Black Music Month Series, Comfort, Death, Grief, Spiritual Therapy

Not a Good-Bye, but a See You Later

June is Black Music Month! To celebrate, each of our EmpowerMoments will be based on Black music for the entire month. This includes Black songwriters, producers or performers. Stay tuned as we use various genres of Black music to tell our stories and exemplify the beauty of God’s love! Happy Black Music Month! Dance as if no one is watching!

Man is like a breath; his days are like a fleeting shadow. (Psalm 144:4 NIV)

This is for my peoples who just lost somebody
Your best friend, your baby, your man, or your lady
Put your hand way up high
We will never say bye (no, no, no)
Mamas, daddies, sisters, brothers, friends and cousins
This is for my peoples who lost their grandmothers
Lift your head to the sky ’cause we will never say bye

Bye Bye by Mariah Carey

This past week I have learned that three young parents under the age of 30 have recently died.  Most of the deaths were unexpected.  At 25, I am not faced with the thought of death often.  So to experience death this many times for those who seemed to have so much life ahead of them has been difficult.  It makes me appreciate life more because we truly don’t know when our time is up.  One thing that brings me comfort is the fact that I know that these individuals died in Christ so I will see them again.

This EmpowerMoment is to encourage you ladies to remember each day you have here on Earth is a gift.  Do not waste time holding onto grudges or wait too long to reconnect with someone that has been on your mind.  I recall having seen one of the individuals that passed just a few months prior.  We talked about our children and how we should get together soon; unfortunately we never made the time to do so.  I admit my attention is spread pretty thin.  I am a full time single mother, part-time graduate student, full-time employee, but at the end of my life I doubt these will be the things that will catch my attention.  My relationships with others will be at the forefront of my mind.  I know this to be true because when one of these young women passed all I could think of was all the times I could have made more attempts to spend time with her.

She was a person with a sweet spirit who was always willing to help the less fortunate.  My friends and I have decided to do something for her young daughter and I made a promise to myself to call, write, text or see someone that has been put on my spirit.  I don’t want to have another regretful memory.

RIP LaChant Kelly, Mudi Mafemi and Peaches. Gone, but not forgotten. We will meet again!

Dear Daddy,

Thank You for each day that You have given to me and my loved ones.  Forgive me for any time that I have not used my time and resources wisely.  Help me to be loving and kind to those around me so I may properly glorify Your name.  I ask for a special outpouring of Your Spirit for those currently grieving.  Give me the strength and courage to handle each task You have set before me.  Help me to not get caught up in the lie that I will always have more time.  In Jesus’ Name, Amen!

Ladies, I EMPOWER you to make each day the Lord has given you count. Go after dreams deferred, reconcile broken relationships, and take risks. Tomorrow is not promised to any of us, but make sure you remember, “It’s not the years in your life that count. It’s the life in your years.”

Please keep the families of LaChant Kelly, Mudi Mafemi and Peaches in your prayers.

Listen to Mariah Carey’s “Bye Bye”:

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Ms. Renee` N. Chaffin is a single mother who has a heart for helping those less fortunate. She has been active in the non-profit sector, whether through volunteerism or professionally, for the past six years.  She is passionate about sharing the love of God, her testimony and empowering people to discover their true potential that was bestowed on them by King of the Universe. Renee` is currently pursuing a Master’s in Public Administration. While on her pursuit of higher education, she is on a seven year journey to challenge God to do ‘exceedingly and abundantly above all she can imagine’ in seven areas over the next seven years. Check out her journey at http://radical7even.wordpress.com. Her favorite scripture is I Peter 5:6: “Humble yourselves, therefore, under God’s mighty hand, that he may lift you up in due time.”

Friendships, Jealously, Love, Love Series

Am I My Sister’s Keeper?

What causes fights and quarrels among you? Don’t they come from your desires that battle within you?  You desire but do not have, so you kill. You covet but you cannot get what you want, so you quarrel and fight. You do not have because you do not ask God. When you ask, you do not receive, because you ask with wrong motives, that you may spend what you get on your pleasures. (James 4:1-3 NIV)

Women can birth a child, successfully run a home and a business, and so much more. But can women have healthy and happy friendships with other women? Many have answered “no” to this question. I can’t tell you how many times I hear another woman say, “I don’t have many female friends because (insert negative stereotype here)”. I have uttered these words myself.

One only needs to flip through the television channels to see women portrayed as manipulative, money-hungry, scandalous beings. There are groups of women who live and die by shows such as Bad Girls Club and the Real Housewives series, but why? Each one of these shows, I believe, tap into the source of where the actions of gossiping, backstabbing and manipulation is birthed.  The source is insecurity and jealousy. You might disagree, but please keep reading. In the opening verse we read that people are really battling with their desires and will go as far as to kill to get what they want. The real source of your discontentment comes from your desire to have more than what you currently have. There’s a difference between having a dream for your life and being envious of someone who has what you think you want.

