Finances, God's Provisons, Trusting God

Hold On

For the past month, I’ve been struggling financially. I was laid off twice last month. I was also laid off in May until I started working for summer camp. Over the summer, I worked in a dining hall feeding kids from various summer camps that were on a university campus. During my layoffs, I’ve been depending on my savings account to pay for my bills. I’m grateful that I had enough foresight to save the refund from my income tax. In addition, I received my unemployment so they have come in handy. Recently, I returned to work on August 10th (my birthday).

When I experienced my lay off at the end of July, I had a moment of despair because things weren’t going the way that I wanted them to. I didn’t receive my unemployment as quickly as I thought I would. My last day of work for summer camp was on July 22nd. Summer camp was supposed to end on July 31st. So it ended earlier than I thought it would. Lately, I’ve been having more money going out than I had coming in. I have been really stressed about it and trying my best to keep up with my bills.

2nd Corinthians 4:8-9 NLT states “We are pressed on every side by troubles, but we are not crushed. We are perplexed, but not driven to despair. We are hunted down, but never abandoned by God. We get knocked down, but we are not destroyed.” This scripture remind me that even though I’m going through a lot right now, God is with me. I’m still standing despite my situation. Romans 5:3-5 NLT states, “We can rejoice, too, when we run into problems and trials, for we know that they help us develop endurance. And endurance develops strength of character, and character strengthens our confident hope of salvation. And this hope will not lead to disappointment. For we know how dearly God loves us, because he has given us the Holy Spirit to fill our hearts with his love.” This scripture tells me that trials are normal but out of our trials we begin to develop things inwardly that make us stronger and better. These scriptures encourage me to hold on because not only am I getting stronger but help is on the way.

Dear Daddy,

Thank You for not abandoning me when things get rough. Help me to remember that You’re omnipresent and that You’re with me at all times. Give me the strength to endure everything that is thrown my way. Help me to lean more on You and less on my own understanding. Bless me with the job that I need and help me to appreciate the one I have. Bless my finances and my mental stability. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.

Ladies I EMPOWER you to be encouraged. Remember that trials are normal but they won’t last always. Hold on to God’s word in your heart and know that God is with you no matter what you’re going through. Hold on

How do you hold on in tough times?

Please help us bless and EMPOWER homeless women and their children as the beginning of a new school year nears! For more information on how you can donate and help make a difference, please click herehttp://www.gofundme.com/cfeux8

__________________________________________________________________

Venus Gilmore currently resides in Auburn, AL. She is an alumna of Auburn University. Venus has B.A. in Sociology with a concentration in Social Organization and Inequality with a minor in Social Work. She plans on pursuing a career in Social Services. She currently serves as the Mamie Reese Scholarship Director, and College Transition Program Director of her sorority Theta Phi Sigma Christian Sorority, Inc. Venus is also a blogger for Radical7even. She is an active Client Advocate volunteer for the Women’s Hope Medical Clinic. She successfully balances all of these responsibilities with her favorite scripture as motivation: “I can do all things through Christ which strengtheneth me.” (Philippians 4:13)

Change, Growth/Maturity, Trials, Trusting God

Changes And Challenges

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 and pleasing and perfect will. (Romans 12:2 NIV)

Changes and challenges will come as quick and unexpectedly

as a Chicago winter,

Embracing you like a warm touch

or piercing you like a splinter

 

Fear lurks

when patience and faith are absent,

And embracing life outside your comfort zone

can be taxing

 

Think for a second about the plans you made

some plans we create will be interrupted or halted

only to be changed or necessarily rearranged in proper fit

because change is always approaching and sometimes coming quick

 

You can’t control what happens to your life,

You will learn thru time

that you have most control over what you do,

and how you react to

than some of the challenges that come for you

 

So to whom it may concern,

Hold onto your grace,

Life isn’t always comfortable

and things don’t always go your way,

Sometimes we settle for the ordinary

because the unknown can be scary

Sometimes we let fear take control

because it is comfortable and that’s all we know

Yet embracing change allows us to grow

 

And trusting in God through the challenges and the process

Reminds us that God is the same today, yesterday and tomorrow, and He knows best

He has the strength and authority to get you through any discomfort and any mess.

Change allows us to stretch, elevate and spread our wings,

to venture toward new territories and experience new things

to leave comfort zones, same actions, same results and same old ways behind

Growth comes from challenges, but transformation must start with the renewing of your mind

from Setting The Captive Free by Tannika Moore

Please help us bless and EMPOWER homeless women and their children as the beginning of a new school year nears!  For more information on how you can donate and help make a difference, please click here http://www.gofundme.com/cfeux8.

