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!

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!

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


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!

Envisioning Your Greatness!

Hello all and happy New Year! I’m excited about what God is doing in this season. He is bringing us into new territory and higher ground.

On our prayer call, we focused on Abram’s life and what it means to have vision.

Vision

  1. the act or power of seeing sight.
  2. A thought, concept, or object formed by the imagination
  3. The act or power of imagination.

    Abram was a man of great faith. He was called to leave his homeland and trust God in the journey of relocating. Although he had walked with God for quite some time, Abram had no children. And even in his old age the situation bothered him.

    Some time later, the Lord spoke to Abram in a vision and said to him, “Do not be afraid, Abram, for I will protect you, and your reward will be great.” But Abram replied, “O Sovereign Lord , what good are all your blessings when I don’t even have a son? Since you’ve given me no children, Eliezer of Damascus, a servant in my household, will inherit all my wealth. You have given me no descendants of my own, so one of my servants will be my heir.”

    Genesis 15:1‭-‬3 NLT

    Abram loved the Lord very much but it bothered him that he had no children to carry on His legacy. How often are we too frustrated because of our “lack”? We sometimes see no breakthrough. No resources. No resolution. Believe me, I felt that way before. But what happened next is astonishing.

    Then the Lord said to him, “No, your servant will not be your heir, for you will have a son of your own who will be your heir.” Then the Lord took Abram outside and said to him, “Look up into the sky and count the stars if you can. That’s how many descendants you will have!” And Abram believed the Lord , and the Lord counted him as righteous because of his faith.

    Genesis 15:4‭-‬6 NLT

    Count the  s t a r s.
    The maker of the universe gave Abram a vision. Something he could see and connect with. Although Abram was initially childless, he believed God’s promise. 

    Have you ever sensed an urge to do something phenomenal? Have you ever believed for something incredible? Your time is now to meditate on what God has for you.

    Write the vision. Make it plain. Habakkuk 2:2

    Get acquainted with where God is taking you.

    What God has given you is not by mistake or accident. It’s something that only you have. Make the steps to help manifest it on earth!

    Partner with GOD

    • Make a vision board
    • Jot down your ideas
    • Collaborate with like-minded people
    • Get acquainted with where God is taking you.
    • Pray always.

      I believe God for your breakthrough. What He has promised shall come to pass. Step into 2018 with expectancy in your heart and a pen in your hand!

      Prayer

      Father, 

      Thank you for investing in me. Thank you for seeing beyond what I physically see. Help me to believe your words and to walk according to my calling. Please help me to rest in the center of Your will. I will abide in You, free from chains of fear, doubt, and stagnation.
      In Jesus Name,

      Amen.

      Listen to the powerful song that was featured on yesterday’s call!

      Joy to the World

      I’ve embraced this journey. Not knowing half of what I’d be getting into, I boldly proclaimed Yes.

      Yes to letting go. Yes to allowing my heart to heal. Yes to a life of surrendering. And yes to being vulnerable. Because being truthfully honest, 2017 has been a year of surrender.

      I’ve had to put aside my pride and realize that God’s guidance is needed to get through this journey. Although I have had many foolish habits, I’ve learned that God still provides. Although at times I didn’t manage my time wisely I’ve learned that God still gives grace. While scraping my knees several times I have discovered a new beauty. A beauty in crying out for help.

      O Lord, I cry out to you. I will keep on pleading day by day. Psalm 88:13

      There is such a beauty in crying out to God. As our loving Father, He is truly compassionate and able to bring healing. When we embrace our child-like nature, we experience God’s fathering nature.

      They will be my people and I will be their God. Jeremiah 32:3

       

      God sent His Son into the world not to judge the world, but to save the world through Him. John 3:17

      Imagine having one child. Pouring into that child, instilling wisdom in him, and nurturing him. Imagine a crisis taking place. A crisis so terrible that you had to choose to send your child away to another place to restore order. Would you give up your only child?

      For this is how God loved the world: He gave His one and only Son, so that everyone who believes in Him will not perish but have eternal life. John 3:16

      I began to shift my perspective when I discovered the strategy of the Father. He gave His only Son. There were not multiple children to choose from. Jesus was the only one. Christmas is all about sacrifice.

