Restoration, Self Love

You Matter Too

“Do you not know that your bodies are temples of the Holy Spirit, who is in you, whom you have received from God?  You are not your own; you were bought at a price.  Therefore honor God with your bodies.” (1 Corinthians 6: 19-20 NIV)

Daughter, mother, sister, friend, teacher, worker, servant—MY GRACE—writer, author, nurturer, motivator, confidant—IS SUFFICIENT—laundry, school, dinner, homework, lessons, soccer practice, husband, relationships—FOR YOU—bills, budget, lack thereof, new tires, renew the tags, pay my taxes, field trips, insurance bill—MY POWER—tears, stress, anger, loneliness, weakness, letting go—IS MADE PERFECT—am I good enough, I don’t have time, I can’t do it, I don’t know where to start, I’m not smart enough, I’m not disciplined enough—IN YOUR WEAKNESS.

This is what runs through my head at times when I feel overwhelmed or have neglected to take a moment for myself.  I sit and think about all of my responsibilities and realize I’ve left something off.  ME!  Although I do not consider myself #1 in my life, I definitely consider myself a priority.  I made a decision a long time ago to not allow anyone to drain me because it never benefits me or the other person.  If I’m run-down, then my productivity will be inefficient.  If I’m angry, then I can’t love my loved ones at my optimal potential.

It’s so easy for us as women to think that being run down by our families is how we show our love for them, or that being selfless and putting our family first means neglecting ourselves. That’s the biggest myth we can tell ourselves.  When your daughter sees you exhausted and weighed down, she feels sorry for you, not empowered.  When your son sees you stressed out, he feels worried, not safe.  When your husband or boyfriend sees you out of sorts and unstable, he feels he’s to blame, as well as stressed and hopeless (men are burden bearers by nature).  We can’t solve all of life’s issues on our own, but we can take care of ourselves.  If you are feeling run-down, try a few of these things:

1. Take a bath daily…no matter the hour.  Lock the door and don’t let anyone in.  Sit in there and breathe, meditate, or even cry if you want to (even if it’s for nothing).

2. Take a walk/run daily…it’s free and everyone can do it.  Stop making excuses about your knees, back, ankles and time management.  If you walk to and from your car, you can walk up and down the street.

3. Get your hair done (or do it yourself) on a regular basis…I know that salon prices are not for everyone, but you can at least ensure you are maintaining your crown, even if it’s just to shampoo and condition it.

4. Paint your nails…either go to a shop or sit in a quiet place and paint them.  It has nothing to do with the outcome, but everything to do with forcing yourself to sit still for a moment.

5. Sit still...it’s a shame that some of us have to be told to sit still (myself included).  But take about 15 minutes each day to just sit, breathe, and meditate on God’s awesomeness in your life (not the wants…just His goodness).

I could go on and on about this, but here is my point.  Make yourself a priority!  Your family members and friends will thank you and you’ll be charged up to be able to be a better helper to those that need you.  Wearing yourself out for others is not benefiting anyone.  Your body is a temple for the Holy Spirit.  Are you taking care of your temple or are you allowing others, even if they have good intentions, to damage and break down your temple?

Dear Daddy,

Thank You for reminding me to STOP, breathe, and smell the roses.  I thank You for giving me the gift to nurture others, but please teach me how to maintain balance.  Help me to remember to take time out for me so that You can fill me with Your Spirit, recharge me with Your power, and revamp my mind to be about the things of Christ.  Thank You for reminding me that Your strength is made perfect in my weakness.  Help me to rely on that.  In Jesus’ Name, Amen!

Ladies, today I EMPOWER you to put yourself first for a moment and recharge!  Decide to take a moment out of each day that’s just for you.  When others see that you matter to yourself, you will matter even more to them!

What are some ways you take time out for yourself? Share with us below.

Read a related EmpowerMoment:  Quality Time

Please click here to vote for EmpowerMoments in the 2012 Black Weblog Awards!

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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.

Faith, Faithfulness, Favor, Freedom, God's Mercy, God's Protection, Restoration, Throwback Thursdays, Trusting God

Throwback Thursday: The Face of Faith

It’s Throwback Thursday! This EmpowerMoment was originally published on April 29, 2011. Enjoy this blast from the past!

