Notes From Me To Me

Fearfully and Wonderfully Made

In honor of Women’s Month, each writer will be writing our EmpowerMoments full of encouragement and lessons to our younger selves in a series titled Notes From Me To Me. Sit back and enjoy our reflections, and also think about what you would say to your younger self.

Dear Fearfully and Wonderfully Made,

I have read your journals young lady. I have heard your cries. I have seen you shrink back because of fear and intimidation. I know you were depressed and even attempted to swallow down a bottle of pills to end your inward pain. But what you will soon realize is that there is someone you decided to accept in your life and as your life who will carry you throughout the storms and your fears, and lead you to strength, precious moments, and your destiny. So keep living and take one day at a time.You are going to learn patience and you are going to learn how to navigate through your fears and the devil’s intimidation.

Oh, keep writing! That is a God-given talent and God will use that talent as well as your sensitivity to encourage and help others. You were called weak and you were even made to feel not beautiful, overlooked, and like you could not survive life. But God, who promised He would be your dad and fill that void of not having a father, will help you get through it all. He will also help you to see yourself the way He sees you. Child, you are FIERCE, and you haven’t even realized it yet!

I will praise Thee; for I am fearfully and wonderfully made: marvellous are Thy works; and that my soul knoweth right well. (Psalm 139:14 KJV)

There are some things I have learned that you too will learn. Just hold them dear and never forget them.

  • The devil is a liar. You already know who he is, but what you failed to realized is that he has been deceiving you all this time even during your time of depression. Girl, you are valuable to God, to His kingdom, and to your family. You are beautiful and some man would love to call you his wife one day. Even if you are weak, passive, too nice, you are going to realize that that is okay because you will be known for your strength and perseverance. Confused? It is okay to be nice, it is okay to be what they call weak, because He that is in you, is greater than he that is in the world, and therefore, you are strong.
  • Learn to say no, now, please! Your mom has been teaching you how to stand up for yourself and how to be much bolder. It’s hard to say no but God doesn’t require you to be a people-pleaser, just compassionate. Just say a simple, ‘Yes, I will,’ or ‘No, I won’t.’ Anything beyond this is from the evil one. (Mat 5:37 NLT) That simple. Your ability to let go of the fear of man and learn to say no will benefit your mental and physical state.  Worry and stressing over pleasing others can make you sick!
  • No one can steal your joy if you don’t let them and if you don’t nurse the offense. You have no problem treasuring the moments, great times and new ventures in your life, but you do give away your joy at the drop of a hat. You shut down and retreat back to your shell.  God says that offenses will come and to not be easily offended. Sounds easier said than done, but make up in your mind to not nurse the offense and let it go! Hold on to your joy! It is one of your most prized possessions.
  • Let go! Sometimes you unknowingly invite manipulative and worrisome people in your life. They will drain your strength like Dracula. God also will keep, thank God for His mercy, talking to you about surrendering every area of your life to Him. You are afraid to let go of every detail and put it in His hands. You will realize that you cannot do anything without Him.
  • Save emergency money! No explanation here; don’t do it and see what happens!
  • Treat yourself! Mom taught this to all you and your female relatives in the family. I think you the only one it will take a while to catch on. I know you love to do for others, but God says love others as you love yourself. Hmm, you missed the second part.
  • Date. Stop being scared. Mom always said a man is not going to just fall on the couch.  Your first love will break your heart, and although you will not lose heart to love again, you will procrastinate in getting back out there.
  • Don’t be afraid to enjoy your blessings. Sometimes jealous people will make you feel like you have to hide what God put in you or did for you. This will sadden you because you weren’t always confident and you lived in your inadequacies and fear, so now you are learning to appreciate yourself and your talents and gifts. You lift up others also and when someone else gets blessed, you rejoice. So why can’t people rejoice with you!  Don’t worry about it or try to find out why. Be sensitive towards their feelings and walk in love, but don’t be afraid to praise God for what He has done for you!
  • Allow God to renew your mind. Your old way of thinking and handling things will not suffice as you get older and grow spiritually. Your mind can be a war field if you don’t keep those thoughts in check and upload God’s Word and perspective even of yourself in it.
  • Trust God and laugh hysterically daily! No explanation needed; just do it!

Dear Daddy,

Thank You for showing me that I am fearfully and wonderfully made. Thank You that I was so valuable to You that Your only begotten Son took my place on the cross, and gave me life and that much more abundantly. In Jesus’ Name, Amen!

