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CHRIST IT UP Content

Our very first issue!

On The Cover

In Every Issue

...The Rest

11| 3 Tips on How to Budget Here are 3 ways for you to budget on an inconsistent income.

*Vessel's Note *Prayer for Salvation *Couples In Christ *Coffee with Sister Doris *Bookworm *Words of the Lord *What You Know About

9| Married Yet Empty Will you let Jesus satisfy your soul?

12| Birthing My Purpose How many times have you been pregnant? 14| Cover Story Take a trip down memory lane with the start of CIU. 17| Rebirth of The Good Wife Love selflessly. 19| What You Know About... Coffee & Clarity. Founder Tiffany T. Huff, chatted with us about her growning women’s group. 22| The Standard is The Standard God’s way is always the right way.

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18| Forbidden Option Wanting to, but not choosing divorce. 23| Spring Cleaning Spring Into Action. 27| A Spring in New Life Are you ready for the Lord to do a new thing in your life?


Note

HAPPY SPRING! HAPPY BIRTHDAY! Oh, how I love the Spring time. Not only are the birds chirping happily, and the trees are blooming, and flowers blossoming, but it is also a time to celebrate my own birth (April 19th). But the main reason I am excitd to share this issue with you is because it is Christ It Up’s 5th Birthday!! I can’t believe we are still here 5 years later (check out our very first cover on the previous page)! God is so amazing. There were so many times I wanted to give up, but thanks to a certain “Angel” I didn’t. We have some great articles inside. Articles that include “Spring” topics as well as “Birth” topics so be sure to check those out. And also check out our Birth Story on page 14. Enjoy! To God be the Glory!

Give your life to Christ

Vessel’s If you have read past issues of this magazine or if this is your first time, I am glad to introduce, The Sinner’s Prayer. Romans 10:9-11 (NIV) 9 If you declare with your mouth, “Jesus is Lord,” and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved. 10 For it is with your heart that you believe and are justified, and it is with your mouth that you profess your faith and are saved. 11 As Scripture says, “Anyone who believes in him will never be put to shame.” To give your life to Christ, recite this aloud: Dear God, I come to you today as a sinner asking for forgivness. I believe in my heart and confess with my mouth that you are Lord. I believe that you died on the cross and rose on the third day with all power in your hand. And today I accept you as my Lord and Savior. In Jesus name, Amen!

And as always, stay encouraged! Mz. CIU @darnica gordon

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OWNER & EDITOR Darnica Gordon PUBLISHER Christ It Up Publishing

CHRIST IT UP WRITERS Kellie Hudson

Humble.

Staci Bose

Smart.

Lauren Webb

Artistic.

Abriana Mitchell

Beautiful.

Tiffiany Huff

Real.

Kimberly Fairley

Very outspoken.

CHRIST IT UP MAGAZINE 1323 Superior Ave Pittsburgh, Pa 15212|| 412-478-8892|| christitup@yahoo.com|| www.christitupmagazine.com

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5|CIU New Year Issue


OWNER & EDITOR Darnica Gordon PUBLISHER Christ It Up Publishing

CHRIST IT UP WRITERS Lisa Dorsett

Full of Wisdom.

Leria Felix

Strong.

Lytia Brock-Sledge

Woman with Many Hats.

James Anderson

Intellectual.

CHRIST IT UP MAGAZINE 1323 Superior Ave Pittsburgh, Pa 15212|| 412-478-8892|| christitup@yahoo.com|| www.christitupmagazine.com

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7|CIU New Year Issue


Couples in Christ and

Meet Nashana Nic Jean-Baptist

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remember sitting at home talking to God on a Friday night, feeling a peace on the inside that I was ready to date again after being healed from a divorce. I was not bored or lonely, but felt a peace to meet someone new instead of politely declining every male attempt to ask me out even for a cup of coffee. I started to think about what I wanted in a man, as well as what I brought to the table. Him having a relationship with God was a given, since God is the center and foundation of my life. I desired to meet someone that was compassionate and worked in the medical field, someone that loved to help people, and desired to do outreach and give back to the community. I wanted to meet someone that enjoyed traveling, would have a sense of humor that complemented my own, and loved watching movies. I specifically asked for someone that worked nights, as I am more of a night person than a morning person; even after a cup of coffee. I also asked for someone that was dark chocolate and would be on the “cuddly-side”.

the gate to open, and noticed a crowd of people starting to form. Once that gate was lifted, I browsed the breakfast items not sure what I wanted. My now husband, Nic, approached me asking me what we were having for breakfast. I laughed, realizing I was holding up the line and told him he could go before me while I decided. He continued to make small talk telling me I was very beautiful, and that he never seen me in the cafeteria before. I informed him that he wouldn’t have, being that I worked next to HR and not the actual hospital building. Nic only heard HR, and began to apologize, thinking his job was now in jeopardy. It made me genuinely laugh as I explained I worked next to the HR building and not actually for HR. I broke our conversation, telling him to have a nice day and proceeded to find something to purchase for breakfast. He walked away and then came back before I left the cafeteria offering me his business card, and saying he hoped he wasn’t being too forward for giving me his information and wanting me to text or call him. I smiled and tossed his card  The next day I met someone while out in my purse without another thought grocery shopping, exchanged numbers, until later that morning when speaking and made plans to set up a time to meet to my co-worker about meeting him. for lunch. Well…that lunch date never happened, as I continued to converse  My co-worker encouraged me to text with the guy over the next couple him later that day, so he would have my of days, I didn’t have a peace about information as well. She reminded me meeting up with him. I abruptly stopped that I said I was ready to date and would communication after letting him know I actually have to call someone in order to was not interested. go on a date. I pushed passed the fear of “what if’s” that started bubbling up. I  That Wednesday however, I found decided to text Nic later that evening myself, early morning, at the hospital in after Bible study. Our text, phone calls, which I’m employed doing bloodwork. and dates continued from that very After my bloodwork was complete, day we met to every day. I gave him a I went to the cafeteria to grab some pretty tough time initially with setting breakfast after having fasted. I waited for up a date, and even tried to back out of

