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!

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

 

Not Of This World

Maybe you are preparing for this holiday season. Silver bells… I’m sure some of you have already put up the Christmas tree & lights. Well, as you are preparing the house and getting the list together, I’d like to share this reminder with you.

You are not of this world.

Jesus’ trial before Caiaphas ended in the early hours of the morning. Then he was taken to the headquarters of the Roman governor. His accusers didn’t go inside because it would defile them, and they wouldn’t be allowed to celebrate the Passover. So Pilate, the governor, went out to them and asked, “What is your charge against this man?” “We wouldn’t have handed him over to you if he weren’t a criminal!” they retorted. “Then take him away and judge him by your own law,” Pilate told them. “Only the Romans are permitted to execute someone,” the Jewish leaders replied. (This fulfilled Jesus’ prediction about the way he would die. ) 

Then Pilate went back into his headquarters and called for Jesus to be brought to him. “Are you the king of the Jews?” he asked him. Jesus replied, “Is this your own question, or did others tell you about me?” “Am I a Jew?” Pilate retorted. “Your own people and their leading priests brought you to me for trial. Why? What have you done?” Jesus answered, “My Kingdom is not an earthly kingdom. If it were, my followers would fight to keep me from being handed over to the Jewish leaders. But my Kingdom is not of this world.” 

John 18:28‭-‬36 NLT

When questioned by Pilate, Jesus responded that His kingdom was not of this world. He knew that others could have defended Him but He remained driven. 

Imagine, being wrongfully accused by thousands and having to give a response. How would you feel and what would you do?

Jesus was sure of was His identity and the ONE who sent Him.

12/05 – Not Of This World

You are loved, treasured, and favored by God.

Because Jesus knew the Father’s love, He was able to boldly give an account of His purpose for being here.

We also must be reminded that we are here to produce good fruit and share the Good News of salvation with others.

I have told you all this so that you may have peace in Me. Here on earth you will have many trials and sorrows. But take heart, because I have overcome the world.

John 16:33 NLT

Be faithful over what God has given you. Do what He has called you to do wholeheartedly.

Don’t be disheartened when people do not understand you. Do not be dismayed when they wrongly accuse you. Your heavenly Father is with you and His reward is greater.

Prayer for the day

Thank you Father for Your goodness. Thank You for Your bountiful mercy and endless love. When I am overwhelmed comfort me with Your steady hand. Remind me of your unfailing love and your kindness. When others do not understand me may I be content in Your approval.

*If you’d like to learn about Salvation, click here.

Thankfulness.

“Enter into His gates with thanksgiving, and into His courts with praise.” Psalm 100:4


As the seasons change, I am reminded of the beauty of fall. The leaves have turned this beautiful, auburn color with golden hues and hints of green. Even the air has felt more crisp and inviting. Tis the season of thanksgiving.

THANKSGIVING PRAYER CALL

1

thanksgiving

a capitalized :thanksgiving day

:a public acknowledgment or celebration of divine goodness

2:the act of giving thanks

:a prayer expressing gratitude

Upon swift walks to and from work, beauty has captivated me. It’s as if the earth has been trying to get my attention. Meanwhile, I have been somewhat engrossed in getting to my destination.

Children out of their seats. Running around the classroom. Laughing, shouts, and paper planes. Welcome to my Thursday morning. As I stood there raising my voice and demanding respect I began to feel overwhelmed. I had one goal at that point: Get home on my lunch break. As I whisked through the next class, I swiftly got my things together. I was almost through those doors.

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When I stepped outside everything was at a stand still. There was warm air, birds chirping, a gentle blowing breeze, and colorful leaves surrounding me. I felt slightly disappointed that I considered the day to be horrible when it was actually abundant. God encouraged me to embrace the moment and to be grateful for it. I sat on a nearby bench and took it all in.

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Thanksgiving is a spirit. You don’t have to wait for Turkey day to be thankful and grateful. Show gratefulness in your life today. Don’t miss another moment!

 

Here are some reminders:

  1. Embrace the beauty in each moment.
  2. Learn from your mistakes. Grow stronger, not bitter.
  3. Shift your perspective. Don’t be narrow-minded. Think of the bigger picture.
  4. Give thanks to God in all things.
  5. Stop and smell the roses (or shall I say pinecone this season?!)

