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.

Children, Faith, Health/Sickness, Strength, Trials, Trusting God, Victory

Not By My Own Might…

Do your best, prepare for the worst—then trust God to bring the victory. (Proverbs 21:31 MSG)

Recently I have been in one of the most serious faith tests of my life thus far. I have been challenged to believe God for some truly supernatural things and to take the limits off of Him like never before. And while I have always had crazy faith, my current issues are testing to make sure that what I say I possess I truly do. A tremendous part of having faith in God for your life is trusting that He is truly going to do what is best for you. As the retire president of Control Freak Anonymous, I know how easy it is to want to intervene when God is busy working on your behalf. Sometimes our little handiwork makes us think that we have really assisted God and accomplished something. Then God gets jealous because He wants to get the glory from our situation, so He permits circumstances that we have NO power to transform. Even if we tried with all our human might, called in family and friends to help, and exhausted every resource we had, we still wouldn’t be able to rectify the situation. That is where I am today…

My newborn daughter is facing some serious health complications. Initially, we only knew that she wasn’t gaining weight as a baby her age should. We later found out that her failure to grow properly was linked to an extra large hole in her heart. Her tiny little heart is working so hard to meet the demands of her body that she is burning more calories than she is consuming. The doctors are not optimistic that the hole will close on its own because it is such a large one. They have suggested that the only way for her to be healed is open heart surgery. Of course upon hearing this news I was devastated, as any mother would be. I sulked in my sadness for a day or two, but then I got it together. (Ladies, it is ok to pause and get in your feelings for a moment, BUT you HAVE to get back up quickly. If you don’t, the enemy is going to wear you out. After all, the devil can’t hit a MOVING target!)

After I got up and got back on my post of praise, prayer and worship, I had a nice talk with Jesus. I felt helpless because I couldn’t fix my baby. This was more than a past due electric bill issue or relationship problem—I could handle those with my own power. I am believing God for a supernatural, miraculous healing of her heart and that would require His help. In prayer, the Spirit whispered these simple, yet powerful words to me: You do your best and let me handle the rest. What exactly does that mean? It means that my job is show up for the fight; it’s His job to get in the ring and battle on my daughter’s behalf. My best is wholeheartedly trusting in God’s word. When it says that He heals the broken in heart and binds up their wounds, I trust that. (Psalm 147:3) Knowing that He sent forth His word to heal my daughter, I get peace of mind. (Psalm 107:20) When I read that He is watching over His word to perform it, I relax because I don’t have to perform it. (Jeremiah 1:12) When I recall that this will only be successful with heaven’s help, I don’t have to rely on my own might and power. (John 3:27)

I know the hole is the same size it was when it was first discovered.  I know that the surgery has been scheduled. I know that with a surgery such as this comes many risks.  Those are the facts. However, my faith dictates what I believe. I believe in the power of prayer. I believe God’s word is true. I believe God is STILL a healer. I believe God can close the hole so tightly that one would never know that it existed. Should He not choose to close the hole, I believe God to keep her through the surgery. I believe that however the plot of this story goes, God is going to get the glory! Simply put, I just believe God!

Dear Daddy,

As I face situations that are beyond my control, I rest easy knowing that I have You on my side. You control everything; the wind and seas halt at Your command, so I know that You are able to calm my storms as well.  Lord, when my faith begins to falter, please remind me of Your word. Please remind me how You saved me before and didn’t need anyone’s help. I thank You for being what I need to be successful and victorious. In Jesus’ Name, Amen!

Ladies, today I EMPOWER you to rely on the strength of God, not your own might. If you are in a very challenging situation right now that is truly testing your faith, pause to thank Him right now! He is perfecting your faith and ensuring that He gets the glory out of your life. When this storm passes (and it will pass), you will be able to say without a shadow of a doubt, “Nobody did this, but GOD!!!

A host of prayer warriors have joined me in praying for a miraculous healing of my daughter’s heart. This EmpowerMoment is dedicated to each of them. May God blow each of your minds with His mighty power!