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the first one, afraid to take that first step of dating. He won me over with sending me chocolate covered strawberries to my job that day along with a note stating he was excited for our first date. He didn’t want to send me flowers because of my allergies and remembered from our conversations that I loved strawberries. I never experienced someone taking the time and effort to do something so thoughtful, and I decided to keep our date for Dave n’ Busters that evening. We had fun competing and I even shut him out on the air hockey table (we still have to schedule his redemption rematch). Nic visited my church as he was still visiting different churches trying to find one in Orlando, as he was originally from Sarasota, FL. Upon his first visit, he joined and said it felt like home.  This man was very patient as I gave him a list of rules; no sex before marriage, no sitting next to me in church unless we were engaged, no holding my hand when walking until he was officially courting me, and he couldn’t even sit directly beside me on the bench when we went to our favorite park to talk, and the list went on. I set boundaries that would’ve made most men want to run. The boundaries came from both my faith; wanting to date with purity,

Continue on pg. 27


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Married yet

Empty

As Told By Cachet Coleman

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n March 21, 2009 I was able to say one of the most infamously quoted lines in one of my favorite movies The Color Purple… “I’s married now!” Stated by the beautiful Ms. Shug Avery. I was over the moon. It was and still is one of the happiest days of my life. That day I married the man of my dreams, the love of my life, the one who made my heart skip a beat! I had fantasized about this day as far back as I could remember. I married the perfect one for me. I face yet another time of reflection, as our 8 year wedding anniversary is swiftly approaching. I remember my wedding day, and life as a newlywed. I remember the joy and angst of getting to know a little more about him and a lot more about me. I thank God for where he’s brought us, because it was Him who has made us who we are, and are yet becoming even now. However, what I’d like to talk about in this particular writing is a period in my marriage in which something happened that I did not expect. It was pretty early in our marriage. I guess if I had to gage the timing I’d say it was between the first and fourth year. I had everything I had ever wanted. I had a good man who treated me like a queen, and by this time I had at least one child. We had recently bought a beautiful home and things were seemingly going well. If you had asked anyone I was close with what my ideal dream life was, they would’ve told you that I had it. But, I had an inward battle going on that no one knew about except me and God. I had a gnawing feeling of emptiness. I didn’t understand and I didn’t know how to tell anyone, after all I didn’t want people to think I was ungrateful, or that it had anything to do with my husband because it didn’t. It was me. Something was wrong with me. In the pit of my stomach was a constant discontent with the life that I fantasized about. I tried to make myself snap out of it, but I couldn’t. One day suddenly God put a song in my spirit. This song in particular was a song my Pastor’s sister sang when she had come to visit our ministry. I had only heard it once or twice, but the song rang in my spirit so clear…Only Jesus can satisfy your soul. I knew instantly that was the answer to what was going on with me. I’d like to say right away I acted upon the message that God was sending, but I didn’t. I waved it off and kept on questioning what I was feeling, waiting for me to answer me. While the Lord had the song playing continuously in my spirit. Finally, I really took hold of His message. I guess you could say I finally surrendered. I needed the Lord to fill that void I was feeling. I realized that I probably had lived with this void for much longer than I noticed, and that it went way deeper than I knew. While I was single, though I was saved and loved the Lord, I spent most of my time focused on my relationship status. Every guy I dated I tried to make him “the one”, even when God would show me clearly that he was not. When I was not in a relationship I spent most of my time thinking, begging and praying for God to send him. In constant agony inside because He wasn’t sending

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him fast enough, then beating myself up thinking something was wrong with me. During this period I made a lot of bad decisions. But, deep inside I knew that God was orchestrating it all. He saved me time and time again, from the things I tried to just make happen. I can even remember telling God to just leave me alone and let this happen! I wanted it my way and He wasn’t moving fast enough. You see I thought that when I got married and had children that my life would have meaning and I would be fulfilled. I thought all feelings of emptiness, loneliness, and abandonment would suddenly disappear and I would live happily ever after. Now don’t get me wrong marriage is a beautiful thing especially when it’s God centered. It has a specific purpose, but it should not be what we use as a “savior.” If I had known then what I know now, I would have focused more on the spiritual void filler rather than a physical one. As I got closer to God, I found that I had far more of a void than any person could fill. I thought the answer was marriage, but I found that the answer was Jesus. He has filled every void I once had. All it took was me allowing Him all the way in, and putting Him in His proper place. Now I can appreciate, and enjoy my marriage, and the blessings He has given me with contentment. I am no longer putting an unrealistic strain on my marriage to make it look like the marriages in the movies or, putting the pressure on my husband to make me happy all the time. Now this article may not apply to you in terms of marriage. Marriage was my story, but maybe yours is a job you really want, a financial status you’d like to get to, a business you’d like to start, a place you believe God is calling you to that hasn’t quite happened yet. It can be anything that in your heart you may feel as though you won’t be satisfied until you get to. I’d like to encourage you today, dreaming and having goals is a wonderful thing, even the bible says in Habakkuk write the vision and make it plain. This shows that God does give us dreams and aspirations. He does want us to be successful and prosper. But there are two things we must remember, first our goals should never supersede God and His timing. The second thing we must remember is that these dreams must not be our sole source of joy, and contentment, or a measuring stick for how successful we are in life. I heard Joyce Meyers say, “We must find our confidence in Christ no matter what our status in life is.” I have found this to be true. Don’t spend your life upset because you haven’t reached your goals yet, or in despair because you feel God isn’t moving fast enough. We have to learn to trust God and understand that His timing is perfect and enjoy the journey we are on. We must do the things he instructs us to do and not try to force the things he doesn’t tell us to do. Believe me if you do your part (the right way) God will do his part. (Habakkuk 2:3 for the revelation awaits an appointed time; it speaks of the end and will not prove false. THOUGH IT LINGER, WAIT FOR IT; it Continue on pg. 27


