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!

Matters of the Heart

We can conquer anything in this day.

Matters of the Heart – Prayer Call

For I know the thoughts I have toward you says the Lord, thoughts of peace and not of evil, to give you a future and a hope.Jeremiah 29:11

This past week I faced new challenges. New transitions in school and new challenges at home. Getting to know my students and adjusting to my new schedule. However, God’s grace prompted to strategize and perfect my situation even in sticky circumstances.

I began to feel conflicted and weighed down. My timing, mixed emotions, fatigue, and processing everything. I had so much on my mind and lost focus of actually creating steps to execute. Life has a way of hitting you in the face when you’re not paying attention!

Why do we struggle? Is it in our best interest? What I’ve come to realize is how we operate is a reflection of our hearts.

“Strength does not come from winning. Your struggles develop your strengths. When you go through hardships and decide not to surrender, that is strength.” Arnold Schwarzenegger

Keep your heart with all diligence, for out of it spring the issues of life. Proverbs 4:23

What have you been wrestling with? Fear? Doubt? Depression? Insecurity? Panic? Whatever it is, it will eventually drain you if you don’t release. This is not an overnight fixer but embrace that journey of God uprooting ever lie that you’ve partnered with.

What have you allowed to harbor in your heart? Have you become bitter? Have you lost hope? Have you become complacent?  Our hearts hold chambers and we have to allow the blood of Christ to flow through.

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

What are you meditating on? Whatever we believe shapes our reality. If you take on a lie that you’re unimportant or that you don’t matter your life will reflect that. The enemy loves when we partner with lies. Sometimes we do it unknowingly. We fear that things won’t work out or we joke about it. Meditate on God’s word and other sources of light. Read an empowering book. Listen to some worship music! I love instrumentals.

Side note: Be mindful of who is in your circle!

What are you speaking? Speak the truth. Speak affirmations like these.

G o d, y o u ’r e s t i l l g o o d.

Regardless of how bad you may feel your day has gone, there is always a reason to be grateful. You serve the King of Kings!

What are you wearing? I’m not referring to those nice khakis or ripped jeans you have on but what is your spiritual armor? When you wake up put on your armor! Read Ephesians 6:10-18.

If the Son sets you free, you are truly free. – John 8:36

Trusting the Master

pasture

I will call upon your name. Keep my eyes above the waves. Hillsong in Oceans

10/03 – Trusting the Master Call

You didn’t see this coming. It knocked you right off of your feet. And although you thought you covered all measures somehow tragedy still struck. It was the loss of a loved one, another job denial, a new balance added to your account, or having to start all over again. So many questions. So many questions. You try to make sense of it all but no matter how you cut it, it still does not add up. This, my friend, is the struggle.

You are truly, seriously lost, even though you know exactly where you are. Barbara Brown Taylor in An Altar in the World.

What God has revealed to me is that we have to trust Him. When we do, we are able to breathe and sleep at night knowing that He is caring for us. As the Great Shepherd, He looks after each of His sheep.

I am the good shepherd; I know my own sheep, and they know me, just as my Father knows me and I know the Father. So I sacrifice my life for the sheep. I have other sheep, too, that are not in this sheepfold. I must bring them also. They will listen to my voice, and there will be one flock with one shepherd. John 10:14-16

Even when you don’t understand God is still there.

L o o k, S m e l l, T h i n k, T a s t e, a n d L i s t e n.

Oh taste and see that the Lord is good. Blessed is the man that trusts in Him. Psalm 34:8

As the loving Father He is, God covers us with His word and has equipped us for the journey.

Look for the reminders that God has placed in your life. Look for God in the little things. 

God is in the details. He’s in the wind. He’s in the trees. He’s in the earth. He’s in the flowers. Everything around you is giving a message. Tune in to hear the Master’s voice through your everyday occurrences.

Meditate.

Take time out of your day to center yourself and focus on what God may be trying to reveal to you. I sing, study, and play worship songs in the morning.

Connect with purpose-driven people.

It’s been stated that we become who we hang around. Be observant of who you are partnering with.

Trust that He has you.

Your situation is not too dynamic that it disqualifies you from God’s arc of safety. Fall into the Master’s loving arms.

He won’t take you into it until He’s prepared you for it.

Stop trying to rush the process. If you truly consider, you’re most likely not ready for the “next big thing” just yet. Use this time to recuperate and to rest in the promises of God.

Today’s feature song!

When oceans rise my soul will rest in your embrace. I am yours and you are mine.

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

Walking In Love

“My dear brothers and sisters, how can you claim to have faith in our glorious Lord Jesus Christ if you favor some people over others?” James 2:1

We’ve all done it before. Judged someone based on appearance. We’ve rolled our eyes at that homeless man because he smelled. And snared at that woman who was intoxicated. We’ve taken the time to wonder how great it’d be if that person was not around us. But what would happen if walked in love?

“Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen.” – Hebrews 11:1 NKJV

In order to walk in love you must walk by faith. You have to believe that that person too has an identity and purpose in God. Some are simply blind to it.

I once was lost but now I’m found. Was blind but now I see.