Yesterday I had the opportunity to take my students on a field trip. We were given a guided tour of one of the most meaningful museums I have ever been to, The National Holocaust Remembrance Museum. If you’re familiar with the story then you know how the Jews suffered a horrible tragedy at the hands of a mad-man. More than six million people were slaughtered in some manner in what was known as the “Final Solution”. As we walked through the museum I couldn’t help but to feel the pain and suffering of their people. Many of my students were overcome with emotion because of the pictures and stories told by our tour guide. To conclude, we were given the honor of meeting an actual survivor named Regina. Before me stood this small, frail, 84 year-old woman who saw things one could only imagine. Overcome with emotion one of my students began to cry saying “I touched her.” I wanted to ask her a million questions as she was on her way out the door. The only question I could muster up to the strength to ask was, “How did you do it?” She replied in a very quiet, yet firm tone, “I had faith.”

When the other disciples told him [Thomas] that they had seen the Lord, he declared, “… I will not believe it.” A week later… Jesus… said to Thomas, “Put your finger here; see my hands. Reach out your hand and put it into my side. Stop doubting and believe.” Thomas said to him, “My Lord and my God!” Then Jesus told him, “Because you have seen me, you have believed; blessed are those who have not seen and yet have believed.” (John 20:25-28 NIV)

Have you ever gotten to the point where you doubted God and started wondering whether or not He would bring you out of your situation? We all get caught in these type situations, whether they are self-inflicted or brought on by something or someone else. We find ourselves in a personal “Death Camp” in which we feel all is hope is lost. The light at the end of the tunnel gets dimmer and dimmer and we question, “Why me Lord?” We only see darkness and never take into account that the daylight will come soon. As Regina held up her arm to show me the number that the Nazis branded her with, I realized that even though she had been marked for death she refused to die. Her faith allowed her to survive what the enemy had on her life.

Dear Daddy,

I ask that You continue to increase my faith. Allow me to see that after every night is a morning. Allow me to trust in You no matter what. In my times of weakness allow me to continue to trust and believe that You will bring me out of my situation. In Jesus’ Name, Amen!

Today EMPOWER your FAITH. Never forget Regina and how her FAITH sustained her even when it looked like death was knocking at her door. KNOW that no matter what you’re going through GOD will bring you out.

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!

Attitude, Complaining, Goals & Dreams, God's Promises, God's Provisons, Growth/Maturity, Marriage, Obedience, Patience, Purpose, Restoration, Singleness, Stress, Trusting God

Living in the Microwave Age

Don’t worry about anything; instead, pray about everything. Tell God what you need, and thank him for all he has done. (Philippians 4:6 NLT)

I heard an author last week speak about how this is the ‘Microwave Age’ because everybody wants everything to happen quickly. I thought about life and how God has worked on my anxiety. I was a right now person; if I saw something I wanted in a store, I bought it; if I wanted to say something, I said it; if I was feeling a certain way, I reacted; if I wanted to lose weight, I took plenty of weight loss medicine. I know that was a reckless way to live life. Even my prayer life had turned microwavable. Every time I would really need God to do something I would pray, get up and wonder why He didn’t answer my prayer.

I started to question when was I going to get my blessing? When was I going to get a promotion? When was my marriage going to be the marriage I pray for? When was I going to lose weight and have the physique that I want? When? When? When? When?

How long, O Lord, must I call for help? But you do not listen! “Violence is everywhere!” I cry, but you do not come to save. Must I forever see these evil deeds? Why must I watch all this misery? Wherever I look, I see destruction and violence. I am surrounded by people who love to argue and fight.The law has become paralyzed, and there is no justice in the courts. The wicked far outnumber the righteous, so that justice has become perverted. (Habakkuk 1:1-4 NLT)

The prophet Habakkuk sounds just like me! I found myself saying, “Why is God not answering me? Is He not listening to me? Why don’t I have the promotion? Why am I still overweight? Why is my marriage still not thriving? Talk to me God!”

