Sweetness in July

Oh, God
please tell July
to be sweet to me!

May it adorn me with it’s sun
Make me shine like a penny
Let’s walk many streets
And love, oh so many!

May it drop me a beat
Help me take steps towards my dreams
May it foster new hopes
And build new teams!

Like Scruff McGruff
May it take a bite out of crime
Bring swords and make peace
During this time

Let’s go to Austin and listen to live music!
Let’s go to bed; I’ll praise You while I sleep
Let’s sing karaoke with no care in the world
Let’s laugh, laugh, laugh
Way more than we weep

May it cheer me on!
And bring great support
May it say hello to new ventures
And a harvest of praise reports

May it tell me a joke I’ll remember
The cornier, the better!
And indulge in cute sandals
For this hot Summer weather

May it give Fall and Winter a heads up
Its cooperation is needed
And remind them of the details
May each one be heeded!

May it be full of great feasts – dinners, breakfast, and lunch
May it lead to parks on Sunday
And maybe even brunch!

I don’t know what all of Your will is
I must wait and see

But Oh, God
please tell July
to be sweet to me!

©2019 • Chan’tel Nikole Grayson

Awakening Love

As I lay face up on the massage table, my personable and talkative masseuse chatted away about life, love and relationships. She was comfortable, giddy, and in need of conversation. Most of her clients had canceled for the day due to the weather and cabin fever was becoming.

After ranting for some time, she paused and must have realized that she’d shared so much about her and had gathered very little about me. I’m mostly okay with that.

I knew it was coming; it always does. It was my turn to share something of the subject. She asked, “So, do you have a husband or are you married?” Not sure what the difference was, but I felt something like the Samaritan woman at the well. Just kidding. Like a broken record on repeat, I casually responded, “no, not yet”. This seemed to thrust her towards the next question, “Well, do you have a boyfriend?” I casually responded again with a “no, not yet”. We both chuckled. I’ve done this many times before.

I asked her how she met her boyfriend and she embarrassingly shared how she bumped into him randomly at a store. I want to say it was Home Depot. They shared the aisle and she thought he was cute, so she asked for his input on 2 products she was trying to decide between. Smart girl. That was the beginning. A cute, and organic beginning.

I told her (and discovered simultaneously) that that is my fear. Though I say I would love for a romantic relationship to happen organically, it actually happening or almost happening frightens me. I get so awkward. I told her, I go into stores, see guys looking at me and think to myself…”please don’t look at me, I’m just here for celery.” I need to get out of my own way, but I just don’t know how to. This “leave me alone” sticker must be glued on. Anybody have some Goo Gone? Excuse me while I run to Home Depot, ha!

Maybe that’s an odd issue, and some would judge that it is an issue at all. Not wanting to be approached or addressed by attractive men?! Ridiculous? Maybe. I mean, I feel beautiful inside and out. But hear me out. I realized that fear of being approached was actually masked by this fear…

In my past romantic relationships, I have allowed men to lead me astray from my first love (God); we were unequally yoked. If there was a book about the history of me, you would see a trend of me choosing wolves in sheep’s clothing and constantly being preyed upon and deceived. Ugh. Over it.

He goes on ahead of them, and his sheep follow him because they know his voice. But they will never follow a stranger; in fact, they will run away from him because they do not recognize a stranger’s voice. – John 10:4‭b-‬5 (NIV)

Scarcely had I passed them when I found the one my heart loves. I held him and would not let him go… – Song of Songs 3:4a (NIV)

You have no idea what a safe exhale of relief that second scripture is for me. It is true of my First Love, and a hopeful testimony of my second. Inserts heart eyes emoji.

Okay, that’s it. Instead of being continually anxious about this whole meeting my heart’s desire thing, I need to just address it in prayer right now. If that’s you too, then let us pray.

