Relationships, Singleness

Throwback Thursday: Let HIM Drive

It’s Throwback Thursday! This EmpowerMoment was originally published on May 4, 2011. Enjoy this blast from the past!

I absolutely love having relationship conversations with men. They give you so much insight into the way they view things versus the narrow view from our own lens.  A guy once told me that if a woman could learn a different way to say what needs to be said to a man, she would not meet so much resistance. In other words, it’s not what you say; it’s how you say it.

A hot-tempered person stirs up conflict, but the one who is patient calms a quarrel. (Proverbs 15:18 NIV)

Well I had something to say! I was frustrated about the way things were going in the relationship. As I contemplated how to approach this needed conversation without causing a ruckus, someone told me that I should to stop trying to drive all of the time.  And there was my word…

“Some time ago, you asked me to go on a trip with you. Although only you know the final destination, I willingly accepted my place in the passenger’s seat. Along this journey, I expected a few challenges and a couple of obstacles but nothing that was impassable. To ensure optimal vehicle performance and a comfortable ride, there would have to be some investments in maintenance and at the very least we would have to continue to fuel up along the ride. Knowing these things, I gladly came along for the ride; however, somewhere along the way, I hopped out of the passenger’s seat and began to drive. You never asked me to but for whatever reason I took over the trip. Maybe I didn’t see us headed in the right direction or any direction. Maybe we weren’t getting there fast enough. Maybe I became anxious and didn’t trust you so I began to take control. Maybe I thought you were asleep at the wheel and knew I needed to drive to get us safely to our destination. Whatever my reason for driving, I have realized the error of my ways. I am getting out of the driver’s seat and taking my rightful place as a passenger. I will be here to help keep you awake and help you navigate tough terrain, but I am going to let you drive. If at any time I feel as though I am not safe in this car or that you came ill prepared for the trip, I am getting out of the car.” He gently replied, “I understand.”

2 And Ruth the Moabite said to Naomi, “Let me go to the fields and pick up the leftover grain behind anyone in whose eyes I find favor…. 8 So Boaz said to Ruth, “My daughter, listen to me. Don’t go and glean in another field and don’t go away from here. Stay here with the women who work for me. 9 … I have told the men not to lay a hand on you. And whenever you are thirsty, go and get a drink from the water jars the men have filled.” 14 At mealtime Boaz said to her, “Come over here. Have some bread and dip it in the wine vinegar.” When she sat down with the harvesters, he offered her some roasted grain. She ate all she wanted and had some left over. 15 As she got up to glean, Boaz gave orders to his men, “Let her gather among the sheaves and don’t reprimand her. 16 Even pull out some stalks for her from the bundles and leave them for her to pick up, and don’t rebuke her.” (Ruth 2: 2, 8-9, 14-16 NIV) 

The story of Ruth is often used to illustrate how a woman should prepare herself to find a husband and put herself out there; however, in this text we see that prior to Ruth getting all perfumed up and lying at Boaz’s feet on the threshing floor, he had already jumped in the driver’s seat and began to act upon his interest in her. He showed Ruth that he was able to provide for her and was ready to drive. Ladies, in this follow-up to Heartbreak Hotel, I want to ask if you have ever found yourself mentally and physically drained because you decided to drive when you really were supposed to be a passenger? Learn to be a good passenger because you need to know that the person you are with is FULLY capable of driving. Sometimes our yearning for companionship and impatient nature turns into subtle manipulation, control, and recurring frustration and sometimes we drive because we are trying to prevent the inevitable. We don’t mean any harm. We just want the trip to go smoothly; however, taking leadership when you should be following can be dangerous in a relationship.  This is true not only in relationships with men, but also in our relationships with God.  Who better to trust in this journey called life than someone who knows the end before the beginning?

If you find that you have gotten in the wrong car with the wrong person and are going on the wrong trip, by all means find another method of transportation; however, if your only issues stem from the fact that you are a card carrying member of Control Freaks Anonymous – sit back, keep the driver awake, take a deep breath and enjoy the scenery and the ride.

Dear Daddy, 

Teach me the duties of a great passenger so that I can let the driver do the driving. Help me to recognize when the driver has fallen asleep at the wheel or they are headed in the wrong direction. Give me the words to say that will encourage the driver and if it be Your will Lord, give me the courage to get out of the car if I’m in the wrong car with the wrong driver. God, help me to realize when I am driving in areas of my life where I definitely need to be the passenger in YOUR car. Thanks in advance for helping me with this very important stage in my development. In Jesus’ Name, Amen!

