Assignment, Completion, Gifts/Talents, Goals & Dreams, Motivation, Purpose

The Veronica Effect!

Give everyone what you owe him: If you owe taxes, pay taxes; if revenue, then revenue; if respect, then respect; if honor, then honor. (Romans 13:7 NIV)

Rarely do we get a chance on EmpowerMoments to just pay tribute; but today I shall take that privilege because today is indeed her day. My friend and business partner, Veronica Davis has been committed to improving transportation since she saw how the effects that poor transportation planning and lack of investment disproportionately affects minority communities, particularly African Americans. Today, she is being honored as a White House Champion of Change Transportation Innovator for her volunteer efforts. To her, I say congratulations! It is a well-deserved honor. A man’s gift maketh room for him, and bringeth him before great men. (Proverbs 18:16 KJV)

When you think of transportation you may only be thinking of your automobile; however, there are millions of people that rely on other methods such as buses, rail systems, bike lanes and walkways on their daily commute. Access to a variety of transportation modes can affect where a person works, provide access to healthy amenities for the community, and minimize environmental pollution.

Each of you should use whatever gift you have received to serve others, as faithful stewards of God’s grace in its various forms. (1 Peter 4:10 NIV)

As a dedicated transportation planner, Veronica combines her professional life with her passion to ultimately benefit the community. What started as a twitter hash tag (#BlackWomenBike) grew into a movement within the District of Columbia. After noticing the absence of black women on two wheels she and two other women founded Black Women Bike in May 2011. The organization started with the 3 founders and grew to over 550 African American women in Washington, DC ranging in age from late 20’s to late 60’s. The women bike for recreation as well as to work, simultaneously receiving the benefits of exercise. So many women in her immediate community have started biking that it is being dubbed “The Veronica Effect.”

Let’s pause right there. She has so many other accomplishments but I want to focus on “The Veronica Effect.” I believe that God wants each of us to serve others in such a way that there is a noticeable change after we have been present. We should be using our talents to enhance the lives of others, to speak up for the less fortunate and to teach others. We should do our work so well and strive to impact others such that people will know it was “The _____________ Effect.” Like Veronica, we should focus on filling the voids. Imagine if we all stepped up to the plate and filled the many voids that God has placed right before our eyes. Ultimately, we want people to see that it is not us but it is the God who lives within us that gifts us with our ability to impact. It really is “The God Effect.”

Dear Daddy,

Thank You for gifting me with certain abilities and passions. You have shown me the voids and I ask that You give me the willingness to just do it. Don’t let me vacillate any longer on the things that You have called me to do. I want “The God Effect” to be evident in my life. In Jesus’ Name, Amen!

Today I EMPOWER you to review those things that God has called you to do. Has He shown you the void, but you are waiting on someone else to fill it? God is calling you for a special purpose? Step out on faith and start a movement. Allow the God Effect to be real in your life.

Has God given you a vision but you are hesitating to follow through? What’s keeping you? Share your story in the comment section.

Read a related EmpowerMoment: The Pursuit of Excellence

___________________________________________________________________

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.”

Comfort, Death, Encouragement, Forgiveness, God, God's Love, Love, Miscellaneous, Restoration

The Dress

This past week I pulled a dress out of my closet that had been hanging there for over three years. The reason it’s been in the closet so long is two-fold:

1. I had gained weight and not been able to fit the dress since I last wore it.

2. It was the dress I wore to the funeral of my first love, the father of my children.

At the beginning of this year, I decided that I was going to make my health a priority. As I made lifestyle changes, I started shedding the excess weight I’d been carrying around. Although I didn’t know where I would wear the dress next, I knew I would be able to wear it in a matter of time. When I took it out of the closet last week, I had no problem putting it on and it actually looked better than it had the first time I wore it! But it was bittersweet.

I was now going to wear the dress to the funeral of my nephew, my sister’s son.