___________________________________________________________________

Ms. Tannika Moore loves the Lord and loves to write! Besides writing poetry or editing written work for family and friends, she currently works for NEIU Educational Talent Search program, helping high school students prepare for college. As a compassionate person and encourager, she loves to encourage people according to God’s Word and help them to see, think and become better through her support, actions and writing. This April, Tannika published her first book, a book of her poetry, titled Setting The Captive Free. For more details, visit stcfpoetrybook.com.  On July 10th of this year, she  also launched her new Christian clothing and apparel brand called Fruitful & Fabulous inspired by John 15:8.  For more details about Fruitful & Fabulous, visit fruitfulandfabulous.com.  Her favorite scripture comes from Philippians 1:6, “For I am confident of this very thing, that He who began a good work in you shall perfect it until the day of Christ Jesus.”

 

 

Black Music Month Series, Flashback Fridays, Trusting God

Flashback Friday: Yesterday

Ladies, enjoy this flash from the past which was originally posted on June 29, 2011.

The blogs that we have shared over this Black Music Month have been inspirational and very telling. Some of them have been personal experiences and some have been messages inspired by God for others. They have had common themes of love, gratefulness, healing, faith and moving forward. It has been a purging process for many as they anxiously await the message of the day and the song affiliated with it; but these are more than just words and songs. We are writing to share experiences and reach souls.  We want you be the best you! Leave everything else in yesterday.

“Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy and my burden is light.” Matthew 11:28-31 NIV

I had enough heartache and enough headaches
I’ve had so many ups and downs
Don’t know how much more I can take
See, I decided that I cried my last tears yesterday

Being happy is a choice. When your soul is exhausted and you find yourself at your wits end turn to Jesus and He will give you rest. Many times we get so bogged down in the moment or in the seasons of our life that happy is nowhere on our horizon; however, if you let go of the baggage and decide to have no more drama you will find yourself pretty close to Happy’s doorsteps. This journey to happiness doesn’t mean that you won’t experience pain, heartbreak, failures and other disappointments but it does mean that you will put it in perspective and move forward.

Trust in the LORD with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding. Proverbs 3:5 NIV 

Either I’m going to trust you or I may as well walk away
‘Cause stressing don’t make it better
Don’t make it better, no way
See, I decided that I cried my last tears yesterday

As I write this I am reflecting over the thousands of situations I have stressed about in my lifetime. I can’t think of one situation where my stress resolved the issue, got it fixed faster or better. Can you? Why is it so hard to trust God when He is a God who has NEVER failed us? God gives us the power of choice and we can either trust that He is going to do as He says or we can stress about it and give up. My grandmother always tells me “talk to God about it Chanceé and see won’t He fix it, He can do it all.” 

There ain’t nothing too hard for my God, no
Any problems that I have
He’s greater than them all
So I decided that I cried my last tears yesterday

Behold, I am the LORD, the God of all flesh: is there any thing too hard for me? Jeremiah 32:27 NIV

As we put our Yesterdays in their proper place, we may feel alone but I am reminded that He always has eyes on us and never leaves us. Are not five sparrows sold for two pennies? Yet not one of them is forgotten by God.  Indeed, the very hairs of your head are all numbered. Don’t be afraid; you are worth more than many sparrows. Luke 12:6-7 NIV

Because God is the truth, I can confidently move away from yesterday and every thing associated with it.  I can let He who watches the sparrow have control so that I can get to happy.

Dear Daddy,

In my moments of weakness, remind me that You are the burden bearer and the heavy load sharer. Lord, help me to recognize those things that belong in Yesterday so that I can move to higher ground today. As I make decisions that may be unpopular and uncomfortable remind me that You are always with me and will never leave me alone. Thank You for being true to Your word and watching over me even more than You do the sparrows. In Jesus’ Name, Amen! 

Ladies, I EMPOWER you to make a decision on your future and cry your last tears YESTERDAY. As difficult as it may be, turn it over to God because realistically what can YOU do about it? In your daily walk, remember He constantly watches over You so there is no need to worry. God’s got it!

In celebration of my last blog for Black Music Month (and because I am having a praise break), please enjoy this double play:

“Yesterday” by Mary Mary

“His Eye is on the Sparrow” by the Mississippi  Children’s Choir

__________________________________________________________________

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.

Faith, Trusting God

Stepping Out on Faith

“Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen.”-Hebrews 11:1 KJV

Faith is one of the areas that I struggle with. I tend to take a realistic approach to things. If things look a certain way to me in the “natural eye” then it is that way. Faith isn’t what we see but looking beyond what we see. It’s believing that the things we hope for will come to past. I have asked God to help me increase my faith. I took a big leap of faith on Friday, May 16th. I went to the Department of Public Safety to take my road test for the first time. Before I went to the place, I felt very nervous and a little bit of anxiety came over me.

