April-June 2008

Locked in the Closet A look inward! I Surrender Giving it to God!

dear divas
The time is now Divas,
This is April, how quickly time does fly! This magazine has a purpose and it is to create a peaceful reading environment as well as bring forth a strong sense of unity throughout the Ministry and Sorority that is Iota Theta Eta. The contributors of Diva Style Magazine have worked very hard to bring stories to you that will touch, inspire and inform. We hope that you enjoy what this magazine has to offer each and every one of you!

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EDITOR-INEXECUTIVE EDITOR-IN-CHIEF

ALL BACKGROUNDS USED WITH THE PERMISSION OF www.mygirlyspace.com
ALL RIGHTS RESERVED. REPRODUCTION WITHOUT PERMISSION IS STRICTLY PROHIBITED.

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®

CREATOR of diva style magazine

SOROR FAITHFUL PATIENCE
EXECUTIVE EDITOR-IN-CHIEF

SOROR INSPIRED WORD Lead FEATURES WRITER SOROR PERFECT PEACE FEATURES WRITER SOROR HEART’S DESIRE Features Writer Soror Glorious Anointing CREATIVE MEDIA DESIGNER SOROR COMPASSIONATE

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The Men of Theta Upsilon Pi Locked in the Closet An article of self-evaluation

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I Surrender Page 6, 7 An article reminding us to give it to God In Our Daddy’s Eyes How God views us Photography by Isis Verser Tips for a healthy and happy marriage Protocol for being a better wife Brevity A poetic release Are you running from Christ? God is calling, are we listening? Page 8, 9

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“Quotable Quotes” Page 14 Ever wondered where to find memorable scriptures? Dear Divas- Got a question, we’ve got answers Diamond’s Stage Play “Beyond the Surface” Divas Directory ATO Conference! Be there!!! Women of Worship!! Divastarz Mall- Fundraiser! If you must shop, shop for a cause! Page 15

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By: Latasha McClary aka Soror Heart’s Desire
The other day, I spent a huge amount of my day, just sitting in the bed. Instead of getting up and cleaning or finding something to do, I just sat there feeling distant, alone like no one cared. There were a lot of reasons that I was feeling agitated, alone, cranky and even weak. Even while sitting there knowing and understanding what I was going through, for some reason I just didn’t have the strength to get up and do anything about it. I know that within my heart, that this wasn’t me and I knew that I wanted to change the way that I was feeling, but I felt burdened and somewhat bound. I tried to pray, but couldn’t say a word. I tried to read God’s Word, but it looked blurry and I kept falling asleep. I tried to ask for help, but it seemed like no one was ever there. Or was that all a part of the plan? For some reason, I didn’t know who to tell, I didn’t know who to call and I just didn’t want to talk to anyone. I got scared, I felt sheltered and like all hope was gone. I felt like I couldn’t move and like the devil had me trapped. I cried; I screamed; I opened my mouth, but the words, I couldn’t find. I looked around, but I was the only one there. I waited, I lied there in bed and I still couldn’t move, but I had to do something; I NEEDED TO PRAY. As much as I tried, I couldn’t say a word, but I thank God for a soror; Soror Diamond, who lended me a helping hand. Lately, I’ve felt like God has me in one of life’s many closets; shut in and trying to fight my way out of captivity. I thank God for you my sister and my soror for lifting me up and praying with me. God knows that I am trying to get back there. And when I do, I WILL be stronger, revived, rejuvenated, refreshed and ready to soar. Like in Isaiah 40:31, it says “But those who wait on the Lord shall renew their strength; they shall walk and not faint.” Now, I know that life isn’t always going to be easy and that we as Christians are going to face challenges, trials and tribulations, but we have to faint not, stand strong, seek God’s face and hold on to his unchanging hands. I’m not where I want to be. Page 5