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Tips On How To Budget On An Inconsistent Income By: Clever Girl Finance’s Bola Onada Sokunbi

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udgeting on an inconsistent income can be tough especially because it’s hard to plan. For example, if you are self-employed or work as a freelancer or a contractor, your income is dependent on how much work you do but some-times it’s not always easy to determine what your actual income will look like at the end of each month. When it comes to budgeting on an inconsistent income, the best way to approach it is with a strategy that will allow you to be successful with managing your money and I’m going to show you just how you can do it.

list. Having this priority in place ensures that you are properly allocating your money to your top budget items first when you get paid. So even if your paycheck does not cover everything on your budget, you have the important things paid for. 3. Plan for future months during the months you earn more If you happen to earn more money in a certain month, pay for your most important expenses first (as discussed above) and then plan to put aside some money in an emergency fund towards future months in the event that your income declines again. This way you can cover your expenses during those months without having to leverage debt. Make it a point to contribute to your emergency account before you spend your money on any non-essentials.

Next step would be creating a plan to increase your income i.e. getting a part time job, reviewing your products and services etc., this way aside from just paying expenses, you can start to save and invest too. Putting a plan in place regardless of whether your income is consistent or not is the foundation to being successful with your finances. It’s all about managing 1. Create a baseline budget You can also call this your bare minimum budget. This your expenses according to your income. Plan to revise your budget every single month and if you fall short, is basically a list of all your necessities and expenses that you ab-solutely need to pay to get by each month. each new month is an opportunity to do better with your budget. The total amount of these expenses is the minimum amount of money you’d need to earn until you can Got an inconsistent income? These 3 tips should increase your income. This would include things certainly help you get started with managing your like your rent/mortgage, food and transportation. income the right way. This does not include going out to eat, shopping, entertainment etc. - remember it’s the bare mini-mum amount of money that you need to get by. 2. Prioritize your expenses Once you create your baseline budget, the next step is to prioritize your expenses in order of importance. This means determining what bills need to be paid first, second, third etc. For instance, housing, food and transportation could be items 1 to 3 on your

Find More of Clever Girl Finance advice at www. clevergirlfinance.com

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Birthing My Purpose By: Tiffany T. Huff Don’t worry, this is NOT an attempt for me to get all up in

purpose was growing inside me. To be honest though, I

your business! I do want to know the answer to the question though.

didn’t want to be bothered with it. I didn’t have time. I was busy. Busy trying to love on a man that would never love

How many times have you been pregnant?

me the way I needed to be loved. Busy trying to make more money so that I could keep up with what I was spending, and

Up until recently, my response to this question has been a no- busy running from myself - pretending to be. I was too busy abusing myself to take the time for self care. brainer: I have been pregnant twice and I have two children. NEXT. But a couple of weeks ago, I was asked this question and suddenly the response was different. How many times have you been pregnant Tiffany? I stalled before I responded this time. All of a sudden, I was using my fingers to count miscarriages and abortions that in the past had never been considered in the equation. All of a sudden, I was reminded of the times when I had the vision to share my story with other women and girls so that they might decide to rewrite what they thought were the hopeless chapters to finish their own. I was reminded of how I had become pregnant with purpose, full of life, and gifted with the blessing to help others change and manifest their best lives, over and over again.

My busyness caused me to miscarry. I miscarried at least three, no...no four times that I am certain of. Whoa. I had obviously been lying for a long time about my pregnancies. Lying to myself, and cheating myself out of the opportunity to give and celebrate life. What about you? How many times have you been pregnant? How many miscarriages have you had? How many abortions? That idea you have had for years to start your own business miscarried because you listened to the naysayers telling you it wouldn’t make sense.

But I aborted my pregnancy. Time, after time. I took for granted the life and purpose that was growing inside me, and decided selfishly that I was not ready to be a mom AGAIN. I decided that struggling to be a single mom of another baby just didn’t make sense.

Maybe it was the class you have been wanting to take to finish your degree so that you could start the career of your dreams - aborted because you don’t want to go through the labor of going to class two nights a week after work.

Oh, and labor? No, I had done all of the pushing I wanted to do. And just like that, I terminated the baby. I got rid of it.

Your desire to get married and start a family - aborted every time you go back to the guy you know has no intentions on marrying you and doesn’t want any children.

