Family, Friendships, Growth/Maturity, Leadership, Relationships

Throwback Thursday: I Believe in Vampires

It’s Throwback Thursday! This EmpowerMoment was originally published on July 13, 2011. Enjoy this blast from the past!

Not the kind that wear capes, have sharp fangs and only come out at night but the ones that you talk to every day, have dinner with you and share some of your deepest thoughts.

One day as I was strolling through “La La” land thanking God for the restoration of a family relationship, I became prey for a vampire. I received a phone call from this same family member that started off really nice but before you know it I was in a full blown shouting match. I hung up without ending the conversation and felt dazed and confused about what had just happened. I had a good “ugly” cry about it before I realized that their issue was not “my” issue and that they had sank their fangs into me, relieved me of all of my good energy and went on about their merry way.

For we wrestle not against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this world, against spiritual wickedness in high places. (Ephesians 6:11 NIV)

Vampires are mythical creatures that live by feeding on other living beings. After they feed on other living beings, they are refreshed and restored. I am sure if you scroll through the Rolodex of your mind, you know a few vampires too. Their approach may be different but the end result is always the same. Every time you talk to a certain person, you may never get into a disagreement but by the time the conversation ends, you feel drained. Sometimes it’s the mere “dumping” of their problems that you aren’t mentally capable of handling. You end up feeling empty and exhausted while they proceed feeling reenergized, refocused and refreshed. That vampire just received a “job well done.”

Above all else, guard your heart, for everything you do flows from it. (Proverbs 4:23 NIV) Most vampires are able to get to you because you have the guard down around your heart. We must protect our heart at all times because our life flows from it. No one can get to our hearts like “good friends and family”…the people we love dearly. After that phone call, I began to take inventory of all of the vampires in my life. Some of them will always be in my life because they are family, so instead of running for the garlic, I am learning how to deal with them and you should too:

  • Return Policy – Give people back their stuff! You need to return all issues that do not belong to you. No longer allow people to make their issue your issue. Hold people accountable and make them take ownership of their stuff.
  • Set Boundaries – This can be hard to do but you have to set boundaries with people. Sometimes you have to change the way that you allow them to communicate with you as well as the frequency of communication.
  • Don’t Dump On Me – Everyday can’t be trash day. There are times when our own lives are in a tailspin and we emotionally can’t take on anyone else’s garbage.
  • Don’t Give Them Power – Stop engaging them. Just cut the conversation short. “You know what, right now I really don’t have the time to talk about this. I will talk to you later.” At this point trying to get them to understand your view isn’t important, just cut the power cord.
  • Be Aware! – Ask God for discernment so that you can see people who were sent to you because you can help them vs. those who really don’t want help. They just want to drain you.
  • Be Ready! – When vampires attack you, Be Ready!  Put on the whole armour of God, that ye may be able to stand against the wiles of the devil. (Ephesians 6:11 KJV)

Dear Daddy,

Thank You for Your protection and Your love! Help me to recognize the vampires in my life and show me how to best deal with them. When I leave my guard down and come under attack, restore me immediately and remind me that these people only come to take me off of my heavenly purpose. Remove those people from my life whose sole mission is to feed off of me. In Jesus’ Name, Amen! 

Today, I EMPOWER you to take inventory of the vampires in your life and really think about how you are going to deal with each of them. Guard your heart and don’t allow them to drain you of your energy and your time.

Read a related EmpowerMoment: Who’s Changing Your Thermostat?

Please click here to vote for EmpowerMoments in the 2012 BlackWeBlog Awards!
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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.”

Forgiveness, God's Grace, God's Love, God's Mercy, Self Forgiveness

A New Day – A New You!

I was recently given one of the most thoughtful gifts that I have ever received.  Someone made a calendar for me.  It included pictures of me as well as famous quotes on each month.  It had all the special days of my year such as my birthday and holidays. I was so excited that I had received this gift.  I looked at it daily because there were pictures of me.  As I flipped the pages of the calendar I realized that every month was a new ME: a new picture of me, a new quote for me, a new life for me. That is how God works in our lives.  Things from our previous months and previous years don’t matter; He simply flips the page to our new beginnings.