Ladies, EMPOWER yourselves and evaluate your own life. Are you driving when you really should be riding? EMPOWER yourself to be a great passenger and assistant to the driver. If you have wandered into the car with the wrong driver, EMPOWER yourself to GET OUT!

Are you guilty of  ‘driving’ the man around, when you should be riding? Share your story below.

Read a related EmpowerMoment: You Can’t Be the Man!

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Ms. Chancee` Lundy lives in Atlanta, Georgia and is an entrepreneur as she is the co-owner ofNspiregreen, 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.”

Patience, Singleness

Get Out Where?

I have been single for some time now.  It’s been four whole years since my boys’ father died and it’s still just me and my two boys.  I have went on a few ‘dates’ here and there, had I guess what you’d call a ‘summertime fling’, and also a few phone number exchanges but my interest is often gone before I get the random text message or phone call.  I am just…well, single.

My friends and family are wondering what is taking so long.  Everyone asks in his or her own little way, “Are you dating?”  “Do you have a special someone?”  “Are you still not over him?”  “When are you going to bring somebody around?”  “Do you have a secret boyfriend?”

Inevitably, the conversations always end with ‘You gotta GET OUT THERE!’

OUT WHERE?!

It’s not like I’m a hermit.  I work, belong to a gym, go to church, take the boys to their million and one activities, and I am a very sociable person (I think).

So where exactly is ‘Out There?’

I want to be in a relationship with someone as much as (if not more than) everyone else wants me to be.  However, I have learned over the past few years that I can be single and happy!  I recognize that God does not want me to live my life in misery because I am not married, engaged, or seriously dating someone.  It is His intention that we are content through every season of our lives while faithful and patient that what He has in the works will be even better!

I would like you to be free from concern.  An unmarried man is concerned about the Lord’s affairs —how he can please the Lord.  But a married man is concerned about the affairs of this world—how he can please his wife— and his interests are divided.  An unmarried woman or virgin is concerned about the Lord’s affairs: Her aim is to be devoted to the Lord in both body and spirit.  But a married woman is concerned about the affairs of this world—how she can please her husband. I am saying this for your own good, not to restrict you, but that you may live in a right way in undivided devotion to the Lord.  (1 Corinthians 7:32-35 NIV)

Dear Daddy,

Thank You for blessing with the time that I have as a single lady.  Please continue to prepare me for the man that will be my husband if or when You see fit.   Thank You for blessing me with the patience to allow Your Will to be done in my life.  In Jesus’ Name, Amen!

Single Ladies, today I EMPOWER you to embrace your ‘ringless’ finger, knowing that all things happen according to God’s timing and plan!  Take the time that God has given you to become as intimate with Him as possible, so that when your husband is presented to you, you can be ready, complete and the wife that God wants you to be!

Are you too embracing the season of being single?  Please share your testimony.

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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.”

Attitude, Children, Growth/Maturity, Relationships, Salvation, Sin

Time Waits For No One

In 11 days my son will be starting kindergarten. I’m trying to figure out where time went. I remember him doing karate kicks in my belly. Now in just a few days we will be holding hands as I walk him into his kindergarten class. He’s super excited and I’m excited that he’s growing up and experiencing life as a big “little” boy. At this point he is blind as to what the real world is about. We shield our children from this because we want them to focus on being happy and feeling loved. Even at the young age of 5, it’s important for my son to understand who God is. He should understand that he can trust God, and that the blood of Jesus has set us free.

As I teach my son what my mother taught me, it makes me realize how the corruption of this world made me lose track of how to trust God and believe that He will do just what He said He would do. Instead, I wasted precious time leaning on my own understanding, worrying, breaking God’s heart with my sins and not believing in His word. I’ve heard my pastor say, “An idle mind is the devil’s playground.”  This is so true. That’s why it’s important for us to keep our hearts and mind on Jesus. 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 see how quickly my son is growing up before my eyes and I want to do nothing but experience and cherish every moment with him. I can’t help but to think that is what God sees in us. He sees us growing with Him or growing away from Him. God’s grace is succifficent, but God will not wait forever for us to get it together. Time waits for no one. And since you don’t know when that time will come, be on guard! Stay alert. (Mark 14:33 NLT)

Watching my son grow I understand how important it is for our relationships to continue to be strong. For my father in Heaven, my relationship should be unconditional. God is so good to me, to my family and all of my friends. I love God so much. Although I’ve made some mistakes, He loves me like no one else. If we claim we have no sin, we are only fooling ourselves and not living in the truth. But if we confess our sins to him, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all wickedness. (1 John 1:9 NLT)

Dear Daddy,

I love You and I’m grateful for Your grace and mercy. You’ve been with me through the good and the bad. I know You’re not through with me yet, because You are shaping me to be more than I can imagine. Thank You for Your guidance and Your love. In Jesus’ Name, Amen!

