Family, Gentleness, Hospitality, Kindness, Relationships

Welcome

“When he came to his senses, he said, ‘How many of my father’s hired servants have food to spare, and here I am starving to death!I will set out and go back to my father and say to him: Father, I have sinned against heaven and against you.I am no longer worthy to be called your son; make me like one of your hired servants.’So he got up and went to his father. “But while he was still a long way off, his father saw him and was filled with compassion for him; he ran to his son, threw his arms around him and kissed him. (Luke 15:17-20 NIV)

Two weeks ago, my household changed.

As I held my now 3-month old nephew (too adorable!) for the first time, I watched as my younger sister and her friends loaded one big garbage bag of “stuff” after the next into my living room. It was so much stuff that I felt overwhelmed for a second, but it quickly passed away as I looked on the ones I loved. Reality set in, my sister and two nephews were moving in.

My family and I had been praying and preparing for this as best as we could ever since we found out that my sister wanted to move back to Illinois. She was living two or three hours away in another state but because of certain circumstances, she decided it was best to move back home. “I’m up here basically by myself,” she said. The family members (on her father’s side) who were up there with her were now incarcerated. Additionally, three months before she gave birth to my new nephew, she experienced such tragedy. She received a call that her boyfriend was shot. He, a well-known tattoo artist and in the midst of getting his life back on track, was robbed, stripped of even his clothes and shoes, and fatally shot in his head. He was murdered senselessly, never getting a chance to see his unborn son. I couldn’t imagine the pain my sister must have been experiencing. Yet my family and I have tried our best to help her cope. One thing that is certain is that God is a comforter and a healer, and I trust that He will continue to administer healing to my sister and this young man’s sons who have to grow up without their dad.

So when my sister expressed moving back home, I understood why and the season. The rest of the family and I welcomed her and my nephews with open arms. Now it isn’t peaches and cream or all gravy over here all the time but we are managing and maintaining our family and household. We have had to make some adjustments but I believe my sister has settled in nicely. I have realized that in this season I will get to see my nephews more, help my sister and also share God’s love and Word with her and my nephews. Mostly every night I have my 3-year-old nephew pray with me before bedtime. This is a treasured moment and a chance to emphasize the importance of prayer even at an early age. Yesterday I didn’t even have to say let’s pray, he asked on his own (smile).

Dear Daddy,

Thank You for welcoming me into Your kingdom with open arms and eternal kisses. I thank You for being such a great Father and supplying me with Your unfailing love. Thank You for Your daily mercies and not turning me away when I came home. I also thank You for expressing Your love through me and to me. I thank You for being the Comforter and a healer also. I love that even during difficult times, You can use our experiences for our good and bring life and blessings our way in the midst of it all. In Jesus’ Name, Amen!

Ladies, today I EMPOWER you to embrace seasons and others. Embrace all seasons that come your way by rejoicing and remembering God is in control. Open up your heart, forgive and embrace others with the love of God. We should be compassionate like the man who welcomed his son back and love on our family, friends, the fatherless, the hurting, and even those deemed “hard to love” even if they have strayed. We should not say “I told you so” or hold record of wrongdoing. We should also pray continually for repentant and humbled hearts as God opens the door for many to come into His eternal kingdom.

Has God told you to roll out the welcome mat for someone or has someone done it for you? How have you used this experience to show God’s love?

Read a related EmpowerMoment: For the LOVE of Family…

TODAY is the last day to support EmpowerMoments in the Black Weblog Awards. Click here to vote!

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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 help assists Chicago public high school students with their reading, writing, etc. as well as helps them consider and prepare for college. She, like many of her students, is the first of her family to graduate from college. She earned a Bachelor’s of Arts in English-Professional & Technical Writing. God, the Creator and Great Father has also created her to be a Compassion Person and Encourager and so she loves to encourage people according to God’s Word and help them to see, think and become better thru her support, actions and writing. 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.