Elevation is always desired, but rarely do you hear people desiring the work and heartache that goes along with it. Sometimes you can get complacent with God thinking that you know everything about Him and His ways. The only thing that will sustain you will be the acknowledgement of your need for growth. My repetitive conversation with Holy Spirit is “Show me Me”. I want to be truly honest with myself about where I am in my love walk, where I have grown and what needs to be matured.” The last fight you will overcome is with yourself. Not the enemy, friends, finances, health, but you; because sometimes the enemy is in“in-a me”. This last fight has to do with regurgitating and applying all that’s been invested in you. You’ve attended a services gazillion church services and seminars, bought all the tapes, read the bible from cover to cover and can quote a scripture and address quicker than anybody. But if you’re all talk, with no action…you’ll get beat down every time. There comes a time in your walk that you will find yourself out on a limb, a breath away from falling and you beg God for instructions, answers, directions and what you get is silence. Overcoming YOU is the final step before elevation into the “Big Boy, Big Girl” realm. When Jesus was in the garden, he came to a crossroad in His life where He KNEW what lay ahead for him and declared for “this cup to be taken from me”. Even with Jesus Almighty Himself, who was and is the WORD, knew his purpose form the beginning, performed many miracles and healings, and survived persecution, came a time when He didn’t want to go forward. The thing that got me through this last battle was his next statement, “Nevertheless, not thy will but your will.” Jesus at this Father. moment was in total Surrender of the will of the Father. It’s means only when you decide that at any cost, if it means my life HIS will be done, will elevation occur. This is my latest garden moment. Article Continued on page 7

By: Shirelle “Diamond” Hogans aka Soror Glorious Anointing

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“I Surrender” Continued
In December of 07 my life changed. During praise and worship one morning, I leaned back and totally surrendered unto God. You see, I thought I was a faith warrior 24/7/365. Little did I know that I was a faith wannabe. I love God. No doubt about it. But I didn’t totally trust him. You see when trouble came my way, I had God on a time frame. I demanded that He do something, quick fast and in a hurry!! He only had a small window of time before I would jump in and take control. A few hours, weeks, months at the least. As long as it didn’t really inconvenience me and I was able to maneuver. In December, I decided that I would give Him another try and promised not to jump back in the control seat. As soon as the words left my lips, the struggles intensified. Everything that I held dear to me was challenged. I thought I was going to loose my mind! I didn’t understand how this could be happening to me! Not when I was tithing consistently. Not when I was serving more than ever. Not when I finally gave in and decided to TRULY be single, saved and satisfied!!! How was it that as soon as I REALLY started living my Life for Christ and got “all in” that everything fell apart. I was MAD! After everything I sacrificed now I was going to have to go through this?!!! I didn’t want to pray, I didn’t want to study, I didn’t want to go to church, I didn’t want to smile…I wanted my security back!! I wanted PEACE! I wanted and demanded an answer from God! WHY WAS THIS HAPPENING TO ME?!!!! I asked Him questions and He didn’t answer. The more questions I asked the more Kingdom work He gave me. As with a child having a temper tantrum, God didn’t acknowledge my display for attention. What He told me was that I am not going to speak to you as a child any longer. I’ve already prepared you for this moment, warned you that it was coming, now get it together.” I had to fight to stay in the WORD. I was too prideful to read my bible…I had to put on tapes to hear the WORD, just to get it in my system. I didn’t want to serve I didn’t want to minister, I wanted Him to console me! I felt as if I was experiencing this first child syndrome…where everything was expected of me while the other children where taken care of. I felt overlooked, overworked and unappreciated by God. My mind was warped that God wasn’t concerned about me. It reminded me of the Spiderman 3 movie…when Spiderman was trying to escape his alter ego…but his alter ego was clinging to him for dear life. I got so tired and hurt that I wanted to raise my little white flag and give up. This thing called Christianity wasn’t working for me…Yes even me, a warrior for Christ, I couldn’t handle it anymore. People tell me that sometimes I am an island. Never letting anyone in, and always keeping stuff to myself. That’s because I don’t allow people to hurt me. I refuse to give people information that they can later use against me. This time I reached out. I couldn’t handle it alone. I called my Pastor and told him everything that was going on. I was an emotional basket case! I couldn’t stop crying. I could force myself into praise and worship one minute and then be balling on the floor the next. I was unstable. After pouring my heart out to my Pastor do you know what he said…” ABSOLUTELY NOTHING I WANTED TO HEAR”. I am not one for a pity party, I just want people to understand and acknowledge my pain. My Pastor simply stated that I was not in Faith. ME a Faith QUEEN was not in FAITH?! I couldn’t wait to get off the phone with him. And honestly the only reason I didn’t hang up on him was because he was my Pastor. I finally let someone in and they don’t even acknowledge my pain. He said it so calmly, “Precious, you’re not in Faith. Sometimes you can think you’re in faith and you’re not.” What I discovered for myself is that Faith doesn’t have time limitations or conditions. Faith is going forward without a step by step instruction manual. Faith is believing that no matter what happens, what is taking place, or what you’re feeling, WHATEVER God has promised about a situation will occur. Faith is believing that the impossible is POSSIBLE. Total Surrender unto God, His Will, And His Ways is the beginning of a Mature Relationship with the Father. SDH

