Field Days

This past summer I had the honor of serving with Kaleo, a missions organization that partners with church plants (like Swerve Church) in select cities and states to help impoverished communities through various outreach efforts (i.e. assisting with school organization, food pantries, shelters, street evangelism, prayer walks, community clean-ups, etc.). In a nutshell, we spread love and share the gospel.

Kaleo hosts church youth groups (junior/high school) from all over the United States interested in serving, and they chose me (and a couple of others) to lead these groups that were arriving weekly to serve in Brooklyn (Bushwick). Such a great honor and experience. The harvest was and still is plentiful! May God bless the workers still there and send more according to His will!

Now I had originally planned on keeping my followers updated often throughout my time there, but I ended up only documenting a little on my Instagram stories (now highlights) and on a couple of posts. Between our long, sweaty days of serving and leading debriefs, it honestly wasn’t a high priority for me to talk to anybody but God (ha!)…’cause your girl was so tired! Just being honest.

I did, however, share a bit of my heartfelt perspective over on Kaleo Missions’ Blog that I wrote during my deployment. Though I was there for only a season, my investment was eternal.

In case you’re wondering what I’m doing now on this adventure with Jesus…welllll, my calling remains, folks! I will forever work with youth in some capacity, and I’ve recently adopted 22 little 4-year-olds. What can I say?! I am now crazy for Pre-K! 🤗🤪

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“If you think my hands are full, you should see my heart!”

©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

Let The Pain Age

Let the pain age
Let it wrinkle
Shrivel
Shrink

Let it’s darkness transform
Let it trigger
Let it heal

Even if but a morsel
Let forgiveness be the sun
Be chocolate.
Let it melt

Stir it
Let it drip
Let it spill
Let it spread

Even if once bitter
Be rich
Be sweet
Be smooth

Be poured
On a page
As a faint memory of the past
Thought of with gratitude.

©2019 • Chan’tel Nikole Grayson

Inspired by:

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– Author Unknown

To all who mourn in Israel, He will give a crown of beauty for ashes, a joyous blessing instead of mourning, festive praise instead of despair. In their righteousness, they will be like great oaks that the Lord has planted for His own glory. – Isaiah 61:3 (NLT)

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

Stretch Marks On My Heart #Poetry #Love #Song

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

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

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

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

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

©2018 • Chan’tel Nikole Grayson

Princess Cut #poetry #virtue #faraboverubies

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

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

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

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

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

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

It’s a good thing.
It’s a good thing.

©2018 • Chan’tel Nikole Grayson

Jewels

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