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I’ve been comparing myself to Paul instead of you
And it’s amazing what Acts will help you do
Walking forward with my head held high
Drinking courage as I scroll pass
Bye…post.

Sorry, not sorry
You’re no longer welcome to my eyes
I can’t let them get lazy or God-forbid
Hypnotized
To gouge or not to gouge?
I’ll set a boundary for you instead
It’s worth it. I’m worth it.
The sin will only leave me dead

Paul had a thorn like me
And it kept him on the low
He was posted up everywhere
But never had a formal show
His fruit told his story
My fruit tell mine too

So if you’re ever scrolling and don’t see me…
No worries.
I’m good luv.
I’m serving.
I’m new.

Double tap, no more likes
Finally, are we free?
Remove the scale
Stop weighing him!
and her!
and them!
and me!

I’ll see you when I see you
Won’t miss you when I don’t
But every now and then
I’ll stalk your stories
Hmm…or maybe I won’t

This affair has ended
Those compliments you can keep
‘Cause then I’ll have to accept your criticism
And I ain’t lettin’ you sow that deep…

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©2020 • Chan’tel Nikole Grayson

AHEM!!!!

Let me clear my throat, folks! It’s 2020 and I made it!!!
Whew! Cheers…to…THAT! I know I’m not alone here.

In case you didn’t know, I have been living for 32 years (I just turned 33), and I have been blogging here for the past 8-ish. My embarrassing archives will go ahead and remain. Since it’s been a while, it’s a new year, and I see a few new faces here, I figured that is a good reason to re-introduce myself…kind of! So AHEM!!!! I present to you…

20 Fun Facts About Me

1. Give me a dance floor or karaoke and I come alive! No, seriously. I have a list of categorized songs that I can pull up right now. No alcohol necessary. Let’s go!

2. My personal bios are so difficult for me to write. A wise artist once told me that “we’re never just one thing”, and this statement couldn’t be further from my truth. I have done, can do, and will do so many wonderfully creative, tough, and humbling things. I also don’t necessarily believe that my identity comes from the things that I do (it changes in seasons!). One of my favorite roles, however, is being an aunt. I love my nieces and nephew so much, and another one is on the way! Yeee!!

3. I live an unconventional lifestyle serving God, and I love how His plan keeps unfolding for me. He knows me so well! The spontaneity and adventure life with Him brings is priceless!

4. Pre-200I went by the nickname, “Nikki” instead of my birth name, “Chan’tel”, and though most know me as Chan’tel in this stage of my life, “Nikki” occasionally burns my ears. In my younger years, my birth name felt more like a jacket too large to fit into. I often wonder how biblical characters like Abraham or Paul adapted to their name changes. 

5. My legs are probably hairier than yours during the winter 🤷🏽‍♀️, ’cause who’s not shaving unless they have a pedicure or massage appointment is ME! Too much information? I’ll spare you a photo of evidence.

6. I am finally admitting that I am a Yelp nerd. It’s a fun hobby for me that began with a heart to pay the favor forward after moving to a new state in 2011 (around the birth of this blog). Now, it continues to keep me exploring (gets me out of the house!), writing (good practice!), and somehow over the years has come with so many perks! (It’s neat to be elite).

7. Less is truly more for me. Less stuff (one could say I’m a minimalist) and less people (I can count my friends on one hand). I’ll take an experience over material possessions any day and a good friend with heartfelt conversation over many fans. Theee best!

8. I’m super low key. Partly because I think it wise and partly because I have issues with broken trust. I like living for me (and God) and if folks don’t know what’s going on, then I don’t have to hear their unsolicited opinion. I like to share information with purpose, not just because somebody’s nosey. What are your thoughts on this?

9. If you ask me what my favorite color is, I’ll say turquoise (also my birthstone) to keep the conversation short. It’s complex though. I like it all, and especially like wearing muted colors and earth tones. Accessories in coral are super cute too! Confused yet? I am woman, ha! Did not God create the rainbow?!

10. I’m pregnant…with purpose. And honestly, sometimes I feel overdue. Pray for your girl. I feel like I have been a spiritual doula for so many and now I’m in need of my own. Oh, so many dreams and goals. Oh, so many.