 “And all the trees will know that it is I, the Lord, who cuts the tall tree down and makes the short tree grow tall. It is I who makes the green tree wither and gives the dead tree new life. I, the Lord, have spoken, and I will do what I said!” (Ezekiel 17:24 NLT)

The Lord is always turning the page in our lives. There have been many situations in our lives that we wish that we could simply remove from the calendar.  However, we do not have to remove that day because it is now a part of our past.  God has already forgiven us for whatever lies in our past.

He is so rich in kindness and grace that he purchased our freedom with the blood of his Son and forgave our sins.  He has showered his kindness on us, along with all wisdom and understanding.” (Ephesians 1:7-8 NLT)

Many times we would like to simply forget things from our past and act as though things never happened.  The problem with that is we forget where God has brought us from.  We do not have to be ashamed of our past or attempt to erase it because it has already been forgiven.  Those experiences that we wish we could turn the page on assist us in becoming the Christians we are.  It is a testimony that attests to where we used to be weeks, months, years ago.  Walk toward your vision, fulfill your purpose, and reach your destiny. Today is a new day!

 Dear Daddy,

 I come before You today thanking You for turning the page on my past indiscretions.  I pray for strength in order to ask for Your forgiveness from the things I am still holding on to. I need guidance in whatever new endeavors that I am moving towards.  Teach me to be an example, based on my previous sins, to show others how far You can bring them. In Jesus’ Name, Amen!

I EMPOWER you today to forgive yourself of your past so that you can actively participate in your future. Do not let the things that have happened on previous days creep into today and steal your joy.  God has already forgiven us of the things that we continue to carry around. Learn to flip through toward a new YOU!

How have you learned to move past the mistakes of your past to get to the new you that God has ordained? Share your story with us.

Read a related EmpowerMoment: Keep At It

Please click here to vote for EmpowerMoments in the 2012 BlackWeBlog Awards!

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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 and 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.”

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!

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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.”

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.

Relationships, Self Love, Self-Esteem, Self-Worth, She is Me Series, Soul Ties

She is Me: Queen Vashti

In honor of National Women’s History Month, EmpowerMoments is featuring a special series called ‘She is Me’.  Each writer will parallel her own life with that of a Biblical woman to enlighten and EMPOWER youCheers to being a WOMAN!

A Red Flag is a Red Flag!

“For what will it profit a man if he gains the whole world and forfeits his soul? Or what shall a man give in return for his soul?” Matthew 16:26 ESV

I wanted to better myself by going to college, but he laughed and thought it was crazy to venture from home to go to school. He would often say, “All you do is go to school; you can’t learn common sense in school.” He didn’t support me. RED FLAG!

I decided I wanted to live for Christ. I increased my activities at church, strengthened my prayer life and decided to go to church on more weekends than to travel home to be with him. He joked about me going to church and mocked God. He said I was wasting my time. He didn’t respect my virtue. RED FLAG!

All of our time together caused me to come home closer to the next day, opposed to the end of the previous one. I disrespected my mother, my morals, and all that I knew because of him. He did not care that I was torn because I was going against what I knew was right. I felt like a concubine. He disregarded my family’s wishes. RED FLAG!

We went to his friend’s house one weekend and he wanted to display that his girlfriend could roll blunts and smoke them. I was embarrassed, devastated, degraded, and annoyed. He did not see my value. RED FLAG!

I sit back now and see all of the red flags that I ignored. So this is what he thought of me? That I could roll a blunt for his friends and smoke it with the best of them? He didn’t even care enough to respect my mother, my morals and what I stood for. But he had fat pockets, a nice car, a job, awesome rims, and a place that he owned. Would I be willing to give all of that up just to save my dignity? Just to save face? What if I never find a man to love me? What will happen if I stand up to him and actually leave him? What about all that I was in line for– his money, a ride in his fancy car, and a secure life?

