Father/Daughter, Mother/Daughter, Self-Worth

Princess Status

“Now if we are children, then we are heirs – heirs of God and co-heirs with Christ, if indeed we share in his sufferings in order that we may also share in his glory.” Romans 8:17 NIV

My husband and I were working on a project the other day – my daughter’s chandelier for her room. The reason why I wanted to go through the trouble of refinishing an old beat up chandelier to hang in a 6 year old’s room, was beyond his care for understanding. See, I have a princess, I actually have two. And while a decorated chandelier has absolutely nothing to do with their princess status, they have connection as an heir to the throne of God. So, I kind of like to play up that Princess theme, or maybe I am just addicted to Pinterest, but whatever.

Princess_crownAs I thought about my daughters’ princess status I was reminded of a comment one of my past boyfriends told me. We were leaving for our first date and my Mom yelled out the door, “Now you take care of my princess.” When we got in his car he immediately said or should I say smirked, “I can’t believe your Mom referred to you as a princess. What is she trying to do, set you up on a pedestal?” I should have ran right then (insert chuckle here); but, I didn’t. It was obvious he didn’t understand my worth. However, I facetiously stung back with a “you better recognize” type of response. As I played this scene through my mind the Lord said, “Make sure you teach your daughters that if a young man doesn’t have the potential to elevate them to a Queen, then he has no business dealing with them while they’re a princess.” Wow! I could not believe my ears. I immediately ran to my note pad to right that down!

IF HE CAN’T PROMOTE YOU TO A QUEEN, THEN HE HAS NO BUSINESS DEALING WITH A PRINCESS!!

I had to share this message. Not just for fellow mothers of girls, but to the princesses all over the world! For some reason (and it’s a good thing) girls get “goo goo” eyed for boys and then men, in the natural order of things. But we have to learn how to filter and discern the attributes of future Kings (or current ones depending on the stage in life when you meet him). The only way to discern this type of man is by hiding yourself in the bosom of God. God tells us in Psalm 37:23, “The steps of a good man are ordered by the Lord: and he delighted in his way.” Therefore, we can gauge if the boyfriends and men in our lives are good by the steps they take. His actions (and ours) should be humble, gentle, with patience, and bearing with one another in love (Ephesians 4:2). It is stated, “Husbands, love your wives, even as Christ also loved the church, and gave himself for it.” Ephesians 5:25 KJV We can gauge someone’s love for us by what they give, and I don’t mean the material things. I’m referring to time, honor, patience, a listening ear, encouragement, and so on. Is what he’s giving you enhancing you?

My message here, is that you are a Princess in the Kingdom of God. You are an heir to the throne. One who has potential to have worth far more than rubies, lacking nothing in value. You are a prized possession, thus why the Lord is jealous for you.

It’s interesting that God shared this “topic” with me because just the other day a few co-workers and I (don’t ask how we ended up here) were laughing at the names our mothers taught us to refer to our “golden gates” if you know what I mean. To my hysterical surprise, my mother’s term for it was a tad raunchy, I learned from sharing it with my girlfriends. So I adopted a new term, “clam shell”. Why do I like that term? Not only is it cute and can be clamped down (smile), freshwater clams produce natural pearls that are rare. Regular pearls are formed in oysters. In order to find a clam with a pearl, one must dig beneath the surface to find it. I heard a quote once that stated, “A women should be so embedded in the Word of God that the man designed for her must seek God first in order to find her.” So ladies and daughters, “Don’t waste what is Holy on people who are unholy. Don’t throw your pearls to pigs! They will trample the pearls, then turn and attack you.” Matthew 7:6 NLT.

Dear Daddy,

Thank You for giving us the gift of being a Mother. Whether by birth or by other means, You have given us the gift of molding the lives of younger girls and women. Lord I ask that You teach every girl that she is Your Princess and every woman waiting on her King (whether by marriage or waiting the realization that you are her King) that she is your Lady in Waiting. Lord may You cover her with a double portion of Your grace and anointing to stay fixed on you and satisfied; mentally, spiritually, and physically. Lord may You give all of us women, young and old, the knowledge that we were made fearfully; that our hair is designed as the crown You’ve place on our heads; our lips speak life and honey; our breasts are the very bosom in which we cultivate and nourish those gifts You give us; our wombs are designed to birth wisdom, power, and reflections of Your image; and that our stature is that of what You call woman, a prized possession, that You hold dear only giving over to those with blessed hands. In Jesus’ name I pray, Amen.

