I’m Surprised By My Love For You #poetry #patriotism

I’m surprised by my love for you
I didn’t realize there was much still there

But in the light of such tragic events
I saw glimpses that you still care

Not in entirety, but you’re not all cold
and it’s so refreshing to see

How God resides in parts of you
and ignites the God in me

It was nice to find you beautiful
It was nice to find you great

I’m praying for you, America
May God’s will be done in every state

© 2017 • Chan’tel Nikole Grayson

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#DearHubby: A Love Letter to My Future Spouse 

On October 24, 2014, following an inspiring bible study on the topic of “The Unloved Woman”, I decided to write a letter to my unknown husband-to-be. I’ve gone back and forth on my decision to share it for the simple fact that it’s his letter and was originally intended for his eyes only. But, I gotta.  I guess this is what happens when your wife-to-be is a writer. Lord, bless him! Here’s what I wrote to my boo thang (giggles). I hope there’s another woman or man out there like myself who can relate to this post and finds it timely and refreshing.

Hey Dear,

I went to bible study tonight and returned home feeling both blessed and a mess! The speaker brought a word to us on “The Unloved Woman” and broke it down, identifying the why and this unloved woman’s characteristics. She said an unloved woman is dangerous because she is likely to cause harm. There are 6 types of this woman, and I identified with “the single woman never loved properly”. This woman says they don’t want or need things as a cover up. She doesn’t believe it’s genuine. Dang, that was me.

I received the word that FAITH HAS A VOICE. I realized that all of my “waiting” was due to a lack of faith. I’ve been saying I don’t want, what I do want. I’ve been nonchalant and complacent. The speaker has this ministry for single women. They (we) made baskets full of goodies for our husbands-to-be. Mine of course, is for you dear ☺. Before I let you dive in, I want you to know that I’m doing what’s necessary to get right, and tonight’s exposure was a great first step. God’s going to heal me for you. You’re worth my time and I am too.

So, I got a basket. Initially I got it because even though I wasn’t sure if I wanted to do this whole marriage thing again, something in me knew it was right. So by faith, I will feel so right by the time it is full. I’m praying for you and me individually and collectively. I love you so much and truly want the best for you, so…I gotta do my part.

I don’t want you to have a broken woman. We will not awaken our love until it is time. I feel it won’t be long…so I’m working hard by submitting to God, being honest, and allowing him to make me whole.

Dear God, Please do not let my husband suffer on account of me. May I never blaspheme your word! Finding me as his wife WILL be good for eternity. 

I don’t want to be easy to love for just a while, I want to be easy to love for life. I bind the spirit of complacency. I submit to the Holy Spirit and say, “have your way, God.”

Any who…love you.

xoxo,
yo ☺

#Kingdom #Business is Booming…

Today, I have the most amount of friends that I have ever had in my life at one time. I mean, I have had plenty of acquaintances, but the number of genuine people that have been a friend to me can be counted on one hand. The number is small, and personally, I like it that way, but I feel God stretching me.

I try to give the people and things that I care about my undivided attention. I’m the person who’s not on their cell phone at breakfast, lunch, or dinner. I also don’t like rationing out my love. I like to give out as much as I can for keeps, and for free, if you’re not a pig, that is (See Matthew 7:6). Up until recently (like hours ago recently…this is fresh!), my analytical mind figured a small number of friends would allow me to strategically drop lump sums of love on everybody, resulting in happiness for all. It was a big fat burrito versus numerous street tacos kind of approach. street taco burritoIf you ask me, it’s a brilliantly inappropriate formula that works as long as the numbers don’t increase. But, Kingdom business is booming, and something’s gotta change. Times like these make me happy. They are those sweet and sour crooked path being made straight types of moments, and I’m all about it! I’m noticing that there are suddenly more mouths to feed, and I am but one chef cooking in the kitchen. There are suddenly more sheep to tend and I’m just a little ol’ sheep myself. Kingdom business is booming, and something’s gotta change.

business booming

cut the stringsMany of my friends, like myself, are probably used to my level of availability. Their level of support and maturity vary, but regardless, it comes down to me. I’ve been the kind, single friend with a different type of busyness that truthfully, I haven’t respected much. I’ve had a willingness to be there and set myself aside. Sometimes it’s a labor of love, which is great and necessary, but mostly it’s been a neglectful puppet act that displeases the Lord, and myself. It’s been an unhealthy form of bondage, like all forms of bondage are…unhealthy. My puppet strings are showing, and I can’t do it anymore.

