Father/Daughter, Forgiveness, Growth/Maturity, Love

Our Journey Symbolized Through Shoes

This past Christmas, my daddy sent me a pair of new boots. It wasn’t the shoes as much as it was the symbolism in his gift. They told the story of how far we had come.

And this is the confidence that we have in Him, that, if we ask any thing according to His will, He heareth us. (1 John 5:14 KJV)

As a little girl, I use to imagine what it would be like to have a father in my life. I used to pray and ask God to send him to me. In my mind, he would take me shopping and I would eat ice cream walking hand in hand with him. He would meet my boyfriend and admonish him before we went out on a date. I could talk to him about the unsettling confusing way of men and he would school me. All of these things were a part of the imagination of a little girl who wanted a “complete” family.  I would be “daddy’s girl.” Unfortunately, that is not the father that was in my life. As a matter of fact, I didn’t know him. At 17, I set out on a journey to find him and as God would have it, I met him for a brief moment when I was 18. To me it was awkward. We exchanged numbers but it would be years before I heard from him again.

Fast forward from 1998 to 2010, I decided that I would look for my dad one last time. I prayed about it and I told God that if I didn’t find him this time or he was unresponsive I would let it go. Besides, why did I have to do all of the work? I was his child so I griped, “He should be looking for me!” Through Facebook I found a cousin who got the ball rolling, although she gave me a word of caution about this journey…that maybe I should let it go. It sounded much like a letter I read in high school about my father where someone said that maybe I should “let sleeping dogs lie.” Was this person so bad that everyone felt the need to ring the alarm? It really didn’t matter what they said because I was prepared to give him a verbal lashing. Where have you been all of my life? Why this? Why that?

Pleasant words are as an honeycomb, sweet to the soul, and health to the bones. (Proverbs 16:24 KJV)

One call changed it all. I was sitting at work and my phone rang. My dad was on the other end. I was so caught off guard that I didn’t know what to say. The verbal lashing that I prepared went right out of the window and I chose to embrace him with a loving attitude and kind words. He apologized and didn’t make excuses. He went on to tell me of his drug addiction that spanned nearly thirty years. I instantly realized that God knew best. With the multitude of family challenges I had growing up, this was one that I didn’t need to endure. He told me that he was now clean and getting his life on the right track. A few months later I went to visit him and realized that I looked just like him. Since that time, we talk every week. I had to realize that our relationship is just that…ours. It’s not based on some romanticized view of a father but on what we have created. He can’t make up for the past thirty years, but we could start today and move forward. I enjoy our weekly conversations and I thank God for answered prayers.  I forgave him. And be ye kind one to another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, even as God for Christ’s sake hath forgiven you. (Ephesians 4:32 KJV) 

When I received the package from him in the mail this Christmas, I was especially excited. In my thirty-one years of living, it was the FIRST thing that my dad ever bought me. I was excited and so was he. He bragged on his selection of shoes and talked on end about how he thought I would like them. Everyone knows that shoes are the way to a woman’s heart. These boots fit perfectly and they were that perfect shade of brown. My calf muscles are huge so I can’t wear knee boots; he picked ones that came just above the ankle. His thoughtfulness came through.

Our relationship is anything but ordinary; however, I am thankful that God answered the prayer of a little girl and worked in His perfect timing to bring this relationship to fruition.

Dear Daddy,

Thank You for making my concerns Your own. Continue to guide my heart and my mouth and let my words be pleasant even when my mind wants to spew venom. Give me wisdom so that I know which relationships are worthy of building and those that I need to let go. In all things, let Your perfect will be done in my life in Your perfect timing. In Jesus’ Name, Amen!

Today I EMPOWER you to have a heart of forgiveness and remain stedfast in praying for a relationship that you want God to heal. Remove the preconceived notions from your mind and allow God to design something that is unique to your situation. He is a God that answers prayers.  

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.”

Blessings, Family, Love, Love Series

For the LOVE of Family…

Some days I think of going to the courthouse and getting a divorce. There really are no tangible assets to split, as a matter of fact they could have everything if I could just walk away. After these thoughts, I realize that there is no piece of paper that could separate me from them because even in death we are eternally linked. Other days, I find myself defending them ferociously, going out of my way to help them, or leaning on them for my own support. Through ups and downs, in and outs I do indeed love the ones that I share this inextricable bloodline with. Through it all I love my family.

Despite the hardship, betrayal, hurt, deception and lies we are forever connected to those we call family. Ultimately, we learn that loving them doesn’t mean we are always up close and personal but we are able to reunite when necessary. No matter the hurt, we are often able to look beyond the faults of our family especially when they are in need. Below are two vivid examples of betrayal and familial love conquering all.

