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.”

Submission/Surrendering, Trusting God

Holding On Too Tight!

A while back, I was thinking about the lessons and messages that I have been receiving about surrendering. At that very moment a movie scene popped up in my mind.  It was a scene from a comedy/drama/romance movie called Ghost (1990).  In this particular scene, con-artist Oda Mae (played by Whoopi Goldberg) is instructed by Sam (Patrick Swayze) to give a FOUR MILLION DOLLAR check to nuns because Sam wants to make sure the money is used for good and out of the hands of his friend/colleague Carl.

With clinched teeth, a forced smile, and a tight grip, Oda Mae has a hard time giving up that check.  I like to give, but I probably would have a hard time releasing that check too.  Four million dollars!  Watching this scene is hilarious, but the Holy Spirit helped me to realize that Oda Mae responds like many of us, and particularly me, with our lives.

If you cling to your life, you will lose it, and if you let your life go, you will save it.  (Luke 17:33 NLT) Maybe we grip our lives because we want to continue holding onto the control of our lives and do things our way.  Maybe it is because we want to obey and surrender only when it is convenient. Perhaps we think that if we surrender, we are going to lose our lives physically.  It is possible that we believe that God doesn’t want us to have joy and fulfillment or just maybe we think life is satisfactory the way it is.  Even more, we are probably focused on pursuing worldly things or we lack patience and trust in God to do what He says and has proven He can do.  In any event, we are afraid to let go and give control to God.

I must remember that when God created me, He didn’t intend for me to live independent of Him. Therefore, in order to move forward in my Christian walk, I must fully SURRENDER!

I have been gripping my life like Oda Mae gripped that check.  I have been gripping everything that God wanted control over or wanted me to release.  I have been gripping my many plans, my fears, my money, my concerns of what others think about me, my dating/love life (or lack thereof) and my need to do everything and be everything for everyone.  I have even given Him areas of my life and subsequently I have taken them back.  I’d say I believe and then the next minute I don’t believe.  Jesus asked the boy’s father, “How long has he been like this?” “It has often thrown him into fire or water to kill him.  But if you can do anything, take pity on us and help us.” “‘If you can’?” said Jesus. “Everything is possible for one who believes.”   Immediately the boy’s father exclaimed, “I do believe; help me overcome my unbelief!” (Mark 9:21-24 NIV)

Since I have been alerted to my lack of surrender to God, the Holy Spirit has helped me loosen my grip on my life and those areas that I gave God little to no access.  I have also surrendered plans that were of good intentions because it wasn’t what God wanted me to do at the time.  I have finally severed the last means of communication between me and my ex-boyfriend/first love; I am going to trust in God to bring a God-fearing, handsome man along just right for me.  I have learned that I have to seek God’s counsel in everything I do.  I have also learned that I can’t be everything for everyone.  It is okay to take the ‘S’ (Superwoman) off my chest unless that ‘S’ stands for SURRENDER (everything to God).

Through the testimonies of Hannah and Ruth, I am reminded that when you trust God and let go, you gain so much more!  Hannah, who yearned and prayed fervently for a child, gave her son back to the Lord. She promised God that if He gave her a son she would do this so she took him to the priest and allowed the priest to raise and ready him for his destiny. (1 Samuel 1:1 – 2:10)  She made him a coat and visited him every year but she had to let go.  Ruth left her family to go with Naomi, her deceased husband’s mother.  She surrendered to God and a new course for her life.  Consequently, she married again, gave birth to her first child, and was able to also bless Naomi—her mother-in-law.

Surrendering my life doesn’t necessarily mean I lose it physically.  Instead I will gain my life, the life God designed for me all along with peace, fulfillment, and deeper intimacy with God.  Surrendering my life doesn’t just benefit me, it benefits others too.  Oda Mae didn’t get that money but she was able to help bless the nuns and their charity as well as help Sam unite with the love of his life, Molly, and save her from danger.

Dear Daddy,

Thank You for pruning me, defining my character, and setting me apart.  It is not easy to go through this process, nor is it easy to render control of my life to You.  But please help me let go!  Help me to trust You and remember that my life is no longer my own.  I am here to glorify You.  In Jesus’ Name, Amen!

Ladies, today I EMPOWER you to trust the Lord with your lives.  After all, He knew you before you were in your mothers’ wombs.  He created you and knows your purposes.  He has your best interest at heart and will never fail you.  So, don’t worry about your children.  Put them in God’s hands.  Release that person with forgiveness and God’s Love.  Let go of that relationship He doesn’t approve of.  Seek Him before you make plans.  Let go of always needing control.  God is qualified to manage your life more than you.  When you let go, you’ll experience God’s liberty and peace!

Ladies, what areas of your life do you need to surrender to God? Share your story with us.

Read a related EmpowerMoment: Surrender It

Please watch the $4 Million scene from Ghost!

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Ms. Tannika Moore loves the Lord and loves to write!  Besides writing poetry or editing written work for family and friends, she currently works for NEIU Educational Talent Search program.  She help assists Chicago public high school students with their reading, writing, etc. as well as helps them consider and prepare for college.  She, like many of her students, is the first of her family to graduate from college.  She earned a Bachelor’s of Arts in English-Professional & Technical Writing.  God, the Creator and Great Father has also created her to be a Compassion Person and Encourager and so she loves to encourage people according to God’s Word and help them to see, think and become better thru her support, actions and writing.  Her favorite scripture comes from Philippians 1:6, For I am confident of this very thing, that He who began a good work in you shall perfect it until the day of Christ Jesus.

