that of a Biblical woman to enlighten and EMPOWER you. Cheers to being a WOMAN!

For Such a Time as This!

When God chooses us for a GREAT work, He always places us in a position for it to be fulfilled. Sometimes the position may seem uncomfortable or painful; however it has purpose behind it. The story may start off like a nightmare, but our God transitions us to the “happily ever after” part. Like Esther, that’s how my story began…

This man had a very beautiful and lovely young cousin, Hadassah, who was also called Esther. When her father and mother died, Mordecai adopted her into his family and raised her as his own daughter. Esther 2:7 NLT

Like She, when I was ten years old, I was born into the world of foster care. My parents were not naturally dead, but spiritually dead and not in position to raise children. So my siblings and I were placed in the care of someone that could care for us. We were placed in a permanent home that loved us the way they knew how, but more importantly raised us in church.

Hegai was very impressed with Esther and treated her kindly. He quickly ordered a special menu for her and provided her with beauty treatments. He also assigned her seven maids specially chosen from the king’s palace, and he moved her and her maids into the best place in the harem. Esther 2:8 NLT

Like She, I was assigned to a group to prepare me to be used by the King. God knew that this preparation could not prevail if I had not been relocated. He placed me somewhere to be loved on and to be taught that knowing Him is the path to success. During the preparation, I was taught not only to go to church regularly, but also to give my time and talents to the King. Because of my training, no matter where I went or what I did, it was not an option to depart from knowing the King. In the process, I had many ‘why me’ questions? Why did I go to foster care? Why have I been through so much at an early age? Why me??? Then it all came together…

When Haman saw that Mordecai would not bow down or show him respect, he was filled with rage. He had learned of Mordecai’s nationality, so he decided it was not enough to lay hands on Mordecai alone. Instead, he looked for a way to destroy all the Jews throughout the entire empire of Xerxes…Mordecai gave Hathach a copy of the decree issued in Susa that called for the death of all Jews. He asked Hathach to show it to Esther and explain the situation to her. He also asked Hathach to direct her to go to the king to beg for mercy and plead for her people…If you keep quiet at a time like this, deliverance and relief for the Jews will arise from some other place, but you and your relatives will die. Who knows if perhaps you were made queen for just such a time as this?” Esther 3:5-6, 4:8, 14 NLT

There you have it! God reconnected with me with my first foster parent, which is now my pastor. Then He showed me the plan of the enemy in the lives of many of His chosen people and told me the role I play in His perfect plan! He showed me in a vision the bondage His people would be in and how my own family would be destroyed if I didn’t say yes to His will!

Like She, I put on my “big girl panties” and said yes! If it takes me emptying myself of my privileges and not being conformed to this world (Philippians 2:6-8, Romans 12:1-2) to bring deliverance to the people of God, I’ll do it! Like She, at first I was hesitant because I thought, “Why would the King listen to me?” Then I got past myself because like She, my family was on the line. Then I thought, of all people, God CHOSE little me for a huge job. He strategically placed me in the position to be able to handle it and produce effective results!

Like She, because of my obedience to the King, I have favor! Then the king asked her, “What do you want, Queen Esther? What is your request? I will give it to you, even if it is half the kingdom!”  (Esther 5:3 NLT) And now I hear God say,What is your request Rodnisha?”

Dear Daddy,

Just like Esther, I truly desire to be used by You! I desire Your will to be done on earth as it is in heaven! I desire true deliverance from sin, bondage, deep hurts, infirmities, rejection, and the powers of darkness! Father, I ask that You use me even if it places me in positions that are uncomfortable. I will obey because You brought me to Your kingdom for such a time as this. In Jesus’ Name, Amen!

Ladies, I EMPOWER you to seek Him to know why you were brought to His kingdom and WALK in it! Are you an intercessor, teacher, encourager, giver, helper, mid-wife, or just a living epistle? Whatever He has called you to be is important and you are connected to others. Kingdom building is for the benefit of others! I EMPOWER you to build the kingdom!

Ms. Rodnisha L. Anderson resides in Chicago, IL and serves as an elder at Life Redeeming Ministries. She works diligently with the Singles and Intercessory ministries. She is married to the Lord and becomes whatever she needs to become to reach the people for the building of God’s kingdom. Rodnisha truly desires to witness successful single women thriving in the kingdom of God.  Her favorite scripture is 1 Timothy 4:12: “Don’t let anyone think less of you because you are young. Be an example to all believers in what you say, in the way you live, in your love, your faith, and your purity.”

Direction/Guidance, Growth/Maturity, Preparation, Submission/Surrendering, Trusting God

Planners Anonymous

Hi, my name is Katrina and I’m a planner!

