It’s our Anniversary!

Hey! It’s a celebration! Life to Your Soul turns 4 today!

We started this blog with the hopes of inspiring others in their walk with Christ and sharing personal stories. We are pleased to say that God and your support have exceeded our expectations. Because of your support we have hosted two events in Baltimore City, mentored hundreds of youth & young adults and partnered with other organizations. From the bottom of our hearts we thank you all! The best is yet to come!

I planted the seed in your hearts, and Apollos watered it, but it was God who made it grow. 1 Corinthians 3:6 NLT

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.

Love In Action

This past week my main focus has been on being love. Not focusing only on myself but meditating on others and their needs.

being

  1. 1a:  the quality or state of having existence b(1):  something that is conceivable and hence capable of existing (2):  something that actually exists (3):  the totality of existing things c:  conscious existence :life

To be or not to be?

It has been my goal to be intentional in my efforts with people. To be present. To be real.

In a society where “get it quick” seems to be the motto, I’ve been focusing on getting it the right way. That means embracing the process and studying the necessary steps to achieving goals.

 

There is a way that seems right to a man, But its end is the way of death. Proverbs 14:12 NKJV

The truth is, we have all struggled in some areas of our lives and one of my areas happened to be being intentional. Genuinely showing concern for people and being God’s heart on the earth. 

Truth be told, I use to brush through conversations with family members, give quick, haphazard responses to concerns, and bypass their cries for my awareness. I was truthfully selfish. It’s not that I purposefully sought to hurt anyone but truthfully, I had been learning the meaning of love myself.

What God has been showing me as of late is that being empathetic is apart of the human healing process.

True empathy requires that you step outside your own emotions to view things entirely from the perspective of the other person. Author Unknown

If we really want to change the world we must learn to become selfless. Putting our agenda and perceptions to the side and seeking the will of God. Allowing love to heal and cover.

You will seek me and find me, when you seek me with all your heart. Jeremiah 29:13

I thank God for opportunities where I have been able to do just that.

Here are some forms of love in action!

My friends withLove put on a beautiful outreach event called the Love Sessions centered around bringing the community together.
These artists shared with me that paintings were about robots, dinosaurs, and family!
Such a pleasure serving food with Jerrod!
We put on a secret Open Mic night for Leviticus.
A group of friends and I came together to celebrate my brother Leviticus’ birthday! (He’s in the center).

Although it has been a process in understanding how to be selfless, I trust that through life’s experiences, the Word, and people I will continue to grow in that area. 

If you wanna make the world a better place take a look at yourself and made a change. Michael Jackson

 

 

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.

You Are Enough – Prayer Call Recap

On tonight’s call, sparks flew! We discussed our identity and how we are born with purpose.

The Lord gave me this message: “I knew you before I formed you in your mother’s womb. Before you were born I set you apart and appointed you as my prophet to the nations.” Jeremiah 1:4‭-‬5 NLT

Before Jeremiah was even thought of God had given him purpose. God already had a plan and duty for Jeremiah. This shows me that God has predestined us for great things! We are called to greatness. Our lives revolve around the work He’s called us to do. We must trust the process of His revealing and be patient in His timing. His plan is the best!

Here are some key points from the call:

  • God’s love knows no boundaries.
  • He knows us.
  • The answer you’ve been looking for is in you.
  • The more you seek God, the more you find your identity. Proverbs 3:5,6
  • He is our provider and protector. Everything we need is within our reach. Matthew 28:20

Listen to call here!

07/04 – Prayer Call

*I apologize for the muffled sound at the beginning. Skip to 3:50 to pass it! Revisions are underway.

The songs featured are by my friends withLove! Sinking & Sinking (reprise)

Be Still and Know

Did you know that you have purpose? Did you know that God’s plan is freely working together for your good? Here are some truths that I have learned along the way.

You were called with a purpose.

No, you’re not here by chance or circumstance. You were really born with a purpose. The eagle’s purpose is to soar. He catches a certain altitude then he spreads his wings and soars across the open sky.

God designed you with a lifetime of worth and value. Think about all the things you naturally do. You cook, you sing, you program, you design, you plan. You are uniquely you!

Your life does NOT equate to your mistakes.

How many times have you bashed yourself for making another wrong choice? Another mistake. Another missed opportunity. I don’t think I have enough pages to write how many times I have. You replay the scenario in your mind cringing every time you get to the negative part.

Similar to the popular game Sonic, you cannot go backwards. You can only move forward from here. Press forward!

…Forgetting the past and looking forward to what lies ahead, I press on to reach the end of the race and receive the heavenly prize for which God, through Christ Jesus, is calling us. Phillipians 3:13,14 NLT

Walk in your freedom.

