The Day I Chased Anxiety Away

I started out on an evening stroll apprehensively. I wanted to do it but I also wanted to be accompanied by someone. I hadn’t gone often alone but I pushed past my reluctance.

Finally out, I began walking at a slow pace. It felt good to be out this warm evening right before the sun went to sleep. I started down a familiar path along the houses of my neighbors. Turning onto a main street, I crossed over to more familiarity. As I scanned the trees and houses I noticed a set of eyes glancing at me. The unfamiliar face then disappeared further into his backyard. I kept forward with my eyes ahead on the path.

As I approached my intended turn, my chest started to tighten. You see, I had never walked this trail alone in the evening. And although the sun still peaked at me I wondered what lurked ahead. As I approached the trail my mind began to shout at me. Keep walking straight. Don’t turn right. Don’t turn right!

Like a fish fighting to swim upstream, I pushed past the voice in my head and turned right.

Alarmed.

Amplified.

Everywhere-ness.

These are words that come to mind as I walked hesitantly down the trail. Trees, grass, and houses further away seemed to encamp around me. I believe my spidey senses were tingling. I could hear everything around me. The leaves brushing against eachother, the wind’s breath in the open field, and even the little fly that added to my fears by buzzing in my right ear.

Heavy breathing. Chills down my spine. Pace quickening. I just imagined some large male deer or other animal would approach me in the forest.

Lions and tigers and bears. Oh my!

Marching quickly, I continued down what appeared to be an unfamilar trail. I had trekked this path before with my husband. But everything seemed new without him. He wasn’t there to share laughs with and admire as we’d stroll together. I repeatedly chanted within myself “There’s nothing chasing me. There’s nothing chasing me. The Lord is my shepherd.” Then gradually I started believing it.

Nothing appeared amongst the trees. No bears, no male deer, and certainly no vicious monster. I walked with a little more ease and confidence as I challenged the nothing that was watching me. But suddenly I realized that something indeed was chasing me.

As I approached a side trail, chills went down my spine. This trail went deeper into the forest surrounded by foliage and more spaces for my hairy foe to get me. My heart pounded. Anxiety was gaining on me. My mind sounded off to keep going forward. I rushed on the trail, over a small bridge, aaannnddd stopped.

Silence. Stopping on the bridge, I faced the forest. Nothing. I turned to the other side. Nothing. Just trees, grass, and a small river underneath with pebble stones. I looked beneath the bridge as the gentle water trickled down stream. Peace and quite. I looked into the forest to see if anything was there. Nothing but serenity. I exhaled deeply. I began walking ahead with a smile on my face.

The trail lead me to a familiar neighborhood close to home. I greeted one of the neighbors and continued strolling with ease. Taking in the warm air with a deep breath, I noticed my heart was no longer pounding. I finally had home in my eye’s view.

I embraced the evening’s journey as my pace slowed. Feeling a sense of resolve, my face beamed with pride. Anxiety was fierce but the day’s battle was over. I felt safe and welcomed me back home by nature and the Almighty. Opening the door, I smiled as I thought how I’d tell you about the day I chased anxiety away.

For so long anxiety has chased me but today I chased it back.

Shantel Snells

Throw all your anxieties upon Him, because He cares about you.

1 Kefa (1 Peter) 5:7 CJB

Life after Death – He Is Risen!

Blessed day to you all and Happy Easter! What an incredible sacrifice and work our Savior did for all humanity.

How have you all been doing? I know that this virus outbreak has effected us all and it’s been my prayer that we gain clarity/direction from God in this season. I’ve learned that in the midst of these trials gratefulness and prayer have been great antidotes. Although media shows a lot of negative news there’s truly so much to be grateful for. I’ll share 6 things with you all here that I’m grateful for:

  1. We just passed our 6th year anniversary here at Life to Your Soul on April 3rd! God is faithful and I’m thankful for all of your support.
  2. I’ve had more time to go for walks and meditating in God’s presence.
  3. My husband and I just celebrated our 6th month anniversary in March.
  4. I’m preparing something special that I’ll get to share with you all at the end of this year. : )
  5. I’m checking in with family and friends more often. This time away has helped me realize more the value of relationships.
  6. I’ve been creating more art! Drawings, sketches, and calligraphy in particular. 

I’d love to hear what you all have been up to or how you’ve been coping during this time.

Remember that Christ gave us hope for times like these. For all of you who may have experienced sickness, trauma, or death of friends and loved ones, my heart goes out to you. May God’s peace renew you day by day. You are not alone.

These things I have spoken to you, that in Me you may have peace. In this world you will have tribulation; but be of good cheer, I have overcome the world. John 16:33 NKJV

I pray that you experience healing, comfort, and peace during these trying times. Happy Resurrection Day.

 

One Step @ A Time

“2020 is gonna be huge!” “Vision 20/20!” “Clarity and Increase!”