That day, I counted five times. Five times, I aborted the life and Trust me, the labor pains pale in comparison to those you will purpose that I knew was in me. feel if you decide not to go through with the pregnancy that Miscarriages? Yeah there were a few of those too. will change your life - and possibly the life of many others. You see, when you become pregnant, self care is of the utmost Before you decide that you don’t want to go through the importance to both you and your unborn baby. trouble it will take to get off the couch and do the work, think about the pain it will cause you if you don’t. Before But...I didn’t really want the babies I miscarried either, so self you decide you would rather spend your money, or time on care was not a top priority. self sabotaging activities, consider investing in yourself, in self care so that you can nurture the life, the gift, the blessing I knew, at my core that this desire, the need, this gift, and Continue on pg. 27

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It’s Our Birthday! By: Darnica Gordon

If you’ve never visted our site or read any of our Facebook post, you wouldn’t know that Christ It Up started as an idea that God dropped on me and I automatically passed it off to my husband and his cousin because they had a song by the same name. It quickly became clear that I was to walk this thing out myself. I found myself writing articles and putting different things together to create what I referred to as a magazine but was nothing more than a booklet. I was excited...on fire. I finally found what I was suppose to be doing. After watching my husband’s Music Ministry take off at an incredible speed, I was left to wonder what God had for me to do. This was it. In Feburary of 2012, Christ It Up’s first issue was debuted. It was a double cover featuring my husband, Church B., and Lady Purity. It also featured staples and some white circle stickers to hold it together. Nevertheless, it was my baby and she was here. I received a great amount of support from my church, The Lighthouse, and they kept me encouraged to keep going.

me in the direction of doing the magazine full-time, and even though I am terrified, I am excited to see what God has in store for me. My office space will have to be my dining room for now until the day comes that I am able to move into my own space. All in due time though. As always, I have to take a moment to keep you encouraged. In wriing this article it allowed me to see where God started me and where He has me at now. It’s kind of unbelieveable. For Him to allow someone like me, someone who shunned Him and said that He didn’t exist (yeah, I was proclaiming atheism) all because I didn’t understand who He was or what His Word was about, and had no one to turn to. To allow me to receive salvation and work for His kingdom blows my mind! If God has somehting for you, keep at it, and even in the down times (when things are moving slow and you want to give up) know that He gave this particular thing to you, particularly. Don’t give up.

I thank you all for all your support over the years. For purchasing magazines, or giving advice or encouragement. I Five lovely years later and here we stand! By our fifth birthday truly appreciate it all. I figured this would be my full-time gig, I would have office space and employees. Yeah, no. But what I do have is a And here’s to another 5 years!!!! mission, a vision, and ten incredible writers (eleven if you count myself *insert big smile*). I believe God is moving

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Rebirth of The Good Wife By: Kellie Hudson

Being a wife has been one of my biggest blessings and also the hardest things I’ve had to become and grow into. Marriage is such a great and amazing privilege and also something that takes unconditional love, focus, time, energy and selfishness, all at once. Despite whether we feel that our husbands deserves all that at any given time or not we know that God wants us to continually give our husbands the love, respect, and encouragement they need. Not because of whether or not we feel they deserve, but because God says they deserve it. Let’s admit it though, it’s not always that easy in our human flesh to love our husbands as Christ loves us, especially if they aren’t doing “their part” or if we are feeling unloved or wronged in any way. Believe me ladies, I’ve been there. As my husband and I are going into our 12th year together and 8 years of marriage I have struggled with this quite a bit. The question of why does he deserve anything from me (whether that be my love, affection, respect or sex, and so on) if I feel he isn’t given me what I need too. So how do we accomplish this? How do we love our husbands as Christ wants us too and shows the same love to us despite our daily struggles?

So this Valentine’s day I made sure I went all out. Got him a gift, made his favorite meal, wrote him a loving letter on why I appreciate him in a card, and made his night extra special. I wanted to make him feel just as special as he makes me feel, not because I feel he deserves it every day but because I know that God created us to love each other just as He loves us. As every day, week, month and year pass I find myself falling more in love with my husband. My love for him is as strong as it’s ever been. I have learned to look at his accomplishments and good qualities, rather than his downfalls and bad habits. I have learned to submit myself to God and die to my own fleshy wants and feelings so that God can guide me on what my husband needs and deserves from me. I’ve learned that my husband is just as special and worthy of love as I am and him being a man doesn’t make him any less deserving. I have learned that when I choose to love my husband daily rather then pick out all the bad stuff, our love flourishes and that encourages him to become the man, husband, and father that God created him to be.