Ladies, I EMPOWER you to act like a princess, an heir to the Kingdom of God. We are ALL God’s Princesses because our ultimate Daddy is the King of all Kings. And because of that, we remain safe in Him and our paths will remain straight.

How do you disconnect from those who don’t treat you like the Princess/Queen that they should?

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

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Family, Fasting, Health/Sickness, Mental Illness, Mother/Daughter, Prayer, Testimony Series

My Testimony: Standing in the Gap

Happy New Year EmpowerMoments family! We have surely missed you! As we kick off the new year, we are beginning with a series entitled “Testimonies & Lessons”. We believe Revelation 12:11 when it says that we overcome by the word of our testimonies. We pray that our testimony and lessons from last year will EMPOWER you to triumph this year! May God bless you and make 2014 the greatest year of your life thus far!

As I was listening to the conversation on the other end of the phone, I could barely take in what the social worker was telling me. She wasn’t walking. She wasn’t talking and needed assistance using the restroom. Many times, she would not make it. A few days later, the news came that she was in the hospital undergoing a battery of tests but the doctors were coming up with nothing. What happened to cause such a rapid decline in my mother’s health? The doctors chalked it up to severe depression. Nearly a thousand miles away, I felt hopeless and helpless. I prayed about it but it seemed as if things weren’t changing.

Although I wanted to get home, I didn’t have the finances for an emergency trip. I wanted someone I could trust to tell me that my mom was going to be okay. Thank God for the angels He placed in my life in the form of friends. One of my friends went to visit my mom in the hospital and gave me a good report. Before I knew it a few of my close friends pooled together the resources to make the trip home possible. My mom was released from the hospital because they couldn’t find a diagnosis but she reverted to being mute and didn’t have activity in any of her limbs. The thought of seeing my mom like that was heartbreaking. I wanted to do something.

Lord, have mercy on my son, for he is an epileptic and suffers severely; for he often falls into the fire and often into the water.  So I brought him to Your disciples, but they could not cure him. However, this kind does not go out except by prayer and fasting. (Matthew 17: 15-16, 21 KJV) I knew exactly what I needed to do. My mother needed someone to stand in the gap for her.

I studied Esther. When Haman sought to destroy the Jews, Esther’s uncle Mordecai told her that she had to do something to save her people or that she might perish along with them. Her answer was for her and all of the Jews to fast and pray. She too had to stand in the gap. For if thou altogether holdest thy peace at this time, then shall there enlargement and deliverance arise to the Jews from another place; but thou and thy father’s house shall be destroyed: and who knoweth whether thou art come to the kingdom for such a time as this? Then Esther bade them return Mordecai this answer, Go, gather together all the Jews that are present in Shushan, and fast ye for me, and neither eat nor drink three days, night or day: I also and my maidens will fast likewise; and so will I go in unto the king, which is not according to the law: and if I perish, I perish.  (Esther 4:14-16 KJV)

Like Esther, I needed God to change the situation around. I fasted for three days and nights without eating or drinking. I continued my daily routine of going to work but came home and prayed feverishly for God to heal my mother of whatever was ailing her. I found myself laying in the middle of the floor crying out to God on her behalf. I flew home later that week not knowing what to expect.

At first, my mom would only say one or two words and was confined to a wheel chair. By the second day, not only was she walking but she also got out of the wheelchair using only a walker as her guide. By the time the week was over, mom was back to her normal self. She had pushed the walker to the side and was walking completely on her own, taking herself to the restroom and functioning, as she should. I know that it was God who answered my prayers. Since that episode last spring, she has not depended on a wheelchair or a walker. Without God’s grace, this story could have ended completely different. I am thankful that He gave me the willpower to stand in the gap for her.