The Lord replied, “Look around at the nations; look and be amazed! For I am doing something in your own day, something you wouldn’t believe even if someone told you about it.I am raising up the Babylonians, a cruel and violent people. They will march across the world and conquer other lands.” (Habakkuk 1:5-6 NLT)

The Lord spoke to me and told me He is working my situation out for my good. He is building up relationships and even things I thought were not repairable, He is repairing them. He has placed me in a new job that requires that I step up and become a leader very quickly- promotion. He is teaching me discipline when it comes to food and that in order to live a healthy life in Him and on earth I need to exercise. As of today I have lost 30 pounds with many more to go. As for my marriage that God joined together, we are under construction and He is molding us into the people of God that He wants us to be. God told Keviyona I am about to blow your mind!

I will stand upon my watch, and set me upon the tower, and will watch to see what he will say unto me, and what I shall answer when I am reproved. And the Lord answered me, and said, write the vision, and make it plain upon tables, that he may run that readeth it. For the vision is yet for an appointed time, but at the end it shall speak, and not lie: though it tarry, wait for it; because it will surely come, it will not tarry. (Habakkuk 2:1-3 KJV)

I decided that the microwave way of doing things wasn’t what God wanted for my life. I decided to wait and even though it seems like an eternity to me, it is not a long time in God’s eyes. I did not give up waiting for the Lord. And He turned to me and heard my cry.  (Psalms 40:1 NLV)

Dear Daddy,

I want to thank You for teaching me that fast and quick is not always what is best for my life. Thank You for teaching meBut 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) God I am being patient and waiting on You to lead and direct my path because I am nothing without You. God I want You to continue to teach me that patience is a virtue. In Jesus’ Name, Amen!

Ladies, I EMPOWER you to pray and ask God for the desires of your heart and wait. If you wait and lean not to your own understanding, God will show up and show out. I dare you to be patient on your job, in your home, with your marriage, with your family and friends, with your prayer request and watch God do the work. I EMPOWER you to unplug the microwave in your mind, relax and let God work it out. I know we live in a fast paced society but God works in His time and His time is always the best!

Take a moment to share how waiting on God has blessed you.

Read a related EmpowerMoment: Confessions From An Impatient Christian

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

God's Mercy, Restoration, Trials

More than a Car: It’s a Transformation

Two months ago I was involved in a car collision that changed my SPIRITUAL life forever.  The days following the impact I was having the hardest time.  I couldn’t get past the fact that the other driver failed to wait for the traffic to clear at the stop sign before proceeding and the damage to my vehicle was making the situation even worse.  Praise God that all parties involved were alive but unfortunately my car was caught in the crossfire and I was left confused and uncertain as to what was next.

Shortly after the repairs began, I went to gather my belongings out of my beloved “Bentley-Lo” only to find the entire front had been removed.  There was no sign that this was the same car that I was proud to say that I owned; rather it looked identical to the other junk cars that sat on the lot of the auto body shop.  My car appeared to be used, abused, and left for dead with hopes of being transformed back to its original state.

Two days ago I picked my car up from the repair facility and it looked good as new.  The evident damaged was non-existent, the somber scene from the breakdown had passed, and I was now staring at proof that change can be seen on the outside.

“But then I will win her back once again.  I will lead her out into the desert and speak tenderly to her there.  I will return her vineyards to her and transform the Valley of Trouble into the gateway of hope.  She will give herself to me there, as she did long ago when she was young…” (Hosea 2:14-15a NLT)

As I witnessed my car’s transformation, I was reminded of the stages that our relationship with Christ goes through.  We endure trials that leave us damaged and we take forever to accept that not everything is about us.  We go through tough times for God to get the glory and to encourage others who may experience similar situations… It is NOT about us!  Then when we reach a certain point in our relationship with God, He will disassemble our hard exterior in order to expose our most sensitive layer.  However, when it is all said and done, He restores us to a condition that was better than before.  He renews us in every aspect so that people can only see Him and not the collisions that we were involved in previously.

Dear Daddy,

Thank You for helping me to recognize that my trials are deeper than what I can see but that they are for Your glory and the deliverance of others.  Please remind me that the process does require the extraction of things that are not of You in order for our relationship to continue to prosper.  Lord, I thank You in advance for the overflow, deliverance, increase and restoration which will be released unto me at Your appointed time.  In Jesus’ Name, Amen!

Ladies, I EMPOWER you to trust and believe that the transformation process will change your life forever.  Each stage is intricate in the development of your relationship with Christ so be open to receive the blessing in it.  Rest assured that you will look brand new when He finishes with you.  Have a blessed week ☺     

Read a related EmpowerMoment: Broken But Repairable

Have you undergone a Godly transformation? Do people tell you that you are not the same? Share your story with us in the comment section.

