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

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. πŸ˜‰

Say hello to zipliners πŸ™‚

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 πŸ™‚

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

First meal cooked at home πŸ™‚

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! πŸŽ‰ 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. ❀

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 fiancΓ© 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