One day last week, I was on my way to the mall to purchase the last outfit I would ever buy my nephew, the one he would go to his grave in. It was then that God began to speak to me about the dress. He told me that while I considered this dress as my ‘funeral dress’, it was a representative of so much more. Do you not know? Have you not heard? The Lord is the everlasting God, the Creator of the ends of the earth. He will not grow tired or weary, and his understanding no one can fathom. He gives strength to the weary, and increases the power of the weak. Even youths grow tired and weary, and young men stumble and fall; but those who hope in the Lord will renew their strength. They will soar on wings like eagles; they will run and not grow weary, they will walk and not be faint. (Isaiah 40:28-31 NIV)

The black dress actually represents God’s love for me! He loves me so much that He has built me up and given me the strength to face the challenges of the black dress each and every time I have been confronted with them. When I had to bury the father of my children, God made sure that I stood strong, was able to love and comfort my children and recognize that even though I was hurting about how he was taken, I got better instead of bitter because of the love of God! When I had given up on myself and my desire to live a healthy lifestyle, was overpowered by the fear of gaining all the weight back again, there that black dress hung as a symbol of strength once again, reminding me that God loves me and will give me the strength to overcome the battle I have with my weight. On those mornings when I didn’t want to get up and do my workout, I could see that black dress; it stood out amongst all the clutter in the closet and I continued to push through.

As I was trying to mentally prepare myself to go back to the funeral home to make the final preparations for the homegoing service of my nephew—whom I will always remember as the snotty nosed little brother I never had, who I have lost so much sleep over this past week because of the way he was taken—I recognized once again that when it came time to step into that black dress and head to the funeral, the love of God would be all around me, holding me up and giving me the strength I needed to take each and every step that day!

Dear Daddy,

Thank You for always being the strength that I need when I feel I have nothing more to give, say or do. Thank You for loving me through all of the good and bad times and assuring me that You will always be right by my side. I pray that when doubt begins to creep in, I will first look up and call on Your name because I know that I can do all things through You! In Jesus’ Name, Amen!

Mighty ladies of God, today I EMPOWER you to embrace the strength that you have as an heir to the kingdom of your heavenly Father! Refuse to allow the doubt of people and situations to have any effect on that which you know to be true and continue to stand on His word!

___________________________________________________________________

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.”

Encouragement, God's Promises, I Am Free Series, Self Forgiveness, Spirit of Inferiority

I Am Free: Inferiority

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 feelings of inferiority!

The steps of reading the Word of God, believing what it says, and releasing it would end the torment from the spirit of inferiority. Inferiority is a yolk of bondage that has been broken off of my life, because of the word of God. Today if you are dealing with the lie of “you are or will never be good enough”, you will be set free if you continue to read.

It began when I was just a young girl. Six months after having me, my mother met my step-father and that is the day I had my first appointment with “inferiority”. Since I can remember I was always reminded by my step-father directly and indirectly how I was not his, less than my siblings, and he was better than my father because he stuck around. I longed to be good enough for him and worthy of his praise.

After years, I convinced myself that I was unworthy, and that I would never be good enough. Inferiority restricted me from seeing potential in myself or having any potential for myself. I didn’t want to move forward in any of my dreams. I began to always have an attitude of defeat and felt less than everyone else. The feeling became so powerful that I was hospitalized in a psychiatric hospital twice while I was a teen, battled an addiction to marijuana, had my first child at 16, and dropped out of high-school.

Feeling inferior restricted me in my life and made me feel ashamed. It stopped me from moving forward. It prevented me from having healthy relationships and trying new things such as attending college. I used to think I can’t go there, I won’t fit in or worried that my peers or others would look down on me or judge me.

After I was saved, I continued to feel inferior; it became worst. Even though I was born again I was still in bondage. The first time I walked into church I thought I wasn’t good enough. I had too many sins on my track sheet. This also haunted me when I started dating my husband. Others would make comments referring to how I wasn’t good enough. Then I always would think he could do better. Further in my salvation, I’ve even encountered in ministry the same spirit. Making others feel inferior is very prevalent in the body of Christ today.

I had people in the church look down on me because I was a teen mom, I didn’t talk like them, speak like them, or have enough religion like them, but GLORY to God I’m free today and you can be too! Who we believe in and what we believe about ourselves will motivate what choices we make, the relationships we have, the activities we partake in, and how we live our life for Christ. It could also have an impact on how good we feel about ourselves. Believing the lies of the enemy, “You’re not good enough”, “You can’t do that”, or “You can’t get free” does not please God nor does it do us any good!

Here are a few truths from the Word of God that I believed, meditated on, and released in my mind and heart so that I could get free from feeling inferior:

1. “His divine power has given us everything we need for life and godliness through our knowledge of him who called us by his own glory and goodness.” (2 Peter 1:3 NIV)You have the power to defeat the spirit of inferiority. Your soul is where your thoughts and feelings have agreement. Your soul either agrees with your flesh (ruled by your five senses) or your spirit (ruled by the Holy Spirit and the Word of God). So you have to search the Word and find out what God has said and while doing this the Holy Spirit will witness to your spirit to tell your mind the truth.