I wonder if this is what Queen Vashti was thinking when she denied King Xerxes. See, Queen Vashti had it all. She had beauty, she was sociable, and quite frankly she and King Xerxes were a power couple. But one night, she had enough. Here’s the story: At that time King Xerxes reigned from his royal throne in the citadel of Susa, and in the third year of his reign he gave a banquet for all his nobles and officials. The military leaders of Persia and Media, the princes, and the nobles of the provinces were present.  For a full 180 days he displayed the vast wealth of his kingdom and the splendor and glory of his majesty. When these days were over, the king gave a banquet, lasting seven days, in the enclosed garden of the king’s palace, for all the people from the least to the greatest who were in the citadel of Susa. Queen Vashti also gave a banquet for the women in the royal palace of King Xerxes. On the seventh day, when King Xerxes was in high spirits from wine, he commanded the seven eunuchs who served him—Mehuman, Biztha, Harbona, Bigtha, Abagtha, Zethar and Karkas— to bring before him Queen Vashti, wearing her royal crown, in order to display her beauty to the people and nobles, for she was lovely to look at. But when the attendants delivered the king’s command, Queen Vashti refused to come. Esther 1:2-5, 9-12 NIV

There is much speculation as to why Queen Vashti refused to come. But read the scripture; the King was drunk and he wanted to display her beauty in front of him and his friends. She must have felt degraded. She is not mentioned much more throughout this book, but her action showed great strength. She chose her dignity over the law and chose to preserve her self-worth over her husband’s ego. The King disposed her as Queen and chose to find a replacement.

What I find interesting is the King never realized that she was being degraded and instead of trying to preserve what he felt was beautiful, he swapped her for a replacement. And guess what, when I stood for what was right I was replaced too. I don’t know much about my replacement, but I do know that I left with grace, my pride, and my self worth.

Dear Daddy,

Sometimes we think we have it all and are scared to remove ourselves from what we think is abundance and choose to suffer our self-worth instead. Help us to always remember our worth, to see the red flags and to deal with them in the way we should. Help us to stand as Godly women, never giving up our dignity. Help us to walk as women of God instead of for a man that can’t see the jewel that we are. In Jesus’ Name, Amen!

Ladies, I EMPOWER you to understand your self worth. A red flag is a red flag! The banquet was probably not Vashti’s first sign of a red flag. I encourage you not to wait until he’s your husband to start recognizing the red flags. My view is not to promote divorce, as I was actually not in a marriage. I was in a soul-tied relationship that did not promote the God in me, and because of that I had to go!

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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.

Growth/Maturity, Obedience, She is Me Series

She is Me: Lot’s Wife

In honor of National Women’s History Month, EmpowerMoments is featuring a special week-long series called ‘She is Me’.  Each writer will parallel her own life with that of a Biblical woman to enlighten and EMPOWER you. Cheers to being a WOMAN!

Don’t Look Back!

Wavering is a part of human nature, and I am no stranger to it. When facing the need to make decisions that will be life changing it is crucial to take the time to consider all options, weigh the pros and cons, and of course pray for guidance.  Once I pray and hear from God though, it is imperative that I take heed to His words and proceed accordingly.  I have been chronically guilty of not doing the latter in the past when making decisions.  Specifically, when it came to letting go of relationships that I knew were unhealthy.  I would pray and hear from God clearly that I didn’t have to cease to love them, yet it was time for me to let go, or walk away.  Then, I did the unthinkable.

I looked back.

I looked back at all of the good times we shared over the years. I looked back at all of the love, the pain, the tears, joy, laughter and comfort that was born of these relationships.  I would count the years invested and think of how many albums full of pictures of good memories I had. Then I would think to myself, “God can’t possibly want me to walk away from all of this time! What would life be like for me without this person or that person? For us? If we didn’t have each other?”

But, that was exactly what God wanted for me!

Lot’s wife looked back too, and she paid with her life.

In Genesis chapter 19, we learn that Lot was instructed by two angels to take his family and leave the city of Sodom, and that Lot was hesitant. He didn’t want to leave the home he and his family had come to know “…Hurry! Take your wife and two daughters who are here, or you will be swept away when the city is punished. When he hesistated, the men grasped the hands of his wife and of his two daughters and led them safely out of the city for the Lord was merciful to them.” (Genesis 19:15-16 NIV)  As important as it was for the angels to get Lot and his family out of the city, what they said to them once outside the city was most important of all! “Don’t look back, and don’t stop anywhere in the plain!” (Genesis 19:17 NIV)

Lot, his two daughters and wife reached Zoar safely, as God had promised they would. “But Lot’s wife looked back, and she became a pillar of salt.” Genesis 19:26 NIV

Don’t look back!

