MomDay Mondays: The Holiday Edition

This months’ edition will be focused on the holidays and everything that usually comes with it; while this season is supposed to be filled with joy, love, laughter, and holiday cheer- sometimes it can all just feel like too much.

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Hey Moms! (Moms-t0-be, Mommy-like figures, and anyone else who finds themselves here in my online world) This post will not be (too) long this evening – I promise! For those who do not know, MomDay-Mondays are a monthly series that are solely focused on being a mother and some of the things that I learn along the way (as this is a constant learning experience) and my advice to other mothers who are simply trying to get it “right”. This months’ edition will be focused on the holidays and everything that usually comes with it; while this season is supposed to be filled with joy, love, laughter, and holiday cheer- sometimes it can all just feel like too much. Let’s be completely honest, right? Some of our kids are too young to even remember what this holiday will hold and some of them (like mine) are too young to remember what day of the week it is, – let alone that Christmas is on the way. 

Like I mentioned earlier, whether your holidays are defined as a time of joy, family gatherings, “remembering the reason for the season”, or simply all about the kids- one thing we can definitely agree on is that this is also a time for a lot of pressure- unwarranted and unnecessary pressure at that. This pressure does not always mean financial strain (Let me go on record to say I do not know how my parents did it, I can remember my Christmas lists’ always being entirely too long and very expensive- but they always made it happen), which can sometimes pressure me even more to feel obligated to do the same (if not more) for my daughter; and sometimes that pressure is simply defined as overfilled schedules and overbearing and demanding family members. Either way, your holiday spirit can go from blessed to stressed in the blink of an eye- if you let itAs difficult as this may be, you may have to disappoint some people this year during this holiday season. Manage your time the way that you see best, making time for yourself and whats important and scheduling what you can-when you can. Prioritizing is important and essential, whether that is your finances or the use of your time; the mindset that you have during the Christmas will go with you into the New Year – don’t let that mindset be tired, irritable, or stressed out.

But how exactly do I tell my five year old that Christmas is not about gifts? That it is about the celebrated birth of Our Savior Jesus Christ- to be honest I honestly do not know. I mean they are just kids right? Every television show and movie being aired right now is all about Christmas, every commercial is advertising a new toy- there’s no running away from this. But, nothing beats failure but a try. My daughter came home last week to tell me that there was no such thing as Santa Clause and that I am the one that buys her Christmas presents every year0. To be honest, at first I was upset and wondered who on earth would spoil Christmas for my kid- then she told me it was her teacher (who is a Christian by the way) and I had to let her know that she was absolutely right! Her teacher spared me a life lesson down the road and I actually appreciated it, my daughter knew that the gifts she receives come from her family members and she also already knew that sometimes there are things that we can’t afford, and that’s okay. So if your child is old enough to fully understand that Christmas is not only about gifts, try to be intentional this year on really educating them on what this season is about- children are way smarter and reasonable than we want to believe (sometimes even more reasonable than adults), and if you are honest and upfront (in the most age appropriate way possible) enough with them then they will not be (too) unrealistic and hopefully nobody will end up disappointed.

Just to clarify what I said a minute ago, I am not implying that you should ever suck the fun out of Christmas for the children and take away the holiday spirit in your home; I am simply suggesting that you can find other ways to make Christmas special. New traditions, uninterrupted family time, and gifts that fit your budget can make your holiday time an unforgettable one. Growing up my Christmas day consisted of gift opening in the morning, going to an aunts’ house for breakfast, and attending two Christmas parties- every year. As a kid, it was great – I got to spend time with my extended family (and as an only child this was the highlight of my day, after my gifts of course) and not coming home until almost the next day. Before my daughter, it was different and a bit selfish- Christmas was brought in at a club or at a bar. But now, as a mom- I do not want to leave the house at all (still selfish- but just mostly tired). You are allowed to make your Christmas as unique and tailored to your family as you want it to be, it is great to catch up with extended family and enjoy the company of others- but it is also okay to take a break, and make it intimate with your household as well. Christmas is usually the one time of the year that everyone can be home and alone – use it wisely.

So by now you should at least be thinking about how you want to make your holidays a little bit more intimate and personalized for your household by now. Maybe you decided that you will miss out and one Christmas party or spend an extra hour this Christmas morning making a special breakfast- whatever it is I applaud you. During Thanksgiving we all found ourselves being thankful for everything that we could think of, even the things we did not have- however during the Christmas that thought process goes out the window and we start becoming overly stressed over the things that we could not have done in the holiday season. I lost my job right before my daughter celebrated her third Christmas (the Christmas she could finally talk and understood what was going on)- and a part of me went absolutely crazy because there was so much things I wanted to do for her that I couldn’t do in my own strength. Since that Christmas (and every other Christmas since) I have not really have to provide anything, God shows up and He shows up big. If you find yourself being overwhelmed because of the expectations that are usually put on you during this holiday time, think about how much He has come through for you over the course of this year and thank Him in advance for what He will do.

This year let us not forget what we want the true meaning of this holiday to be for us, it is fine if it differs from someone that you know, and it is also okay if it is different from your holiday season last year – just make a special effort to be true to you and the needs of your family. Then if you can, try to be a ‘Christmas Miracle’ to someone else (My daughter had the absolute pleasure of a world-class shopping spree for her birthday about a month ago- she has bought so many new toys that there is no space to contain them nor can she think about one thing new that she possibly wants. So now we’re focused on donating some of the toys that she doesn’t use anymore to kids who aren’t as fortunate; they are never too young to learn how to be a miracle too.), if you are not able to give money or items, volunteering time and a kind-word or deed  goes a long way as well; especially because every person that you meet is facing some kind of pressure themselves.

So here is to Monday-MomDay; a monthly motivational blog post dedicated to us moms who are still trying to get it all together. A reminder to you that there are other moms out there that are holding on (but looking great while doing it) to their very last thread and are in need of a refresher (or reminder) that there is no perfect way to parenthood. Don’t forget to follow me on Instagram @ShanteRosenell and check out the new merchandise that I have available. As well as leave a comment on what you would like to hear about for the next MomDay post in January!

XOXO,

Shanté Rosenell

The F-Word Files: Finally

Achieving your ‘finally moment’ is the light at the end of the tunnel, but it does not have to be a blinding light (and by blinding I mean that you are so focused on your finally moment that you are totally unaware and lose consciousness of everything else). Your finally moment should be the icing on an already delicious cake that you are already enjoying.

As promised I delivered A September to Remember, (then a hurricane hit and I was out of utilities for one month and then out of interest for another) and one very cool feature that I have added to my blog are “my monthly series” – my initial series is called the F-Word Files; and this series will be focused around common but thought-provoking F-Word topics. The F-Word Files will be posted every first, second, and third Friday evening and as per usual your commentary, thoughts, and suggestions are really appreciated and anticipated! As I get deep into each topic I urge you to self-reflect on the topic as well, this blog is just not intended for my growth but your growth too. If you do not already, I highly recommend that you journal (as I mentioned in Pretentious Prayers) as a way to keep your thoughts collected and that you can your growth along the way (I have a collection of journals for sale that you can find on my Instagram page @ShanteRosenell — be sure to follow! Or you can send all inquiries to shanterosenell@gmail.com) as well as to keep a collection of your prayers (it is an easy way to see just how much prayers He has already answered) and scriptures to pick you up during your bad days.

So what took me so long? I have been on a hiatus for two months. For those of my followers that do not know, I live in the Bahamas; and we unfortunately experienced a hurricane at the beginning of October that some of us are still living with the aftermath of. Interestingly enough, this weeks’ topic is Finally. I finally have my drive, passion, and interest back- after becoming so uninspired after the storm. Though I must admit, during the time of the storm itself, I was anything but discouraged or uninterested. During the storm I found myself reading more than I normally would (due to the fact that I couldn’t do much of anything else), I never missed a day of journaling or devotion time, and I even thought I would keep up with the content that I had planned and I would only have to release new posts when the electricity finally came on (except the last part was just a thought).

Fortunately for me, I was one of the extremely blessed people that had my electricity and water fully restored within a week of the storm and I experienced little to no damage to my properties. Unfortunately I did not have any internet access, and while that seems (and seemingly is) so minor and trivial in comparison to others- I need the internet to blog. I desperately wanted to resume blogging and stay on the high that I had worked so hard to attain during the relaunch month of September. However,I will be completely honest – not having the internet was super discouraging, it felt like such a slow process and I lost the enthusiasm I had to blog. So even when the internet was partially (not to mention still not quite functional at this moment almost two months later) restored (FINALLY) , I just couldn’t find the will power or interest to resume in November (though I could have). It was a difficult process finding my ‘mojo’ back; and I finally realized two days ago that I had to plug deeper into God to get into this.