As women of God we should not envy someone else because she is married and we are single or because she has a nice house and we are in an apartment or because she has a well paying job and we are unemployed. Our God is not limited by our circumstances; He is limited by your faith and your motives. If you continue to envy your sister you are blocking your own blessings. Instead of comparing your life to hers, begin to pray for her (because you don’ t know the cost of her blessing) and that God will remove that spirit of envy from you.

If you do not have positive women in your life you might need to be creative in your pursuit of Godly friendships. My sophomore year of college I felt God leading me to really seek Him, but I didn’t want to do this journey by myself so I started a women’s Bible study called Heavenly Inspired Sisters (HIS). HIS has now grown into a lifelong friendship between eight wonderful women of God who have shown me there is nothing like having a sister in the faith.  Had I not stepped out on faith and started my own ministry I would not reap the benefits of having these wonderful women in my life. I would like to challenge you to get outside of your comfort zone and let go of any excuses of why you cannot be friends with a woman. If you are reading EmpowerMoments, I encourage you to link up with this ministry. We have a Facebook page, a Twitter account and you can send prayers to us right here on the site. You have an avenue to reach out to your fellow sisters in Christ, if you so choose.

Some of My Sisters in Christ

In this season of ‘love’ let us not forget to love our sisters  for we are our sisters’ keeper and it is up to each one of us to make an effort. Remember even Mary, the mother of Jesus, was able to have a confidant in her cousin Elizabeth, Naomi had Ruth, Mary had Martha and so on. The Bible is filled with powerful women of God who had a sister in Christ to support them. 

 

Dear Daddy,                                             

Thank You so much for giving us love in a variety of forms from family relationships to friendships. We pray right now that our hearts will be open to Your Will for our lives. We ask that those who are seeking Godly friendships will learn how to cultivate those relationships so You will be glorified. We ask that You give each woman a spirit of discernment so we know when the enemy tries to play on our emotions and insecurities. We pray for wholeness and completeness in You, for in that we have no need to compare. We thank You in advance. In Jesus’ Name, Amen!

Ladies, I EMPOWER you to love your sister as yourself. It is time to let go of the negative stereotypes we hold of other women and begin to love as Christ would have us to love one another.

Ladies, how has having a sister in Christ shaped your walk? Tell us on FB or Twitter

Celebrate sisterhood with our sister Whitney Houston’s “Count on Me”

Ms. Renee` N. Chaffin is a single mother who has a heart for helping those less fortunate. She has been active in the non-profit sector, whether through volunteerism or professionally, for the past six years.  She is passionate about sharing the love of God, her testimony and empowering people to discover their true potential that was bestowed on them by King of the Universe. Renee` is currently pursuing a Master’s in Public Administration. While on her pursuit of higher education, she is on a seven year journey to challenge God to do ‘exceedingly and abundantly above all she can imagine’ in seven areas over the next seven years. Check out her journey at http://radical7even.wordpress.com. Her favorite scripture is I Peter 5:6: “Humble yourselves, therefore, under God’s mighty hand, that he may lift you up in due time.”

Attitude, Family, Friendships, Relationships

Flee!

“Whatsoever things are true, whatsoever things are honest, whatsoever things are just, whatsoever things are pure, whatsoever things are lovely, whatsoever things are of good report; if there be any virtue, and if there be any praise, think on these things” Philippians 4:8 KJV

Optimism and positivity weren’t always in my “Bio.” For years, I walked around in attack mode. I was always defensive and on ready for a rebuttal. Whenever I was faced with a mountain, I rarely could find anything positive to say. I sulked further into my pit of anger, disappointment, or whatever the emotion was as opposed to finding power through positivity. In my powerless situation, I remained negative.

Negativity is like a cancer. When harbored by its host (you) it grows and spreads until it affects every part of the body. Therefore, everything you touch or become affiliated with: jobs, relationships, finances, and so on are tainted with a negative outlook. Sometimes our friends are those negative cancers. Ever had a friend that could change the entire mood of the group or situation because of her anger or negative attitude? Well I was that friend. I could change the mood of an entire meeting due to my negative influence, i.e. bullying.

One day I made up my mind that I wanted more out of life. I wanted to smile more. I wanted to release this burden of self-induced anger.  I wanted liberty in Christ. I felt captive to my negative spirit. I prayed for restoration and cleansing, and God heard me.