In Genesis 27, Jacob tricks his father into giving him the blessing intended for Esau. Esau finds out and plots to kill his brother. Jacob fled and was away many years- long enough to give birth to the twelve tribes of Israel; however, there came a time when God told him to go back home. As furious as Esau was in the beginning, his heart was softened: 1And Jacob lifted up his eyes, and looked, and, behold, Esau came, and with him four hundred men… 4And Esau ran to meet him, and embraced him, and fell on his neck, and kissed him: and they wept.10And Jacob said, Nay, I pray thee, if now I have found grace in thy sight, then receive my present at my hand: for therefore I have seen thy face, as though I had seen the face of God, and thou wast pleased with me. (Genesis 33: 1,4, 10 KJV)

There can be no discussion of betrayal and forgiveness with out bringing up Joseph and his band of brothers. Genesis 37 and Genesis 39-41 detail the plot to kill Joseph, the brothers throwing him into the pit, selling him into slavery, the lie by Potiphar’s wife, his prison life, his dream interpretations and his ascension to leadership. However we later see that Joseph forgives his brothers and recognizes that God preserved him for such a time as that.

Then Joseph could not refrain himself before all them that stood by him; and he cried, Cause every man to go out from me. And there stood no man with him, while Joseph made himself known unto his brethren. 3And Joseph said unto his brethren, I am Joseph; doth my father yet live? And his brethren could not answer him; for they were troubled at his presence. 4And Joseph said unto his brethren, Come near to me, I pray you. And they came near. And he said, I am Joseph your brother, whom ye sold into Egypt. 5Now therefore be not grieved, nor angry with yourselves, that ye sold me hither: for God did send me before you to preserve life. 8So now it was not you that sent me hither, but God: and he hath made me a father to Pharaoh, and lord of all his house, and a ruler throughout all the land of Egypt. (Genesis 45: 1,3-5, 8 KJV)

Joseph’s story shows us that no matter whom your family tries to make you, God has the final say for your life. Your steps are already ordered through Him. I had family that told me that I would never be anything. People who were jealous of me because I excelled but their words and attempts to make me fall were no match for God’s plans for my life.

While my family does absolutely wreck my nerves sometimes, I am reminded that I also have extremely supportive family members who are fiercely protective of me and love me without condition. I think about my grandmother and aunt who stepped in to take care of my brothers and me when our daddies weren’t present and our mother wasn’t capable. My grandmother’s love knows no bounds. Even when I decided to be the prodigal daughter (another EmpowerMoment), she forgave me and let me work through my rebellion. Then there are my brothers who nagged but protected me. There are also my cousins who at a moment’s notice will drop everything just to listen to whatever I have to say. These same people will incite a riot if anyone outside of our bloodline utters a bad word about me. If you have ever been around us, we are loud and absolutely everything is a debate, but I’ve determined that this is the way my family shows love. This is who we are.

I love my family even when they make it hard. God destined me to be a part of this group. He has shown me ones that I have to love but not be personal with, as well as those that I am assigned to their life for the long haul. I used to wonder WHY I was birthed to this family, but who am I to question God’s plans when I trust that He knows what’s best for me. My family is not blessed to have “me” as a part of their family as much as I am blessed to have them in my life.  During this week of love, I celebrate the Lundy family.

Dear Daddy,

Thank You for the gift of family. As many of us deal with the pain associated with family, allow us to also relish in the love. Help us to accept our position in our families and to do what is pleasing to You. Order our steps. Lord, deal with us and help us to forgive the pain of the past because Your word tells us that ALL things work together for the good of them that love the Lord. Help us to love and as we start our own families, guide us in establishing family cultures that our designed by You. In Jesus’ Name, Amen!

Today I EMPOWER you to LOVE. Reach out to an unsuspecting family member and express how important it is to have them in your life. Tell them WHY they are important. Give that family member their flowers while they are still present. Show them the same love and appreciation that you desire in your own life and thank God for them. Receive Love, Give Love, Be Love.

Honor the life of Whitney Houston today as you celebrate your family:

My Love is Your Love

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.”

Attitude, Family, Forgiveness, Friendships, Gentleness, Growth/Maturity, Patience, Relationships, Self-Control

Don’t Let It Get To You!

This week I had a different EmpowerMoment to send but my spirit was so vexed by a current disagreement that I honestly could not complete it. I woke up at 5:00am with a vexed spirit and even tried to participate in a prayer call at that hour but couldn’t mumble a word. My mind has been consumed with this disagreement and it’s consequences.  Have you ever been in a situation where as much as you tried to take the high road, be the bigger person, and have patience with a person none of it worked?  After all of your bending over backwards and being accommodating, you were still mistreated and your kindness was mistaken for weakness. This is where I find myself on today. It isn’t the first time that I have been on the receiving end of someone’s dishonesty. Today I am doing my best to not let it get to me. That doesn’t mean that I am being a door mat. It means that I will be honest and won’t change who I am based on who they are. Throughout life, we will bear the unfortunate brunt of false accusations, mistreatment and abuse from so called friends, family and co-workers. As I sit back and reflect, I know that this is an attempt to throw me off my ‘A’ game. This is an attempt for the devil to get to me. The fact that I was so mad that I couldn’t pray and my spirit so vexed that I couldn’t finish my EmpowerMoment signifies that the devil has already started making headway; however, I serve notice right now that no weapon that is formed against thee shall prosper; and every tongue that shall rise against thee in judgment thou shalt condemn. Isaiah 54:17 KJV

When people mistreat you, talk about you, or scandalize your name, it’s okay to defend yourself but don’t let it get to you! To paraphrase Luke 17:3, when people trespass against us we are to let them know their actions and IF they repent, forgive them. Forgiveness is a choice so you can choose to do so with or without their repentance; however, you are responsible for holding people accountable for their actions against you.