11. I often draft and prayerfully schedule out nearly all of my blog posts in advance. This means that most of my writings, though timely, are not written in real-time. I often minister to myself while reading along with y’all. It’s amazing. This post was written recently in November 2019.

12. I’m one of those people who listens to Christmas music year-round. Annnd?!

13. I’m naturally introverted, but the Holy Spirit is so good at balancing me out that many are convinced that I’m not. Oh, but I am!

14. My preferred methods of communication are written or video chat, and heartfelt over small talk. I don’t like talking on the phone, but I do because it’s unrealistic to avoid it completely, ha! Plus I have loved ones who prefer it.

15. My heart has been broken way more than it should have because not until recent years, have I learned how to guard it properly. I learned the hard way that hearts aren’t meant to wear on your sleeve. NonethelessI will forever love hard.

May the Lord teach and re-teach us how to guard our hearts appropriately and help us discern the motives of others and their interests in connecting with us. You, and all you encompass are beautiful. People will always want your pearls, so clutch them because they are precious.

16. I am single by choice and have not met anyone that has made me want to change that choice. For now, I’m enjoying the perks that may one day be missed.

17. I’m more of a no grey type of person. I’m all in, or all out. If you know me, then you know. No games. No gimmicks.

18. Some of my dearest relationships are long distance and I think it’s for the best. Maybe I’d be distracted from my God-given assignments if my sister-friends were all living in my current city. Miss them and look forward to reunions! I strongly relate to Paul in the bible and the longings in his letters.

19. The beach, sunrises, sunshine, iced lattes, hot tea, dark chocolate, smoothies, real fruit bars, leathers, bites, and twists. Belly laughs, random road trips, snail mail, instrumentals, handmade gifts, gel pens, hands-free purses and backpacks, naps, leather, lace, rainy days, foot massages, scenic hikes, surprise checks in the mail, frozen yogurt, hot sauce, hot wings, In-N-out burgers, tajín, karaoke, line dances, an awesome sale on things you need, kids, and Jesus please. These are more than a few of my favorite things.

20. A few months ago I decided I was going to stop waiting for certain circumstances to change before I started living fully the way I’ve been wanting to. I snipped some strings, sold some things, and now I’m soaring and catching wind! Weeeeee!! No limits. Let’s go!

 

©2020 • Chan’tel Nikole Grayson

Field Days

This past summer I had the honor of serving with Kaleo, a missions organization that partners with church plants (like Swerve Church) in select cities and states to help impoverished communities through various outreach efforts (i.e. assisting with school organization, food pantries, shelters, street evangelism, prayer walks, community clean-ups, etc.). In a nutshell, we spread love and share the gospel.

Kaleo hosts church youth groups (junior/high school) from all over the United States interested in serving, and they chose me (and a couple of others) to lead these groups that were arriving weekly to serve in Brooklyn (Bushwick). Such a great honor and experience. The harvest was and still is plentiful! May God bless the workers still there and send more according to His will!

Now I had originally planned on keeping my followers updated often throughout my time there, but I ended up only documenting a little on my Instagram stories (now highlights) and on a couple of posts. Between our long, sweaty days of serving and leading debriefs, it honestly wasn’t a high priority for me to talk to anybody but God (ha!)…’cause your girl was so tired! Just being honest.

I did, however, share a bit of my heartfelt perspective over on Kaleo Missions’ Blog that I wrote during my deployment. Though I was there for only a season, my investment was eternal.

In case you’re wondering what I’m doing now on this adventure with Jesus…welllll, my calling remains, folks! I will forever work with youth in some capacity, and I’ve recently adopted 22 little 4-year-olds. What can I say?! I am now crazy for Pre-K! 🤗🤪

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“If you think my hands are full, you should see my heart!”

©2019 • Chan’tel Nikole Grayson

Sediments of The Heart

I drink of lot of homemade and store bought natural beverages. As many of you know, for optimum taste, appearance and health benefits, it is recommended that they be shaken well, as the product settles naturally. Same for liquid medicines and vitamins.

Products not well shaken display a separation; having a murky, darker pigment at the bottom of the beverage. This is so, even if shaken and only left still for a period of time. What’s heavy sinks to the bottom. I mean, just look at the bottom of a lake!

