Cloudy Days

In recent months I have had more cloudy days than I would like to admit, but I have began to realize how important it is for us Christians to actually talk about them instead of projecting this image of a struggle-free, happy-go-lucky life. Social media doesn’t help either, as more often than not, it’s a reel of good times – which I actually don’t think is all bad, until comparison rears it’s ugly head.

Here on earth you will have many trials and sorrows. But take heart, because I have overcome the world. – John 16:33 (NLT)

The past 4 years of my life have been incredibly challenging. God sure knows how to prepare us! I have grieved several unmet expectations of perfection, despite knowing the word above. And to be honest, I’ve lost a lot of hope for tomorrow in the process.

I used to sing the same optimistic song: “The best is yet to come!” But, new year after new year, I have waited, and the road to the best has been flooded with tears and more growing pains. My heart has gotten pretty sick of the deferred hope (Proverbs 13:12) for the long-awaited responses to my ancient prayers. My new song belts, “Great is thy faithfulness!” unto the Lord, and in my state of reality or doubt (yikes!), it also faintly whispers, “Even if You don’t, I will be okay…and I will praise You”.

“I do believe, but help me overcome my unbelief!” – Mark 9:24 (NLT)

Do not be ashamed if you have felt or are feeling this way. The healing process begins with honesty. You are not alone! Let me say that again. You are not alone! Myself, many other believers, and our Savior feels your pain! I don’t know about you, but I find it so comforting to know that Yeshua has endured everything that we have or ever will. And we have a book full of reference points to help us with our challenges too.

Quick Story.

At the end of December 2018, as the new year approached, I began reflecting over the year. To be honest, I ruled it as overall horrible, and was feeling quite depressed about it. Before I could swim in the deep end of that lie, my Godmother who loves to take photos and document memories randomly sent me a slideshow full of captured fun times we’ve shared in 2018. Talk about God’s perfect timing.

I literally laughed out loud at how ridiculous I looked sulking, when right there in my face was proof that it wasn’t all so bad. I’m tellin’ y’all…THE DEVIL IS A LIAR! And you want to know what was even more ridiculous?! Some of the moments she shared were recennt! I’m talking within the last month, recent. Geez Louise.

See how depression warps our perceptions regarding our current circumstances; causing us to believe lies and throw a pity party of one? Things just aren’t clear through the lens of depression, my friends. In its selfish nature, it causes us to look for justifications to remain downcast. Instead of mentally going down a slide of injustices, we should be recounting the goodness of The Lord and thinking on virtuous things (Isaiah 63:7; Phil. 4:8). For some of us depression is a short season, and for others, a long one with evidence of being a stronghold. In both, God is the answer.

Why, my soul, are you downcast? Why so disturbed within me? Put your hope in God, for I will yet praise him, my Savior and my God. – Psalm 43:5 (NIV)

Now, I am not ignorant to the fact that there are a select few who remain depressed because they flat out refuse gratefulness. Maybe they fear freedom (a real thing), and having been bound for so long, those demons have become family. Maybe they don’t want to relinquish the sympathetic attention that they may gain from wallowing. Only when we genuinely decide that we want to be victors instead of victims is there hope for us through Christ.

A cheerful heart is good medicine, but a broken spirit saps a person’s strength. – Proverbs 17:22 (NLT)

We also can’t forget that certain foods and beverages trigger mood changes as well. They can cause dips in emotions and/or increases in anxiety. Examine yourself and any habits that may be contributing. We worship God in our eating as well. Give us this day our daily bread, Lord… spiritually and physically! Ask God what you need for today. He knows and has gone before you.

Bottom line: It is impossible to be depressed within the presence of God. The fruits of His spirit are love, joy, peace, longsuffering, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control (Galatians 5:22-23). So I encourage you to fight to praise Him for who He is and not just what He has/hasn’t done. Worship is key in the slump of depression.

One of my favorite ways to worship the Lord is in song. In no special order below, I have listed 20 songs that have helped me (and others) during dark times when it seems the enemy’s lies are just so dang loud. Maybe some of these can help you jump start a healthy playlist of your own. In my opinion, there’s nothing like reading the lyrics as you listen to really penetrate and motivate the heart to fight.

I pray that each time you get up, you get up stronger.

