Chantal Hill: A Renewed Mind (DN2D dance testimony)

-a renewed mind-

My alarm sounds; its 5am. My day has started, it's my time with myself with God, away from the World. I always set aside time to meditate & be the reflection of my higher self. Lately, I've been standing in the mirror wondering how God views me & how I view myself. What is my reflection showing? What am I seeing? & What is real? The task is to see myself as God sees me. To radiate his light, reflect his love and Glow in his Glory. As Christian, we believe in God a great deal but at times we lack that same belief in ourselves. Yes, God gives us the strength to do it but do we truly believe we're strong enough. Currently, my journey with Christ is all about Faith. But it's different this time. It's Faith & belief in myself. No, I'm not turning into the person that believes that they did it all by themselves. But knowing that God invested all of his goodness in me, so why wouldn't I have faith in myself when I have God on my side? 

My move to New York shifted my confidence in myself. I began to lose confidence because I viewed the talents of my peers as superior to the talents that God blessed me to possess. To be honest, there was a point in my life that I didn't view myself. I only saw the person I wanted to be & didn't even take into account my abilities and what I could do to perfect them. I felt that Everything about me was wrong. I believed that everything I was given had to be changed in order to be seen as beautiful. I would pray to God that he would make me beauty. That he would make me amazing. The funny part is that God already made me those things, I just had to see myself through his eyes. God saw me and God chose me to be his beloved. So why does my faith & confidence in myself waver when I am created in the image of God? It's crazy how harshly we think of ourselves at times. It's crazy how we hear scriptures but don't deeply hear them then one day we hear them with our hearts and are forever changed. I am grateful that my mind has been renewed and that my faith/confidence in myself has transformed. If we have faith in our abilities, our talents, our hopes then we can potentially live out our God given purposes. 

 

"Do not conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God's will is-his good, pleasing and perfect will." Romans 12:2 

 

This scripture opens the doorway to the life God designed for us believers. But at times I feel like I'm stuck in the hallway because I lose focus and I look to The world to affirm me. Social Media is the #1 people pleaser when looking for affirmation. We view at least 25 images in a day that brainwash us of the value in our own beauty. We feel approval and acceptance by the amount of likes, comments or views of our last post. At the end of the day, all of that doesn't matter. We must first believe in ourselves and know our own truth or we will let others delegate our destiny. When you realize your self-worth, beauty and joy in Christ, you have the fearlessness to step into your destiny and reign. 

 

My hope is that someone will renew their mind and see themselves as God does. My hope is that you will believe in yourself. You can be the difference. You were born to begin, to create, to let loose your imagination, to see what aught to be & make it happen. I believe that by trusting in God & myself I will be taken to a place I was born to occupy; where FINALLY the geography around me corresponds to the geography of my heart. I will be a person of influence all because I chose to believe... To believe in the idea that I can be as Great as I envision. What you think about yourself becomes the truth for you. Believe in yourself & the rest will fall into place. My hope is that you will step out.. Into your God given Destiny. 

"And to put on the new self, created to be like God in the righteousness and holiness." -Ephesians 4:24

 

       
     
Karess Grant: Surrender

I need you, I love you, I want you…

Sometimes it’s when we are at our lowest points in life that we experience the greatest encounters with the Lord. I mean, in Psalm 34:18 it says, “He is close to the brokenhearted and saves those who are crushed in spirit.” For me, this is exactly what happened. I went through a season of emptiness. Everywhere I looked, I saw nothing. It was in this very season that I realized that the miracles happen in the valley not always at the mountain tops. I began to seek God more than ever and I began to surrender every single piece of me to Him. I surrendered my gifts, mind, body and soul. In the seasons that we need God to show up the most, He’s often times waiting on us to say YES to His will for our lives and to surrender ourselves to Him.

This inspired all of my movement.

The sweet moments of resting in God’s love and surrendering everything I have to Him and experiencing so much freedom. This piece allowed me to explore the very things He has already placed inside of me to complete and the tasks that He has called me to do. The conclusion of this piece would have to be the fresh revelation of knowing that I am nothing without God but I am everything with Him. 

-Karess Grant

       
     
Vanessa Nandram: Into The Deep

My life since childhood has always been a series of consistent struggle and loneliness. Being the youngest daughter of four I was the quiet observant one. I barely spoke and when I did it was more than not a curious question. I learned to live life through watching others live theirs.

As I grew up, I noticed how big the world was and I began experiencing different types of people, cultures and viewpoints. Coming from a poor girls perspective those experiences became adventures to me. I wanted to learn and live vicariously through others and that was my escape.   

    I knew about God and who he was from a young girls point of view. I rarely expressed myself or spoke about how I felt to anyone but Him. When I was introduced to dancing in High School I flourished. Movement became my haven and a way to express what I was too embarrassed to talk about. As a result my childhood to young adulthood was nothing but myself, God and dance. My family was so consumed with trying to survive that connecting with one another was the last thing on the list of priorities. 