Ladies, today I EMPOWER you to know that you are fearfully and wonderfully made!  Know that God can use your past for the good of your future, and He has a blueprint already drafted for your destiny. Seek Him for it and trust Him!

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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, helping high school students prepare for college. She loves to build people up through God’s Word, encouragement, mentoring, support, and her writing. In 2014, Tannika published her first book, a book of her poetry, titled Setting The Captive Free. She  also launched her Christian clothing and apparel brand called Fruitful & Fabulous inspired by John 15:8. 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.”

Notes From Me To Me

Dear Me at Sixteen

In honor of Women’s Month, each writer will be writing our EmpowerMoments full of encouragement and lessons to our younger selves in a series titled Notes From Me To Me. Sit back and enjoy our reflections, and also think about what you would say to your younger self.

You’re growing up to be a beautiful young lady.  I want you to know three very important things.  I wish I would’ve known this when I was your age, but life teaches us lessons. Before you learn those lessons, please do this for me.

  1. Trust God with all your heart
  2. Never choose to be 2nd
  3. Use your beautiful mind, and lead stop always being a follower

Proverbs 3:5 NLT: Trust in the Lord with all your heart; do not depend on your own understanding

It’s easy for me to say this because at sixteen you think you have it all figured out, but you don’t.  When you trust God, He leads you to a place of peace. Trust Him more now, and when you’re older, it comes naturally.  God makes our path straight.  Seek His will in all you do, and He will show you which path to take.  (Proverbs 3:6 NLT)  We’ve traveled some crooked roads, but when I lean and trust in Him He makes it all right.

You made me all the delicate, inner parts of my body and knit me together in my mother’s womb.  Thank you for making me so WONDERFULLY complex! Your workmanship is marvelous-how well I know it.  You watched me as I was being formed in utter seclusion, as I was woven together in the dark of the womb.  You saw me before I was born. Every day of my life was recorded in your book. Every moment was laid out before a single day had passed.  (Psalms 139: 13-16 NLT)

It’s not okay to share a man. It’s not okay to be his side piece.  It’s not okay to think you don’t deserve better.  It’s not okay to make excuses to why you’re #2.  God made you so fearfully and wonderfully, not afraid and mediocre.  You belong to a king, so act like Royalty.

Why do you care so much what other people think of you? Why do you not stand up for yourself, always following the crowd?  Never do things to appeal to people. Watch Out! Don’t do your good deeds publicly, to be admired by others, for you will lose the reward from your Father in heaven.  (Matthew6:1 NLT) It leads you down a path of unhappiness. Because you care more about their happiness than your own, this characteristic is one GOD gave you that seem to be a balancing act.  You love so hard and care so much you give until you can’t anymore.  That is ok, but remember, there is only one you.  Take care of her.

Dear Daddy,

You are so worthy.  Thank You for giving me a heart to trust You, giving me the mind to know my worth, and the strength to believe in myself.  I love You.  In Jesus’ Name, AMEN.

Ladies, I EMPOWER you to look back at the past and learn from it.  You are your biggest fan! Cheer for yourself. 🙂

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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.”

 

Notes From Me To Me

Take Care of You!

In honor of Women’s Month, each writer will be writing our EmpowerMoments full of encouragement and lessons to our younger selves in a series titled Notes From Me To Me. Sit back and enjoy our reflections, and also think about what you would say to your younger self.

Dear Younger Me,

God made you special. You’ve always been an old soul and sometimes wise beyond your years. You’ve also been naive and sometimes compromising to your own detriment. It was important to you to be liked by EVERYBODY. You didn’t know that that is unrealistic and impossible. You went out of your way to make others happy even at the expense of yourself. You didn’t realize that’s not how life should be.

 See to it that no one takes you captive by philosophy and empty deceit, according to human tradition, according to the elemental spirits of the world, and not according to Christ. (Colossians 2:8 ESV)

You shouldn’t sacrifice yourself for the sake of not wanting to hurt others feelings. Not that you should intentionally hurt people but you shouldn’t live in misery or discomfort for fear that someone will be so broken up because of you; because you said no, because you said later, because you said maybe, because you said you didn’t want to. It’s really not all about you! You didn’t know that then. You can’t be everything to everybody. They may be upset but these things will pass and you both will be better off in the long run. You will get over it and so will they. The same God who is able to sustain you is able to sustain them.

