Forgiveness, Growth/Maturity, I Am Free Series

I Am Free: Unforgiveness

To commemorate our nation’s independence this week, we are featuring a series entitled “I Am Free”. Read this week as our writers share how God has delivered them and set them free!

I am FREE from unforgiveness!

This past session of women’s Bible study at church was life changing for me. We had been reading and studying from The Resolution for Women by Patricia Shearer. One of the resolutions that really resonated with me was the resolution on forgiveness. During this time of study and fellowship with other sisters in Christ, I learned that I had become very angry and bitter because I was carrying around unforgiveness for someone who would not accept responsibility for harming my child. I was praying day in and day out asking God to heal my heart, protect my baby and to do what He needed to do in the lives of those that harmed my child so that they might have peace as well. What I didn’t realize until I began to study what the Word says about forgiveness is that what I was really praying for was revenge. I wanted those responsible for harming my child to experience a little pain; I wanted them to own up and acknowledge the wrong that was done. I felt that was owed to my baby and me. Yet it is not God’s desire for me to pray for revenge or handle things my way.

Bless those who persecute you, bless and do not curse. (Romans 12:14 NIV)

One of the discussions we had during the study was about things that are deemed unforgivable. The list was pretty long: infidelity, false imprisonment, but “harm against my child” was mentioned over, and over again…and each time, I thought my feelings were validated. Once we got to the Word, I knew I was wrong again.

Then Peter came to Jesus and asked, “Lord, how many times shall I forgive my brother when he sins against me? Up to seven times?” Jesus answered, “I tell you, not seven times, but seventy-seven times. (Matthew 18:21-22 NIV)

After the second session, I picked up the phone and called the person that I was so angry and bitter with! Praise God! The Holy Spirit came over me and I have not felt better a day in my life! I forgave them, even though they had not acknowledged any wrong, and even apologized for anything I did or said offensively throughout the ordeal. His Word rings true each and every time if we will just stand on it! “Come to me, all who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you, and learn from me, for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light.” (Matthew 11:28-30 NIV)

What God put on my heart during those sessions were invaluable lessons:

1. It is not necessary for anybody to acknowledge wrongdoing for you to forgive them. See, when God is working on you He is working on those that have done you wrong as well, and as long as you focus on Him, He will take care of the rest.

…Love your enemies, do good to those who hate you, bless those who curse you, pray for those who mistreat you (Luke 6:27 NIV)

2. Carrying around anger, bitterness and unforgiveness is only hurting you, not the other person(s). Forgiveness is part of the healing process for both parties, and you also will be forgiven.

For if you forgive other people when they sin against you, your heavenly Father will also forgive you. But if you do not forgive others their sins, your Father will not forgive your sins (Matthew 6:14-15 NIV)

Dear Daddy,

I can not thank You enough for Your mercy, grace and peace! Thank You for setting me free from the bondage of unforgiveness! Please continue to lead me first to Your Word, before I become consumed with anger, bitterness or the thought of being able to forgive. In Jesus’ Name, Amen!

Ladies, today I EMPOWER you to forgive others as your Father continues to forgive you! Let go of the pain, hurt, anger, bitterness and sorrows you are carrying around because you are trying to win a battle that is not yours to fight! Lay your burdens down and give them to God!

Ask God who you need to forgive today? Free them and yourself today!


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.”

Forgiveness, Obedience

Because God Said So!

The Lord’s Prayer:

Our Father which art in Heaven

Hallowed be they name.

Thy kingdom come. Thy will be done in earth, as it is in heaven.

Give us this day our daily bread.

And FORGIVE us our debts, as we FORGIVE our debtors.

And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil: For thine is the kingdom, and the power, and the glory, forever.  Amen.   (Matthew 6:9-13 KJV)

How many times have you spoken the words, “Do you forgive me?” or had someone ask you that question?  I battled this scenario just recently, and saying I forgive you was the last thing on my mind.  First, I was hurt and I wanted revenge.  Secondly, all I could think about was the hurt, therefore I wanted more revenge.  I was a mad Black woman!  I had come up with all types of schemes in my head to get back at the person who had lied and hurt me.  I didn’t care about letting it go because I was hurting too badly.  It’s funny how we can plan a step by step revenge attack, but God see’s the steps and intervenes without our knowledge.

