Happy New Year! A 2018 Recap

Happy New Year!!

We’ve arrived in 2019. 2018 had been full of surprises, blessings, new opportunities. good and unexpected but it’s certainly been a rewarding journey.

We’ve been interviewed and have interviewed other visionaries. We hosted a series and several events focusing on youth enpowerment, mental health awareness, creative arts, and purity. It seems like just yesterday I was typing up my first blog post and here we are. 2018 has been one of the most fulfilling years of my life and Life to Your Soul journey. I pray you all utilize all the blessings that this year has available to you!

Take a look at this recap through pictures. (Click them to expand.)

Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays!

Praying that you and your family are enjoying this holiday season. Let’s embrace the true meaning of Christmas, the birth of our Lord & Savior Jesus Christ! What a glorious day it must have been when Jesus entered the world. Angels burst into singing, wise men travel from afar to bring gifts to the baby King, and Joseph & Mary marvel at the wonderful signs.

I’m grateful to spend time with my family, receive gifts, watch my nephews open theirs, be kind to others, and sing songs. Embrace the beautiful spirit of Christmas. Share the story. It can include these but it’s much more than just presents under a tree.

Mental Illness and Christianity

Mental illness is bigger than putting a bandage on something and saying it will get better. Let’s open up the table for discussion. I thoroughly enjoyed reading this post and hope you all will too!

Metamorphosis

I believe there are arguments when it comes to Christianity and sicknesses. People may ask, “I thought you are a Christian, so why does your God allow you to suffer from that extreme illnesses?”. People would question your faith and even the mere existence of God.

To be specific, let’s talk about mental illnesses.

“Why do you feel hopeless? Maybe you’re not reading your Bible.”

“Try fasting for days, attend the church services, always pray.”

Reading the Bible, prayer and fasting, and attending church are not bad. It actually helps you to rely more on to God despite the condition. It’s just that these activities may not entirely heal what you’re experiencing. It’s like putting a band-aid on a fresh wound without prior cleaning.

Remember, in the first place, we are not saved by good works, but by what Jesus did on the cross.

What sick people (specifically those who…

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A Time to Pray – Join Us!

Hey y’all! Starting on Thanksgiving day, we will be hosting a prayer call series. I believe it is important to come together and share how thankful we are for all that God has done. We’re blessed! We seen this organization spring forward in so many phenomenal ways. Through outreach events, interviews, positive feedback, and much more!

Please join us on Thursday, November 22nd as we interecede on the behalf of our family, friends, coworkers, children, and country. Feel free to submit your prayer request here or share if you’d like on Thanksgiving day at 5am EST. We can’t wait for you to join in! Invite a friend.

Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. Philippians 4:6 NASB

It’s a Great Day!

Just like any other day, today is a great day.

I woke up the other morning feeling blessed. Thankful for the cool breeze and 70 degree weather. It was another beautiful day. With warm colored leaves all around. This was the day they called Halloween.

I grew up celebrating Halloween with my family. Mom dressed me up as a black cat one year using a pair of black tights for my cat ears! We’d go around the neighborhood, all 5 of us plus cousins and an Aunt, like the Brady Bunch knocking on doors. I don’t think I cared too much about it, I just knew that I liked the free candy!

As I got older and discovered the origin of Halloween, things started to change. I realized that it was a pagan holiday and the costume wearing originated from the concept of people attempting to ward of ghosts. On Halloween, it was believed that the boundaries between the worlds of the living and dead became blurred.

You are the light of the world. A city set on a hill cannot be hidden. Nor do people light a lamp and put it under a basket, but on a stand, and it gives light to all in the house. In the same way, let your light shine before others, so that they may see your good works and give glory to your Father who is in heaven.” Matthew 5:14-16 ESV

I realized that although most festivities are done in fun, I must uphold a standard.

We must pray and ask God for guidance. After all, we are made in His likeness and image. We must choose to be the light no matter what day, hour, or age.

Royalty is my identity. Servanthood is my assignment. Intimacy with God is my life source.

Bill Johnson

As we all embrace this fall season, I commission you friends to find ways to show gratitude.

Photo courtesy of Aquila Evans Photography

Here are some helpful tips:

  • Meditate.
  • Spend initial time with family, friends, and those God has placed in your circle.
  • Start reading a devotional.
  • Laugh. Don’t be so serious!
  • Thank God for something new every morning. It is of the Lord’s mercies that we are not consumed, because his compassions fail not. They are new every morning: great is thy faithfulness. Lamentations 3:22‭-‬23 KJV
  • Appreciate nature. All around us are beautiful things to admire.
  • Get a planner and plan out your day. Don’t be afraid of making changes or playing it by ear sometimes.

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Freedom.

So ever since the great news and success of the Promise Ceremony, I’ve felt like I’ve been rushing.