You are taking things too far by compromising yourself, your values and your peace of mind by holding on to what should have been dissolved a long time ago or in some cases never even entertained in the first place. John 16:33 says “I have said these things to you, that in me you may have peace. In the world you will have tribulation. But take heart; I have overcome the world.” Just because he tells you he is so smitten with you and that you’re playing hard to get doesn’t mean you have to entertain him for fear of hurting his feelings or because you feel sorry for him. I mean really, who made you a martyr for mankind! I know you were raised to be kind and considerate to everyone and to treat others with humility. However, you can’t be held responsible for the actions or thoughts of others especially if you’re being true to yourself and you aren’t being malicious.

You were not made to be everybody’s friend and everybody is not going to like you. Everybody is not going to be a true friend to you as you are to them. Realize that’s a part of life, grow from it and let her go. Friends don’t treat you nice one moment and mistreat you the next. That is not a friendship.

Nobody has the ability to be perfect, only God. Stop being obsessed with perfection! That’s too much pressure and besides you are only a teenager. You will be the best at some things but you can’t be the best at everything. There is nothing wrong with that. Give yourself a break. Sure, your parents expect you to do your best and be your best but they do understand you aren’t perfect nor can you be. You didn’t get to accomplish all you wanted to during your school years but look at what you did accomplish and be appreciative.

Jeremiah 29:11 says “For I know the plans I have for you says the Lord. They are plans for good and not for disaster, to give you a future and a hope.” For this I am truly thankful!

Love Always,
Coretta

Dear Daddy,

Thank You for protecting me from myself and my antics. Thank You for showing me I can’t carry everyone’s burdens but You can. Thank You for delivering me from being overly compromising and too self-sacrificial. Thank You for making me perfectly imperfect. In Jesus Name, Amen.

 I EMPOWER you to be confident in who you are and who God says you are! I EMPOWER you not to bear the weight of the world on your shoulders! I EMPOWER you to embrace your strengths and not get hung up on your weaknesses! I EMPOWER you to draw the line between compromise and self-demise. I EMPOWER you to think about yourself as well as others! I empower you to be YOU!

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Mrs. Coretta Collins is a wife and mother who enjoys reading, writing, movies and spending time with family and friends. She is avid about health, healing and helping which serves her well as a Family Nurse Practitioner in a hematology and oncology practice. Striving to be led by the Lord throughout life and having overcome significant challenges, 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 a hope and a future. Coretta is a member of St. John A.M.E. Church in Birmingham, Alabama. She resides in Calera, Alabama with her awesome husband and two wonderful sons.

Notes From Me To Me

Dear Teenage Me

In honor of Women’s Month, each writer will be writing our EmpowerMoments full of encouragement and lessons to our younger selves in a series titled Notes From Me To Me. Sit back and enjoy our reflections, and also think about what would you say to your younger self.

Has your mother ever told you, “If I knew then what I know now, I would not have made the mistakes that I made?” Well that’s only part of my story. There were mistakes I made that shaped me into the woman I am today and there are mistakes that could have been avoided. Regardless if I should or shouldn’t have made the mistakes, I cannot turn back the hands of time. Your teenage years were full of excitement and trouble.

At 15, you didn’t tell our parents the truth about where you were going and ended up in a house with a bunch of older guys that you didn’t know. “My friend,” who you were with left and went with her boyfriend. There were so many thoughts going through your mind- “What if they rape me? What if they drug me? What if they kill me?” At one point, you felt as if they all were surrounding you trying to see which one would have their way with you first. Of course, you couldn’t call anyone because you wasn’t where you said you were going. Oh, but who knew God had His hands on you even then. One of the young guys told the others to leave you alone and just let you leave. Needless to say, you left and never returned. That was the day you learned to never let someone leave you somewhere you may feel threatened and always tell someone where you are going. For He will command His angels concerning you to guard you in all your ways. (Psalms 91:11, ESV)

You always saw yourself as a leader. “I make my own decisions and I do stuff because I want to,” you say. Remember, you went to the mall with some friends. You didn’t realize that you were a little naïve and sheltered, but you were. Who knew that our friends didn’t have any money and they got all the latest brands from the “five finger discount”. At first you were staying away from them but after the second trip to the car, you wanted in. You were so afraid you were shocked you didn’t get everybody locked up. Needless to say you tried stealing and ended up with mix match shoes and a shirt that was too small. You were so ashamed you kept the merchandise for a while as a reminder of how stupid it was to steal. That was the day you learned to have your own mind and never let others influence you to do things that you know could lead you in trouble. Also, be okay with being different, that’s how you were designed. Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewal of your mind, that by testing you may discern what is the will of God, what is good and acceptable and perfect.(Romans 12: 2, ESV)