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God, God's Love

Selfish Love

Create in me a clean heart, O God; and renew a right spirit within me. (Psalm 51:10 NIV)

Being in a relationship with a selfish or self-centered person is never a good thing.  Someone who only thinks of him/herself all of the time, shows no concern for your feelings, thoughts, ideas or needs and never listens to anything you say can leave you feeling insecure, unwanted, and maybe even depressed.

Shame on me!

Recently, I’ve been very selfish in my relationship with my Heavenly Father.  I’ve been putting my needs and wants in front of what I know is important to strengthening the relationship I want with Him.  Seek the Kingdom of God above all else, and live righteously, and he will give you everything you need. (Matthew 6:33 NLT)  I’ve been disregarding His Word, His perspective and that which matters to Him.

But I love Him!

I’ve been on the receiving end of such selfish behaviors in a past relationship.  It was very hard for me to believe that I was loved when I was being neglected and treated badly.  I wanted to run away from this relationship and be alone because I hated the way I was being treated!

God isn’t running from me though!

“God shows his love for us in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us.” (Romans 5:8 ESV)  He loves me so much that He still wants to be in this relationship and He’s willing to forgive me!

Dear Daddy,

Thank You for Your unconditional love.  Thank You for Your constant willingness to forgive me when I fall short.  Please continue to work on me so that I will become the person You have destined me to be.  In Jesus’ Name, Amen!

Ladies, today I EMPOWER you to run back to God!  Recognize that He wants nothing more than to be in love with you!

Can you tell us a moment where you knew you were being selfish with God and putting others and things before Him?

Read a related EmpowerMoment:  It’s NOT All About ME!

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

God's Provisons, Transitions Series

Transitions: My Supply Chain Manager

Have you ever walked around a store and wondered where all of the many items in that store come from or how they get there? For example, think about a familiar place like Walmart. Every item that you “need” has to come from somewhere. You can buy chicken that comes from Tyson and they probably bought the live chickens from some farmer. Your toiletries come from a variety of places such as Proctor and Gamble or Johnson and Johnson, but even the ingredients in those toiletries come from another source. The point is every item in Walmart has to be managed as a part of the supply chain. Before items run out someone has to make sure that they are replenished. They literally have to manage thousands of suppliers to provide for that one store. Similarly, God meets our needs in this way. His word tells us, “And my God will meet all your needs according to the riches of his glory in Christ Jesus.” (Philippians 4:19 NIV)

When I wrote the first message in my series on Transitions, Trampled On The Floor, it was about the end of one phase of my journey and the beginning of another; however, it took some time for me to get to that point. Along the journey, I was depleted in many areas of my life. My shelves were almost empty. I was running low on self-esteem, finances, food, joy and motivation among others; however, I never ran out. Just as I would get to a breaking point my truck full of supplies would arrive. God would show me that while I may not be eating the food that I wanted, He would not allow me to go without food. God brought people into my life that were a part of my supply chain. When I was running low on finances, there were people who would just put money in my bank account or in my hand. When my spirit was broken, He sent people to sow words of wisdom, motivation and encouragement. When I was physically drained, He provided a space for me to rest. He was concerned about the smallest detail. I remember one time I was so frustrated about my hair that I didn’t want to leave the house. Some people have bad hair days but I have hair tragedies. One of my girlfriends called and said, “I know what it’s like not to feel good because of your hair so I’m going to pay for you to get it done.” Incredible God! One of my greatest blessings was having shelter even when I could no longer afford it. God absolutely supplied ALL of my needs.

Look at the birds of the air; they do not sow or reap or store away in barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not much more valuable than they? Can any one of you by worrying add a single hour to your life? “And why do you worry about clothes? See how the flowers of the field grow. They do not labor or spin. Yet I tell you that not even Solomon in all his splendor was dressed like one of these. If that is how God clothes the grass of the field, which is here today and tomorrow is thrown into the fire, will he not much more clothe you—you of little faith? (Matthew 12:26-30 NIV)

Today I am grateful that during my transition I could plainly see God for who He is and what He does. I knew that it wasn’t my good looks, my charm or my wit that kept me clothed, fed and sheltered. It was really God managing my supply chain. He managed the who, the what and the how it would happen. What I do know is that what God has done for me is what He will do for you. When I stepped out on faith, I didn’t know how my needs would be met, but I am grateful that God had a ready supply chain. More than Walmart, He manages a supply chain for billions of people!