These are some quotes that flooded my newsfeed leading up to the new year. There was a sense of “get ready” in the air and people were preparing for the next big thing. Although I initially joined the momentum, I discovered an even greater revelation later on.

Read more

A Little Life Update…

Hello there. I haven’t forgotten about you all. Since getting married, there have been a lot of changes in my life. I’ve moved, changed jobs, and have been adapting to this new season. It’s truly been a blessed one.

Here’s a photo recap from my adventures with my husband this far. You might even see some wedding pics down below. 😉

Say hello to zipliners 🙂

Rode my first horse!

These boneless wings were bomb on our honeymoon!

Good smiles during our first dance!

What a view to wake up to.

Love was seen and experienced at our honeymoon.

Loved my makeup and accessories 🙂

Our photographer(s) were awesome. We were all smiles on our big day!

First meal cooked at home 🙂

I hope you all are embracing this season of thanksgiving and advent. If you have any questions for me, feel free to ask in the comment section. Thanks for your continued support!

Farewell, Single Shantel

Hey there. Guess what? In just one more day I will be a married woman! 🎉 I can’t believe I’m at this point but it’s really happening.

In case you’ve wondered how I’m doing let’s just say my emotions have been a big roller coaster. (Watch out Sixflags Superman!)

I’ve experienced joy, excitement, fear, anticipation, gratitude, love and sadness to name a few. Sadness because I realize that a lot of things are coming to an end for me.

I’ll no longer live with my family, I’ll be mainly attending a new church, and even my job will change. It’s taken me some time to process but I’m grateful for friends and family that have encouraged me along the way. It’s definitely been a learning and planning season.

I recall the nights I used to pray and cry to God for the One to be revealed. Little did I know God would meet and surpass my expectations.

When it was time for Lawrence and I to align it just started happening. People around us were picking up on us becoming an item and I can’t count how many confirmations we received. It’s like God was playing matchmaker, setting us up, and then revealed us to eachother. (We see what You did there, Lord 😏)

“For I know the plans I have for you,” says the LORD. “They are plans for your good and not for disaster, to give you a future and a hope.” Jeremiah 29:11 NLT

Because I’m a planner, a visionary, and a strategist I just knew that I’d know when the One came around. But Lawrence was not on my radar. He took me by surprise. It was the perfect gift in exchange for my surrender to the Savior.

I’ve learned that the importance on my end was not finding the One but becoming the One. This walk has required faith, patience, and all that good Godly stuff! Lawrence and I have gotten to know eachother more and develop a great friendship. I see how God was preparing me in my singleness.

Ladies and gentlemen, if I may give you advice, I’d say do not waste your singleness. It’s beautiful, it’s freedom, and it’s a gift. We take it for granted sometimes but it’s a very special season in your life. You get to learn/explore who you are and the things you like to do. I’m thankful for my singleness and would like to write a note to single Shantel.

Dear Single Shantel,

Farewell. You’ve been a pleasure to meet and discover. We’ve had some trying, difficult times together. I didn’t always value your worth. But it was in you that God showed me my strength. In you that I realized my identity. In you that I realized I was already enough. I thank God for blessing me with very fruitful single years. I’ve learned so much in the span of 28 years. Married Shantel, I look forward to meeting you tomorrow. You’re apart of my destiny. With Babe and the Lord’s help, we will figure this out.

Sincerely,

Shantel Gross

Charm is deceptive, and beauty does not last; but a woman who fears the LORD will be greatly praised. Proverbs 31:30 NLT

Please pray for us as we embark on this new journey. Thank you all for your love and support. Our hashtag is #chosengraces and our cashapp is $chosengraces. The best is yet to come. ❤

Life Lessons – Plan & Prepare

Hey there. Have you ever felt like you’ve been doing so much but on the outside it appears like you’re living under a rock? That was me not too long ago.

You might have wondered, “Where has Shantel been?” or “Why haven’t I seen her post frequently?” Well if you didn’t know already, I’M GETTING MARRIED!! 🙂

Last September, my fiancé proposed to me during a conference I’ve hosted called the Promise Ceremony. Towards the end of it, he spoke about living a pure lifestyle, rapped an ode to me, and surprised me with a proposal. It was awesome. Now we’re getting married this September!

In addition to future bride, there are several other hats that I’ve been blessed to wear. I sing in a group called Holy Host Ministries. We perform in the DMV area using dance, rap, song, and spoken word. I’ve been a worship leader, speaker, teacher, children’s church teacher, and family gal. I love connecting with people and being a part of a spirit-filled community. But things have started shifting in response to this new chapter of my destiny.

des·ti·ny | \ ˈde-stə-nē \

Definition of destiny

1: something to which a person or thing is destined
2: a predetermined course of events often held to be an irresistible power or agency felt that destiny would determine their future

I felt like God had hid me for a while in preparation for where I am now. I kept hearing “Keep Writing” or “Prepare Now”. Like a surfer getting ready for a wave. I was honestly frustrated but I see why He prepared me.

