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

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!

2018 – Year of the Impossible

Now is the time to expect great things! 

We’re in a new season.

Then he said to me, “This is the word of the Lord to Zerubbabel: Not by might, nor by power, but by my Spirit, says the Lord of hosts. Zechariah 4:6 ESV

We’ve shared in the last post how to envision your greatness; now it’s time to walk in it! It’s not about if God can do it. It’s knowing that He will!

01/16/18 – Prayer Call Sound is a little muffled on this week’s recording. Sorry!

My God, the Deliverer.

If you think about it, God has always been a great deliverer. He delivered Moses and the Israelites from the Egyptians by parting the Red Sea. More recently in 2009, 150 passengers were miraculously saved while their airplane plummeted into the Hudson River. There are some scenarios that are just unexplainable. 

Our trust has to be so invested in God. We invest time in so many things and people but what about the goodness of our Great God? His infinite wisdom captivates us every time we call and yet sometimes we take Him for granted. 

Tune into God.

Like your favorite tv show or channel, (Mines are the Food Network and HGTV!) tune in to His presence. God has some great resources for us and some of it is only discovered in our alone time with Him.

Question God.

Now my statement does not mean to doubt God asking if we’ll survive the turbulence in our lives. But rather, inquire about God’s perspective. “Lord, what do you say concerning this situation? What’s your heart in the matter?”

God what is your heart right now? What do you desire to hear? Tasha Cobbs in Heart. Passion. Pursuit.

Heaven has an agenda. 

Have expectancy in your heart. Partner with God to see His results in your life. The Lord your God shall provide! 

Declare: I shall see miracles, signs, and wonders this year!

2017 – My Year in Review

Hey 2017. You’ve been phenomenal. You’ve been incredible. You’ve been kind.

What a blast! My 2017 has been filled with leaps, twists, and many turns. I’ve witnessed and encountered many miracles also. Join me as I share my recap!

While meditating I was inspired to write down this scripture as a beautiful reminder in my life.
One of my favorite scriptures!
I loved assisting the children in this art activity!
I discovered several years ago that taking photography is one of my passions.
Mom has quite the eye herself!

Sis and I enjoyed Lunch with Laquisha!
Cue the queen 2017!
Dance Party!
This year’s first #LoveSession was themed Purpose. And how fitting it was!
I loved the energy in the building. Little did I know it would become my church home.
Holy Host sent up the praises as I watched in amazement.
Smiles before leading a discussion board.
God had already put on my heart to sing “Even When It Hurts” by Hillsong.
I recall sharing the good news and walking by faith on those early morning bus rides!
Great book. You should check it out.
Withlove is such a wonderful organization and I am glad to have served the homeless with them.

Soon this would become my family!
Cheers to starting the prayer call series this year. It has been a wonderful endeavor.
I was invited to play with Holy Host one Sunday and the rest is history!
Shine the light for all to see!
It has been a pleasure meeting Jeremy and partnering with CYA Baltimore.
Just girls discovering how to impact the world!
The man with the plan. David Warren of withLove!
You ever witnessed love and endurance? That’s what I witnessed at my grandparents’ 60 anniversary party.

Cheers to over 100 followers on Facebook. Follow @ShantelGraces08
This year I’ve witnessed a man receive his sight, pain leave a woman’s back, and more! God shown himself to be the God of miracles!
Love fellowshipping with my sisters.
Write the vision. Make it plain.
Thus the Promise Ceremony and Conference was born!
What a blessing it has been to teach and share my story.
We are free to worship! This event was a huge success! So many youth and young adults recomitted themselves to Christ!

Each one, reach one! Empower the youth. Show them their greatness.

Tori’s been chillaxing for most of the year!

One post that pushed me into greater!
Let your light so shine!
Art teacher life. Cultivate and inspire!
Great things happen when youth with a mission connect!
Healing and deliverance taking place in the city!
Thankful to serve under their leadership.

I’ve taken leaps of faith this year from leaving my previous job to teaching again and to starting the Promise Ceremony & Conference. Nothing is impossible with God! Be brave my friends! There is nothing to fear. If God has placed something on your heart, He is sure to help deliver.

There is so much more that I could share but this sums up the heart of 2017. It has been filled with sacrifice, healing, favor, and abundant blessings. Thank you for joining me on this journey. There is much more to come. Happy New Year!

Love In Action

This past week my main focus has been on being love. Not focusing only on myself but meditating on others and their needs.

being

  1. 1a:  the quality or state of having existence b(1):  something that is conceivable and hence capable of existing (2):  something that actually exists (3):  the totality of existing things c:  conscious existence :life

To be or not to be?

It has been my goal to be intentional in my efforts with people. To be present. To be real.

In a society where “get it quick” seems to be the motto, I’ve been focusing on getting it the right way. That means embracing the process and studying the necessary steps to achieving goals.

 

There is a way that seems right to a man, But its end is the way of death. Proverbs 14:12 NKJV

The truth is, we have all struggled in some areas of our lives and one of my areas happened to be being intentional. Genuinely showing concern for people and being God’s heart on the earth. 

Truth be told, I use to brush through conversations with family members, give quick, haphazard responses to concerns, and bypass their cries for my awareness. I was truthfully selfish. It’s not that I purposefully sought to hurt anyone but truthfully, I had been learning the meaning of love myself.

What God has been showing me as of late is that being empathetic is apart of the human healing process.