One of my friends called me the particular morning that I was planning to launch my attack.  I answered and she started telling me about the Steve Harvey show that morning.  She told me how Steve was talking about “revenge.”  He was basically saying it’s not worth it because what goes around keeps coming back around and the best thing to do is forgive. She added, “It’s the God-like thing to do.”  At that point I was in total shock that she called me to talk about the very thing that I was plotting to get– revenge! How did she know I was thinking that?  I knew then God was intervening my foolish plans.  For, anger and revenge are of the devil.

And don’t sin by letting anger control you. Don’t let the sun go down while you are still angry.  For anger gives a foothold to the devil. (Ephesians 4:26-27 NLT)

You must not hold on to any bitter hurts, rage or anger. You must not fight each other or say bad things about each other.  You must not think or act because of spite. You should be friends and you should be kind to each other. You must forgive each other, just as God forgave you.  God forgave you because of Christ. (Ephesians 4:31-32 NLT)

I knew that I had to forgive this person, but I just kept thinking, “They hurt me, why must I forgive them?”

Then I reflected on what Peter asked Jesus:

“Lord, if my brother keeps on hurting me, how many times should I forgive him? He asked. Should I forgive him seven times?”

“ No not just seven times, but forgive him seventy times seven times, Jesus said” (Matthew 18:21-22 NLT)

It seemed as though everywhere I turned forgiveness was tapping me on my shoulder.  It wasn’t anything but the God in me forcing me to do what was right.

Forgive people when they do wrong things to you.  If you forgive them, your Father in heaven will also forgive you.  But if you do not forgive them, your Father will not forgive you.”  (Matthew 6:14-15 NLT)

With all sincerity in my heart, I did it.  I forgave them.

Dear Daddy,

I thank You for being in my life.   I sometimes get so emotionally out of control, but I’m glad You love me so much that You help me regain my self-control.  I thank You for placing forgiveness in my heart.  Although the flesh wants to make me battle my problems alone, I thank You for helping me to grow in the spirit.  Please continue to order my steps.  In Jesus’ Name, Amen!

Ladies, I EMPOWER you to forgive.   Forgive even when you don’t want to or feel that the pain is too deep.  Pray that God places forgiveness in your heart.  I know it isn’t easy, but when God says do it, we must do itWhy? Simply because He said so!

Ms. Hassanah White is a dedicated member of Faith Walkers Church in Birmingham, Alabama where their motto is to “Walk it out by Faith.”  She also serves as a member of the Praise Dance Ministry.  Hassanah is a true professional in the realm of marketing and customer service.  She’s a proud mother of a very energetic little boy named Jaden.  Hassanah believes laughter and prayer are the best medicines for any situation.  Her favorite scripture is Hebrews 11:6: “And without Faith it is impossible to please GOD, because anyone who comes to Him must BELIEVE that He exists and that He REWARDS those who earnestly seek Him.”

Best of 2011 Series

Best of 2011: #9 – Her Future Has a Past

We are featuring our top EmpowerMoments of 2011. They made us laugh and they made us cry. They comforted us during troubled times and made us uncomfortable in our mess. But most important, they EMPOWERED us to be greater women all around! We are better wives, mothers, daughters, friends, servants and employees. We have been EMPOWERED to love harder, forgive more and listen better. We thank God for EmpowerMoments! Enjoy the Best of Series!

“For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the LORD, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.” Jeremiah 29:11 NIV

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Dear Daddy, 

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

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

Read a related EmpowerMoment: No Title Necessary

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.”

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

Don’t Let It Get To You!

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

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

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

Dear Daddy,

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

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

Ms. Chancee` Lundy currently resides in Atlanta, GA and is a small business co-owner of Nspiregreen, LLC an environmental consulting firm. She is also a dedicated daughter, sister, friend, community servant, and child of God. She is passionate about causes that truly uplift the community. One of her favorite scriptures is Hebrews 11:6: “And without faith it is impossible to please God, because anyone who comes to him must believe that he exists and that he rewards those who earnestly seek him.”

God's Love, God's Mercy, Honesty/Truth, Self Forgiveness, Spiritual Therapy


 We wear the mask that grins and lies,

It hides our cheeks and shades our eyes

This debt we pay to human guile

With torn and bleeding hearts we smile

And mouth with myriad subtleties.