After waiting two hours to be seen, I was irritated. When my ticket was called and I met with the worker it seemed like everything was going well. I gave the worker my information and my friend’s car and insurance information. Then, I found out that I had to take my permit test because the permit that I had was expired. I thought that I could take my road test with the permit I had since it hasn’t been three years that it’s been expired. I was informed that was the old policy. and I would I have to take the written test. Any faith that I had was beginning to disappear.

I took the written test and failed it because I missed eight questions. I was so close! In order to get my permit that day, I could only miss a maximum of six questions. I was mad that I failed the test. I was depressed, angry, and had a bad mood that day due to what I went through. I felt like I wasted my time and my friend’s time. I’ve been waiting for the moment to take my road test for years and the day that I finally got the opportunity, things didn’t happen the way I expected it to.

Although things did not work out in my favor the first time, I retook my written test on Wednesday, May 21st and passed! Praise God! Now I can start practicing on the road. Lately, I’ve been practicing in the parking lot of my apartment. As stated in my previous Empowermoments, my goal is to get my driver’s license before the summer is over or at least by the end of 2014. The road to my driver’s license has been a long journey. I’ve been working on this goal since high school. I just want to accomplish this goal so I no longer have to worry about it. People have been helping me with my driving skills over the years but no one has been really consistent. I often get asked why I don’t have my driver’s license at my age (I’m 26 years old) and a car. That question sometimes irritates me although I know people don’t mean any harm. Right now, I don’t have the income to afford it; however, just as God brought me to this point, I know he will make provision for the rest.

Getting my Driver’s License represents freedom to me. I believe that when I get my driver’s license, it will open up opportunities for me to get a job in the Social Services field, which requires travel (see Tired of Trying) I’m working on trusting God more and walking out on faith even though I’m sometimes apprehensive. One of the hardest things for me to do is take a risk without knowing what the outcome is but that is what faith is all about.

Dear Daddy,

You know the things that I’m believing You for. Help me to step out on faith and trust You. Even when situations look bleak to the natural eye, increase my faith and remind me of the power of believing in You. I want faith that can move mountains. I know that faith without works is dead so give me the stamina to work while you continue to increase my faith. In Jesus’ Name Amen.

Ladies, I EMPOWER you to get out of the boat like Peter. Step out on faith even though it might be scary. Keep your eyes focused on God and he will assist you. The story of Peter walking on water can be found in Matthew 14:22-33.

Tell us a time when you stepped out on faith.  We’d love to hear your story.

__________________________________________________________________

Venus Gilmore currently resides in Auburn, AL. She is an alumna of Auburn University. Venus has B.A. in Sociology with a concentration in Social Organization and Inequality with a minor in Social Work. She plans on pursuing a career in Social Services. She currently serves as the Mamie Reese Scholarship Director, and College Transition Program Director of her sorority Theta Phi Sigma Christian Sorority, Inc. Venus is also a blogger for Radical7even. She is an active Client Advocate volunteer for the Women’s Hope Medical Clinic. She successfully balances all of these responsibilities with her favorite scripture as motivation: “I can do all things through Christ which strengtheneth me.” (Philippians 4:13)

combating the attacks of the enemy, Faith, Freedom, Healing, Praise/Worship, Prayer

3 P’s

These past couple of weeks have been trying but typical displays of the enemy’s tactics.  On Mother’s Day, I caught a bug and throughout the weeks I was sick off and on.  Then I started experiencing anxiety symptoms and they lasted for days.  I have never experienced the anxiety lasting for days like this and the symptoms were a resounding gong vibrating through my body.  My chest hurt, my body ached, and my throat had a scratchy, lumpy feeling.  My stomach had a pit feeling that wouldn’t leave also.  I had some stress and some worries but sometimes the symptoms would appear when I thought my mind was clear.  I was back at this point again when I had already claimed my healing before.

I couldn’t figure out why I was ailing physically and mentally, when on the flip side I had also been informed that I am to receive an award from my job.  I had been getting the word out about my newly published book and feeling good about accomplishing one of my goals.  I was starting to physically plan and prepare for my business too, and I was nervous, but excited.

However, being sick and anxious were beginning to make moving forward or just the simplest tasks difficult these past two weeks.  I felt sluggish and began to focus on my issues more than God and all my blessings. The Sunday before this past Sunday, I remember feeling heavy, my legs feeling heavy and the pit feeling in my stomach.  It was hard to even stand during praise and worship.  My pastor basically said to the congregation when Praise & Worship was ending that we were going to praise God and stay right there in that moment until something breaks because he felt the heaviness or something holding us back.

By him therefore let us offer the sacrifice of praise to God continually, that is, the fruit of our lips giving thanks to his name. (Heb. 13:15 KJV)

I felt like at that moment God was speaking to me personally and when we praised God, I felt so much better.  I felt that thing lift off of me.  But then the sickness and anxiety continued the next week.  I admit I felt hopeless. This past Sunday, between Praise & Worship and the sermon, the themes I kept hearing were freedom, freedom from fear/anxiety and bringing forth praise.  No matter the circumstance or how you feel, praise God through it all.

Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen. (Heb. 11:1 KJV)

This Memorial’s Day, as I read some of Kenneth E. Hagin’s workbook about Faith, I began to understand what I, like many of us, had not been doing or fail to do in some areas of our lives.  I had not been exercising my faith.  I had not been receiving or continually walking in my healing.  I was instead doing more hoping than believing; I was focusing more on my circumstances than God.  I had not realized that faith is not “I will” or “I hope.”  Faith is “It is now.”  I have to exercise my faith and trust in God’s promises: But he was wounded for our transgressions, he was bruised for our iniquities: the chastisement of our peace was upon him; and with his stripes we are healed (Isaiah 53:5 KJV); For I know the thoughts that I think toward you, saith the Lord, thoughts of peace, and not of evil, to give you an expected end (Jeremiah 29:11 KJV).

In order to exercise my faith and continue to trust in God’s promises, I have to follow the three P’s:

    • PRAY! Pray for relationship and intimacy with God and not just His Promises and Provisions. Believe when you pray that you have received too.  Pray without ceasing also.
    • PRESS!  Faith without works is dead so put some action with your faith.  Fight the good fight of faith.  Persevere and trust God.  Someone told me that if God sends you, to go even when you are afraid.
    • PRAISE!  Praise is a weapon.  Praise allows you to focus on God and not your circumstances.  Moreover, as you renew your mind with the Word of God, you can’t help but to respond to God with praise.  Praise and the Word also changes your perspective and focus.

Dear Daddy,

Help me to believe when I pray and not hope that I am healed, but believe and receive it, even when there is no evidence of my healing.  Help me to press and praise my way through, trusting in You and relying upon Your grace to do so.  In Jesus’ Name, Amen!

Ladies, today I EMPOWER you to PRAY, PRESS and PRAISE your way through.  If it God’s will, whatever you desire, believe you received it.  Faith is knowing you have already received God’s promise.

___________________________________________________________________

 Ms. Tannika Moore loves the Lord and loves to write! Besides writing poetry or editing written work for family and friends, she currently works for NEIU Educational Talent Search program. She helps assist Chicago Public School students with their reading, writing, etc. as well as helps them consider and prepare for college. God, the Creator and Great Father has also created her to be a compassionate person and encourager so she loves to encourage people according to God’s Word and help them to see, think and become better through her support, actions and writing. In April, Ms. Tannika’s poetry book, Setting The Captive Free, was published. It is her first book. For more details and how to purchase your copy, visit stcfpoetrybook.com. Her favorite scripture comes from Philippians 1:6, “For I am confident of this very thing, that He who began a good work in you shall perfect it until the day of Christ Jesus.”

Anxiety, Faith, Trusting God

Buckle Up, Turbulence Ahead!

Bump, Bump, BUMP! “Ladies and gentlemen, please fasten your seatbelts; it’s going to be a bumpy ride, there’s turbulence ahead.” As soon as I heard the pilot speak these words, I began to feel the anxiety. My heart was beating fast and my breathing became shallow. I’ve literally flown around the world but in recent years the slightest bump on an aircraft incites angst.

As the plane began to shake, I gripped the armrest tighter knowing there was nothing that I could physically do. I was stuck in a situation where I literally could not move. I had to endure the turbulence because there was no way out. My only option was to pray and trust the pilot.

And the God of all grace, who called you to his eternal glory in Christ, after you have suffered a little while, will himself restore you and make you strong, firm and steadfast. (I Peter 5:10 NIV)

Just like that airplane, I am sure we have all experienced turbulent times in life. There are times when we have to cling to our faith and get a grip because of the bumps on this road of life. Some experiences may be milder than others; however, there are times when we go through things that make us utterly dependent on God, our pilot, to deliver us. I’m quite sure, if you think hard enough, you can recall a situation that you thought would take you out. Yet,God said, “not yet.” I don’t care how big your Bible is, how many times a week you go to church or if you fall out, slobber and hit the floor, every now and then life will JOLT you. The real power lies in how you respond to the turbulence.

