Mentor/Mentee, Mentoring, Mother/Daughter, Self Love, Self-Esteem

My Big Chop!

“When I look at you, I see myself. If my eyes are unable to see you as my sister, it is because my own vision is blurred. And if that be so, then it is I who need you either because I do not understand who you are, my sister, or because I need you to help me understand who I am.” – Lillian P. Benbow, Past National President of Delta Sigma Theta

This is the first thing I thought about after I shaved my hair. What kept ringing in my head was, “When I look at you, I see myself…..because I need you to help me understand who I am.” I wondered if my daughters felt that. I wondered if, even though they are 4 years old and 3 months old, they could recognize themselves in me.

All of my life I’ve been in some capacity of mentorship. But when I became a mother, the role model aspect went into overdrive. I realized I literally had two lives that would pattern themselves, whether good or bad, after what they were raised around.

Luscious, fabulous, intense, perfect, delicious, beautiful…these are some of the adjectives I use to describe my oldest daughter’s hair. She has very thick and coarse hair, and I LOVE IT! Every time I shampoo and style it, I marvel at how beautiful it is so that she can hear it. She’s not around anyone who’s hair looks like hers, so naturally she started coming home from school wanting her hair to hang long and flow like some of her friends. This is why I tell her how much I am in love with her hair. I want her to know and accept that she is fearfully and wonderfully made by God as it is written in Psalms 139:14 NIV!

One morning I was relaxing my hair and it hit me. See I have this rule that my daughters can’t relax their hair until they are 16, mainly because they will be more responsible with how to take care of it by then. But I realized, how are they going to positively embrace their hair if they don’t have a role model. You know someone whose hair is just like theirs to show them how to ROCK IT OUT! I’m the type of person that would feel fabulous in a paper bag. So I’ve come to the point where I know that my outer appearance does not define who I am. But my daughters have not reached that mark yet. How can they embrace the texture of their hair, not feel strange when theirs “behaves” differently than their peers or how to stand up for their own beauty in the midst of physical differences? It had to be me. I have to be the one to show them how to embrace the beauty of their natural curls.

I teetered on this whole big chop deal so I ran it across my husband. My thought was that surely he would oppose and then I would decline this whole hair thing and stick to my easily manageable relaxer…but ummm no, I was wrong. He was pretty pumped about the whole thing, not necessarily the fade that had to come in the beginning, but the thought of seeing me in a twist out or my longer hair in a bun, or just a flat out afro! So with that support, I hopped into my girlfriend’s chair and shaved it slap off!

I prepared my husband and my four year old a month prior by showing them how my hair would look after the chop. Needless to say, my daughter was NOT enthused about her Mom rocking a fade but she knew I was cutting it so that my hair could look like hers one day. I didn’t think my message had come across until one day we were at the store and a cashier commented on my daughter’s hair. She said, “OH MY, she has some really really really thick hair!” “I LOVE IT,” I respectfully chimed in. The cashier proceeded to say, “My daughter’s hair is just like that and I just don’t know what to do with it. It just gets on my nerves. I don’t know what to do.” My response was, “Well, the first thing you are going to do is to tell her how beautiful she is and how awesome her hair is.” My four year old nudged me in the hip and whispered to me, “Mom tell her why you are about to cut your hair.” I was empowered in that moment, because it was then that I was certain she knew that her hair was so special that her Mom was going to be a “copycat” and she wants the world to know. My thought was…#winning!

Ladies, this EmpowerMoment is more than just about hair. Jesus commands us to imitate Him. In Philippians 4:9, we are encouraged to imitate Godly things, to put them into practice. Not just say it, but do it. Paul’s letter to Timothy encourages us to “…set an example for the believers in speech, in conduct, in love, in faith, and in purity.” I Timothy 4:12 NIV

Dear Daddy,

Thank You for making me the way You did. Thank You for making my face look the way You wanted it, my hair the texture You chose, my nose the shape it is, and my frame the way You saw fit. Thank You for my daughters and every other daughter I’ve mentored. Help me to instill in them that they are beautiful, and not just because I am saying it; but also, because when they look at me they see themselves, and in that, I pray that I am a reflection of You. In Jesus’ Name, Amen!

I EMPOWER you to realize that little ones are watching you. Your reaction to the world is how they will react. It’s about being a living witness, a role model, and encourager to those around us. As my daughters age, I hope they will learn that my big chop was not about the hair at all, but all about them embracing who they are.