God took me through a series of character cleansing situations. He began to open my eyes to my new lifestyle of optimism. Life is much better this way. Of course Satan would say, “expect the worse so that you won’t be disappointed.” I had to realize that was indeed the enemy because my Father already told me to set my mind on things above…(Colossians 3:2 NIV). And furthermore, Jesus warned me “The thief cometh not, but for to steal, and to kill, and to destroy: I am come that they might have life, and that they might have it more abundantly.” (John 10:10 KVJ) So if I am walking in negativity, then I am not walking in the promises of God. Negativity says I do not believe that the life He has for me is a life of abundance.

Ever heard that one rotten apple can spoil the entire bunch? The other day I was at an event with a group of friends and noticed that one of my girlfriends had a “tude.” I immediately went into prayer for her spirit, but I ended up praying for myself. I was praying for strength so that the negativity bug wouldn’t infect me. A few events arose and out of “the blue” the Holy Spirit said “LEAVE”, and I flew to the door. (But when you are tempted, He will also provide a way out so that you can endure it. 1 Corinthians 10:13 NIV) The message is this, in times of negativity or being in circles with negative people, you have to flee so that you do not become tainted or tempted to take on their attitudes.  I will not give anyone the power to make me have a bad day!

The truth is, sometimes we just aren’t strong enough to conquer the schemes of the devil. That is why the Bible tells us to put on the full armor of God so that you can take your stand against the devil’s schemes. Read all of Ephesians 6:10-18.

Dear Daddy,

Create in me a clean heart, O God; and renew a right spirit within me. (Psalms 51:10 KVJ) When I am faced with the spirit of negativity, give me boldness to not only rebuke it in the name of Jesus, but to flee! Lord, bless me within my friendship circles that I may be a light and not a bowl of negativity. If I need to remove myself, show me the way out. Teach me how to speak life and encouragement into my life and others. In Jesus’ Name, Amen!

Ladies, I EMPOWER you to flee from negative situations. Don’t fall into gossip, backstabbing, or even something as simple as being an accessory to the crime (I was there, but I didn’t say anything). Take an inventory of your actions and friendship circles. If there is a root of negativity, uproot it with putting on a new positive attitude! What are some ways that we can turn negative situations into positive ones? Share your story in the comment box. God may be using you to give someone a way to remove them from a negative situation.

As a professional, Mrs. Khalilah Burton is College Biology Instructor. She is also currently pursuing a Doctorate of Education in Higher Ed and Community College Leadership. Khalilah is passionate about her faith journey and uses this key scripture as her inspiration: “But without faith it is impossible to please him: for he that cometh to God must believe that he is, and that he is a rewarder of them that diligently seek him.” Hebrews 11:6.  She teaches Young Adult Bible Study and Sunday School and also serves as a guest speaker and panelist for various events for women and Christian empowerment.  Khalilah resides in Huntsville, Alabama with her wonderful husband Donald Burton, Jr. and their energetic three-year old daughter where they attend St. Luke Christian Church.

Family, Friendships, Growth/Maturity, Patience, Relationships, Self-Esteem

He is I, I am Him

On last Friday I made a reference to Zacchaeus. If you’re not sure who he was let me tell you a little bit about him. He was a man not liked by the people because he was a tax collector. He wasn’t a tall man, in fact he very small in stature. He heard that Jesus was coming through Jericho. No one would make way for him to see Jesus so he decided to climb a tree to see Him. As Jesus passed by, He noticed him in the tree, asked him to come down, and told him that He would be staying at his house. The people of the town were in utter shock that Jesus, the Messiah, would actually take the time to even acknowledge this sinner.

Jesus entered Jericho and was passing through. A man was there by the name of Zacchaeus; he was a chief tax collector and was wealthy. He wanted to see who Jesus was, but being a short man he could not, because of the crowd. So he ran ahead and climbed a sycamore-fig tree to see him, since Jesus was coming that way. When Jesus reached the spot, he looked up and said to him, “Zacchaeus, come down immediately. I must stay at your house today.” So he came down at once and welcomed him gladly. All the people saw this and began to mutter, “He has gone to be the guest of a ‘sinner.’ ” But Zacchaeus stood up and said to the Lord, “Look, Lord! Here and now I give half of my possessions to the poor, and if I have cheated anybody out of anything, I will pay back four times the amount.” Jesus said to him, “Today salvation has come to this house, because this man, too, is a son of Abraham.  For the Son of Man came to seek and to save what was lost.” (Luke 19: 1-10 NIV)

Zacchaeus was determined to see Jesus even though the crowd was large, even though he was small, and even though he was a sinner. His faith was sufficient and Jesus recognized that. He made a promise to Jesus to turn his life around and he was forgiven for everything. This is where I see me. I liken myself to Zacchaeus. I had to fight the crowd and find sanctity in my own tree so that the Master could see me. This is not only one of my favorite biblical stories because of its powerful message of climbing “above the crowd” but it also shows that Jesus wasn’t hanging out with the Holy…He was hanging with those who needed to be saved. I’m sure in my past people caught flack for hanging around me. Even now I catch flack for hanging with certain people but you never know why God has put you in someone’s life. You may be the example that they are waiting for. Our only concern should be living right by example and those around us who are struggling in their relationship will see that if God can deliver us from the mess that we were in He can surely do it for them.