Ladies, I EMPOWER you to believe that today is the best day of your life, cherish it and do not waste time. God is waiting on you because He loves you just that much.

Are you certain that if your number was called today, you would be ready to go home and live with God?

Read a related EmpowerMoment: You Must Click Submit Before the Deadline

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Ms. Hassanah White is a dedicated member of Faith Walkers Church in Birmingham, Alabama where their motto is to “Walk it out by Faith.” She also serves as a member of the Praise Dance Ministry. Hassanah is a true professional in the realm of marketing and customer service. She’s a proud mother of a very energetic little boy named Jaden. Hassanah believes laughter and prayer are the best medicines for any situation. Her favorite scripture 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.”

Forgiveness, Growth/Maturity, Honesty/Truth, Relationships, Spiritual Therapy, Throwback Thursdays

Throwback Thursday: The “Non-Factors” In Our Lives

It’s Throwback Thursday! This EmpowerMoment was originally published on August 20, 2011. Enjoy this blast from the past!

…And Other Lies We Tell Ourselves

Recently, I’ve heard more and more people use the expression, “He/She is a non-factor!” or “That/This is a non-factor!”  Being the curious person I am, I asked my godsister where the expression came from.  She told me it came out of the reality show, “Basketball Wives.”  Again being curious, I decided to watch an episode of the show on OnDemand.  Long story short, I said out loud, “CLEARLY, they are lying to themselves about these things being non-factors!”  The people and things said to be “non-factors” are very real factors given that they were constantly discussed or there was always some kind of emotional response every time it/they were brought up.  I continued to sit watching the show shaking my head at what I saw as foolishness when God checked me!  “How dare you judge someone when you do the same thing with the so-called “non-factors” in your life!”  Instantly I was convicted!

There were so many things and people I said I was done with, situations that were “non-factors” in my life; however, I was still talking about them!  Every time I saw them, every time they were brought up in conversation I had an emotional response whether it was:  sadness, anger, longing, self-pity or just plain ol’ attitude complete with rolled eyes and lips smacking!  I realized that I had some real issues in this area.  The Bible says, “…Cast your cares on the Lord and he will sustain you, he will never let the righteous fall!” (Psalms 55:22 NIV)  I realized I “said” I was done with certain things and situations but had not truly given them to God because I had no peace concerning them.  I also realized that I had not moved on from certain people I “claimed” to be over and free from.  God charges us to “…bear with each other and forgive whatever grievances you may have against one another.  Forgive just as the Lord forgave you, and over all these virtues put on love…” (Colossians 3:13-14 NIV)

I was holding on to them through my unforgiveness and I DEFINITELY was NOT showing them Godly love (see 1 Corinthians 13).  I immediately asked God for forgiveness and asked God to help me really give ALL my cares to Him and also help me to genuinely forgive those I was holding on to.  While I am still in this process [and believe me it is definitely a PROCESS], I believe God will be true to His word, “…he who began a good work in you will carry it on to completion…” (Philippians 1:6 NIV)  Now I can speak to co-workers that I had not spoken to since we fell out last school year, without it being a struggle.  I recently saw an ex-boyfriend that I thought I would never get over and there was nothing there. I even congratulated him on his marriage and truly meant it.  That was a real victory for me; I truly believed that I would never get over him. HALLELUJAH!!!  I can now admit that celibacy has been and continues to be a real struggle for me. I put on the façade that it was so easy for me and said something similar to a desire for sex being a non-factor in my life. This could not have been FARTHER from the truth!

God has shown and continues to show me that if I continue to surrender everything and everyone to Him, He can and will free me from things and people that do not go along with the destiny He has for me.  I will then be able to say, “That/This/He/She is a NON-FACTOR in my life,” and it be the honest to goodness truth!!!