I have learned to pick my battles rather than picking fights. I want to my home to be a place for him to find peace rather than coming home to find that his home is just as broken as I’m going to admit something that I realized as Valentine’s the rest of the world. Loving our husbands must become more Day was approaching, which was around the same time I had about God and our husbands then us. Love is not a feeling but wrote this article. In 12 years together and 8 years of marriage an action that we must choose to walk in every day. Continue until this Valentine’s Day I never took any time or energy to love and pray for your husband every day. Go to God with or even thought into getting my husband anything for that your problems and your husband’s faults. God can do more for special day that is supposed to be a day of love between two us in a minute then what a listening ear such as your mother, people. I made sure that I went out got our kids something friend, sister or Facebook (yes, I went there) can do for you, special. I sat around thinking about, “What is he going to get ever! me?” Throwing hint after hint. And every year he made sure he did something special for me whether it be a nice gift or I hope this article provides encouragement to the wife making dinner, a nap without the kids, or flowers and candy. struggling today. So on your way home, or in-between taking Then another thing I realized is he never once complained care of the kids, go grab your husband his favorite candy bar about it. Then I started to feel convicted and think well why or make him his favorite dish. Put the kids to bed early and didn’t I ever do anything for him? As if he was the problem focus only on him for the night. One thing I have found out here. through listening to my husband’s struggles is that there are a million things that runs through his mind throughout his day As I started to try to defend my actions I then realized it that he doesn’t share. Our husbands question themselves and doesn’t even matter what he has done or not done! I was at beat themselves up just as we do every day. We don’t know fault for not making a day that should be for the both of us everything they go through while they are trying to be a Godly special for him as well and as I was unable to come up with a man and husband. Every day is a struggle to be a good man in why based on what he might have done or not done. I realized a world that doesn’t glorify good men, and this is especially so I didn’t do it because I just didn’t want to or selfishly thought if your husband is an African American man living in a world that day was just about me and what I wanted or thought I that finds fault in everything black men do. deserve. I did it for our kids so why not him? Here’s a few bible verse to help with for wives: A wife of noble character is her husband’s crown, but a disgraceful wife is like decay in his bones- Proverbs 12:4 A wife of noble character who can find? She is worth far more than rubies. - Proverbs- 31:10 Wives, submit yourselves to your husbands, as is fitting in the Lord- Colossians- 3:18

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Forbidden Option

By: Darnica Gordon

See the way my life is setup, I am never to consider divorce, not under any circumstances. I told myself at 25 that no matter what happened, divorce would never be an option. Fast-forward 6 ½ years later and divorce was at the top of my list. As I sifted through all the other possible options, I came up with nothing. No matter how many times I “sifted” I always ended up with divorce. So divorce is what I would do. Turns out it’s not what I would do. Let me take you back some. Okay, so I have been married to my husband for 7 years now (it will be 8 years June 27th) and had been in a relationship with him for 10 years prior to that. So this all began at the tender age of 15. By the time I was 16 I was pregnant, at 17 I became a mother. My virginity should have been something very sacred and important to me but I didn’t know that because no one ever told me. Throughout my 10 year relationship I went through many devastating things a young woman should not have to endure. Things such as fighting, no support financially (we eventually had another child), verbal abuse, and unfaithfulness. But when you don’t know that you are fearfully and wonderfully made you allow things to happen to you that shouldn’t. All women are worth far more than rubies and should be treated as such. I experienced a great deal of hardships in my life from being a teen parent to living in poverty, but nothing invoked greater pain than being heartbroken by my spouse and then having to contemplate divorce. A series of events led up to this point. First was the loss of employment, then the loss of family members (which was more devastating, but on top of that, before we had the chance to grieve one member another member passed away), then went the communication. My

husband left me in a position where I had to fend for our family solely; financially, mentally, physically, and emotionally. I never understood depression until this storm blew over my life. I prayed and prayed for guidance and peace. I thought it would never come and as quick as night changes to day, I felt the storm slowly start to move away. The words on this page could never express the great deal of pain I endured this past year and a half, but there’s one thing I can say for sure, and that is, I made it through. Like with any storm there is debris everywhere and everything is out of sorts. It will take time for me to get back to the place I was before all of this, but I know with God on my side anything is possible!

Matthew 19:6 So they are no longer two, but one flesh. Therefore what God has joined together, let no one separate.

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What You Know About....

Coffee & Clarity

If you ever have a chance to attend a session of Coffee & Clarity I would strongly recommend it. This women’s group (held once a month) will have you laughing, crying, and definetely give you a sense of clarity before you leave. We caught up with the Founder to get the background on how it all got started.

Interviewed By: Darnica Gordon

Christ It Up: I always like to hear about folks’ “Coming to Christ” stories, what is yours? Tiffany T. Huff: Coming to Christ story...hmmmm. Well I grew up going to church with my family. Once my parents divorced though we were on again, off again church goers. When I was 12, I decided on my own to be baptized again at the church some of my extended family attended. Even after that though, it was on again, off again. I always knew God was real, but He didn’t become real for me until several years later. After some really trying times, I moved to North Carolina and was invited to attend a church nothing like any church I was used to. When I walked in the church it was like one of those “Oh this is it” moments. I could feel the presence of God immediately. During the two years I lived in North Carolina and attended church there, I really got to know God for myself, had encounters I know now were necessary for me to truly believe - and “come to Christ.” My experiences there were truly life changing. CIU: How did Coffee & Clarity begin? TTH: Coffee & Clarity actually began back in 2014. When God told me to leave my job. I thought it was to build my life coaching business full-time. Coffee & Clarity was a 1:1 session I was offering for potential clients for free in an effort to gauge their needs and also to market my services. In that season, it was not successful and didn’t last very long. I know now it was because I was out of alignment and my focus was displaced. In 2016, once I got refocused, and surrendered to God’s vision for how i should use my gifts, I started offering group sessions for women, and it has grown beyond my belief over the past several months. CIU: When and where are the meetings held? TTH: I am now holding the sessions twice a month. On the first Saturday of the month I hold sessions in Coraopolis, Pa. at Coraopolis Youth Creations Community Center. On the second Saturday of the month, sessions are in Pittsburgh. The Pittsburgh location is changing because we keep outgrowing our space. (Shout out to God!) Both sessions are held from 9:00 a.m. - 11:00 a.m. CIU: Where do you see it going? TTH: It’s funny you should ask. With the growth over the past few months, I felt like I was going to have to have several sessions on the second Saturday in

Pittsburgh, but God gave me some clarity on that right away. I see it growing consistently, and being something to be duplicated in other locations around the state, and then the country. CIU: What is your main focus, or ultimate goal, with C&C? TTH: The main goal of Coffee & Clarity is to create a sacred space where women feel comfortable enough to be transparent, are empowered, and challenged to stop running from the calling God has on their life, their life’s mission, and begin to do their life’s work. The fruit has already exceeded the mission on so many levels; new bonds are being formed, breakthroughs are happening. The ultimate goal though, is for me to be obedient to God and to model what happens as a result. CIU: How can we connect with you and stay up-to-date with C&C? TTH: You can connect with me via my website: www.tiffanyhuff.com Follow me on Instagram @TheTiffanyHuff And like The Facebook Page: Read.Write.Love.