We all have God-given assignments and purposes we are meant to fulfill. And there are times when God hides us or things slow down strategically to prepare us for something greater.

Everytime this has happened in my life I was being prepared for something bigger than the last season in my life. That is how the Promise Ceremony was born. That is also how Life to Your Soul was born. Can you relate in some way?

We sometimes get discouraged when we don’t see “it” happening. But then “it” arrives and we’re overtaken by the wave. Let’s work at preparing now and being in position. We must shift our perspectives and tune in to God’s because it’s a great change on the horizon!

Continue earnestly in prayer, being vigilant in it with thanksgiving… Colossians 4:2 NKJV

Hold fast to dreams,
For if dreams die
Life is a broken-winged bird,
That cannot fly.

Langston Hughes

Here are some tips that have helped me:

  • Invest in yourself. Read books on the direction you believe you’re going. Check out podcasts or related videos as well.
  • Don’t be afraid to mess up, as my fiancé has told me. You’ve got this because God’s got you.
  • Plan ahead. Invest in a weekly or monthly planner. It’s worked wonders in my life.
  • Network. Hang out with others who are successful and proactive. It can give a boost that you won’t regret, especially when you need encouragement.
  • Pray, fast, and worship. Have intimate time with the Father and His word. It will replenish your soul and help you tune into the Spirit. Read more here.
  • Give thanks always! Regardless of what it looks like, you are still blessed. Appreciate the little things which lead to greater.

Prayer for Direction

Dear Father,

I thank You for this opportunity to seek you. Thank you for this new season you have me in. I pray that You will show me how to proceed forward. I surrender my will to yours. If there are any hindrances/distractions, I release them to you. Help me to overcome. Even though I’ll have trials, I receive the truth that You are with me. Help me not to be discouraged. Please send others who can help edify and encourage me on this journey. Thank you for hearing my prayer.

Amen.


Donate to our marriage here! Thank you for your continued support!

Strength in Weakness

Just finished up another powerful prayer call with my sisters in Christ. If you didn’t know we host it every Thursday at 5pm EST. Our topic tonight was on “Weaknesses”.

Three different times I begged the Lord to take it away. Each time he said, “My grace is all you need. My power works best in weakness.” So now I am glad to boast about my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ can work through me. 2 Corinthians 12:8‭-‬9 NLT

What I’ve been dealing with lately is anxiety. Considering getting married in 2 months, transitioning jobs, ministry ventures, and other things, I’ve felt a little all over the place! I’ve found myself trying to find a balance in the midst of it all and haven’t got there just yet.

In the above scripture, Paul begged the Lord three times to remove the “thorn in his flesh”. However, God responded with telling about His grace. That means that the thorn was not nearly as important as God’s grace for Paul and His power to display in the midst of the struggle.

Because of that, I am encouraged to believe that regardless of the “thorns” in our flesh we can still have hope. It may be the start of a new chapter in life, a change in scenery, a trial, or a loss. I believe we should expect God to move on your behalf. After all, we are His children. He can get the glory and show Himself strong even in the midst of our weaknesses. His grace is sufficient for us.

suf·fi·cient
/səˈfiSHənt/
adjective & determiner
  1. enough; adequate.
    “a small income that was sufficient for her needs”

No matter what you’re facing right now, you’re still here for a reason. So let’s admit our flaws, reveal our imperfections, and trust in the assurance of a perfect God. His strength is made perfect in our weaknesses. I encourage you to trust in the Lord more today.

A Prayer to Trust God More

Dear Lord,

Thank you for this opportunity to trust you more. You would not put this challenge in my path if You had no plan to walk with me through it. After all, life is not just about the destination but also the journey. Please shift my perspective so that I can see what you’re trying to show me. I accept You in my heart Jesus and believe you rose from the dead for me. In faith, I trust Your process. In Your name I pray, Amen.


Take a listen to this powerful ballad and visual by Lauren Daigle called “Rescue”. It’s been refreshing to me : ) God bless.

Click the image or click here.

What Are You Birthing?

Happy Mother’s Day. While serving in church today, the importance of mothers was brought up in many examples. A story was told of a man named Peter Richley who was saved because of his mother’s prayers.

On this fine, rainy day where we celebrate mothers all around the world, I’d like to pose a question to you. What are you mothering? What are you birthing?

We all have the ability to birth things in our lives. Children, friendships, partnerships, ministry, businesses, clothing, prayers, songs, etc.

If I can encourage you today, I’d say don’t stop carrying what you’ve been given just because you don’t see it birthed yet.