Dear Daddy,

Your word is true and fails us not. Thank You for healing my mother and providing me with the will to intercede on her behalf. Lord, I am grateful for the friends that You have blessed me with that don’t mind praying and giving out of the abundance of their hearts. Lord, I ask for a special blessing over their lives. With You nothing is impossible. I am forever grateful for Your love and the miracles that You perform. In Jesus’ Name, Amen!

Ladies, I EMPOWER you to stand in the gap for someone else. Are you believing in God for someone’s deliverance or healing? To get something different, you may have to do something different.  Remember, there are some things that come only by prayer AND fasting.  Consult the Lord and do His will. Remember, you don’t have to do anything in your own strength, for His grace is sufficient and powerful enough to help you stand in the gap. 

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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 strengthened me.

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.

Children, Gifts/Talents, Mentoring, Mother/Daughter, Motivation, Teacher/Student

A King Josiah Anointing for Our Kids

“…But each has his own gift from God, one of one kind and one of another.” 1 Corinthians 7:7b ESV

My 6-year old daughter is the epitome of over exaggeration and dramatized behavior. She can produce a tear at the drop of a dime, she has a facial expression and body gesture to appeal to any situation and she has the power to convince you that something is much more serious than it really is entirely through actions. It is so evident that our family has coined her ‘Drama Mama’. I must admit her behavior is sometimes extremely annoying because I don’t know what to take seriously and what to just brush off. I often remind her of the story of “The Boy Who Cried Wolf.” But recently I have come to the realization that God has given her the gift of drama for a purpose and it is up to her father and me to channel that energy into positive experiences. Only God knows how this gift applies to her purpose and destiny in Him but the last thing that we as her parents should do is extinguish the fire. Yes, she is only six years old but God is already starting to reveal who she will be in the Kingdom. He has a mission for even the youngest of them…

In the first book of Kings we are introduced to a baby named Josiah, “…This is what the LORD says: ‘A son named Josiah will be born to the house of David.” (1 Kings 13:2 NIV) Just a few short years later in the second book of Kings, Josiah’s father, King Amon, was murdered and Josiah became king in his place. Guess how old Josiah was when he began his reign? “Josiah was eight years old when he became king, and he reigned in Jerusalem thirty-one years.” (2 Kings 22:1 NIV) Imagine that! At only the tender age of eight, Josiah was already ruling a nation. What great things God must’ve placed in that young lad to equip him for such a position! I imagine that as a young boy he possessed superior leadership skills (that some mistook for bossiness). He was probably an excellent decision maker (which was probably confused with being opinionated). I am sure he had the ability to persuade the people (and most may have viewed that as manipulative.) You get the point? God has given our children what they need for where He is taking them. It is our responsibility to ensure that we are encouraging and cultivating those gifts.

Outlined below is a simple three-step plan to help us help our children become everything God intended for them to be:

(1)    Ask God to reveal your children’s gifts and talents to you. Before my daughters were even born, I would pray for their futures and ask the Lord to show me a glimpse of what He had planned for them. Part of that was to know what special things they would possess so that I could help to protect and nurture their gifts. It is not too late for you to seek God about your children’s hidden treasures.

(2)    Once you know what is on the inside of your children, you MUST assist in the cultivation of those gifts. After I realized that all of my daughter’s drama was not just to get under my skin, I made a choice to help her develop her craft. I have been searching for the perfect drama and acting school to enroll her in. It is imperative that we encourage our children to be who God has created them to be!

(3)    Speak into your child’s future. “You are going to be an awesome actress one day!” That is an affirmation that I speak over my daughter because I understand that it somehow aligns with her destiny. I don’t have to know when, where or how that statement will affirm itself, I just have to believe. So it is with your children. Speak over them daily. If your daughter loves to talk (aka talks too much), tell her what a great news reporter she would make. If your son insists on bringing every stray animal in the neighborhood home, affirm his future as a veterinarian.