19|CIU Spring 2017


Words of the Lord

There’s a time for everything. Ecclesiastes 3:1-8 1 There is a time for everything, and a season for every activity under the heavens: 2 a time to be born and a time to die, a time to plant and a time to uproot, 3 a time to kill and a time to heal, a time to tear down and a time to build, 4 a time to weep and a time to laugh, a time to mourn and a time to dance, 5 a time to scatter stones and a time to gather them, a time to embrace and a time to refrain from embracing, 6 a time to search and a time to give up, a time to keep and a time to throw away, 7 a time to tear and a time to mend, a time to be silent and a time to speak, 8 a time to love and a time to hate, a time for war and a time for peace.

20|CIU New Year Issue


A Spring in New Life By: Lauren Webb

“Oh, sing to the LORD a new song! Sing to the LORD, all the earth! Sing to the Lord, bless His name; Proclaim the good news of His salvation from day to day.” Psalm 96:1-2. It does not matter what part of the state I am living in during winter. Whether the temperature is settled below freezing or I have endured countless snowed in days, I always impatiently look forward to spring! When sunshine peaks through the clouds and warm breezes pierce my skin, my mood changes immediately. The truth is that I wish it were spring all year long. Why do I like spring? I like NEW life. I can’t help but open my eyes with a smile when the birds announce a new day. I just know that I thrive on all things in the spring. I have great news! In God’s economy, every day is spring! Listen to what He says: 2 Corinthians 5:17, “Therefore if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creature; the old things have passed away; behold, new things have come.” Colossians 3:10 “put on the new self who is being renewed to a true knowledge, according to the image of the One who created him.” 2 Corinthians 5:18-20 “The old life is gone; a new life burgeons! Look at it! All this comes from the God who settled the relationship between us and him. God has given us the task of telling everyone what he is doing.” How can I make every day like spring? Celebrate your salvation. Praise God everyday with new songs that tell of His love and new life. Be intentional every day to be renewed. Make it a priority to become deeply acquainted with God, the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. Learn something new about Him every day! A New Thing I’m a sucker for a great makeover show. It doesn’t matter what kind; home makeovers or fashion makeovers. I

just love to see an amazing transformation! Don’t you? May favorite parts are the trips to the improvement store, ordered new carpet, and waiting with excitement for the installation day. When the new-carpet comes, I watch the installers meticulously remove the old flooring layer by layer. First, they pull back and remove the stained, chewed up carpet. Then they rip the the worn down old pad and put all the nasty, soiled carpet and padding in their van to take to the dump. Next, they clear away the remaining debris, clean the entire area, and install the fresh flooring. It is a beautiful transformation and a beautiful thing to watch. The whole process reminds me of this truth: God is all about beautiful transformations. He is an active, creative God who restores us on a heart level with makeovers of a masterful kind. When we turn to Him in repentance, He takes the broken, stained areas of our lives away and replaces our mess with a beauty that is far beyond ourselves; the beauty of Christ. The Bible has a great deal to say about what happens when we turn to God: “Those who look to him are radiant; they are never covered in shame.” Psalm 34:5 “Forget the former things; do not dwell on the past. See, I am doing a new thing! Now it springs up; do you not perceive it? I am making a way in the wilderness and streams in the wasteland.” Isaiah 43:18-19 “Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, the new creation has come: The old has gone, the new is here!” 2 Corinthians 5:17 Jesus bore a cross so we could be forgiven and made new. So we could have abundant life. Not a held-back-by-thestains-and-shames-of-your-past life. I don’t know where this finds you right now, but God does. He knows and sees everything. He does a new thing! He meets us with mercy, forgives completely, and blesses us with grace that we don’t deserve.

As Spring arises, are you ready for the Lord to do a new thing in your life today?

21|CIU Spring 2017


22|CIU Spring 2017


Spring Cleaning: SPRING into Action By: Life Coach Lytia

We know that after all the ice and snow has melted we will be graced with the cool breeze, birds chirping and the budding of the trees. It is SPRING! I cannot express the feeling I get when I know I can swap my fur for a lighter jacket, enjoy a walk in the park and get to see the beautiful leaves. The winter time is time in which certain animals hibernate and take a much-needed rest from their labor. Even though you are not like the bear the winter should have given you ample time to dream, work on your vision and hopefully help you gain a whole new perspective. Spring it the time when things that were dead come back to life. It is time to get to work by taking the ideas that you have prayed over and put them into action. Along with the sunshine we know there are certain activities that will take place like spring cleaning. Spring cleaning is a great way to rid you home of clutter. When is the last time you did some spring cleaning with your mind, social media accounts, ideas? When I clean, I take time to divide things into three piles the keep, sell, donate pile. This helps give me a clear idea of what I need and what are the things I am merely holding on to for comfort. We do the same thing with our lives. We continue to hold on to dreams, ideas, people and other matters that at times give little to no benefit. By sitting down and taking note of what matters most you find a clear path for your God given vision. Your load can become easier when you are clutter free. “Making your house shine and sparkle is great … making your life sparkle is even better!” It is time for YOU to spring into action.