2. “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.”(Hebrews 11:6 NIV) When you find something in the Word about you, you have to believe that God is telling the truth. It sounds simple, but it’s hard. God sees you as He sees Jesus! “Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; the old has gone, the new has come!” (2 Corinthians 5:17 NIV)

3.”Do not conform any longer 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.” (Romans 12:12 NIV) Begin to think, talk, and act on the Word of God! It’s not enough to just know it, but you have to believe it and do it!

Dear Daddy,

We thank You for loving us and giving us the power to break the yokes in our lives. Just as Your Word declares, “Not by might nor by power, but by Your Spirit”, we decree that a supernatural empowerment will take place in our lives now. In the authority of Jesus Christ we curse the root of inferiority and the fruits it produced. We rebuke the weapons of guilt, shame, jealousy, and conformity right now. We speak into our futures and command the angels of the Lord to war against any backlash or trap that the enemy would set. We cancel every appointment that the kingdom of darkness has set with our destinies. We thank You for a renewed mind and heart. We thank You that we will no longer think, talk, or act inferior to any person or thing. We thank You that greater is He that is within us and we activate the power of Your blessings. Now, Holy Spirit corrects us if we ever get side tracked. In Jesus’ Name, Amen!

I EMPOWER you today to no longer live with inferiority or make anyone feel inferior to you. Each one of us has our own unique quality, feature, gifting, and anointing. We all have different backgrounds and experiences, but we all are special to our Father!

After reading this EmpowerMoment, can you recall defeating the spirit of feeling inferior?

_____________________________________________________________________________

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)

__________________________________________________________________________________

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, 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”:

 _____________________________________________________________

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.”

Comfort, Death, Encouragement, Grandparents, Grief, Inspirational, Spiritual Therapy

Death, Where is Your Sting?

Death can be something that takes your breath away, especially when it’s unexpected. Even though it’s a part of life and we all know it is an appointment that we cannot avoid or reschedule; it’s pain is like no other. Unfortunately, I experienced this last week. My Grandma passed unexpectedly while visiting someone out of town. Because it was unexpected, there was a surreal feeling that caused my mind to be in a zone for a week. It was as if my whole day would pass by and I couldn’t really tell you where it went or what happened. Then during the week, the Comforter (Holy Spirit), did His job that He does so well. He reminded me…

Blessed are they that mourn: for they shall be comforted. (Matthew 5:4 KJV)

For whether we live, we live unto the Lord; and whether we die, we die unto the Lord: whether we live therefore, or die, we are the Lord’s. (Romans 14:8 KJV)

So then, since we have a great High Priest who has entered heaven, Jesus the Son of God, let us hold firmly to what we believe.  This High Priest of ours understands our weaknesses, for he faced all of the same testings we do, yet he did not sin. (Hebrews 4:14-15 NLT)

I was encouraged to know that Holy Spirit will comfort me in this time, even in death we belong to the Lord, and Jesus faced grief before as well. God let me know through the Holy Spirit, He would help me get through this painful time if I allowed Him to. It’s nothing wrong with mourning; however, we have a choice to move on or park in it! I had a choice to dwell on my Grandma being gone or I could think about the things she taught me, the great times we shared together, or how much she has impacted the lives of others!

And now, dear brothers and sisters, one final thing. Fix your thoughts on what is true, and honorable, and right, and pure, and lovely, and admirable. Think about things that are excellent and worthy of praise. (Philippians 4:8 NLT)

I take joy in thinking about how my Grandma influenced and impacted so many people in a positive manner. Everything said about her at her homegoing celebration told of how much of a servant, encourager, and selfless woman she was! I rejoice and thank God for allowing our paths to cross! Today, I’m better knowing and focusing on the great work she has done on the earth! Death doesn’t sting because I’m thinking of the lovely, admirable, and praise worthy things, not her absence!

O death, where is your victory? O death, where is your sting?  (1 Corinthians 15:55 NLT)

Dear Daddy,

I thank You that death does not have victory in my life because it did not have victory in Jesus’ life! I thank You for spiritual eyes to understand death is the beginning for those who are in You. So right now in the name of Jesus, I bind up the spirit of heaviness, grief, deep hurts, and sorrow. I loose peace, comfort, joy, praise, and healing! I rebuke any unclean thing that will cause my joy and peace to be stagnant or cause my heart to dwell in a state where I can’t receive Your healing and love! I thank You, Father, for divine healing. In Jesus’ Name, Amen!