Dedicated to my daughters, “Tootie” and “Dewly”, and my mentee, “VocalMiss,” who’s forced me to be a living witness to practice what I preach.

Are you encouraging a young girl or gal pal how to embrace herself? Share your story with us. If not, get going. Don’t talk about, be about it. Show her how to embrace herself and be an example.

Read a Related EmpowerMoment: Don’t Leave Them, LEAD Them!

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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 two daughters. They attend Vaughn Forest Church. Check out Khalilah’s Christian weight loss blog here.

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Attitude, Back To School Series, Direction/Guidance, Evangelism, Grandparents, Growth/Maturity, Mentor/Mentee, Obedience, Sin, Submission/Surrendering

Back to School: Rebel Without A Cause

School has begun for most students across the world so EmpowerMoments is featuring a series entitled “Back to School”.  Read each day as our writers share stories and learned lessons from their school-related experiences.  Come and get on our EmpowerMoments school bus!

Growing up I was a bit more than your average “church girl”: Sunday – Regular Service, Tuesday- Choir Practice, Wednesday- Bible Study, Thursday- Prayer Meeting, Friday – Teen Ministry, Saturday- Junior Usher Board Meeting. I could quote scripture all day and was known as the over achiever in Sunday School. I wasn’t a member of just any church. I was a member of an Apostolic (Pentecostal) church; one that had many rules and standards: zero makeup, no jewelry, and no pants for women. While I was in elementary and middle school these things were okay for me. Sure I was teased about always being in church and the fact that I never wore pants, but I believed wholeheartedly in what I was doing. Furthermore, my grandmother made me and there was no questioning of her rules.

Then came the summer of transition. I was a 14-year-old bona fide teenager and headed for high school. I started “smelling myself” and questioning this strict regimen. I began secretly changing clothes when I left home so that I could wear pants and even got some lipstick. Boys entered the picture and the late nights began. My attitude completely changed and I became resentful of the life that I was forced to live. See I grew up in the house with older brothers and male cousins and they weren’t subjected to this harsh life, so one day I decided no more. My grandmother came to wake me up for church and I responded with a loud, “I’M NOT GOING!” The blow up was big and I defiantly stood my ground letting her know that no switch, belt or any other form of correction was going to change my mind. (Of course I said all of this after being chased out of the house to the front yard.) Eventually, she decided to let it go and this was the beginning of my “emancipation” from church slavery into the street life and academic failure.

And he said, A certain man had two sons: And the younger of them said to his father, Father, give me the portion of goods that falleth to me. And he divided unto them his living. And not many days after the younger son gathered all together, and took his journey into a far country, and there wasted his substance with riotous living. (Luke 15:11-13 KJV)

Thus began my journey as the Prodigal Daughter. At the young age of 14, I made a decision to stop making church a regular part of my life and dropped all of the strict standards that I was beholden to. I began to hang out until 3:00am, go to the nightclubs and started drinking. Although I would hang out with guys, I would not have sex and I would never smoke marijuana. For some reason in all of my rebellion those things were off limits. In my own mind, my behavior was okay because this is what my brothers did, I was staying out of “real” trouble and I wasn’t pregnant. My first semester in high school was the pits. I loved school and was quite studious; however, I kept getting in minor trouble that came with major consequences. Tardies to class (from staying out late) landed me in the Student Adjustment Program (SAP). SAP was like in school suspension but this is where “bad” kids were sent: fighters, people who disrespected teachers, and low performers. This was not my crowd. I was in Honors classes and participated in extracurricular activities even with my wild ways so how did I end up there? Originally I was sent for 3 days but then I got in trouble while in the program and landed an extra 40 days. WHAT?!! I got out of the program and was sent back AGAIN. It was difficult to keep up with my class work especially since this high school material was so new. I received my first set of BAD grades. To this day I never forget those grades because they made the difference in me graduating in the top ten in my class and coming in at #13. I felt like I was stuck in a downward spiral but at the same time I was hesitant to give up my new life.

Train up a child in the way he should go and when he is old he will not depart from it. (Proverbs 22:6 KJV)

One day I overheard my grandmother mentioning to someone that she was contemplating sending me to reform school. Wait a minute! In my eyes reform school meant jail and I, my friends, was not jail material! It was as if a light bulb went off. God showed me how my rebellious living could shape the path of my life. I thought about my brothers, who unfortunately had served time in the juvenile detention center and jail, and I was determined that would not be my life. I was in the valley of decision regarding my life. I could learn the lessons from them without experiencing the path they were on.