“Look at the lilies of the field and how they grow. They don’t work or make their clothing,  yet Solomon in all his glory was not dressed as beautifully as they are.” Matthew 6:28‭-‬29 NLT

* Read Psalm 100 for more on thanksgiving. Peace and blessings! *

 

The Dig

Look within. Within is the fountain of good, and it will ever bubble up, if thou wilt ever dig. Marcus Aurelius

There I was standing in the middle of my classroom…

Wondering if I would ever have an epiphany concerning it’s makeover. Books, shelves, paper, and other materials surrounded me. Like lions peering out of the jungle, vibrant neon papers stood out. Some were used and some unused. Detox, declutter, and back to attempts of organization. I kept circling around piles of paper. Hovering over them, I would start to get rid of the junk then try something else.

To my disposal, the classroom is huge! It hit me when I came home several days later: I hold the key to cultivating what is my possession!

Pastor Stutzman says it like this: Adjust your attitude to be what you actually hope for.

F A I T H .

But without faith it is impossible to please Him, for he who comes to God must believe that He is, and that He is a rewarder of those who diligently seek Him. Hebrews 11:6 NKJV

Happiness is not about getting what you want; it is about wanting what you’ve got. – Michael Brodeur

We already have everything we need we just haven’t tapped into all yet.

I had almost become discouraged because of my frustration but after a while I realized how much I had. I began cutting out artwork and putting it on the walls. Making drapes with party streamers and turning the classroom into a big party room! My students also noticed the difference. Greatness was already there just waiting to be discovered!

But we have this treasure in earthen vessels, that the excellence of the power may be of God and not of us. II Corinthians 4:7 NKJV

It’s time to start digging!

  • Recall the things you are passionate about. Write them down!
  • Stop panicking. The answer is in you.
  • Take one step at a time. Don’t rush to complete multiple tasks. Take time to create your best in each individual one.
  • Meditate. Spend time in God’s presence. Where do you like to meditate?
  • Pray.
  • Plan, prepare, and execute.

To listen to this morning’s prayer call, click here.

Closeness of God

“In the beginning God created the Heavens and the Earth.” Genesis 1:1

How close is God truly in our lives?

This week we are focusing on the closeness of God. How He in fact is much closer than we think.

One of the areas that many of us have struggled with is transparency. We don’t reveal too much because we’ve been afraid that people will get too close. Well God wants us to bare it all! He delights in actually delights in hearing from His children.

Give all your worries and cares to God, for he cares about you. 1 Peter 5:7

Something that we learn is that he thinks toward us. God actually thinks great thoughts about us because He believes in us! The next time doubt, fear, and worry try to creep up cast those thoughts down! They are from the enemy and we know he is the father of lies.

“For I know the thoughts that I think toward you, says the Lord, thoughts of peace, and not of evil, to give you an expected end.”  Jeremiah 29:11


What is in your imagination becomes your reality. – Sharon Nesbitt



When God breathed the breathe of life into us, we became living souls. Our very breathe is evidence of God’s closeness to us. He wants to feel our heartbeat. – Check out Genesis 2:7Genesis 1:24-27

Communication with our King should be on a daily basis. Whether it’s greeting God early in the morning or having a moment of release in your lunch break, God’s line is never blocked.

Try not to use this powerful resource only during emergency situations. Prayer gives us insight.

09/05 – Closeness of God

Here are some points we can take away from today’s lesson.

  • We have to be transparent with God in order to keep our hearts pure.
  • God is a personable God. He seeks relationship with us.
  • Regardless of how many times we connect with him, we can always gain a new revelation.
  • Christ is the living water. When we draw from Him we receive the perfect amount of refreshing to carry us through.
  • We are not restricted from His resources. God’s connection is unlimited.
  • We don’t have to have it all together but all things are working together for our good.

Hope to see you at the Promise Ceremony & Conference! For information, check out my social media! Click here for prayer.

Great Expectations

In the midst of transition?

We tend to question God. Why isn’t this working out? Where am I going? Do you even care? Because of the unfamiliarity of transitional periods, we wonder if God is really taking care of us as He’s promised. But in those moments we must not doubt. Do not delay in your faith! To a look at how Abram responded when God told him to leave Egypt:

So Abram left Egypt and traveled north into the Negev, along with his wife and Lot and all that they owned. (Abram was very rich in livestock, silver, and gold.) From the Negev, they continued traveling by stages toward Bethel, and they pitched their tents between Bethel and Ai, where they had camped before. This was the same place where Abram had built the altar, and there he worshiped the Lord again. Genesis 13:1-4

Can you imagine waking up one morning to hear God tell you to pick up all that you have and go? That is what happened in Abram’s case. He left his father’s house and went in pursuit of God’s destination.