I know who I am. I am bossy and at many times stubborn but what I am not is dishonest. There are certain traits that each of us have that are a part of our character. We cannot move from that foundation. We have to stand in truth despite attacks on our character. And ye shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free. John 8:32 KJV The truth is liberating. Being authentically who you are is a freeing experience. You cannot control other people actions but you can control your reaction. I used to be this “go-off”, “cuss you slap out” person but I know I’ve been changed. Every now and then I can get caught up, but I try to handle situations as diplomatically as possible even when the flesh urges me otherwise.  I encourage you to do the same. Pray for those who despitefully use you, but don’t let it get to you! I am reminding myself of that today.

Dear Daddy,

Thank You for reminding me that I will face adversity even from those closest to me but those things should never change who I am or react in a way that is not pleasing to You. Help me to stand in truth even when it is difficult. I ask that You repair rifts caused by discord and heal those who are still scarred emotionally from people who have mistreated them. In Jesus’ Name, Amen!

Today I EMPOWER you to get over it. Remain firm in who you are and committed to the truth. Don’t Let It Get To You! The longer that you hold on to what people do to you, the more you will hurt yourself. You are better than that!

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, Encouragement, Family, Motivation, Salvation, Submission/Surrendering, Trusting God

Here We Go AGAIN!

“You are going to be who God uses to save the rest of your family! You are not doing enough to lead your family to Jesus!  Whatever is holding you back, whether its bitterness or something else, is keeping some of your family members from salvation. If some of your family members go to hell, that blood will be on your hands!”  As my God Sister spoke this word to me, I just rolled my eyes!  Here we go again!!

REALLY GOD?! Are You seriously putting that kind of responsibility on me?  I’m good where I am!  I like my life; I have everything I need and most of the things I want.  I finally can say “…for I have learned to be content whatever the circumstances…” (Philippians 4:11 NIV) and You put THIS on me?  You just couldn’t let me be content, huh?  You ALWAYS have to stretch me, push me out of my comfort zone, and give me SOMETHING ELSE to do!!

You told me to leave the church I had grown up in where everyone knew me, where I was celebrated, and my pastor knew me by name and sent me to a church of over 5,000 members. This church was almost the exact opposite of all that I knew but as soon as I got my bearings HERE WE GO AGAIN…

My money started getting funny and You said, “Tithe out of your need. Pay your tithes, even if that makes you short on your bills.” Really God?! BUT I did it and as SOON as I got kind of comfortable, HERE WE GO AGAIN…

The smack down really hit when You started messing with my relationships.  I’ve ALWAYS had a boyfriend, a boo or something but You said “…avoid sexual immorality…” so I began to live a celibate lifestyle and God You KNOW how hard this has been for me. But God that wasn’t enough; You then said, “Do not be yoked together with unbelievers…” (II Corinthians 6:14 NIV) So now, not only am I not having sex, but I’m not even dating because unfortunately it’s slim pickings among men who are REALLY saved and striving to live for God. However, I did it because I trust that Your will is what’s best and I KNOW my destiny and destination is way beyond what I can ask or think. But God with all due respect, I do NOT like this route!

After much fighting and even now as I continue to struggle, I have finally reached a level of contentment and submission to God’s will, really believing that God is pleased with my life and HERE WE GO AGAIN!!  What do You want me to do with my unsaved family members?  When I go around them I feel like they are giving me the stank eye and saying, “Well who does she think she is? Isn’t that Charlotte’s daughter?  Isn’t she the one that was always trying to hang and follow us around?”  Even Jesus said, “Only in his hometown and in his own house is a prophet without honor…” (Matthew 13:57 NIV) I don’t think I’m going to be able to do this one God.  Where would I even begin?  We only see each other at holidays, if that!

God’s Response

So you’re going to give up your destiny NOW because you feel like this is impossible?  Yes, you’re right; by yourself you can’t do this!  But have I ever left you?  Was I not there when you left the church you grew up in and went to New Life?  Did I not see you through your struggles?  You are stronger spiritually now than you have EVER been!  Everything in your spiritual walk has gone to the next level:  your worship, your prayer life and your understanding of my word!  You’re going to stop now?!

Was I not there with you as you struggled financially?  Did I not make a way for all your bills to get paid?  Did I keep your car from being repossessed?  Did you ever have a night that you didn’t have a roof over your head and a safe and warm place to sleep?  Did I not send people to bless you throughout your time of lack?  You are more financially stable now than you have EVER been!  You are saving, you can purchase extras and your refrigerator and pantry is full!  Are you really going to give up now?!