Why should the world be over-wise,

In counting all our tears and sighs?

Nay, let them only see us, while

We wear the mask.

In 1896, Paul Laurence Dunbar published this poem which expresses the oppression of blacks in the U.S. and how they hid their pain and frustration behind a mask of happiness and contentment. It made me consider how many of us, though flourishing outwardly, continue to cover up the pain, hurt, frustration, and shame that we feel inwardly.  Sometimes the shame is not because of things that we’ve done.  Sometimes we’re ashamed of the people that we’re linked to, or the things that we’ve endured, or the feelings and inclinations that we have.  Sometimes it’s our inabilities, particularly financially, or past indiscretions—things that we really don’t want people to know.

Some of the desire to mask didn’t start with us.  It was handed down through learning.  As early as young children, we learn to cover: “Don’t tell people our (family) business” or “Fake it ‘til you make it”. We learn to lie for our parents (i.e. to bill collectors).  We are bombarded with conflicting messages very early.  Yet, we are expected as adults to undo what has already settled into our nature—deception.

Unfortunately, most of us are like nicely packaged gift boxes.  We look wonderful on the outside, but what’s inside isn’t that great.  It’s amazing, because even as Christians we claim to be free, but most of us struggle with internal bondage.  We haven’t laid all of ourselves on the altar, because, “if truth be told”, some of us don’t believe that God would love us if He knew the naked, uncovered us.  We don’t allow God to cover, because we refuse to uncover.  Instead, we wear our masks to work, church, for our friends, and sad but true, even in our homes.  In essence, we have a form of godliness, but we deny the power of God to work in our uncovered lives (See 2 Timothy 3:5 NIV).

In writing this, God showed me that masking has been man’s response to shame since the earliest of times.  Adam and Eve covered themselves because, when they realized their nakedness, they felt ashamed and afraid of how they would be seen (See Genesis 3 NIV).  Those whom God breathed His very breath into hid from their own Creator and Savior.  They, like many of us, were afraid to be exposed.  They didn’t understand that God already knew their condition.  He was waiting for them to uncover.  Once they did, God took it upon Himself to cover them—first with earthly garments, then with sacrifices, but ultimately with His blood.  It’s because of this blood, that not only can we be saved, but we are also free to uncover. “If any man be in Christ Jesus, he is a new creature, old things are passed away, behold ALL THINGS are become new.” (2 Corinthians 5:17 KJV).  We don’t have to wear masks or feel ashamed.  God already knows and He loves us nonetheless.

Dear Daddy,

Thank You for helping me to understand that You see behind the mask and love me in the midst of the hurt, pain, and shame that I try not to reveal.  Help me to live a life that’s truthful and honest even though doing so can make me feel vulnerable. When I feel the need to mask, help me to remember that when I am uncovered, I position myself for healing and it is through that healing and testimony that I can best glorify You.

Ladies, I EMPOWER you to pull off the mask.  God knows the hurt, pain, and frustration that you are covering.  He is prepared to heal, cover, and restore, if you are willing to lay yourself before Him open and honestly.  I EMPOWER you to trust God with your all.  He is faithful and one whom you can trust.

Ms. Latasha McCrary is an active member of St. Luke Christian Church in Huntsville, AL where she serves as a Young Adult Facilitator and is training as a Life Skills Coach. She is passionate about the practice of law and views her profession as an extension of her calling to serve. Latasha firmly believes that “Service is the price we pay for the space we occupy” and is grateful for God’s continuing favor evidenced in her life. “By this I know that you favor me, because you have not let my enemies triumph over me.” (Psalms 41:11)

Are you interested in joining the EmpowerMoments team? Click here to find out more about us!

Fasting, Forgiveness, Growth/Maturity, Prayer, Relationships, Single in the City Series, Singleness

Single In The City 4: The Test

A few weeks back I decided to embark on a fast, hoping that my sacrifice would open the door for God to reveal things about MYSELF that I may not be aware of.  Over the course of four days I prayed intensely, praised His name radically, and poured out my heart in an effort to find out about the real me.  During that time God showed me a few surface characteristics but the real discovery was yet to come.