As I sit here on this threshing floor with Jesus, looking at all the dreams and opportunities that He’s dropping on purpose for me, I realize that there is no way I can attain them with this posture. I am weak and I need His perfect strength to make me strong. I need Him to take it from here.

…He said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ’s power may rest on me. – 2 Corinthians 12:9 (NIV)

Lord, please forgive me for taking Your place, and getting in Your way. It is not my job to meet the needs of my friends (or anyone). In fact, there is absolutely no way that I can do it, for You are their Shepherd! I see that Your family is growing. Your church is growing, and many new relationships are forming that I just can’t keep track of. Thank You for every friend, brother, and sister You have blessed me with. I submit them all to you, Father. Past, present, and future. I entrust them all in Your hands, and ask that You would appropriate each one. I am free to do Your will and mine, and I do not have to apologize or feel bad for doing either one, which are truly the same. I love You, and I thank You for bringing this up. Thank You for allowing me to come to the end of myself and recognize the err in my ways and my need of You, My Savior.

I thank You for these important life changes, and I ask that You would help me to set appropriate boundaries and help all who are affected by them to adjust accordingly . Snip my puppet strings! I remove the pressure off of myself to be someone that I am not, and I embrace imperfect me, and choose to love her. *sigh* Thank You for Your burden that is light, and Your yoke that is easy. You are such a Good Father. I ask that You would continue to do what You do, and help me to follow in Your way. In the name of Jesus I pray, Amen.

 

#Life, #Love, & #Heaven on #Earth

Hello loves! It’s been a while, I know, but good news…I’ve been growing tons and have a bit of it to share.  Since my last post, I’ve raised my standard of living quite a bit with attention to a couple of key areas that I’ve outlined. Now, let’s see if I remember how to write ha.

I feel the need to share this because I think people frequently admire or develop a bit of hate towards a person based on what we do not know. We covet another’s physical and spiritual gifts and blessings, without fully understanding why they have what they have or what they did to get where they are.  Few are ready and willing to make the necessary changes to come higher.  Noses get turned up at those with high standards, while bitterness festers in their heart as if salvation isn’t free. Friends, you have to know and embrace this as truth: You can have as much of your inheritance that you tap into. To whom much is given, much is required (Luke 12:48).  This is simply how I carry my cross, today.  Carry yours as you see fit.

music_notes“…Day and night they never stop saying:
‘Holy, holy, holy,

is the Lord God Almighty,’ 
who was, and is, and is to come.”

~ Revelation 4:8b (NIV) ~

MUSIC…

For years one type of fast that I have partaken of is a fast from secular music where for a period of time: days, weeks, month(s) progressively, I would replace all secular music I habitually listened to with worship music honorable unto the Lord (i.e. Contemporary Christian, Gospel, Christian Rap, etc.). As these fasts became easier, I noticed during them, that I also became stronger. I saw clearer. I heard better. I was further from the world and I was closer to heaven. That’s the goal, right?

This may come to a shock to some of you, but the angels in heaven are focused on eternal things that matter. They aren’t bumpin’ your favorite Kanye, Jay Z, or Beyonce jams. The fallen “angels” on earth however, are producing them (but that’s another post).

Media comes at us with junk whether we want to consume it or not. At some point we have to take responsibility for what we choose to filter.

Do you not know that your body is the temple (the very sanctuary) of the Holy Spirit Who lives within you, Whom you have received [as a Gift] from God? You are not your own, You were bought with a price [purchased with a preciousness and paid for, made His own]. So then, honor God and bring glory to Him in your body.