Now that I have finally addressed the elephant in the room, it is time to jump right into it- on our Christian walk (or even if you’re not a Christian) you have had your “finally” moment. You ‘finally’ made a decision to do something else to get a different result, or after a considerable delay something ‘finally’ happened – and things just changed (hopefully for the better). Achieving your ‘finally moment’ is the light at the end of the tunnel for most of us, but it does not have to be a blinding light (and by blinding I mean that you are so focused on your ‘finally moment’ that you are totally unaware and lose consciousness of everything else). Your finally moment should be the icing on an already delicious cake that you are already enjoying. When Ruth finally married Boaz- it was a result of her obedience, dedication, and total submission to God; not a matter of Boaz finally falling for the tricks, seduction, or manipulation. When Abraham and Sarah finally conceived Isaac- it was a matter of God finally allowing the season to be ushered in; no matter how crazy and unrealistic it appeared to be. When the Israelites were finally ushered into the Promised Land- it was a decision they had finally made to trust God and His perfect plans. Your finally moment (that has come or is on the way) will be no surprise to God, you may actually be surprised to know that He is just waiting on you to finally give it all to Him. You can also rest assured that no matter how your situation looks right now, your ‘finally’ is inevitable – finally can also be defined as ‘the final point or moment; or in the end’; and because God promises in Romans 8:28 that everything will work out for our good – you can also be certain of the fact that if you haven’t seen how all the experiences so far has been for your better, then you’re not quite at your ‘finally’ yet.

It is time to be completely honest with yourself right now. What is your finally tied to? When are you finally going to say that enough is enough, and that you will not settle for average living? That you will not accept anything less than Gods’ perfect plan for your life? Not lacking any good thing that He has promised. When are you going to finally decide to beat that addiction? The drugs, the sex, the gambling- that thing that consistently and continually drives a wedge between you and God. Not that He would love you any less, but more so that you push yourself further and further away from Him because of it. When I finally decided that I wanted what God had to give was enough (not to mention better than anything that I had planned for myself) and I wanted nothing else but that, I also finally started to be intentional about my pursuit of Him. The bible promises that when you seek Him, He will make himself known to you. Then when I finally started to experience His promises finally starting to manifest in my life – I knew that I was finally making not just good choices but God choices, great choices.

So, I am finally back on track with my blog. Intentionally seeking and planning to be intimate with God in a new way in preparation for 2017. What should you finally get started doing? Should you finally submit? Finally learn to trust Gods’ plan for your life? Finally accept the process and make progress to learn the lesson so that you are prepared and ready to receive your ‘finally’.

Ephesians 6:10 (HCSB)

Christian Warfare
10 Finally, be strengthened by the Lord and by His vast strength.

God foreknew that this walk might not be the easiest thing to do, especially when everything and anything else around us promotes living against His standards and constantly tries to entice us to get out of His will. He encourages us in Ephesians to finally be strengthened by Him and his vast strength (and by vast He means very great in degree or intensity; and by strength He means the power that He has in terms of influence, authority, and resources. We serve an amazing and all-powerful God, He is absolutely able to control all things in the universe; including the things that concern you that you cannot handle on your own),  so allow Him to usher you into your finally, finally.

XOXO,

ShanteRosenell

P.S. Don’t forget to follow me on Instagram at @ShanteRosenell and check out the new journal merchandise! There are only a few supplies left!

Monday-MomDay : Schedules

Hey Moms – (and those who aren’t but enjoy these posts anyway) a huge congratulations is in order for all of us for we have survived September! I battled back and forth on this months’ #MondayMomDay topic and I think that September prepared me for it without my knowledge (Look at God.) – schedules.

I spent the majority of September implementing, perfecting, enforcing and re-enforcing a schedule for my daughter (She’s four years old by the way – so of course this was easy. Of course it was.) but I am so glad that I did, because unlike all of the previous years of going through life with a preschooler – we are so much more productive. We eat breakfast (everyday – which believe me is a huge accomplishment for me in general, let alone feeding someone else), we have play time, snack time, educational time, dinner time, and a set bed time all in twenty-four hours; that not only provides structure for her- but for me as well. Being a mother in general makes you a specialist in time management – I daily sift and try to prioritize between important/unimportant/mildly important/ and never will be important but it’s going to end up to the top of my list daily. But, my new found schedule with my daughter has made us entirely more productive; giving us a lot more time for the things that really matter – like each other.

So while this sounds all great and easy to do – “I start a schedule, it went perfect, our lives are ten times better and we all lived happily ever after”, I would love to throw it out there right now that this was not well received by my child who was so used to freedom and no-bedtimes . In other words; she hated it. Absolutely hated it. She tolerates it (and me) now though – silver linings (and by silver linings I mean a treat at the end of every month if she at least gets it eighty percent right. Needless to say, with enough bribery and commitment from myself we went from wild living to structured living over night, and after a few weeks of this semi-working out – I felt invincible and it was as if I had discovered electricity and of course I dubbed ‘scheduling’ as the new Holy Grail; so much so that I wanted to pass it on to as many moms as I could. And if you were one of those moms that I shared this new found love of schedules with you can attest to how excited I was (and still am), because who would’ve thought that I could actually do everything I am supposed to do when I am supposed to do it. If you do decide to start a schedule for your children (or self), please know that while you may not always stick to your schedule and be on time all of the time (especially while dealing with a kid) – just keep going and moving forward.

Speaking of going and moving forward, putting my daughter on a schedule subsequently put me on a schedule- I now cook way more than I did (and just about as much as I should) and I have become more motivated to do the things that I should be doing (especially in regards to my purpose and living a more God-filled life), with my daughter now being in bed by 8:30(ish)p.m. every week day night – it gives me real time to meditate and seek Gods face while there is some peace and quiet in this house. I currently don’t have a 9-5, so that should translate into a lot of time to do these things in the day; and on a really well ‘planned’ day – I absolutely do! But my late nights (which is when I am more alert and alive) are reserved for my quality time with Christ, I don’t know why but I am way more relaxed and focused in the evening. I was unconsciously being a poor steward of my time, yet still in my selfish ways and carnal desires continued to ask God to give me more things to do. Typical.

Ephesians 5:15-17 (HCSB)

15 Pay careful attention, then, to how you walk—not as unwise people but as wise— 16 making the most of the time,[a] because the days are evil. 17 So don’t be foolish, but understand what the Lord’s will is.

Ironically enough I have always been a ‘planner’, from junior high to college to my first job- I always had and kept day-planners, religiously. But for some reason when I got busy doing a whole lot of nothing in my wild years and unmotivated to do anything at all, it seemed as if my good habits passed by the way side. I can honestly say in recent years (but after my daughter was born) I felt purposeless and I felt as though my days were wasting away and that there was nothing I could possibly do about it. I felt as if I had exhausted my Grace and that I would forever be dealing with the consequences of some bad actions. But God. This made me spend a lot of time sleeping during the day and not really getting anything accomplished and that translated to me being in a bad mood whenever my daughter came home from school and the cycle continued- so to any of you who are currently going through this stage in your life, not feeling fulfilled and because you are so down you do not feel like working toward anything at all, I promise you that you can and will get through this. With whatever strength you have, pray. And whatever other strength you can find- read His Word. I had to do this (grudgingly at first) until I got the strength to do more, and even if it does not happen overnight – just keep going and moving forward. As the scriptures mention above, pay careful attention to what you do and be wise enough to make the most out of your time that you are given. God has us on a schedule as well, and if we are not spending time to get prepared for what He has planned- we will lose or abuse it when it does come.

Proverbs 16:9 (HCSB)

9 A man’s heart plans his way, but the Lord determines his steps.

In another light, while some of our planning might be ‘good plans’ they may not be ‘God plans’, I have a ton of friends who are always busy with work, careers, businesses, school, kids, spouses, clubs, etc. and the sad reality is that it just might all be in vain. In no way am I implying that you shouldn’t spend a lot of time on your job or with your spouse, I am simply saying that if you’re more consumed and sold out on your plans rather than God’s plans – no matter how much time and effort you put into it, it just won’t work or a million things will always go wrong. Sure your job provides you with an income and you use that to survive (i.e. pay your bills) and you most definitely cannot take prayers to the utility company, losing focus of your one true Source is a recipe for disaster. In my transparency I can attest that I had to learn the hard way (always) that the Lord is truly my only source; regardless of whatever plans I thought I had for myself. I haven’t worked a job in ten months and (thankfully) I have not been in lack – though some days my electricity turned off but for a moment, and then my cable, and then my water- God always came through and a way was always made. Don’t allow your busy schedules to cause you to miss out on the time you should be spending with yourself, your family, and of course the plans and purposes God has for you.