After realizing that you can’t do it yourself, what have you released to God?

Read a related EmpowerMoment: She is Me: Sarah

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Mrs. Kristen Harris is a wife, mother, entrepreneur and dedicated servant. She is extremely passionate about women’s spiritual advancement, hence the founding of EmpowerMoments. As an avid reader, Kristen enjoys reading the Bible and other non-fiction pieces. Her driving inspiration is when God says to her: “For I know the plans I have for you, plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.” (Jeremiah 29:11) She currently resides outside of Chicago, Illinois with her wonderful husband and three lovely daughters where she is an active member of New Life Covenant Church.

Faithfulness, Heaven, Righteousness

Made For Heaven

“These all died in faith, not having received the promises, but having seen them afar off, and were persuaded of them, and embraced them, and confessed that they were strangers and pilgrims on the earth. For they that say such things declare plainly that they seek a country.” (Hebrews 11:13-14 KJV)

Many already know that Abraham and his family (Sarah, Isaac, and Jacob) were a part of the group who died in faith. God promised them all the land flowing with milk and honey, but they never received it while living; they only received by faith. Looking to Abraham and others, what can we learn from their testimony? What can we see God doing?  While reading the above scripture, the Holy Spirit was highlighting the words ‘strangers’ and ‘pilgrims’. A stranger is one who does not belong to the given locale. A pilgrim is one who is moving toward a given destination. (http://www.definitions.net) After reading this scripture, I received this revelation from the Holy Spirit: “The Lord wants you to set your daily course toward heaven, rejecting earthly cravings that diminish your spiritual vitality.” Yes, Abraham lived a life of faith, and faith is important, but he knew that this earth was not his home and that Heaven was where the promise was.

Abraham and his family did not personally possess the Promised Land. Yet, they lived with an attitude of guaranty that Father God would fulfill His promises. They wholeheartedly accepted the certainty that the Lord would some day give that land to their seed. Meanwhile, they confessed that they were content to live as strangers concerning this world and as pilgrims anticipating the world to come: “and confessed that they were strangers and pilgrims on the earth.” That was powerful! Even though they never saw the promise, they lived as if it happened. Have I lived as though God has already delivered on His promises? Has Lisa M. Purnell-Marshall been living like the great cloud of witnesses?

There are many things that I personally can list that I do or have done, that can make me appear that I’m not a “pilgrim or a stranger to this world”. So my question to God was how do I get there? I was led to 1 Peter 2:11. “Beloved, I beg you as sojourners and pilgrims, abstain from fleshly lusts which war against the soul.” As I continue to live, just as Abraham, I will now focus my heart on yearning for a true, lasting, eternal homeland. A place where I don’t have to pray for healing; a place where I don’t feel unloved; a place where I will never be separated from the presence of God; the place my Father says is my home.

Dear Daddy,

Thank You so much for being a gracious and loving Father to us. We confess that we have forgotten that You have called us to be strangers to this world. We confess that we have forsaken the path of pilgrimage and went down other paths. Father, give us grace on this day to turn back because we want to make it home to You. In Jesus’ Name, Amen!

I EMPOWER you to let the Holy Spirit cause your heart to yearn for that which heaven alone can provide. Press on as a pilgrim in this world and a stranger to its ways, bound for your homeland above.

 How do you stay on course in life or do you need us to pray and agree for you to make it home?

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Mrs. Lisa M. Purnell-Marshall is happily married to the wonderful and inspiring Antoine L. Marshall. She is the proud mother of two gorgeous girls. Her voice is one of the leading and authentic voices for breast-feeding, especially for the African-American community and Generation Y. She currently works inside of her home and plans to become a professional licensed lactation consultant in 2014. She and her family are members at Spirit of Liberty Church located in Markham, IL. Embracing the love that God has for her, Lisa labors to live an acceptable and pure life through the leading and keeping of the Holy Spirit so that her attitude, words, and actions attract the glory of God. In her free time she loves receiving manis and pedis. Her favorite promises that she find comfort and reassurance in are: Psalm 34:19: “A righteous man may have many troubles, but the LORD delivers him from them all” and Luke 6:38: “Give, and it will be given to you. A good measure, pressed down, shaken together and running over, will be poured into your lap. For with the measure you use, it will be measured to you.”