Let’s Work Take the time to ask yourself the following three questions while springing into action? 1. Are you keeping the unused ideas and dreams for comfort? 2. What is currently packed away and hindering your progress? 3. What is your first step you will take to spring into action?

If you haven’t already, be sure to pick up Life Coach Lytia’s Bestseller, “Making the Most of Life’s Lemons”, and be on the look out for her upcoming projects.

23|CIU Spring 2017


Book Worm Here are a few books that are great reads, especially on a Saturday with a hot cup of coffee or tea.

Grace Not Perfection By: Emily Ley In looking at her IG account you would think Emily Ley had the perfect life. The perfect job, the perfect spouse, the perfect home, and the perfect kids. But in her book, “Grace not Perfection”, she allows for us to get a glimpse into her life; her real life. And in being transparent about her life, she allows for you to take a moment to evaluate yours. This is definitely a good read!

Color of Hope By: Kim Cash Tate By now you guys are aware that Kim Cash Tate is my absolutely favorite author. All of her books that I’ve read so far are awesome, this one included. This book was so good I couldn’t put it down. It’s hard for me to summurize this without giving too much away so I encourage you guys to read it and let me know your thoughts!

24|CIU Spring 2017


Coffee with Sister Doris 1. Speak with your husband and let him know that you are going to have this conversation with her. Suggest that he talk to his mother. He may actually prefer to do it. 2. If he wants you to talk to her, put your speech together and say it to him first.

Dear Sister Doris, My mother-in-law has been coming over unannounced. Sometimes it’s okay. Other times, we are having family time and it makes it awkward because she wants to talk and tell stories while we’re having a movie marathon. One time, my husband and I were in the bedroom together and one of the kids must have let her in the house. So she was at the bottom of the steps yelling our names.... I felt so embarrassed. My husband is too afraid to say anything in fear of hurting her feelings, what am I supposed to do? Signed, Just call before you come.... Dear DIL, I am so glad that you stopped by for coffee this morning. Would you like cream and sugar in your coffee … Two creams and ten spoons of sugar… oh.. So you take coffee with your sugar? Lol, great let me grab my cup and then we can chat. Mother-in-laws can be a delicate topic, especially if the husband doesn’t want to address his mother. It is almost impossible to answer this question without knowing some details. So we will answer this question in a few different ways:

3. Tell her when the kids cannot hear you. She may be a little embarrassed by the conversation so be careful about your surroundings. 4. Try to avoid using statements that can be perceived as mean or rude. You want her to leave this conversation feeling loved. Ephesians 4:29 Do not let any unwholesome talk come out of your mouths, but only what is helpful for building others up according to their needs, that it may benefit those who listen. If your husband refuses to talk to her and asks that you do not talk to her about this either, you may need to have a mediator involved. A counselor may be able to help you and your husband come together as a solid unit.

♥ “My mother-in-law has recently had a life changing event” (become a widow, become an empty nester, gotten divorced, found out she had a life threatening illness, etc) If your MIL has had a life changing event, you have to treat this a little bit different. You will need to show sympathy and compassion. Your MIL may really need the love of her family. Depending on the severity of the event, this may take some time. You will need to pray for God’s wisdom on the best way to handle this depending on the situation.

James 1:5 If any of you lacks wisdom, you should ask God, who gives generously to all without finding fault, and it will be ♥ “My Mother-in-law has always just come to my house unannounced and my husband has never told given to you. her how much it bothers the both of us.” Perhaps she may enjoy a visit at her house from your family.

It sounds as if you and your MIL have a decent enough relationship where you can pull her to the side and say something along these lines, “We all love you and we love to spend time with you, but I would greatly appreciate it if you call first and give us at least an hour. Sometimes, we have plans and we don’t want to be rude so we cancel our plans to sit and talk to you.” I would not suggest saying anything that includes the phrase “my family.” This implies that she is not family. And the conversation can go in a direction that you did not mean.

1. Prepare a meal together. 2. Play a game. 3. Schedule once a week or once a month when the whole family can go to her home and watch a movie (take popcorn, candy, pop.) Call it grandma movie night or something catchy. This would make her feel included and needed. Continue on pg. 27