Encouragement, Expectations, Joy, Patience

The Sign of Rain

“Again he prayed, and the heavens gave rain, and the earth produced its crops.” (James 5:18 NIV)

Rain.  What does rain signify for you?  For me, rain brings life and saturates living things so that they may be more productive.  Rain is calming and reassuring.  It reminds me that I am not in control and because of the rain, I often have to submissively reschedule, alter, or rearrange my daily tasks.  In addition to this, the rain relieves pressure from within my sinuses, making it easier for me to breathe and relax.

The other day I sat looking outside of my back door and noticed how dark the sky was.  I became excited because I knew this was a sign that the rain was coming.  In this very moment the Holy Spirit whispered to me, “This is how life is.  Just before the abundance of rain (a shower of blessings or breakthroughs), it becomes cloudy.”  Often we sulk in our cloudy days of life.  Ask yourself, “How often have I been in a dark period to the point where I felt defeated?”  Honestly, if I chose to think about my current circumstances and the cloudiness, I could begin to doubt and become depressed.  However, I choose to anticipate the RAIN!

“…weeping may remain for a night, but rejoicing comes in the morning.” (Psalms 30:5b NIV)

I’m reminded of a few stories in the Bible where the situations of God’s people looked cloudy just before the rain.  I’m reminded of Sarah being in a cloud of doubt due to her barren womb, yet the rain came.  Ruth was in a cloud of uncertainty, and then she met Boaz.  The woman with the issue of blood dwelt in a state of cloudiness for over a decade, but when she saw Jesus the rain came!  The woman at the well, who was shunned by her community, lived with a cloud over her head, but one day the rain came.

Dear Daddy,

How magnificent is Your name in all the Earth.  We seek You in our times of trouble asking for Your rain O’ God.  Lord, we ask that You send the rain, a shower of blessings that can flood out uncertainty, drench depressions, and cleanse our mental and physical sicknesses.  Father God, as we wait in the midst of the clouds, please grant us a spirit of patience and righteous expectancy, believing that You will shower down Your blessing upon us, our homes, our communities, and our country.   In Jesus’ Name, Amen!

Ladies, I EMPOWER you today to anticipate the rain while in the midst of clouds. “Remember that all things work together for the good of those who love the Lord and are called according to His purpose.  (Romans 8:28 NIV)  Don’t sulk in your clouds; instead, praise Him in advance for the rain.

How do you press through your cloudy times?  Share with us in a comment below, send us a tweet, or post to our Facebook wall.

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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 two daughters. They attend Vaughn Forest Church. Check out Khalilah’s Christian weight loss blog here.

Encouragement, Friendships, Inspirational

Dear Friend

There have been a few people in my life that over time have encouraged me, prayed for and with me and spoke life over and into me and some of the situations that I have been through.  I am not sure that I have ever really thanked them for being an imitation of Christ in my life.  We all have friends, but to have a friend, who is a friend of Jesus is something that until recently I have taken for granted.

We see examples of such friendship throughout the Bible.  Ruth and Naomi are one example, “But Ruth said, “Do not urge me to leave you or to return from following you. For where you go I will go, and where you lodge I will lodge. Your people shall be my people, and your God my God. Where you die I will die, and there will I be buried. May the LORD do so to me and more also if anything but death parts me from you.” (Ruth 1:16-17 NIV)  The love and support that Job received from his friends in his time of need is yet another example. “Now when Job’s three friends heard of all this evil that had come upon him, they came each from his own place, Eliphaz the Temanite, Bildad the Shuhite, and Zophar the Naamathite. They made an appointment together to come to show him sympathy and comfort him.” (Job 2:11 NIV)

I wrote this letter to express my gratitude.

Dear Friend,

You have no idea how you have touched my heart and changed my life.  Your ongoing willingness to stand in the gap and pray for me, even before you have prayed for yourself at times, has never gone unnoticed.  I know that many have expressed concern, and offered their love, support and prayers, but none with the genuineness and transparency that you have. The passion that you have to honor God and to see me and others do the same by fulfilling their purposes in Christ has been overwhelming at times.  At any hour of the day or night, a simple encouraging word and your consistent willingness to lend your ear is often unexplainable.  At times you can recognize my struggles when I try my best to mask them with a façade, and you constantly remind me that I am never alone.  Even through the sharing of your own struggles that you would much rather keep to yourself, in obedience to the Holy Spirit you willingly share, standing strong in your faith and knowing that if God can bring you through He can do the same and more for me.  Always quick to listen and slow to speak, and faithful that God will provide revelation in His time, you have been an example of discipline and patience time and again.  I thank you for respecting my feelings and opinions even when you don’t agree, and never being afraid to challenge me to support my ideas and decisions with the Word.  My potential to walk into my destiny has been greatly influenced by your anointing and consistent encouragement and love.

If I have never told you before, for all that you have done, for all that you are, I thank God for you.

Thank you for being my friend.

I love you,

Tiff

Dear Daddy,

Thank you for placing friends in my life that are reflections of you and encourage me to be the same. Forgive  me for those that I have taken for granted, and haven’t expressed my gratitude for in the past.  I pray that I can be a fraction of the blessing to those that consider me a friend, as my friends have been to me. In Jesus’ Name, Amen!

Ladies, today I EMPOWER you to be the friend that this letter is written to.  Make today the day that you express gratitude for your friends and sisters in Christ!  Do not let another day pass without letting your friends know that you love them and are thankful for them. 

How do you show your friends that they truly mean the world to you? Share your thoughts below.

Read a related EmpowerMoment: Thank You for Being a Friend

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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.”

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.