Dear Daddy,

Thank You for Your conviction and Your correction.  Thank You for never letting us be so comfortable that we stop striving to grow in You.  Thank You for always being a loving father that not only convicts and corrects but also leads us in the right direction and remains with us as we go on our journey.  We ask that You continue to show us the areas in which we need to grow.  We ask that You remove anything or anyone that would hinder the perfect plan that You have for our lives.  We also ask You for wisdom that we let go of the things that You want to remove and accept those things that You want us to have.  We pray that You replace the people that we have had to let go with DIVINE connections who You will use to help us get to the destiny You have called us to. In Jesus’ Name, Amen!

Sisters I EMPOWER you today to be Honest with yourself, expose the so called “non-factors” that are FACTORS in your life and begin to take the following steps to become free from it or them:

  1.  PRAY – Be completely honest with God about it/them 
  2. Don’t seek it/them out – stop bringing it/them up in conversation, stop going on their Facebook page, unfollow them on Twitter if you have to.  Remove any triggers (music, movies, pictures, etc.) that will take your thoughts to it/them.
  3. Check yourself – Two wrongs don’t make a right.  Speak even if they don’t.  If they are talking about you, don’t respond with gossip of your own.
  4.  In ALL THINGS acknowledge GOD, be consistent in your prayer life, continue to study God’s word, never stop thanking and praise God for all the things he has done/doing/will do, and never stop acknowledging who He is/has been/continues to be in your life.

Have you falsely convinced yourself that someone or something is a non-factor in your life? How has this post Empowered you to deal with it?  Share your story with us in the comments.

Read a related EmpowerMoment: Pierced

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Ms. Katrina Richard is an up and coming professional residing in Chicago, IL.  She strives to incorporate knowledge and life-skills to teenagers in her profession as a high school history teacher.  Katrina is very active in her church community where she serves in the prayer ministry as well as in the nursery.  She has a passion for serving in the lesser known areas of ministry because she believes every facet of ministry is important to kingdom building and spiritual development of the believers. Her favorite scripture is Jeremiah 29:11 — For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the LORD, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.”

Black Music Month Series, God's Love, Single in the City Series, Spirit of Loneliness

Single in the City 9: Ultimate Relationship

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!

“Now, about the young women who are not yet married… Because of the present crisis, I think it is best to remain just as you are.” (1 Corinthians 7:25-26 NLT)

Recently my dating life has been non-existent and well on its way to extinction.  I have met a few guys over the past few months but most were not worth a call or text back.  Perhaps, the crisis that Paul spoke of is the small selection of profitable men worthy of my time.  So you can better understand let’s just do a quick run-down…

Bachelor #1 was a security guard at a local night club… I knew that he would have potential since he’s a blue collar worker right? NOT at all! This dude was obsessed with himself and his cheating ex-girlfriend to the point that our one and only date turned into a counseling session.  Then on our fourth phone call he mentioned how he was trying to get a job in Detroit and I could move there with him… SERIOUSLY?  Needless to say that was all “he” wrote.

Bachelor #2 was a bus driver twice my age and a waist line three times that!  I’m not saying that made a difference because I learned my lesson on judging people solely on appearance when I wrote part 2 of this series.  However, he ruined it for himself when he called me 15 minutes after I gave him my number!  Am I the only woman that feels there should be a mandatory grace period when calling someone you just met?? Just a thought…

Bachelor #3 was extremely fascinated by me.  He was amazed that I had a job, paid my own bills, etc. Since he was so attentive I thought about giving him a chance until he discreetly threw in the fact that I can call him whenever… “I’m always outside.”  That was the last straw because Lord knows I don’t have it in me to deal with another hustler!!

“In everything you do, I want you to be free from the concerns of this life.  An unmarried [wo]man can spend [her] time doing the Lord’s work and thinking how to please him.” (1 Corinthians 7:32 NLT) 

In honor of Black Music Month I instantly thought of the song Ultimate Relationship (AM) by Mary J. Blige.  The songstress took a break from R&B to tell us single chicks how to love on God.  We MUST rid ourselves of the spirit of loneliness, co-dependency, low self-esteem or self-worth, un-fulfillment, and the list goes on! The devil truly is a liar because every morning we wake up we are given another opportunity to lie in bed with Jesus.  “I will make you my wife forever, showing you righteousness and justice, unfailing love and compassion.  I will be faithful to you and make you mine, and you will finally know me as Lord.” (Hosea 2:19-20 NLT) Our Father will wrap us in His love early in the morning in order to equip us for the tricks of the enemy.  So ladies we have to stop whining about not having a guy and focus on the work God has for us to do.  Spend a moment in the AM and listen intently to what He reveals to you because it may get you one step closer to your soul mate!