Shirelle Shirelle Shirelle Shirelle Hogans Hogans Hogans Hogans

Greetings Beloved, Many of the women in the Body of CHRIST suffer needlessly with low self esteem. They have taken in so much worldly influence in their lives that they have all but forsaken what GOD has told them about themselves. In order to establish Godly self esteem, we must first learn how GOD sees us. We must daily speak and receive GOD’s word over our lives until it becomes etched into the walls of our mind, as was GOD’s word written on the wall before King Belshazzar. (Dan. 5:5) King Belshazzar’s entire countenance changed upon seeing the word of GOD, although his reverence was out of fear and confusion, our countenance should be a that of praise to our Father in Heaven. When we neglect to see ourselves as GOD’s precious creation, we insult HIS workmanship. In doing this, we give the enemy a foothold in our lives, and in our negative talk against ourselves, we are laying the foundation for low self esteem, which is a trick of the enemy to destroy our temple. Self esteem is defined as ones perception of herself. As women of GOD our self esteem should be based on every word that came out of the mouth of the LORD. Matthew 4:4 states that we (mortal man and woman) cannot live by bread and water alone, but that we must have the word of GOD in order for us to be complete. The process of breaking the shackles of low self esteem lie in GOD’s word being taught, heard (Rom. 10: 17), understood Psalm 119: 34), believed (Psalm 119: 66, Luke 17: 19) and then put into practice in our daily walk (James 2: 1820). Article Continued on page 99

By: Tronica Alaniz aka Soror Perfect Peace Photography By: Isis Verser aka Soror Compassionate