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The Standard is the Standard By James W. Anderson Jr. Living in Pittsburgh we have heard the phrase : “The Standard is the Standard” by Pittsburgh Steelers, Head Coach Mike Tomlin. He usually says these words whenever adversity surrounds the team. Whether the team loses a star player due to injury, suspension, or the team has a bad game; Nothing Changes the Standard. Likewise for us as believers. The same stance Coach Tomlin has set for his team is the same stance God has for us. No matter the trial ,test or temptation, “The Standard is the standard”. With every changing law challenging our moral fiber; the standard is the standard. The adversary will always try and make us think that God’s way is the wrong way. I am reminded of the story of Adam and Eve. God had a standard that both Adam and Eve had to follow. One day the serpent started whispering in Eve’s ear how God’s standard was wrong. As a result Eve compromised her standards and listened to the serpent and the outcome of breaking God’s standard brought fatal consequences. Answer this question: When has compromising God’s standards ever benefited you? Upholding God’s standards are not always easy but necessary. No matter how the world evolves God’s word never changes. We know that the world we live is full of people who compromise but now we see compromise in the Church as well. We believe in God’s Standards when it comes to blessings but we don’t believe in God’s Standards when it comes to our moral standards. can keep us sexual immorality. Recently Devon Franklin and his wife,Actress Megan Goode wrote a book, entitled, “The Wait”. This book talked about waiting until marriage to be intimate with your mate. Of course, the world took offense to this standard but people in the Church did as well. Instead of showing an example of a standard; we compromise. If God can deliver us from drugs and heal us from incurable diseases, why can’t he give us self-control to abstain from sexual immorality? No matter what the world feeds us; “ The Standard is the Standard.” In the opening round of the 2017 NFL Playoffs Pittsburgh Steelers Quarterback ,Big Ben Roethlisberger was still in the game even with a sizable lead. As the Steelers went to ice the game Big Ben dropped back to pass and injured his foot and left the stadium with a walking boot. When asked by reporters : “Why were you still in the game with a sizable lead?” His response was “ I wasn’t coming out of the game, I wanted to be in there with my guys.” This should be our response as believers. No matter how difficult life may get. No matter what the enemy throws our way, we must be determined to stay in the game with other believers and not compromise our standards because at the end of the day as Coach Mike Tomlin says, “The Standard is the Standard”.

WORTH FAR MORE THAN RUBIES KIT

V I S I T W W W . C H R I S T I T U P M A G A Z I N 26|CIU E.CO M 2017 Spring


Continued from pg. 8

and also from fear, not wanting to open myself up. Nic persistently pursued me with respect. He had the respect of the guys at church that was looking out for me, and even our Pastor who later gave me her blessing saying that she thought he was the one too after asking me how I felt about Nic.

completely comfortable being ourselves with one another. He courted me with respect and honored my wanting to wait until marriage to have sex and to move in together. Building a foundation on Christ, built a beautiful friendship, that developed into a beautiful courtship, to a beautiful marriage.

the Word of God together. Nic and I share Bible Verse of the Day; Monday through Friday devotions on Facebook together, as well as serve in the youth department at church together.

I still think about him proposing to me at Disney, and how honored I felt when he asked me to be his wife. I received my  There were times I had to pause when  Nic and I met on April 15, 2015 dark chocolate cuddly husband that’s a writing this article because I started and were married on September 3, phlebotomist, a night person, and has crying tears of gratitude. After having my 2016. Nic also had chocolate covered a heart to serve and help people. God heart shattered from my first marriage, I strawberries waiting for me the morning not only gave me what I asked for that am grateful for how God truly restored of our wedding. He attached a note Friday night I prayed, but exceeded what my life and healed my heart. He blessed that counted down the days since he I asked for and imagined. I truly believe me with a man that loves me with the first sent me strawberries for our first that my waiting until I was healed after love of God and truly sees my value date, and now we were embarking being so hurt, being prayerful, and and worth. He blessed me with a man on a new beginning as husband and keeping God’s Word positioned me to that respects me and treats me unlike wife. As newlyweds, we continue to add meet Nic and allowed us to build a life anything I have ever experienced before. to our marriage by attending church together. I believe that anyone that He blessed me with a husband that is consistently together, serving together, desires to marry, or even remarry, can truly my best friend; Nic understands reading Christian marriage material experience the same love and joy of me and we can talk about any and together, keeping consistent date nights, companionship by keeping Christ first; as everything. Even in such a short time having open communication, and most the foundation and the center of their of knowing each other, we both felt importantly praying, reading and living life.  Continued from pg. 10

will certainly come and will not delay). If we delight in Him these things will just be an add to the many blessing He will give you. He will blow your mind if you let Him. So, I end with asking those reading if you haven’t done so already let Jesus satisfy your soul. You will be so glad you did. Isaiah 55:1-3 (NLT) Is anyone thirsty? come and drink-even if you have no money! Come, take your choice of wine or milk- it’s all

free! Why spend your money on food that does not give you strength? Why pay for food that does you no good? Listen to me, and you will eat what is good. You will enjoy the finest food. Come to me with your ears wide open. Listen and you will have life. I will make an everlasting covenant with you. I will give you all the unfailing love I promised David.

Continued from pg. 12

inside you. Before you drag yourself back to that

this life within me deserves a chance. This gift, and

relationship that you know is going to beat you down

purpose that is full of possibility, and blessing can

emotionally, mentally, and maybe even physically -

no longer be suffocated.

stop and realize that this might be final opportunity to breath life - into yourself and others. Finally, I have realized that

I could not be happier to celebrate new life this Mother’s Day - living IN Purpose On Purpose! I hope that you are encouraged to do the same.

Continued from pg. 25

♥ “My immediate family has experienced a life changing event” (sick spouse, new baby, infidelity, you or your spouse recently lost a job…) Your MIL may be coming around more often trying to save your marriage or with hopes to help your family in some way. She may just really like you guys. You may want to ask her to come over one specific day to help with the kids or with dinner. There is no way that you or I can know why she is coming around unannounced. There has to be a conversation, and it has to be done in love. I hope that our chat helped. Until next time, Sister Doris will be praying for you.

27|CIU Spring 2017


Profile for Christ It Up Magazine

Christ It Up Magazine Spring 2017 Issue  

In this issue, we take a journey into CIU's past. Taking a look at how far we've come.

Christ It Up Magazine Spring 2017 Issue  

In this issue, we take a journey into CIU's past. Taking a look at how far we've come.

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