Was I not there during your bouts with loneliness and depression?  Did I not replace the severed relationships with divine connections that speak life into you, push you toward your destiny in me, and give you just as much if not more than you give to them?  Am I not specifically preparing you to one day be a wife and mother? Did I not cover you while you were out there?  Have you ever been pregnant?  Do you have any diseases?  Did I not restore you, heal your broken hearts?  Did I not break EVERY soul tie?  Are you serious?! Are you really going to give up now?!

Are you really starting to doubt me now?  “Behold, I am the Lord, the God of all flesh, is there anything too hard for me?” (Jeremiah 32:27 NIV)

*Disclaimer: This was not the EmpowerMoment that I intended to write; God literally started speaking to me in the midst of my writing.  After all of that, all I can say is CHECKED!!

Dear Daddy,

Please forgive me!  I ask that You also forgive any woman reading this who is or has gotten irritated with You for doing exactly what You strive to do:  make us more and more like You.  Help us to understand that we are not to compare ourselves to other Christians but to You and humble us to know that we have NOT “arrived.” There is and will ALWAYS be another task we must complete for the building of Your kingdom and another area we must grow in so our victory and growth can bring glory to You.  We thank You for loving us SO much that You spend the time and effort to keep stretching us and pulling us out of our comfort zone.  We ask that you never let us go.  In Jesus’ Name Amen!

Ladies, today I EMPOWER you to submit to what God is calling you to do, no matter how uncomfortable it makes you.  I am truly a witness that He will not only sustain you throughout the process but there is truly a blessing in obedience.  There is a song that the praise team at my church sings that simply says:  “I surrender, I open up my heart to whatever You desire.”  Let this be what you say to God today!

Read more on submitting to God’s plan and evangelism in He’s Calling You and Preaching to the Choir

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.”

Family, Grandparents, Self Forgiveness, Sin

Her Future Has A Past

“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

Talking to my grandmother is one of the highlights of my week. I know her as Madea and love her very dearly; after all, she raised me and shaped me into the person that many of you know today. She taught me how to cook, survive, be a lady and to guard my “reputation.” We had our rough patches when I went through my VERY rebellious stage (another blog) and there were times when I disappointed her with my actions. She loved me still.

My Madea

To me, my grandmother was close to an angel and it drove me bananas whenever I heard anyone try to talk down about her, even if it was my mother. She is a God-fearing, religious, deeply spiritual woman who has a tremendous amount of faith. I remember when she came outside with the holy oil to anoint my car after I first bought it. 🙂  She has raised at some point the majority of her 23 grandchildren and her house is a regular drop off spot for the pack of great-grands.  We, the grandchildren, recognize that our Madea has her ways but we still would trade nothing for her. She makes us birthday cakes and gives her last to support us. I grew up watching her sacrifice so that we could have the basics and even a little more. She is the quintessential grandmother!

Unfortunately, the lady that I know and the woman that her children and older people from around town know are NOT the same. You see, some time before I made my grand entrance into the world and when I was too young to remember, Sallie Pearl was a DRUNK and a chain SMOKER. She was known for her alcoholism and her addiction to nicotine. I even have an aunt who was born so small that she could fit in a cigar box, as a result of her addictions. Her six children lived with her and various relatives as they were growing up and the majority became teenage moms. Her husband, my grandfather, was the same. We never met because he died from cirrhosis of the liver as a result of his alcohol consumption. It’s hard for me to imagine all of this because this woman that I hear stories about is just not the woman I know.

“…Though your sins are like scarlet, they shall be as white as snow; though they are red as crimson, they shall be like wool.”( Isaiah 1:18 NIV)

Her road to forgiveness with her children was not easy but I thank God for the twins, Grace and Mercy. My grandmother tells me that when she got saved she asked God to remove the taste of cigarettes and alcohol from her and just like that He did. No special pills, patches or miracle drugs – just a simple prayer. She has been sober and smoke free since 1986.

Every saint has a past and every sinner has a future. Though many love to bring up who she WAS, Madea’s past was the prologue to her future. After she stopped dating Jesus and began having a relationship with Him, she put down the bottle and picked up the Bible. He used her to take care of her grandchildren when our mother(s) became ill or were no longer able to. He used her to give us a strong foundation in Jesus and He has used her to touch other people’s lives through her acts of kindness and generosity.

Like my grandmother, many of us have pasts that are filled with things that are often times to shameful to talk about BUT God can and will use you too. As the saying goes, God does not call the equipped; He equips the called. You don’t have to believe me, in your quiet time check out His word:

  • Jacob was a LIAR–  Genesis 27:19
  • Rahab was a PROSTITUTE –  Joshua 2:1
  • David had an AFFAIR and was a MURDERER 2 Samuel 11:3-27
  • Jonah RAN from God (Read the entire book)
  • Peter DENIED Christ Matthew 26: 69-70
  • Lazarus was DEAD John 11

Dear Daddy, 

Thank You for showing us forgiveness and blessing us with grace and mercy. For the person reading this now, I ask God that You remove ANY doubt that they may have about their future. Let this EmpowerMoment reach them so that they will know that even they can be used for Your purpose. There is no sin too great that Your Love for us has not covered. Let us not run from Your calling but run to it. In Jesus’ Name, Amen!