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“In Our Daddy’s Eyes” Continued • GOD believes in you: HE created woman with the awesome ability to carry the word within her. In the book of Luke you can read the account of how GOD chose Mary to be the portal through which JESUS would enter the world. Mary nurtured JESUS in her womb, and was faithful to the word of GOD through HIS Angel. She even stepped out on faith and told her cousin Elisabeth about what GOD had placed in her through the HOLY GHOST. The Anointing was so strong on Mary that the child in her cousin’s womb leaped within her (Luke 1:1-49). When you realize that when GOD saved you and placed HIS HOLY SPIRIT within you, HE placed the HIS very word in your belly, the seed was planted and it’s up to us to be obedient to what HE has promised us. We must nurture the word HE places in us, by feeding our spirit with HIS truth. GOD believes in you enough to trust you with HIS life giving and life changing word, so if GOD believes in you, YOU should believe in yourself all the more. You are the glory of man: (1Cor. 11: 7, 10) When GOD created woman, HE created her with a specific purpose in mind, to be a help mate. GOD also calls Woman “the glory of man”. Glory means honor, dignity, distinction, eminence, praise and prestige. GOD said in HIS word that you are all of these things, and not only that but, HE said you have power because of the Angels. So in times when you find yourself feeling like the world is just overtaking you, remember that GOD said you are able, competent and strong, you have the potential in you to move mountains! In times when you feel like your life doesn’t matter, remember that GOD said that you are a woman of prestige, so cast that negative thinking back into the pit of hell and believe the report of the LORD. Allow the process to take place: The process of transformation into having healthy and Godly self esteem is described by Paul in Ephesians 4:22-24 as involving three stages. The first is putting off the old self which belongs to the former way of life. When GOD saved you through the atonement of JESUS, all that you used to be and think died with your old sins. The second is being made new in the attitude of your mind and the third ties closely in with that, you must put on the new self. To put off and put on in the Greek as it was used in this passage of scripture is past tense in grammar, which lets us know that when you died to sin, you also should have buried low self esteem and unhealthy personal images. When your lifestyle changed as a result of hearing the gospel, your thought process should have been apart of that change as well. The act was a complete process through what JESUS did for us on Calvary. When we gave our lives over to HIM, we gave over any ungodly thought and behavior that would beset us in this faith walk. Overcoming low self esteem is a completed act by what JESUS did for us, we simply must allow the new mind to take place, and continue to develop in Christ daily. My Dear Sisters, I want to encourage you to let go of any negative thoughts that you may have held up until now about yourself and begin to put GOD’s truth about how to see yourself on repeat in your “spiritual I-pods”. Let’s rejoice in who GOD says we are, let’s embrace GOD’s truth whole heartedly and walk in the beauty of Holiness as GOD intended for us to do. I challenge each of us to choose a scripture of affirmation that expresses how GOD sees us and repeat it throughout the day for a month until it gets down into our bellies. GOD promises that HIS word, shall not return to HIM void, so walk in HIS truth and know that HE says “Woman, YOU are VERY GOOD”! (Gen. 1:31) Agape until we meet again. -TDA

Soror Perfect Peace

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The young and excited bride-and-groom-to-be; ecstatic about the upcoming wedding and marriage and the joy that it will bring. Three to six months later, reality has set in and both spouses realize that marriage is no easy task, but one that takes a great deal of effort and patience. The following are tips for both wives and husbands, to help make the task a little less daunting, and to increase the many rewards that are possible in such a marvelous and complex relationship.

Enter the Marriage with the Right Intention and Renew this Often
Both spouses should enter the marriage with the pure intention of pleasing and loving one another. The marriage itself then becomes an act of worship and one for which both spouses will be rewarded. You will be pleased with the outcome of your marriage and this will be the most critical element in ensuring peace, stability and happiness throughout the marital life. It is also important to realize that when an act of worship is continued over a long period of time, it becomes necessary to renew one's intention often to remain on the correct path and to obtain the most benefit; Meaning that the couple should go to church together. Remember, a family that prays together, stays together.

Do Not Hold Unrealistic Expectations
Before marriage, people often have unrealistic ideas about their spouseto-be, expecting perfection in all aspects. This rarely, if ever, plays out in reality and can lead to unnecessary problems and concerns. We should recall that we are humans and imperfect beings, which means that many mistakes will be made throughout a lifetime. By turning the table and expecting imperfection, we will be pleasantly surprised and pleased when our spouse is much more than we ever hoped for. This, in turn, will lead to contentment within the marriage.

By: Latasha D. McClary aka Soror Heart’s Desire Photography By: Isis I. Verser aka Soror Compassionate

Spend Quality Time Together
It is not enough to share meals, chores and small talk together. Spouses should also find time to focus on strengthening the relationship. Often couples get busy with their own separate tasks and forget about working on one of the most important elements in life. Quality time may be anything from having a quiet, profound conversation to going for a nice long nature walk, to sharing a special hobby or project. Both spouses should enjoy the particular option chosen and distractions should be kept to a minimum. When you are married, being with your friends is cool, but your first priority is your family. Once you become married, that is your immediate family and you should act as such. Make sure that you consult each other about everything; whether it’s the kids or you wanting a friend to come over. Page 10

Tips for a Happy and Successful Marriage Continued from page 10 You share your life with your spouse now and you have to do what is pleasing. The life that you had before should change for the sake of your marriage. Spending quality time together doesn’t mean that you have to go out all of the time, even if you just sit down together and watch television or go walking in the park, should mean a lot. It’s quality time.