Matthew 14:23 (HCSB)

23 After dismissing the crowds, He went up on the mountain by Himself to pray. When evening came, He was there alone.

With busy schedules- even including spending time with God it is super important (and absolutely necessary) that you also schedule time for yourself. As mothers we tend to always leave ourselves for last, we continously pour out (and hopefully refuel as well) into everyone and everything else around us that forget we also need time to love, appreciate, and enjoy ourselves. While I understand that even this might seem like a lot to do, whatever moments you do have in the day – try to make the most of it. Remember, be a good steward of your time. If you were to plan and document your day you would be surprised how much time we spend doing things of no value or (yet again) spending on other people.  If that time is only your one hour lunch break; instead of calling a girlfriend out – take yourself to lunch and enjoy your own company, put down your phone or pick up a book and revel in the quiet and beauty that is time spent with yourself. Or if your only moment in a day is your bath or shower time, make it really special – light some candles, add a bath bomb, put on a face mask, and live in the moment. If you have a kid that thinks that your bathroom time is their bathroom time, put them on a schedule and do it when they are already in bed. Like me :-). 

No matter what your current time-killer might be at the moment, take some time to really analyze your day(s)- see where you can do less and do something about where you can do more. We are mothers and we are always busy, so why not be busy with the things that matter. So here is to another Monday-MomDay; a monthly motivational blog post dedicated to us moms who are still trying to get it all together. A reminder to you that there are other moms out there that are holding on (but looking great while doing it) to their very last thread and are in need of a refresher (or reminder) that there is no perfect way to parenthood. But as we all try to raise amazing little versions of ourselves, let us not get too caught up in trying to do it all at once but scheduling it all in a way where we can do a lot of it together.

Don’t forget to follow me on Instagram@ShanteRosenell and check out the new merchandise that I have available. As well as leave a comment on what you would like to hear about for the next MomDay post in October!

Take It From Me : Slow Down

In continuance of A September to Remember, one of the last features that I will be adding into my “my monthly series” will be Take It From Me Thursday; and this series will consist of letters to my “younger self”- teaching and bringing light to lessons that I wish I was taught earlier if not more truthfully. Take It From Me Thursdays will be posted the last Thursday of every month and as per usual your commentary, thoughts, and suggestions on topics are really appreciated and anticipated! (You can e-mail me at shanterosenell@gmail.com if you prefer not to leave your suggestion at the bottom of this post) As I get deep into each topic I urge you to self-reflect on the topic as well, this blog is just not intended for my growth but your growth too. If you do not already, I highly recommend that you journal (as I mentioned in Pretentious Prayers) as a way to keep your thoughts collected and that you can your growth along the way (I have a collection of journals for sale that you can find on my Instagram page @ShanteRosenell — be sure to follow! or you can send an e-mail at shanterosenell@gmail.com) as well as to keep a collection of your prayers (it is an easy way to see just how much prayers He has already answered) and scriptures to pick you up during your bad days.

Speaking from my own youth experiences, as well as from a recent interaction I had with an amazing group of young girls of Sparkle: Girls Shining For Gods Glory  (if you’re in Grand Bahama please check them out) reminded me of the fact that it is so much easier (and more effective) to speak to young women with actual experiences as opposed to just saying “No, just don’t do it.”. Beyond that, when we are “giving advice” to the younger generation we should also enlighten them with what they should be doing as opposed to just what they shouldn’t. I wish that the older people who were around me were a bit more honest sometimes with what I could’ve potentially be getting myself involved with- however I now understand that maybe they just didn’t have it all figured out either. Even though that would’ve been okay too. I get it, sometimes we just want someone who we can relate to us when we are talking about the “real life issues”, we want to talk to someone that we are comfortable with feeling vulnerable around, as well as someone that will speak from a place of honesty and understanding as opposed to a place of judgment – I guess we sometimes just want the older version of “us” to talk us through it (by the way if you have that older version of you that can give you sound advice and be a listening ear, thank God for them.  I thank God for mine every time I pray.), so these letters are for you – “the younger me” on the lessons I learnt along the way (whether the hard way or not) and  everything I wish I knew then that I know now.

 

To You,

Slow down- they don’t love you like I love you. Not Beyoncé – Jesus Christ. God. Our Heavenly Father. There is no need to rush to go anywhere that God is not, I can tell you from experience that when you do not know where you are going – you will get there every single time. Not only that, if you choose not to slow down – because He loves you so much (and I promise you that He loves you more than you can ever know or even deserve) that He will slow you down at any cost. I know because I have been slowed down and stopped, started again and then I have crashed and burnt. Beyond that I have hopped in a different vehicle altogether and continued on, only to be stopped all over again. There is a purpose for the season you are in, no matter what that season might be – junior high school, senior high school, college, your first job, etc., take pleasure in where you are and learn to love and enjoy every little thing that you are experiencing right now.

Ecclesiastes 3:1 Holman Christian Standard Bible (HCSB)

3 There is an occasion for everything, and a time for every activity under heaven:

I get it, believe me I do – you are in a rush to “grow up”; you hate not being able to do anything “fun” and you just want to be an adult so bad. Side Note: Adult life sucks. I mean not actually sucks and it’s the worst thing in the world – but it is not all fun and games. Sure you are independent and you can go and come as you please, but I promise you that your parents will always be your parents and they will never stop being all in your business. Ever. While adult life is inevitable, enjoy where you are right now (if you are not here yet), your youth is meant to be enjoyed and cherished and appreciated while you are still young; not after it has already passed away. There is going to be a time where you will not have a choice but to be an adult, so for right now just enjoy the occasion that you have been afforded – if its high school, enjoy these moments: like learning to discover and love yourself, making lasting friendships, making tons of memories, making really good decisions concerning your education (while its still free) and future, finding out all the things you are good at (and then develop them), and taking a lot of chances because you never know where you could end up. I know it is super easy to be caught up in everything else other than what I just mentioned, I know because I was caught up in any and everything else but myself, my future, or my God. I can remember my only focus in high school being boys, bars and bottles (in that exact order) – and I am not implying that I resulted in being a failure because of it- I just had to learn a lot of hard lessons the really hard way. 

1 John 2:17 (HCSB)

17 And the world with its lust is passing away, but the one who does God’s will remains forever.

To be completely honest, I wish I discovered my purpose and my potential sooner (that’s one thing I should’ve actually sped up), as much as you can you should try not to waste a whole lot of time doing very little. I made a lot of memories (that honestly could’ve – well, should’ve waited) extremely early on life. Here I am in my mid-twenties partied out and with nothing really “new” to offer my future spouse. Slow down. All of the things that you are so excited to do (or are already doing) will get really old really quick, and what does not get old will change to something that is as equally temporal and ultimately pointless.There is no need to rush to beome “Insta-Famous” for all the wrong reasons (always naked/partying/drunk with no real content/substance), there is no need to rush to sleep with every man who is popular for validation, and there is absolutely no reason to chase after the things that will drain you.As soon as you can, find out who God is (for yourself) and devlop a relationship with Him; it will fill you with everything that you are looking for in everybody else right now. Being intimate with God allows Him to reveal Himself and His plans to you, so you will not have to rush to try to figure it all out on your own.

Philippians 4:6-7 (HCSB)

6 Don’t worry about anything, but in everything, through prayer and petition with thanksgiving, let your requests be made known to God. 7 And the peace of God, which surpasses every thought, will guard your hearts and minds in Christ Jesus.

Slow. Down. You do not have to have your whole life figured out right now, (especially if you are in high school) I don’t even have my life figured out and I have been out of school for six years. God knows the desires of your heart because He put them there, you do not have to rush to try to accomplish all of the things you have planned on your own; and there is no need to be anxious or impatient when things are not going according to your timetable, simply rest assured that God is in complete control and the only things that you have to do while you wait (patiently) is ask Him for what you want, pray that He prepares you for it until it comes to pass and thank Him until your prayers arrive. You do not have to rush to fill your life with things to “complete” you because the only person that can complete you is God. I have tried to fill my life with all sorts of things to feel accomplished and complete- men, money, more men, more money, memories (some of which I cannot even remember) and nothing compares to what I have now – peace and contentment in God. 

Jeremiah 29:11  (HCSB)

11 For I know the plans I have for you”—this is the Lord’s declaration—“plans for your welfare, not for disaster, to give you a future and a hope.