The word from God sent through the angels could not have been anymore clear.  Similarly, the word of God was quite blatant to me when I decided to stay in the relationships. I would look back over our relationship and in my weakness I would pray for God to make me stronger instead of leaving like I was instructed to do. I looked back and remembered times when they behaved selfishly over and over again, and instead of leaving I prayed that God would make them more compassionate. Though I was spared and not turned to a pillar of salt, when I stayed in those relationships I suffered with hurt feelings, neglect and years and years of wasted time!

“We live by faith, not by sight.” 2 Corinthians 5:7 NIV

Don’t look back!

Dear Daddy,

Thank You for Your mercy, grace and protection during the times I went against Your will and leaned not on faith in Your word, but my own understanding.  I thank You that You are the same yesterday, today and tomorrow, and I have no need to fear as long as I am walking according to Your will in my life.  Please continue to order my footsteps in all that I do. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.

Ladies, today I EMPOWER you to “set your hearts on things above where Christ is….” (Colossians 3:1 NIV).  Trust the word of God when you hear it, whether you believe it is what’s best or not, knowing that His will and plan for your life is ALWAYS best. Remember, sorry looks back, worry looks around and FAITH LOOKS FORWARD!

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.”

Growth/Maturity, Relationships

Ghosts of Mistakes Past

Behold, I will do a new thing, Now it shall spring forth; Shall you not know it? I will even make a road in the wilderness And rivers in the desert. (Isaiah 43: 19 NKJV)

I am here today to talk about the “ghosts” of your past and to be very transparent with where I am in my life journey. As many of the readers know, I am single and have been for quite some time. I had not been into the dating world long before I met my son’s father. After that whole ordeal, I was just not willing to open myself back up. In fact, I told my friends, “All the guys that approach me fall into one of two categories: questionable (i.e. feminine) or thugs.” I had a very wise and wonderful friend sit me down and say, “We attract what is in us. Maybe you’re attracting unhealthy potential mates, because you are in fact unhealthy.” WHOA! That was definitely my “aha” moment. Why had I chosen guys who I felt from the very beginning were not right for me? The guy who stated up front that he doesn’t believe in marriage…The guy who has several children out of wedlock…The guy who never wanted to take the lead in the relationship… Why had I convinced myself that these men were men that I should be with?

You want the honest truth? The truth is deep down I did not believe that I deserved to be with the right guy because all men have flaws right? So you have to choose what demon you can live with. I mean he might cheat on you, but he always takes care of home, right? He might take all of your money, but he does write sweet love notes and leave them on your pillow. One guy I dated said, “If you treat them like dirt, they will stick to you like mud.” That was his saying, yet I never saw the red flag, until he started treating me like dirt. By then it was too late (or so I thought). I had already made my mind up that I would be with him.

I had to have a sit down with Jesus so He could really tell me about myself. So He could show me the place of hurt that I had been nursing in secret for so long. Out of that place of hurt was where my bad relationship choices had been birthed. My heart is where my Daddy had to do a “new thing”.  It was through this extremely personal time that I allowed God to make Himself known to me.  During my time of seeking Him I was able to trust Him and reveal the areas of doubt in my life. I still have moments of doubt, but I am happy to report that God is taking me from glory to glory!

Our Heavenly Father longs to heal the broken areas of our lives. Like a little girl running to her father to fix her favorite toy, our Daddy can only fix what we put in His hands. If you find yourself making any decisions (not only in your romantic life) that do not line up with the Word of God, you have a serious issue girlfriend. God longs to be your all; when you replace Him with your desires you are making idols out of those things. He is a loving God, but He is also a jealous God. He will not allow those things to take that rightful place in our hearts. It will fail. Let me repeat. It will fail.  If God is not the head, nothing else will work. You have absolutely nothing to prove to your boss, lover, family or friends. Your worth is birthed out of your purpose. Only God can give you that purpose. If you have allowed people or desires to be the lead in your life I ask that you pray this prayer:

Dear Daddy,

Thank You for the love that You have bestowed upon me. Please forgive me for chasing after anything that was not in Your will for me to have. I pray for a spirit of discernment so I know what is from You and what are distractions from the enemy. Help me to never try and find my purpose or value outside of You. Make yourself real to me. Reveal Yourself to me. Show me all the broken places so that I may allow You to make things “new”. You can create a river in the desert, so I know, believe and trust that You can and will do something amazing within me. In Jesus’ Name, Amen!

Ladies, I EMPOWER you to release the ghosts and guilt of your past mistakes. It is never too late to begin anew.

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.”