Keep Your Friends Out Of Your Business
I’m sure that some of your friends you may have had longer than your spouse, but if you are having problems, please don’t talk to your friends, well your single friends that is. If you have a friend that is HAPPILY MARRIED, then ask them for advice. When you go to your friends that are single or aren’t married, they will always find fault in your spouse, and it’s not because of your spouse. Most of the time it’s because you are happy and they aren’t. Friends are just that, friends, but your spouse should be your best friend. If you have a problem, talk to your spouse about it, before going to your friends, your mom or anyone else. But if you have a true friend that is there to talk then that’s fine, but make sure that it is a married friend or even a single friend, but just make sure that it’s someone that has YOU in their best interests.

Admit to Mistakes and ask for Forgiveness
Just as we ask God to forgive us when we make mistakes, we should also do the same with our spouses. The stronger person is the one who can admit when he or she is wrong, request pardon from the other, and work hard to improve his/her aspects that are in need of change. When a person is unwilling to do this, there will be little growth and development in the marriage, but when a person is willing to make a change in order to please the other spouse, then the marriage will work. Remember that change is good.

Surprise Each Other at Times
This may entail bringing home a small gift or flowers, preparing a special meal, dressing up and beautifying oneself (this is not only for women but for men as well), or sending a secret note in a lunchbox. A little imagination will go a long way. The idea is to spice up the marriage and avoid getting into a dull routine that may negatively affect the marriage. A marriage will become dull and boring. And it will affect the marriage in a major way. The spouse may want to leave or find someone that is willing to satisfy them and make them happy. But as a married couple, you should be willing to “STAY ON YOUR JOB.” Meaning, make your loved one feel special at all times, even if it’s just to say Baby I love you. Play games together. Me and my husband play Uno, play with water guns, wrestle, we play the PS2… Anyway you can find fun, then do it, but not in the club. It might be fun for one partner, but it’s bound to cause confusion within the marriage. If your King (your man) likes to watch football, then sit down and watch it with him. If your Queen (yep, QUEEN) likes to take walks in the park, then take her. Your job is to make sure that your spouse is happy at all times.

DRESS CODE
If your husband does not like to see you in a shirt that has your cleavage hanging out, then listen to him. Ladies, if he dislikes your pants because he feels like they are too tight and that they are drawing a lot of attention, then listen to him because they probably are.

NAGGING
As females, we love to nag our men. But ladies, that has to change because it only drives men away. You can talk without arguing, so do it. If you love him, then you will be willing to do whatever it takes to make him happy. -LDM

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A Poetry Nook to meet you right are… where you are…

Short but expressive poetry

Glory By: Kimberlee “Inspired Word” Dance From my upcoming inspirational book of poetry… The Diva Chronicles

When the world looks bleak and the words I want to speak Take flight from my mind, it was done by design place Saved for a new time and a place where gentleness fills the space And my soul looses free where my heart wants to be Where the shine in my eyes, burns bright but never dies Where His love is my grace, where His glory is in my space I long more to be, in the realm close to He Hear the words from His lips, where my consciousness slips the Where Proverbs and Psalms cover the broad side of my palm On my face where I rest with His sword at my chest

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I’m sorry but is your calling getting in the way? That’s only God knocking at the door trying to hand you your own personal destiny. Sometimes door-towe treat God like that annoying door-to-door salesman. You know the one you scoff at when you peek through the curtains only to run and turn the TV off hoping he thinks no one is there? Mmm Hmm… What God has got in store for us can be scary. We want to be the best Why, Christians ever but fall short of meeting that goal. Why, you may ask? The answer is simple; we want to do what we want to do not what He wants us to do. It’s very easy to say God just got me this wonderful job. But, when it comes to choosing between God and that wonderful job, which do we choose… Most choose the job. One might say, “That job feeds my family”. Does that really sound right to you? It doesn’t sound right to me. Yet I have been guilty of that same thing. God feeds your family and when we forget that, we idolize Him something that He made instead of giving God His due credit by idolizing Him. I am not perfect, I find myself doing that same thing. But ladies, we have got to change. God is yet able and He is always worthy of the praise. God loves His Children even though we are not worthy of love like His. remember The very least that we can do is remember to say thank you. For without God there is nothing to be thankful for. There would be nothing to complain about. You ought to stop and shout right NOW because God is WORTHY! Don’t run from God, He is always in your corner. Stay faithful to His word and remember that obedience is greater than sacrifice on any day in His eyes. Be Blessed. -KMD Page 13