While it would be years before I became a regular attendee at church and I never quite went back to the strict religious standards, I picked my Bible back up and began to study His word. I practiced self-discipline. I dove into my schoolwork, got heavily involved in school and community activities where I could make a real difference and joined athletic teams. That experience my freshman year in high school shaped so many others. It helped me avoid situations later in life. I was determined that I would not be a failure and disappoint the woman who worked so hard to provide for me or my heavenly Father who protected me while I was in the streets. I would no longer be a “rebel without a cause.”

Dear Daddy,

I am sorry that my rebellious living brought so much pain to those who gave their all to support me.  Thank You for saving me from myself. If it wasn’t for Your mercy and Your grace I would not be the person I am today. Lord, I am grateful for the training that I received as a child, the mentors that You sent me and the epiphany You gave me regarding my life. God, I ask that You help me share my story and be a beacon of light for other young women. Thank You for taking the time to come after this one lost sheep. In Jesus’ Name, Amen!

Ladies, today I EMPOWER you to look back over your journey and be grateful that you are not where you could have been. If you are on a path that leads to destruction, I urge you to consider your ways and ask God to reveal the best path for your life. Lastly, I want you to think about one young woman that you know who could use your guidance. Make a decision today to get involved and be a beacon of light for her. 

As you look back over your life, were you ever a rebel without a cause? Share your story with us.

Read a related EmpowerMoment:  The Night We Almost Died

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Ms. Chancee` Lundy lives in Washington, DC 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: everywhere and in all things I am instructed both to be full and to be hungry, both to abound and to suffer need. I can do all things through Christ which strengtheneth me.”

Jesus, Leadership, Mentor/Mentee, Mentoring, Righteousness, Throwback Thursdays

Throwback Thursday: He Is I, I Am Him

It’s Throwback Thursday! This EmpowerMoment was originally published on May 27, 2011. Enjoy this blast from the past!

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.

How do you encourage those who have fallen by the wayside to turn again to Jesus; or, do you find yourself in the position of Zacchaeus?Share your story.

Read a related EmpowerMoment:  Dont Leave Them, Lead Them

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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!

Direction/Guidance, Evangelism, Leadership, Mentor/Mentee, Mentoring, Teacher/Student

Remember Where You Came From…

…And the One Who Brought You Out!

But you are a chosen race, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a people for his own possession, that you may proclaim the excellencies of him who called you out of darkness into his marvelous light. (1 Peter 2:9 ESV)

Recently I started working with a group of girls at an elementary school in a poverty stricken neighborhood. The group that I work with is in sixth through eighth grade. Twice a week for an hour, we get together for empowering sessions. The sessions are on a wide range of topics from financial empowerment to self-esteem empowerment. Upon first meeting the girls, I was a bit taken aback. For such a young group of girls, they seemed to be very forward and extremely boy crazy. Everything that came out of their mouth was something perverse or vulgar. I couldn’t believe how comfortable they were tossing subliminal sexual messages around in my presence. It was almost as if all they wanted to discuss were things that were associated with the opposite sex. Again, I was nearly appalled at some of the things the girls were asking and telling me.  When leaving that session, I got in my car and had a quick pow wow with the man upstairs. Knowing that He sent me on this assignment, I reminded Him that I was going to need His assistance to be effective as the task at hand. Many questions started swimming around in my mind. A few of them went like this: How did they get like this? What type of parents do they have? At this rate, will they be successful in high school? Why are they so into boys at such a young age?

With absolutely no answers and still a boat load of questions, I solicited my weekly prayer partner for assistance. As she prayed for my strength, wisdom and courage to deal with the girls, I nodded my head in agreement. However, as she continued on asking God to remind me of how far I’d come and to remove any judgment on my part, I had to open one eye. Surely, she wasn’t talking about me! Oh, but surely she was! I was instantly convicted; for a moment in time, I was looking down on those young girls. There I was casting judgment on girls who reflected pieces of me. At some point in my life, I was exactly who they are now…it’s just no one knew about it. At some low era of my existence, I did the very things that they were discussing so freely…I was just never caught! I shared with you just last week a laundry list of things that I was guilty of. (See She is Me: Lydia) With a rap sheet like that, how dare I look down on those girls!