After coming to terms with the fact that I was not in control, I realized trusting the pilot wasn’t a bad idea. With each shake, God revealed why I should trust Him to get me through the turbulence:

  1. The pilot knew the terrain because navigating the air was His territory. The earth is the Lord‘s, and the fullness thereof; the world, and they that dwell therein. For he hath founded it upon the seas, and established it upon the floods. (Psalms 24:1 KJV)
  2. The pilot had the benefit of knowing what lie ahead. All of the information at his disposal informed Him of when the turbulence would begin and when it would end. He could see what I couldn’t. Declaring the end from the beginning, and from ancient times the things that are not yet done, saying, My counsel shall stand, and I will do all my pleasure … yea, I have spoken it, I will also bring it to pass; I have purposed it, I will also do it. (Isaiah 46:10-11 KJV)
  3. The pilot was experienced with bringing people through turbulent experiences to safe landings. He after all was a pilot. “Be still, and know that I am God:” (Psalms 46:10 KJV)

The beauty is that turbulence, even if it lasts an entire flight, does not last forever. After the plane lands, it’s over. Of course, when I was in the midst of it, it was difficult to see past the current moment. The anxiety didn’t change a thing so releasing it was the best thing. I leaned on what I knew and I encourage you to do the same. Trust the pilot and pray.

Dear Daddy, 

Lord, I acknowledge that there will be some tough times as I travel on this road of life. There will be times when nothing of my own will work to change a situation. God I am leaning and trusting You because You are the pilot on my flight. You know the end of a thing before the beginning. I know that just as You have carried others, You will carry me. I release all anxiety, all fear and unnecessary stress. God I ask that You help mine unbelief in the midst of stormy weather. Lord, I trust You to get me through. In Jesus’ name, Amen.

Today, I EMPOWER you to let it go! Release all anxiety, all fear, whatever has you bound. Trust that God will carry you in the midst of the turbulence that’s rocking you. Don’t let what’s happening in this moment discourage you about your future. Know that these trials are only for an appointed time. Let go of the armrest, take a deep breath, pray and trust God for a safe landing. 

How do you remain faithful in the midst of turbulent times?

__________________________________________________________________

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.

Death, God's Peace, Trusting God

Your Will be Done

I just recently lost a patient, and I’m taking this one especially hard. She was only 38 years old with a husband and two young children. She was one of my first primary breast cancer patients. I treated her. I encouraged her. I loved her. I fought with and for her in her battle with cancer. And she died. She wasn’t supposed to die! What did I do wrong? What could we have done differently? In the last few weeks of her life she started complaining of a headache. I documented it. Treated it. Gave her new meds, took away meds, encouraged adequate hydration and maintained her blood counts. She still had a headache off and on. She had been receiving a particular chemotherapy regimen in treatment of her breast cancer and we were right at the end where we’d order a PET/CT scan to see if the cancer had decreased or gone away completely. We never got to do that scan because before we knew it she was being admitted to the hospital due to the onset of seizure activity. Brain MRI revealed the cancer had spread to the meninges of the brain. With this knowledge, her already guarded prognosis (outlook) immediately took a nose dive. I was devastated. I’m still devastated to be honest. My heart literally aches at the void her death leaves for her family, especially her husband, children and mother. Lord, why?

Our God is in the heavens, and he does as he wishes. (Psalm 115:3 NLT)

Though it was not clearly indicated nor was it “standard of care” to do so, what would have happened if I had ordered a scan when the headaches first started? Would the situation have turned out differently? However, the end result would have been the same, as it was God’s will. But it still stinks. I thank God that I had the opportunity to positively impact her life and share God’s goodness with her. I wanted God to heal her. I prayed for God to heal her. I didn’t want her taken away from her family. Yet, I know that you never know when it is your time to go and it behooves you to be ready.

“Father, if you are willing, take this cup from me; yet not my will, but yours be done.” (Luke 22:42 NIV)

She’s gone now. Her family is left to pick up the pieces. This takes me back to the place when my mom died…heart wrenching, gut tearing pain. I have learned a lot from this situation and I know it is cultivating me as a health care provider. But God, does it have to be this way?

“My thoughts are nothing like your thoughts,” says the Lord. “And my ways are far beyond anything you could imagine. For just as the heavens are higher than the earth, so my ways are higher than your ways and my thoughts higher than your thoughts. (Isaiah 55:8-9 NLT)

Glad to be girded up in scripture to help me in times of weakness, grief and sorrow. I’m praying so hard for her family right now. I wish the outcome could have been different but God didn’t ask me. Nevertheless, He is the only one to turn to and lean and depend on. His love endures forever.

Dear Daddy,

Grant us peace in the midst of the storm. Help us find solace in knowing we did all we could do. We know nothing comes as a surprise to You in Your omnipresence and omnipotence. Thanks for reminding us that You alone are in control. Help us to accept Your will. In Jesus’ name, amen!

Ladies, I EMPOWER you as I EMPOWER myself to stay in the race and to not lose hope. I EMPOWER you to help all you can while you can. I EMPOWER you to do what you can while you can. I EMPOWER you to make your life mean something today because tomorrow is not promised. I EMPOWER you to continue to look to God even when it seems He’s not doing what we want. I EMPOWER you to trust Him and to trust that He knows what He’s doing no matter how it may seem.