Hmm. What’s heavy sinks to the bottom. Isn’t that true about the sediments of our heart, too? Not only does what’s heavy (painful, traumatic experiences, spoken and unspoken words and emotions) sink to the bottom, but they also get stuffed down by us way too often. We put them on reserve to address never, because we obliviously direct our focus elsewhere. Then, years pass by and we forget that that “thing” was ever a “thing”, because we’ve got so many other things going on floating above it. Just me? Oh, Lord, I hope not (lol).

Like natural beverages we do not function at our most optimal potential when we don’t allow the Lord to shake things up and let whatever issue float to surface. Stuffing is not a solution for anyone with a goal of freedom, and it’s also not an easy pattern to break – believe me, I know! With the help of the Holy Spirit, we can have healthy self-examinations. We can deal with issues of old…and new, because let’s face it, offence will come (Luke 17:1). But, we must first be willing to humble ourselves and look at it (2 Chronicles 7:14). Not being wise in our own eyes, internally belting, “Not I!” (Proverbs 3:7). Forgiveness and weeping are almost always counterparts in the process too.

Even Jesus had moments of lamentation, and He is the greatest man to have lived on earth!

It’s time for us to start getting to the bottom of things! Maturity welcomes the trigger and stirring that leads us to Christ. May the Holy Spirit shake us well and make us good!

Beloved, I pray that you may prosper in all things and be in health, just as your soul prospers. – III John 1:2 (NKJV)

©2019 • Chan’tel Nikole Grayson

Sick of Magic!

I’m just going to dive right in on this one. This post is a rant, my friends. I don’t do many of them, so I don’t apologize.

Still here? Good. Here I go…

Our culture’s obsession with magic (or the terminology of magic) is sickening to me! The enemy is in the deception and perversion business hardcore in this generation. The church is becoming such a lukewarm melting pot of theologies and philosophies, and instead of refuting what’s wrong, it’s remaining silent and/or conforming.

Don’t copy the behavior and customs of this world, but let God transform you into a new person by changing the way you think. Then you will learn to know God’s will for you, which is good and pleasing and perfect. – Romans 12:2 (NLT)

Some are playing with fire and don’t even know it.

This whole trendy use of the word “magic” to describe people (i.e. black girl magic), positive experiences, skill, and great feelings is just *gag*. Seriously though, since when is magic holy? I am an image bearer of God, and that is why I am so amazing. There is no magic over here, homie. What I have is far greater than magic, and far above rubies. What I have is favor, and when you have favor, you don’t need magic. To God be the glory!

…He who is in you is greater than he who is in the world. – 1 John 4:4 (ESV)

I don’t mean to go off on a tangent, but it almost reminds me of that whole “FML” (Fuck My Life) trend. Remember that? Ridiculous. But there really should be no surprise that the world finds cursing oneself cool *roll eyes*. “The struggle is real” trend can go ahead and stay though, because let’s be real…sometimes it is, and that’s straight up biblical. Ha!

Okay. Tangent over. Let’s look at Merriam Webster’s definition of magic for a sec…

But I will continue doing what I have always done. This will undercut those who are looking for an opportunity to boast that their work is just like ours. These people are false apostles. They are deceitful workers who disguise themselves as apostles of Christ. But I am not surprised! Even Satan disguises himself as an angel of light. So it is no wonder that his servants also disguise themselves as servants of righteousness. In the end they will get the punishment their wicked deeds deserve. – 2 Corinthians 11:12‭-‬15 (NLT)

So even if you’re using this word with good intent (I genuinely believe most are!), it’s true definition shows that it has a demonic derivative. Magic, even in the form of illusions and trickery, fascinates and peaks the curiosity of many, but who is the god of magic? Satan. And what does he do? Deceive and mock. Look back at the magical mockery that took place in Egypt (Exodus 7 and 8).

In short, all I’m saying is examine what you’re doing and why you’re doing it. Ditch magic and the ways of our ancestors as a whole, and pick another adjective to describe the lovely things you got going on. Don’t forsake God for a trend.