~ 1 Corinthians 6:19-20 (AMP) ~

So, in raising my standard of living and finding a new expression of love for My Abba, aside from minimizing television watching and narrowing selections, I have chosen to toss out all of my secular music that does not honor God or heaven. Now this doesn’t mean I don’t sing a random hook that’s already been downloaded in my spirit or bop my head while shopping, but hopefully one day, I will be able to be a bit more “not of this world”. I’m a work in progress. For now, I am proud of me. The praises of God are considerably outweighing any other sound in my life. He is worthy.

Since we consider and look not to the things that are seen but to the things that are unseen; for the things that are visible are temporal (brief and fleeting), but the things that are invisible are deathless and everlasting.

~ 2 Corinthians 4:8 (AMP)~

CAREER/EDUCATION…

I work in the legal industry, and recently, I was accepted into an outstanding paralegal program at a well approved university. Exciting, right? Yoddler_359_LargeYes, God is so kind.  God is kind because he honors our requests even when they are not necessarily best. The very day that I received acceptance, I was up late sharing intimate time with my Beloved, studying His word, and embracing His love. I suddenly became overwhelmingly saddened by the thought that in a few months, the bible I was holding would soon be replaced with a textbook. It would only be a year, but I couldn’t help but wonder in anguish how many souls that meant. In fact, I was praying fervently for a precious one that night!  If but one was lost, my heart would hurt forever.  The financial debt for career advancement was worth it, but the spiritual debt for potential hell advancement of God’s people? That is not.  One soul is too many.

 What good will it be for someone to gain the whole world, yet forfeit their soul? Or what can anyone give in exchange for their soul?

~ Matthew 16:26 (NIV) ~

I made the best destiny decision of my life that night. I decided to seek first, the kingdom of God, and trust God to add unto me the rest (Matt. 6:33). My heart is still smiling at this decision and the idea of my Heavenly Father receiving maximum glory for all of “my” accomplishments. I’m just striving to get more names written in the book of life.  I’m going hard before I go home.

“LOVE LIFE”…

I am mentioning this because my “love life” for lack of a more fitting description, seems to always be an amusing blog segment and I dare not let ya down haha. I am happy to say that I am currently single and open to being pursued. Last year, I was crushing, but not open, and I requested in hopes of not limiting God, just one solid year to just establish myself all-around. He has granted my request. He’s so sweet like that.

loveDelight yourself in the Lord,
    and he will give you the desires of your heart.

~ Psalm 37:4 (ESV) ~

All conceit aside, I am the strongest and most beautiful that I have ever been. The more I learn of my God, I learn of myself, and love me. I don’t hold the hands of time, but now seems like a pretty good one. In Christ I am assured that there is no need to rush on my end, for there is no delay on His; love is patient.

 [He said] I charge you, O you daughters of Jerusalem, by the gazelles or by the hinds of the field [which are free to follow their own instincts] that you not try to stir up or awaken [my] love until it pleases.

~ Song of Solomon 2:7 (AMP) ~

Whoever you are, wherever you are, HOLD ON. #Encouragement

A couple of months ago I had a short interview with a close family friend who was writing a book on healing after painful experiences. He wanted to know how long it took for me to be healed and how I went about reaching that place of healing.  My response was something like this:

I can’t really put a number on it.  I’d love to think that I am 100% healed from x, y, and z, but the truth of the matter is, maybe just x and y…or honestly, maybe 80% of all three ha.  I don’t know.  Once you think you’re good, you undergo spontaneous triggers by something big or small…a month later…a year later…maybe even 3 years later (to each it’s own).

These triggers remind you, and may leave you disappointed or annoyed by the realization that dang, there’s still residue.  Dang.  There is still some healing, maybe even lots of healing left to be done.  In my experience, from one trigger to the next, disappointment came when I misunderstood what not being completely healed really meant.  I thought it was bad, but now I know that when you are willing to heal, the fact that you are not completely healed of something simply means that God isn’t done, not that we aren’t ready for ____________.  So, if you’re triggered by something that reminds you that you still need grace and humility, and reminds you that you’re still a human who needs God, then good!  We were created to need Him.  You are not delayed in meeting, reaching, or receiving what God has for you.  That my friend, is a lie from the enemy!

rootsOne must get uncomfortable enough to deal with the roots.  One must  get uncomfortable enough to allow God to dig beneath the messy surface where the beginning of your issues and pain lie.