Dear Daddy,

Thank You for our morning rendezvouses.  Being alone can become overwhelming a lot of the time but as long as I nurture our relationship I can easily maintain.  Remind me that having a companion is only a portion of the master plan that You have for my life.  Keep me focused on the business I have to handle on Your behalf.  In Jesus’ Name, Amen!      

Single Ladies, I EMPOWER you to spend time with God each and every morning.  Before you start your daily routine make God a priority and open your spirit to His incredible LOVE!  Be Blessed!! 🙂

Listen as Mary sings God a sweet love song:

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Ms. Latasha Sampson is an accomplished writer who is currently pursuing her Masters Degree in Human Resources Management.  She resides in Nashville, Tennessee where she is a faithful member of Mt. Zion Baptist Church. She serves tirelessly with the Evangelism Team there.  Latasha also works at Mt. Zion as a member of the Administrative Support Staff. Her favorite scripture is “No weapon formed against you shall prosper, and every tongue which rises against you in judgment you shall condemn.” Isaiah 54:17

God, God's Love, Inspirational, Single in the City Series, Singleness

Single in the City 8: Spring Fever

Yes, it is back!  Based on the blooming flowers, warm weather, and abundance of pastel colors in retail stores it is safe to say that spring is here!   Now that the frigid temps of The Cold Winter have come and gone, single women everywhere must brace themselves for those ugly side effects of “Spring Fever.” 

Almost every where you go people portray spring as this fun-filled time of the year to enjoy nature.  Great weather encourages walks in the park and picnics in the shade, but let’s be honest ladies–to seal the deal and make it worth your while, you need to have a male companion.  This is what spring fever does to us. Whenever the sun is shining bright and there is a slight breeze in the air we start to think of all the awesome activities that we could be doing with the opposite sex. 

It is so easy to focus on how much better life can be with a boyfriend/ husband but STOP!!!  Proverbs 23:7 clearly states that so a [wo]man thinketh so is [s]he.  Once the enemy gets us caught up in those dreadful symptoms of Spring Fever it is only a matter of time before we start to lose hope in the promises God has for our future.  “And this expectation will not disappoint us.  For we know how dearly God loves us, because he has given us the Holy Spirit to fill our hearts with his love.” (Romans 5:5 NLT) As always, single ladies, God knew I would get to the point where I would yearn for company but He always makes provisions. 

The biggest problem with being ‘Single in the City’ is that I get consumed with the commercial idea of being in a relationship and forget that I have been in one for the majority of my life.  I have actually been engaged in a love triangle with the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit for over 15 years!  I must admit that it has been the most fulfilling relationship ever. They listen more than they speak, when they do speak it is of substance and extremely relevant, they lead me through rough times, and carry me when it gets to be too much.  I don’t know about you but I am willing to wait it out because the soul mate God has for me will be strategically designed by my Daddy who knows me best!

Dear Daddy,

Thank You for forcing me to realize that the only way that I will beat the Spring Fever blues is to counteract it with more of You.  You chose to stay in a relationship with me even when I chose otherwise and for that I am eternally grateful.  Please help me to keep my heart and mind focused on the love we have for each other and I’m certain this single thing will be a breeze.  In Jesus’ Name, Amen!

Single gals, I EMPOWER you to shake that Spring Fever.  Instead of thinking of all the things you can do with a male counterpart, channel that energy to advance your “love affair” with God to a full blown LOVING relationship.  His feelings have been on the table for a while and it’s time for you to pour yours out as well.  Be Blessed 🙂

Single ladies, how are you beating the Spring Fever blues? Share it with us below.

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Ms. Latasha Sampson is an accomplished writer who is currently pursuing her Masters Degree in Human Resources Management.  She resides in Nashville, Tennessee where she is a faithful member of Mt. Zion Baptist Church. She serves tirelessly with the Evangelism Team there.  Latasha also works at Mt. Zion as a member of the Administrative Support Staff. Her favorite scripture is “No weapon formed against you shall prosper, and every tongue which rises against you in judgment you shall condemn.” Isaiah 54:17

Love, Love, Love Series, Marriage, Relationships, Sex

The Reality of Relationships

“Because God created this organic union of the two sexes, no one should desecrate his art by cutting them apart.” Mark 10:9 MSG

Relationships bring out the root of our character. Whether it’s spiritual, marital, familial, or friendship, our character is often what determines the depth to these relationships. This past weekend my husband and I went to a marriage conference entitled, “Weekend to Remember.” We witnessed so many couples, even ourselves, having breakthroughs and becoming free because they understood what a true relationship with their spouse or future spouse should entail. Unfortunately, society, secular culture, media, and our imaginations have tainted the true meaning of the love shared between a husband and wife. When I was dating, I had so many misconceptions and unrealistic expectations about marriage. It caused a lot of frustration during my dating years and rifts when I married. Today I want to EMPOWER you to step outside of what you “think” is healthy for the marriage you have or the one you are preparing for, and look to God as the source of abundance and joy in your relationship.