Ladies, I EMPOWER you to release any past hurt, pain, sorrow, or grief from the past or present and walk in your healing TODAY! God was not caught off guard by what happened! He wants to heal and comfort you. I EMPOWER you to make a declaration today that you will allow the Holy Spirit to do His job!

In Loving Memory of My Grandma:

Esther M. Griffin
October 24, 1932 - April 23, 2012

If you’ve experienced grief or deep hurt, how did you move past it? Share your story to encourage others.

Read a related EmpowerMoment: No Grandmothers on Grandparents’ Day

_________________________________________________________________

 Ms. Rodnisha L. Anderson resides in Chicago, IL and serves as an elder at Life Redeeming Ministries. She works diligently with the Singles and Intercessory ministries. She is married to the Lord and becomes whatever she needs to become to reach the people for the building of God’s kingdom. Rodnisha truly desires to witness successful single women thriving in the kingdom of God.  Her favorite scripture is 1 Timothy 4:12: “Don’t let anyone think less of you because you are young. Be an example to all believers in what you say, in the way you live, in your love, your faith, and your purity.”

God's Love, God's Mercy, God's Protection, Inspirational, Restoration

Broken but Repairable

Hey girl,

I have been waiting on the right words to apologize about missing my EmpowerMoment. I felt and feel horrible, but I prayed and asked God to show me my downfalls and my issues and why would I neglect His business. This is what He revealed to me: The week you called me, you know the week it was due, I was spiritually broken. I know that sounds weird, but it wasn’t by default that you called me but I didn’t know what was wrong, so I couldn’t tell you anything. I felt a spirtutal disconnect and it was something I haven’t felt since preaching or being saved. I felt like I couldn’t catch my groove to pray and talk to God or I couldn’t focus on the Word. Real talk, it scared me. That week my past resurfaced and I felt like I wasn’t ready for the past to come back to haunt me. I had an outer body experience, meaning I felt out of my spiritual body. I went to church that Sunday and didn’t perform any of my duties because I couldn’t bring myself to speak over God’s people messed up and distorted. I couldn’t submit an EmpowerMoment and give someone that negative energy. I felt so alone that week! Girl, I never want to be without God’s presence! I had to really go into worship and assure myself, not God, that I know I was chosen, that I know I am peculiar and that I know that being apart of Christian families such as EmpowerMoments is my birthright. I will never ever let a feeling or anything separate me from the love of God! Sorry, this is so long but know that you were made for this. I don’t know if you knew why you were checking on me, but God sent you to protect the women that you have invested your time, patience and energy in! Thank you and know that you are my sister friend. I heart u!

This is a letter I wrote a few weeks ago because something weird was going on with me. I really was questioning every part of my life- spiritual and natural. I felt as if I was falling apart and I didn’t know what to do. I realized that I was broken and feeling a disconnection from God. I’m talking about being lonely; when it feels like God is not listening, it’s a horrible feeling. My bills were paid and my health was good but I was lonely, sad and I didn’t think anyone understood what I was going through. I realized I was broken.

This is the word that came to Jeremiah from the LORD: “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: 1-6 NIV)

Just when I thought God was giving up on me, He showed me He is the potter and I am the clay. That He molds me just as the potter molds clay. God is working to create a masterpiece-ME! He is molding me to become the person He needs me to be. Even when I felt my lonliest, He had never left my side. He promised me, “I will never leave you, nor forsake you.” (Hebrew 13:5a KJV)

I see myself as a priceless piece created by God and sometimes a piece of me is chipped or cracked, but God being the potter always has the equipment to easily fix my broken pieces. As women of God, who do we think we are that we can stay broken and give up and quit? I now realize that I was broken, but repairable. I didn’t know how I was going to get out of my funk, but God already had a plan for my life. Even when you can’t see God and you think you can’t feel Him, remember He is right there putting your broken pieces back together again. Remember you are broken but repairable!

Dear Daddy,

I thank You for being my Potter! Thank You for always being there to put my pieces back together again. Thank You, God, for never giving up on me. God, as you enlarge my territory, teach me to depend on You for everything and to always remember that You are always there for me. Teach me to not want to give up when things become tough, but to depend on You and to always remember I may be broken, but I am repairable! In Jesus’ Name, Amen!