In order to heal properly, you have to deal (with the pain) properly.” – Nu 

If you’re on the path to healing, then you know that you get those full circle, déjà vu, divine do-over moments when _____________________ happens again.  Except this time it doesn’t make you angry, it doesn’t make you cry, and it shockingly doesn’t affect you the way it has in the past.  You figuratively (or literally if you’re like me) leap in joy at the felt sense of accomplishment that you have finally, at last have been stamped by the Lord as “Healed!”.  Not!

I believe us earthlings (ha!) are never completely healed of any worldly ailments until we leave this world and enter into our true destination…Heaven.  Ahhh…The beautiful place of no pain, sorrow, or frustration…just love and fruits – my fave! 😉  We should know though, that while here on earth…

godlovesyou

“…neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither the present nor the future, nor any powers, neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord.” – Romans 8:38-39 (NIV)

I am convinced that healing is ongoing and not to be consistently associated with readiness for something new.  God is not a God that withholds good things from people who love and obey Him.

“For the Lord God is a sun and shield; the Lord bestows favor and honor. No good thing does he withhold from those who walk uprightly.” – Psalm 84:11 (ESV)

Whoever you are, wherever you are, HOLD ON.  You may not be 100% healed from x, y, and z, I don’t know, but we should certainly celebrate the fact that we’re making progress.  My heart personally smiles when I understand me better than I did yesterday.  It gives me a better shot at understanding you.  By faith I am healed, today, tomorrow, and forever.  I am pleased with me and He, from whom my help comes…as should you.  So stay blessed, be encouraged, and HOLD ON!  Love you.

xo,
Nu

Naturally Me. #NaturalHair #TeamNatural

Over the years I’ve been asked so many inquisitive questions about my hair and natural way of living. People want to know when it all started, why it all started, and how I keep it going.  For too long I’ve thought that with all of these naturals sprouting up my story isn’t needed, but I realize that there’s only one me that someone can identify with and that me, is the only one who can tell my story appropriately. Let be start by saying this…

For years African-American women have had complexes about their hair. At young ages we began relaxing (or “perming” — a culturally misused synonymic) our hair to make it more manageable or presentable (whatever that means) to our counterparts. Straight was deemed as better. Hang time a bonus. I began thinking about my hair and realizing that I knew nothing about its natural state. I was the girl constantly relaxing my hair and making appointments to relax everybody elses smh.

While studying Business at SDSU (Woot! Woot!), I took an Africana Studies course to fulfill a prerequisite and quickly fell in love with the subject.  Every day I went to class I felt like I was learning something new about me, and low-key upset with the timing (but it’s all good).  You can imagine how easy it was for that 1 course to turn into 2, 3, 4, 5…and before I knew it, I was minoring in Africana Studies. I developed a strong sense of pride for my heritage, but more importantly, a strong understanding and appreciation for all who have gone before me.  I was disturbed with an overflow of facts.  I was a free-spirit learning the depth of my people’s bondage; my bondage.  I was disturbed that they couldn’t freely be themselves in allll fashions and realized the area of hair was still one lingering.  I wanted to express my freedom and love me, inside and out.  I wanted to know how Nu’s hair looked.  I wanted to know if Nu needed that creamy crack (aka relaxer).  I wanted to show other races who has been in their presence all along, and who’s not leaving.  And so, in 2005, I decided to “go natural”. I didn’t big chop, I just transitioned, straightened, rocked braids, etc…and the struggle was reaaaaal! 😉

I battled the doubts, the dandruff, the tangles, the breakage all by my lonesome. Then 4 years later, there were others like me, learning their hair and calling it naturally beautiful. I was excited for us all.  But shoot, it’s about time y’all showed up! haha

Most naturals you meet will tell you that once you become serious about your “natural hair journey”, as many will call it, the journey at some point no longer becomes about hair, but about your health.  That same energy is transferred throughout all parts of your life.  If you can stay up late and twist, invest in products to maintain, then maybe you can stay up late and work out that issue with your spouse too.  But I’m just saying!