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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. She serves tirelessly with the Evangelism Team there.  Latasha also works at Mt. Zion as a member of the Administrative Support Staff. 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

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

Transitions: Trampled on the Floor

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

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

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

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

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

Dear Daddy,

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

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

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

Read a related EmpowerMoment: Seasons Change

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

Comfort, Death, Encouragement, Forgiveness, God, God's Love, Love, Miscellaneous, Restoration

The Dress

This past week I pulled a dress out of my closet that had been hanging there for over three years. The reason it’s been in the closet so long is two-fold:

1. I had gained weight and not been able to fit the dress since I last wore it.

2. It was the dress I wore to the funeral of my first love, the father of my children.

At the beginning of this year, I decided that I was going to make my health a priority. As I made lifestyle changes, I started shedding the excess weight I’d been carrying around. Although I didn’t know where I would wear the dress next, I knew I would be able to wear it in a matter of time. When I took it out of the closet last week, I had no problem putting it on and it actually looked better than it had the first time I wore it! But it was bittersweet.

I was now going to wear the dress to the funeral of my nephew, my sister’s son.

One day last week, I was on my way to the mall to purchase the last outfit I would ever buy my nephew, the one he would go to his grave in. It was then that God began to speak to me about the dress. He told me that while I considered this dress as my ‘funeral dress’, it was a representative of so much more. Do you not know? Have you not heard? The Lord is the everlasting God, the Creator of the ends of the earth. He will not grow tired or weary, and his understanding no one can fathom. He gives strength to the weary, and increases the power of the weak. Even youths grow tired and weary, and young men stumble and fall; but those who hope in the Lord will renew their strength. They will soar on wings like eagles; they will run and not grow weary, they will walk and not be faint. (Isaiah 40:28-31 NIV)

The black dress actually represents God’s love for me! He loves me so much that He has built me up and given me the strength to face the challenges of the black dress each and every time I have been confronted with them. When I had to bury the father of my children, God made sure that I stood strong, was able to love and comfort my children and recognize that even though I was hurting about how he was taken, I got better instead of bitter because of the love of God! When I had given up on myself and my desire to live a healthy lifestyle, was overpowered by the fear of gaining all the weight back again, there that black dress hung as a symbol of strength once again, reminding me that God loves me and will give me the strength to overcome the battle I have with my weight. On those mornings when I didn’t want to get up and do my workout, I could see that black dress; it stood out amongst all the clutter in the closet and I continued to push through.

As I was trying to mentally prepare myself to go back to the funeral home to make the final preparations for the homegoing service of my nephew—whom I will always remember as the snotty nosed little brother I never had, who I have lost so much sleep over this past week because of the way he was taken—I recognized once again that when it came time to step into that black dress and head to the funeral, the love of God would be all around me, holding me up and giving me the strength I needed to take each and every step that day!

Dear Daddy,

Thank You for always being the strength that I need when I feel I have nothing more to give, say or do. Thank You for loving me through all of the good and bad times and assuring me that You will always be right by my side. I pray that when doubt begins to creep in, I will first look up and call on Your name because I know that I can do all things through You! In Jesus’ Name, Amen!

Mighty ladies of God, today I EMPOWER you to embrace the strength that you have as an heir to the kingdom of your heavenly Father! Refuse to allow the doubt of people and situations to have any effect on that which you know to be true and continue to stand on His word!

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Ms. Tiffany Huff is the devoted mother of two boys, a blogger, lover of food and travel, and aspiring entrepreneur with a passion for helping others live out their purposes. She is looking forward to growing in her walk and honoring God through sharing her EmpowerMoments. One of her meditation scriptures is Romans 12:2: “Do not conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is—his good, pleasing and perfect will.”