It is never too early to begin helping your children reach their God-given destinies. Remember Josiah was only eight years old! Your children’s hidden gifts and talents may not look like everyone else’s. They may not be straight ‘A’ students or musically talented, but God has given them SOMETHING to work with. It is your responsibility to identify it and help them utilize it!

Dear Daddy,

I thank You for blessing me with my wonderful child(ren). I ask that You would begin to reveal to me the special gifts that You have placed inside of them. Please give me the wisdom to recognize who You created them to be, the ability to affirm what You said and the resources to aid in their development. I ask that You give my child a King Josiah anointing that they may make huge impacts, even in their younger years. In Jesus’ Name, Amen!

Ladies, today I EMPOWER you to EMPOWER your children! Find their gifts and maximize their potential for the kingdom by helping them grow those gifts in the Spirit. I EMPOWER your children to walk in a King Josiah anointing!

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.

Encouragement, Faith, Fruit of the Spirit, Gentleness, God's Love, Kindness, Love, Mental Illness, Mother/Daughter, Motivation, Spiritual Therapy, Strength, Trials, Trusting God, Worry

Hope in the Midst of Hopelessness

“Chancee` you have to accept the fact that your mother is going to be institutionalized until the day she dies.”  These words stung as a family member spoke them to me. I was feeling pretty hopeless and was pouring out how I felt about the mental health system’s revolving door that has held my mother captive. I don’t quite know the year it started but her illness preceded me.  Although throughout my lifetime she has had several years of independent living, for nearly the past seven years she has been in the state mental institution. She is absolutely one of the most brilliant people that I know but she has a neurobiological disorder and has been diagnosed as bipolar, paranoid schizophrenic. Her reality and true reality are often conflicting and unfortunately her belief in her delusions, in the absence of medication, can cause irritability and lead to unrest and violence. Because Mom doesn’t believe she has an illness, her cooperation is minimal outside the confines of the mental institution. That fact keeps her from living a “normal” life.

Over the years, I held resentment against my mother for not being there for me to call on her when I needed her. I have felt extreme sadness at the fact that our relationship in no way resembles that of my friends with their own mothers. Mother-daughter trips, spa days, shopping, and dinners have been non-existent since I was a little girl. I feel sorry for her because her own quality of life is severely diminished and as she gets older it continues to get worse. I have become her guardian and she has become the child. It’s a complex relationship and one that she constantly fights.

For years, I have prayed that God delivers my mom from her illness and I have held out hope that one day she will be delivered from this disease; however, it’s been very difficult. I have prayed that I can see her how God sees her and love her like He does. The hardest part about neurobiological disorders is that they are hard to deal with because you can’t “see” the disability and it’s not cancer; therefore, people are treated as if they are just “crazy.” You want them to accept that what they know as reality is false and to just move on but that isn’t realistic.

There is so much to this story that I can write a book, but as this cycle repeats itself it’s hard for me to have hope that one day she will be healed. It’s hard for me to believe that God may have a different will for her life. It’s hard for me to believe that she will cooperate with treatment when she is not under the supervision of the mental institution. I am trying to maintain hope in what appears to be a hopeless situation.

Your situation may not be like mine but if some of us are honest with ourselves there is something that we have or have had hope for but our present circumstances make us feel absolutely hopeless. Our faith is shattered because we can’t see “how” it will happen, “when” it will happen or “what” will happen. As I battle with these feelings of hopelessness concerning my mother, I am reminded of WHO God is in what appear to be hopeless situations:

  • In Exodus 1  The Children of Israel were in captivity for hundreds of years in Egypt. There were Israelites who were born in and died in captivity and never saw God’s promise of freedom come to fruition. Though it came through much trial and tribulation Pharaoh finally let God’s people go. Pharaoh and all his officials and all the Egyptians got up during the night, and there was loud wailing in Egypt, for there was not a house without someone dead. During the night Pharaoh summoned Moses and Aaron and said, “Up! Leave my people, you and the Israelites! Go, worship the LORD as you have requested. (Exodus 12:30-31 NIV)  In Exodus 14 the Israelites’ situation once again appears hopeless as Pharaoh follows them and they are trapped by the Red Sea but God parted the waters so that they could cross. He made a way out of no way!
  • Remember Sarah – There is no doubt in my mind that Sarah wanted a child her whole life but she was barren. When she received word that she would have a son her situation looked so hopeless that she laughed at the mere thought. Later she bore a son and called him Isaac.  Read Genesis 18:10-14, Genesis 21:1-2
  • Lastly there is the woman with the issue of blood. She had a disease and had been to many doctors over the course of her twelve years of bleeding but no one could help her. There was no pill that she could take to stop it. There was no cure.  Mark 5:25-29