Women of God, I EMPOWER you to allow God to be the potter and mold you into the masterpiece that He wants you to be. Even when things get tough, remember that God is there all the time. Remember that the devil wants you to believe that you are worthless and you are disconnected from God (LIES!!) Even though you may be broken today, remember you are repairable!

Read a related EmpowerMoment: The Potter’s House

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.”

Death, Grief, Growth/Maturity, Pain, Praise/Worship, Spiritual Therapy

When It Hurts

I will bless the Lord at all times; his praise shall continually be in my mouth.”  Psalm 34:1 NKJV

If you have been around Christians for any length of time, I’m certain that you’ve heard this statement at least once if not many times.  It’s a powerful statement, for it declares that regardless of what may be occurring in life, you will continue to praise God.  It’s an easy declaration to make when things are going great, kind of sort of good, or okay, but what about when it hurts?  When you are disappointed, broken, distraught, delayed, empty, and seemingly defeated, can you still bless the Lord?

Saturday our congregation found itself in mourning as we lost the life of a wonderful teenager, Miles Blackwell.  When I arose on Sunday, the first thing that came to mind was, “What will worship be like?”  For the past several months, worship has been indescribable.  The presence of God has been so overwhelming that members hate missing service and Sunday worship has become a hot topic for Facebook (also referred to as Spacebook by our pastor).  How would people worship after suffering such a loss?      

As I pondered the possible shift in worship, God reminded me that worship is in order even when it hurts.  Worship is not something that we do only when “we feel like it.”  Instead, “Praise is what I do, EVEN WHEN I’M GOING THE THROUGH, I’ve learned to worship You.  I vow to praise You, through the good and the bad.  I’ll praise You, whether happy or sad.  I’ll praise You, in all that I go through, because praise is what I do.

Praising God in spite of hurt can be seen through two great characters of the bible.  In the first chapter of Job, we find that Job loses ten children and all his earthly possessions, yet he bows down to worship God (Job 1:20).  In Genesis 22, Abraham similarly worships God after being instructed to sacrifice his only son whom he loves (Genesis 22:1-5).  Here we have two men, broken, mourning, hurt, but still worshiping.

Through these men, we come to understand what Jesus means when He speaks of true worshipers.  “But the hour is coming, and now is, when the true worshipers will worship the Father in spirit and truth; for the Father is seeking such to worship Him.” John 4:23 NKJV.  True worshipers bless the Lord even when it hurts!  It’s not enough simply to praise God when things are well.  True worship requires that we sacrifice our feelings, emotion, pride, and yes, our very lives to bless God (Romans 12:1 NLT).

Unfortunately, in this life we shall encounter mountaintops and valleys.  There will be days when blessing God will come with ease.  But, there will also be days when praising God may seem hard.  I pray that when the latter days come you remember Abraham and Job and continue to worship even when it hurts.  We certainly did!

Dear Daddy,

Thank You for giving us the strength to worship during hard times.  When it hurts, help us to remember the One whom we worship, rather than the things that we endure.  Teach us how to bless You at all times, understanding that You are worthy of praise even when it hurts.  Father, we bless You for the wonderful God that You are.  May Your name be exalted throughout the earth.  In Jesus’ Name, Amen!

Ladies, I EMPOWER you to worship God when it hurts.  Practice blessing God not only during good times but also during times of difficulty.  God is seeking true worshipers.  I urge you to let your worship be real.

In Loving Memory of Miles Blackwell

 Read a related EmpowerMoment: Praise the Lord Anyhow!

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)

Finances, Gratefulness, Health/Sickness, Inspirational, Praise/Worship, Stress, Trials

Get Up and Dance!

Let’s face it. The holiday season is supposed to be jolly, hopeful, fun, and filled with moments of joy with friends and family. But the reality is that along with this intention, the truths of this year’s events often settle here. You all of a sudden realize you are cuddling up by your fireplace without a companion or you miss your loved one dearly who passed away earlier this year or even 7 years ago. As January approaches, you realize the goals you set forth are nowhere near being completed, or started in some cases. Quite frankly, you just feel overwhelmed with the financial pressures of trying to decide to purchase gifts or tithe, or to skip your car payment to try and visit your family members.