Dear Daddy,

Thank You for being the supplier of all of my needs. I am grateful for Your unconditional love and the people that You sent into my life when my shelves were empty and I needed to be restored. Please use me as a vessel so that I can be a ready supply for others. Thank You for building my faith during my season of transition. In Jesus’ Name, Amen!

Today I EMPOWER you to look at your supply chain. Take an assessment of your needs and recall how God has supplied each one. Take a moment to thank the people that God uses as vessels in your supply chain. Continue to trust Him even when you feel like your shelves are getting low. Know that just as you feel depleted God will send in a ready supply.

Did this EmpowerMoment make you think differently about how God supplies your needs? Share your story with us.

Read a related EmpowerMoment: I Got You

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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 strengtheneth me.”

Assignment, Generosity, Growth/Maturity, Kindness, Love, Obedience, Servitude

Maybe I’ll Say Yes…

“Each of you should look not only to your own interests, but also to the interests of others…”(Philippians 2:4 NIV)

I’m pretty sure that many would agree that 2012 is passing by at a quick speed.  Not only is time passing by so quickly, but life is full.  It’s very easy to be too busy with life, family, work, church, and other responsibilities.  Almost every person I know—young, old, male, female, married, or single—complains about how busy he/she is.  When one is busy, which seems to be always lately, there is not enough time to fit in every responsibility and others too.

How does one find time for anything anymore?  The safe thing to do is say ‘no’ to anything extra, especially those unplanned and spontaneous opportunities that pop up.  We couldn’t possibly say yes right?  We have to go to work, clean the house, pay some bills, or we are just plain ol’ tired.  Well here is a wise and friendly reminder courtesy of the Holy Spirit.  Sometimes those things that spontaneously show up are opportunities for the Kingdom of God to advance!

The things you will be rewarded for in heaven are not the houses, cars, clothes, bank accounts, or careers that you attain here.  The things that will matter most are the things you have done for others because of Him.  Calling that elderly person who has no family and talking to them for a while, inviting your child to lay in the bed with you while you watch a movie and share laughs, giving a single mom who needs a break a twenty-five dollar pedicure, or writing an EmpowerMoment for a friend who didn’t have enough time to write one are those things that matter most.  Taking every chance to walk in love and express love to others is one thing that can surely move my Father’s heart!  Having purified your souls by your obedience to the truth for a sincere brotherly love, love one another earnestly from a pure heart. (1 Peter 1:22 NIV)

This EmpowerMoment was given by the Holy Spirit at an unplanned and spontaneous time.  I was on my way to sleep when I received an email from one of my team members.  She was so honest and genuine in her request for help and although I was tired, the Lord said otherwise.  I must agree that a time like this is when you get the best testimony and juiciest experience.  I’m glad that when my sister called and asked for my help, I paused before I spoke the word ‘no’ and replaced it with a ‘yes’ so that this reminder could get to you.

Dear Daddy,

Thank You for Your unfailing love!  I thank You for giving me the wisdom to know when I need to proceed and say yes.  I thank You for giving me the heart to love and express love towards others.  I pray I continue to trust You and follow Your lead each day as You bless me with more opportunities to give You glory and express Your love.  In Jesus’ Name, Amen!

Ladies, the next time something pops up unplanned and not on your agenda, I EMPOWER you to do the following: Pause and Pray.  Ask the Holy Spirit for discernment and instruction of what the Father desires for you to do. He may give you the go ahead of saying ‘no’ or maybe He will make you replace it with a ‘yes’.  Try it and see what happens!

Are you finding time to have these kinds of experiences?

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

Abortion, Comfort, Death, Encouragement, God's Love, God's Mercy, God's Protection, I Am Free Series, Inspirational, Pain, Self Forgiveness, Spiritual Therapy, Throwback Thursdays, Trials

I Am Free: The Love Letter

It’s Throwback Thursday! Enjoy this blast from the past. 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 my past!