__________________________________________________________________

Mrs. Coretta Collins is a wife and mother who enjoys reading, writing, movies and spending time with family and friends. She is avid about health, healing and helping which serves her well as a Family Nurse Practitioner in a hematology and oncology practice. Striving to be led by the Lord throughout life and having overcome significant challenges, her favorite scripture is Jeremiah 29:11, “For I know the plans I have for you declares the Lord, plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you a hope and a future. Coretta is a member of St. John A.M.E. Church, Birmingham, Alabama. She resides in Calera, Alabama with her awesome husband and two wonderful sons.

 

 

Change, New Seasons, Trusting God

Spring Cleaning

spring-cleaning-jpgCreate in me a pure heart, O God, and renew a steadfast spirit within me. (Psalm 51:10 NIV)

The winter is over and spring has sprung! With spring comes life and newness. God has promised to do a new thing within me this season. I can’t stay in the same place, do the same things, have the same mentality and expect God to do something fresh within me. I have been praying and asking God to help me get to the place I need to be so that He can do the work He wants to do. In order for that to happen, I need to allow Him to do some Spring Cleaning.

During our Winter season in life, things die that are no longer of any use to us along with those things that were not supposed to be there in the first place. God allows these things to wither and die so they can be removed in time. Ecclesiastes 3:1 (NIV) says: There is a time for everything, and a season for every activity under heaven.

Spring Cleaning isn’t something new to many people. At the end of the Winter season and the beginning of Spring we take time to go through everything we own and clean it all up. We get rid of things that we will no longer use and either trash or donate it all. We do this in order to make room for new things. We reorganize our closets and trade in our Winter gear for our spring time fashions. We clean our yards and begin to plant seeds and plants, etc. You know your routine for Spring cleaning.

God comes into our lives and cleans like crazy. He removes every dead, useless, unnecessary and poisonous, out of season thing. The only problem with this is that we are not always willing to let go of everything. Many times we hold on to the very thing that is blocking our blessing. In Ephesians 4:31 (NIV), we are instructed to “Get rid of all bitterness, rage and anger, brawling and slander, along with every form of malice.” When God begins to clean, He reveals things that we never thought could be within us or at least never wanted to admit to. In order for the cleaning process to be complete He had to remove these things.

I am guilty of holding on to dead things including the things listed in Ephesians 4:31. During my lifetime (which has been relatively short compared to some people I know), I have gone through the tests, trials and tribulations that winter brings only to hold on to the remnants of the past. Not realizing that these things I treasured were not only dead but were weighing me down and keeping me from all the promises God made me. I needed to let go and let God do His work.

It’s like hiring a landscaper and not letting him get rid of weeds, dead trees, trash or anything else that is causing the property to look bad as well as aiding in the destruction thereof. As long as all of that is there, nothing will be able to grow because it will kill it before it has a chance. Not only is time wasted but so are money and the opportunity for potential prosperity. We have to let go of the things that are destroying and killing us.

I know that it is hard at times and while we don’t see things as God does, we have to trust Him no matter what. That’s where Psalm 51:10 comes in, we have to ask God to renew our minds so we can understand and mediate on His plan. We also have to ask for a steadfast spirit so we can actually put His plan into action.

I will admit that I am still in the process of learning to fully trust God in everything. I know He knows what is best for me and that as long as I allow Him to have His way; things will always work out for the best. God knows what is necessary in order for our Spring to be fruitful. He knows what we have to get rid of and what we have to keep.

Dear Daddy,

Please forgive us for being disobedient and holding on to things we were instructed to let go of. We did not understand that we were causing our blessings and growth in You to be hindered and possibly destroyed. Please allow us to see You as our landscaper and Spring Cleaner. We know that You are so much more than that, but at this time that is what we need for You to be. Allow us to remember Ecclesiastes 3:1. Please help us let go of everything that is not meant for this season and grab hold of what is so that we can be blessed. In Jesus’ Name, Amen!

Ladies, I EMPOWER us all to let go of EVERYTHING God has instructed us to let go of and allow Him to clean and do His work. I know that none of us will regret it.

What things will you obediently get rid of this season?

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Bettina Allen is currently working in security, with prior experience in customer service. She loves to read, write and dance. She loves God and is on a mission to be as close to Him as she possibly can. Bettina is constantly learning and growing from life’s experiences. God has given Bettina a word and she would love to share that word, along with all of the lessons He has taught her, with others. Bettina resides in Georgia and attends Life Church of Atlanta. Her favorite scripture is Psalm 119:105 – “Your word is a lamp for my feet, a light on my path.”

 

Focus, God's Peace, Trusting God

Finding Calm in Chaos

You will keep him in perfect peace, whose mind is stayed on You, because he trusts in You. (Isaiah 26:3 KJV)

Ever since I was blessed to have the opportunity to join the EmpowerMoments team, it seems as if my life has become busier than ever. Before, I had time to do anything I wanted. Now, everyday it’s something new. At first, I felt like I could handle it but then, I became overwhelmed. I felt like I really had absolutely no time for God.

