Whole-Hearted Pursuit

“Teach me Your way, O Lord, and I will walk in Your truth; give me an undivided heart, that I may fear Your name.  – Psalm 86:11
Even David, who was chosen and called by God to lead a nation, needed to ask anew for God to teach him His truth and to be given an undivided heart so that he might fear the Father’s name.  In doing so, he was keeping in perspective his place on the planet.  Though a great leader, it was only so because he was called and commissioned by the Creator.
Though I am not called to lead a nation, I am called to lead a family and to teach children.  I cannot do this as He is asking me to do if I am not learning, growing, and walking with Him in truth.  My heart must belong to God alone, if I am to walk as He calls me to do.  It is only in giving Him all of myself, that I am given all of Him to share with others – His love, His grace, His goodness, His encouragement.  Any good that is given by me, is a gift of a gracious God.  Any wisdom that I am able to impart, is granted only because He has graciously given to me.
Without forgiveness, focus, and fixed eyes, faith would not be found.  He alone grants all goodness as I fix my eyes, heart and mind on Him.  When I pursue my perfect Papa, all I need is graciously supplied.  

© Shannon Elizabeth Moreno and Revelations in Writing, May 2011 – present

Eyes on Eternity

“The Lord will rescue me from every evil attack and will bring me safely to His heavenly kingdom.  To Him be the glory for ever and ever. Amen.”  – 2 Timothy 4:18

 The apostle Paul, wrote these encouraging words to Timothy out of his own life experience.  Paul had been beaten, threatened, mocked and imprisoned, yet through his numerous trials, he never took his eyes off of eternity.  God rescued him repeatedly.  Paul’s faith was not based on his current circumstances, rather his eyes were on the prize of his heavenly home.

 I need to remember that God will always be near, even when His presence is difficult to recognize in the midst of the most challenging situations.  My eyes must be fixed on the eternal, rather than dwell on the temporary.  Hope is in heaven with Him, not for perfection on earth.  When my gaze is securely on God, trials are taken out of focus.  They don’t disappear, but they are not as significant as they might have seemed when I allow God to be the focal point.  He alone will rescue me.  He will protect me.  He will comfort me.  He will provide.

 Fortunately, I have much previous experience in seeing God’s grace, protection and provision both personally, and in the lives of others.  I know He will do what He says He will do.  Sadly, despite definitive head knowledge, it often takes multiple opportunities to experience His faithfulness before it actually makes it to the heart.  Despite my distractibility, He remains faithful.  He patiently waits for my gaze to be guided back to His.  Fear and frustration find me in the midst of the storm, but God already has His hold.  He promises that He will never let go.  My call is to trust His grip.  The same hands that formed the moon and the sun are certainly strong enough to hold my heart in times of trouble.

 My prayer is that I may fix my gaze securely on my Savior.  May I forever keep my eyes on eternity, regardless of the storm.

© Shannon Elizabeth Moreno and Revelations in Writing, May 2011 – present

Vacation Adventures – Day 3

Day three – it began

with the sun streaming in

quickly heating the tent

exhaustion did win.

I climbed out on the lawn

in search of fresh air

with sleep deprivation

I had not a care.

Found food for the boys

and some for myself

content were the fellas

and doing quite well.

Next a quick shower

to wake and revive

then off to the dock

to ski and survive.

Warm water like glass

invited me near

“Hit it” was shouted

then soaring – no fear.

I cut through the glass

to the left and the right

the length of the lake

held on with my might.

After my skiing

the water stayed still

then on to some tubing

so each gets their fill.

Alas, plans were thwarted

when the motor she clanked

jostled and jolted

spit oil, went blank.

Sad was the leaving

before we were done

back to Wenatchee

where our trip had begun.

This is not where it ends

there is more to be said

our return it granted

good food and a bed.

And better than that

a treat just for me

date night out – for our


Sometimes intentions

are not as we thought

plenty, His blessings

His love being taught.

