Being Love – Renee Beltran

Welcome to the Being Love Series!

Love suffers long and is kind; love does not envy; love does not parade itself, is not puffed up, does not behave rudely, does not seek its own, is not provoked, thinks no evil; does not rejoice in inquity, but rejoices in the truth; bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things. 1 Corinthians 13:4-7


Our first guest is Renee Beltran! Renee is a speaker, mother, Mary Kay consultant, and the founder of Sisterhood of God Women’s Ministry!

Shantel: Hey Renee!

Renee: Hey girl!

S: Tell me, what is your definition of love?

R: Love is an action. I really love “love” movies. You know, the affection, the touching, and the romance. I used to think that that was what love is. Like If you don’t give me butterflies then I’m not in love with you! *laughs* But then as I grew in my relationship with Christ and really got to know who He was as a Father and a supporter it showed me that what I thought was love was actually lust.

S: Wow.

R: Love is “You’re this way. Those are your sins and this is your baggage. But, no matter what you carry, I’m choosing to make the decision to love you no matter what.”

S: *Laughs* You’re going in girl! When can you say is the first time you’ve experienced love?

R: *Exhales* It may sound weird but it’s actually the moment that I let go of this certain type of love. It was the moment when I prayed and fasted for a whole month and asked God if my son’s father was the man He had for me. Was this man ever gonna change? Was he gonna stop abusing me? Was he gonna come to Christ? And if so, were we gonna be together? And it was actually the first time I heard God speak to me.

S: Wow!

R: He told me “I don’t have this man for you. You can stay with him if you want but I won’t bless you in it.” So I made the decision and said “God, I make the decision to love you more than to love this man.” I got up, packed my things, and left. But when I left it was really hard for me because I Ieft with pretty much nothing. Everything was in his name. So I left with only my clothes.

R: Every night I cried because I really wanted my family but in those moments I really felt loved most. Just the fact that God spoke to me, and showed me what He had for me, and in the fact that I made the decision to get up and leave, He opened so many doors.

S: Girl, this is awesome! How do you choose to be love on a daily basis?

R: As I clean people’s homes for my cleaning business, I worship God. I put my headphones in and worship the entire time!

S: What would you say to someone who’s struggling with being love?

R: It all starts with loving yourself and learning who God is because He is love. Once you learn who God is, and what love actually is versus lust, you come to learn that you are made in God’s image. We confuse the two so many times thinking “Oh, this guy doesn’t really like me or I’m not getting this type of attention so I’m not loved.” For me that’s how it was. I grew up without a father so I didn’t have a male role model in my life, so if I didn’t get attention I thought “Well, maybe I’m just not loved.” We deserve so much higher, so much better than that. We have to learn what our best qualities are and not focus on the bad ones.


Be sure to follow Renee on Instagram, Facebook, and subscribe to her website www.reneebeltran.com!

To find out more about the Being Love Series click here! Thanks for reading! ❤

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!

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!

      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!

      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