I’m reminded through various instances in the Bible where situations seemed quite grim, but these biblical role models chose to make the best out of their situations. Let’s first look at Ruth. The interesting thing about this story is it begins when Ruth is mourning the death of her husband. But throughout her misery she made a life changing decision. She told her mother in law, “Where you go I will go, and where you stay I will stay. Your people will be my people and your God my God.” (Ruth 1:16 NIV) They settled into a new country, just at the beginning of the harvest season. Now what’s interesting here is that just when Ruth was faced with the death of her husband and painfully close to being sent away by the only woman that cared for her, she pressed through, dusted herself off and entered into a new land…just when the harvest was beginning, and she didn’t even know it. The story goes on to mention how she was blessed from the remnants of the harvest and met a husband. What if she decided to call it quits in the midst of her pity party? She wouldn’t have experienced the harvest.

Let’s look at the woman with the issue of blood. “A large crowd followed and pressed around him. And a woman was there who had been subject to bleeding for twelve years. She had suffered a great deal under the care of many doctors and had spent all she had, yet instead of getting better she grew worse. When she heard about Jesus, she came up behind him in the crowd and touched his cloak, because she thought, “If I just touch his clothes, I will be healed.” Immediately her bleeding stopped and she felt in her body that she was freed from her suffering.” (Mark 5:24-29 NIV) Now I don’t know about you, but twelve years of bleeding could definitely weigh on my faith and my strength to be the least bit optimistic about being healed. But she made a decision. She thought if she could just touch the hem of His cloak, she would be healed. She got up, traveled, fought the crowds and made it to Jesus. “He said to her, “Daughter, your faith has healed you. Go in peace and be freed from your suffering.” (Mark 5:34 NIV) Now, what if she decided to call it quits in the midst of her pity party? She wouldn’t have experienced her healing.

So what do you do now? What do you do when you have decided to keep going for Jesus, even in the midst of sorrow and pain? You praise!! I am reminded of David and the Ark of God. I am so blessed by this story because David praised so hard that his wife started hating on him. “As the ark of the LORD was entering the City of David, Michal daughter of Saul watched from a window. And when she saw King David leaping and dancing before the LORD, she despised him in her heart.” (2 Samuel 6:16 NIV)  But David knew that God was in control of his life, his blessings, and his future. He praised, not when the Ark got there, but when the ark was on its way. David said to Michal, “It was before the LORD, who chose me rather than your father or anyone from his house when he appointed me ruler over the LORD’s people Israel—I will celebrate before the LORD.  I will become even more undignified than this, and I will be humiliated in my own eyes. But by these slave girls you spoke of, I will be held in honor.” (2 Samuel 6:21-22 NIV)

I want to encourage you to praise on your way to your harvest and on your way to your healing. You may get hated on, but I dare you to be bold and do like David, Get up and DANCE!!

Dear Daddy,

For every woman reading this EmpowerMoment, I pray that You empower them through this holiday season and remind us that this is the season to celebrate the goodness of life You have blessed us with. Help us to find joy in giving and strength in enjoying the smiles and love of those around us. Help us not to focus on the things we don’t have, but the abundance You have already given us. In Jesus’ Name, Amen!

Ladies, I EMPOWER you today to get up and dance! Dance out of your misery, your pain, your anguish, your loneliness, and insecurities. John 8:36 NIV reminds us, “if the Son sets you free, you will be free indeed.” You are free from these things that bind you. Dance and let the liberation of God carry you through!

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 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 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 Millbrook, Alabama with her wonderful husband Donald Burton, Jr. and their energetic three-year old daughter. They attend St. Luke Christian ChurchCheck out Khalilah’s Christian weight loss blog here.

Encouragement, Faith, Fruit of the Spirit, Gentleness, God's Love, Kindness, Love, Mental Illness, Mother/Daughter, Motivation, Spiritual Therapy, Strength, Trials, Trusting God, Worry

Hope in the Midst of Hopelessness

“Chancee` you have to accept the fact that your mother is going to be institutionalized until the day she dies.”  These words stung as a family member spoke them to me. I was feeling pretty hopeless and was pouring out how I felt about the mental health system’s revolving door that has held my mother captive. I don’t quite know the year it started but her illness preceded me.  Although throughout my lifetime she has had several years of independent living, for nearly the past seven years she has been in the state mental institution. She is absolutely one of the most brilliant people that I know but she has a neurobiological disorder and has been diagnosed as bipolar, paranoid schizophrenic. Her reality and true reality are often conflicting and unfortunately her belief in her delusions, in the absence of medication, can cause irritability and lead to unrest and violence. Because Mom doesn’t believe she has an illness, her cooperation is minimal outside the confines of the mental institution. That fact keeps her from living a “normal” life.