There is no shame in taking things slow, you get to enjoy every single moment of the process and where you are; when you take your time you never forget a step or what it taught you. Slowing down allows you to truly understand, meditate, and prepare for what is coming. God has a really good plan for your life, plans that include you being succesful, plans that include you not learning lessons the hard way, plans that are aligned with the right people at the right times so you would not have to manipulate others to achieve them, and plans that ultimately tie in with your purpose and give Him the Glory that is due. Slow down and smell the roses- because you need to. I never knew just how much I was in a rush until I realized that so much time had passed and I was nowhere close to where I wanted to be, yet so much time had passed in my eye and it was because I was in a rush to do all of the wrong things and I was going absolutely nowhere in the process. I wish I slowed down soone, but even that was for the purpose of being an encouragement for you to- see, God has really good plans.

Slow down, they don’t love you like I love you
Back up, they don’t love you like I love you
Step down, they don’t love you like I love you
Can’t you see there’s no other girl above you?
What a wicked way to treat the Man that loves you.

Not Beyoncé’s lyrics exactly, but definitely applicable here. Slow down- no one will love you like Jesus loves you, you do not have to rush to show anyone just how much you love them by doing something before you should. Back up – nothing beats being in His presence, you do not have to rush to get out of His will or His safety net (trust me you will only end up running right back to it). Step down- you do not have to rush to be so independent and in charge of your own life that you get in your own way and miss what He is trying to do in and through you – get out of your own way. Your Heavenly Father is an omnipotent and omnipresent God,  He is with you all the time, every time and every where; you are the apple of His eye and He only wants the best for you; consider the fact that He wrote the most fulfilling and perfect story for your life (including fueling your passions and fulfilling your purpose) do not neglect or insult His plans for your life by rushing to do things your way. I can promise you, no matter how hard you try – they won’t work if it’s not His will. Slow down and enjoy your beautiful life. Enjoy and trust the process and let His will be done because His will is pleasing and perfect.

XOXO,

ShanteRosenell

P.S. Don’t forget to follow me on Instagram at @ShanteRosenell and check out the new journal merchandise! There are only a few supplies left!

The F-Word Files: Family

As promised I will be delivering  A September to Remember, and one very cool feature that I have added are “my monthly series” – my initial series is called the F-Word Files; and this series will be focused around common but thought-provoking F-Word topics. The F-Word Files will be posted every first, second, and third Friday evening and as per usual your commentary, thoughts, and suggestions are really appreciated and anticipated! As I get deep into each topic I urge you to self-reflect on the topic as well, as this blog is just not intended for my growth but your growth too. If you do not already, I highly recommend that you journal (as I mentioned in Pretentious Prayers) as a way to keep your thoughts collected and that you can document your growth along the way (I have a collection of journals for sale that you can find on my Instagram page @ShanteRosenell — be sure to follow! or you can send all inquiries to shanterosenell@gmail.com) as well as to keep a collection of your prayers (it is an easy way to see just how much prayers He has already answered) and scriptures to pick you up during your bad days.

This weeks’ topic in The F-Word Files is Family; the very first relationships you would have ever formed in your life, a bittersweet topic in itself – but so necessary to define and correct as early as possible. Ironically enough I couldn’t be anymore thankful for my family than I am right now because if I wasn’t still living at home with my dad I would probably still be stuck in my bathroom from last night and unable to blog this morning. So a huge thank you to my earth father for getting me out physically and my heavenly Father (for always knowing most when I think I know best)! Depending on what type of family you were brought up in, you could be fostering healthy relationships, unhealthy relationships, or a pretty delicate mix of both as a result of; or you could be harboring unforgiveness or resentment – or you could be like me, one completely beautiful mess of all of the above.Thank you family. The good news is that no matter where you fit in the equation, you have the complete power and ability to set the tone for all future relationships in a positive way based on what you learned.

I am pretty sure we have all  heard of the term “generational curses”, and low and behold – we have our families to thank for them; families that we did not get to choose, and probably would not choose if we had the power to. I may not air my families laundry here today- though we all know I am quite capable of (and probably still will) doing so, however I am only transparent about my story not the stories of others around me (plus my mom reads my blog). But I can and will say this, I wanted no part of the generational curses that followed my parents and I decided at a very young age that it was not going to be my portion. I was adamant that the cycle would end with me – and I am still fighting with those demons. Whether spiritually or naturally, our families set the tone on our inheritances, so to speak – either you came from a family of wealth and had a lot of things ‘set-up’ or waiting for you, i.e. trust funds, college funds, businesses to run, etc. or you came from a family of ‘just enough’- where it was just enough to get you through the first phase of life, like high school and maybe college -and you had to figure it out from there; or maybe your inheritance was poverty- some less than favorable circumstances, a lot to run away from and not much opportunity or direction on where to run to. Although we cannot choose our families or where we came from, we do have the ability to decide where we want to go and access to the Source who can strengthen us to get there.

Nonetheless, our family story (even the stories that we are not proud of) are the building blocks to who we are. In some way or another our family upbringing has molded us into either being incredibly amazing or really awful (let’s be real honest) people. There are some of us that use their family background as a crutch into continuing to be a bad person, there are also some of us who turned out really good because of a loving family in spite of our own shortcomings, and yet there are some of us (like me) who used the good and the bad to become “lights” for the world – acknowledging both the good and the bad, then using it for the better. I went through a period of hating the way I raised, I had a really good childhood (looking from the outside)- there was nothing that I ever wanted that I could not have. Unfortunately when I became an adult and that stopped translating as my reality, I hated my parents for not being able to and then I hated them more for not showing me better. So I despised them both for doing too much when I didn’t need it – and then not doing enough when I did. So ungrateful right? Until very recently God reminded me just how amazing of a job they did do in raising me, I was ‘spoiled’ just enough to enjoy and appreciate the finer things – but not enough to make me forget about the important things. I blamed my parents for a while for being the reason why I do not have the things that I want (yet), but now I thank them because I know when I do get them I will be prepared. I use to think my parents having more money would solve all my problems, until I became friends with someone whose parents had every other thing but a ‘money problem’ and I compared us (not maliciously) and I realized that I am one of the richest (in love, gratitude, and experience) young people that I know. 

Exodus 20:12 (HCSB)

12 Honor your father and your mother so that you may have a long life in the land that the Lord your God is giving you.

Our families are not always just our fathers and mothers, sometimes it is just one of them (whether by choice or chance) – maybe it is your grandparents, other family members, adopted parents – no matter the circumstance, always remember to honor whoever you do have so that you might walk into your purpose. For a long time I didn’t put the honor I should on either of my parents, then I sort of forgave one and didn’t really forgive the other – and I remember one night God spoke to me and said ‘I can’t answer your prayers for this house until this house is on one accord’. Of course in my true fashion I did not listen and continued to love and honor my father on a conditional/non-existent basis until my dad got really sick and I thought he was going to die (and to be completely honest I wasn’t distraught about it- I was so happy that I could release him on my terms), but He didn’t and God reminded me in that one instance of saving grace, second chances, unconditional love, and forgiveness (And thank God too because I might’ve still been stuck in that bathroom). 

Proverbs 15:20 (HCSB)

20 A wise son brings joy to his father, but a foolish man despises his mother.

Even if your parents did not make the best decisions in your eyes, consider the fact that it was the best decision in theirsGod humbled me when He opened my eyes to my parents’ family situations, and I realized that they were loving me and raising me in the best way they knew how. So before you criticize how they brought you up, just know that there’s a strong chance that they might’ve been brought up the same way- if not worst. I know that I am blessed, fortunate, and (now) eternally grateful and appreciative for my upbringing and I use my (now) wisdom to now raise my own. Teaching her how to be a better her early on- by everything that I was taught and by what I wish I was not taught. The imperfect unit that raised me, has made me the imperfect woman to raise my daughter – just perfectly. Choosing to honor a family that taught me about forgiveness, love, acceptance by chance -now leads me to display these characteristics by choice. The ‘perfect’ family unit does not exist; if you think money solves all problems then I can introduce you to some people that have every problem in the world but it, and you would cry for your problems back. But choosing to live in peace, love, forgiveness, and acceptance with your current family allows you to fully experience your faith walk with a new found joy. I know that my parents are proud of me, even if they don’t say it – my strength provides them strength and I know that my prayers for them are not falling on deaf ears.  

Ideally, we would all want to come from a ‘perfect-enough’ family though – living comfortably, more than enough resources to raise us (with room to spoil us as well), taught life lessons and skills before we made unnecessary mistakes, and are always there when we need them most. If this is your reality, BLESS GOD – if it is not, bless God anyway; He knew exactly what you were made of when He formed you in your mothers’ womb, He knew exactly what you would be able to handle and He knew that in the moments that you would not be able to handle it He would provide you with strength. Choose to walk in love with your immediate family today in the same way you choose to walk in love with your church families, work families, and “friend” families. Mend the broken relationships and extend the grace you have received to the people who need it most – your family.