Days after I returned to my regular scheduled eating routine, I received a friend request from a person I had pushed to the wayside years ago.  I received a simple “Hello” from a man that I had written off the day he broke my heart and kept it moving to the next chick.  This man that I had not seen or heard from in years managed to find me on this social networking site and instantly I remembered ALL the bad things that transpired between us when we were younger.  However, something inside of me told me to be cordial and accept the friend request. In reality, I really just wanted him to look at my pictures and know that I was the best thing he NEVER had!  Much to my surprise it was actually quite refreshing talking to him again; so much that I agreed to meet with him during my upcoming trip to Chicago.

“On the contrary: If your enemy is hungry, feed him; if he is thirsty, give him something to drink.  In doing this, you will heap burning coals on his head.” (Romans 12:20 NIV) I was not aware of this man’s intent at that time but I was determined to be obedient to the word of God.  BUT…when I laid eyes on him the first thing I thought to do was re-hash all the drama to get closure for myself.  I tried to stop but the questions and sarcasm kept slipping out.  The crazy thing is he just wanted to apologize for everything and of course see if he still had a chance. NOT!

One of my best friends told me to pray prior to this reunion; luckily, I took her advice because what God had to say was astounding. “And when you stand praying, if you hold anything against anyone, forgive him, so that your Father in heaven may forgive you your sins.” (Mark 11:25-NIV) I dated this guy as a teen and I never would have thought that I was STILL upset with him at 25.  Instead of me dealing with the situation back then I decided to just change my number and never look back. Although that seemed to ease my heartache, I would have never imagined that it put a wedge between me and my true love- Jesus.  I had convinced myself that I forgave him when I cut off contact but clearly my emotions were bottled up, until this encounter.

Ladies, there is no reason to bury feelings because God will bring them to the surface at random times.  Your best bet is to forgive ASAP because you never know how many blessings you miss harboring unknown negativity.  Ironically, after signing our peace treaty I have yet to hear from him. I believe I passed the test this time for sure. I accepted the facebook request but more important, I sincerely accepted his apology.

Dear Daddy,

Thank You for revealing repressed feelings to me.  There are so many ways the enemy attacks that I may not catch them all but You are there to get me back on track.  Lord, thank You for being my magnifying lens and focusing in on things that drive a wedge between us.  I am far from perfect but You still love me! I pray for the ability to forgive and the strength to do so no matter what just as You have done for me so many times before.  In Jesus’ Name, AMEN!

I challenge you to take a moment and EMPOWER yourself to forgive all of it… all the pain, confusion, misunderstanding, heart breaks, turmoil, and stress caused by others! If Jesus can do it daily with each of us, I know we are just as capable!!!  Be Blessed Ladies!!!

Ms. Latasha Sampson is an accomplished writer who is currently pursuing her Masters Degree in Human Resources Management.  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.

Forgiveness, God's Love, Growth/Maturity, Inspirational, Self Forgiveness, Self-Esteem, Spiritual Therapy

If You Live in a Glass House…

I know we have all heard the saying “If you live in a glass house don’t throw stones.” Three months after God called me to be a minister, I messed up. After being celibate for a while I had sex and got pregnant. I thought I was going to die. All I could think was “What will people say? What will I do now? How will I face the church?” And guess what– my thoughts and questions were accurate. Even though I was remorseful and realized the terrible mistake I made, “church folks” started to treat me like I had the plague. People were whispering and all my duties at church were stripped from me. I was terrified and petrified because I thought the way I was being treated was my punishment from God. But I was so wrong! Thoughts went through my head of getting an abortion or simply leaving the church! Genesis 50: 20 says what you meant for evil, God meant it for good. (ASV) See what the devil and people thought would destroy me, helped transform me into the woman I am today.  God led me to John 8 where the teachers of law and the Pharisees brought a woman to Jesus that committed adultery and they said she should be stoned because that was the law. Jesus responded by stooping down and writing on the ground. When they kept on questioning him, he straightened up and said to them, “Let any one of you who is without sin be the first to throw a stone at her.” Again he stooped down and wrote on the ground. At this, those who heard began to go away one at a time, the older ones first, until only Jesus was left, with the woman still standing there.  Jesus straightened up and asked her, “Woman, where are they? Has no one condemned you?” “No one, sir,” she said. “Then neither do I condemn you,” Jesus declared. “Go now and leave your life of sin.” (John 8: 7-10 NIV)