For the weapons of our warfare are not carnal but mighty in God for pulling down strongholds, casting down arguments and every high thing that exalts itself against the knowledge of God, bringing every thought into captivity to the obedience of Christ, and being ready to punish all disobedience when your obedience is fulfilled. – 2 Corinthians 10:4‭-‬6 (NKJV)

©2019 • Chan’tel Nikole Grayson

8 Scriptures To Keep You From Turning Back

It’s the first day Fall and it’s hard to believe we’re nearly finished with 2019. Whoa! Time for a check-up. If you had a resolution for the new year, it may or may not be out the window at this point. By this time, you’re either growing strong or possibly looking forward to 2020. For those who feel they have let themselves down, I thought I would dedicate this post to you as encouragement. How about we stop condemning ourselves, repent, and start over right here and now? Finish the rest of the year strong, and don’t look back!

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The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy; I have come that they may have life, and have it to the full. – John 10:10 (NIV)

That “they” Jesus is talking about is you, boo! What I have found is that many reasons we fail to stick to things is because we attempt to do things in our own strength. Since we’re naturally sinful, jacked up people, we need God’s help…like big time! That being said, before anyone attempts for the umpteenth time to walk this narrow path and follow Christ, my greatest recommendation is that you ask God to fill you with His Holy Spirit which enables us to produce all of that good fruit listed in Galatians 5. Get you some of Him before you try again, okurrr! Your will may get you started on the right path, but the Holy Spirit will keep you on the right path.

My second recommendation is to use your sword (the word of God) as your weapon. I don’t know about anyone else, but the enemy has used plenty of words, labels, images, people, you name it to beat me down, and I have successfully used God’s word and other weapons of warfare to beat him down and reaffirm God’s truth. Boom! The example of Jesus being tempted in the Garden of Gethsemane (Luke 4) teaches us how to fight in spite of our feelings. Victory through Christ Jesus is guaranteed. So, below are 8 scriptures to help you fight and keep you from going back to nowhere-land.

We demolish arguments and every pretension that sets itself up against the knowledge of God, and we take captive every thought to make it obedient to Christ.
– 2 Corinthians 10:5 (NIV)

This means that anyone who belongs to Christ has become a new person. The old life is gone; a new life has begun!
– 2 Corinthians 5:17 (NLT)

I have stored up your word in my heart, that I might not sin against you.
– Psalm 119:11 (ESV)

Stand-fast therefore in the liberty by which Christ has made us free, and do not be entangled again with a yoke of bondage.
– Galatians 5:1 (NKJV)

Jesus replied, “No one who puts a hand to the plow and looks back is fit for service in the kingdom of God.”
– Luke 9:62 (NIV)

As a dog returns to its vomit, so a fool repeats his foolishness.
– Proverbs 26:11 (NLT)

Anyone who continues to live in Him will not sin. But anyone who keeps on sinning does not know Him or understand who He is.
– 1 John 3:6 (NLT)

And I am convinced that nothing can ever separate us from God’s love. Neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither our fears for today nor our worries about tomorrow—not even the powers of hell can separate us from God’s love.
– Romans 8:38 (NLT)

Writing these scriptures out alone has been helpful, but inserting my name in the passages and pinning them in frequented areas, reciting them aloud as prayers and affirmations (as a means of downloading them internally), has helped tons! When the word is in you, the Holy Spirit has something to recall. Whenever negative thoughts pop up, your spirit man can pop up too. Now, that’s how you shoot your shot! If you’ve ever been haunted by the past – Go ahead and sling these rocks at your giant. They do fall (1 Samuel 17:49).

Love you.

©2019 • Chan’tel Nikole Grayson

Let The Pain Age

Let the pain age
Let it wrinkle
Shrivel
Shrink

Let it’s darkness transform
Let it trigger
Let it heal

Even if but a morsel
Let forgiveness be the sun
Be chocolate.
Let it melt

Stir it
Let it drip
Let it spill
Let it spread

Even if once bitter
Be rich
Be sweet
Be smooth

Be poured
On a page
As a faint memory of the past
Thought of with gratitude.

©2019 • Chan’tel Nikole Grayson

Inspired by:

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– Author Unknown

To all who mourn in Israel, He will give a crown of beauty for ashes, a joyous blessing instead of mourning, festive praise instead of despair. In their righteousness, they will be like great oaks that the Lord has planted for His own glory. – Isaiah 61:3 (NLT)