Dear Daddy,

Thank You for protecting me even when I didn’t realize I needed protecting. God, I thank You for covering me from dangers that were self- inflicted. I am grateful that You chose me and had plans for me even as a teenager. God, I pray that whoever is reading this is empowered to make better choices and to realize that they are special in Your sight. In Jesus Name, Amen

Ladies, I EMPOWER you to be okay with being different and not a part of the “in crowd”. I EMPOWER you to be the best you at all times because God has plans for you.

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Keviyona Ray is an ordained minister and co-pastor in training of The Christ For All People International Church. She is passionate about sharing the word of God with everyone she encounters. As a professional, Keviyona is a teacher for Chicago Public Schools. She loves her ministry of teaching and changing children’s lives. She is a devoted wife and mother of a wonderful daughter. Two of her favorite scriptures are Jeremiah 1: 5: “Before I formed thee in the belly I knew thee; and before thou camest forth out of the womb I sanctified thee, and I ordained thee a prophet unto the nations” and Proverbs 29:18: “Where there is no vision, the people perish: but he that keepeth the law, happy is he.

 

Notes From Me To Me

So Much Life Ahead

In honor of Women’s Month, each writer will be writing our EmpowerMoments full of encouragement and lessons to our younger selves in a series titled Notes From Me To Me. Sit back and enjoy our reflections, and also think about what would you say to your younger self.

Dear brilliant, beautiful you,

Lift your head up. I’m writing you this love letter from the other side to let you know that it gets better. There will be many decisions to make; however, some of the choices that you make over the next few years will have a profound impact on your life. College, career, men, friendships, money matters, family – decisions you make in these areas can completely change the trajectory. Don’t make permanent decisions for temporary situations. If you remember nothing else, please remember to seek God first. In all thy ways acknowledge him, and he shall direct thy paths. Proverbs 3:6 KJV

As life has shown, you were born grown and never had the chance to enjoy the true normalcy and innocence of childhood. At 16, it’s hard to deal with many things especially a grown woman’s body. It’s genetics and those ample breasts were given to you for good reason. Don’t let the teasing by young men and the yuckiness of old perverts make you change them. Don’t do it! So many other things will change that you will rue the day that you had a breast reduction. Right now, you are leaning on “health issues” but deep down I know that you just don’t want the attention that they bring. Remember, I know you. Believe me, if this is something that you want, you will want it when you are old enough to understand the repercussions of letting them change your body. Self-esteem is how you feel about yourself. Feel good knowing that each part of you was sculpted by a master sculptor. But now, O Lord, thou art our father; we are the clay, and thou our potter; and we all are the work of thy hand. Isaiah 64:8 KJV Every part of you is beautiful so love yourself more.

Because I know who you will become, here are some other words of wisdom that will help along the way, especially in your 20’s:

  • Learn to say NO without excuse, hesitation or explanation. It will save you time, money and heartache.
  • When doing for others, do things because you want to do them and not because you feel forced or that you “owe” anyone.
  • When dating, let people go when you realize it’s not what you want or need. Your time could be better used.
  • You will make some mistakes over and over and over again because you fail to learn the lesson. Get the lesson so that you don’t waste time repeating mistakes.
  • Accept your family for who they are and not who you want them to be. The only person that you can control is yourself. Stay out of the drama and let them sort their issues out.
  • Pay attention to your health. Little things can become big things.
  • Just do it! Procrastination will try to destroy many of your dreams and it will if you allow it to fester.
  • Seek excellence in all that you do.
  • Remember your relationship with God is paramount to everything.

As you grow older, you will become wiser but you will also feel vulnerable and insecure in areas of your life that you have tried to protect. Ask God for discernment and thank Him as he brings you out of each valley. Know that if you had no valleys you wouldn’t appreciate the peaks in your life. Thank Him for the rain as well as the sunshine because the rain will help you grow.

Dear Daddy,

Thank You for my life and the lessons that You have enabled me to learn. I appreciate the mountain peaks and the valleys because they have molded me into who I am today. Lord I know that I can’t change the past but let me be a vessel to reach someone who can learn from me. God I ask that You grant me a long, healthy and prosperous life. As I move forward, let me follow Your will and lean not unto my own understanding and desires. Thank You for the ability to reflect and reset. In Jesus’ name, Amen. 