Anxiety, Father/Daughter, God's Protection, Pain, Stress, Trials, Worry

Daddy!

Daddy!!! A bone chilling scream reverberated throughout my room.  My sister who was visiting me on vacation awoke from her sleep and screamed out for our father.  My sister went on to explain that she was having a bad dream where an insect attacked her son, and she screamed for her daddy to save him.  My father was right there, but could not save her son. Last night I found myself involved in a similar situation where in my dreams I was screaming out for my daddy. I was being attacked by a group of men that were attempting to rape me. I could see my father but he could not save me.

This sequence of dreams made me think about how many times we have screamed out for our Daddy in the heavens to save us, but He could not.  Not that He is unable, because our God is capable of all things, but because it may be something that we are are going through that is necessary.  How do we react to our outcry for help when it goes unanswered?  “They looked for help, but no one came to their rescue. They even cried to the LORD, but he refused to answer.” (2 Samuel 22:42 NIV)

I evaluated the many times in my life that I have called on the Lord to rescue me from a particular situation only to realize that if He would have saved me there was a lesson that I may not have learned.  I have currently been going through a difficult time in my life with confronting frustrations, stress, uncertainty, and feeling overwhelmed. I went to church, fasted, read my Bible (a little bit), and was an avid tither. So where was the help I needed for peace of mind “As for me, I look to the LORD for help? I wait confidently for God to save me, and my God will certainly hear.” (Micah 7:7 NIV)

I was confident my Daddy heard my cry, so why oh Lord have I not felt any different? Frustrations continued to rise, stress gradually mounted and it seemed the only thing certain was my uncertainty.  I had to realize that just because God did not save me the way I think I should have been saved does not mean that He is not a present force in my life.  I cried out for my biological father to save me from being attacked because I could see him.  However, I have to call on my spiritual father to save me from these unseen attacks by the enemy!

Dear Daddy,

Please continue to save me from all the attacks from the enemy that I can see, and those that I cannot.  Give me an understanding heart to allow me to realize when I do not need to be saved through certain situations but learn how to go through them.  Thank You Daddy for blessing me even when I am close to giving up. In Jesus’ Name, Amen!

Today I EMPOWER you to press on despite the way things look.  Your current pain will NOT compare to the magnitude of blessings that are around the corner.  Continue to call on Him and trust that He hears every word but the trial is a must!   

How do you remain encouraged even when it seems that God is not answering?

Read a related EmpowerMoment: Delayed Not Denied!

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Ms. Sherita Shelton currently resides in Nashville, Tennessee.  She holds a Bachelor’s degree in Psychology and a Master’s in Professional Counseling and is currently pursuing her counseling license.  Sherita works as a therapist and case manager for children as well as adults.  She facilitates groups for single women and offers mentoring and individual counseling for her clients.  Sherita’s favorite Bible verse is Proverbs 3:5-6: “Trust in the Lord with all thine heart; and lot not on your own understanding. In all thy ways acknowledge him, and he shall direct thy paths.”

Mentor/Mentee, Mentoring, Mother/Daughter, Self Love, Self-Esteem

My Big Chop!

“When I look at you, I see myself. If my eyes are unable to see you as my sister, it is because my own vision is blurred. And if that be so, then it is I who need you either because I do not understand who you are, my sister, or because I need you to help me understand who I am.” – Lillian P. Benbow, Past National President of Delta Sigma Theta

This is the first thing I thought about after I shaved my hair. What kept ringing in my head was, “When I look at you, I see myself…..because I need you to help me understand who I am.” I wondered if my daughters felt that. I wondered if, even though they are 4 years old and 3 months old, they could recognize themselves in me.

All of my life I’ve been in some capacity of mentorship. But when I became a mother, the role model aspect went into overdrive. I realized I literally had two lives that would pattern themselves, whether good or bad, after what they were raised around.

