Grief + Healing

My dear aunt passed away a few months ago. I did not attend her funeral, but the Lord knows, as does she, I was present when it mattered.

Since then, I’ve been grieving. More importantly, I’ve been honest with God about my grief and have trusted Him with it’s appropriation. I’ve had days of super strength, days of stoic numbness, a few sudden with tears, and some with spurts of laughter. Today was laughter and tears. All days, gratefully, I’ve had peace.

Just this morning I met a lady that looked like my aunt did in her younger years. Man, it was so good to see her. She was listening to an audio book (something my aunt would be doing) and she had a lot of bags, and a lot of things in those bags (something like my aunt) lol. I chuckled to myself, teared up, and thanked God for the spurt of laughter. This is grief…coupled with healing.

I think it’s so important for us to not just stay stuck with our grief, but to also marry it with healing found purely in God, The Father. We can move past it properly this way. Do you know that it’s okay to move past it? Have you granted yourself permission?

For everything there is a season, a time for every activity under heaven…a time to cry and a time to dance. – Ecclesiastes 3:1-4

Now if it’s your season to cry buckets, I get it. By all means cry on without remorse! But if you know deep down in your heart, that you should have been dancing a long time ago, this is your opportunity to cast your care for real, for real…or again any way. Guilt is NOT from God. Never feel guilty for God’s favor. Feel GRATEFUL!

1 Peter 5:7 says: “Give all your worries and cares to God, for He cares for you.” Do you believe that?! So that means, yes, even though He allowed your loss to occur, God cares for YOU!! Is scripture going to be your foundation or are you going to believe a lie? The choice is yours.

Let’s not just carry this weight of grief. Let’s feel it in all of it’s gory, sometimes seemingly unreasonable pain and injustice. Ugh. Let’s release it unto God and release each other to process it in ways unique to ourselves.

Let’s give the devil a black eye and an eviction notice, telling him HE CAN’T RUIN OUR LIVES by causing us to tighten our grip in seasons we should be loosening it.

Let’s also pray for appropriation in our grief, so that it is not displaced; turning into bitterness, addiction, and who knows what else. Let’s not let it begin squatting on our hearts; extending past it’s seasonal expiration.

God wants you joyous! That’s one of the fruits of His spirit! And I would personally hate to see you skip past your happy season, because you’re holding on too long to the sad one. You know what I mean? I know you do.

Well, that’s all I really wanted to say. I don’t have a fancy punny ending or anything like that for this post. Oh! I did see an Instagram post be another person who was grieving. They suggested writing a letter to a loved one and releasing it in a balloon. I thought that was a pretty neat idea, and I think that will help me in my process. God-willing, we’ll do it, as writing was something special my aunt and I shared together. A letter seems swell.

In the meantime, pray for me while I pray for you. Enjoy this short clip of my aunt (Author and Speaker, Andrea Grayson) sharing her testimony at a Women’s Conference in San Diego a couple of years ago. Love her and you so much.

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“You Can’t Fall Off The Floor”

Circa 2016. It was my first and last conversation with Uncle Mac. My mother and I visited him on a whim while in route to Oklahoma City. Murietta was an itty bitty ‘ol thing; home to a witty gentleman, frail in frame but strong in heart. He was my Grandad’s brother, and so, my Great Uncle. I didn’t know much about him other than what he shared during our visit. He was a proud owner of a small prepaid flip phone from Family Dollar and an owner of a driver’s license, though his vision was blurred.

A few turns off the exit and we’d arrived and nearly seen it all. As we sat on his sofa, my mother engaged mostly, and I spoke in occasional smiles and gestures. I can’t remember if I said much about myself, or gave any inclination that I was going through a difficult time, which I was. At Uncle Mac’s age, he had to be familiar with a difficult time or two. His little seed hit my heart so powerfully and has been growing ever since.

“You can’t fall off the floor.” – Uncle Mac

Uncle Mac didn’t know that God was all I had in this season. He didn’t know that I’d hit rock bottom. Or did he? Though my hope for a comeback seemed far off in the distance, his words filled my heart with instant joy and I belted laughter at the simplicity of that truth. He was so right. It was only up from here!

So be encouraged by him and myself. I’m certainly not at the top, but I can tell you I haven’t fell lower than the floor! Lol. I don’t care how low you are in this moment, or how low you feel you are. Count it ALL joy! I wrote this for you.

You or someone you know might be on the floor of life right now, but I’m here to remind you that victory is guaranteed for those who believe that Christ won and conquered whatever you’re facing indefinitely on the cross.

Dear brothers and sisters, when troubles of ANY kind come your way, consider it an opportunity for great joy. – James 1:2 (NLT)

I also wrote this post for him (God rest His soul!), and as a reminder to all of those who think they don’t have much to say or think their words don’t hold much weight. You do and they do! I wrote this for the person who occasionally doubts whether being who they are in this demanding world is enough. It totally is! I wrote this for all of you, and for me too.