Today I EMPOWER you to walk boldly into your future. Despite what you may have done, who you may have been or what you didn’t do when you should have done it, know that your past was only a stepping stone to get you to the place where God has called you. Know that He predestined your past and your future. He has great expectations of you because He has already equipped you.

Create your fall haiku for our monthly contest. Click here for more details.

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.

Death, Family, Grandparents, Grief, Inspirational, Spiritual Therapy

No Grandmothers on Grandparents’ Day

“Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of compassion and the God of all comfort, who comforts us in all our troubles, so that we can comfort those in trouble with the comfort we ourselves have received from God.” (2 Corinthians 1:3-4 NIV)

I checked my e-mail the other day only to find several reminders for upcoming holidays with an option to send greeting cards to celebrate.  Labor Day was the first notification to be deleted followed by Patriot Day.  The last notice was for Grandparents’ Day.  I instantly remembered when I set the reminder way back in 2006 so that I would be sure to contact my grandmothers.  I clicked on the subject line only to find that this year the holiday fell on my 26th birthday- September 11th!  Normally, I would probably be ecstatic but instead my heart grew heavy because both of my grandmothers passed away a few years ago.

“We are confident, I say, and would prefer to be away from the body and at home with the Lord.” (2 Corinthians 5:8 NIV)

I had been to a multitude of funerals in my life but I had never experienced the loss of someone that I LOVED dearly until one week after I graduated from college.  As I drove home for the Christmas break I never thought that I would be celebrating Jesus’ birth the same week I buried my maternal grandmother.  She had been sick for quite sometime, being diagnosed with Multiple Sclerosis ten years prior.  She battled with the disabling disease until lung cancer took her final breath in 2007. 

Even though my paternal grandmother was in great health before she passed, I tried to spend as much time with her because I had witnessed God take someone special away before I was ready to let them go.  However, no one could have guessed that a small fall in the kitchen would cause her to miss her annual trip down south that she was in the midst of packing for.  We definitely did not think that the Lord would be ready to call her home at the first sign of a blood clot as a result of her stumble. But in May of 2008, God took her away without letting anyone say goodbye first.

“Though you have made me see troubles, many and bitter, you will restore my life again; from the depths of the earth you will bring me up.  You will increase my honor and comfort me again.” (Psalms 71:20-21 NIV)

Ladies, at that point I was hurt beyond belief.  God had taken away two people that I loved dearly without any notice.  I had watched my ailing Grandma cheat death on many occasions. We would pray hysterically until the enemy would release his grip but this time there was nothing we could do…God had His hand out waiting for her to grab a hold.  As for my Granny, I never saw it coming.  I felt like someone had stabbed me in my back because I was still recovering from my first loss only to loose again.  But who am I to question God’s work?  I did not understand then but what seemed like chaos to me was an opportunity for us to grow closer. 

As much as I hated to experience that pain, God was ready for them to spend eternity with Him.  He gave me twenty-two magnificent years with them and in that time I had created and stored life-long memories to help me when times got rough…and trust me, it does get rough!!!  Sometimes I reminisce and can’t stop smiling and others I can’t stop crying. Regardless of the emotion, when it’s over I feel God’s love surrounding me even more. 

Dear Daddy,

Please forgive me for those ill feelings I expressed when I lost my loved one.  Thank You for restoring me when the enemy tries to make me feel that I have lost apart of myself because they died.  Please continue to comfort me in my time of sorrow for I know that my strength comes from You.  Allow me to focus on the wonderful memories rather than the pain from their absence.  In Jesus’ Name, Amen!

Today I EMPOWER you to allow God’s love to mend your broken hearts.  Your loved ones are absent from this world of sin but are spending eternity with a world class Master!  Be Blessed Ladies! 🙂 

This is dedicated to my two personal angels in the sky: Johnnie Elizabeth Horne and Margie Sampson — Happy Grandparents Day!

Ms. Latasha Sampson is an accomplished writer who is currently pursuing her Masters Degree in Human Resources Management.  She resides in Nashville, Tennessee where she is a faithful member of Mt. Zion Baptist Church.  Her favorite scripture is “No weapon formed against you shall prosper, and every tongue which rises against you in judgment You shall condemn” Isaiah 54:17

Father/Daughter, God's Love, Growth/Maturity, Inspirational, Obedience, Relationships, Singleness, Soul Ties

Who’s Your Daddy?