I went to the Lord and He reminded me that everyone sins and falls short. God revealed to me that He forgave me and I needed to forgive myself. He also revealed to me that it’s easier for people to throw stones at you and judge your situation than to deal with their own mess. Everyone has some mess, but they will throw stones at you in order to not deal with the stones that are in their houses and lives. The very situation that I thought ruined me made my relationship stronger with God because I had to lean and depend on Him. Psalm 121:1 says, “I lift up my eyes until the hills for whence cometh my help. All of my help come from the Lord, who made heaven and earth. (KJV) I learned man will fail you but God will be with you until the end. I kept trusting God and that very thing people threw stones at is “now my wonderful husband and my daughter. My ministry and my worship are for real. Those very people that counted me out and threw stones at my situation have come back to me for an encouraging word or a prayer because God showed them that nothing could separate me from His love . If you live in a glass house, please don’t throw stones.

Dear Daddy,
Thank You for being a forgiving God! I thank You for never giving up on me or counting me out. I pray for those that throw stones, that You reveal their mess to them and help them clean it up. I thank You for teaching me that if You are for me, no one can be against me. I thank You for the courage to stand when people said that I shouldn’t. Thank You for being a God of second chances! In Jesus’ name, Amen!

I EMPOWER you to not give up on God because He will never give up on you. God will forgive whatever sin you have committed and give you another chance. Do not let people determine your destiny; God already has a plan for your life!

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.

Black Music Month Series, Forgiveness, Growth/Maturity, Self Forgiveness, Spiritual Therapy

Bag Lady…Let It Flow

I must confess I am a certified pack rat but I get it honestly from my grandmother. I am not yet a hoarder but I do have a problem letting things go. It’s difficult for me to get rid of things because everything has some perceived sentimental value. Yes, even the stuff I forgot I owned until it was time to move again.

Unfortunately, this habit of holding on extends beyond physical objects. Every now and then, I realize that I am holding on to emotional baggage too. As a matter of fact, if you could see the baggage, I am sure it’s enough to fill its own storage unit. Just like the physical objects that I own, I often don’t realize the emotional bags that I am carrying until something triggers a memory. Recently I found myself extremely emotional over things in my past that I thought were no longer an issue. Apparently these feelings were buried alive and had never died. When these feelings erupt, I have a meltdown or become seriously angry.

How many of you, like me, are riding on an emotional rollercoaster? Your back is hurting from all of the bags you are carrying and your mental space is crowded.  We can’t reach higher ground in Christ, meet our full potential or have a great relationship with the person God called us to be with until we release the baggage of our past. In the words of Erykah Badu “You can’t hurry up, cause you got too much stuff.” We need to LET IT GO!  Cast ALL your anxiety on Him because he cares for you. (I Peter 5:7 NIV)

Are you carrying bags of anger, shame, fear, guilt, distrust, malice or rejection?

I can’t believe that he or she did me like that!Dearly beloved, avenge not yourselves, but rather give place unto wrath: for it is written, Vengeance is mine; I will repay, saith the Lord. Therefore if thine enemy hunger, feed him; if he thirst, give him drink: for in so doing thou shalt heap coals of fire on his head. Be not overcome of evil, but overcome evil with good. (Romans 12:19-21 KJV)

But Lord I am scared! What will happen if I…?-  For God hath not given us the spirit of fear; but of power, and of love, and of a sound mind. (II Timothy 1:7 KJV)

Lord, I am so ashamed how will I ever get over the mistake I made? – he will have compassion upon us; he will subdue our iniquities; and thou wilt cast all their sins into the depths of the sea. (Micah 7:19 KJV) Decide to forgive yourself; God has already forgiven you!

I am reminded of Toni Braxton who tells us to “Just let go, let it flow, everything’s gonna work out right ya know…” Toni is right; holding on to excess stuff gets us nowhere. Make a decision to rid yourself of baggage because “aint no feeling like being FREE”.

Dear Daddy,

I trust that You hold my future in Your hands. Help me to get rid of the pain of my past so that I am free to walk into my future. Help me to forgive myself because You have already forgiven me. When negative emotional currents try to overtake my spirit help me to rebuke them and release them never to return. When others do things that would add baggage to my life, Lord, let it roll off like water off a duck’s back. Lord, help me to get my mind under subjection so that I can truly be free. In Jesus name, Amen!