  1. Draw Nigh (Psalm 42:1) – Fred Hammond
  2. You Say – Lauren Daigle
  3. Fear Is A Liar – Zach Williams
  4. It Ain’t Over – Maurette Brown Clark
  5. Power to Redeem – Lauren Daigle
  6. You Are – Javen
  7. Get Up – Mary Mary
  8. I’ll Find You – Lecrae
  9. I Smile – Kirk Franklin
  10. King of the World – Natalie Grant
  11. Tell Me Wear It Hurts – Fred Hammond
  12. I Ain’t Done – Andy Mineo
  13. Still I Rise – Yolanda Adams
  14. Even If – MercyMe
  15. Yesterday – Mary Mary
  16. Let Your Power Fall – James Fortune & FIYA (feat. Zacardi Cortez)
  17. The Breakup Song – Francesca Battistelli
  18. Please Don’t Pass Me By – Fred Hammond
  19. You Can’t Stop Me – Andy Mineo
  20. Speak The Name – Koryn Hawthorne (feat. Natalie Grant)

Now all glory to God, who is able to keep you from falling away and will bring you with great joy into his glorious presence without a single fault. – Jude 1:24 (NLT)


©2019 • Chan’tel Nikole Grayson

New Jacket. New Season!

Throughout my waiting for God’s move in different areas of life, I have learned that patience is a posture. We cannot be both trusting of God and stressed. Faith is not anxious and worried about tomorrow, and like Father Abraham, we are counted as righteous because of our belief.

A few months back, and on a whim, I decided to accompany my parents to the mall. This is unusual because for the most part, I have primarily been an online and essentials only type of shopper…with the exception of Targét, of course. We always got time for that!

Any way, I was down for the mall excursion and figured, eh, maybe I’ll find a jacket today. I had had a lightweight, casual and semi-neutral colored jacket on my mental wish list for a while now. Years, actually.

We went to Burlington with high hopes, and I went straight to the women’s medium jacket section and began browsing. I tried on a few jackets without a mirror, until I found a jacket worthy of a search for one nearby. Since the mirror closest to me was occupied by another lady, I walked quite a ways off from my starting point (towards the large section) to scope out the fit; it was a nice jacket indeed.

However, in the corner of my right eye, adjacent to the mirror serving me at the time, I saw an abandoned reject of another’s hanging limply on the rack off-the-hanger. It was a displaced olive gem, that ironically looked like my size.

My eyes lit up. With excitement, I took off the jacket I had on, and put on the green one. I knew immediately…it was it! That quickly, I had found the jacket that I had been desiring and patiently waiting for, for years. Wow!

Firstly, I wasn’t even shopping over there in that section. I began in a familiar section. I had to move far from the location of the old one to get closer to the new one that was for me. Hello somebody!

Secondly, the jacket was a size that I would not usually select to try on, let alone, purchase! There was no way I would have even stumbled upon it without the divine mirror hunt.

Thirdly, it fit exactly how I wanted it to and was priced reasonably! It was for me. I could cry at how God was using this jacket to minister to me, and how sweet of Him to not forget the little things and my aged petitions.

I believe God placed this message in my heart to share:

More of that is coming! Not just for me, but for many of you as well. God is going to bless you with something that you have been waiting for, for a very long time. He’s going to do it easily and suddenly. It is going to be easy, because it is time. It didn’t work out before because it was early. But God is on.point, like my new jacket (😉🙌🏽). I am grateful. Everything is going to fit because it is made for you. It is going to be larger than what you are used to, but you will fit into it, and you will wear it well. It is yours; a gift from your Heavenly Father. The old will not do in this season.

Praise Him in advance. Hallelujah!

©2019 • Chan’tel Nikole Grayson

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 by 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.

I want to leave this world empty. #legacy

Let it be known
That I gave it all I’ve got
And that I kept on walking
Long after I got shot.

They tried to kill me
But He healed me
And now I can surely say
There’s no doubt in my mind
That God isn’t The Way.

He’s not a man that He should lie
So there’s no good excuse
Not to serve Him ’til we die
Not put our gifts to use.

I want to leave this world empty
On time and On “E”
I want to leave this world empty
And full of all of me.

He paid a pretty hefty cost
For our sinful, wretched mess
Then He rose; sent Help
And proceeded to call us blessed.

