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

Being Love – Renee Beltran

Welcome to the Being Love Series!

Love suffers long and is kind; love does not envy; love does not parade itself, is not puffed up, does not behave rudely, does not seek its own, is not provoked, thinks no evil; does not rejoice in inquity, but rejoices in the truth; bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things. 1 Corinthians 13:4-7


Our first guest is Renee Beltran! Renee is a speaker, mother, Mary Kay consultant, and the founder of Sisterhood of God Women’s Ministry!

Shantel: Hey Renee!

Renee: Hey girl!

S: Tell me, what is your definition of love?

R: Love is an action. I really love “love” movies. You know, the affection, the touching, and the romance. I used to think that that was what love is. Like If you don’t give me butterflies then I’m not in love with you! *laughs* But then as I grew in my relationship with Christ and really got to know who He was as a Father and a supporter it showed me that what I thought was love was actually lust.

S: Wow.

R: Love is “You’re this way. Those are your sins and this is your baggage. But, no matter what you carry, I’m choosing to make the decision to love you no matter what.”

S: *Laughs* You’re going in girl! When can you say is the first time you’ve experienced love?

R: *Exhales* It may sound weird but it’s actually the moment that I let go of this certain type of love. It was the moment when I prayed and fasted for a whole month and asked God if my son’s father was the man He had for me. Was this man ever gonna change? Was he gonna stop abusing me? Was he gonna come to Christ? And if so, were we gonna be together? And it was actually the first time I heard God speak to me.

S: Wow!

R: He told me “I don’t have this man for you. You can stay with him if you want but I won’t bless you in it.” So I made the decision and said “God, I make the decision to love you more than to love this man.” I got up, packed my things, and left. But when I left it was really hard for me because I Ieft with pretty much nothing. Everything was in his name. So I left with only my clothes.

R: Every night I cried because I really wanted my family but in those moments I really felt loved most. Just the fact that God spoke to me, and showed me what He had for me, and in the fact that I made the decision to get up and leave, He opened so many doors.

S: Girl, this is awesome! How do you choose to be love on a daily basis?

R: As I clean people’s homes for my cleaning business, I worship God. I put my headphones in and worship the entire time!

S: What would you say to someone who’s struggling with being love?

R: It all starts with loving yourself and learning who God is because He is love. Once you learn who God is, and what love actually is versus lust, you come to learn that you are made in God’s image. We confuse the two so many times thinking “Oh, this guy doesn’t really like me or I’m not getting this type of attention so I’m not loved.” For me that’s how it was. I grew up without a father so I didn’t have a male role model in my life, so if I didn’t get attention I thought “Well, maybe I’m just not loved.” We deserve so much higher, so much better than that. We have to learn what our best qualities are and not focus on the bad ones.


Be sure to follow Renee on Instagram, Facebook, and subscribe to her website www.reneebeltran.com!

To find out more about the Being Love Series click here! Thanks for reading! ❤

About Last Night…

So on Friday evening, a missions organization in Baltimore, Ywam (Youth With A Mission) Baltimore, hosted a worship session. In this session, unlike anything else I’ve experienced, praises arose from locals and visitors from all over with a spontaneous flow. There was no agenda, no tedious schedule, and no program. Just pure, authentic worship from the heart of believers.

As we gathered, we greeted one another with smiling faces. The atmosphere was warm as the lights glistened above the platform. What I love about the location is it’s rustic nature. The building is old but has beautiful elements that have been enhanced by co-founders Devon and Kristin Potler.

The band featured was the Water and Fire band, a young boy group consisting of two guitar players and a drummer.

What I loved about the Water and Fire band is not only did they minister through music but also spoke encouraging words and scriptures over us as they continued throughout the set.

Our praises filled the air as we sang songs to the King of Kings. As we lifted our voices with the band, each person worshipped in a different way. The spirit of freedom was there.

For the Lord is the Spirit, and wherever the Spirit of the Lord is, there is freedom. 2 Corinthians 3:17 NLT

The whole night was bountiful as we embraced conversations, laughs, and hugs with each other. But one thing that really stuck out to me was the hour we sang songs from heaven.

During the end of the set, the worship leader concluded that although we get caught up in the busyness of life sometimes we must not forget to be still in God’s presence. The music stopped and voices echoed across the room with small pockets, of adoration.

I caught myself envisioning being with Jesus and casting down fear in an ocean before us. Jesus shared that He was with me; that there was no need to be afraid. The worship then began to arise with “oo’s”, heavenly language, and tunes never sung before. It was sensational.

We then retreated in singing songs more recognizable like “Good, Good Father” and “How Great Is Our God”. Take a look at more footage from this holy encounter. I’m truly grateful for the experience.