Ladies, I EMPOWER you to not let your past dictate your future. Each day is a new day to get it right. What are the lessons that you learned yesterday that you could apply today? Embrace who you are right now. If you don’t like something, change it but don’t get stuck wallowing in self pity and misery. Live, laugh, and learn. There’s more life ahead.

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Ms. Chancee` Lundy lives in Washington, DC and is a small business owner 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  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 strengthens me.
Notes From Me To Me

Dear Twenty Year Old Me

In honor of Women’s Month, each writer will be writing our EmpowerMoments full of encouragement and lessons to our younger selves in a series titled Notes From Me To Me. Sit back and enjoy our reflections, and also think about what would you say to your younger self.

Dear Me…at 20,

I’m reaching you at your turning point. I know this guy seems like he is the very air that you breathe, and while I am not about to tell you to leave him because the heart break he is going to cause will cause you to know how to love the man of your dreams (I’ve seen how this will play out, trust me, it’s good), I do want to encourage you to do some things to enhance your future:

  1. Stop eating French fries. When you hit 30, your metabolism is going to change and you will be susceptible to diabetes. Type II Diabetes is real! You can lose your eye sight, the functionality of your limbs, and ultimately your life. I Corinthians 6:19-20 says, “Do you not know that your bodies are temples of the Holy Spirit, who is in you, whom you received from God? You are not your own, you were bought at a price. Therefore, honor God with your bodies.” Your witness to non-believers will be weakened by being obese. In your case, it shows a sign of lack of self-control. Add rice and potatoes of other forms to this list too.
  2. Save more money!! At the age of 20, you should be learning what it means to be a good steward over your finances. No matter what job you have or how much income you receive, tithe FIRST, pay yourself second, and then save ALL of the rest. Prepare to buy your first house in cash! You can’t reach your full potential in the kingdom with debt. Dave Ramsey (go ahead and look him up) stated, “Imagine how the kingdom of God would be if the people of God were out of debt.” When you are in debt or don’t have extra resources, you can’t serve to your maximum potential. You have a heart to help those in need by furnishing houses, buying cars for others, groceries, schools, etc. But you can’t do that if your funds are limited. 1 Peter 4:10 NIV says, “Each of you should use whatever gift you have received to serve others, as faithful stewards of God’s grace in its various forms.” All of your money from your job should not go to bills and personal expenses, you should have enough left over to serve others.
  3. Cherish all of the friends along your journey and understand early that God has charged you with the gift of confidence. Not confidence as in attitude, but being able to have people trust you with their secrets and issues. However, this does not mean that they are your “friends.” So don’t be surprised when they cry their heart and issues out to you but then don’t invite you to “hang out.” You are their friend, but they are not yours. Recognizing this now will save you a lot of heartache. God has placed you in their life to be an example of a Christian confidant. Don’t abuse it. Trust is very important.
  4. Wait for everything. Do not move fast. Remember the old saying, “haste makes waste.” You will save yourself a lot of trouble and taking your foot out of your mouth if you just wait. Waiting requires knowing God’s voice and when he says to move. You can only do this by learning how to be still in your spirit. Practice this DAILY! It will serve you well.
  5. And finally, do “it” because you can. Feed this to yourself, “Our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate. Our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure” – Marianne Williamson. Go ahead and complete that book you started and get that certification you didn’t think you really would use. Don’t talk yourself out of things. When God makes a way, take it and do it! He doesn’t call the equipped, He equips the called! Not only can you do all things through Christ who strengthens you, but if God is for us, who can be against us? Romans 8:31 NIV.

When you were 11, a preacher pulled you to the side and said, “You have a calling over your life.” And he was right! I don’t want you to change the sins, bad mistakes and decisions, you are doing now because these are the tools that God will use to make you who you are in your mid-thirties. This is what will make you wise beyond your years. But I want you to seize the opportunities I mentioned above. You will be further ahead than the older you whose writing you today. Keeping loving yourself, keep loving others, and be great!!

Dear Daddy,

Thank You for allowing me to reflect on my past so that I can refocus my today. Thank You for saving me, watching over me, and using the pain in my yesterday to make me wise and a follower after your heart. Lord, please use my lessons learned to help younger women, my daughters, nieces, sisters, cousins, and other young women how look up to me. Thank You for being my rock, my sword, and my shield.  You are worthy to be praised!