Lot, who was traveling with Abram, had also become very wealthy with flocks of sheep and goats, herds of cattle, and many tents. But the land could not support both Abram and Lot with all their flocks and herds living so close together. So disputes broke out between the herdsmen of Abram and Lot. (At that time Canaanites and Perizzites were also living in the land.) Genesis 13:5-7

Lot and Abram were very wealthy relatives. When God called them out of Egypt they had accumulated much wealth so traveling together was not easy.

Finally Abram said to Lot, “Let’s not allow this conflict to come between us or our herdsmen. After all, we are close relatives! The whole countryside is open to you. Take your choice of any section of the land you want, and we will separate. If you want the land to the left, then I’ll take the land on the right. If you prefer the land on the right, then I’ll go to the left. Genesis 13:8,9

Sometimes, God distances you from familiar places and spaces so that he can show you the magnitude of His greatness in your life. If you are uncomfortable where you are right now, God may be preparing you to launch into something greater. Follow at His command and watch Him move on your behalf.

After Lot had gone, the Lord said to Abram, “Look as far as you can see in every direction—north and south, east and west.  I am giving all this land, as far as you can see, to you and your descendants. And I will give you so many descendants that, like the dust of the earth, they cannot be counted! Go and walk through the land in every direction, for I am giving it to you Genesis 13:14-17

08/29 – Great Expectation

The Lord made a promise that exceeded Abraham’s expectations! Imagine what would’ve happened if Abraham did not move in faith.

Here are some points from tonight’s call.

  • God wants to multiply everything concerning us.
  • Our faith will determine our level of destination.
  • God is still faithful even in the midst of adversity.
  • Find the positive light within your circumstance.
  • Doubt clouds our vision to see what God has placed around or in front of us.
  • Your latter will be greater than your past.

Hold on my brother. Hold on my sister. God loves you and is bringing you into a wealthy place!

Click here for prayer requests.

#PrayingforTexas

 Healed – Prayer Call Recap

Healing takes place in the mindset of a person.

This week I share the wonderful testimonies of healing that have taken place. Steve received his sight, Arshad & Ufah were healed, and Donna received healing from chronic back and knee pain. And there are so many more!

Here are some key points from the call:

  • God is so accessible to us!
  • He loves you passionately! John 3:16
  • God wants to use us in great and mighty ways!
  • God wants us to deliberately shine our light. Shine boldly in the midst of darkness. Matthew 5:14-16
  • Have great expectancy in your heart! Hebrews 11:1

07/26 – Prayer Call

Say to those with fearful hearts, “Be strong, and do not fear, for your God is coming to destroy your enemies. He is coming to save you.” And when he comes, he will open the eyes of the blind and unplug the ears of the deaf. The lame will leap like a deer, and those who cannot speak will sing for joy! Springs will gush forth in the wilderness, and streams will water the wasteland.

Isaiah 35:4‭-‬6 NLT

If healing is something that you have been desiring to receive, ask God for it. Everything we need is available to us; we must believe in faith. He is the God of the impossible! Have a faith-filled week!

It’s About Me – Prayer Call Recap

What if I told you that life is about you? Would you believe me? What if I told you that you have purpose and a dynamic influence in the world?

On tonight’s call we focused on the following main topics:

  • All of life’s problems and situations have a root.
  • Your soul is hungry. Be mindful of what you feed it.
  • Affirm your identity and be confident in who God has called you to be.
  • It’s a “Me” thing. It’s about “You”.
  • Have a purpose-driven team to support you and help cultivate your ideas.
  • The common factor and common denominator

You have purpose and you have vision. The world is made up of so many people and yet no two people are exactly the same. God created you a masterpiece and sometimes we don’t realize how truly powerful we are. We must seek out our identity and use our influence to help others. It’s time to shift our perspectives.

07/11 – Prayer Call

Life’s purpose is knocking on your door but you must open it. We are each designed and wired differently but all created to give God glory (Isaiah 43:7). Instead of focusing on the barriers in your life, how about focusing on ways you can be a blessing. After all, it is about you. 🙂

How can I know all the sins lurking in my heart? Cleanse me from these hidden faults. Keep your servant from deliberate sins! Don’t let them control me. Then I will be free of guilt and innocent of great sin. May the words of my mouth and the meditation of my heart be pleasing to you, O Lord , my rock and my redeemer. Psalms 19:12‭-‬14 NLT

Check out this week’s featured song!