I am self-proclaimed planner.  I plan out my day. I plan out mostly every task I complete during my day from cleaning my house to completing a report for work. My family and friends look to me to plan family events and vacations.  I take a certain level of pride in my ability to plan something out and make arrangements should anything go wrong.

While I enjoy this gift God has given me, it has also become a curse.  I’m a planner to the extent of planning my whole life!  I just knew how I wanted everything to go–my occupation, style of home and car, when, where, and how I wanted to get married, and the number of kids I wanted along with their names and genders.

I put myself in danger of two major things happening when I planned my life out like this:  (1) I didn’t submit any parts of my life to the will of God to do whatever He wanted to do. (2) I became anxious when I started to see that some of my plans were not working out the way I had hoped. In MY plan I should have been married working on my first pregnancy by now (twins, one boy and one girl)!

GOD’s WILL

“…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)

Yes, God wants us to live life on purpose; however, He wants us to live out our purpose through consistent submission to HIS will for our lives, not our own!

BEING ANXIOUS

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

God wants us to CALM DOWN!!

I have since stopped making plans based on my will and have submitted my desires to the will of God for Him to do with them as He chooses.  This course of action is best because God will take your life in a direction and bless you in such a way that is beyond what you could  have EVER imagined for yourself.

“…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…” (Ephesians 3:20 NIV)

Dear Daddy,

Thank You that Your will is perfect.  We thank You for loving us so much that You have entrusted us with an awesome destiny to reach.  We are grateful for the opportunity to help build the kingdom of God and bring You glory.  We ask that You help us to continuously submit our plans to You.  Help us not to get out of Your will by making our will more important than Yours.  Please forgive us for the times that we have done so. In Jesus’ Name, Amen!

Ladies, today I EMPOWER you to submit your plans to God.  There is a song we sing at my church that simply says, “I surrender, I open up my heart to whatever you desire!”  I promise God will take you places you never imagined that you could go.

Which one of YOUR plans can you submit to God today? We’d love to hear about it! Share it with us on Facebook or Twitter!

Read a related EmpowerMoment: Control Freaks Anonymous

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

Preparation, Stress, Time Management

Just Say NO!

The word “no” contains only two letters; yet, it is one of the hardest words for many of us to verbalize. I woke up excited about my vacation and relaxed because I planned out my to do list for the day. Everything was scheduled perfectly. I had some housework to do and then a 12:00pm appointment. The phone rung, “Ms. Lundy,” the small voice whispered “we can take you at 10:30am.” I looked at the clock and hesitated before I said, “Ok, but it’s 9:40 and it takes me at least 35 minutes to get there.” She was quiet as if she was giving me an opportunity to back out and just stick to my regular appointment but I didn’t. I reluctantly said, “Ok, I’ll be there.” All of a sudden, I was in panic mode. I was still in bed and needed to be at an appointment 35 minutes away. I jumped up, showered and threw on the first set of clothes I could find. Needless to say, I was rushing.

Whoever is patient has great understanding, but one who is quick-tempered displays folly. Proverbs 14:29 NIV

As fate would have it, I caught every single red light that separated me from the highway. The cars in front of me weren’t going fast enough and I was beginning to shout obscenities in the confines of my car. At first I chided myself for not being “ready” when the call came; however, as I continued to drive and feel my rage building at these drivers who obviously didn’t know that I was going to be late for an appointment, I realized that I brought this situation on myself. See, when the receptionist called me I could have said, “No, I will stick to my scheduled time.” She didn’t make me take the appointment. She merely let me know what was available to me. Because of my own reluctance to tell her no, I became a humungous ball of negative energy. This beauty appointment had now become a “burden.”

“…let us lay aside every weight, and the sin which doth so easily beset us, and let us run with patience the race that is set before us,” Hebrews 12:1 KJV

Have you found yourself here before? You have taken on extra burdens, although you know they aren’t a part of your plan. You realize that expending energy on these “weights” will throw you off course and now you get upset when you have to deal with the responsibilities. You have a short temperament and your patience is low because this wasn’t what God told you to do anyway. All of this started because you weren’t courageous enough to say, N-O. You find yourself losing sleep and having anxiety over a situation that has nothing to do with you. You find yourself in a financial bind because you couldn’t say no. You have so much on your plate and now you are taking it out on your loved ones all because you failed to say NO!

That anxiety over the fact that I might be late to an appointment that I was actually going to early was ridiculous. The fact of the matter is that it was not a part of my course. Sometimes we have to sit back and ask God, before we say yes, “Is this what you want me to be doing, right now? Is this on my race course? Am I dragging weight onto the course, that doesn’t belong to me? Is this a part of my divine assignment?”