So yea, that’s pretty much it.  Today, I still can’t braid, I still don’t know it all, and I’m still learning as I go, but I’m free, and enjoying every minute of it, naturally…me.

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Completely different books with the same color pages. #Christian #Poetry #Friendship #MothersDay

So once upon a time, back in high school, I was a popular tri-athlete. I was involved in every club imaginable and so-called friends with many and all. It was no shock that I won the title of homecoming queen and unanimously deemed me as “Unforgettable”, but ending my Senior year of high school and beginning my college years I was feeling the total opposite.

I went through some repeat back stabbings with my best friend at the time that lead to the demise of other relationships in our circle of friendship as well. Though I started college with high hopes in our relationship, I was stabbed for the final time. Ouch. I was done.

I used to cry and beg God for just 1 friend. “Just one, Lord!”, is what I would say. I thought if I had just one genuine friend, who would stab me in the front and drive me to the hospital afterwards, I’d be good.

I was a mess. Imagine…
A girl wearing her heart on her sleeve. So unknowingly desperate for a friend that she perceived every new person she met as an answer to her prayer. “Yes, they must be it!”, she thought. Poor people, they didn’t know what she’d been through. And it just led to another lonely night of her dorm room cries for “Just one friend, Lord!”

4-5 years later after becoming content with who I was and more in love with who God is, an old friend gave birth to my now God-son, whom I adore. His name is Zephaniah.

There’s something about babies that ignite changes in us adults.

The Lord restored our relationship and his mother is now my best friend. I’m grateful that even when we forget things, God doesn’t, and has our prayers stored away for a divine time to answer.

‘Til this day I’m so appreciative of our friendship. I am grateful for the experience of the rough dorm days when I was without a true friend. It definitely allowed for this level of appreciation for when one would arrive.

Never underestimate why God has you go through the things that he does and when He does. He’s building your character, chipping away the unnecessary, and preparing you for something greater that you will appreciate. He is shaping your testimony so that you can help others.

So in the spirit of gratefulness, I decided to write about one of my most cherished relationships. Not only is this woman a great iron and wise counsel to me, but she’s an amazing, admirable mother who I know one day will write a best-selling book for us all!

We’re so different, yet similar. This poem is for her.
Happy Mother’s Day, Shanté! I love you so!



We…
read completely different books with the same color pages,
White.

Captured by the light
to shine
when we dine
and feel inclined
to share
just how much
our Savior cares
And dares
not to stop,
even when we do.

We’re unworthy you see,
To walk this earth
And continue to make history,

We should be done!

But he is not,
and so, with grace,
we keep reading, friend…

Completely different books with same color pages,
White.

We…
have plenty of space
to write,
in the margins of life
about
the ups and the downs,
and all these demons around.
To write
about
our hopes and our dreams
and the way it all seems
to unfold
like valuable gold,
Before our eyes
can be blinded
by the glitter
that we shan’t choose
to make us bitter
because that choice
actually isn’t sweet at all!

We…
wage war together.
And slit throats on our knees
While planting seeds
that grow trees
Yup, simultaneously…
Somethin’ like a G.

Satan tries to attack
but we call each other back
And tag-teamin’ we give him yet another smack
DOWN.

We…
stand tall together.
despite whether
or not
we got a ‘tude from that
little comment made
so rude!

You…
are such a blessing, friend.
And even so, it’s not my prayer,
that you were here
or I was there.

For I do understand
that for this season
for this race
for this fight
for this chase
God deems it
absolutely necessary
that

We…
read completely different books
with the same color pages,
White.

And I,
just want you to know
that it’s my honor to do so.

© 2013 •Chan’tel Nikole Grayson