Luscious, fabulous, intense, perfect, delicious, beautiful…these are some of the adjectives I use to describe my oldest daughter’s hair. She has very thick and coarse hair, and I LOVE IT! Every time I shampoo and style it, I marvel at how beautiful it is so that she can hear it. She’s not around anyone who’s hair looks like hers, so naturally she started coming home from school wanting her hair to hang long and flow like some of her friends. This is why I tell her how much I am in love with her hair. I want her to know and accept that she is fearfully and wonderfully made by God as it is written in Psalms 139:14 NIV!

One morning I was relaxing my hair and it hit me. See I have this rule that my daughters can’t relax their hair until they are 16, mainly because they will be more responsible with how to take care of it by then. But I realized, how are they going to positively embrace their hair if they don’t have a role model. You know someone whose hair is just like theirs to show them how to ROCK IT OUT! I’m the type of person that would feel fabulous in a paper bag. So I’ve come to the point where I know that my outer appearance does not define who I am. But my daughters have not reached that mark yet. How can they embrace the texture of their hair, not feel strange when theirs “behaves” differently than their peers or how to stand up for their own beauty in the midst of physical differences? It had to be me. I have to be the one to show them how to embrace the beauty of their natural curls.

I teetered on this whole big chop deal so I ran it across my husband. My thought was that surely he would oppose and then I would decline this whole hair thing and stick to my easily manageable relaxer…but ummm no, I was wrong. He was pretty pumped about the whole thing, not necessarily the fade that had to come in the beginning, but the thought of seeing me in a twist out or my longer hair in a bun, or just a flat out afro! So with that support, I hopped into my girlfriend’s chair and shaved it slap off!

I prepared my husband and my four year old a month prior by showing them how my hair would look after the chop. Needless to say, my daughter was NOT enthused about her Mom rocking a fade but she knew I was cutting it so that my hair could look like hers one day. I didn’t think my message had come across until one day we were at the store and a cashier commented on my daughter’s hair. She said, “OH MY, she has some really really really thick hair!” “I LOVE IT,” I respectfully chimed in. The cashier proceeded to say, “My daughter’s hair is just like that and I just don’t know what to do with it. It just gets on my nerves. I don’t know what to do.” My response was, “Well, the first thing you are going to do is to tell her how beautiful she is and how awesome her hair is.” My four year old nudged me in the hip and whispered to me, “Mom tell her why you are about to cut your hair.” I was empowered in that moment, because it was then that I was certain she knew that her hair was so special that her Mom was going to be a “copycat” and she wants the world to know. My thought was…#winning!

Ladies, this EmpowerMoment is more than just about hair. Jesus commands us to imitate Him. In Philippians 4:9, we are encouraged to imitate Godly things, to put them into practice. Not just say it, but do it. Paul’s letter to Timothy encourages us to “…set an example for the believers in speech, in conduct, in love, in faith, and in purity.” I Timothy 4:12 NIV

Dear Daddy,

Thank You for making me the way You did. Thank You for making my face look the way You wanted it, my hair the texture You chose, my nose the shape it is, and my frame the way You saw fit. Thank You for my daughters and every other daughter I’ve mentored. Help me to instill in them that they are beautiful, and not just because I am saying it; but also, because when they look at me they see themselves, and in that, I pray that I am a reflection of You. In Jesus’ Name, Amen!

I EMPOWER you to realize that little ones are watching you. Your reaction to the world is how they will react. It’s about being a living witness, a role model, and encourager to those around us. As my daughters age, I hope they will learn that my big chop was not about the hair at all, but all about them embracing who they are.

Dedicated to my daughters, “Tootie” and “Dewly”, and my mentee, “VocalMiss,” who’s forced me to be a living witness to practice what I preach.

Are you encouraging a young girl or gal pal how to embrace herself? Share your story with us. If not, get going. Don’t talk about, be about it. Show her how to embrace herself and be an example.

Read a Related EmpowerMoment: Don’t Leave Them, LEAD Them!

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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.