Besides the fact that God truly loves us, do you know why He even bothered saving us? It was so that we could be useful to the building of His Kingdom.  “For God saved us and called us to live a holy life. He did this, not because we deserved it, but because that was his plan from before the beginning of time–to show us his grace through Christ Jesus.” (2 Timothy 1:9 NLT)  Every single thing that we have experienced in life was not just for our own development; it was to benefit God’s people as well. There is someone, somewhere that needs to hear YOUR testimony. In my case, those girls need to know that I have walked in their shoes before and I know what dark places those paths lead to. With the right balance of love, honesty and firmness, I can help deter them from walking the path of death. But, if we get too arrogant or puffed up with pride, we miss the opportunity to minister and deliver those who are in captivity.

Many Bible readers are familiar with the header scripture. We love to proclaim that we are ‘a chosen nation, a royal priesthood, a holy nation’. But the part that seems to get tossed to wayside is the latter part of that verse.  You are His possession and were chosen that you may proclaim the excellencies of him who called you out of darkness into his marvelous light. Yes, He called me from that dark, grungy place of promiscuity, lust, fornication, drugs, alcoholism, etc. into the brighter place of salvation, forgiveness, love, redemption and restoration. However, it’s more important WHY He called me from that hopeless place—to help others who are in currently in that dark space and cannot see the way out for themselves.

I am determined now more than ever to make an indelible impact on those young ladies. I understand more fully just how important my story is to the next person. So, the next time God sends a lowly soul to you, please don’t rest in the seat of judgment.  Remember where you came from and the One who brought you from that place. Extend the same love that He extended to you. You may be the only person standing between them and salvation and/or deliverance.

Dear Daddy,

Please forgive me for the times that I placed judgment or looked down on one of Your children. When there is someone struggling with an issue, help me to embrace them the same way that You embraced me when I dealt with my issues. Teach me unconditional love that covers a multitude of sins. Lord, I ask that You send people to me who I can minister to based on the things that I have experienced in my life. Give me the courage to share my testimony so that others may come to know Your healing power. In Jesus’ Name, Amen!

Ladies, today I EMPOWER you remember where you came from! Recall that you used to be in that dark place and recall how God transitioned you into His marvelous light. With that on your brain, I EMPOWER you to minister to those who are still in that place. Who better to help them than one has walked a few miles in their shoes? Remember, they shall overcome by the blood of the lamb and the word of our testimonies! (Revelation 12:11)

Read a related EmpowerMoment: Dont Leave Them, Lead Them!

Mrs. Kristen Harris is a wife, mother, entrepreneur and dedicated servant.  She is extremely passionate about women’s spiritual advancement, hence the founding of EmpowerMoments.  As an avid reader, Kristen enjoys reading the Bible and other non-fiction pieces. Her driving inspiration is when God says to her: “For I know the plans I have for you, plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.”  (Jeremiah 29:11) She currently resides outside of Chicago, Illinois with her wonderful husband and two lovely daughters where she is an active member of New Life Covenant Church.

Evangelism, Mentor/Mentee, Salvation, Teacher/Student

My Divine Opportunity

I recently started a unit on power with my freshmen World Studies class.  In order to introduce the concept and help them to define it, I used the following short poem:

I took my power in my hand

And went AGAINST the world

‘Twas not so much as David had

But I was twice as bold

I aimed my pebble, but myself

Was ALL the one that fell

Was it Goliath was too large

Or was myself too small?

–Emily Dickinson

As soon as the student finished reading the poem, I heard, “Who is David? Who is Goliath?”  I was actually surprised!  I knew that many of my students were “un-churched,” but I thought the story of David and Goliath was just known by everyone whether they went to church or not.

DIVINE OPPORTUNITY!!  I took it and ran with it.  I told the students the story of David and Goliath and then had them tell me why the author alluded to that particular story in the poem.  Not only did they completely understand the poem after my explanation of the story but they were also able to come up with a working definition of individual power.

The icing on the cake was how the students applied the lesson to their lives that DAY! The poem compares Goliath to the world.  I asked the students, “Who or what is your Goliath?”  Their answers ran the gamut from Math Class to marijuana to anger.  After class throughout the next couple of days, students would see me in the hallway and say, “Ms. Richard, I’m going to fight my Goliath; I’m ‘bout to pass this Math test!” or “Ms. Richard, I fought my Goliath today, I was about to cuss somebody out but I walked away!”

