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 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.

Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays!

Praying that you and your family are enjoying this holiday season. Let’s embrace the true meaning of Christmas, the birth of our Lord & Savior Jesus Christ! What a glorious day it must have been when Jesus entered the world. Angels burst into singing, wise men travel from afar to bring gifts to the baby King, and Joseph & Mary marvel at the wonderful signs.

I’m grateful to spend time with my family, receive gifts, watch my nephews open theirs, be kind to others, and sing songs. Embrace the beautiful spirit of Christmas. Share the story. It can include these but it’s much more than just presents under a tree.

It’s a Great Day!

Just like any other day, today is a great day.

I woke up the other morning feeling blessed. Thankful for the cool breeze and 70 degree weather. It was another beautiful day. With warm colored leaves all around. This was the day they called Halloween.

I grew up celebrating Halloween with my family. Mom dressed me up as a black cat one year using a pair of black tights for my cat ears! We’d go around the neighborhood, all 5 of us plus cousins and an Aunt, like the Brady Bunch knocking on doors. I don’t think I cared too much about it, I just knew that I liked the free candy!

As I got older and discovered the origin of Halloween, things started to change. I realized that it was a pagan holiday and the costume wearing originated from the concept of people attempting to ward of ghosts. On Halloween, it was believed that the boundaries between the worlds of the living and dead became blurred.

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 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 ESV

I realized that although most festivities are done in fun, I must uphold a standard.

We must pray and ask God for guidance. After all, we are made in His likeness and image. We must choose to be the light no matter what day, hour, or age.

Royalty is my identity. Servanthood is my assignment. Intimacy with God is my life source.

Bill Johnson

As we all embrace this fall season, I commission you friends to find ways to show gratitude.

Photo courtesy of Aquila Evans Photography

Here are some helpful tips:

  • Meditate.
  • Spend initial time with family, friends, and those God has placed in your circle.
  • Start reading a devotional.
  • Laugh. Don’t be so serious!
  • Thank God for something new every morning. It is of the Lord’s mercies that we are not consumed, because his compassions fail not. They are new every morning: great is thy faithfulness. Lamentations 3:22‭-‬23 KJV
  • Appreciate nature. All around us are beautiful things to admire.
  • Get a planner and plan out your day. Don’t be afraid of making changes or playing it by ear sometimes.

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Freedom.

So ever since the great news and success of the Promise Ceremony, I’ve felt like I’ve been rushing.

Rushing to stay busy and keep the momentum of everything going. But my body, on the other hand, has been like “Nah, Shantel. You need to slow down and rest.”

For everything there is a season, and a time for every matter under heaven:
Ecclesiastes 3:1 ESV

Being newly engaged, there’s a lot that goes into it but I’m grateful for God’s Word and a partner who equally understands the importance of balance. My body has been through the ringer and I’ve felt the effects of all the commotion.

To give you a recap:

  • I hosted and directed the Promise Ceremony on 09/15.
  • Lead on the worship team at church and taught children’s church (voluntarily) on 09/16. Attended a workshop on kingdom wealth that evening.
  • Taught children throughout the week. (I’m a teacher.)
  • Went to my grandmother’s viewing on 09/21.
  • Attended and sang with family at my grandmother’s funeral on 09/22.
  • Had rehearsal the following day after service with my group.
  • The list goes on…

It’s safe to say that September has been jampacked and that’s not including the beginning of the month. But I’ve sensed God’s peace and have been reminded to trust Him throughout every season.

If God told the children of Israel to rest from their toil while in the wilderness and even rested Himself on the 7th day, who am I to try to be the Energizer bunny? There is an importance in resting and we can miss out on precious moments if we don’t choose to be still.

I took a walk yesterday with my love and we rested in that moment. Here are some pics of me sitting on a tree!

It’s okay to not have everything under control, but trust the One who does. He sees and He knows what’s best!

The Lord is my shepherd; I shall not want. He makes me lie down in green pastures.He leads me beside still waters.He restores my soul. Psalm 23:1-3

If you would like more insight on resting, take a look at this awesome article.

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!

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!