“Therefore God gave them over in the sinful desires of their hearts to sexual impurity for the degrading of their bodies with one another. They exchanged the truth about God for a lie, and worshiped and served created things rather than the Creator—who is forever praised. Amen.” (Romans 1:24-25 NIV)

It almost seems like yesterday when I met this fellow that “swooped” me off of my feet with his charm, just like my Dad. I became infatuated with this guy because he made me laugh, sometimes uncontrollably, just like my Dad. But there was something different about this relationship. After we talked for some time God spoke to me in my teen-aged bedroom, on the floor at the foot of my bed while cleaning out my closet. (God always speaks in the closet.) As I was lining up my colorful array of Nikes, He said, “Don’t make him your boyfriend.” I felt a lump in my throat as I picked up the phone that rang just after God’s command. Looking back, he never really “asked” me to be his lady. Instead, after a while of exclusive dating, I gave him my ultimatum of “I don’t do the casual relationship thing.” And boom, God’s words replayed again, “Don’t make him your boyfriend.”

This relationship was indeed unhealthy. I cried as much as I laughed. I felt guilty for dating him and knew that my relationship with God was severed. He gave me over to my sinful desires because I wouldn’t leave him alone. Due to this disobedience I strained and neglected my relationships with family and friends.

This relationship took me to a dark side. I was living a double life. I would spend all night with him being not so “righteous”, sneak home around 4 am and then head to choir rehearsal!! “So, because you are lukewarm—neither hot nor cold—I am about to spit you out of my mouth. You say, ‘I am rich; I have acquired wealth and do not need a thing.’ But you do not realize that you are wretched, pitiful, poor, blind and naked.” (Revelation 3:16-17 NIV)

So why was I so into this dude? He took care of me just like a “Daddy”. He always put gas in my car, new Air Max on my feet, herring bone chains on my neck, and his ride was fly. He put 18” rims on his Lexus and a new sound system in mine. He affirmed my beauty constantly and always made me feel pretty!

During my Junior year in college the signs of an unequal yoke began to show. He was not supportive of my trying to go back to Christ. But I stayed with him because I “knew” I could change him. (I’m sure God is chuckling here).

After four years of walking on the dark side then slowly moving back to the light, the Holy Spirit tugged me. My Christian roots were not dead, but yet alive! I knew that not only did God still love me, but my assignment was changing. I needed to get moving in God’s direction. It took me two more years during this grueling process to break up with him. I kept falling back into the abyss of comfort, but every time God would light a fire in me and would force me to keep going!!

In 2003 at a Women’s Day celebration at my now home church, all of a sudden I started feeling shackles break off of my feet and my ankles. I cried, I screamed and I shouted; it was amazing I was set free! I had already released him, but in that moment God released me and birthed in me a fire to live for. He became my true Daddy. He was whom I called on when those single nights got rough. I cried at the foot of my bed at night and poured out my heart’s issues. He poured into me affirmations of beauty, strength to stay in the fight; he purified my spirit, and my life. He washed me with His love. I was now whole, healed, and completed.

It wasn’t until all of this that He showed and sealed me with the man that He had waiting all along, my husband.

Dear Daddy,

Words cannot express how grateful I am to know that You are my Daddy. How grateful I am to have been spared through my time of disobedience to You. I bless You for cleansing me and healing me to be the daughter that You have called for me to be. Keep me near You Lord. Continue to show me how to rely on You for those needs that can so easily be disguised as being filled by others. I love You. In Jesus’  Name, Amen!

Ladies, I EMPOWER you today to realize the “Daddy” in your life. Our boyfriends, fiancés, and even our husbands shouldn’t take God’s place. No one should ever have to compete with Him to be your Daddy. Who’s your Daddy?

As a professional, Mrs. Khalilah Burton is College Biology Instructor. She is also currently pursuing a Doctorate of Education in Higher Ed and Community College Leadership. Khalilah is passionate about her faith journey and uses this key scripture as her inspiration: “But without faith it is impossible to please him: for he that cometh to God must believe that he is, and that he is a rewarder of them that diligently seek him.” Hebrews 11:6.  She teaches Young Adult Bible Study and Sunday School and also serves as a guest speaker and panelist for various events for women and Christian empowerment.  Khalilah resides in Huntsville, Alabama with her wonderful husband Donald Burton, Jr. and their energetic three-year old daughter where they attend St. Luke Christian Church.

Attitude, Family, Friendships, Relationships

Flee!

“Whatsoever things are true, whatsoever things are honest, whatsoever things are just, whatsoever things are pure, whatsoever things are lovely, whatsoever things are of good report; if there be any virtue, and if there be any praise, think on these things” Philippians 4:8 KJV

Optimism and positivity weren’t always in my “Bio.” For years, I walked around in attack mode. I was always defensive and on ready for a rebuttal. Whenever I was faced with a mountain, I rarely could find anything positive to say. I sulked further into my pit of anger, disappointment, or whatever the emotion was as opposed to finding power through positivity. In my powerless situation, I remained negative.

Negativity is like a cancer. When harbored by its host (you) it grows and spreads until it affects every part of the body. Therefore, everything you touch or become affiliated with: jobs, relationships, finances, and so on are tainted with a negative outlook. Sometimes our friends are those negative cancers. Ever had a friend that could change the entire mood of the group or situation because of her anger or negative attitude? Well I was that friend. I could change the mood of an entire meeting due to my negative influence, i.e. bullying.