Dear Daddy,

Thank You for my tree. I also thank You for placing me in people’s lives and for placing them in mine. I remember what You did for me and I pray that those around me who don’t know You can find You through the life that I am trying to live. In Jesus’ Name, Amen!

Today I EMPOWER you to stick with those around you who have fallen. Do not give up on that FRIEND who is lost. REMEMBER that you were there once. PRAY for him or her. In time they will find their own tree and rise above to seek out Jesus in the crowd.

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Shawna Dix is a mother, educator, and all around child of God. She is passionate about God, her son Jalen, family, friends, and her students. She loves teaching because it allows her to shower our youth with love and guidance. She resides in Pentagon City, Virginia and works hard educating inner city youth in Washington DC. She prides herself in being a realist. She exclaims that she is in no way, shape, form, or fashion perfect but she has accepted that she serves a perfect God who is able to do ALL things!

Friendships, Relationships

Thank You For Being A Friend

“Chanceé everyone isn’t going to like you or want to be your friend.” I remember my mother telling me this when I was a little girl; however, I never understood why anyone wouldn’t like ME or want to be my friend. I’m such a great person! But instead of focusing on the hardships of life, today I will focus on the positive. God has blessed me with awesome FRIENDS. They say that you should give people their flowers while they are living. To my friends, here are your flowers:

One of the best biblical examples of friendship existed between David and Jonathon. Now when he had finished speaking to Saul, the soul of Jonathan was knit to the soul of David, and Jonathan loved him as his own soul. Then Jonathan and David made a covenant, because he loved him as his own soul.  (I Samuel 18: 1,3 NKJV)

The word “friend” is often misused and abused but I have had the opportunity to know true friendship. The bible instructs us to be selective with our friendships and lets us know when we have found a friend.  “A man of many companions may come to ruin, but there is a friend who sticks closer than a brother” (Proverbs 18:24 NIV) Who says that blood is thicker than water? My friends have stepped in on many occasions when family has walked out. It is always encouraging to have people whom God has placed in my life that are there for me at any time of the night. Friends build me up instead of tear me down. “Thank you for being a friend.”

Over the years, I have lost friends, been betrayed by friends and outgrown friends; however, I have come to realize that some of those people were only in my life for a season. I have experienced true friendships that last the test of time and circumstance. Through the sad times, happy times and pure disagreements, we always come full circle. As iron sharpens iron, So a man sharpens the countenance of his friend. (Proverbs 27:17 NKJV) In order for a friendship to thrive, each must bring to the relationship something that strengthens the other. They make me a better person. They aren’t afraid to question my decisions and they hold me accountable for my actions.

“Your heart is true you’re a pal and a confidant” My friends are who they are because they have no ulterior motives. Our friendship isn’t based upon our celebrity or lack thereof. They are the real “ride or die” chicks and I trust them enough to tell them my most shameful secrets. A gossip betrays a confidence, but a trustworthy person keeps a secret (Proverbs 11:13 NIV)

“And if you threw a party and invited everyone you knew, you would see the biggest gift would be from me and the card attached would say, Thank you for being a friend.”

Thank you to my: listeners; shoulders to cry on; ride hundreds of miles in the middle of the night; rods of correction; wisdom bearers; near death experience sharers; got my back; fun loving; genuine and authentic friends. These flowers are for you.

Dear Daddy,

Thank You for using Your earthly vessels to stand in the gap and provide me with encouragement, wisdom and humor when I need it the most. I am grateful to You for forging lasting bonds between a spectacular cast of girlfriends and me. Help me to be a better friend and follow Your instruction for friendship. When it’s time to let go, help me to do that too. Thank You for letting me know in John 15:14 that if I obey You, I can be Your friend. What a friend we have in Jesus!   Daddy, I love You and thank You for being my Superfriend! In Jesus’ Name, Amen!

EMPOWER yourself today to recognize the true meaning of friendship. Are you being a friend or a frenemy? EMPOWER yourself to let go of people who have not proved themselves worthy of your friendship. EMPOWER yourself to speak up and show appreciation to your friends.

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 Proverbs 3:5  Trust in the Lord with ALL your heart and lean not on your own understanding.