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

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

Somewhat of An Ode

I know you can’t stand forever
But before your demise
Here’s somewhat of an ode
To last a lifetime

In my heart there will always be memories of you, me, and the seas
The sand between my toes
Unbeknownst
Hiding evil mysteries

I know you can’t stand forever
Because the good book says you won’t
And the God you said you served
Is the God who assures you don’t

I read He put your soothsayers to shame
Don’t act surprised, you had it coming
Found out it truly wasn’t a game
And for your pain, there was no numbing

Tick Tock, Tick Tock
My God will not be mocked

It’s only a matter of time
before your tides run dry
The salt can’t soothe your wounds
The water can’t caress your lie

Confession:
I sing your anthem well
with nostalgia and grief
but for the vets, not the nation
For in you, I’ve lost belief

Why is that song so beautiful?!
Was it all part of your plot?
Did you give us something mesmerizing
To disguise our land in rot?

I pray for grace, ’cause I’m still here
But I’m telling you now, we’re done
I’m not calling this place my home
I’m from heaven, like The Son

No more relaxing by the shore
Pretending well is what you’re doin’
No more looking to you for justice
Just praying…and waiting on your ruin

Tick Tock, Tick Tock
My God will not be mocked

©2018 • Chan’tel Nikole Grayson

“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