True empathy requires that you step outside your own emotions to view things entirely from the perspective of the other person. Author Unknown

If we really want to change the world we must learn to become selfless. Putting our agenda and perceptions to the side and seeking the will of God. Allowing love to heal and cover.

You will seek me and find me, when you seek me with all your heart. Jeremiah 29:13

I thank God for opportunities where I have been able to do just that.

Here are some forms of love in action!

My friends withLove put on a beautiful outreach event called the Love Sessions centered around bringing the community together.
These artists shared with me that paintings were about robots, dinosaurs, and family!
Such a pleasure serving food with Jerrod!
We put on a secret Open Mic night for Leviticus.
A group of friends and I came together to celebrate my brother Leviticus’ birthday! (He’s in the center).

Although it has been a process in understanding how to be selfless, I trust that through life’s experiences, the Word, and people I will continue to grow in that area. 

If you wanna make the world a better place take a look at yourself and made a change. Michael Jackson

 

 

Hanging with Holy Host!

So as you may have seen on my social media, I’ve recently joined a group -Holy Host Ministries! It has been nothing short of amazing.
I had been praying and seeking God for my next move in life. I knew that I was preparing for something great but had no idea to what extent. I continued leading the prayer call,  going to outreach events, singing and songwriting. 

I grew up in a musical household so singing was natural. But then I recall becoming fascinated with the structure of songs and playing the music keyboard. I’d tap at the keyboard playing 3rds from the C major and  A minor scales. I still can hear my first song I created! One of my passions has been to connect with people through music and to share the beauty of it.

Several months ago, God began sharing with me that I was going to join a local church in Baltimore. It was one that I had seen occasionally online but never attended. I noticed that a group I affiliate with would be having their next event at the church! I knew that that was my green light to go!

When I arrived, I stood in the back of the church before the event started as the people gathered to pray.  God spoke these words to me:

Why stay in the back when I’ve called you to be in the front?

I was given the opportunity to lead the discussion table at our event. The theme was Purpose. A handful of people joined me including the Holy Host team. What amazed me was everyone’s transparency and desire to grow in God. The connection flowed so naturally. 

From there I started fellowshipping at CAB. I was invited to sing and play keyboard with Holy Host on some Sundays. 

Then one morning as I woke up I heard God say for me to join Holy Host. Out of excitement, I immediately messaged Leviticus, the founder of the group. He informed me that he and Justin, another member, heard God tell them that. When I thought about how everything transpired, I realized that it was God’s hand orchestrating the whole time.

I have been given the opportunity to usher people into God’s presence and it has been thrilling. What I had prayed for, God surpassed with great measure. I rejoice in sharing a platform with others who are eager to make a difference. Our hearts are hungry for impacting the world.

Balance, peace, and joy are the fruit of a successful life. It starts with recognizing your talents and finding ways to serve others by using them. Thomas Kinkade

Check out upcoming events at Holy Host Ministries!

Thank you.

Crowned with Care: Recap of Priceless Gown Project 2017

proverbs31

These past weekends have been filled with many wonderful events. One of them being the Priceless Gown Project in Baltimore. I was blessed to volunteer at the event and am happy to share my experience with you.

First off, let me start off by saying that Baltimore is beautiful!  As I arrived at the Marriott hotel, I was greeted by vibrant pink & black attired women. Each had a smile on her face. These were also volunteers for the event. As we all gathered in the volunteer space, we were encouraged to promote self-awareness and assure each girl that she was beautiful. Leslie Collier, the organization’s director hoped that we had comfortable shoes on because the event required a lot of movement.

 

Gowns were beautifully displayed on the racks and shoes & accessories were laid out. We were able to check out the dresses and get familiar with the styles.

As we all conversed, we reminisced of our own prom experiences and high school stories. Us personal shoppers were tasked with getting to know the girls and finding a style that suited their body types and personalities.

The ballroom filled up with girls and their families as they were empowered by speakers, pageant titleholders, and artists. It was rewarding to see the smiles and hear laughter from girls who struggled with insecurities.

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Baltimore’s own Star!
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The 92q crew keeping the crowd live.
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Live, Laugh, Celebrate!

So many people came together to participate in and celebrate this event.

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These girls and gowns were exceptional!
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The men in black!
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Miss Exquisite shined even brighter than the gown she modeled.
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The royal walk.
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Miss Anne Arundel County Teen was a sweetheart!
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Miss Maryland and Miss Baltimore gave good profiles as we posed!

While participating, I recalled my own prom experience. A lady named Ms. Peggy, whom I had met on the transit bus, was like a mother to me. She always asked how school was going and would remind me of important dates coming up for school applications. I would try to sit next to her whenever I boarded the bus. One day, when I saw her she told me that her daughter (who was also a senior) had tried on some dresses at David’s Bridal. There was a dress on clearance that she liked and it was also in a smaller size. She thought I’d be able to fit it. I was so excited and told my parents about it. They talked to Ms. Peggy and agreed to meet up so that I could try the dress on. To my surprise, the dress had fit perfectly! I told Ms. Peggy that the day was my birthday and she paid for the dress. I will never forget that day and the circumstances that lead up to that point.

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Royalty came in all shapes and sizes! People came together far and wide to adorn young women with gowns, shoe, accessories, and confidence. These girls left with gowns, accessories, and confidence. Check out more info about the Priceless Gown Project here! God bless.