Although our situations may appear to be hopeless, I want us to restore our hope knowing that what God has done for others He will do for us too. Here are my five tips for restoring hope when you feel hopeless:

  1.  Encourage Yourself –I Samuel 30: 4-6
  2. Trust Him –Proverbs 3:5-6
  3. Know that He is not like you! –Isaiah 55:8-9
  4. Have a Flashback – Remember a time when God granted you the desires of your heart even when the situation looked hopeless. Psalms 31:19
  5. Know that He sees the completed puzzle while we can only see the puzzle pieces – Jeremiah 29:11

Dear Daddy,

Continue to help mine unbelief as You restore my faith in You. Help me to continue to believe that You are a healer and just like You have done for others You can do for me too. For every reader out there that is in the midst of what appears to be a hopeless situation, remind them of who You are. Remind them that there is nothing too hard for You! Remind them that You healed the sick, You raised the dead, You walked on water, You restored sight to the blind, You opened wombs that were barren, and You made the ultimate sacrifice! Thank You for being who You are! In Jesus’ Name Amen!

Ladies, I EMPOWER you to declare victory today over your “hopeless” situation. I EMPOWER you to have peace with God’s will for your life and that you remain faithful in your pursuits. I EMPOWER you to rebuke the spirit of hopelessness as you remember the God that you serve can do ANYthing.

Read a related EmpowerMoment: The Face of Faith

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.”

Addictions, Encouragement, Faith, Fasting, Inspirational, Mother/Daughter, Patience, Prayer, Trusting God

There’s A Monster In My House!

The following are excerpts from my memory journal. Although they weren’t actually written in a cute floral notebook, they are indeed truthful. Each one of these memories is an indelible mark on the walls of my mind…

July 2, 1988

For as long as I can remember, there has been a monster in my house. I am not really sure what type of monster it is, but I know when it shows up. Sometimes I can even see the monster on my Mommy and Daddy’s face. Something about them just doesn’t look the same. Then they start acting differently and I wonder if the monster is making them act that way. I didn’t think I was afraid of monsters until this one started showing up. I really hate it too so I hide in my room because I don’t want to see it. But when the monster leaves, they are back to normal and once again we are a loving family.

July 2, 1995

I’m too old to believe in monsters but now my little sister can see it. I try to reassure her that monsters aren’t real but she is still scared. It’s so evident that something evil is still showing up around here every day. My Mommy still acts strange when it shows up. I’m not sure if this evil thing is affecting my dad because he isn’t here anymore. Through my intellect and nosiness, I am going to get to the bottom of this. After all, I really need to know so that I can promise my baby sister that there’s nothing to be afraid of.

July 2, 2002

Over the past several years, I finally got it. Yes, it is a monster. Yes, it is evil. It’s a demon from the pit of hell. I am still a bit confused though because it doesn’t act like the monsters that I see on TV that are like it. I have since moved to another state so that I won’t have to deal with it. Now I feel kind of guilty because I left my baby sister to fight the demon alone. I pray that she’s ok. I wonder if she even understands what she is up against. God, please protect my sister and please kill the demon that resides in the house with her. Amen.