Common Myths that Skew Singles and Murder Marriages:

  1. Difficulties mean we have a bad marriage: It’s not the difficulty that rates your marriage, but the way you respond to difficulties. But those who marry will face many troubles in this life, and I want to spare you this.” (1 Corinthians 7:28 NIV) Work as a team to face ALL troubles.
  2. I have to make my point: When you respond to your mate, do you use honey or vinegar? The Bible tells us to speak in a way that encourages: “Let no corrupting talk come out of your mouths, but only such as good for building up, as fits the occasion, that it may give grace to those who hear.” (Ephesians 4:29 NIV) I’ve learned over the years that my husband does not respond to nagging (the equivalent of being nibbled to death by a duck). But he responds to TIMELY conversations that encourage him.
  3. Children first, then our marriage: God designed the marriage relationship as the priority relationship of the family. Our marriages should mirror God’s image of love. The speaker at our conference gave some astounding advice. He said children don’t necessarily “need” quality or quantity time the most. They need mom and dad to have it together! This is so true because it breeds security in the home. Children are sensitive and can pick up on tension in the home.
  4. Love has to be earned: The anchor to your love for your spouse or future spouse should not be based on how well he cooks, acts, works, dresses, or interacts with other people. That’s what makes you “like” him. Love is based on the principle of agape love. It’s patience (not forcing him to change or slapping resume` builders in his face), kindness (saying “good morning” or sending a text message that says “I love you”), void of envy (you are not his competitor), non-boasting (refrain from “I cook, clean, AND work! What do you do?”), honor (opposed to punking him in public or acting like his mom), selflessness (opposed to manipulating the finances in secret), self-control (opposed to being quick to get angry), and it’s based on forgiveness (instead of keeping a record, tally, score sheet, note-book, or spreadsheet of his wrongdoings in your brain and heart or reminding him of them.)
  5. Marriage should be blissful: Did you know that some things are not solvable? You cannot change your spouse and he cannot change you. Some disagreements have to end in compromise.
  6. I can fix him: Your husband is not your project! Pick another hobby! Your man has attributes that are indicative of him. God can make the situation work, but when you make it your business to “fix it” on your own, that becomes day one of destruction. Trying to change him means that I do not accept the masterpiece God designed for me.
  7. Sex is not necessary: Did you know that both of you should be “satisfied” during sex in your marriage? I just learned of a story of a woman of 12 children that never experienced an orgasm. She began to pray over her marriage bed and soon, her husband prayed with her. He took on the responsibility of trying to make sex enjoyable for her as well. God filled them with ways of intimacy to encourage oneness in their marriage. Healthy sex encourages oneness.
  8. I don’t need a man to complete me: You should definitely be complete in your decision for Christ before you marry. However, a marriage is a companionship. When there is not a “need” for a companion, your husband cannot see where he fits in. Men have a “need” to complete and fix. If he can’t complete your desire for companionship, he doesn’t see where he’s needed.
  9. Conferences, counseling, and marriage books are only for broken marriages: My husband said something astounding the other day. He said we study for our degrees so we can “know” our fields, but we don’t “study” our marriage. I was blown away because he was right. I know his personality, but I don’t know what it means to be “married” unless I look at two other people that are NOT he and I. Whether it’s your Bible, talks with your mate about your marriage, retreats, books, etc, your marriage needs to be an “intended” focus, not just another feather in your hat.

Dear Daddy,

Thank You for bringing some things to the fore front. Father, please help us not to taint our minds and imaginations with selfish ideas and worldly expectations of marriage. Lord, I pray that every wife reading this message is able to demonstrate oneness. Lord, I pray that she sees to it that she prays for her husband on a consistent basis, whether he is a believer or not. Lord, I ask that the Holy Spirit guide our prayers so that they are not selfish. Lord, I pray for every Lady in Waiting and every Wife, that You encourage her to realize that the focus before and during marriage should be You because You give her provisions, joy, happiness, and fulfillment, regardless of circumstance. In Jesus’ Name, Amen!