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

Sandpaper

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Dear Daddy,

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

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

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

Meditate on James Chapter 1

Read a related Empowermoment: The Olive Press Series

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

Encouragement, Honesty/Truth, Restoration, Righteousness, Sin

Ms. Counterfeit

“Yet a time is coming and has now come when the true worshipers will worship the Father in spirit and truth, for they are the kind of worshipers the Father seeks.” John 4:23 NIV

Hello, my name is Ms. Perfection, and I am perfect. I speak perfectly and I am careful not to speak ill will or negativity to anyone. My Facebook page is full of Bible verses and I go to church twice a week. I don’t gossip and I pay my tithes and even more with every pay check.  I don’t drink, smoke, or chew, or hang with those that do. I don’t go to the club and I make sure that those that do, know they are living in sin. I make sure I call it out! I’m faultless!

A grieved voice: “For all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God.” Romans 3:23 NIV

Hello, my name is Ms. Cover, and I cover up the bad with the good. I speak the Word of God over every situation and I ensure to show my friends that I give thanks. My Twitter account is linked to all the well-known Pastors and all of my networking statuses are filled with Godly words and quotes. I have a secret: I sleep around because I’m addicted to sex and men, and frankly, if God wanted me to not be so promiscuous, He would relieve me of this right? Well, I make sure I cover this up too, because the girls I mentor are learning to live a holy life and I have to cover up to make sure they live right.

A grieved voice: “For there is nothing hidden that will not be disclosed, and nothing concealed that will not be known or brought out into the open.” Luke 8:17 NIV

Hello, my name is Ms. Pointer and I point out the issues. When I see a friend sinning, I make sure they know! I point out all the issues to every rapper, singer, friend, politician or foe. This entire world is going to hell I tell you! After all, this is what God said do: He wants us to make it plain and tell it like it is! My friendship circle is almost non-existent because people just sin so much and I get tired of having to tell people how wrong they are. I make sure as soon as they say or do something unrighteous, I slap them with the Word! I don’t need friends, all I need is God!

A grieved voice: “You hypocrite, first take the plank out of your own eye, and then you will see clearly to remove the speck from your brother’s eye.” Matthew 7:5 NIV

Hi, I’m Ms. Sinner. I’m a wretch undone. My filthiness equates to a dirty rag. Sometimes I tell my mind to do one thing, but I find myself doing another. Sometimes I portray to be perfect, cover up my blemishes with a little MAC, or lash out to others about their wrongdoings because mine are so painful. I want God to come and rescue me. I don’t deserve the car I drive. After all, I’ve used it as a hotel and it hasn’t honored Him. The house I own has been trashed with gatherings, sets, and parties that do not honor Him. I don’t deserve this outer beauty He has bestowed upon me because I don’t honor it. I smoke, drink, and fornicate at will. But I want a connection with something everlasting; I want a life that is filled with water overflowing. I want God to forgive me of my sins so that He can teach me how to leave the realms of self-perceived perfection, the lie of covering it all up, and being a hypocrite when I am really insecure.

Ladies, can’t we all identify a little bit with the Ms. Perfect, Ms. Cover, and Ms. Pointer? I know I can. But how can God work through our lives to get the glory if we walk around in a façade? How can He make us perfect in His own divine glory if we create our own perfections and neglect the humbleness of forgiveness, mercy, growth, and repentance? I am reminded of the woman with the alabaster box. She was a known sinner. But when she came to Jesus she humbled herself, wiped His feet with her hair, and anointed Him with her most valuable possession, the perfumes from her alabaster box. What’s interesting about alabaster boxes in that time, is that once they are broken, they can’t be sealed again. So everything that is on the inside must come out. When she poured out her inner truths of her heart, she was forgiven.

Dear Daddy,

I want to be honest with You today. I want to lay before You my inner sins of self-righteousness, conceit, and judgment. I want to be the type of worshipper that worships You in truth, honesty, and transparency. Lord, please help me become real before You so that I may be healed. I want to truthfully be able to witness to others, that mercy through Christ is true perfection, Your blood is the true cover, and pointing my heart to You is what makes me whole. In Jesus’ Name, Amen!

Ladies, I EMPOWER you to pour out your heart to God, empty your alabaster box in worship. Be transparent to Him about your issues. Many of us carry around fake faces and perform empty gestures when truthfully we need to humble ourselves before God and worship Him in truth. It is then that our witness will be strengthened and the blood of Jesus will cover our past so that we can minister and help other sisters in Christ.

Read a related EmpowerMoment: She is Me: Lydia

Be sure to enter our monthly contest by clicking here.