      The Gift of Christmas

      Christ gave up His home in heaven to become man and go through the process that led to our redemption. Christmas is more than the presents we place under the tree. It’s about giving yourself to bring healing to others. Laying down your life similar to how we lay presents down before Christmas trees. Give your all to God this Christmas. After all, he gave His all for you.  It’s a holiday of celebrating the Father’s giving nature. So in return we give of ourselves.

      Ways to Give

      • Serve at a homeless shelter.
      • Donate gifts to children/families in need.
      • Be kind to others.
      • Encourage someone.
      • Volunteer at a community event.
      • Donate items to the Salvation Army.
      • Donate to organizations that are serving in your community or internationally.

      Healing in the Broken Places

      What do you do when it’s up to you? You’ve prayed, you’ve fasted, you’ve waited and still the obstacle hasn’t moved.

      12/12 – Healing in the Broken Places

      2017 has been a year of trials and triumphs. There have been many leaps of faith that have brought me to this place where I currently am.  From leaving my last job to becoming an art teacher, I’ve been blessed with opportunities to spread light on many platforms.

      According to my original agenda, I’d be on a totally different path by now. Because I had social anxiety,  I preferred to stay behind the scenes. I liked my life to be planned out and calculated. However, God had greater plans.

      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

      Like Apostle Paul, I too begged God. To remove the obstacles in my classroom and help me get through. I wanted things to go my way and I was not liking the results so far. I prayed for God to give me opportunities to share His light, but when they came I became overwhelmed. 

      However, God had still been my life coach. It’s almost as if HE was saying to me, “Hang in there buddy. You’ll see the silver lining eventually. Just keep going.”

      God began increasing opportunities for me to encourage my students and others. I felt a press to trust Him even during the pressing times when I didn’t see results. I realized God would use me inspite of my shortcomings.

      How do we make use of our gifts when we don’t see the bigger picture?

            S H I F T Y O U R P E R S P E C T I V E .

      How do we go on when our passions are attacked? We draw near to the one who is able to refresh us and realign us. God allows us to face opposition in order to prove His revolutionary power on the inside of us.

      We are pressed on every side by troubles, but we are not crushed. We are perplexed, but not driven to despair. We are hunted down, but never abandoned by God. We get knocked down, but we are not destroyed.

      2 Corinthians 4:8‭-‬9 NLT

      I recall in an earlier post explaining that we must see what God sees. I will even go as far as to say, see the obstacle but realize that God has placed you there and prepared you to make an impact in those areas.

      I sat in my classroom recently discouraged. I had just witnessed a fight in my final class and was completely disappointed. God clearly asked me after I ranted to Him my frustrations, Are you mad enough to the point of doing something about it?  Pain produced pressure and pressure produces power.

      Let’s use these platforms, these weaknesses, these flaws to promote God’s kingdom. They are opportunities for Him to perform miracles in our lives.

      For our present troubles are small and won’t last very long. Yet they produce for us a glory that vastly outweighs them and will last forever!

      2 Corinthians 4:17 NLT

      Father,

      Thank you for the trials. Thank you for the tests. Thank you for the setbacks. Thank you for the glory that is being produced. You show us how mighty you are to save. Help us to see from Your perspective and to press in Your presence even further. You are the God who was, who is, and who always will be.

      With Love,

      Your Child (Insert Name)

      More Inspiring Scripture: Psalm 34:15-20

       

      More Than Okay

      Yet in all these things we are more than conquerors through Him who loved us. Romans 8:37 NKJV

      The volume in the music store I worked at was extremely high one particular day. As a receptionist I was used to greeting customers daily. Some would hesitate with a crooked smile. Others would bypass with a nod and continue browsing.

      “Hello. How are you?”

      “Well I’m still alive so I guess that counts for something.”

      I would get a lot of responses in the tune of life being just okay. Then after a long string of customers being rung out, I heard these words. 

      If only people knew that they were more than okay.

      Many joked about how miserable their lives were. What was my evidence that we were more than okay?

      But you are a chosen generation, a royal priesthood, a holy nation… 1 Peter 2:9


          11/28 – More Than Okay Power Call

      It seemed normal to also view myself as average. It was an easier tone to converse with and took the pressure off of feeling like an outcast. 

      We sometimes seek ways to minimize our worth. We want to feel normal and human. We boast in our inadequacies with a tune of “That’s just the way life is.”

      Above Average.