Dear God,

I have been hearing how people are so “blessed and highly favored” or “too blessed to be stressed” but Lord, I need to be real for a moment. I have been holding onto something and it is eating away at me. I am still mad that You birthed me to a crack head mother and a dead beat dad. I was probably a mistake and not even supposed to be here; I definitely could tell that I wasn’t wanted. I am still upset that You allowed my uncle to rape and molest me without coming to my rescue. How could You do this to me? All of this hurt and anger I have built up has made me to live a life full of mistakes, pain, and hurt. I made a mistake when I aborted those babies and I regret it every day. Are you punishing me, still? God, I am so sorry, but I didn’t know what to do; I didn’t know who the father was. I am so upset with myself for disappointing You. On top of all of this, the one woman I did love and whom I considered my mother, you took her away from me too. So how can I walk around as if I am blessed and highly favored? I’m hurting; I’m sad, mad, and angry. I feel left out Lord…I thought You loved me. I cry myself to sleep at night because I’m lonely and sad. I’m depressed at the thought of not being loved by anyone. I stick out; I don’t fit in, why am I like this?

Love, Your Wounded Baby Girl

Dear Daughter,

I chose your mother as a vessel to be used by me. Before you were created in her womb I knew the plan for your life, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future (Jeremiah 29:11).  I took my time to knit you together (Psalms 139:13). I was there, although grieved, when you were sacrificed and your virtue stripped from you. But I am also a God of restoration. I heal the brokenhearted and I tend to your wounds. (Psalm 147:3) I made a promise to you that I am with you always even to the ends of the earth (Matthew 28:20) You say that you aren’t attractive, I say I made you in my image.(Genesis 1:27) I made you fearful and wonderful. (Psalms 139:14) I made your hair like lamb’s skin, your eyes like the sun, you lips full like ripened fruit, and your stature like the rolling hills. I made you on purpose, I made you like me…you are beautiful. My spirit was grieved when you aborted those babies and of course I also know of  your other wrong doings.  But remember that son I sacrificed? He shielded you with His blood and mercy and presented you to me faultless (Colossians 1:22) Walk in freedom my dear! Your earthly mother was my angel, she taught you how to fly, take care of yourself, and she showed you me. It was time for her to return so that you could do what I have for you to do. There are younger daughters that walk around in guilt and shame every day. Who can touch them but you? Who can show them that I can heal the wounded heart but you? Who can show them that a daughter of a crack head can be a Queen of Success, but you? My Son can plead on your behalf because He took on all sin. You can plead on someone else’s behalf because you have walked where they have walked. Don’t hold your victory, share your story to edify me that someone else, some hopeless little girl like you once were, can be saved. You were restored a long time ago, now walk in it. I love you.

Love, God

This letter was written from parts of my life and the various lives of women that I have encountered on my journey. As Christians we sometimes seem insane to believe and love a God that has allowed misfortune to happen to us. But what the devil meant for your bad, God will turn around for your good. Sister, know that God loves you and the triumphs we overcame are stalks of wisdom that can be used to heal and comfort someone else. And know this, all things work together for the good of them that love the Lord and are called according to his purpose (Romans 8:28). It takes time to heal, but in time you shall be healed.

Dear Daddy,

I know sometimes I get angry or ashamed of my past. “Hear my prayer, O Lord, and give ear to my cry; Do not be silent at my tears. (Psalms 39:12)”. Teach me how to let go so that I can use what You have implanted in me for Your Glory and to help someone else. I know that you are a rewarder of those that diligently seek You. Heal my wounds, and if they are already healed, strengthen me to walk in your boldness with liberty. Help me to bless someone that needs me; keep my eyes and ears sensitive to her call. In Jesus’ Name, Amen!