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

Faith, Growth/Maturity, Restoration, Trusting God

A Divine Encounter

Then Job replied to the LORD “I know that you can do anything, and no one can stop you. You asked, ‘Who is this that questions my wisdom with such ignorance?’ It is I—and I was talking about things I knew nothing about, things far too wonderful for me. You said, ‘Listen and I will speak! I have some questions for you, and you must answer them. I had only heard about you before, but now I have seen you with my own eyes. I take back everything I said, and I sit in dust and ashes to show my repentance.” (Job 42:1-6 NLT)

Read that scripture again slowly, not only that you may be EMPOWERED, but that you may have a personal encounter with the Great Divine. I really hope you can feel Him. Personally, this is where God has me and to be quite honest I have been here for a while. I have been saved and attending church for the past seven and half years. Until six months ago I was like Job; I, Lisa, knew NOTHING about God as I thought, but now I have seen Him with my OWN eyes! I’m still a student learning daily, but up until then I was just ‘moving’ along in my Christian walk.  I had lost sight of the divine majesty of God that I first experienced at conversion and I was not experiencing close encounters with Him like I desired or had in my past. I noticed that I was behaving with unrecognized shallowness, irreverence, and had a lack of respect for our Creator.

I was being religious with no relationship. You know going to church on Sundays, Bible study on Wednesdays, prayer on Fridays, reading my word, and trying to memorize as many scriptures as I possibly could. Even though I was doing all of those things and doing them for quite a while, I became spiritually dehydrated. I was serving God in my own strength. It was burning me out! On top of that I was beginning to become overwhelmed by the tasks of everyday life: My husband and I operate our household on one salary; he is working full-time and still looking for a job; we are house touring to purchase our first home (while staying in a realistic budget); I have to care for our two girls (eight and ten months old); keep up with house chores; AND be a wife. With all of this on me, one day I had a break down. I didn’t want to go to church, I wasn’t reading my Bible daily, and I was stuck in that rut for a month. Yes, it got that serious!

In retrospect, I understand that it was just the providence of God. Sometimes He allows us to go through some things so that we, like Job, will know exactly who the great I AM is. I realized that I was treating God like an option and not a priority. That’s when I told Him that I needed to experience an encounter with Him like never before. That day, September 23, 2011, the sweet Holy Spirit led me to this scripture in Job and whispered in my heart this: “He holds the world together and created the worlds with just His words, and yet sometimes you doubt His concern and power in the day to day situations you are facing. Lisa, He is more than simply a support system so that you can get through life with ease. He is the Great I Am, the Mighty One, the Counselor, and the Creator.” I immediately reacted by rebuking the devil because after all I knew who God was! I read most of my Bible, had all of the popular scriptures memorized, got a couple of answered prayers, and knew most of the clichés known for church going, word speaking, and Bible reading believers. Then, it hit me this WAS of God. I started praying from my heart. “Father, forgive me that I have not learned to trust Your bigness. I have used other things and people as a crutch in case You didn’t come through, rather than fully relying on You.” After saying this prayer with all of my heart, He filled the room with His presence and from that day forward I have truly placed Him first. It took me almost eight years to learn that God is not a backup plan to my plans. He alone is where my trust should be placed.

Even though this is where I am, I can tell you that getting here was not automatic for me.  I had to go through some things and it’s too much for me to list, but just like Paul I had to have an encounter with Jesus.  If you and I would really take a moment and meditate on how BIG God is and truly allow His Spirit to let us experience firsthand the revealed majesty of God, we will be transformed. Paul, Peter, and many others had the same experience once they’d experienced the revealed majesty of God’s splendor.

Dear Daddy,

We come and confess our awareness of our insignificance. You alone are the Faithful One who loves to redeem every situation and show Yourself to be strong. Forgive us for our lack of reverence. We thank You for our forgiveness that Jesus has made available for us. Now Father, as we read and say this prayer, I ask that You would restore a hundred fold our trust and confidence in You. Increase our faith. We thank You for Your presence because in it we are made whole. Now, exchange our hearts and fill us with Your Spirit so that we may live for You and give You glory. In Jesus’ Name, Amen!