XOXO,

Shanté Rosenell

P.S. Don’t forget to follow me on Instagram at @ShanteRosenell and check out the new journal merchandise! There are only a few supplies left!

 

Transparency Tuesday : SAVED

As promised I planned to set the bar with September and the new direction of my blog posts – another new addition will be Transparency Tuesdays. In this monthly series I will be completely transparent, or as open and frank as possible (which has always been the main focus of my blog quite frankly) on a specific topic (I am open to suggestions on topics as well- feel free to comment underneath or e-mail me at shanterosenell@gmail.com). I also encourage you to be transparent with me (and yourselves obviously) in your comments and shares, our transparency in our stories is exactly what we all need to get through this faith walk together; no one is perfect and no one is getting it right ALL THE TIME – your transparency can encourage someone else not only to do better but to simply keep trying because they are on the verge of giving up. As I get deep into each topic I urge you to self-reflect on the topic as well, this blog is just not intended for my growth but your growth too. If you do not already, I highly recommend that you journal (as I mentioned in Pretentious Prayers) as a way to keep your thoughts collected and that you can track your growth along the way (I have a collection of journals for sale that you can find on my Instagram page @ShanteRosenell — be sure to follow! or you can send all inquiries to shanterosenell@gmail.com) as well as to keep a collection of your prayers (it is an easy way to see just how much prayers He has already answered) and scriptures to pick you up and encourage you along the way.

I decided to start this series off with being completely transparent on the topics that I carry with me into every post, every time – that is being: ‘Saved. Selfless. Selfish & Sassy’ and what this means to me. I have been asked before why I have the word selfish in my tag-line and while I cannot remember ever really explaining it in full, I couldn’t think of a perfect way than to start being transparent than with the words that describe me best and probably has some of you wondering. You may or may not have your own definition on what these words mean to you, but what I am going to do is open up on what they mean to me and why I chose them.

Saved. Yes, I am saved. Believe me, this is actually one of the most uncomfortable statements I have to make to people; especially people who knew me before I became saved- not because I am ashamed but because it’s usually asked with an air of judgement, to say the least. Like- ‘You’re saved?! No really- you?!’, and then I have to answer in a really ‘saved-like’ manner because of course if I didn’t do that, it would prove them right. And who really wants that? But, a little into my faith walk I can confidently say (and shout if I really wanted to) – YES! I am SAVED! That does not mean I am perfect now nor does it mean that I THINK I am perfect now – this also does not mean that I have never made mistakes or lived in sin before nor does it mean that I THINK I never made mistakes before. The only thing this means (to me) is now I am saved, now I am safe.

save
[seyv]

verb (used with object), saved, saving.
1.to rescue from danger or possible harm, injury, or loss:
2.to keep safe, intact, or unhurt; safeguard; preserve:
3.to keep from being lost:
4.to avoid the spending, consumption, or waste of:
5. to keep, as for reuse:
6. to set aside, reserve, or lay by:
7. to treat carefully in order to reduce wear, fatigue, etc.:

According to Dictionary.com; to be saved can mean any of these things listed above- and though none are biblical in nature, I could not think of more perfect definitions of what being saved is to me. When I chose to accept His salvation I wanted Him to rescue me from the danger and harm I put myself in, I wanted to be kept safe and preserved, I did not want to be lost anymore, I wanted to avoid wasting my days away, I wanted to be ‘kept’ and reused by Him for His purpose and His glory, I wanted Him to set me aside and reserve me for the very best that He had, and I wanted to be treated carefully by Him so that I would not (or allow others) to burn me out! Being saved is not about claiming to be perfect (though I strive for it daily) and without sin, nor is it an excuse to be judgmental to those who are not saved – it simply means that now I am safe. I do not have to live in sin, guilt, fear, or condemnation – I am safe, I am saved.

Romans 10:9-10 (HCSB)

9 If you confess with your mouth, “Jesus is Lord,” and believe in your heart that God raised Him from the dead, you will be saved. 10 One believes with the heart, resulting in righteousness, and one confesses with the mouth, resulting in salvation.

Did I have to go through every single thing I did just to be saved? No. Is it easy to be saved? Nope. It is easy to get saved? Yes. The safety that I experience on this faith walk is indescribable – I fall short EVERY SINGLE DAY. Though some days more than others and the guilt that still comes (I am only human) feels unbearable sometimes, I am still saved – I am still safe. The safety that I have in being saved allows me to live life confidently even when things are not making “logical sense” and being saved allows me to have peace even in times of uncertainty. I truly believe that I am here for a purpose and that I will receive the promises of God concerning me at the right time, I also believe with all of my heart that even though I am sinful by nature and even through this constant battle with my flesh – God sent Jesus as an atonement for my sin so I am saved from the guilt and awful consequences of my actions. Though I don’t think I am free from all the consequences because while He has given us freedom to choose we are not free from the consequences there of- but I do believe that He disciplines me ‘just enough to learn the lesson’ and not as much as I deserve. Even through the criticism and sneers you will get when you claim your salvation may seem unbearable, rest assured that no one can take it away (not even you) – do not allow people to keep you from your safety, they did not give it to you therefore they cannot take it away.

Romans 8:38-39 (HCSB)

38 For I am persuaded that not even death or life, angels or rulers, things present or things to come, hostile powers, 39 height or depth, or any other created thing will have the power to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord!

While there will be things and people who will try to keep you from walking into and accepting your salvation and try to rob you of the complete JOY of being saved – know that there is nothing that exists in any world that can keep you away from the power of His saving grace. Being saved is difficult, it is not always easy doing what you know is right as opposed to what you know is easy. You probably will not always make the right decision the first time (or the first couple of times if you are anything like me) nor will you always be able to resist the temptation or fall for the tricks of the enemy – but the absolute best part of being and choosing to stay saved is – nothing can or will ever be able to separate you from the love of God, and love covers a MULTITUDE of sins. So yes, I am saved! I will not always meet your standards of what a ‘saved person’ should be in terms of my speech, actions, or dress – I may not always do what I know is right nor will I always be able to resist temptation, but I am still saved. I do not use my guaranteed safety by being a child of God as an excuse to live the way that I want to live, but I do use it as my ‘get out of jail free’ card when I do slip up. 

Hebrews 7:25 (HCSB)

25 Therefore, He is always able to save[a] those who come to God through Him, since He always lives to intercede for them.

God is always in the saving business; there is no past that is too marred for Him to clean, there is no danger that is too great for Him to pull you from, there is no place that you are lost in that He cannot retrieve you from, basically there is no wrong that he cannot make right. Do not allow anyone to keep you from the joy and safety of being saved. It is not the easiest walk in the world but it is the most rewarding; it allows you to be fearless when  you should be fearful, at peace when you should be anxious, and confident when you should be uncertain.Exchange your weakness for His strength and your brokenness for His completeness by choosing your salvation today. And I know this is super easy to ‘put off’ – God I’m not ready yet. God I’m still living in sin. God I’m not perfect yet. If these are your excuses you will be putting Him off for the rest of your earthly life, because you will never be ‘ready’ nor ‘perfect’. Confess your sins tonight, believe that He sent His son to die for all those sins you cannot forgive yourself for and welcome Him to be the Shepherd of your life.

XOXO,

Shanté Rosenell

P.S. Don’t forget to follow me on Instagram at @ShanteRosenell and check out the new journal merchandise! There are only a few supplies left!

The F-Word Files: Friendship

As promised I will be delivering  A September to Remember, and one very cool feature that I have added are “my monthly series” – my initial series is called the F-Word Files; and this series will be focused around common but thought-provoking F-Word topics. The F-Word Files will be posted every first, second, and third Friday evening and as per usual your commentary, thoughts, and suggestions are really appreciated and anticipated! As I get deep into each topic I urge you to self-reflect on the topic as well, this blog is just not intended for my growth but your growth too. If you do not already, I highly recommend that you journal (as I mentioned in Pretentious Prayers) as a way to keep your thoughts collected and that you can your growth along the way (I have a collection of journals for sale that you can find on my Instagram page @ShanteRosenell — be sure to follow! or you can send all inquiries to shanterosenell@gmail.com) as well as to keep a collection of your prayers (it is an easy way to see just how much prayers He has already answered) and scriptures to pick you up during your bad days.