Stay in the know with Ywam Baltimore! Such an impactful movement with people whose hearts are on fire for God!

Also, be sure to follow our social media!

Journey to Rest

Despite my busy schedule as a teacher, musician, worship leader, and blogger, I’ve felt a higher calling upon me. A calling to rest. If God rested on the seventh day what makes me think that I’m too dignified to do so?

So I’ve decided to take a step back and enjoy the beauty that can so easily be ignored. In this moment, no longer was I Shantel the teacher, Shantel the minister, or even Shantel the adult. I became Shantel the explorer. As I started my journey, I got to fill my love tank with the wonders of Baltimore.

Don’t forget to stop and smell the roses. Walter Hagen

Take time to reflect on God’s goodness and embrace the wonders around you. There’s beauty all around.

Never forget that you are a work of art.

Thank you for making me so wonderfully complex! Your workmanship is marvelous — how well I know it. Psalm 139:14 NLT

Til next time.


To check out more amazing artwork, visit the Walter’s Art Museum in Baltimore, Md. Sites featured: Walter’s Art Museum, Peabody Institute, and the George Washington Monument.

Waiting on God’s Timing

Hey there! A few Tuesdays ago, instead of hosting the prayer call via phone, I decided to livestream it on Facebook! It was an awesome segment. There are so many wonderful things that happen when we wait on God’s timing. Here is a recap from our segment.

Wait on the Lord and be of good courage and he shall strengthen thine heart. Wait, I say on the Lord. Psalm 27:14 KJV

Sometimes we get discouraged while waiting. Although it seems tedious at times it is a requirement.

And let us not grow weary of doing good, for in due season we will reap, if we do not give up. Galatians 6:9

God has great things in store for us but we cannot faint. We cannot quit in the middle of the process.

When God began preparing me for my new job assignment I questioned where I’d go next. I knew He was calling me out but I didn’t know where. While walking my dog one day I felt this strong inclination to go a school that was nearby.

Little did I know that God would give me a position there as an art teacher. His timing is best.

Sometimes the wait isn’t familiar. Even when everyone is telling you that it’s wrong, remember what God has spoken to your heart.

God works in the details.

If He’s moving you in a certain area or transitioning you, he’s preparing for something greater.

“Humble yourselves therefore under the mighty hand of God, that he may exalt you in due time: Casting all your care upon him; for he careth for you.”
1 Peter 5:6‭-‬7 KJV

Turn your worries over.

To cast means to cause to move or send forth by throwing. It also means to get rid of. We must render our worries over to the captain of our souls.

We weigh ourselves down with our own baggage.

God did not intend for us to be burdened down by the weight of our problems. Give it over to God today.

You don’t have to understand it in order for it to happen. – Mike Todd

Methods to Not Worrying

  • Don’t worry
  • Pray about everything
  • Tell God what you need
  • Thank Him for all He has done

*Taken from Philippians 4:6,7*

On the other side of your obedience, you’ll see why the wait was worth it.

If you’ve been struggling in the area of waiting, believe me I’ve been there. But there is something great on the other side of your obedience.

Encouraging Prayer for Waiting

Dear God,

You are mines forever. I can depend on you at all times. Thank you for assuring me that you are near. I confess that I have grown weary at times in my waiting. I pray that You give me godly insight and a new perspective. For it is truly an honor to wait on you. You have the best in store for me. I now surrender my worries to you (feel free to name them specifically). I declare that anxiety no longer takes precedence in my life. I declare your goodness and your salvation over my life.

In Jesus’ Name,

Amen


No More Worrying

It’s when you are lost that you find the need of a Savior. – Shantel Gross

Worrying seemed to have always been a habit of mine. It was like a natural instinct. I had lots to worry about growing up – friends, bills, houses, recital performances, and more. I’d even create things to worry about in my mind that weren’t tangible at the time. Like owning a house (mind you, I was around 17), having a family, finding my wedding dress, and the proposal from my future husband. Remember, I’ve always been a hopeful romantic.

I remember one day balling my eyes out. I had got into a frenzy about something that wasn’t turning out my way. Heavy breathing, tears, and a sense of defeat. Those were my ingredients for this chaotic mess. I eventually sought out therapy and meditated on this scripture.

Don’t worry about anything; instead, pray about everything. Tell God what you need, and thank him for all he has done. Philippians 4:6 NLT

Because I always wanted to know the answer to everything, it stopped me from enjoying what was right in front of me.

Pride goes before destruction, and a haughty spirit before a fall. Proverbs 16:18

Stop and smell the roses.

You can lose sight of your present treasures worrying about the past and future. It’s not about you finding out what comes next, it’s about embracing the journey. We are sailors and our hearts long to sail. So by faith, I challenge you to take that next step in trusting God.