Today, EMPOWER yourself by sharing with God all of your angers, fears, and disappointments and TRUST that His word will not return void.  Psalms 6:9 reminds us “The Lord heard my cry for mercy; the Lord accepts my prayer.” Start seeking to encourage and EMPOWER others that may be going through what you have OVERCOME. God has given you confirmation in His word that you are already restored and healed, for His word says, “Forget the former things; do not dwell on the past. See, I am doing a new thing! Now it springs up; do you not perceive it? I am making a way in the wilderness and streams in the wasteland.” (Isaiah 43:18-19)

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

Black Music Month Series, Encouragement, Forgiveness, God's Grace, God's Love, Inspirational, Self Forgiveness

Even Me?

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!

“Once you were alienated from God and were enemies in your minds because of your evil behavior. But now he has reconciled you by Christ’s physical body through death to present you holy in his sight, without blemish and free from accusation.” (Colossians 1:21-22 NIV)

Sometimes it’s hard to believe that God loves someone like me. I look back over my life and often it is easy to ask, “Lord, can you love someone like me?”

As I’ve ministered to women about their personal stories and shared my own, I am even more convinced that God loves us. Testimonies such as these:

“I was beaten and abused. I was raped and molested and grew up thinking that I was worthless. I was ripped of any purity that my friends spoke of and my self-worth was nonexistent. I wondered could God love someone like me.” Yes He can. “I will restore to you the years that the swarming locust has eaten, the hopper, the destroyer, and the cutter, my great army, which I sent among you. You shall eat in plenty and be satisfied, and praise the name of the Lord your God, who has dealt wondrously with you. And my people shall never again be put to shame.” (Joel 2:25-26 ESV)

“I grew up a promiscuous teen and I didn’t see a problem with it. I have had about four abortions and have slept with clergymen, husbands, and just random people. Can God love someone like me?” Yes He can. “If we [freely] admit that we have sinned and confess our sins, He is faithful and just (true to His own nature and promises) and will forgive our sins [dismiss our lawlessness] and [continuously] cleanse us from all unrighteousness [everything not in conformity to His will in purpose, thought, and action].” (I John 1:9 AMP)

“I grew up in foster care, shifting from home to home. My parents abandoned me and didn’t care to take care of me. I grew up feeling like failure was my destiny. Can God love someone like me?” Yes He can, and David is a witness. “Although my father and my mother have forsaken me, yet the Lord will take me up [adopt me as His child].” (Psalms 27:10 AMP)

“I’m self-righteous. I haven’t recognized that my life has been spared due to grace and that my reputation has been salvaged because of God. I figured it is all of my doing. Can God love someone like me?” Yes He can, but we have to humble ourselves. “Humble yourselves before the Lord, and he will lift you up.” (James 4:10 NIV)

“I preach God’s word in worship service, yet I fornicate throughout the week. I don’t practice what I preach. I steal from God’s church by holding my tithes and I cause offense to his vulnerable followers with insensitive counsel. Can God really love someone like me?” Yes He can. Confess with your mouth and you shall be forgiven. “Whoever conceals their sins does not prosper, but the one who confesses and renounces them finds mercy.” (Proverbs 28:13 NIV)

“I slept with my best friend’s husband, and she doesn’t know. I’m scared to confess and the secret is eating me alive. I knew what I was doing, but failed to stand for my morals. Can God love someone like me?” He can, and not only does He love you but He can forgive you too. “…Therefore I tell you, her sins, which are many, are forgiven—for she loved much. But he who is forgiven little, loves little.” And he said to her, “Your sins are forgiven.” (Luke 7:47-48 NIV)

Can you relate to any of these testimonies? If they do not fit you perfectly, I’m sure we all can relate to at least parts of these. I know I can. What’s interesting about God is that through repentance and submission, God forgives and washes away all sins. God reminds us of this in Isaiah when He says, “Come now, and let us reason together, saith the Lord: though your sins be as scarlet, they shall be as white as snow; though they be red like crimson, they shall be as wool.” (Isaiah 1:18 NIV)

Until you can believe that God loves YOU, you will not have power in your life. God loves you beyond your sins and has sustained you through the harsh actions of others. Through Paul, His Word reminds us, “neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons,neither the present nor the future, nor any powers, neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord.” (Romans 8: 38-39 NIV)  This means your past, present, and future cannot separate you from the love of God. Not even the demonic forces (whom many of us call haters) can separate you from the love of God.