Ladies, I EMPOWER you to LET GO! Make a decision to cry your last cry over whatever it is and move on. Leave the baggage behind and stop picking up new bags along the way. From now on deal with the situation in the moment but don’t take it with you. I EMPOWER you to know the things that you can change and the things that you cannot. Seek God’s wisdom and let Him order your steps. This is your last day as a Bag Lady!

Celebrate Black Music Month with the wisdom of  Erykah Badu in “Bag Lady”

and Toni Braxton as she tells us to “Let It Flow.”

Enter this month’s contest by clicking here.

Ms. Chancee` Lundy currently resides in Atlanta, GA 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, community servant, and child of God. She is passionate about causes that truly uplift the community. This week she is leaning on Psalm 23:1 The Lord is my Shepherd I shall not want.

Black Music Month Series, Faith, Forgiveness, Growth/Maturity, Inspirational, Obedience, Patience, Self Forgiveness, Self-Esteem, Spiritual Therapy, Trusting God

The Potter’s House

Dear Daddy,

My spirit is broken. This holding pattern that You have me in is breaking me down and sometimes I wonder if “my next” is ever on its way. Some days, I feel like my life is shattered because so many things are not happening when I thought they would. Lord please help me because I am broken and I need to be fixed. In Jesus’ name Amen!

Are you walking around in need of repair?

Broken Spirit– As much as I love being an entrepreneur, right now it is taking its toll on me. The many days of rejection and waiting have started to break my confidence, my motivation and my spirit. Furthermore, you could have never convinced my 20-year-old self that my 31-year-old self would not be married with children. Are you waiting on God’s promises but becoming discouraged with his timeline? Do you feel a little less than your normal self? Did something happen and you just haven’t been able to forgive yourself or another person? Do you find yourself with a negative outlook because of personal experiences? A broken spirit can leave you in a state of despair and depression.  A merry heart doeth good like a medicine: but a broken spirit drieth the bones. Proverbs 17:22 (KJV)

Broken relationships– I have lost some friends, boyfriends and family on this journey of life. They didn’t die a physical death but our relationship died. It has caused me much pain, sadness and anger because although I think I am “Ms. Fix It” I haven’t been able to repair these relationships. Ultimately, I have to let them go. Do you have broken or abusive relationships in your life? You need to pray about it and ask God to mend them and if it’s not meant to be release them.

Broken Heart– Are you emotionally battered from a broken heart? Did someone hurt you and you can’t get over it? Are you still in Heartbreak Hotel? Have you lost someone that you loved and their death has taken an emotional toll on you that you can’t recover from? What is it that is causing that tightness in your chest and silent cries at night? He healeth the broken in heart, and bindeth up their wounds. Psalm 147:3 (KJV)

Broken Home- For a long time, I held resentment in my heart for what I thought was abandonment by mother. Why didn’t she want us? …and where was Daddy? As I got older, I realized that it wasn’t that she didn’t want us but that her mental illness rendered her incapable of properly caring for us. When I found the dad that I had never known, I realized that he wouldn’t have been able to be the parent I needed either. Did you come from a broken home? Divorced parents? Single parents? Absent parents? Abusive parents? Alcoholic or drug addicted parents or siblings? BROKE parents? Are you still blaming them for your broken childhood?

Many of us are walking around broken. We have holes, tattered edges and pieces missing from us. Some of us have been broken for so long we have  accepted the brokenness as normal, made a feeble attempt to put a patch on it and keep moving. We don’t wear tattered clothes so why are we living with tattered spirits. In order to be restored we must be repaired.

“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 18:2-6 NIV)

Only a potter can take something that is malformed or devoid of form and turn it into a stunning usable work of art. When it gets cracked, he can fix it and when it’s torn into a billion pieces he can put it back together again. Just because you have a BROKEN PAST doesn’t mean you have to have a BROKEN FUTURE.  The potter yearns to put you back together again.