I must admit that I allowed the enemy to stress me out, especially when my car broke down on the side of the highway while I was trying to help my sister after her car broke down. We were both on the side of the highway with our cars side by side. After neither one would start, I found myself feeling very discouraged.

My dad and I arrive to rescue my sister and while he was working on her car, my car stopped. I went from thanking God for allowing us to all be safe to panicking because neither car would start. I called the car lot where I purchased my car and asked that a tow truck be sent. They gave me the run around for about an hour or so. My frustration then escalated to anger. Before I knew it I was yelling at the people because they didn’t want to help me.

All I could think about was all of the things I had to do that day and how I was sitting on the side of the road wasting time. Then I grew frustrated with my sister as I recalled how I had called her the night before with explicit instructions about getting to work the next morning. She failed to listen and as a result, we were stranded!

In the midst of all that chaos, a close family friend called and offered to come and pick us up. However, my sister declined her offer! We were sitting in the car in 0°weather! I couldn’t understand why she would turn down some help! My blood pressure immediately shot up and I had to get out of the car and try to calm down.

In that moment, all I could do was scream. I was trying to ask God to calm me down but every time I looked at my sister I became frustrated all over again. Every time I looked at my car, I became angry. It was just difficult to shift my focus from my issues at hand to the One who could change my circumstances.

Eventually, I made it home and that’s where I began to relax. I sat on the sofa and prayed and asked God to forgive me for being so angry. He calmed me down quickly. There was no trace of anger or frustration anywhere. He placed it on my heart to apologize for getting angry so I called everyone I’d yelled at and apologized. I felt a lot better and was able to ask God to let His will be done. I realized I’d been going through a storm and needed to focus on God to help me through it.

There was a lesson in all of that confusion. God allows us to experience storms in order for us to grow. We lose sight of Him in the midst of our storm and we panic as soon as the enemy attacks. If we don’t see a way out, we go into a frenzy and lose self control. We stop trusting God, make mistakes we wouldn’t otherwise make, lose faith, and forget to trust Him. We have to remember to focus on God when there is chaos all around us.   He already knows when and how the situation will be fixed. He knows what’s best for us and has promised to keep us in perfect peace as long as our focus is on Him.

Dear Daddy,

Please help us stay calm and encouraged while we wait on you. Please give us the perseverance to wait on you. Please give us confidence in knowing that you will never leave us in the midst of a storm but will always be there. Please bless us in the way you have intended and keep our eyes, hearts, and minds focused on you. Please help us to give all of our worries, concerns, fears, doubts, and insecurities to you. You can handle anything far better than we can. Please help us to not allow our situation or the people we’re around at the time to discourage us or cause us to stray. In Jesus’ Name, Amen!

Ladies, I EMPOWER you to trust God in the midst if your storm. He is always there with you and will never leave you. I EMPOWER you to shift your focus from the storm you’re in to the One who has the power to keep you in perfect peace during the storm. 

What has your attention?  Put your focus back on God.

__________________________________________________________________

Bettina Allen loves to read, write and dance. Nevertheless, she loves God and is on a mission to be as close to Him as she possibly can. She is constantly learning and growing from life’s experiences. God has given Bettina a word and she would love to share that word, along with all of the lessons He has taught her, with others. Bettina resides in Georgia and attends Changing A Generation Church. Her favorite scripture is Psalm 119:105 – “Your word is a lamp for my feet, a light on my path.” 

 

Children, Faith, Health/Sickness, Miracles, Testimony Series, Trials, Trusting God

My Testimony: Life in Seemingly Dead Situations

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!

The hand of the Lord was on me, and he brought me out by the Spirit of the Lord and set me in the middle of a valley; it was full of bones. He led me back and forth among them, and I saw a great many bones on the floor of the valley, bones that were very dry.  He asked me, “Son of man, can these bones live?”

I said, “Sovereign Lord, you alone know.”

Then he said to me, “Prophesy to these bones and say to them, ‘Dry bones, hear the word of the Lord! This is what the Sovereign Lord says to these bones: I will make breath enter you, and you will come to life. I will attach tendons to you and make flesh come upon you and cover you with skin; I will put breath in you, and you will come to life. Then you will know that I am the Lord.’”

So I prophesied as I was commanded. And as I was prophesying, there was a noise, a rattling sound, and the bones came together, bone to bone.  I looked, and tendons and flesh appeared on them and skin covered them, but there was no breath in them.