I am so excited about the new directions my students are taking and pray that God continues to draw them toward Him.  I had prepared an entirely different lesson that day but God took what I prepared in a different direction.  “…To man belong the plans of the heart, but from the Lord comes the reply of the tongue…” (Proverbs 16:1 NIV)

Above everything else, God has mandated us to, “…Go into all the world and preach the good news to all creation…” (Mark 15:16 NIV)  Many times we take this as we must become a missionary and go to Africa or stand on the street corner and pass out tracts. While that is the ministry of some it is NOT mine!  We must seek out and be open to the opportunities that God gives us to minister wherever we find ourselves.  Whether that is school, work, or even in the grocery store.  “…The fruit of the righteous is a tree of life, and he who wins souls is wise…” (Proverbs 11:30 NIV)

Dear Daddy,

Thank You for the opportunity You have given us to share Your love with others.  Guide us daily as we go about our lives.  Give us opportunities to minister in our everyday lives.  We ask that You also give us the strength, the willingness, and the wisdom to minister when the opportunity is presented.  Help us to not only be a good witness to You in what we say, but if we never say a word let our lifestyle draw others to You.  In Jesus’ Name, Amen!

Ladies, today I EMPOWER you to pray and ask God to give you divine opportunities to minister in your everyday life.  I EMPOWER you to ACT when those opportunities present themselves.  “Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid or terrified because of them, for the Lord your God goes with you; he will never leave you nor forsake you.” (Deuteronomy 31:6 NIV)

Read a related EmpowerMoment: 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.”

God's Love, Love, Mentor/Mentee, Mentoring, Miscellaneous

How to Love

The title,  How to Love,  has become a popular song bythe  artist Lil’ Wayne.  However it holds various meanings to me.  I am a counselor and social worker and in my field I see a plethora of things that my clients struggle with.  I was recently meeting with one of my teenage clients and she slid a piece of paper across the table.  She told me she wrote a poem entitled “How to Love” and wanted me to read it. 

I was immediately excited and intrigued because I love poetry and this is a client of few words.  This was a major breakthrough for her.  The poem discussed her insecurities and uneasiness in the area of love.  You may be thinking, “Who really knew how to love as a teenager anyway?”  However, it was more than that.  She went into detail about the pain and anguish that she felt by not having a mother, father, sibling or grandparent.  She felt she had no one to love her.  She went on to discuss how her mother left her at two days old and how she had only saw her once since then. 

I immediately attempted to point out the people that she did have in her life.  She went on to tell me she had none of those people.  Not a teacher, church member, counselor, or  family friend.  I was appalled! How she could know how to love if no one ever taught her?

No, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him who loved us. For I am convinced that neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons,  neither the present nor things the future, nor any powers, neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of  God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord”. (Romans 8:37-39 NIV)

It came to me that the best way to teach her how to love was through God.  I could not teach her how to love her like a mother should.  I could not make her family apart of her life. Instead I challenged her to look at the love that God had shown her.  We went on to discuss how she had all her needs met and when she thought she had no one God was always there. “Never will I leave you; Never will I forsake you.” (Hebrews 13:5b NIV)

In the midst of encouraging and uplifting her about God’s love I had to check myself.  How many times have I claimed that I do not have anyone to love me because I am not in a relationship or marriage? How often do I complain that I have no one to help me carry the burden? Do I entertain the thought that I have no loved one to wrap their arms around me?  The answer is I am often guilty of that as well.  God taught us how to love long before we were even born because He first loved us.

Dear Daddy,

Please remind me that I am always loved by You. When I feel as though I have no one, remind me that You have always been there.  Please allow me to love my neighbors and uplift those that feel that they have no one.  Thank You, Lord, for blessing me with family that have always loved me.   I thank You for affording me the opportunity to love others as you have loved us. In Jesus’ Name, Amen!

Ladies, I encourage you to EMPOWER someone’s life by giving them the gift of love.  Look at our children and how many of them are looking for love in all the wrong places.  I EMPOWER you to guide them on the right path and show them what it means to have someone who cares about them.  Whether it’s your own children or children you mentor through a church or community organization, remember their future is in OUR hands.

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 as well as 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.”