Dear Daddy,

Thanks in advance for blessing someone through the EmpowerMoments. There are many lives including my own within reach of this blog that suffer from: broken hearts; broken spirits; broken homes and broken relationships. Jesus, I ask that You provide total restoration. Remove the fix a flat and patches and make us like new tires, ready to roll and meet the demands of the road of life. Lord, I know I can find everything I need at the potter’s house. In Jesus’ Name, Amen!

EMPOWER yourselves by allowing the Potter to repair you like new. He can fix all of the brokenness in your life and restore you.

Allow gospel greats Walter & Tramaine Hawkins to minister to your soul:

Ms. Chancee` Lundy currently resides in Atlanta, GA 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, community servant, and child of God. She is passionate about causes that truly uplift the community. This week she is leaning on Psalm 23:1 The Lord is my Shepherd I shall not want.

Forgiveness, Growth/Maturity, Inspirational, Self Forgiveness, Self-Esteem, Spiritual Therapy

The Mostaccioli Massacre

Sunday, March 27 was my mother’s birthday and I decided to host a small dinner for her at my house. I only invited a few close family members and friends. I’m not a big cook so I kept the menu short and sweet. I settled on one of my few specialties, mostaccioli. Anyone who has ever tasted my coveted pasta dish knows that it’s the bomb dot com! My special blend of sauces, herbs and meat is just scrumptious, if I must say so myself! Unfortunately, that day when my house was full of “just left church growling bellies” my mostaccioli was the absolute worst! It was so nasty that I couldn’t even it. What went wrong, you ask? I changed my routine and used a different brand of ground turkey simply because I saved a few dollars. I literally could not sleep for nights after that horrible mistake. I was so consumed with thoughts of how people were talking about me and my food. I was so ashamed and upset that I messed up. I literally could not forgive myself for making such a silly mistake. You’re probably reading this and extremely confused wondering why it bothered me so much. Well, when I make a mistake it really affects me. In the same light, when I sin I have a hard time forgiving myself and I’m willing to bet that some of you struggle in that area as well. Preparing a bad pasta dish is definitely not a sin but the effects of that incident are similar to how we process our mistakes. Let’s answer some questions to help us work through this our self-forgiveness:

  • How did I mess up like this? Well, I decided to take the cheaper route and buy some turkey that I was unfamiliar with. Maybe your route was easier or quicker. But the easiest paths often lead us down a road that we really shouldn’t be traveling and into sinful behavior.  “Enter through the narrow gate. For wide is the gate and broad is the road that leads to destruction, and many enter through it. “ (Matthew 7:13 NIV)
  • I’ve messed up so badly, what will people think of me? As I said before, I was so concerned with what people were saying and thinking of me as a result of the food that was eaten in my home.  Maybe your mistake has been broadcast for the entire world to see. It’s hard for us to move past our mistakes because we’re too worried about what the world thinks of us. Obviously, I’m not trying to win the approval of people, but of God. If pleasing people were my goal, I would not be Christ’s servant.” (Galatians 1:10 NLT) (And if everyone is honest, they’ve prepared a bad meal or two themselves! wink wink)
  • God forgave me, why can’t I forgive myself? I was literally tossing and turning in my bed wrestling with this yucky food incident. I was so mad at myself and left wandering how I could mess this up. But then I remembered what I told you at the beginning of this rant—I’m not a big cook! So, yes there was room for error! Romans 12:3 tells us not to think more highly of ourselves than we ought. (NIV) Remembering that you are HUMAN, that you were BORN INTO SIN and that you will NEVER BE PERFECT should make it a lot easier for you to forgive yourself for that slip-up. Stop being so hard on yourself!

Truthfully, I’ve held onto my mostaccioli massacre far too long. Today I’ve decided to release to it! And yes, I will attempt to create my dish again…we can’t stop pursuing our assignments simply because we mess up! Only next time I will stick with what I know works and I challenge you to do the same. Follow the Word because it’s the tried and true recipe for success!

Dear Daddy,

Thank You for Your unfailing love! Please forgive me for my slip-ups. I know there is no condemnation for those who are in Christ. Now that You have forgiven me, free me to forgive myself. Show me where I stumbled so that I don’t have to walk this path again. In Jesus’ Name, Amen!

Ladies, today I EMPOWER you to forgive yourself for any mistakes that you’ve made.  Repent and release yourself because God already has! Walk in freedom today my dear!

Today is the last day to enter our monthly contest! Click here to enter.

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