Behold, I am doing a new thing; now it springs forth, do you not perceive it? I will make a way on the wilderness and rivers in the desert. Isaiah 43:19

There are many examples of mothers and people who have birthed things out of the creativity God has given them. Truthfully, regardless of if you are a woman or not you still have the power to birth.

I’m currently in a transitional phase in my life and I know all too well how uncomfortable it can be enduring the “growing pains” as my pastor would say. But what’s growing inside of you is necessary. So hold on and keep the faith. Love you all and look forward to continue sharing insight of what’s taking place in my life.

The love of a mother is the veil of a softer light between the heart and the heavenly Father.Samuel Taylor Coleridge

I thank God for all the mothers around the world and especially those who have mothered me. I thank God for my mother, her prayers, and love for me. I hope you all enjoy this day and honor your mothers.

Thanks for reading and supporting. Be sure to stick around. There’s more news abiut this season in my life coming soon.

My Beautiful Mother.

The Meaning of Purity

Purity is more than abstaining from Premarital sex. – Shantel Gross

Growing up, I thought I knew what it meant to be pure. I knew that when people asked if I was still pure, they were trying to see if I was still a virgin. I honored my decision to walk in purity but did not know in depth what it meant to live a pure life.

Blessed are the pure in heart, for they shall see God. Matthew 5:8 ESV

In my pursuit of purity, revelation came like raindrops from the sky. I studied workshops, speakers, videos, scripture, and articles on the topic.

Holy Spirit began showing me that purity is beyond not having premarital sex. It is a mindset, a heart condition, and a way of life.

In Psalm 51:10, David asks of God “Create in me a clean heart, O God; and renew a right spirit within me.” He cried out to God after having had slept with a married woman by the name of Bathsheba. Not only did he sleep with but after finding out that she was pregnant, he had her husband Uriah purposefully killed while at war.

I can only imagine the agony and stress that the adultery caused the kingdom. But King David remembered one thing. To call on the name of the Lord.

Pure

  • not mixed or adulterated with any other substance or material.
  • without any extraneous and unnecessary elements.
  • free of any contamination.

Our intentions must be pure just as well as our actions. We must strive for purity in all encounters of our lives, more importantly within our hearts.

Living a pure life requires surrender. Every wound, every desire, every lust has to be surrendered to the One who can carry it all. Our Heavenly Father.

Although not always easy, we must guard our hearts so that how we live is a reflection of Christ, who is Love. We must love unconditionally and this is only achievable through the Holy Spirit.

Don’t worry about anything; instead, pray about everything. Tell God what you need, and thank him for all he has done. Then you will experience God’s peace, which exceeds anything we can understand. His peace will guard your hearts and minds as you live in Christ Jesus. Philippians 4:6‭-‬7 NLT

It’s okay if you don’t have it all together or all figured out. Trust me, I am the same way. It is not merely in our ability to accomplish things on our own but our trust in God. Allow Him to lead you. Be encouraged my friends!

PRAYER:
Father, Help me to live a pure life. As your Word says, create in me a clean heart and renew a right spirit within me. I surrender my will to you and give you permission to expose and cleanse me of all unrighteousness. I need you. Thank you for loving me and hearing my prayer. Amen.


Check out my latest Facebook live about living a pure life here!

The One I’ve Waited For

I dedicate this post to my fiancé and Jesus as a testament of what God has done in my life. I am truly thankful. We can do it friends. Trust Him and surrender.

“Seek the Kingdom of God above all else, and live righteously, and he will give you everything you need.”
Matthew 6:33 NLT


There I was, with tears streaming down my face and hands lifted toward Heaven on the bedroom floor. I had just surrendered my will to God. I had stopped worrying about who Mr. Right was and when he was coming into my life. Relieved and liberated, I stood there experiencing the joy and freedom that only Christ brings.

I continued living and encouraging youth and young adults to walk in freedom and purity. I had such a great revelatory moment of embracing my singleness.

As I continued empowering others and attending community events, I received a notification one day. It was from you. You liked one of my posts. It didn’t really strike me because we were already acquaintances. But throughout the days that followed you liked another, and another, and another… and another.

What was going on? I was quite unsure but I knew for certain that you were trying to get my attention.

As time went on, eventually you shared that you were attracted to me. You asked me to pray on it if I felt the same. Flattered but afraid I shared that there was a small attraction on my side as well.

With courage from my close friends, sister, and pastors, I decided to give “us” a try. We started our foundation as friends and inched our way to something more as we both realized that God was in this.

On April 30th, you asked me to be your Wonder Woman and I consented. Several months later, on September 15th you asked me to marry you. I said yes!

You’re the one I’ve waited for. You complement my life and support my calling. We have had our bumps in the road and challenges but God has carried us through. I love that we are doing this His way and embracing purity.

To my life partner, I love you. Happy Valentine’s Day Lawrence.

Wait on the Lord and be of good courage.