Then he said to me, “Prophesy to the breath; prophesy, son of man, and say to it, ‘This is what the Sovereign Lord says: Come, breath, from the four winds and breathe into these slain, that they may live.’” So I prophesied as he commanded me, and breath entered them; they came to life and stood up on their feet—a vast army. (Ezekiel 37:1-10 NIV)

February 7, 2013 is a date that will forever be sketched on the canvas of my mind. The events that took place about 6:00 p.m. that evening left such an indelible mark on my memory board that I couldn’t forget them even if I tried.

I was home alone with my three daughters, who were ages 7, 5 and 6 months at the time. If you have followed EmpowerMoments in the past, then you may be familiar with my youngest daughter’s story. (See Not By My Own Might & The Definition of Miracle) After her heart surgery, she was released from the hospital with a feeding tube to aid in her eating while she recovered and gained enough strength to do so on her own. Before she was discharged from the hospital, my husband and I had to learn how to insert the tube via her nose. Once home, we found ourselves constantly having to re-insert the tube because she would quickly snatch it out. That evening I was dropping the tube as I had done at least 2 dozen times before.  However, that day something went terribly awry.

Per the usual, she was screaming and throwing a fit as she tried to resist the tube insertion. I restrained her and continued with the insertion and she immediately stopped crying. Shocked that she was no longer screaming, I paused to check her out. That’s when I saw that her face was blue and she was no longer breathing. I am sure my heart stopped for at least 3 seconds as I held my lifeless baby in my arms. After I recovered from my initial shock, I sprung into action. I remember praying two short prayers: “God, don’t let this baby die on me” and “Please bring to my remembrance how to do CPR.”  As my older daughters frantically searched for the phone to dial for help, I laid my sweet baby on the floor and attempted to breathe life back into her body. After what seemed like a million years, she finally let out a feeble cry. She was breathing, but her skin was still purple so I knew she was not completely fine. Moments later the paramedics arrived and whisked us away to the local hospital.

Upon arrival every resource in the emergency room was at my daughter’s bedside trying to save her life. I sat outside the room alone crying and attempting to pray, as no one had time to explain to me what was happening. If I tell you that I was scared at that moment, I would be lying. Scared can’t even begin to capture what I was feeling. That was the most terrifying experience of my entire life.

Today, I am beyond blessed to report that my little sunshine is still here and is the busiest toddler in history! The doctors could not pinpoint exactly what caused her breathing to stop and each time they made rounds to her room, it was expressed how great she looked to have been through such an ordeal. She was discharged from the hospital 2 days later and she has been moving and shaking ever since!

This little ball of LIFE was once a SEEMINGLY dead situation!
This little ball of LIFE was once a SEEMINGLY dead situation!

There are so many other facets to this story that I would have to spend more than a mere moment to empower you. But there are some lessons that I learned from that situation that I want you to remember on your journey this year.

  1. The most important thing that I want you to understand is that seemingly deadly situations are nothing for God because He can breathe life back into anything that He so desires. My daughter appeared lifeless, but He breathed life back into her nostrils. So as you deal with circumstances that will come your way this year, remember that nothing is too hard for God. Your health, your marriage, your children, your finances, your brokenness, your depression, whatever your dead situation – nothing is too hard for Him to revive.
  2. Even if you see just a glimpse of hope, hold on to that! When I heard her faint cry, I knew we were not out of the woods just yet, but it was enough to let me know God was listening and answering! This year rejoice in the small battle victories while you wait to win the war!
  3. As I sat outside that hospital room alone, I had no other choice but to wait for the outcome. Sister, you are going to face some trials this year and some you may have to face alone. Things will be beyond the scope of your power and you are just going to have to sit back and wait while God does His work. Pray if you can; cry if you must. But whatever you face, be still and let Him do what He does best!
  4. Never succumb to the notion that you have to look beat up, even when you’ve been in a fight! My sweet baby was up bouncing around, laughing and speaking her baby gibberish the very next day. If you weren’t privy to her story, then you had no idea what she had just gone through. This year, I want you to not allow your circumstances to steal your joy, your smile or your swag! Even when the walls are closing in all around you, look your best so that you can feel your best!

Dear Daddy,

As I stand at the beginning of this new year not knowing the things that I will face, I ask that You help me prepare to fearlessly face anything that will come my way.  I know that You are the same God that brought life to my seemingly dead situations in 2013. Help me to hold on to those thoughts when my faith needs rejuvenation for challenges that I will endure in 2014. I know that You have the final say so! In Jesus’ Name, Amen!

Ladies, today I EMPOWER you to remember that your valley of dry bones may seem like a cemetery to you, but it’s the newborn nursery to God—it’s full of life! I EMPOWER you to remain encouraged this year as you go through trials and tribulations, wait on God to move on your behalf, and choose to never look like what you’ve been through!

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Mrs. Kristen Harris is a wife, mother, entrepreneur and dedicated servant-leader. 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 three lovely daughters where she is an active member of New Life Covenant Church.