Family, Grandparents, Self Forgiveness, Sin

Her Future Has A Past

“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.

My Madea

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.

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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.

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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.

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!

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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.