I thought I lost some here and there
But He said, “Nah, they quit the race.”
He said I chose to keep on running
And they chose to save face.

I want to leave this world empty
Having done all I loved to do
Love God, Love People
Love Me, Love You.

I want to leave flecks of gold
That shimmer within smiles
I want to leave hope, lots of hope
That lasts a great while.

I decided long ago that…
I wanted to leave this world empty
On time and on “E”
So that all would know, truly
That I was naturally me.

So when that day comes…
Let it be known
I didn’t leave early
Let it be known
I hate being late
Let it be known
I’ve waited long enough
For that Oh, so precious date.

© 2016 • Chan’tel Nikole Grayson

 

God, Man, and Woman #Feminist #Leadership #Power #Authority #GenderRoles

I recently finished up one of Ron Carpenter’s teaching series titled, “What Makes A Man”, and found it to What Makes A Manbe wonderfully insightful.  Initially the title brought some doubt about whether or not it was for me (a woman), but after hearing his introduction, I was convinced that he would share something that my heart was ready to receive.  By learning “what makes a man”, it became clear to me, that which does not make a woman, and therefore, what a woman should not seek to make herself into.  God has already done a great job.  You, woman, are beautifully made and there is no flaw in you!  (Song of Songs 4:7)  My heart was stirred, and any competition within it was getting squashed in my prayer closet!  Yaaaay!  This night…I was hearing, I was receiving, and I was getting. my. life!  God is truly for us.

“For the revelation awaits an appointed time; it speaks of the end and will not prove false. Though it linger, wait for it; it will certainly come and will not delay.”
~ Habakkuk 2:3 (NIV) ~

My attention was drawn to the somewhat controversial topic of a woman’s role.  I want to flashback to Genesis and recall a story about us and for us.  My goal is to stir your heart and make you think about God’s word in relativity to the way we live (mind, body and spirit).  I’ve included many scripture references for you to do your own study (and I hope you do!).  I encourage you to test the spirit delivering this message (1 John 4:1)!  And If the truth stings, let it sting!  It is a small cost for liberty.

Men vs Women

Briefly about Adam…
Back in Eden, good ol’ Adam was placed there before Eve.  With his God-given glory and dominion, he reigned slightly lower than the angels (Psalm 8:5; Hebrews 2:7).  Adam was a man with great responsibilities, and therefore many requirements (Luke 12:48).  He named animals and tended an entire “garden” stretching across the Middle East!  It pleased God to watch Adam do his thang.  He came from God, “looked” like God, and walked with God; like Father, like son.  Gon’ Adam with yo bad self!

Briefly about Eve…
Without coincidence (on purpose, for a purpose), Behold! God had created the lovely Eve from Adam, for the purpose of help and companionship.  The woman’s role then and now is to simply help the man with what he needs.  Side note: This is why it is extremely important for a woman to choose a man who is Christ-centered and truly walking with God.  A wise woman once told me that the real ones are not trying to convince you, they are doing it.

“And it was not Adam who was deceived by Satan. The woman was deceived, and sin was the result.”
~ 1 Timothy 2:14 (NLT) ~

Eve’s deception led her to believe that she was missing something.  She sought after this forbidden knowledge and power that seemed harmless and good for her.  She sinned, she tainted her legacy, and she placed her family in a position of struggle for life.  We are descendants of her, and God has a word…

“To the woman he said, ‘…Your desire will be for your husband, and he will rule over you.'” ~ Genesis 3:16 ~

God spoke, and the fight of woman for the position of man began.  Now singles, you may think the above scripture is only true for married women, but not so!  You, my single sister, are married to the best of the best, God himself! Your devotion and submission is to the Lord, holy in both body and in spirit! (1 Corinthians 7:34).

We Can Do ItI believe many feminist, “shero”, and anti-male movements are examples of Genesis 3:16; women attempting to change an order that was divinely set in place.  Now I’m not knocking women’s rights; I am for me, and I know that my greatest and highest thoughts of myself cannot compare to God’s thoughts of me (Psalm 139:17).  The concept that God exceeds us in every way must be grasped (Isaiah 55:8-9).  It is extremely important for us to seek God to learn what is right before we cause a mess.  Why cause a mess when you can enjoy rest in His will?  Instead of fighting God and man, we as women need to arise and kill our flesh that attempts to control man and obtain something that does not belong to us.  That my friends, is liberation!