July 2, 2009

My sister is now older and she too understands what we are up against. It’s gotten really rough these last few years, but today God answered our prayers! I haven’t been this excited in a long time! I have been consciously, and subconsciously, battling this thing—this monster, this evil thing, this demon—for nearly all of my life. As an adult, I have been worn out on the battlefield and needing backup many days. But today, the one person that needed to jump in the battle stepped up to the frontline. My Mommy said, “I’m tired of being on these drugs.” It was at that moment that the monster started searching for a new place to stay…

October 24, 2011

That life-changing moment was nearly three and a half years ago and when I talk about it, my emotional response is still the same. That day, I immediately got on the phone and sought help. When I found The Women’s Treatment Center, they wanted to do a phone screening with her. She picked up the phone in the kitchen as I listened attentively in the bedroom. The exchange went something like this:

Q: “How long have you been using?”

A: “About 25 years.”

*The monster was pissed off as he grabbed his suitcase.*

Q: “What do you use?”

A: “Crack- Cocaine.”

*The monster shoved his chains of bondage in the suitcase.*

Q: “How often do you use?”

A: “Everyday.”

*The monster packed up his anger and depression.*

Q: “How much money do you spend to get high?”

A: “Whatever I have.”

*The monster grabbed all the rest of his junk (selfishness, pride, bitterness, greed, stubbornness, etc.) and stuffed it in his luggage.*

Q: “Are you ready to stop using?”

A: “Yes.”

*The monster slammed his suitcase shut and stomped out of the house…NEVER to move in again!*

Today I write in my virtual journal not to alienate my mother or air all of her dirty laundry. Rather, I write that you too may overcome. They overcame him by the blood of the Lamb and by the word of their testimony…” (Revelation 12:11 NIV) If you’re the daughter or sister or mother of the one who’s living with the monster, I say to you, STAND! “…And when you have done everything you could, you will be able to stand firm.” (Ephesians 6:13 ISV) I prayed for my mother for over 15 years without seeing ANY progress. (1 Thessalonians 5:17) Be relentless in your pursuit! I am reminded of Jacob who wrestled with God throughout the night. I imagine from God’s response that He was tired of Jacob the next morning: “Let me go; its daybreak.” (Genesis 32:26a MSG)  Jacob’s response: “I’m not letting you go ‘til you bless me.” (v. 26b) Seconds after that exchange, God blessed Jacob “right then and there” as it reads in the Message translation. And just like Jacob, I clung to God and got on His last nerves until He blessed that situation!

In addition to standing and praying, I FASTED. In Matthew, the disciples were trying to cast demons out a little boy when Jesus reminded them that some only go by praying AND fasting. (Matthew 17:14-21) The spirit of bondage has a strong hold and depending on how long it’s had a grip on your loved one’s life, you may need to do more than just pray. I denied myself so many things that I loved (food, music, TV, people, outings, etc.) because I loved my mother MORE. What are you willing to sacrifice for the one that you love?

Lastly, I ask that you love them right where they are. As a teenager, one of the best pieces of advice that I received was to ask God to show me how to love my mother the way that He loved her. With that, my daily prayer became, “I love my mother where she is, but I praise You, oh God, for where she is going!”  Remember, “Most important of all, continue to show deep love for each other, for love covers a multitude of sins.” (1 Peter 4:8 NLT)

Dear Daddy,

Thank You for my ______. God, I ask that You keep them safe during this period of their life. Lord, please give me the words to say that would aid in their recovery. Teach me how to war in the Spirit on their behalf. Please help me not to give up on them because I know that You won’t give up on them either.  God, I will not let You go until fix this! I know that You are able! I thank You right now for my _______ but I praise You for where they are going! In Jesus’ Name, Amen!

Ladies, I am sure that you know someone who is residing with the “monster.” Today I EMPOWER you to STAND up for and with them! I EMPOWER you to PRAY for them without ceasing! I EMPOWER you to go on a sacrificial FAST for them! And finally, I EMPOWER you to LOVE the hell out of them!

Today’s EmpowerMoment is dedicated to my lovely mother! You are a champion and hero in my eyes! Congratulations on 844 days of being free and clean! I love you!

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.

Mentor/Mentee, Mentoring, Mother/Daughter

Don’t Leave Them, LEAD Them!

