Women, Let’s Be Kingdom Builders

Women, Let's Be Kingdom Builders!

(Hey, friends! In June, the church that I was born and raised in, had a Women’s Day service. Annually they have this service, and there is always a specific theme. This year’s theme was “Determined Women: For Such a Time As This,” and the accompanying scripture was Esther 4:14-16. One of the women elders asked me if I could write a piece for the service. I have always appreciated the sweet remarks that folks in this church have given me regarding my writing. They see my writing as a gift, and they always encourage me to keep writing. Thus, I was honored when she asked me to share a piece. I would like to share what I read with y’all! I pray that my women readers are encouraged by my words, and that it leads to introspection. Blessings!)

When I was 18 years old, my dad and I packed up his small car with my belongings and left Worcester for Amherst, Massachusetts. I’d decided to attend Umass Amherst so I could live far from my parents’ supervision and still come home on the weekends. As someone who had been born and raised in church, I desired to escape God and all His rules. At Umass, I could study and party. I could dance with strangers at parties and get drunk. I could truly “live.”

Yet, living without God is not living. It’s surviving; it’s hustling. It’s seeing what you can achieve and where you can go on your own.

In October 2004, my second month at Umass, I went to a Gospel concert on campus. One of my friends was in the Umass Gospel Choir, so I had to support her through my attendance. During the concert, I sensed that God was speaking to me. I was being encouraged to choose Him. After the concert, I returned to my dorm room and called my parents. I told them that I wanted to be saved and they prayed with me. Through God, I changed my lifestyle. I allowed the Bible and worship music to consume me. Despite the challenges that I have encountered in my life, I have remained committed to God.

Women, I share my testimony because I would like you to think about the moment you gave your heart to Christ. Close your eyes if you need to, but please recall your surroundings. Were you at home or church when you became saved? How old were you? Were you the only person in your immediate family that became saved or were you surrounded by God-fearing family members? Were you crying and rocking back and forth? Or were you still when you gave Him your heart?

Women, it’s integral that we remember the moment that we were saved so that we can encourage ourselves. We need to remember the circumstances that God delivered us from. We must understand that God doesn’t save us solely for our own benefit. Indeed, salvation leads us to eternal life with our Lord and Savior. We are also saved to be influencers and advocates of Jesus Christ. We are saved so that other individuals in our environments can receive the gift of salvation.

Our theme scripture for this Women’s Day service states:

“For if you remain silent at this time, relief and deliverance for the Jews will arise from another place, but you and your father’s family will perish. And who knows but that you have come to your royal position for such a time as this? Then Esther sent this reply to Mordecai: ‘Go gather together all the Jews who are in Susa and fast for me. Do not eat or drink for three days, night or day. I and my attendants will fast as you do. When this is done, I will go to the king, even though it is against the law. And if I perish, I perish.” Esther 4:14-16

Esther, a young Jewish woman, was appointed Queen for a purpose. King Xerxes was unaware of her Jewish identity. Mordecai, her relative, refused to bow to Haman, a royal official. Upon Mordecai’s actions, Haman was enraged and plotted to destroy the Jews. Mordecai sent word to Esther of this plot and persuaded her to think about her position in the palace. He said, “For if you remain silent at this time, relief and deliverance for the Jews will arise from another place, but you and your father’s family will perish. And who knows but that you have come to your royal position for such a time as this?”

Esther’s God-given purpose was to rescue her people from destruction despite the consequences. She could risk her own life by approaching the king without an invitation to his court or she could remain idle in God’s purpose for her. Esther chose to advocate for the lives of her people. Through her faithfulness, her people were saved.

Women, which people around you need to be saved? Who needs an intercessor? And what will you sacrifice so those people can receive eternal life?

Perhaps, you will not be risking your life as Esther did. You may be risking popularity, time, or money. Younger women, you may be risking the attention of that cute guy who isn’t even a Christian. You may have to stand alone.

Women, no matter your age, your godly riskiness will yield a grand outcome. Your obedience to God will be honored by Him. And your obedience can cause others to reflect on their need for Jesus. By praying with someone or sharing your testimony, you are spreading God’s light.

Matthew 5:14-16 states:

“You are the light of the world. A town built on a hill cannot be hidden. Neither do people light a lamp and put it under a bowl. Instead they put it on its stand, and it gives light to everyone in house. In the same way, let your light shine before others, that they may see your good deeds and glorify your Father in Heaven.”

Women, you were placed in that school, job or apartment building to fulfill God’s purpose! You were created for this time so that the people surrounding you could rise from their depression, their anxiety, and their chaos.

One of the songs that I have been singing during my prayer time is “Withholding Nothing” by William McDowell. I am struck by the simple yet powerful lyrics:

“I surrender all to You

Everything I give to You

Withholding nothing

Withholding nothing”

Women, I encourage you to examine your lives and what you are holding onto. If you are holding onto fame or other lusts of the flesh, I encourage you to surrender those things to God. I assure you that those things are worthless and that the lives of people around you possess more meaning. I pray that you follow Esther’s example and proclaim “If I perish, I perish.” If you lose your social status, please note that you are losing it for the causes of the Kingdom.