“Create in me a clean heart, O God; and renew a right spirit within me.”
~ Psalm 51:10 (KJV) ~

If us ladies are honest with ourselves and receptive to the word of God,  then we agree that there are a whole lot of us Evelets running around at fault; both single and married.  It is time to realign.  Awake!  Stop listening to the outside world and getting bound and entangled (See Galatians 5:1).  You can do this!

“Keep me as the apple of the eye, hide me under the shadow of thy wings.”
~ Psalm 17:8 (KJV) ~

The truth of the matter is, whether or not the bible says  go”this way”, we all have the free will to go “that way”, and when we This Way That Waydo, although we become separated by sin, we will never ever ever be separated by the love of our Heavenly Father (See Romans 8:31-39).  I’m not okay with that, though.  I am in no way okay with a one-sided relationship on account of me.  Relationships that only take and do not give are not rooted in love.  Love keeps the commands of The Most High God, and God has spoken (John 14:15).  Protest THAT!

Eve lost horribly and I refuse to lose like that. I may lose, but it will be God’s way, with a humble heart of surrender.  It is time for us as women to position ourselves for the restoration of our proper place of worship in God’s kingdom as He purposed it.  God uses those who are willing to be used.  I believe God’s will looks different for all of us, especially since fewer men are unwillingly rising to their positions, but seeking and discerning His will is key.  We may survive outside of God’s will, but only inside can we thrive. 

“And there is salvation in no one else, for there is no other name under heaven given among men by which we must be saved.”
~ Acts 4:12 (ESV) ~

I Surrender All

“If you try to hang on to your life, you will lose it. But if you give up your life for my sake, you will save it.”
~ Luke 9:24 (NLT) ~

The Beauty in Traffic School #Patience #Time

If anyone told you God doesn’t have a sense of humor, ha they probably neglected to tell you that neither do they because today, my God was hilarious.  He’s so gentle with me and knows just how to teach me a lesson and set me straight.  A kind answer really does turn away wrath (Proverbs 15:1).  I can’t get mad.

So lately I’ve been carpooling to work with my mother.  I love love love my mother, she’s my favorite, and truly the most loving woman I know – Proverbs 31 at it’s best!  She’s the only person on this earth that I truly believe might love me more…all of you others, I think I got you beat haha.  Even though she’s the best at a lot of things, my entire family knows that she’s got a record of being punctually challenged and it stresses the heck out of me more than anyone else in the family!  I’m laughing now. That’s my mother.

Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. – Philippians 4:6

I can’t stand being late, or rushed.  Correction: I don’t like being late, or rushed.  I’ve seen myself stand it.  If we’re hanging out, I would prefer to meet you there because then I know I won’t be late, and If I am, It was my own fault.  I’m in control.  If you tell me when we’re leaving, I can tell you, but you need not worry when I’ll get up or start getting ready.  I’ll be ready at the time you said I needed to be.  I’m not one of those that need a false deadline or grace period. If you are driving (which means I trust you or am giving myself an opportunity to trust you smh), I hope you’re own time lol.  None of this applies if we’re going to a place I’m not thrilled about going to.  I’ll be ready on time, but I’d love to be late.*sigh* That’s me.

So yea, when carpooling with my mom our daily pattern usually is, leave late, get anxiety that I attempt to hide, miraculously arrive on time by the grace of God, and shoot a vent text to my bff on how it all happened agaaain. Smh…true story.  Today on the other hand, I didn’t carpool because my mom had to take care of something.  I left on time (forgot my cell phone and lunch!) and bam, hit horrible traffic and I was late.  Hahahaha!  What the heck?!  I was like, really Lord?!  At that moment I realized that I can’t control time (or people because of my issue with time really) and thinking that I could was a big fat joke.