Rushing to stay busy and keep the momentum of everything going. But my body, on the other hand, has been like “Nah, Shantel. You need to slow down and rest.”

For everything there is a season, and a time for every matter under heaven:
Ecclesiastes 3:1 ESV

Being newly engaged, there’s a lot that goes into it but I’m grateful for God’s Word and a partner who equally understands the importance of balance. My body has been through the ringer and I’ve felt the effects of all the commotion.

To give you a recap:

  • I hosted and directed the Promise Ceremony on 09/15.
  • Lead on the worship team at church and taught children’s church (voluntarily) on 09/16. Attended a workshop on kingdom wealth that evening.
  • Taught children throughout the week. (I’m a teacher.)
  • Went to my grandmother’s viewing on 09/21.
  • Attended and sang with family at my grandmother’s funeral on 09/22.
  • Had rehearsal the following day after service with my group.
  • The list goes on…

It’s safe to say that September has been jampacked and that’s not including the beginning of the month. But I’ve sensed God’s peace and have been reminded to trust Him throughout every season.

If God told the children of Israel to rest from their toil while in the wilderness and even rested Himself on the 7th day, who am I to try to be the Energizer bunny? There is an importance in resting and we can miss out on precious moments if we don’t choose to be still.

I took a walk yesterday with my love and we rested in that moment. Here are some pics of me sitting on a tree!

It’s okay to not have everything under control, but trust the One who does. He sees and He knows what’s best!

The Lord is my shepherd; I shall not want. He makes me lie down in green pastures.He leads me beside still waters.He restores my soul. Psalm 23:1-3

If you would like more insight on resting, take a look at this awesome article.

It’s My Birthday!

I just want to thank God for this new year! I have witness so much transformation within my family, my community, and myself. We’re not stopping here. When you make God you’re foundation, you’ll be amazed by how far he’ll take you. Thank you all for your wishes and I pray a blessed and prosperous new season. Also, blessed Rosh Hashanah to you all! Stay tuned for information on my event coming up the Promise Ceremony Conference! Hope to see some of you there!

Planted Not Buried

Hello loves! I hope you all have been doing wonderfully! I’ve been m.i.a but all for a good reason. To better myself as a writer, a host, a teacher, and an individual overall. As much as I’d love to get on here and post more frequently, I believe God has given me the grace to prepare for the wonderful things coming up!

Because I’ve been missing for a month, I want to give you a recap of what’s been going on.

  • I’ve been serving on the worship team and children’s church at my local church.
  • Leading in song and outreach with my group Holy Host Ministries.
  • Preparing for this year’s Promise Ceremony Conference. (Check out a recap from last year’s.)
  • Getting ready for the new school year. (I’m an art teacher.)

Planted Not Buried

Sometimes, there are things that occur in our lives that leaves us wondering why. Why we are left in this predicament. Why don’t we see the end result? Or do we have the skills or tools to endure? And how long will this season be?

I want to encourage you to maintain your hope. Don’t throw in the towel. There’s a reason why God has you where you are.

I remember struggling with finding out where my next place of employment would be last year. Or where my life time partner was (love story soon to come 😊). Or how I’d catch the bus to my last job with no money. But God challenged me to trust Him in those times and answered in His timing.

I want to encourage you not to give up. Don’t stop serving. Don’t stop working at what God has given you. Be consistent and watch God provide the next step. There are things that we need to learn in our current season that will prepare us for our next.

And he shall be like a tree planted by the rivers of water, that brings forth its fruit in its season; his leaf also shall not wither; and whatsoever he does shall prosper. Psalm 1:3 NKJV

Take a listen to this message by Michael Todd. It got me all the way together! (Pardon my broken English!) Some of us are being planted and don’t realize it. Don’t allow the weight of what you’re going through to allow you to quit prematurely. You’re worth the wait!


#plantednotburied

The Love Encounter

I learned to love from a distance. As long as you didn’t get too close to me, I was fine. As long as you didn’t invade my space we were perfectly fine. But you were different.

You told me that you loved me and I felt something. As much as I tried to hide, you sought me all the more. I was afraid to let you in. I thought you’d see something that’d make you turn away. My heart had suffered enough damage.

It ached and dripped with bruises and scars from the past. You smiled softly, looking intently into my eyes. Placing your hand over mine, you held my heart with me. It was the one thing I felt that I had left. The one thing that I attempted to shield.

I felt warmth coming from your palms and fingers as I slowly released my grip. I finally decided to let you in. The flood gates opened and the poison began to drain. You said “I am life” and my heart began to heal. I could not have done this without you. I’ve needed you ever since. And you’re constantly, readily, and deeply available to me.

My flesh and my heart may fail, but God is the strength of my heart and my portion forever. Psalm 73:26