While the story of the beauty appointment may seem a bit extreme, it made me reflect on the many times that I have said Y-E-S, when I should’ve just said N-O.

Dear Daddy,

Thank You for wisdom. Help me to recognize when to say yes and when to say no. Give me the courage to say NO, especially when my spirit feels that saying yes isn’t the right thing to do. Continue to guide me on the course that You have outlined for me. In Jesus’ Name, Amen!

Today, I EMPOWER you to evaluate the things that are causing stress in your life. Are these things a part of your assignment or someone else’s? If you are being thrown off of your race, give it back and tell them NO. I EMPOWER you to just say NO! 

Merry Christmas Ladies! Remember that Jesus is the REASON for this season.

Read a related EmpowerMoment: Look at Me Now

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

Assignment, Attitude, Career, Growth/Maturity, Humility, Patience, Preparation, Trials, Trusting God

Stay In Your Season

“I hate this place! I will not finish this year at this school! I understand exactly what you mean girl. The boss is crazy and I am not feeling this.”

This is the conversation that I found myself having in 2011. I learned a lot about myself this year. I learned that I was an emotional creature. I let my emotions guide my decisions sometimes (well, all the time).  Let me give you an example. I have written in previous posts that I was thankful for being back in the classroom. From August to November I had the worst experience as a teacher that I have had in eight years. The students walked in and I thought, “I can control these kids because they are just going to do what I say.” I figured it didn’t matter what it took because the kids were going to complete my work because I said so. Guess what happened? I was firm and they didn’t care. If I raised my voice they raised their voice. There were days I would assign work and less than half the class wouldn’t even attempt to try it. I know you are wondering how this makes me emotional. Well I was crying every day, I was losing my hair, of course I was gaining weight again and I was angry all the time. Through these emotions I came to the conclusion that I was leaving that school. I spoke to some of my spiritual family and told them my plans and they had my back. I made up my mind that I would abandon the same kids that every other teacher has left. I went on an interview and what I thought was my way out was really a message from God.

I talked to the interviewer and she questioned me about lesson planning, teaching, behavior management and my passion for kids. As I spoke to her I heard myself saying I have met students that didn’t want to learn. It has never been this hard to teach kids. I need structure in my life and I just really hate my place of employment. I know you are thinking, “Keviyona, you have lost your mind!” No! I had not lost my mind but I had heard God’s voice. God spoke to me and said, “What happened to you trusting me? What happened to you staying in the race? What happened to you staying in your season of preparation?” I pondered and said I have always thought I was walking into my season. The more I consulted God, the more insight I obtained. I realized that every day of our lives is a season. To every thing there is a season, and a time to every purpose under the heaven. (Ecclesiastes 3:1 KJV)

Let’s look at seasons in nature to get a general idea of how seasons work. In nature, things come forth, grow and fulfill their purpose and die. Notice that winter and spring are times of preparation. In the winter the ground gets very cold or freezes, which kills germs or bacteria that could be harmful to crops. Plants that have died during the previous season decay and help replenish nourishment to the soil. Then, as the late winter and early spring comes, the soil is plowed and made ready, seeds are planted, nurtured and grow…Then in summer and fall, crops mature and are harvested. The farmers then sell the crops for money and use the money to support their families and enjoy the good things of life. A time to be born, and a time to die; a time to plant, and a time to pluck up that which is planted; A time to kill, and a time to heal; a time to break down, and a time to build up. (Ecclesiastes 3: 2-3 KJV)

I was in my season of winter. God was trying to kill my old way of dealing with issues. I was used to moaning and complaining to the people that love me and not saying anything to the people that were inflicting the pain. God was killing everything that I thought I had done on my own as a teacher. Yes, I am guilty; I had a spirit of arrogance on me as a teacher because I was labeled as “one of the best in the school.” God had to humble me and make me realize that it doesn’t matter how many degrees I have or how well I know instruction, I need to depend on Him for everything. Instead of God letting me run away from my job He made me face opposition head on. He told me to stay in my season!