Kimberlee M. Dance aka Soror Inspired Word

… Behold to obey is better than sacrifice… I Samuel 15:22 Study to show thyself approved… II Timothy 2:15 I can do all things through Him that strengthens me. Phil. 4:13 We are more than conquerors through Him that loved us. Romans 8:37 Saying, Touch not mine anointed and do my prophets no harm. Psalm 105:15 No man can serve two masters… Matthew 6:24

Dear Diva: I try to be a good Christian woman but I keep going back to my old ways. I’m young, I want to go kick it and have the occasional drink or two. Does that make me a bad person? -Girls Just Wanna Have Fun Well Girls, I will tell you this. There is absolutely much more to life than kicking it and drinking. I will never judge you, but God will. If you think that the things that you do are acceptable in His sight then nothing will change your mind until you hear His voice. It is up to you to seek God’s word and find what it is that He truly wants for you. But let me tell you, it is absolutely possible to have the best time of your life being totally sold-out for Christ. -Soror Inspired Word Dear Diva: I think that the people in church with me are total hypocrites. They run around the church when Bishop is looking but when they are amongst one another w/no clergy around they curse, and have even tried to fight in the Church! Should I change my place of worship? -Sick and Tired Well Sick and Tired, changing your church will not help the situation. Tell me this, is your church fulfilling to you? Do you feel comfortable there and are you in the presence of God when you are there? If your answer is yes, then I would avoid the people that cause confusion and take in all of the Jesus and Holy Spirit you can handle. God will handle the rest. Don’t leave your place of worship if your soul is being fed. Stick it out and possibly talk to the people in charge in your church about your feelings. -Soror Inspired Word If you have anything that you would like to submit to the Dear Diva Column email Soror Inspired Word at: soror_inspired_word@yahoo.com Page 14

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Besceglia Hall-Swaney Broken Vessel Ministries A women's/teaching ministry geared towards the upbuilding and total restoration of women. Shirelle "Diamond" Hogans Divas Devotion Productions Author, Motivational Speaker and Playwright Demetris Batts Interiors By Dee A full scale interior decorating business. Alina Chambers Tara's Angels Daycare Tara's Angels Family Child Care Center, affordable childcare/ preschool for families that otherwise would not be able to work. They do pay a very low tuition, but this is not for profit. The tuition is regenerated back into the business, plus more. We also take a portion of the income and put it towards extracurricular things for the children to do, like taking Karate, Art Classes and Gymnastics. Lynae Spratley, M.Ed., Life Coach Guided Steps, LLC - "Empowering You to Purpose" Let me help you live a "life by design, not by default" For Coaching Services & More Information Tronica Alaniz Esperanza Ministries Ministry that provides assistance to families with basic needs as well as prayer,Bible study and mentoring. Latoya Bennett Chains Broken Ministries The main purpose of this ministry is to break the chains (strongholds) that's hindering you in your life through the strength and guidance of Jesus Christ. One of my main focus groups is Victims of Domestic Violence. Jomekia Johnson Deborah's Song Ministries This ministry's main purpose is to help empower women and to help them seek their full potential by relying, having faith, and trusting in God. COUNSELING SERVICES AND CONFLICT RESOLUTION If you are having a personal problem or a problem with another soror and need to speak with someone, you can contact the ministries counselors, Soror Isis "Compassionate" Verser or Soror Ciarra "Pure Purpose" Johnson. They are available to talk with you concerning issues you may be facing. They will also act as mediators between you and another soror for conflict resolution. For more info go to the Diva’s Only Section of www.iotathetaeta.org Page 16

ΙΘΗ Christian Sorority, Inc.

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