    I threw myself into dancing and when I was told to move to New York with my father for financial reasons, I was crushed. That isolation from the little family that I knew was the darkest time in my life. Dancing became a dead dream. I put God on a shelf as I grieved my loss of dance and my family and I sulked into despair. I went through a series of bad decisions and relationships seeking comfort, a listening ear, understanding, acceptance and love. In return I was used, abused, hurt, taken advantage of, betrayed, lied to, and finally left in a pile of pieces. 

    In the aftermath I sought God and begged for Him to show himself if he was real. From that point on He did. After years of healing and restoration I am not perfect but I'm whole. God never gave up on me and now I am pursuing dance as a career. 

    The piece I choreographed for Dance into Deliverance is the moment that I felt utter loss as my heart was breaking. The piece Into the Deep is the searching for fulfillment and someone to love me in the darkness.

-Vanessa Nandram

       
     
Francine Ott: You Saved Me

This season of my life has been really difficult to push through because there were so many times that I really wanted to give up on everything.  The things that I loved were not appealing to me, and school seemed so overwhelming that I didn't think I was going to make it through the semester.  The intensity of what I felt seemed to overtake and paralyze me in fear.  I was afraid to step out on faith.  My relationship and connection with God was off and I felt that I couldn't even muster up the strength to read my bible, talk to God, or pray for myself, let alone someone else.  

I just felt that I was in a hole that I wasn't ever going to come out of, but what is so powerful is that even through all of this, I recognize how God kept me through family, friends and most importantly the prayers of some awesome women who truly know God.  They lifted me up continuously.  I told God, "If helping others through counseling is truly part of my purpose, Lord I need you to pull me through to finish this program well."  I can not even begin to tell you how things turned around even further and deeper in a matter of three weeks.  

Sometimes we think the intensity of what and how we feel is misunderstood.  Those feelings are so powerful because they have significantly shaped who we are, and it is difficult to let go because our souls are tied to them.  The breaking off of these feelings and emotions feel as if someone is pulling you apart and you need to hold onto them as if they are the bones upholding your body.  What we won't realize until we let those things go, is that God is truly the one who keeps us together, if we would just let Him.  We have been letting the intensity of our feelings and emotions shape and form our identity.  For many, these feelings have become bigger than God to the point that we have forgotten who and who's we are.  It is time that we truly to submit ourselves unto Him so that our minds can be renewed.  

We definitely can't renew our minds alone.  We need prayer but also accountability, fellowship, counseling and many other things to help get us through.  Each of us are parts of one body, and that is Christ.

Many of us have been victims so long that we have difficulty praying and speaking over our own lives in the power and authority that Christ has given us.  God is a healer, provider, and the lover of our souls.  He is mighty, powerful, and so much more.  There is truly no one like Him.

-Francine Ott

       
     
Jessica Ray: No More Serpents

These movements are speaking to the past 6 months of my life. Sometimes there is just a lot of stuff we have to work through that we don't realize is holding us back. That stuff can be past hurt, un-forgiveness, guilt from bad choices, lies that we believe about ourselves, it can be an array of things. The video I created is about someone killing the serpent or conquering the lie they've been told.

Recently, I made some bad choices in relationships based on lies I believed about myself. Lies like: I wasn't worth anything. I thought that I was pretty much a disgusting human being, that I was a failure, I was stupid, and that I wasn't worth any persons love. When your head starts to fill with that kind of perspective, you don't make the best choices, and you chase after any spec of love or affection that drifts into view. Broken-ness un-examined and un-treated just leads to more broken-ness.

My point of view was radically shifted through attending a conference called She Is Free, put on by Liberty Church NYC, my home church.  The night the conference was over I knew there was a change coming, I felt it in my whole body, my spirit was crying out for freedom, and it was time that my soul and mind came into agreement and I changed some habits. 

The next few months were not easy, there were tears, hard nights, and pretty intense emotional outbursts. Still, through some amazing teaching, alone time with the Creator, and very strong friendships rooted in grace, care, love and good counsel, I was able to shift my mindset and conquer lies the enemy had made me believe for way too long.  I started to see myself the way that God saw me.

I can now stand firmly and say that I am a child of God, that is fearfully and wonderfully made. My purpose is relevant, and my success isn't measured by the standard the world has set. Just like all of God's children I deserve love and my worth is more precious than silver and gold. 

I would encourage you to love yourself, because you are loved beyond reason and beyond comprehension by our Creator.  God placed some amazing gifts in your hands and He's created you for a purpose, don't let the lies of the enemy distract or discourage you. Cut off the head of the serpent, he has no place in your garden.

-Jessica Ray