This weeks’ topic in The F-Word Files is Friendship; and depending on what stage you are in your life this could be an interesting topic for you to say the least. I know that I have readers from all over the world and within a wide age bracket, so I am pretty sure some of my followers are everywhere between ‘I don’t need any friends’ to ‘I don’t need any more friends’ to ‘I can’t get enough friends!’. Whether one of these descriptions fit you accurately or you are somewhere in between, it is safe to assume that ‘friendship’  can mean a lot of different things to a lot of different people. I can tell you from experience that I have been on every scale that I have listed above when it came to friendship, I have had moments where I didn’t want anybody around me because I felt like I couldn’t trust them or that they all secretly hated me (to which some actually did); or where I was so content with those that I had (because having little means I could be absolutely sure of them, right? wrong.) that I didn’t want anymore, to stumbling across an amazing person by happenstance and I’m like, “well maybe I could use one more friend”. No matter where you might be in your friend journey, we can all agree on one thing: Friendships are amazing when done right.

Ecclesiastes 4:9-12 (HCSB)

9 Two are better than one because they have a good reward for their efforts. 10 For if either falls, his companion can lift him up; but pity the one who falls without another to lift him up. 11 Also, if two lie down together, they can keep warm; but how can one person alone keep warm? 12 And if someone overpowers one person, two can resist him.

When a friendship is ‘done right’ (by ‘done right’ I mean – completely engulfed in love, patience, understanding, wise counsel and forgiveness; not having a trace of jealousy, envy, or bitterness) there is nothing on this side of the world that could match it. No man (or woman) is an island, and while you are fully capable of being a strong independent being- it is normal (and comforting) that you have somebody that you can call on or spend time with; the bible verse above reminds us that you can do more with a friend. It is not impossible to be fully satisfied doing these things alone or to lean on to our Heavenly Father – but considering we are indeed earthly, physical, and fleshly beings it is simply in our nature (and completely normal) to desire another person; someone just like us, to keep our company. Like our Woman Of God Wednesday feature Ruth mentioned in her interview, (and if you haven’t viewed it as yet -you can hereshe made it through a really rough patch in her faith walk with the help of a strong group of friends.

So, do you and your friends have to be Christians to get it ‘done right’? Probably not. You may just be fortunate enough to have some ‘good friends’, perhaps you may even have ‘really good friends’; and they get you through the tough times – they are supportive, they attend your birthday celebrations, and they probably even stand as god-mothers for your children; but for some reason you just cannot share everything with them, not because you do not want to but you cannot without fear of judgement or you also may not be able to share all the good things that are going well for you because things are not going so good for them and you do not want them to be jealous. Or you may even have some friends that you cannot share anything personal with them because you just know that they are not good people- maybe your friendship with them only sparked because of some negative commonality – you disliked the same people or you were both disgruntled with your jobs. However, a friendship (in my humble opinion of course) is ‘done right’- better yet ‘done best’ when you are both on your faith walk together; as Christians you should know, understand, and embody love already (that perfect love – the 1 Corinthians 13 love) so it should be easy to extend it to others.

So are all my friends Christians? Nope. Well then why are they still your friends? Because they are just really good people. The difference between a friendship ‘done right’ and a friendship ‘done best’ is the difference between a ‘good friend’ and a ‘God friend’; I chose my ‘good friends’ along the way – whether in primary school, work, commonalities etc. but God himself hand-picked and sent me my ‘God friends’. When I say hand-picked and sent I truly mean that, because these are indeed people that I would probably be polite to in passing or probably not even speak to at all. But God sent these people to enrich my life and draw me closer to Him, my ‘God friends’ pray for me and with me (ALL THE TIME), they encourage me, they build me up, and they bring me closer to Him. They are my accountability partners- when the world (and sometimes ‘good friends’) puts you on a pedestal because you say you are a Christian, it is your God-friends that pick you up after you have fallen short and they pray with you that God exchanges that weakness for strength. I have to go on the record and say that I love, appreciate, and value my ‘God friends’.

Proverbs 18:24 (HCSB)

24 A man with many friends may be harmed, but there is a friend who stays closer than a brother.

While your friends are only human and it is highly impossible that they will please you all the time, sometimes our ‘God friends’ are the only ones that extend grace to us when we offend them or extend forgiveness when offended. I have had many friends walk in and out and then back in and back out of my life because I have offended them – almost always unintentionally – but instead of talking it out, they chose to talk about me. I am also almost certain that I might have been on the giving end of the treatment as well. I see good friends, really good friends, and even best friends ‘fall out’ all the time! Sometimes they become friends again, other times they are enemies for life; just as a friendship done right brings real joy, being hurt by a friend also brings real pain. I have experienced some really bad ‘friendship-hurt’ over my years, when I was in primary school I even cried because my friends didn’t want to be my friends anymore. But the sad part is I knew, even from then, that they didn’t mean me any good. They weren’t ‘God friends’- they were barely even ‘good friends’ but because we were friends for so long I just couldn’t let them go. When God is allowing ‘God friends’ to show up into your life and your ‘good friends’ are slowly fading away, take heed – He wants His absolute best for you and that includes who you allow to feed into your spirit.

But are you a good friend? Could you extend forgiveness or grace when your friends have offended or failed you? Or do you hold your friends to an impossible level of perfection that you cannot even hold for them? Are you a ‘God friend’? Do you encourage your friends? Do you support them? Can they come to you when they have messed up without fear of judgement? Or do you encourage them based on how well you want them to do? Which simply means good – but not as good as you, God forbid even better. Do you support them only when its convenient? Or is it at whatever cost, even when the only chance they might have of making it is God himself. If you have experienced even the smallest bit of guilt by reading this paragraph- pray and ask God to rid you of bad intentions especially of the ones against your friends. I had to cry out to God and ask for forgiveness when I realized that I wasn’t always a good friend- I had to pray for a pure heart so that I could be truly happy for when good things happened to those around me. Even if those things weren’t happening for me yet. You are not horrible if you have felt this way before, just human. 

1 Peter 4:8-10 (HCSB)

8 Above all, maintain an intense love for each other, since love covers a multitude of sins.[a] 9 Be hospitable to one another without complaining. 10 Based on the gift each one has received, use it to serve others, as good managers of the varied grace of God.

If you can demonstrate the love and qualities of what a ‘God friend’ should be as Peter mentioned above, then by all means – continue to spread the gift, beauty, and privilege of your friendship. But, use the same measure to evaluate your friendships with others. If someone is not maintaining a healthy friendship with you, or if you do not feel like you are being true to yourself by continuing a friendship with them – by all means let it go in peaceI have ex-friends that I no longer maintain friendships with simply because they were unhealthy, I couldn’t be ‘me’ – especially the ‘me’ I want to be with God by keeping them in my life. Leaving some of these friendships were super easy and some of the were super hard; but I had to learn that everything good isn’t God. 

Friendships are amazing when done Gods way with ‘God friends’, but that does not mean that you cannot lead your good friends to God so that they can be ‘God friends’ as well. If you have just become a Christian or decided to recommit and your friends are not completely ‘there’ with you yet, that alone is not a reason to end your friendship. If your words alone cannot bring a friend to Christ, then maybe it is time to win them over with your actions. Extend grace to them, cover your friendship with love, and show them kindness and generosity without complaining; pray for them, encourage them, and most importantly win them over through your works. Give the friendship you wish to receive from others and watch all of your ‘good friends’ become ‘God friends’.

XOXO,

ShanteRosenell

P.S. Don’t forget to follow me on Instagram at @ShanteRosenell and check out the new journal merchandise! There are only a few supplies left!

Woman of God Wednesday : Ruth Cadet

Happy Hump-Day! As promised my ‘September to Remember’ is going to be filled with new features, posts, and an overall new direction for the blog. This Wednesday is no different, and I am super excited to share with you my first Woman of God Wednesday. This monthly feature will alternate between women from the Bible and modern-day women of God who are living, working, and ‘doing’ life just like us! (If you have not already, feel free to check out my first unofficial Woman of God post on the story of Ruth). This weeks’ feature I interviewed my very own woman of God: Ruth Cadet. “Auntie Ruth” as I affectionately call her, (she is my real Auntie by the way 🙂 though she doesn’t look old enough at all for me to call her that in public- yet I do.) is such an admirable, awesome, and amazing woman in general! She granted me the opportunity to minister to her youth group a few months ago and it was an experience I will always hold close. She has inspired me through her actions to be bold in fulfilling my purpose and that motivating others is truly a gift!

“My mission is not to merely survive, but to thrive; and to do so with passion, compassion, humor, and style.”