Women, I EMPOWER you to look at your yesterday. Use it to catapult you to a better Woman tomorrow.

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As a professional, Mrs. Khalilah Burton is a university administrator.  She is also currently pursuing a Doctorate of Education in Community College Leadership. Khalilah is passionate about her faith journey and uses this key scripture as her inspiration: “And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose.” (Romans 8:28 NIV) Khalilah also serves as a guest speaker and panelist for various events for women and Christian empowerment. Her passion for servant-hood is implemented through serving her community with Girl Scouts and her sorority, mentoring young women, and marriage empowerment. She resides in Daphne, Alabama with her wonderful husband Donald Burton, Jr. and their two daughters. Currently, they are seeking a  church home in their new city.

Faithfulness

From People Pleaser to God Pleaser!

People Pleaser: n. a person who spends a lot of energy pleasing others.

“I’m hungry could you get me something to eat?” YES… “I’m tired will go to the store for me?” YES… “It’s late but I really want to see you, will you come over?” YES… “Will you go shopping for me?” YES… “I have a bill due could you pay it for me?” YES

Hello my name is ______________ and I’m a people pleaser.  For me, this is beyond familiar. If I tell someone NO, it is like disowning him or her.  It seems that far-fetched to me.  I say YES before I stop and evaluate my own needs or schedule.  I may not feel passionate about the request, but I comply, mostly because I don’t want to hurt anyone’s feelings or make someone mad.

To be truthful, I seek validations of self-worth or value from others.  But WHY?  I say I am a Christian and I have accepted Christ as my Lord and Savior, but why do I/we choose people over our Father in Heaven? For am I now seeking the approval of man, or of God?  Or am I trying to please man?  If I were still trying to please man, I would not be a servant of Christ. (Galatians 1:10 ESV)

So much time and energy is put into meeting the needs of others that I find myself losing touch with my own life, and my relationship with God suffers.  We give man (men and women) too much credit, and we fear them instead of God.  Proverbs 29.25 states that the fear of man lays a snare, but whoever trust in the Lord is safe.  Isaiah 51:7 speaks truth when it says, “Listen to me, you who know righteousness the people in whose heart is my law; fear not the reproach of man, nor be dismayed at their reveilings.” (ESV)

I discovered myself having a people pleasing personality a very long time ago.  I pray to God for understanding on why I feel this way and through my prayers God is giving me daily knowledge and understanding that not everyone deserves my YES.  Hold on and understand that whatever you do, work heartily as for the Lord and not for men. (Colossians 3:23 ESV)

Dear Daddy,

I have let You down.  I have looked for man’s validation over my life, but only Yours matters.  Forgive me, God, for not pleasing You and going after Your heart.  Thank You for the understanding to know that saying YES to man is not wrong, but pleasing man and putting man above You is wrong.  I love You, Lord, for loving me as much as You do.  In Jesus’ Name, Amen!

Ladies, I EMPOWER you to choose wisely who gets a YES from you. “Will you mediate on my word more?” YES…”Will you forgive your brothers and sisters who have forsaken you?” YES…”Will you go out into the world and tell people all about me?” YES…”Do you love me?” YESSSSSS!  Hello my name is ________________ and I’m a God Pleaser!

Have you overcome “people pleasing?” Tell us what it took for you to make that transformation.

Read a related EmpowerMoment: I Am Free: The Ultimate People Pleaser

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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.”

Growth/Maturity, Patience, Prayer

Throwback Thursday: Delayed, Not Denied!

It’s Throwback Thursday! This EmpowerMoment was originally published on August 10, 2011. Enjoy this blast from the past!

“My spouse doesn’t seem to be interested in church.”

“I rocked that interview…but I didn’t get the job.”

“The job promotion I “deserved” was given to someone else.”

“God told me that He would open other doors for me, but He hasn’t.”

“Times are getting hard, I’m waiting on that “financial blessing” You promised me.”

“I’ve done everything in my power to change ___________situation but it isn’t working.”

“I have dated many men but none have ever popped the question.”

“I don’t think I’ll ever have another child after suffering that horrible miscarriage.”

“I’m sick and I can’t seem to get well.”

Many of us can find ourselves in at least one of the statements above. We have done something, experienced a life situation or prayed about something and feel as though we are being denied. It’s often hard to embrace but God does  things according to His will in His own time and His time is actually always on time.