© Shannon Elizabeth Moreno and Revelations in Writing, May 2011 – present

Vacation Adventures – Day 2

With the witnessed wedding behind us, and the open road ahead – all that was needed were some specific directions and a destination.  Super Spouse and I decided to take the trail to Moses Lake.  Neither of us have ever actually been there, so the decision to explore a new vacation location together sounded quite appealing to all.  Mom has Sundays off too, so we invited her to join us on our adventure for the day.  She followed us on the road with both boys as her companions.  Bonus for her to have company, and fabulous for us, so that we could actually talk and listen to music rather than be drowned out by a kid movie or the various grating sounds provided by electronic devices.
After a minor mishap with communication between getting gas and buying ice for the cooler – we were off!
The vast expanse of the Wenatchee Valley gave way to the fertile croplands of Quincy and beyond.  Minor musings ensued as we read the clearly posted signs, identifying which crops were growing in the fields of color as we passed.  Toe-tapping tunes serenaded us as we drove on.  Before long, we had made our various interchanges and had merged onto I-90.  About ten miles out, glimpses of what glimmered ahead of us appeared.  Soon we pulled into our camping destination and checked-in. 
First order of business on this hot and sunny day – drop the boat in the water to play!  As newly dubbed boat owners, Super Spouse and I have been fumbling our way through launching and loading our little boat.  Often it takes us several tries – which often include gracious gifts of grumbling…  This time however, SS backed that bad boy up on the first try, and we were in!  SS took the boat around to find the cove (where we could moore the boat rather than take it in and out every time!) and I was off to park the trailer and minivan.  Meanwhile, Mom entertained the cherubs with their picnic lunch on the lush green grass.
Once I had the van parked and the cooler unloaded, I wandered over to the cove.  Upon closer inspection, I recognized that actually finding the cove, was going to be a challenge.  I ran across the lawn between the cove and the launch, in hope of flagging down SS, to guide him between the two walls of long swamp grass that were hiding the cove entrance.  Sadly, just as I reached the edge of the launch area, I saw him go sailing past, heading toward the bridge.  Uh oh, this could either be amusing or agonizing.  Fortunately, the freedom to preview our surroundings and the cool breeze found in speeding across the surface, granted joy, rather than frustration.  SS spotted me as he rounded back, and navigated his way through the jungle-like brush to the cove.
Soon, the five of us were joyfully leaving the dock, with enthusiasm for the fun that was about to ensue.  SS, Mom and I hadn’t eaten, so we flew across the lake to a quiet corner, and shut off the engine to drift.  Both boys bounded onto the inner tube to float on their own little island as we ate.  After the food was quickly consumed, cautious child and I were first up.  We sped around the lake, soaring over the wake – to and fro, to and fro – smiles plastered on our faces as the cool water refreshed.  The waves grew and the fear increases as boy hands could no longer grip the tube handles.  Switch.  On to the next boy.  Adventurous soul and I soared over wake and bounced about with silly grins.  Until…  One big wave caused a face slam for adventurous, and he decided he had reached his limit.  Next up, Mom and me.  Together we leaned to sail across our wake and bounced around as the sun beat down.  We had quite a run, before determining that we were done.
We all drove together into town to explore and enjoyed one another’s company.  After identifying the highlights around the city, we made our way back to camp to set up.  By this time, Mom needed to head out, as she had to get home so she could prepare for work the next day.  Goodbyes were said, and she was off.
After a delightfully “nutritious” campfire meal, we made our way back to the cove to take the boat out for another run.  SS handed me the wheel and I took us on the grand tour at top speed.  Big man and Adventurous were being jostled about and Cautious and I giggled quietly with the throttle completely open.  We soared across the lake, over wake, under bridges, around giant clusters of sea grass, all the while two delighted cherubs waved wildly at each passing boat.  As we neared our cove entrance, the boat suddenly stalled.  I jokingly said that I must have worn it out, only to discover I had run us completely out of fuel…  Super Spouse kindly guided us to the nearby boat launch (for our campground), disembarked, and offered to hang out with the boat if I would go and replenish our fuel supply.  Sounded fair to me!  I took the empty tank and the two cherubs, wandered up the hill to our van, and we were off for the nearby station.  Fortunately, it only took a short while, and we had fuel reconnected to the fuel line so that Super Spouse could return the boat to the cove.  
Blessed by the fact that we had run out of fuel so near our destination, and grateful that it was an easy fix, we tied up for the night and made our way back to camp.  Smores and smiles, tunes and tent followed.  Delight in the blessings of the day, despite the vampire mosquitoes that had found my neck, we made our way to close the day and drift off to sleep.  Ahhh…  The sweet sound of semi-trucks on I-90…  Oh well, it is vacation.  Who needs sleep anyway?