One day I made up my mind that I wanted more out of life. I wanted to smile more. I wanted to release this burden of self-induced anger.  I wanted liberty in Christ. I felt captive to my negative spirit. I prayed for restoration and cleansing, and God heard me.

God took me through a series of character cleansing situations. He began to open my eyes to my new lifestyle of optimism. Life is much better this way. Of course Satan would say, “expect the worse so that you won’t be disappointed.” I had to realize that was indeed the enemy because my Father already told me to set my mind on things above…(Colossians 3:2 NIV). And furthermore, Jesus warned me “The thief cometh not, but for to steal, and to kill, and to destroy: I am come that they might have life, and that they might have it more abundantly.” (John 10:10 KVJ) So if I am walking in negativity, then I am not walking in the promises of God. Negativity says I do not believe that the life He has for me is a life of abundance.

Ever heard that one rotten apple can spoil the entire bunch? The other day I was at an event with a group of friends and noticed that one of my girlfriends had a “tude.” I immediately went into prayer for her spirit, but I ended up praying for myself. I was praying for strength so that the negativity bug wouldn’t infect me. A few events arose and out of “the blue” the Holy Spirit said “LEAVE”, and I flew to the door. (But when you are tempted, He will also provide a way out so that you can endure it. 1 Corinthians 10:13 NIV) The message is this, in times of negativity or being in circles with negative people, you have to flee so that you do not become tainted or tempted to take on their attitudes.  I will not give anyone the power to make me have a bad day!

The truth is, sometimes we just aren’t strong enough to conquer the schemes of the devil. That is why the Bible tells us to put on the full armor of God so that you can take your stand against the devil’s schemes. Read all of Ephesians 6:10-18.

Dear Daddy,

Create in me a clean heart, O God; and renew a right spirit within me. (Psalms 51:10 KVJ) When I am faced with the spirit of negativity, give me boldness to not only rebuke it in the name of Jesus, but to flee! Lord, bless me within my friendship circles that I may be a light and not a bowl of negativity. If I need to remove myself, show me the way out. Teach me how to speak life and encouragement into my life and others. In Jesus’ Name, Amen!

Ladies, I EMPOWER you to flee from negative situations. Don’t fall into gossip, backstabbing, or even something as simple as being an accessory to the crime (I was there, but I didn’t say anything). Take an inventory of your actions and friendship circles. If there is a root of negativity, uproot it with putting on a new positive attitude! What are some ways that we can turn negative situations into positive ones? Share your story in the comment box. God may be using you to give someone a way to remove them from a negative situation.

As a professional, Mrs. Khalilah Burton is College Biology Instructor. She is also currently pursuing a Doctorate of Education in Higher Ed and Community College Leadership. Khalilah is passionate about her faith journey and uses this key scripture as her inspiration: “But without faith it is impossible to please him: for he that cometh to God must believe that he is, and that he is a rewarder of them that diligently seek him.” Hebrews 11:6.  She teaches Young Adult Bible Study and Sunday School and also serves as a guest speaker and panelist for various events for women and Christian empowerment.  Khalilah resides in Huntsville, Alabama with her wonderful husband Donald Burton, Jr. and their energetic three-year old daughter where they attend St. Luke Christian Church.

Black Music Month Series, Family, Father/Daughter, Love, Relationships

How Do You Measure Life?

One of the greatest things we can do in life is love someone else. The lyrics I chose this week exhibit that feeling and the outlook that we should have. They begin:

Five Hundred Twenty-Five Thousand Six Hundred Minutes
Five Hundred Twenty-Five Thousand Moments so dear
Five Hundred Twenty-Five Thousand Six Hundred Minutes
How Do You Measure – Measure A Year?
In Daylights – In Sunsets, In Midnights – In Cups Of Coffee
In Inches – In Miles In Laughter – In Strife

In – Five Hundred Twenty-Five Thousand Six Hundred Minutes
How Do You Measure A Year In The Life?

How About Love?

Measure In Love

Seasons of Love Measure In Love

Seasons of Love

“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.” (Luke 6:38 NIV)

When you love others you are exercising the basic principle that God has taught us. For the bible says, “‘Do not seek revenge or bear a grudge against one of your people, but love your neighbor as yourself. I am the LORD.” (Leviticus 19:18 NIV) I know that we often find it hard to forgive people when they have wronged us: that father who walked out, that mother who wasn’t there, the family member who hurt us, the friend that betrayed us, or the lover that left a hole in our heart. When things like this happen we must bring ourselves to a point of forgiveness. Think about it like this:  We all have done something that is not pleasing to God and can you imagine Him taking His love away from us?

Joanne:
Five Hundred Twenty-Five Thousand Six Hundred Minutes
Five Hundred Twenty-Five Thousand Journeys To Plan
Five Hundred Twenty-Five Thousand Six Hundred Minutes
How Do You Measure The Life Of A Woman Or A Man

Collins:
In Truth That She Learned Or In Times That He Cried
In Bridges He Burned Or The Way That She Died

All:
It’s Time Now – To Sing Out Though The Story Never Ends
Let’s Celebrate Remember A Year In The Life Of Friends

Remember the Love

Measure In Love

Joanne:
Oh you got to you got to remember the love,
You know that love is a gift from up above
Share love, give love, spread love
Measure, measure your life in love.