This quote by Maya Angelou embodies the life and journey of our first Woman of God Wednesday feature. With a life committed to serving God, herself, and others in the highest measure, mentor, public speaker, coach, lover of life, conqueror, purpose driven woman, destiny-bound Ruth Cadet, is as she puts it, “a queen on the journey to her throne”. Her passion to empower others has led her to serve as a training and development professional in both career and social settings.  She is committed to enhancing the lives of others, particularly women and girls, helping them recognize and cultivate their self-awareness and worth. A leader and community builder, Ruth is the Founder and Executive Director of SPARKLE: Girls Shining for God’s Glory, a girl’s empowerment program for girls 13-18 years, the Founder and Mentor with ProjectSHINE – a mentorship initiative for girls 8-12 years, both an honor that she says adds so much value to her life.  She also serves as the Director of Children’s Ministry at her local church.

I had the awesome privilege to interview Ruth and it was nothing short of inspiring. Her transparency and willingness to be featured are both things that I am so grateful for. She is a reminder to myself that you should always be willing to share your story because you never know who you are building up in the process.

Being a leader/mentor for young women takes a great degree of balance between serving (God) and leading (those He has entrusted in our care), how would you define ‘servant leadership’?

To me, servant leadership is using personal strengths, gifts and skills to enrich the lives of others for nothing more than the fulfillment and joy of helping them.  I believe we don’t have to seek out the “spotlight” of leadership, but rather, if we serve others from a place of purity of intention, our light draws others to follow us; subsequently, making us leaders in our own right.  

We are reminded throughout our faith walk that we must constantly fill ourselves in order to pour out into other people. How do you keep yourself encouraged and how do use that to motivate others?

 I am only as good to the person I’m seeking to build, as I am to myself. With all that I do, I’m very mindful to not allow myself to burn out. So I spend a whole lot of time alone without distraction, getting centered with myself. I go to the beach often and literally send my burdens and concerns out with the ocean. And most importantly, I fill myself with God’s word. Through it, my strength is renewed and I am refreshed. I seek to motivate others by simply being a light. I am deliberate about using my words and energy to focus on positivity, growth, and the bright side of things. It’s so easy to end up in a place of hopelessness and despair. But by simply reminding people to shift their focus, they find motivation.  It’s occurred to me that I’m naturally an encourager too.  I will ‘pm’ random people at random times and just encourage them.  

Being a young person and having the huge but rewarding task of bringing others to Christ, it is so easy to feel that you are either inferior or doing it all wrong. Naturally it is easy to worry and feel anxious about it all. What do you worry about and why?

I worry about not living out my fullest potential before dying. While I am operating in my purpose, I’ve only scratched the surface of my assignment.  Knowing this, often times I find myself in a mental or physical (sometimes both), frenzy to do the next thing; succeed at the next assignment because the shortness and urgency of life is constantly before me.  

I can personally attest to being a mess before I started delivering His message. Because I have a really colorful past, it makes me a target of conversation among people who ‘use’ to know me; questioning my walk and challenging my intentions. How do you handle the criticism?

Unless its constructive criticism which comes from a place of love, I don’t entertain criticism. I’m very guarded of my sacred space – so everything does not and will not come to me. It just doesn’t.  I am however very open to constructive criticism I feel it’s crucial to my continued growth and development as a leader and as a woman.  When constructively criticized, I am careful about not getting in my feelings but rather  take deliberate actions to improve. 

This faith walk is not for the strongest, loudest, or the person with the ‘cleanest path’, but rather for the one that endures to the end. While it is filled with highs and lows, when have you been the most satisfied on your journey?

I’m most satisfied when I lose myself in the Divine, and not concern myself to much with life. Like right now.  Right now I’m in such a good place. Despite the many uncertainties, doubts about the next step, unanswered prayers, I’m at a place of peace and that is so satisfying.   

Tell me about a time that ‘life’ hasn’t turned out the way you wanted to and what helped you get through?

After a few months on a job that I really liked and saw myself thriving in, I was terminated without a justifiable explanation. In the initial moment I felt a great sense of hurt, loss, and disappointment but God reminded me that He had a plan for my life.  That simple reminder got me through the moments of intense despair when life just didn’t make sense.  In fact, I still refer to that reminder.  I also had a small but strong tribe of strong women behind me, lifting my spirit.  I think that’s so important.  

We often touch peoples lives through sheer interaction with them, a lot of times without even knowing that we did. What in your opinion is the single most important ‘take a way’ from meeting/interacting/ or being mentored by you?

That they are enough, and  don’t have to add-on nor dim their light for anyone. They are loved and they are valuable. 

I have a ton of scriptures that I lean on to for when life goes other than how I expected it. What is your favorite scripture and why?

Hebrews 13:5 I will never leave you nor forsake you.  –  Life is filled with both hills and valleys, adding to that I don’t always get things right.  This scripture to that I don’t always get things right.  This scripture affirms my faith that God is with me in the mountaintop and valley experiences.  No matter where I may find myself, He is there with an unwavering, unconditional, unending love. 

No matter how small your story might be, (and I do mean your whole story – may seem to you, there is a purpose for it. Even those very low ‘lows’ that we put ourselves in, God can use the very thing that was supposed to destroy you – to bring others to Him) never be afraid to share it. I have learnt (and emulated) from Ruths’ story that you can be confident in and certain of who you are as a Woman of God while still being open to loving correction for improvement (and she can tell you this is true – because she has been on the end of the correcting me with love stick before), and also that there is no ‘perfect’ Christian story. The only person that achieved that was Jesus Christ himself; on this walk we will have highs and lows, sowing and reaping, waiting and even more waiting, delays and denials, moments where you will need encouragement and moments where you will give encouragement. However, no matter how tough her walk may have gotten, she always presses on and does so with a smile and a kind word! If you want to know more about Ruth and how you can be apart of or help her with her organization, you can follow her page on Facebook at Sparkle: Girls Shining for Glory.

 

 

 

The F-Word Files: Forgetfulness

As promised I will be delivering  A September to Remember, and one very cool feature that I have added are “my monthly series” – my initial series is called the F-Word Files; and this series will be focused around common but thought-provoking F-Word topics. The F-Word Files will be posted every first, second, and third Friday evening and as per usual your commentary, thoughts, and suggestions are really appreciated and anticipated! As I get deep into each topic I urge you to self-reflect on the topic as well, this blog is just not intended for my growth but your growth too. If you do not already, I highly recommend that you journal (as I mentioned in Pretentious Prayers) as a way to keep your thoughts collected and that you can your growth along the way (I have a collection of journals for sale that you can find on my Instagram page @ShanteRosenell — be sure to follow! or you can send an e-mail at shanterosenell@gmail.com) as well as to keep a collection of your prayers (it is an easy way to see just how much prayers He has already answered) and scriptures to pick you up during your bad days.

This weeks’ topic is Forgetfulness; which could not be any more of a perfect topic for me because I consider myself to be very forgetful. Or selectively forgetful anyway, I easily forget what God wants me to do but I am quick to remember what He said He would do for me. Go figure. Last weeks’ F-Word of Forgiveness seems to be a perfect compliment for this week F-Word; usually when someone forgives us we want them to ‘forget’ what happened to – especially if we want to keep our relationship with them.No one wants to be constantly reminded of how bad or how much they screwed up. On the flip side, when we are forgiving others we tend to put on a “I will forgive, but I will never forget” mentality. Though forgetting is an easier said than done mentality, we should try to take on a Christ-like approach to the situation – sure He forgives us completely once we repent of our sins and while He does not forget (we all have to deal with or answer for our transgressions), He does not allow what happened to have any bearing on our salvation. Simply put, forgive, forget the offense, just do not forget what it taught you.

Micah 7:19 (HCSB)

19 He will again have compassion on us; He will vanquish our iniquities. You will cast all our sins into the depths of the sea.

Most Christians refer to this sea as the ‘Sea of Forgetfulness’; God promises us in His Word that even in the moments when we cannot forgive ourselves, He will. Not only will He forgive us, He will also have compassion on us and conquer by His superior force all of our wickedness – casting our sins and shortcomings into the depths of the sea. And for those of who live in the Bahamas, we know first hand how unforgiving the seas can be – especially the deep. Imagine pouring dirty water into the depth of the sea, then trying to cast the bottle into the same sea to get it back. Mission Impossible. If God can ‘forget’ to count even your worst mistake against you, there is absolutely no reason for you to beat yourself up about it.

2 Peter 3:9 (HCSB)

9 The Lord does not delay His promise, as some understand delay, but is patient with you, not wanting any to perish but all to come to repentance.

Even better than God ‘forgetting’ to count our sins against us, in His Word He also reminds us that He does not forget the promises He has declared concerning us. Sure you’ve gotten out of His will more times than you can remember, luckily for us – He does not forget about the good things He has in store for us the way we do. I am sure we all have some childhood dreams or goals for our lives that we have conveniently ‘forgotten’ because quite frankly- they just seemed too unrealistic. But God, God has not forgotten about the dreams, gifts, talents, and miracles that He has stored up on the inside of us. Just as He is patient with us, be patient with yourselves and be patient with Him – trust your process and allow Him to prepare you for what it is that He has planned. I would be the first to tell you, I feel like God has forgotten about me A LOT of times. Staying in His Presence and meditating on His Word has taught me that He hasn’t forgotten at all- He is just preparing my heart to receive, manage, and keep what is about to come.