      Then God said, “Let Us make man in Our image, according to Our likeness; let them have dominion over the fish of the sea, over the birds of the air, and over the cattle, over all the earth and over every creeping thing that creeps on the earth. So God created man in His own image; in the image of God He created him. Genesis 1:26,27

      Truthfully, we are created in God’s image and are His temple. We have God-like qualities, traits and responsibilities. We are innovative, creative, unique, and powerful. Because we are made in God’s image we are called to stand out.

      I will praise you, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made… Psalm 139:14

      You are abundantly blessed.

      Royal and loved one, you are an exceptional being. Worth more than just going to your 9-5, waking up & going to sleep, and living life with no purpose. 

      God gave Adam responsibility. He told Adam to be fruitful and multiply and placed him in the garden to tend to it. (Genesis 1:28; 2:15 ) 

      We have work to do. We must display our greatness and use the resources God has given us to do mighty things for His kingdom.

      Pray this prayer:

      Dear God,

      Thank you for calling me. Thank you for creating me with purpose and value. As stated in Your Word, I am fearfully and wonderfully made. Please forgive me for thinking less of myself. For not living a bold, meaningful life. I am above average and more than okay. Continue to show me what it is you want me to do. I live for you. Amen.

      Additional Quotes & Scriptures

      • 1 Corinthians 3:16
      • We are what we believe we are. – C. S. Lewis
      • Have faith and you will see the great! – Shantel Gross

      “Step Out” Faith

      How can I continue? How do I go on? Is it safe to move on?

      Imagine being in the face of a massive sea with your greatest enemies charging at you from behind. Talk about being caught between a rock and a hard place! Moses and the children of Israel were finally free from captivity in Egypt when Pharaoh had a change of heart. He decided not only to pursue the Israelites himself but to align over 600 charioters to help anihilate them.

      When word reached the king of Egypt that the Israelites had fled, Pharaoh and his officials changed their minds. “What have we done, letting all those Israelite slaves get away?” they asked.  So Pharaoh harnessed his chariot and called up his troops.  He took with him 600 of Egypt’s best chariots, along with the rest of the chariots of Egypt, each with its commander. The Lord hardened the heart of Pharaoh, the king of Egypt, so he chased after the people of Israel, who had left with fists raised in defiance. The Egyptians chased after them with all the forces in Pharaoh’s army—all his horses and chariots, his charioteers, and his troops. Exodus 14:5-9

      There Moses and the children of Israel were. Facing the great, Red Sea with their livestock, their young children, and all they had. Their promises suddenly turned into petitions.

      As Pharaoh approached, the people of Israel looked up and panicked when they saw the Egyptians overtaking them. They cried out to the Lordand they said to Moses, “Why did you bring us out here to die in the wilderness? Weren’t there enough graves for us in Egypt? What have you done to us? Why did you make us leave Egypt? Didn’t we tell you this would happen while we were still in Egypt? We said, ‘Leave us alone! Let us be slaves to the Egyptians. It’s better to be a slave in Egypt than a corpse in the wilderness!’”Exodus 14:10-12

      Some of us have been in a similar predicament. We’ve taken a huge leap of faith only to see that thing that we feared come upon us once again. It is in those times that I am reminded to trust in God. Breakthrough comes when something within us needs to be broken. For their sake, it was the Israelites’ unbelief.

      believe

      1a :to have a firm or wholehearted religious conviction or persuasion :to regard the existence of God as a fact 

      • Do you believe?

       usually used with in 

      • believe in the Scriptures

      b :to accept something as true, genuine, or real


      :to have a firm conviction as to the goodness, efficacy, or ability of something


      Although the children of Israel had left Egypt, Egypt was still in them. That place of captivity had accumulated in their minds. In my opinion,  it wasn’t the process of leaving Egypt that was the most difficult for the Israelites, it was the act of believing that they were actually God’s holy people and called to a greater destiny.

      But Moses answered, “Don’t be afraid! Be brave, and you will see the Lord save you today. These Egyptians will never bother you again. The Lord will fight for you, and you won’t have to do a thing.”Exodus 14:13‭-‬14 CEV

      It is imperative that we remember the One who has called us forth. He sees our greatest potential and propels us to move forward in victory. Regardless of where we currently are, it is our faith and God’s calling that will produce increase.

      Instead of viewing your situation as a heavy weight to overcome, view it as a platform for God to display His greatness.

      Stay firm and focused!

      Step Out Faith Prayer Call


      Without faith it is impossible to please God. I encourage you to make faith your first resort. It doesn’t have to make sense but it makes substance. God bless you on your journey to greater.