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.

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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!

Strength in Weakness

Just finished up another powerful prayer call with my sisters in Christ. If you didn’t know we host it every Thursday at 5pm EST. Our topic tonight was on “Weaknesses”.

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

What I’ve been dealing with lately is anxiety. Considering getting married in 2 months, transitioning jobs, ministry ventures, and other things, I’ve felt a little all over the place! I’ve found myself trying to find a balance in the midst of it all and haven’t got there just yet.

In the above scripture, Paul begged the Lord three times to remove the “thorn in his flesh”. However, God responded with telling about His grace. That means that the thorn was not nearly as important as God’s grace for Paul and His power to display in the midst of the struggle.

Because of that, I am encouraged to believe that regardless of the “thorns” in our flesh we can still have hope. It may be the start of a new chapter in life, a change in scenery, a trial, or a loss. I believe we should expect God to move on your behalf. After all, we are His children. He can get the glory and show Himself strong even in the midst of our weaknesses. His grace is sufficient for us.

suf·fi·cient
/səˈfiSHənt/
adjective & determiner
  1. enough; adequate.
    “a small income that was sufficient for her needs”

No matter what you’re facing right now, you’re still here for a reason. So let’s admit our flaws, reveal our imperfections, and trust in the assurance of a perfect God. His strength is made perfect in our weaknesses. I encourage you to trust in the Lord more today.

A Prayer to Trust God More

Dear Lord,

Thank you for this opportunity to trust you more. You would not put this challenge in my path if You had no plan to walk with me through it. After all, life is not just about the destination but also the journey. Please shift my perspective so that I can see what you’re trying to show me. I accept You in my heart Jesus and believe you rose from the dead for me. In faith, I trust Your process. In Your name I pray, Amen.


Take a listen to this powerful ballad and visual by Lauren Daigle called “Rescue”. It’s been refreshing to me : ) God bless.

Click the image or click here.

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.

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.

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

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!