Be blessed. See you at the top!

Called By Name #Identity #Wholeness #Certainty

My nephew Zion turned one years old last month, and man did that come quick! I feel like it wasn’t too long ago that I was rushing to Paris to fall in love with him. (Click here to read that story).

One of my favorite things to do in this season his life, is watch his development. I get a kick out of observing him try new things and discover so much for the first time. I see him fearlessly maneuver and attempt to figure out ways of doing. I see him formulating likes, and even testing his limits. He listens and studies our eyes and lips when we speak. He deciphers and identifies words that we say, associating them with things and people that we address. I love to see this!, and it’s a precious reminder of how we all should be with our own Abba, Father.

You know what I really love, though??? His response to his name! It amazes me how powerful names and labels are, and how they can become ingrained in an individual before they even make it earth-side! At just one years old, Zion knows that he is Zion, he knows that he is “Auntie’s baby”, that he is G-Mama’s “buddy”, that he’s his mama’s “little man”, and that he is “so cuuute!”, and incredibly loved. He knows and he doesn’t for a second answer by what he doesn’t know. I can only imagine how hard his development would be if he didn’t know his name. How strange it would be if when we called his name he never turned his head in acknowledgement.

“I knew you before I formed you in your mother’s womb. Before you were born I set you apart and appointed you…” – Jeremiah 1:5 (NLT)

So I encourage you all today to open your bibles and discover your identity (like a child). I encourage you all to forgive whoever called you something that you’re not. Remove the debt and harsh labels (Matt. 6:12) and clothe yourself with the truth! How strange it is for us to not know who we are when our source (The word of God) and Resource (God himself!) is so easily accesible to us.

You made all the delicate, inner parts of my body and knit me together in my mother’s womb. Thank you for making me so wonderfully complex! Your workmanship is marvelous—how well I know it. – Psalms 139:13‭-‬14 (NLT)

Start fresh. Rule out any and everything that you’ve heard before, and declare in our heart right now, and adopt in your mind, right now, that our heavenly Father and Creator is the only One who is right! Let God be true and every man a liar! (Romans 3:4). Zion doesn’t rely on his own understanding, He trusts that what we are teaching him is what is right, as we should also trust God. (Proverbs 3:5)

I tell you the truth, anyone who doesn’t receive the Kingdom of God like a child will never enter it.” – Luke 18:17 NLT

When we know who and whose we are, the enemy’s foothold is loosened. The truth exposes lies and causes veils to fall. It grants sight to the blind. No more feeling our way through the darkness and crossing our fingers in hopes that we’re on the right path.

It’s time for certainty in identity! No more flip flopping doubts, embarrassment and pride about who we are! No more masks and weird phases, no turbulent cycles and emotional roller coasters. NO. MORE!!

“But you are not like that, for you are a chosen people. You are royal priests, a holy nation, God’s very own possession. As a result, you can show others the goodness of God, for he called you out of the darkness into his wonderful light. ‘Once you had no identity as a people; now you are God’s people. Once you received no mercy; now you have received God’s mercy.’” – 1 Peter 2:9‭-‬10 NLT

Stretch Marks On My Heart #Poetry #Love #Song

Don’t need no cocoa butter for this
I don’t want to cover it
Let it shine, let it show
Supernatural glow fo’ sho

I got stretch marks on my heart
Too many names to list why
But the best of the best is God
Yea with him, I’m supafly

These cheesy rhymes are dear to me
Though they don’t reflect my depth
They mirror that childlike spirit
Hands in the air, step by step

Smile so wide
Sway to the beat
Leave my hair wild
Move those feet

‘Cause I got stretch marks on my heart
I’m happy, I’m free
Too many names to list why
But yo, thanks for loving me

©2018 • Chan’tel Nikole Grayson

Princess Cut #poetry #virtue #faraboverubies

You don’t just stumble upon diamonds
You mine them
You don’t just mine those diamonds
You refine them.

Though maybe rough around the edges
Their existence is beautiful
And your reflection within them
We hope, is beautiful too.

With sincere eyes
We’ll gaze at hope
With humble hearts
In love…
We’ll say, “I do.”

With butterflies within our stomachs
We’ll dance, toast, and celebrate
Something new. Something new.

Because they’ve settled, a few may meddle
Because they’ve lost hope, a few may resent
But hold onto prayer and run towards forgiveness
And look forward to the day that they all repent.

For no one writes a better story than “The Man Upstairs”
And no one has a better plan than God himself
My precious princess, I have cut and prepared you for my prince
And to him I will give you, and no one else.

It’s a good thing.
It’s a good thing.