While we never want God to forget what He has in store for us, we cannot forget what it is that we are supposed to do for Him. It is very easy to forget just how much He has come through for us in the past, it seems as if everyday you add something new to your prayer list and that you eventually forget the small (and sometimes) large victories that you prayed for months (or years) ago. This year I had the privilege of spending my birthday on the West Coast – totally unscripted and unexpected. While going through my Facebook Memories I found one from exactly a year before that read “I just want to travel the world, make memories, and spoil my princess! Is that too much to ask?!”. Ironically I was doing just that, one year later – in California, making memories I will never forget, and going shopping for my daughter. That small moment taught me that I should 1.) keep track of my prayers because I can imagine how ungrateful I was being before that and 2.) God isn’t forgetful like me. I urge you to keep track of your prayers and promises that God has revealed to you, so that you can see that He does not forget about the things that are important to you and that He does answer prayers!

Romans 12:12 (HCSB)

12 Rejoice in hope; be patient in affliction; be persistent in prayer.

In the same way we can find comfort in knowing that God is not forgetful concerning us, we should strive not to be forgetful concerning Him. It is super easy to ‘forget’ to pray, I know… I do it ALL the time. It is also super easy to not spend time in His presence or get to know Him more by studying His Word. I know – trust me! Being persistent in your efforts to be more intimate with Him is difficult but super rewarding. We serve an amazing God who is able to exceed our greatest expectation of Him, but all He wants is a genuine desire and longing for Him- initially it seems tough but once He shows Himself to you, you’ll actually want more of Him. You will find that He is that peace that you have been looking for all along. The Bible does not outright say ‘Hey, do not forget to pray’, but I want to assume that He foresaw our struggles and sent us a reminder to be persistent with it because of the opposition He knew that we would face. We do not forget to pay our bills (or at least we should not), nor do we forget what time our favorite show or game is coming on, so simply put – make a greater effort to not forget to pray and spend time with God. Psalms 23 reminds us that He refreshes our souls and lead us beside ‘quiet waters’ or places of peace.

Finally, take stock of who you are! There is nothing that is too big or too hard for you (and your God), it is easy to ‘forget’ who you are in Him! I forget my worth alllllll the time! And I allow people to treat me less than how I deserve to be treated. Never forget that you are a child of God and you can do any and all things in Christ who strengthens you. You deserve respect, you deserve people to be ‘careful’ with your feelings, you deserve the absolute best in any and everything you desire! This week might have been especially hard for you, and you still may be going through a case of the MomDay-Mondays; however you should know that in all of your shortcomings and everything that you might be going through that He is in control, and you can cast ALL your cares on Him because He cares for you. He has not forgotten about you, or His plans concerning you.

XOXO,

ShanteRosenell

P.S. Don’t forget to follow me on Instagram at @ShanteRosenell and check out the new journal merchandise! There are only a few supplies left!

Monday-MomDay – Back to School Edition

In true (mom) fashion, I should have posted this hours ago! Right? A perfect read for when the moms that follow me have just gotten home from work and picking up the children and are scrolling away on social media, before we get to our million item to do list before doing it all again tomorrow. But of course – as a mom myself, I was completely off schedule (as per usual). I spent the last two months travelling with my daughter and making some memories for myself, so naturally my house needed to be cleaned when I came back and my cupboards were bare, so I spent the entire day being too busy for my own good. If you are in the Bahamas (like me), chances are today was your childs’ first day back to school – which if you are anything like me, I was way more excited than my daughter! Let’s all be completely honest here, every mom I know was more excited than their kids. Probably even more excited than the teachers who spent the last week or so decorating their classes and picking a memorable theme. In another life I would have spent the whole day at the bar, celebrating myself for surviving the summer with my toddler and us both coming out of it alive. Especially the last haul- our one month vacation. Where we spent every single moment together, yay me. But the truth of the matter is, even as I am typing this I am drained and I will not even have time to celebrate because the day is not done, and I did not even put in a nine to five “full-working day”, so to you moms that did- I commend you. You are doing a phenomenal job keeping it all together. You deserve wine. Lots of it.

Whether you are a single mom, a married mom, a mom-t0-be, a mom who has been, or a mom to many – this blog post is for you. Today some of you may have dropped your children off for the first or fourth time at their first day of school, you prepared the night before, you encouraged them this morning, you may have taken a million pictures, and you probably shed a tear or few. So, whether you are a mom to a toddler or a college-kid, today was bittersweet. Sure we were up to here with all of their antics this summer, but the reality is now we’re all back to our super busy schedules. Schedules that are filled with tons of activities and appointments and a whole lot less quality time. Some of us are half-way done with getting ready for tomorrow and some of us have a long night ahead, the truth is we have been running on ‘E’ for hours now. But, we are moms and that is just what we do.

I went to the supermarket (alone, thank God) today, and I went through each and every aisle just to buy some time alone before it was time for pick-up and think to myself. God spoke to me in this quiet time and He reminded me on just how special we are to Him, if for the single fact that we are mothers alone. Some of us confidently dropped our children off this morning with a million thoughts running through our minds; like how we would pay the loan for the school bills off, or how we were going to find the money for the ridiculously overpriced text books (that we still have not bought), or like me ‘God how did you manage to pull this one off again?’ I have watched God come through at the my very last bit of strength and provide for my daughter (and me) consistently for the past three years when it came to school preparation. How I still have moments of doubt at this point is truly beyond me.

In a world where it seems like we constantly have more bills coming in than paychecks it is so easy to become anxious, fearful, and doubtful – especially when you are responsible for another person; not to mention another person who you would give any and everything for. During these periods of pure anxiety I meditate on His Word and dwell in His presence by giving Him back His promises concerning my (our) life. It is easier to pretend as if we have it all together as moms than to admit that sometimes (a lot of times actually), it feels like our world is falling apart or just completely upside down. We screw up, we stress ourselves and our children, we set unrealistic expectations and then disappoint ourselves, and we try to maintain a false level of perfection- screaming from the highest mountain that we are independent and we do not need anyone to help us or take care of us (and our babies).Let’s be completely honest with ourselves, we all need help from someone – and if we had the help with no strings attached we would definitely take it. Some of us just made lifetime commitments with people who were not financially, physically, or emotionally ready for the commitment. So you made a bad choice, who hasn’t? We are not bad moms because of our mistakes of course, if you are still reading this you are probably a GREAT mom; but once in a while we just need to stop rest in our Heavenly Fathers’ presence and refuel.

1 Peter 5: 6-7 (HCSB) “6 Humble yourselves, therefore, under the mighty hand of God, so that He may exalt you at the proper time,[c] 7 casting all your care on Him, because He cares about you.”

To humble yourself under God means to destroy your independence and become meek FOR Him. In a society that translates dependence as needy and weak, I know it is difficult to let go of the reign and hop in the passenger seat (especially for someone you cannot even see), but His Word says that if you modestly give up control of your life and cast your cares (worries, anxiety, doubts, feelings and moments of lack) on Him, He WILL come through for you. He will exalt you, whether in honor, power, or character – in His perfect timing. Our Heavenly Father cares about us in the same way that we care for our (and His) earthly children; even if (and when) we complain, are disobedient, are ungrateful, or are simply careless with what He has entrusted to us.

So what about the moms who have it together financially, but we are just emotionally and spiritually drained today? We pour so much of ourselves into our children, our spouses, our jobs, our churches – when do we ever refuel? Not to mention the moments when we need a little bit more than fuel, but a renewal and a complete restoration. We are not always gentle with our children when we are exhausted, we are not always loving to our spouses when we are frustrated, and we most certainly are not always even-tempered when it comes to our colleagues or some random stranger that cut us off in back-to-school traffic. We curse, we scream, we cry (sometimes), and then we carry on. So here is a Psalm to remember whenever you are in need of restoration or you just “lost it” (Psalms 51).

So here is to Monday-MomDay; a monthly motivational blog post dedicated to us moms who are still trying to get it all together. A reminder to you that there are other moms out there that are holding on (but looking great while doing it) to their very last thread and are in need of a refresher (or reminder) that there is no perfect way to parenthood. Don’t forget to follow me on Instagram @ShanteRosenell and check out the new merchandise that I have available. As well as leave a comment on what you would like to hear about for the next MomDay post in October!