Lord, forgive me for being fearful. Help me to trust the authenticity of my relationship with you, check for the fruit of your spirit in others, and heed Your God-given discernment. I know that fear and love cannot live together, so I kick fear out and welcome love in Your timing. Continue to prepare me to be the woman you have destined me to be on earth as it is in heaven, bringing glory to Your great name. May I be a sheep that heeds Your voice only; undistracted by the calls of a stranger. May Thy kingdom come, and Your will be done. In the name of Yeshua, my Savior. Amen.

That’s it. That’s all.

©2019 • Chan’tel Nikole Grayson

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

Grown-ish.

After watching several interesting “The Skin Deep” YouTube videos of people playing this cool card game which initiates heart conversations, I purchased a couple of card sets of my own to play with others. One of the questions asked on one of the cards was:

At what moment did you realize you found yourself?

It has been a little shy of 4 months since I have turned 32, and I have reflected and stretched so frickin’ much. Yet and still, this question was and still is complex for me. I can think of leaps in my maturity and pivotal experiences that helped me get closer to wholeness, but as I get older I realize that we’re all on a lifetime journey of becoming complete in Christ. He did the work, yes, but we are walking it out. He had to pick up His cross, and now we are picking up ours and following.

And I am certain that God, who began the good work within you, will continue his work until it is finally finished on the day when Christ Jesus returns. – Philippians 1:6 (NLT)

I am scratching all future new years’ resolutions and declaring that my eternal resolution is Yeshua: Jesus, My Redemptive Savior and Friend. He is truly my only Answer, Way and Hope of better. At the age of 32, all I want is The Truth without dilution or perversion. Four years ago God was teaching me that He was all that I needed, and today, He’s all that I want. .

“The grass withers and the flowers fade, but the word of our God stands forever.” – Isaiah 40:8 NLT

I am becoming increasingly sound and secure in Christ, but maybe it won’t be until age 90 or something (lol) when I can confidently say that I have *clears throat* “found myself”. Afterall, I am still discovering God. With Him as my focus, all of the rest will come, right?

While there are many childish things I have put away, there are also a few childish things that I have adopted (Matthew 18:3-4). I got a lot of questions for my King, loads of things to continue to unlearn, debunk and grasp. There are more experiences to test me and more areas of my flesh to murder. I am still exploring heaven…on earth.

“When I was a child, I spoke and thought and reasoned as a child. But when I grew up, I put away childish things. Now we see things imperfectly, like puzzling reflections in a mirror, but then we will see everything with perfect clarity. All that I know now is partial and incomplete, but then I will know everything completely, just as God now knows me completely.” – 1 Corinthians 13:12-13 (NLT)

My discoveries thus far have been wonderful, peace-granting and stabilizing indeed, but I am not done. Or, not completely undone, I should say. So, if you’re anything like me…cheers to being grown-ish! It won’t always be easy unraveling, but let the adventure continue!

©2019 • Chan’tel Nikole Grayson

When All Feels Wrong

When all feels wrong
Yet God is pleased
Hold on
Hold on

When cracks expand to pot holes
And threads part seams
Hold on
Hold on

When smiles twist and turn
Upside down
When hearts plummet you 6 feet
Underground
When the jury is hung
When only you’re around
Hold on
Hold on

When all feels wrong
Yet God is pleased

Let us remember, the
lions’ den and their mouths that shut, the
praise that broke the bars at midnight, the
faith that slew the arrogant Philistine, the
crucifixion that split the temple curtain in two, the
girl who was “only asleep”

Thank God for, the
Red Sea that parted, the
cloud that rose above the tent, the
virgin who conceived a King, the
grace and unconditional love that leads us to repent

Oh God, Let us not forget
Until we hear
Well done
Well done

I will praise you, Lord , with all my heart; I will tell of all the marvelous things you have done. I will be filled with joy because of you. I will sing praises to your name, O Most High. – Psalms 9:1‭-‬2 (NLT)

©2018 • 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.

“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!