©2018 • Chan’tel Nikole Grayson

Jewels

An excellent woman [one who is spiritual, capable, intelligent, and virtuous], who is he who can find her? Her value is more precious than jewels and her worth is far above rubies or pearls. – Proverbs 31:10 (AMP)

Overwhelmed. #poetry #gratefulness #reflection

I’m loving all that You’re doing
And how my heart smiles upon my face
I’m loving all that You’re brewing
With gladness, I receive this cup by faith

I’m grateful for that which I do not know
I’m trusting Your guidance in every step
I’m grateful for this opportunity to grow
And have comfort in knowing that even Jesus, wept

I’m loving me, because I’m loving You
And this couldn’t be a better time
To pour into new wine skins
Incredible new wine

When I look into the mirror
I see You
And I’m baffled that it’s the truth
My gosh, You’re really in there shining out
You’re really my Boaz
I’m really Your Ruth

This love cannot be written
And I lack the words to fully express
I’m overwhelmed by Your sweet kindness
I’m overwhelmed by Your caress

This is what healing looks like
This is what redemption does
It takes your mess and cleans it up
It embraces
It persists
It loves

I call for a recount of God’s goodness!
I call for rejoicing for what’s to come!
I sing Hallelujah for His faithfulness!
Sing Hallelujah, everyone!

© 2017 • Chan’tel Nikole Grayson

5 Immunity Boosting Staples to Get You Through Flu Season #flu #kids #health #immunity

Anyone who knows me, knows that kids are my life and I’m connected to them everywhere I turn.  They are adorable, hilariously honest, give the best hugs, and are full of love. Oh, and I can’t forget germs. Oh, the germs!  Unfortunately, many of these little bundles of love haven’t yet mastered the art of avoiding spreading their germs, so we’ve got to play defense!

For the most part, I steer clear of western medication and stick to natural remedies. As the temperatures change and flu season hits, I thought sharing this post listing some of my favorite natural staples to boost your immune system, was pretty timely.

It’s always good to begin building your immune system when you are well, but beginning at all is swell. All of these come in handy when traveling too!

Disclaimer: The below recommendations are solely based on my personal opinion, personal experience and personal research. I am not a medical professional. 

Here’s the list:

1. Ester-C

Now, this isn’t your ordinary vitamin C.  It has high absorption properties, it’s non-acidic, and it contains antioxidants called bioflavonoids that help rid the body of icky toxins.

Another awesome factor is that you can take these on an empty stomach. No excuses for skipping this vitamin! Seriously, it’s my #1 for a reason.

2. Traditional Medicinals Organic Echinacea Plus Elderberry Tea

If you’ve been sleeping on echinacea, I’m about to wake you up because it is a fabulous herb for building your immune system. For years I’ve been a fan of it, and also a fan of the brand, Traditional Medicinals, and their assortment of organic teas (Thanks mom!).  A friend hipped me on elderberry, and honey, let me tellllll you! Throwing elderberry into the mix makes for a deliciously fruity, lethal combination for fighting colds, allergies, viruses, and bacterial infections. This little tea bag is the truth y’all! It’s not the easiest to find, but Amazon also sells a 6-pack (totaling 96 tea bags) at a reasonable price, comparable to in-store prices.

Check out Traditional Medicinals’ Seasonal Sampler too!

3. Emergen-C

Remember Airborne? Well, swap it for 1,000 mg of this fizzling goodness instead. Jam packed with electrolytes, manganese, zinc, antioxidants, and 7 B vitamins…umm, YES! They have a wider variety of flavors than I once remembered too. You no longer have to choose between Tangerine or Super Orange…big whoop! I’m currently digging Super Fruit Pomegranate myself.

1 box contains 30 packets, and 1 packet is recommended for 4-6 oz. of water. Use your box sparingly if you’re just boosting and maintaining. I “Subscribe & Save” from Amazon and have a box shipped monthly.  Definitely don’t pay over $10 for a box of these bad boys.

4. Ricola Cough Drops

Riiiii-co-laaaaaa! If you are a singer or have a job that requires talking frequently, you can certainly benefit from stashing a couple of these in your purse or pocket before running out the door in the morning. These also help lubricate and soothe your throat while in cold climates or air-conditioned places like stores, churches, hotels, schools, hospitals, etc.

Like Emergen-C, they too have more flavors now, and even have the kind that ooze menthol and open up your sinuses if you’re into that sort of sensation. Ricola Cough Drops often range from 19 up to 130 count.

5. Mandarin Oranges

In my opinion there’s nothing like vitamins in their purest form. Mandarin oranges are a healthy and easy snack to pack on-the-go. Not to mention, the immunity boosting benefits of orange pulp continue working long after consumption.

Unless you have a citrus tree in your backyard, you’re probably heading to your neighborhood grocery store to pick up this little booster. “Cuties” and “Halos” are amongst the more popular brands of seedless mandarin oranges/clementines on the market.

You can munch on them in transit, throw them in your lunch bag, toss them in a salad, or quickly satisfy your late night sweet craving, all while boosting your immune system. They’re also pretty easy for toddlers to peel on their own too. For the win!

 

So, what’s in your stash? Comment below. I’d love to know!
Tis the season!