With Father’s Day approaching this weekend I write this post in reference to three men in my life that I had to apply these lyrics to: my father, my brother, and my son’s father.

 

To my dad: I forgive you for everything that happened with you and my mom. I love you more than anything and I am grateful for being able to say I’m a “Daddy’s Girl”. In spite of your faults, you are one of my heroes!

To my brother Joey: I know that there is distance between us. Regardless of the distance, you have a large place in my heart. When I was little I wanted to be just like you. You were one of my heroes and you still are. The life you live has been an example for me. I love you forever and ever more!

To my son’s dad: We both went through a period of good, grief, and growth in our lives. I would not change anything. It made us both better people. You are truly a gift from God. I thank Him for choosing you to be Jalen’s dad. You are a wonderful man and I know that the life lessons you are teaching our son are God’s instructions through you. I will forever love you for simply being you!

Dear Daddy thank You for the ability to LOVE. I ask that You continue to share Your love with me so that I can spread love to others. In Jesus’ name, Amen!

Today, I EMPOWER you to simply LOVE!

Celebrate Black Music Month with “Seasons of Love” (from the Rent musical) featuring Jesse Martin as Collins & Tracie Thomas as Joanne:

Win some Black Music this month! Check out our June contest here

Shawna Dix is a mother, educator, and all around child of God. She is passionate about God, her son Jalen, family, friends, and her students. She loves teaching because it allows her to shower our youth with love and guidance. She resides in Pentagon City, Virginia and works hard educating inner city youth in Washington DC. She prides herself in being a realist. She exclaims that she is in no way, shape, form, or fashion perfect but she has accepted that she serves a perfect God who is able to do ALL things!

Family, Friendships, Growth/Maturity, Patience, Relationships, Self-Esteem

He is I, I am Him

On last Friday I made a reference to Zacchaeus. If you’re not sure who he was let me tell you a little bit about him. He was a man not liked by the people because he was a tax collector. He wasn’t a tall man, in fact he very small in stature. He heard that Jesus was coming through Jericho. No one would make way for him to see Jesus so he decided to climb a tree to see Him. As Jesus passed by, He noticed him in the tree, asked him to come down, and told him that He would be staying at his house. The people of the town were in utter shock that Jesus, the Messiah, would actually take the time to even acknowledge this sinner.

Jesus entered Jericho and was passing through. A man was there by the name of Zacchaeus; he was a chief tax collector and was wealthy. He wanted to see who Jesus was, but being a short man he could not, because of the crowd. So he ran ahead and climbed a sycamore-fig tree to see him, since Jesus was coming that way. When Jesus reached the spot, he looked up and said to him, “Zacchaeus, come down immediately. I must stay at your house today.” So he came down at once and welcomed him gladly. All the people saw this and began to mutter, “He has gone to be the guest of a ‘sinner.’ ” But Zacchaeus stood up and said to the Lord, “Look, Lord! Here and now I give half of my possessions to the poor, and if I have cheated anybody out of anything, I will pay back four times the amount.” Jesus said to him, “Today salvation has come to this house, because this man, too, is a son of Abraham.  For the Son of Man came to seek and to save what was lost.” (Luke 19: 1-10 NIV)

Zacchaeus was determined to see Jesus even though the crowd was large, even though he was small, and even though he was a sinner. His faith was sufficient and Jesus recognized that. He made a promise to Jesus to turn his life around and he was forgiven for everything. This is where I see me. I liken myself to Zacchaeus. I had to fight the crowd and find sanctity in my own tree so that the Master could see me. This is not only one of my favorite biblical stories because of its powerful message of climbing “above the crowd” but it also shows that Jesus wasn’t hanging out with the Holy…He was hanging with those who needed to be saved. I’m sure in my past people caught flack for hanging around me. Even now I catch flack for hanging with certain people but you never know why God has put you in someone’s life. You may be the example that they are waiting for. Our only concern should be living right by example and those around us who are struggling in their relationship will see that if God can deliver us from the mess that we were in He can surely do it for them.

Dear Daddy,

Thank You for my tree. I also thank You for placing me in people’s lives and for placing them in mine. I remember what You did for me and I pray that those around me who don’t know You can find You through the life that I am trying to live. In Jesus’ Name, Amen!

Today I EMPOWER you to stick with those around you who have fallen. Do not give up on that FRIEND who is lost. REMEMBER that you were there once. PRAY for him or her. In time they will find their own tree and rise above to seek out Jesus in the crowd.

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Shawna Dix is a mother, educator, and all around child of God. She is passionate about God, her son Jalen, family, friends, and her students. She loves teaching because it allows her to shower our youth with love and guidance. She resides in Pentagon City, Virginia and works hard educating inner city youth in Washington DC. She prides herself in being a realist. She exclaims that she is in no way, shape, form, or fashion perfect but she has accepted that she serves a perfect God who is able to do ALL things!