Get to the place where you collide with God’s grace. It is freely given. Not by works as stated in Ephesians 2:8. A friend of mine has many tattoos. She previously doubted getting them and wanted to have them removed. When I saw her regretting, I told her that they were beautiful. That they were now apart of her and so she needed to rock them! She received the exhortation and walk confidently. When you get to that place of embracing grace and new life, your past can no longer haunt you.

“Whom the Son sets free is free indeed.”

Pray without ceasing.

Don’t think that because you’ve experienced this new life that trials will not come. As stated in 2 Timothy 3:12, “Everyone who wants to live a godly life in Christ Jesus will suffer persecution.” But take heart and don’t be discouraged. When troubles come your way, consider it an opportunity for great joy. For when your faith is tested, your endurance has a chance to grow. Pray for God to direct you and keep your heart transparent before Him.

Hardships often prepare ordinary people for an extraordinary destiny. – C.S. Lewis

Care about others.

While you are walking in freedom it is not healthy to harbor bitterness in your heart. According to Dr. Kathy J Marshack, If that bitterness is left unresolved, you will begin to see the negative affects not only on your physical health, but your entire life.

I’ve experienced much pain in the past; to the point where I had been harboring bitterness toward those who did me wrong. It became habitual for me to stuff my problems inside instead of addressing them. I did not release it to God and people so my relationships and health were affected. Care enough for yourself and others to release your burdens. Have a talk with someone trustworthy. Ask for advice. If God leads you to, tell the person whom you have the issue with. Because we are loved, we should choose love in all situations.

The Heart of Worship

“God is a Spirit: and they that worship Him must worship Him in spirit and in truth.” John 4:24 KJV

Worship is a total experience. Once the music starts, the whole atmosphere changes. Voices raise, hands stretch out, feet are swayed on. Everyone comes together in expectation waiting to experience God’s presence.

Worship

  1. to honor or reverence as a divine being or supernatural power
  2. to regard with great or extravagant respect, honor, or devotion

20170519_130338Worship is not just a gathering with others. Worship can become a lifestyle. On the morning commute to work, take time to reflect on God’s goodness. How immeasurable is His love and how faithful He has been to us. My gratefulness and worship now expand beyond Sunday service. I’ve caught myself worshiping in the market, in the car, on the job in the bathroom, and many other various places. I get so filled just thinking of how bound I was by fear and how free I am now by Christ’s love.

“Enter his gates with thanksgiving, and his courts with praise! Give thanks to him; bless his name”

Psalm 100:4 ESV

You don’t have to perfect yourself. Let Christ’s love do the work.

20170524_084617Take the first step in your transformation process. Once we experience God’s presence we go on a clean sweep rampage. We tend to try to clean our own lives and fix everything including those around us. God admires our zeal, but it is not our job to be the quicker-picker-upper.

But if we are living in the light, as God is in the light, then we have fellowship with each other , and the blood of Jesus, his Son, cleanses us from all sin.

1 John 1:7 NLT

The truth is we all have had moments of worship in our lives. It is through dancing. It comes with singing. Through ministering before others. Worship comes from the heart.

Let all that you do be done in love. 1 Corinthians 16:14 ESV

Whether that’s singing, teaching, fasting, modeling, dancing, constructing, cleaning, typing, styling, or anything else; do it in love.

We can’t worship in spirit and in truth without love. No matter what you do may your heart be humble. Give your burdens over to God and reach out to Him. He’s waiting for you.

20170524_133840


Thank you Father for your love. Thank you for giving me access to your amazing grace. Your peace is like none other. You are the best thing that has ever happened to me. I can come freely to you, knowing that you will not judge me but you will embrace me. I appreciate your ultimate sacrifice. I appreciate your guidance. I surrender to you. Every pain, every scar, every thought, and every intention. Cleanse me for only you can. Heal me and I shall be healed. I receive your gift and I choose to worship you with a heart of gratitude. Forgive me for ever doubting you. Forgive me for ever thinking my plan would be better than yours. Make me over. Change my walk, my talk, and my thoughts so that I may please. With you, I am free. No more chain hold me down. In Jesus’ name I pray, Amen.

If you prayed that prayer and would like more information on worship and salvation, click here.

Peace and Blessings!

Whom the Son sets free is free indeed.

Walks with God

I started out walking to the bus stop. Persistent, driven, and focused on getting to work. But all of the sudden, my busy morning commute turned into a peaceful stroll with the Savior.

I felt God in the wind. Heard His voice in the trees. Felt His warmth in the sky’s sun rays. Oh what bliss. Time stood still as we strolled. Moments like this were not always so evident.