Ladies, I EMPOWER you today to love your man with Godly love. Relationships are wonderful, but we can’t encourage worldly expectations if we want a Godly relationship. I listed the myths above to help free you to lavish in the abundance of love. Your husband is neither your enemy nor your competitor. There is nothing worse for a man to fail outside the home and then come home to someone that reaffirms it. God designed us as helpers. The term helper means to assist someone that is not adequate to handle it by themselves; it does not mean slave! Love on him in God’s way and He will move like never before.

Comment on our Facebook Wall or Tweet us and tell us ways you encourage your healthy relationship.

  We continue our celebration of Whitney with her hit, “All The Man That I Need”:

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 Vaughn Forest Church in Montgomery, Alabama. Check out Khalilah’s Christian weight loss blog here

Friendships, Jealously, Love, Love Series

Am I My Sister’s Keeper?

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

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

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

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

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

Some of My Sisters in Christ

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

 

Dear Daddy,                                             

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

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

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

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

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

Adultery, Forgiveness, God's Love, God's Mercy, Growth/Maturity, Self Forgiveness

Get Back Up Again

I have attempted to write this EmpowerMoment before but could not.  However, while reading a daily devotional by Joel Osteen, I became inspired to try again.

My grandmother brought me up in the church. So, at an early age I learned to both fear and rely on God.  However, it wasn’t until after college that I learned about Jesus.  Of course, I had heard of Him.  I had often heard my elders thank Him but I never knew Him personally.  After being baptized at 13, my relationship with Jesus began to flourish…and so did my journey into self-righteousness. The more I learned about Jesus, the more I was determined to do right and to be righteous.  For me, there was no gray area, only black or white.  In my learning, I knew that you shouldn’t judge, yet I was very judgmental. I was unaware of my profound state of self-righteousness until it was brought to my attention by my best friend. You see, it had taken him two years to reveal to me that he was gay, and he said that it was because of my views. The truth is I really didn’t mean any harm to anyone. It was simply about how I thought God felt about things. But it was true, I was very self-righteous.  However, that is who I was before my Big Mistake–I fell in love with a married man.

It was never my intention.  I, like every woman, wanted and desired a man of my own but I did not guard my heart. “Guard your heart, for it is the wellspring of life.” (Proverbs 4:23) All I could think was that I was a woman of God. How could this have happened to me?  To say that this was one of the biggest mistakes of my life is an understatement.  At the time I was going through that profound tribulation, I was asking God for mercy constantly, and I was remembering all of the times I had looked down on other women who had allowed themselves to fall in love with married men.  I was going through a very humbling experience, a look at you now, oh, woe is me experience.  But it happened and I survived. After deliverance and repentance, I got back up again.

There were several lessons that I learned during this tumultuous time in my life:

Lesson #1: I learned what God truly meant when He said what He has put together let no man set asunder. (Mark 10:9)  Ladies, if a man is already married there is NO way, that he can or will ever be your husband. If you are lying and cheating to be together, then it is not of God. For the scripture says, “Every good and perfect gift comes from the Lord.” (James 1:17 NIV)

Lesson #2: I learned that my actions not only affected me but also an entire group of people. The pain runs deep not only for you but for his family, and his wife’s family.  There are so many ties and bonds involved in the make up of a family and when you come in as an intruder and abruptly sever those bonds and ties, the ripple is felt by everyone who loves them.

Lesson #3: I learned how truly forgiving God is. “If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.” (1 John 1:9 NKJV) When I asked to be set free of the relationship, God released me and when I asked Him to forgive me, He did just that. In a dream I was told to read Psalm 32. The very first line states, “Blessed is he whose transgression is forgiven.” Further down in the passage it reads,

“I asked for forgiveness- I acknowledged my sin to you and my iniquity I have not hidden.  I said, I will confess my transgressions to the Lord,” and You forgave the iniquity of my sin. Selah.” (Psalm 32:5) Despite how huge my mistake was, God had completely forgiven me.

After asking God to forgive me, I also asked the person whom I had hurt the most for forgiveness–his wife. Confess your trespasses to one another and pray for one another that you may be healed the effective, fervent prayer of a righteous man avails much. (James 5:16 NKJV)

I have no defense for my actions. I only have a confession and a testimony that God will never leave you nor forsake you and He has divine power to deliver you from evil. I know this to be true.