Even when I am old and gray, do not forsake me, my God, till I declare your power to the next generation, your mighty acts to all who are to come. (Psalm 71:18 NIV)

At the beginning of the summer, my younger cousin and I decided that we would go for a brisk run a few times a week.  In the days leading up to our first run together, she talked a lot of trash about how far she could run. She told me that if I wasn’t able to keep up with her then I was truly out of shape. She went on and on talking about what she could do, much like many other young people I know. The evening of our inaugural run proved to be a much different story than what she had proclaimed for several days prior. After jogging for about a minute and a half she had to stop and take a break. I thought, “Surely, this can’t the same girl who told me that I was out of shape?!” There was at least a two block stretch between the two of us for the duration of our 45 minute run. Under normal circumstances, I would have used that entire situation as an opportunity to rub it in her face and remind her of all the trash that she talked beforehand. However, God used the situation to show me what my responsibility as an older, wiser woman is.

As we grow older, we tend forget that we were once the same hard headed, know-it-all, think our men and friends are God, can’t tell me anything, young girls that we despise so much. It’s so easy to get frustrated and give up on the younger women. However, we have been given specific instructions about how we are to train and mentor the ones coming behind us:

Then they [older women] can urge the younger women to love their husbands and children, to be self-controlled and pure, to be busy at home, to be kind, and to be subject to their husbands, so that no one will malign the word of God. (Titus 2:4-5 NIV)

As I mentioned before, I was a great distance ahead of my cousin but I would periodically turn around to make sure that I could still see her. I had to ensure that she was still making progress. As long as she was still pressing forward, I was leading her along the path and not leaving her.  It is imperative that the older generations don’t get so caught up in running our race that we aren’t checking on those coming behind us. Yes, it may take them a little longer to understand or even want to understand, but we have to make sure that they are still pushing forward. If I couldn’t see her when I turned around, I would pause for a moment to give her a chance to get in my eyesight. Maybe it’s time that we pressed pause on our lives to check on the progress of the young women around us.

Occasionally along our running path I would notice a large stick or stone. Since I knew she was coming behind me, I would take a moment to kick it out of the way. I was concerned that she would not see the hazards and stumble and fall. It seems that we have gotten to a point where we want the younger generations to overcome all of the obstacles that we had to and struggle the way that we did. I definitely think we must be cautious in our approach so that we aren’t nurturing a bunch of spoiled brats; however, it is equally important that we make life a little easier for those coming up in the rear. Share what you have learned so that they don’t have to make the same mistakes. Because you are more mature and wiser, you can recognize hazards in relationships or friendships long before they see them. Help them to recognize and remove those things and/or people that would be detrimental to their future.

My cousin made it home about ten minutes after I did. Again, I could have taunted her and reminded her that I was the one out of shape. Instead, I chose to congratulate her on a job well done. After all, the race is not given to the swift… More important than me winning was me celebrating how far she had come. Ironically enough, I didn’t have to say anything. Her first words were, “Whew! I’m really out of shape!” I know it’s definitely tempting to get in her face and say, “I told you so!” after she makes a mistake. But if she has already realized what went wrong along her path, then celebrate her progress! Revelation is cause for celebration!

One last important point to remember is that we too can learn something from the youngsters. This entire EmpowerMoment was a lesson learned from a 22-year-old. Please don’t ever get to so “learned” that you aren’t teachable—even by those younger than you.

I know that these teenage girls and young 20 somethings can be a handful, but we cannot give up on them. We have been given a biblical charge to train, mentor and love on them until they get it right. Remember 10, 20, maybe even 30 years ago when you were the same person you now want to write off…

Dear Daddy,

Please forgive me for the times that I acted as if I was better than the young ladies that You have surrounded me with. Help me to live a life that is fitting to be imitated. Give me the words to speak that would encourage, uplift and inspire the younger generations. I thank You for entrusting young women in my care; help me to live up to Your expectations. In Jesus’ Name, Amen!

Today, I EMPOWER you to take an active mentor role in that young woman’s life. If you aren’t sure who that young woman is, ask yourself whose decisions and actions really baffle and anger you. You are the one that God wants to use to EMPOWER her! Choose to make an investment in the lives of your daughters, nieces, cousins, students, co-workers, etc.

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 more than anything. 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.