Dear Daddy,

Thank You for loving me. Thank You for giving me the opportunity to accept the salvation from Your Son Jesus Christ so that now I can say, “You love even a sinner like me.” Lord help me to realize the greatness of Your love so that I may walk in power, knowing and not wavering that You love me. In Jesus’ Name, Amen!

Ladies, I EMPOWER you to shout from the roof tops, whether figuratively from your spirit or literally from your mouth (there’s even more power in your tongue), tweet it or update your Facebook page that God loves you. Say it with boldness, “God loves even me!”

Allow the ministry of Beyond Words to usher you into worship with this Love Medley by God’s Chosen.

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

God's Love, Love, Mentor/Mentee, Mentoring, Miscellaneous

How to Love

The title,  How to Love,  has become a popular song bythe  artist Lil’ Wayne.  However it holds various meanings to me.  I am a counselor and social worker and in my field I see a plethora of things that my clients struggle with.  I was recently meeting with one of my teenage clients and she slid a piece of paper across the table.  She told me she wrote a poem entitled “How to Love” and wanted me to read it. 

I was immediately excited and intrigued because I love poetry and this is a client of few words.  This was a major breakthrough for her.  The poem discussed her insecurities and uneasiness in the area of love.  You may be thinking, “Who really knew how to love as a teenager anyway?”  However, it was more than that.  She went into detail about the pain and anguish that she felt by not having a mother, father, sibling or grandparent.  She felt she had no one to love her.  She went on to discuss how her mother left her at two days old and how she had only saw her once since then. 

I immediately attempted to point out the people that she did have in her life.  She went on to tell me she had none of those people.  Not a teacher, church member, counselor, or  family friend.  I was appalled! How she could know how to love if no one ever taught her?

No, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him who loved us. For I am convinced that neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons,  neither the present nor things the future, nor any powers, neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of  God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord”. (Romans 8:37-39 NIV)

It came to me that the best way to teach her how to love was through God.  I could not teach her how to love her like a mother should.  I could not make her family apart of her life. Instead I challenged her to look at the love that God had shown her.  We went on to discuss how she had all her needs met and when she thought she had no one God was always there. “Never will I leave you; Never will I forsake you.” (Hebrews 13:5b NIV)

In the midst of encouraging and uplifting her about God’s love I had to check myself.  How many times have I claimed that I do not have anyone to love me because I am not in a relationship or marriage? How often do I complain that I have no one to help me carry the burden? Do I entertain the thought that I have no loved one to wrap their arms around me?  The answer is I am often guilty of that as well.  God taught us how to love long before we were even born because He first loved us.

Dear Daddy,

Please remind me that I am always loved by You. When I feel as though I have no one, remind me that You have always been there.  Please allow me to love my neighbors and uplift those that feel that they have no one.  Thank You, Lord, for blessing me with family that have always loved me.   I thank You for affording me the opportunity to love others as you have loved us. In Jesus’ Name, Amen!

Ladies, I encourage you to EMPOWER someone’s life by giving them the gift of love.  Look at our children and how many of them are looking for love in all the wrong places.  I EMPOWER you to guide them on the right path and show them what it means to have someone who cares about them.  Whether it’s your own children or children you mentor through a church or community organization, remember their future is in OUR hands.

Ms. Sherita Shelton currently resides in Nashville, Tennessee.  She holds a Bachelor’s degree in Psychology and a Master’s in Professional Counseling and is currently pursuing her counseling license.  Sherita works as a therapist and case manager for children as well as adults.  She facilitates groups for single women as well as offers mentoring and individual counseling for her clients.  Sherita’s favorite bible verse is Proverbs 3:5-6: “Trust in the Lord with all thine heart; and lot not on your own understanding. In all thy ways acknowledge him, and he shall direct thy paths.”