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

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.

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!