I recall viewing people differently based on their appearance. If a person smelled good and wore nice clothes I’d treat them kinder than someone with a stench who did not have on nice clothes. It was to the point that this habit became instinct.

“These people honor me with their lips, but their hearts are far from me.” – Matthew 15:8

God has not intended for us to live like that. He sees us all with purpose and great potential. We must look beyond the surface and believe that that person has an identity and purpose in God.

How do we respond when others look at us with hatred in their hearts?

No one likes to be disrespected. It is definitely not preferred. But here are some tactics that you can use in the midst of trying times.

  • Stand firm on the word of God. Psalm 119:11
  • Stay seated in heavenly places. Don’t stoop down. Ephesians 2:1-7
  • Connect with your brothers and sisters for insight and encouragement.

Ask your loving Father to help you walk in love. His mercies are new every morning!

08/15 – Prayer Call

Take a listen to this week’s featured song!

For prayer, please click here.

A Leap of Faith!

What if we really operated in faith? Faith is a lifestyle. God plans on using us in phenomenal ways but we must take that leap of faith!

Faith.

The ability to expect something great to happen. – God

Saul was very passionate about the truth and sought it out in everything he did. He believed that by persecuting Christians he was fulfilling the law. But on his way to Damascus, Saul had an encounter with God and His life was forever changed!

David, was sent on assignment to bring his brothers food at the battle grounds. The little shepherd boy was tasked to see how his brothers fared. Little did he know that because of destiny, his life would forever be changed. Paul (formerly Saul) and David had something in common: a past. But they also had in common a future ordained by God.

Here are some points that we shared:

  • It is Christ’s power working on the inside of us. 1 Corinthians 2:1-6
  • God provides a platform for us that others believe we are unqualified for. 1 Samuel 17:28
  • He will use your past to glorify Himself in your future.
  • Your faith will outweigh the dynamics of the obstacles in your life. 1 Samuel 17:45, 46

Take a listen here!

08/01 – Prayer Call

Now faith is the substance of things hoped for. The evidence of things not seen. – Hebrews 11:1

For prayer requests click here.

Plants and Seeds

A time of harvest. A time of blessings. No more strife. Please, stop stressing. Joy is here. The sun peers. Through the leaves of green. What a glorious scene. You thought this was the end. But joy cometh in the morning, my friend. Seed, time, and harvest. Water your crops. Let it penetrate your seed. There is no more drought. While others were drying and leaves were dying, you were planted by rivers of water. Now you rise toward the open skies. What a blessed time to be alive. You survived the storm. You overcame the chills. There have been deep valleys and hovering hills. But mighty are the works of His hands. Tenderly, carefully guiding you in His plan. Cultivating your mind and causing your stems to rise. Oh, what a blessed time to be alive. 

He makes me to lie down in green pastures; He leads me beside the still waters. Psalms 23:2 NKJV

The Little Things

Beauty is said to be in the eye of the beholder. What I find to be astonishing are often the things unnoticed. Take a look at some of my favorite little things.

This sunbrella has finally had it’s time to shine. With the recent heat and clear skys, she offers the perfect amount of shade. And she’s purple!
One day I decided to rock my floral socks in two colors! I felt fun and creative. Dare to be different!
Anyone who knows me knows that I like to eat good ice. Not just any ice, but the soft, crunchy kind. When I found out it was served at a local restaurant I could not pass up the opportunity! Yummy!

While commuting to King’s Dominion with my team, I couldn’t help but take pictures of the scenery. In this pic I captured the KD sign and myself as well! Such beauty all around us! I don’t think I could move fast enough!
Stars from the 60th anniversary celebration!
These flowers are from my grandparent’s 60th anniversary celebration. We honored them for their labor of love and sacrifices.
I spotted this little one while looking beneath my desk. The little lady was as still as ever. I admired her beauty.

Whether it’s a small feather from a bird or the cool breeze of late summer, learn to appreciate and enjoy the little things in your life. 

“If you are faithful in little things, you will be faithful in large ones.”

Luke 16:10 NLT

 Make Room for Me

Hands Up Ocean

Start packing folks! It’s time to get ready for your next big move! 

On this week’s prayer call, we’ve discussed availing ourselves to God and walking in expectation of what He has in store. God is preparing us for a mighty move. Get your bags ready!

Here are the following points discussed:

  • When you give God your portion, He will multiply it. He is the greatest Multiplier. Malachi 3:10
  • Set aside time for you and your Maker. Psalm 23:1

If you look for me with your whole heart, you will find Me. Jeremiah 29:13

  • Walk in faith preparing for the big move.
  • Challenge the challenge! James 1:2,3

If you’ve been experiencing challenges in your life, begin to rejoice! God is refining you and building your resilience. Your character is being built upon! Embrace the process.

“God can turn: fear into faith. Pain into potential. Rejection into destiny.” Steven Furtick

07/18 – Prayer Call

Bring all the tithes into the storehouse, that there may be food in My house and try Me now in this,” Says the Lord of hosts, If I will not open for you the windows of heaven And pour out for you such blessing that there will not be room enough to receive it.” Malachi 3:10 NKJV

Check out the song of the week!

You are not alone. 

Submit your prayer request and we will certainly pray for you.