Consider the story of Lazarus: Now a man named Lazarus was sick.  When He heard this, Jesus said, “This sickness will not end in death. No, it is for God’s glory so that God’s Son may be glorified through it.”  So then He told them plainly, “Lazarus is dead, and for your sake I am glad I was not there, so that you may believe. A few verses later, Jesus goes to Judaea and is taken to Lazarus’ tomb.  “Take away the stone,” He said. “But, Lord,” said Martha, the sister of the dead man, “by this time there is a bad odor, for he has been there four days.”Then Jesus said, Did I not tell you that if you believe, you will see the glory of God?”So they took away the stone.   When He had said this, Jesus called in a loud voice, “Lazarus, come out!” The dead man came out, his hands and feet wrapped with strips of linen, and a cloth around his face. Jesus said to them, “Take off the grave clothes and let him go.” (John 11: 1, 4, 14-15, 39-41, 43-44 KJV)

In Mary and Martha’s eyes Jesus was late. They called Jesus when their brother was sick but He didn’t show up until four days after he died. Jesus tells the disciples He was glad that He wasn’t there when Lazarus died so that they too would now believe. Isn’t that interesting? Sometimes God will show up in our lives when we think a situation is dead and breathe life into it so that we can see His glory and further increase our faith in Him.

Recently, I was attending the graduation of a friend receiving her PhD in Electrical Engineering (yeah she’s a smart cookie) and I was reminded that God’s delay (to you) doesn’t mean God’s denial. This was no ordinary graduation. My friend chose not to walk the stage for her Bachelor’s degree or for her Master’s degree and her road to the Doctorate was filled with MANY obstacles. It took her MUCH longer to complete than average and I am quite certain that the majority of people who endured the trials that she did would have bowed out gracefully.  People questioned her commitment, talked about the length of time that she was in school and suggested that she should throw in the towel. It always amazes me that other people will allow their lack of faith to dictate how they believe you should live your life. She blocked out the naysayers and trusted in God alone. She believed that one day she would finish and her mother would see her walk across the stage. She was determined and had a tremendous amount of faith. I cannot explain the overwhelming pride, joy and goose bumps that I experienced when I saw her reach this milestone in her life. Through it all God was forever present. He never left her! He NEVER DENIED her!

Sometimes our faith is challenged when our timeline and God’s timeline don’t mesh. We can become absolutely downtrodden because our season has not arrived and the things that we believe God for have not come to fruition. What we forget is that God holds the roadmap for our life. He knows “when” to release our blessings so that He can be glorified and we will recognize the true source of our help. Delay does not equal denial.

Dear Daddy,

Forgive us for mistaking what is a delay to us as a denial by You. You have said in Your word that You will grant us the desires of our heart and that You will supply our needs according to Your riches in glory. Help our unbelief! Remind us that Your will will be done and that You always show up at the appointed place at the appointed time. Grant us the faith and determination to persevere through what seems like never ending, challenging situations. Help us to endure because Your timeline is all that matters. In Jesus’ Name, Amen!

Today I EMPOWER you to consider Lazarus! Even in his death, the prayers of Mary and Martha were not denied. I EMPOWER you to throw your timeline away because God has a pre-appointed release on His divine calendar.  Stay strong, continue to work and keep the faith. It may appear delayed but you are not denied!

Read a related EmpowerMoment: Living in the Microwave Age

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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 strengthened me.”

Forgiveness, Marriage, Why Did I Get Married Series

Why Did I Get Married: Get Out of the Way

“Therefore what God has joined together, let no one separate.” Mark 10:9

This scripture is a very popular scripture involving marriages. I would even argue that it is high on the list as one of the most important rules to marriage. Early in our marriage my husband and I faced one of the hardest trials of our life. We didn’t know what to do, whom to turn to or where to run. Looking back, it forced us to develop a foundation that involved God.

As the situation began to dissipate, I held resentment and anger that it even occurred.  And what rang true was this scripture, stitched on a wedding blanket that I received as a wedding gift. “Therefore what God has joined together, let no one separate.” At that moment, I realized that sometimes that someone could be ME. It didn’t have to be an outside person, but what about the people on the inside of the relationship? Sometimes we can get in the way of our marriage flourishing.