“I’ve held many things in my hands, and I have lost them all; but whatever I have placed in God’s hands, that I still possess. – Martin Luther

So in traffic school today (ha) I re-learned that God controls the hands of time…not you Nu!  Absolutely every being and every thing answers to Him and is because of Him.  It is only by His permission that anything is.  If He wants me to be late or on time, you better believe I will be and no one (my mom included) will interfere or affect that.  Now usually when the Lord corrects me and shows me something that I need to work on or change, I get hard on myself and honestly hurt at the thought of possibly disappointing Him.  I love Him…He is my life and my all.  He always has His ways of reminding me that He’s not disappointed though (so sweet) and that He’s just happy that I’ve allowed Him, my Potter to do work on His clay (me).  I’m willing.

“When perception and reality collide, we grow.” – Keylee Dawn Austin

He also reminded me that I’m created in his likeness.  And so, like my Father, I like things done decently and in order (1 Corinthians 14:40).  Sometimes I laugh to myself about myself, but I’m trying to take notice and stop because I realized that I’ve been laughing at things that He finds absolutely beautiful.  When I do that, I feel a tug of disagreement in my spirit that non-verbally communicates nothing is funny.  I’m laughing at His work.

Every day I am going to change.  Every day I am going to be better than yesterday.  I don’t think about myself that often (and some might say not enough), but I’m grateful for that quality because when I think about others and the affect my actions or non-action has on them, I’m motivated to change.  I want be the best friend, daughter, sister, cousin, wife, and mom that I can possibly be.  So If I could stop laughing at myself for them, and stop being anxious about things beyond my control, for them, and one day make my Father smile and my spirit well, let’s do it.

You made my whole being;
       you formed me in my mother’s body. 
I praise you because you made me in an amazing and wonderful way.
       What you have done is wonderful.
       I know this very well.

Psalm 139: 13-14

I AM beautiful.  And if you didn’t know, so are you 🙂

[Enter title here] #Transition

This morning I actually did cry out of frustration. Ay yi yi…enough with the ups and downs already! This is weird. I promise I’m not pregnant.

I’m realizing that some topics are sensitive for me and so, off limits with me or very limited in discussion and that’s depending on the person — geesh. I’m annoying myself! I’m introverted remember, so I’m pretty much telling you all of the stuff that isn’t bursting out! Besides that “Hell No!” from last week of course, ha. But yea…

I’ve been slowly unpacking boxes (not all of them), and my mom makes a chipper comment followed by a smile, “Uh oh, the boxes are shrinking down!” I was instantly annoyed. I know she’s happy, but I don’t wanna hear that. I am in no way thrilled that the boxes are shrinking down lol. In fact, I would love it if I didn’t have to open any of them so that when I get the green light to exit this casa I’m ready to go lol. On a lighter note, Ladybug has arrived and has made me smile. Maybe it’s ’cause it’s like a big mobile souvenir of a life I was proud and working great at prior to interruption. My dad drove it and said it drove great and could probably make it just fine driving across country. My eyes lit up. Don’t test me Paw!! haha. Anyway…

Besides the adjustment with that. I’ve been upset about a few things. I’m appalled that some things just have not changed. Things that are long overdue yo! Not in the city (the city has actually changed a lot – it’s what cities do), but some of the people, not so much. The ones that have, it’s so beautiful and makes me feel good about moving somewhere else (like they’ll be okay), but the ones that haven’t make me wanna vomit. I’m tired of the same ‘ol same ‘ol issues and behaviors. It’s like while I was gone and growing and changing, homie what the heck were you doing over here?! Moving and shaking so you wouldn’t have to think about what it is you know you needed to do?! Just going through the motions?? Are you gonna be the same way next year?! I’m hoping they were growing and changing in ways I hadn’t yet noticed. I’m hoping. It sure doesn’t seem like it though.

It makes me think of when Jesus said…

He who receives you receives me, and he who receives me receives the one who sent me. – Matt. 10:40

Maybe that’s why the Lord moved me to the east coast…some of the people here on the west (not all of them) weren’t receiving me (or all of me) and so the Lord saw it fit to move me to a place where they would. Where I was both needed and received and in the process multi-tasked and did some miracles of a work in me as well; typical. I’m just thinking. Maybe some of those west coast peeps are ready now and I’m better prepared to reach them in a way I couldn’t before. I’m kind of an outsider now. I don’t really feel like I belong, and I’m seeing some things that I didn’t see before. Who knows, but I know my God is a God of second and fifth chances, He’ll sometimes do and allow anything to happen to win a soul…and one is worth much, and well, He loves me.