 

 

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May 2017’s 6 Grateful Things List

May 2017's 6 Grateful Things List

 

“Gratitude is when memory is stored in the heart and not in the mind.” Lionel Hampton

Hey, hey! May was such a full and busy month for me! Almost every weekend, I was involved in an event. Yet, I was involved in celebratory events and spend time with family/friends.

How about you? Was your May schedule full? Were you able to spend needed time with family and friends? I hope so!

As usual, I want y’all to share your lists of gratitude! Through these moments of sharing, we greatly encourage each other. Please take a seat and watch the video!

Thanks and blessings,

Monica aka afrotasticlady

6 o’clock Movements: A Short Story, Part 1

(Note: Hey, hey! I wanted to share a short story that I begun to write several years ago but did not complete. I finally completed it! This short story will be presented in four parts on my blog, and each part will be followed by an inspirational song that I enjoy hearing. I pray that you receive a positive message from the story! Blessings, afrotasticlady)

                           Short Story Blog Series

A bottle of Vodka and a bottle of Ibuprofen were sprawled on the passenger seat of his car. Vodka was a strange beverage for him to be drinking. In college, he had attempted to drink a cup of Vodka at a fraternity party, but the alcohol scraped his throat. He could not continue drinking, and the fraternity guys laughed at his innocence.

Now, Benjamin shoved the Vodka bottle into his mouth. He swallowed the raw liquid and let out a gruff “aaah.” He turned his head to his driver’s window and observed the people entering and exiting the Western Massachusetts Rite Aid.

A young woman yanked her two year old daughter out of the sliding doors. Her red hair was in a loose bun. She wore yoga pants with a large hole in the right knee area. Her slender child moved in the opposite direction. She screamed “C’mon kid!” and tears exploded on the child’s cheeks.

Some of the customers scowled at the adult and child as they interacted with each other, but none of them interrupted the battle. Benjamin quickly rolled down his car window and heard the expletives that flowed out of the mother’s mouth. He knew he should intervene, but his stiff body would not respond to his compassion.

The mother dropped her bags and pulled the terrified child towards her face. A middle aged woman with wavy, grey hair wrapped in a bun, slowly pushed her shopping cart towards the entrance. Again, the child tried to remove herself from her mother’s thin arms. Despite the mother’s skinniness, she appeared to be a strong woman. The mother let out a final swear to her daughter and spat on her face.

Benjamin shook his head and stared at the adorable child in denim overalls. “Mum-my…I hurt,” the child wailed. The middle aged woman  left her cart and ran over to the woman and her daughter.

“You don’t spit on a child like that. Is that your daughter?” the middle aged woman asked.

“Yeah, it is my daughter and this ain’t none of your business,” the mother responded.

“Honey, are you alright?” the middle aged woman bent down to the child’s level.

“Get away from her, nosey!” the mother slid her body between the middle aged woman and the child.

“You don’t need to be a mother! What’s wrong with you?” the middle aged woman yelled.

“Lady, I don’t even know you, and you think you can tell me something!” the mother yelled back.

Benjamin rubbed the sides of his face, and then grasped one of the dark coils of his small Afro. He did not want to listen to this confrontation anymore. His mind was already confused. He brought the bottle of alcohol to his mouth and drank it the same way his own kids drank their juice boxes. They titled their little heads and gulped until it went down the wrong way. They never heeded Benjamin’s instructions to “slow down.” They dealt with the effects of their quick drinking: strained coughing.

Benjamin ripped the Vodka bottle from his mouth and hacked. He was removing himself from his empathy. The middle aged woman could solve the situation between the mother and her child. He turned on the engine and peeled away from the parking lot.

“Where am I going?” Benjamin questioned himself.

This country town was different from his home. Down the street from the Rite Aid, there was a Moms and Pops store and an old fashioned movie theater with only two titles on the placard. As he drove out of the downtown area, vast farms approached him. His two year old daughter Aima, would have danced as soon as she saw the animals. She recognized animals well and amused the family with her imitations of cows, horses, and pigs. Benjamin smiled and thought about Aima’s high pitched voice making a “moo” sound. Benjamin stopped smiling and grimaced when an agitated driver rushed past him.

“Dang man, where you going?” Benjamin shouted and waved his fist. Drowsy, Benjamin pulled over to the side of the road. His head dropped on the steering wheel,and he began to moan. Full moans. Moans that would have frightened his children if they were in the back seat. Benjamin blinked, and tears trailed down his cheeks. He turned his head towards the bottle of Ibuprofen.

That bottle looked more glorious to him than his Bible looked.

Take them, he heard in his mind. He grabbed the bottle and massaged it in his hands. He slouched down in his seat and spun the bottle. Benjamin sighed and dropped the bottle back on the passenger seat. He took his phone out of his pocket.