Dear Daddy,

I come to You today thanking You for Your love, mercy, grace and forgiveness. Your love is so wonderful that it uplifts rather than condemns even when we make life altering mistakes. Father, there is another young lady out there experiencing the same mistake of falling in love with a married man.  Lord, I am asking You to help her right now. Help her to understand that You are a perfect God and that you do not make mistakes. Lord, help her to be patient because You will give her the desires of her heart in Your time. Lift her up, and fill her with confidence. In Jesus’ Name, Amen!

Ladies, today I EMPOWER you to learn from my lessons.  You may have made a huge mistake in your past but it does not have to end for you there. Remove yourself from the negative situation and ask God to forgive you…and then forgive yourself! Move forward knowing that God is with you and when it seems as if we have made the worst mistake of our lives, with God we can get back up again!

Encourage someone with  your story of coming back from what seemed like the most unpardonable sin. Share it on our Facebook page or on Twitter.

Read a related EmpowerMoment: The Mostaccioli Massacre

Beverly Gordon is a graduate of Gonzaga School of Law (Spokane, WA) and currently works as an Executive Assistant and Director of Compliance.  She is a devoted mother, daughter, sister, aunt, cousin and friend who believes in the importance of teaching children the power of prayer.  In her journey of loving and leaning on the Lord she meditates on Romans 8:28: “And we know that all things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are called according to his purpose.” She resides in Tuscaloosa, Alabama with her beautiful daughter and is an active member of the Springfield United Methodist Church.

Best of 2011 Series, Singleness

Best of 2011: #10 – Single in the City: Ready for Love

We are featuring our top EmpowerMoments of 2011. They made us laugh and they made us cry. They comforted us during troubled times and made us uncomfortable in our mess. But most important, they EMPOWERED us to be greater women all around! We are better wives, mothers, daughters, friends, servants and employees. We have been EMPOWERED to love harder, forgive more and listen better. We thank God for EmpowerMoments! Enjoy the Best of Series!

As I’ve stated twice before, one of the hardest challenges I’ve ever encountered was being a single, Christian woman but I never mentioned the hardest event to attend as a single woman…WEDDINGS!!  A few weeks ago a friend from college met his beautiful bride at the altar to exchange vows before God, family, and loved ones.  Truthfully, I was very happy for him but I could not help but to think about my future husband. 

Weddings are supposed to be joyous occasions but it is very easy to lose focus as a single guest.  As the ceremony commenced I was deeply involved in a dispute with God in my head.  I eagerly questioned God when was it going to be my turn?  Where is my husband?  When am I going to be able to start planning my dream wedding?  Why everyone else and not me? I desperately wanted God to know that I am READY FOR LOVE!!

Just as India Arie poured her heart out on the lyrics to that song, I poured my heart out to God.  The entire wedding was a bit much for me as my emotions were torn.  Eventually I put aside my feelings and decided to chime in on the celebration.  However, once the wedding was over and I was on my way home, I chose to have a real conversation with Jesus and not just a one-sided interview like before.

As I drove back to Nashville, He revealed something to me that was a slap in the face.  “And the Lord direct your hearts into the love of God, and into the patient waiting of Christ.” (2 Thessalonians 3:5 KJV)  It was at that moment that I realized that I can be READY for love forever but being patient for it is what God expects.  Since God knows the true desires of my heart, why was I questioning the arrival of my husband?  He is in control of the situation but clearly I have not let it go.  The real issue is that sometimes we have to surrender it over to Jesus and let it be while still having the patience to wait for Him to deliver on His promises. 

Dear Daddy,

Thank You for Your promises.  I know that what You have for me is for me but I pray for the patience to wait for it.  I understand that You have already worked it out but I ask that You help me to stay in position until it is released.  Lord, I pray for the obedience to surrender it to You and allow You to have Your way without question. I am READY for a lot of things but I pray for the patience to wait on my God to see me worthy of it.  In Jesus’ Name, Amen!

Ladies, single or married, I encourage each of you to EMPOWER yourself and others to be patient in your situation.  Remember God created you so He personally knows your long lists of wants. He is just waiting for the opportunity to increase your territory but are you going to be patient enough to wait it out?   

Read a related EmpowerMoment: Single in the City 7: Ready with God

Ms. Latasha Sampson is an accomplished writer who is currently pursuing her Masters Degree in Human Resources Management.  She resides in Nashville, Tennessee where she is a faithful member of Mt. Zion Baptist Church.  Her favorite scripture is “No weapon formed against you shall prosper, and every tongue which rises against you in judgment You shall condemn” Isaiah 54:17