By staying in my season of winter and not running to a new school, (this doesn’t mean that I won’t leave when the timing is right) I have seen a shift in the atmosphere. I’ve seen kids that would not do it at first start to work for me. I have seen students eager to learn. I’ve seen students that are ecstatic because someone really believes in them. I have seen students tell the trouble makers “shut up so Mrs. Ray can teach me something.” I am at the beginning of my summer where there is light at the end of the tunnel. I can see the flowers blooming. I can see my growth and my student’s growth. Most important, I can see God on my job. See, I am doing a new thing!  Now it springs up; do you not perceive it? I am making a way in the wilderness and streams in the wasteland. (Isaiah 43:19 NIV)

Had I not stayed in my seasons of winter and spring, I would not have realized that God was preparing me for the next season in my life. I wouldn’t have realized that I had more to learn even though I am a “vet” in the teaching profession. God had to humble me as a teacher and take me outside of my comfort zone in my winter season in order to prepare me for my summer and fall seasons, which bring leadership. I learned that there is not one season in my life but every season is a lesson that I have to learn in order to go to the next level. And we know that God causes everything to work togetherfor the good of those who love God and are called according to his purpose for them. (Romans 8: 28 NLT)

Dear Daddy,

Thank You for allowing me to have seasons of preparation and seasons of harvest. I thank You God for teaching me that I must go through seasons in order to reap my harvest. I thank You for covering me with the blood and putting me back on the course and the plan that You have for my life when I stray. I thank You God for teaching me to stay in season! In Jesus’ Name, Amen!

Women of God, I EMPOWER you to stay in whatever season you are in. Remember that whereever you are in your life, that God is preparing you for greatness. God does not want you to change the course in the middle of the season, He wants you to endure to the end. I EMPOWER you to go through your season of preparation in winter and spring and reap your harvest in fall and winter. Stay in your season!

Read a related EmpowerMoment: Seasons Change

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

Growth/Maturity, Motivation, Organization, Preparation, Procrastination, Self-Control, Time Management

The Longer You Wait…The Longer It Takes!

Tis the Season…for “Ms. Richard, what can I do to pass your class??”  Yes!  It’s the season of “Can I have some make up work and/or extra credit?”  In past years I have killed tons of trees and feverishly created and copied packets for students to complete over Christmas break…NOT THIS YEAR!! Instead, I used a workbook for my Constitution unit.  Back in October, I had the students purchase the workbook and have been assigning pages out of it since then.  Of course, some students did not purchase the workbook or bought it and never opened it to do any of the assignments.  Now that these students are failing or are close to failing, they want to know, “What can I do to pass?”  My response was, “Complete your workbook from cover to cover!”

I have never seen so many attitudes at one time!  “What you mean Ms. Richard?  This gonna take me all break to do this!”   I simply said, “the longer you wait, the longer it takes. If you had been doing the work all along, you wouldn’t have as much to do!”

Later on I was reflecting about all I have to get done.  I have to deep clean my house, finish shopping for the Christmas dinner I’m hosting, and go shopping for gifts.  This is in addition to life outside of the Christmas season; I need to grade and record several assignments, sit down and pay some bills, and the list goes on, and on, AND ON!!

Just then my words came back to me, “…the longer you wait, the longer it takes…”  Yes my students have an issue with procrastination but so do I!  Procrastination is “the act of willfully delaying the doing of something that should be done,” and in some people it is a habitual way of handling any task. There was so much I could have been getting done all along.  Instead of letting my students’ papers pile up, I could have graded an assignment or two everyday.  Christmas comes at the same time EVERY year so I could have been purchasing things throughout the year and had them ready.   Oh and my house–I wouldn’t have to do such a deep clean if I had been more diligent in weekly spot cleaning.

Now my attitude was rising, “WHY???? Why did I let this stuff pile up like this?”  Because I kept telling myself, “I’ll do it tomorrow, no rush, I’ll get to it!”

“Do not boast about tomorrow, for you do not know what a day may bring forth.” (Proverbs 27:1 NIV)

So here I am coming up with a plan TODAY so I can get everything done.  One cure for procrastination is more diligence, regardless of the task. We should be supremely motivated to be diligent in our work, since we are ultimately serving the Lord. “Whatever you do, work at it with all your heart, as working for the Lord, not for men” (Colossians 3:23 ESV). If we put our hearts into our work, as this verse says to do, we will probably find it difficult to procrastinate too much.  Yes, my weekend is pretty much shot but I will take this as a lesson to NOT procrastinate because, “the longer you wait, the longer it takes…”

Dear Daddy,

Thank You for giving us the ability and the strength to do all the things that we need to do.  Help us to be more diligent at getting tasks completed.  Give us wisdom to prioritize and manage our time efficiently and effectively so that we can complete every task You have laid before us.  In Jesus’ Name, Amen!

Ladies, I EMPOWER you to STOP PROCRASTINATING!!  There is so much we have to do in order to build the kingdom of God and reach the individual destinies we have for our lives.  We have no time to waste! 

  1. Pray and ask God for wisdom and guidance
  2.  Make a list of all the things you have to do
  3.  Write down a deadline date next to each task
  4. Prioritize how you will get each task done in an organized and timely fashion
  5.  Get to work!! 

Read a related EmpowerMoment: Rebuke the 7 Dwarfs

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