Direction/Guidance, Encouragement, Friendships, Inspirational, Mentor/Mentee, Mentoring, Submission/Surrendering

It’s Your Turn

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 any trouble with the comfort we ourselves receive from God.” (2 Corinthians 1:3-4 NIV)

I look in the mirror and I see an ugly face and skin. My cheeks are full of pimples and I have hair on my chin. I don’t have eyebrows that evenly grow. My teeth are so crooked, I’m embarrassed for them to show.

The more I stare I see imperfection at its best. I don’t like what’s under my shirt; I wish I didn’t have these breasts. My mid section ain’t so smooth and my thighs aren’t either. My gate isn’t the most gracious, sometimes I seem to teeter.

I never had many friends because I never fit in. My social skills aren’t the best, so I prefer to stay shut-in. My outward thoughts have grown like vines, deep rooted within me they have become intertwined. So to the point that all I see is an ugly person in the mirror staring back at me.

I have no life, no drive to finish school. I might as well believe what the mean girls say and proclaim that I’m a fool. At work, I wonder how I ended up here; working with these people that are the least bit sincere. In and out of my office chair, the women come and they go. Only to get a welfare check and leaving to do, only the Lord knows.

Today was interesting I saw my client Sherry. She was downcast and depressed and didn’t seem too happy. For some strange reason she began to pour, out her soul of disappointments, insecurities, and cried some more. I felt very strange, almost like I knew, the pain she was feeling, because within me, it had already grew.

I picked up the Book that I read from time to time, and a still strong voice came from within in me, because I knew those words weren’t mine.

“I know your road has been rough, but the Father is there for you. He sees the pain and agony you feel but He has a message for you in it too. The smile you hide out of shame, has been painted with my grace to comfort other’s pains. Your face, to you, may seem unkempt, but your uniqueness helps people to remember you and the aura you’ve kept. See you are an extension of me, I don’t walk on the ground. I use you and your quirkiness to comfort the lost and to spread my love around. I can’t clutter your life with friends because your purpose is much higher. I’ve called you to be my messenger, to make someone’s day that much brighter. Your job is an assignment, ordained by me. To see if you are ready, to handle what proceeds. I didn’t allow you to finish college because your focus was all wrong. Had I not awakened you, you would have kept singing that same “woe is me” song. So here I’ve faced you with you and now the time has come. You have a choice to either run and hide, or use your past to help someone.”

Immediately she vanished and was nowhere in sight. My first thought was to run, because of my initial fright. But there was that voice again, so still yet sincere that said, “That was you in that chair talking to me. See, you are one of my angels that Earth so desperately needs. Go forth and hold your head high, you already had wings. But for some strange reason you suppressed them with insecurities. All of your life I’ve been there for you, but there’s a Sherry out there waiting to feel words of healing from you.”

Ladies, we all have issues and insecurities. We have those “Why me Lord moments” and sometimes, “Why not me?” But as I sit here and type this EmpowerMoment, I want you to step outside of yourself and look for an opportunity. An opportunity to tell someone that God made them in a special way for a special purpose. If He can love me, hide my faults, and ease all of my fears, He can definitely do it for them.

Dear Daddy,

Sometimes I just get into a pity party and wonder why You made me the way You did. But then I have to remember, the trials I am going through are so that someone else can relate, can feel comforted, and can experience healing through the restoration You’ve granted me. Help me not to miss it! Help me to be ready for her, when she comes to sit in my chair. In Jesus’ Name, Amen!

Ladies, I EMPOWER you today to realize that God doesn’t see you like you see you; He sees your heart, your past, present, and future. I EMPOWER you to walk up to that sister today and EMPOWER her with God’s love. I’m sure she needs it.

Poem inspired by Psalms 139 

As a professional, Mrs. Khalilah Burton is College Biology Instructor. She is also currently pursuing a Doctorate of Education in Higher Ed and Community College Leadership. Khalilah is passionate about her faith journey and uses this key scripture as her inspiration: “But they that wait upon the LORD shall renew their strength; they shall mount up with wings as eagles; they shall run, and not be weary; and they shall walk, and not faint.” (Isaiah 40:31 KJV) She teaches Young Adult Bible Study and Sunday School and also serves as a guest speaker and panelist for various events for women and Christian empowerment.  Khalilah resides in Millbrook, Alabama with her wonderful husband Donald Burton, Jr. and their energetic three-year old daughter. They attend St. Luke Christian ChurchCheck out Khalilah’s Christian weight loss blog here.