I’ve always been on the go. If you ask my parents they’ll tell you how much of a busybody I was. Whether to work, school, family functions, or church it didn’t matter. I was ready to go. Always running late but always on the go.source.gif

One day, I was spending time with family downtown. We were exploring the scenery and checking out the quaint shops. But when it was time to go I quickly turned into the energizer bunny. I power-walked pass the crowds in pursuit of my destination. Then I heard voices calling from a distance. “Shantel.” When I turned around, my family was still far behind me. I had walked ahead of them as soon as we left the store. As I stood there, I thought to myself, Man, this is not good.

“Why are you rushing?”

I suffered from panic attacks and social anxiety. I thought, while in crowded, public spaces that the whole world was staring at me. It was difficult for me to enjoy outings with my family. I wanted to be free but fear paralyzed me.

Those who live in the shelter of the Most High will find rest in the shadow of the Almighty.

Psalm 91:1 NLT

I recall contemplating calling out of work one day because I was afraid that people would stare as I crossed the streets. Now, here I was strolling down the street, taking in the scenery, listening to the birds chirp on my way to work.

Healing is ready and available to you. I know how it feels to be in that “dark tunnel” of fear. You feel stranded, distant, and alone. But you are not alone. The God of peace will rescue you. Just reach out. Don’t carry that burden by yourself. #Release. You have help in the refuge of God’s arms and those he sends to encourage you. Don’t be afraid to reach out for help. You are not a mistake. Your life is far from over. Surrender.

I am free from that anxiety that once surrounded me.


God,

We thank you for revealing that you are able. That You have the power to heal and deliver. We take comfort in knowing that if we stretch out our hand to You, You will save us with your Mighty arm. You are compassionate God. As stated in Zephaniah 3:17, You will rejoice over us with joy, quiet us with Your love, and rejoice over us with singing. Your grace is enough. Send others in our paths to pray for us and guide us in encouraging others. Fear is already defeated and we believe that we are victorious through the blood of Jesus Christ as stated in Hebrews 9:12. Thank you for saving us. Amen

Hallowed Be Thy Name

Um… Hi God. It’s me Shantel.

Prayer has been incorporated in my life for as long as I can remember. It would be in the wee hours of the morning when mom would call us to pray. Tired, cranky, and half-sleep we’d gather in the living room of our home. Mom would begin thanking God for all of us, for clothes, shelter, and food.

After thanking Him for all of those things, mom would praise God for His goodness. As a child, I did not understand why she’d lift her voice and cry out at that point. I also couldn’t comprehend why we were up so early. But as the tears rolled down mom’s face, I knew she was sincere.

As I got older, prayer had become more of a chore in my eyes. We would pray before church, during service, before bed, and early in the morning. Prayer was a central focus in our home but not in my heart. But soon things started to change.

Then Jesus said, “Come to me, all of you who are weary and carry heavy burdens, and I will give you rest.

Matthew 11:28 NLT

My world seemed to be crashing down during high school years. I battled with low self-esteem, depression, peer pressure, and a sharp tongue. Eventually, my problems had reached their boiling point. I was not eating right, was not focused in my classes, had lost motivation even at home. Prayer seemed to be my only option. As I sobbed in my bedroom one day, I tried to muster up the words to say.

God, nobody likes me… 

I wanted to be accepted by God although I was broken inside. He was my only hope.

Will you marry me?

That question came from a place of emptiness inside. I was ashamed and realized that although I had participated in prayer and gone to church, I did not know God for myself. This was my chance to experience Him personally.

As I laid there, I felt a sense of relief. It was almost as if God had whispered Yes. in my ear. Somehow I felt His love. My tears of sorrow and shame turned into tears of joy.

Come close to God, and God will come close to you.

James 4:8 NLT

I began thanking God for loving me and caring about me. My whole outlook had changed. I had become confident in my prayers and eager to learn more about it. I would volunteer in church to lead prayer. God encouraged me to pray for my family, friends, peers at school, and those who had done me wrong.

God restored me and took away my guilt & shame. I am thankful for this powerful resource that we all can possess.


Prayer is a very important portion of a believer’s life. It is something that we should not avoid. God desires a relationship with us. Check out the following quotes and scriptures about prayer.

  •  Rejoice always, pray without ceasing, in everything give thanks; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you. – 1 Thessalonians 5:16-18
  • Don’t worry about anything; instead, pray about everything. Tell God what you need, and thank him for all he has done. Then you will experience God’s peace, which exceeds anything we can understand. His peace will guard your hearts and minds as you live in Christ Jesus. – Philippians 4:6,7
  •  And we are confident that he hears us whenever we ask for anything that pleases him. – 1 John 5:14

If you have a prayer request, fill out the form here.

Enjoy National Prayer Day.