Ways To Stop Worrying

Do something spontaneous! Live, Dance, Get Your Party On!

Address your issues. Sometimes we need to get it out of our heads and onto paper. Choose someone who is wise and mature to talk to, if need be.

Meditate. It’s good for the mind, body, and soul. (I sometimes listen to worship music while meditating.) Check some out here.

Count your blessings! Gratefulness is never the wrong option. Begin thanking God for what He has done. Praise Jesus!

Spend quality time with those you love. Friendship and companionship can help ease your mind. Being alone sometimes gives opportunity for the enemy or your thoughts to give way.

Keep that heart pumping! Exercise, workout, jog, or run. Your body will thank you later or eventually 😉.


To learn more about meditation and its benefit, check out this article!

It’s our Anniversary!

Hey! It’s a celebration! Life to Your Soul turns 4 today!

We started this blog with the hopes of inspiring others in their walk with Christ and sharing personal stories. We are pleased to say that God and your support have exceeded our expectations. Because of your support we have hosted two events in Baltimore City, mentored hundreds of youth & young adults and partnered with other organizations. From the bottom of our hearts we thank you all! The best is yet to come!

I planted the seed in your hearts, and Apollos watered it, but it was God who made it grow. 1 Corinthians 3:6 NLT

Shine the Light

I was sitting there during my planning period with worship music blasting in the teacher’s lounge. Go Elevation Worship! As another teacher entered, I considered turning the music down. I thought to myself that she might not have wanted to hear it. But then the thought came to my heart, “What good is the gospel if it isn’t shared?”
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I’ve always been skeptical of causing a scene and drawing attention to myself. I never really liked being the center of attention unless it involved me making others laugh. I was lighthearted as a child and quite humorous around my family. But when it came to others beyond my home, I was quite sheltered.

I didn’t want to cause a scene.

As my walk with Christ intensified over the years, I began to notice how sharing the gospel was important. During my lunch periods in high school, I’d sometimes print bible verses and place them around the building while others were in the cafeteria or classrooms. You could’ve called me Batman because I didn’t mind helping others but loathed being seen.

Make me invisible.

Evangelism conflicted with my personal preference. Although sharing the gospel was vital and necessary, I didn’t want to do it on the count of drawing attention to myself. I would war within myself to do things because I didn’t know how others would respond to my acts of faith.

I am enough.

What it all really boiled down to was my fear of rejection. Fear that if others saw me doing things they wouldn’t accept me or my efforts. I yearned for acceptance but in the wrong way.

For am I now seeking the approval of man, or of God? Or am I trying to please man? If I were still trying to please man, I would not be a servant of Christ. Galatians 1:10

I had to come to terms with the fact that people will not always like me. Some people may despise me for sharing my faith or how God moves through me. But that does not warrant me to limit shining the light.

“This little light of mine, I’m gonna let it shine.”

Our lives are so important. We possess a light that the world needs to see. When we don’t share it, we hinder others from seeing the gospel in a God-ordained way. We must build up the courage to share His truth even through our differences. The world would be pretty bland if we we were all the same. Instead God has given us unique stories and abilities to reach the lives of others. Show Jesus, Share Jesus, Bear His light and Be It! No one else can do what you do, so do it boldly.

Prayer for Boldness:

God,

I pray that you would give us the strength and boldness to shine your light. To be the change that our peers need. Help us to be attentive and aware of what’s going on around us. You are answering prayers and doing so even through us. My we not be hindered by fear but recall all of the wonderful things you have done for us. Your will be done. In Jesus’ name, Amen.

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 so 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


Check out this awesome song by Jamie Grace!

Here is the latest cover on my Youtube page!

Need prayerGod bless.

I Wish

I wish I could block their eyes from seeing it. I’d shield them all. 

I wish I could cover their ears and protect them from the lies that spread like wildfire. I’d shield them from the darkness of this world. 

I’d cover them with my arms and serenade them with words of life, comfort, and healing. 

I’d help every child live a pure, youthful, innocent life. Their eyes would be bold and their roar striking. Their smiles forever vibrant. Their laughter’d echo in the airwaves filling the atmosphere with joy. They’d live a prosperous life.

Ooohhh…. but I find ways.

To be the home for the child that feels homeless. The shelter for the girl who innocence was robbed. The mother to a son who became a man too soon. For the jokester who laughs to cover his open wounds. The voice for the one too afraid to speak.

I am their peace while they are in my possession. For in that moment, they are mine. 

They are my children with no limits. My offspring with bright and glorious futures. They shine like the sun. Gleaming like the sun. And smile like the Son. This is Paradise.

Look at life with the eyes of a child. Kathe Kollwitz

This poem is inspired by my desire and efforts to end the exposure of children to pornography and sexual immorality.

To learn more about ending human trafficking, click here.