Over the years, I held resentment against my mother for not being there for me to call on her when I needed her. I have felt extreme sadness at the fact that our relationship in no way resembles that of my friends with their own mothers. Mother-daughter trips, spa days, shopping, and dinners have been non-existent since I was a little girl. I feel sorry for her because her own quality of life is severely diminished and as she gets older it continues to get worse. I have become her guardian and she has become the child. It’s a complex relationship and one that she constantly fights.

For years, I have prayed that God delivers my mom from her illness and I have held out hope that one day she will be delivered from this disease; however, it’s been very difficult. I have prayed that I can see her how God sees her and love her like He does. The hardest part about neurobiological disorders is that they are hard to deal with because you can’t “see” the disability and it’s not cancer; therefore, people are treated as if they are just “crazy.” You want them to accept that what they know as reality is false and to just move on but that isn’t realistic.

There is so much to this story that I can write a book, but as this cycle repeats itself it’s hard for me to have hope that one day she will be healed. It’s hard for me to believe that God may have a different will for her life. It’s hard for me to believe that she will cooperate with treatment when she is not under the supervision of the mental institution. I am trying to maintain hope in what appears to be a hopeless situation.

Your situation may not be like mine but if some of us are honest with ourselves there is something that we have or have had hope for but our present circumstances make us feel absolutely hopeless. Our faith is shattered because we can’t see “how” it will happen, “when” it will happen or “what” will happen. As I battle with these feelings of hopelessness concerning my mother, I am reminded of WHO God is in what appear to be hopeless situations:

  • In Exodus 1  The Children of Israel were in captivity for hundreds of years in Egypt. There were Israelites who were born in and died in captivity and never saw God’s promise of freedom come to fruition. Though it came through much trial and tribulation Pharaoh finally let God’s people go. Pharaoh and all his officials and all the Egyptians got up during the night, and there was loud wailing in Egypt, for there was not a house without someone dead. During the night Pharaoh summoned Moses and Aaron and said, “Up! Leave my people, you and the Israelites! Go, worship the LORD as you have requested. (Exodus 12:30-31 NIV)  In Exodus 14 the Israelites’ situation once again appears hopeless as Pharaoh follows them and they are trapped by the Red Sea but God parted the waters so that they could cross. He made a way out of no way!
  • Remember Sarah – There is no doubt in my mind that Sarah wanted a child her whole life but she was barren. When she received word that she would have a son her situation looked so hopeless that she laughed at the mere thought. Later she bore a son and called him Isaac.  Read Genesis 18:10-14, Genesis 21:1-2
  • Lastly there is the woman with the issue of blood. She had a disease and had been to many doctors over the course of her twelve years of bleeding but no one could help her. There was no pill that she could take to stop it. There was no cure.  Mark 5:25-29

Although our situations may appear to be hopeless, I want us to restore our hope knowing that what God has done for others He will do for us too. Here are my five tips for restoring hope when you feel hopeless:

  1.  Encourage Yourself –I Samuel 30: 4-6
  2. Trust Him –Proverbs 3:5-6
  3. Know that He is not like you! –Isaiah 55:8-9
  4. Have a Flashback – Remember a time when God granted you the desires of your heart even when the situation looked hopeless. Psalms 31:19
  5. Know that He sees the completed puzzle while we can only see the puzzle pieces – Jeremiah 29:11

Dear Daddy,

Continue to help mine unbelief as You restore my faith in You. Help me to continue to believe that You are a healer and just like You have done for others You can do for me too. For every reader out there that is in the midst of what appears to be a hopeless situation, remind them of who You are. Remind them that there is nothing too hard for You! Remind them that You healed the sick, You raised the dead, You walked on water, You restored sight to the blind, You opened wombs that were barren, and You made the ultimate sacrifice! Thank You for being who You are! In Jesus’ Name Amen!

Ladies, I EMPOWER you to declare victory today over your “hopeless” situation. I EMPOWER you to have peace with God’s will for your life and that you remain faithful in your pursuits. I EMPOWER you to rebuke the spirit of hopelessness as you remember the God that you serve can do ANYthing.

Read a related EmpowerMoment: The Face of Faith

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.”