Today I EMPOWER you to trust the bigness of God. Meditate on how big He is. When we do so, we are choosing to run to Him as our fortress. Choose to have full confidence in the ability of God to come through in your situation. He alone is the Faithful One who loves to redeem every situation and show Himself strong. Ask and expect to have a firsthand, divine encounter with Jesus as Paul did. I EMPOWER you to revel in His presence and watch how He reveals Himself to you!

Read a related EmpowerMoment: Broken but Repairable

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

God's Love, God's Mercy, God's Protection, Inspirational, Restoration

Broken but Repairable

Hey girl,

I have been waiting on the right words to apologize about missing my EmpowerMoment. I felt and feel horrible, but I prayed and asked God to show me my downfalls and my issues and why would I neglect His business. This is what He revealed to me: The week you called me, you know the week it was due, I was spiritually broken. I know that sounds weird, but it wasn’t by default that you called me but I didn’t know what was wrong, so I couldn’t tell you anything. I felt a spirtutal disconnect and it was something I haven’t felt since preaching or being saved. I felt like I couldn’t catch my groove to pray and talk to God or I couldn’t focus on the Word. Real talk, it scared me. That week my past resurfaced and I felt like I wasn’t ready for the past to come back to haunt me. I had an outer body experience, meaning I felt out of my spiritual body. I went to church that Sunday and didn’t perform any of my duties because I couldn’t bring myself to speak over God’s people messed up and distorted. I couldn’t submit an EmpowerMoment and give someone that negative energy. I felt so alone that week! Girl, I never want to be without God’s presence! I had to really go into worship and assure myself, not God, that I know I was chosen, that I know I am peculiar and that I know that being apart of Christian families such as EmpowerMoments is my birthright. I will never ever let a feeling or anything separate me from the love of God! Sorry, this is so long but know that you were made for this. I don’t know if you knew why you were checking on me, but God sent you to protect the women that you have invested your time, patience and energy in! Thank you and know that you are my sister friend. I heart u!

This is a letter I wrote a few weeks ago because something weird was going on with me. I really was questioning every part of my life- spiritual and natural. I felt as if I was falling apart and I didn’t know what to do. I realized that I was broken and feeling a disconnection from God. I’m talking about being lonely; when it feels like God is not listening, it’s a horrible feeling. My bills were paid and my health was good but I was lonely, sad and I didn’t think anyone understood what I was going through. I realized I was broken.

This is the word that came to Jeremiah from the LORD: “Go down to the potter’s house, and there I will give you my message.” So I went down to the potter’s house, and I saw him working at the wheel. But the pot he was shaping from the clay was marred in his hands; so the potter formed it into another pot, shaping it as seemed best to him. Then the word of the LORD came to me. He said, “Can I not do with you, Israel, as this potter does?” declares the LORD. “Like clay in the hand of the potter, so are you in my hand, Israel. (Jeremiah 18: 1-6 NIV)

Just when I thought God was giving up on me, He showed me He is the potter and I am the clay. That He molds me just as the potter molds clay. God is working to create a masterpiece-ME! He is molding me to become the person He needs me to be. Even when I felt my lonliest, He had never left my side. He promised me, “I will never leave you, nor forsake you.” (Hebrew 13:5a KJV)

I see myself as a priceless piece created by God and sometimes a piece of me is chipped or cracked, but God being the potter always has the equipment to easily fix my broken pieces. As women of God, who do we think we are that we can stay broken and give up and quit? I now realize that I was broken, but repairable. I didn’t know how I was going to get out of my funk, but God already had a plan for my life. Even when you can’t see God and you think you can’t feel Him, remember He is right there putting your broken pieces back together again. Remember you are broken but repairable!

Dear Daddy,

I thank You for being my Potter! Thank You for always being there to put my pieces back together again. Thank You, God, for never giving up on me. God, as you enlarge my territory, teach me to depend on You for everything and to always remember that You are always there for me. Teach me to not want to give up when things become tough, but to depend on You and to always remember I may be broken, but I am repairable! In Jesus’ Name, Amen!

Women of God, I EMPOWER you to allow God to be the potter and mold you into the masterpiece that He wants you to be. Even when things get tough, remember that God is there all the time. Remember that the devil wants you to believe that you are worthless and you are disconnected from God (LIES!!) Even though you may be broken today, remember you are repairable!

Read a related EmpowerMoment: The Potter’s House

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