I’ve heard countless stories about couples upset and arguing about things in the past and only one person is continuing to hold the issue over the other person’s head. The unforgiving heart is causing a wedge between the marriage that creates room for the enemy to squeeze in (some wedges are so big that he can just walk in) to kill, steal, and destroy the institution that God has placed as an image of His love.

Dear Daddy,

Thank You for Your Word. Sometimes we like to blame other people for ruining our marriage when in actuality we are mishandling the “goods”.  Please create in me a clean heart and renew a right spirit in me towards my spouse, that reflects You.  Help me to get out of the way and allow You to mold two hearts into being one. In Jesus’ name I pray, Amen.

Ladies, if you are in a marriage, or about to be in a marriage, I EMPOWER you to be overprotective of your marriage. Do not allow ANYONE to separate what you have going on with the man God has put in your life as your husband, even if it is you. Sometimes we have to step back and allow God to direct our speech, actions and our heart.

Ladies, how do you protect your message, even if it is from yourself?

Read a related EmpowerMoment: Wise Women Build

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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.

Attitude, Growth/Maturity, Self-Control, Speech

Be Quiet!

I like working alone and working with people, but it is not always easy working with others.  You have to experience a lot when working or collaborating with others.  I have learned in all my years of working that sometimes there are a lot of miscommunication, egos, pride, selfishness, control issues, backstabbing, intimidation, stress, etc. to contend with.  I can go on and on but then it would turn into complaining.

Yesterday, I attended several meetings at work back to back (by the way I hate meetings most of the time).  In one meeting, I observed, listened and for the umpteenth time I could sense tension, ego and pride in the air.  I admit a little of this came from me also.  I sat listening and then was invited to speak up about a concern I had.  As one of the meeting attendees addressed the concern, I listened and then responded to what sounded like me and my staff’s work being demeaned again.  You might ask, “Well was it constructive criticism?”  In this case it wasn’t constructive.  I have dealt with people’s arrogance, pride and control issues on my job for some time now and because of this I am sometimes in defense mode.  As I responded, I felt a little nervous voicing my concern. After all, I’m not very confrontational.  However, I became offended, grew defensive and could feel my voice rise an octave.  Yet God intervened.  As the person kept talking and I became more offended, God shushed me.  A person’s wisdom yields patience; it is to one’s glory to overlook an offense. (Proverbs 19:11 NIV)

In my head, I was thinking a lot of thoughts.  I wanted to shout aloud, “My staff have degrees too and are qualified to do the work; trust us.  We double check our work.  We work very hard; we are passionate about what we do.  We have been here longer than you. Why can’t you see that we are here to help you?  Why are you making me feel inferior?  Why are you lying?  Why do I have to sit in these repetitive meetings?  We are getting nowhere.”  Instead of verbally releasing these thoughts, God helped me to shut up my thoughts and keep my mouth closed.

God reminded me that He was my defender and that He will defend me.  He reminded me that I am above and not beneath, the head and not the tail.  He reminded me that I am not inferior and I should not also make others feel inferior.  He also let me know that I was being proud even in my thoughts.   Therefore, as God’s chosen people, holy and dearly loved, clothe yourselves with compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience. (Colossians 3:12 NIV)

So, I shut up and I listened because I knew I would be acting proudly by boasting and taking offense to what the other person was saying and maybe didn’t mean it to the full extent.  I sat there thinking that I don’t have to throw up my resume` or accolades like they do.  By the Holy Spirit helping me to take those thoughts captive and make it obedient to Christ and by Christ revealing to me that I was treading proud grounds, I let go trying to defend myself.  How would it look if I, a Christian, acted in a proud, offensive and defensive manner?

But he gives us more grace. That is why Scripture says: “God opposes the proud but shows favor to the humble.” (James 4:6 NIV)

Dear Daddy,

Thank You for Your mercy and Your gently rebukes.  Thank You for reminding me that I am fearfully and wonderfully made.  I am above and not beneath, the head and not the tail.  Thank You for also being my defender and having great thoughts towards me.  Help me to remember this when someone offends or hurts me.  Help me to not be easily offended but to walk in love and maintain patience with others and in every situation.  In Jesus’ Name, Amen!

Ladies, today I EMPOWER you to be quiet!  Stop trying to defend yourself and let God come to your defense.  Clothe yourself in humility and don’t be easily offended.  Don’t easily offend others also.  Walk in love because love conquers all. 

Read a related EmpowerMoment: Lord, Help Me Watch My Mouth

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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 compassionate 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.