Vacation Adventures – Day 1

Time to escape as a family – at long last! 
My Super Spouse works long hours into the wee suggestion of sun up, and then makes his way home to spend several more hours studying, before he is at last able to seek sleep.  This week, he has five glorious days off in a row, and we decided that a nice “old school” camping and boating vacation would be great for us and our two boys.
Day one, Saturday, I woke at 5:00am to pack and organize as much as I could before needing to wake my sleep-deprived spouse from his short slumber.  I tiptoed about the house, in hope of allowing all three guys the extra sleep, and managed to finish the dishes in the kitchen, pack the bags, and set out clothing to wear on the drive and the wedding appropriate garb to change into upon arrival at stop number one.  My goal to depart by 7am, quickly was adjusted to 8am, as Sleepy Spouse had much to do to prepare the boat for its pull over the mountains.
By about 8:05am, I began to feel a bit anxious, as a dear friend’s wedding was to start at noon, and the drive takes at least three hours.  The boys woke, Super Spouse had to make a store run, and I dashed from room to room to be certain that I had packed all that was needed, cleared a trail for our friend to take to feed the pups, and ironed male wedding wear.
Car loaded, children accounted for, doors locked, and we were off.  Quick stop to make at Ace, then we were off.  Okay, it was 8:47am and we were just making our way to the highway…  As the family’s designated driver I pushed my old minivan as hard as I could, considering the cargo space was laden with camping gear and the boat was in tow.  I was a driver with a purpose and there was going to be nothing to keep me from making it to that wedding by noon. 
We managed to plow through our entire journey without any stops, despite complaints of hunger pains and potential pit stop possibilities.  Mom’s house was reached at 11:20am, and her house is less than twenty minutes from the wedding location.  Okay, we are going to make it!  Ten minutes later, we were all changed, ironed, snacked and pottied, and on our way out the door.  With Map quest directions in hand, we were set.  Or so I thought…  There was a mix up between Main Street and the main street in town.  The actual Main Street was nowhere to be seen, and time was ticking.  Miraculously, I was able to reach my friend on her phone.  She said, “No worries, we haven’t started yet.”  Yes!!!  We were going to make it.  Ten more minutes of mistaken directions later, and I again looked at the printout.  Uh oh, how did I miss it?  We were to be in the next town over.  Ugh!!! By this time, the wedding was sure to begin, and we would simply miss it. 
I offered a hopeful prayer of “Oh Jesus, please help us to at least make it for some of the ceremony!”  When we finally found the correct road and followed the trail of balloons to reach our destination, we could see the bride and groom up front with the minister, with everyone sort of waiting.  I then realized that the sound of the nearby passing train was holding up their nuptials!  We arrived just as the train was nearly past, and were able to witness the ceremony in its entirety!   
Such a simply prayer, offered without actual expectations, and my loving Daddy delivered!  It was a treasure to witness my dear friend’s vows, and more importantly, to be able to be present to support her in this monumental occasion in her life.  Added to our timely arrival,  the patience of three saints in my guys, and my Mom’s ever-present smile, the makings of a fabulous first day of vacation began.

Waging War

The battle is raging
like never before
pockets of darkness
wreak havoc, cause war.
This fight is elusive
it’s not flesh and blood
emotional anguish
apathetic flood.
Wounded lie bleeding
ignored and alone
blind eyes can’t see them
past aches of their own.
Shrouded by sorrow
and hindered by fears
silenced by anger
kept quiet for years.
Arms reaching forward
extended in grace
lovingly waiting
ready to embrace.
It is we who must seek
if we hope to find
for heaven awaits
with our hearts in mind.
For with every step
our hearts will be healed
worn and the weary
hell’s sentence appealed.
Rise up oh warrior
and ready to fight
battle in power
the end is in sight.
Destruction is done
when placed on the throne
the only true King
His presence made known.
Removing our debts
and loving the lost
the battle is over
He paid at the cross.

A Review of New

This morning as I woke at 6:41, rather than 4:10, I was filled with an overwhelming sense of gratitude for all that I’ve been given.  One child to my right, gently velcroed to my side, and the other boy stealthily stepping off the end of the bed to go play with a newly acquired toy – the trophy for a triumphant report card.  The biggest boy, (aka spouse) sleeping soundly after a long night at work.  As I silently stepped out of the laundry room to feed our two sweet pups, I was gregariously greeted by puppy kisses and wildly wagging tails.
Making my way to the living room, I again saw one large and one less-large, sleeping guys.  Quiet humming greeted me as my stealth son was sprawled out on the couch, contentedly playing with his new purchase.  Sweet smiles were sent my way as he continued to explore his wonderful world of imagination.
Coffee in hand, I sit and reflect on the whirlwind of this past year.  It has been quite an adventure.  The best summary I can muster is it has been a year of being made new. 
It began with stepping into a new position in a new classroom with new kids.  Five new classes filled with moldable minds and hearts hoping to soar.  Though the learning curve was gigantic, God’s grace was greater.  Where my spirit had been nearly destroyed, it is now nearly rebuilt.  Daily, I was provided with reminders as to why I do what I do.  Fostering endurance and resolve in middle-schoolers is often a monumental task, yet when they embrace the understanding that hard work does pay off – the reward is remarkable for both student and steward.
My own children have stepped past the primary world of total reliance on parents, and have found a new sense of independence.  Where they previously needed verbal cues to move forward each step in preparing for the day, has become an independent routine that simplifies the entire start to the day for my sleep-deprived spouse.
As for me internally, my heart is being made new.  Places previously packed away, with the intent of never again reviewing the raw, are being pulled out of cowering corners.  Hidden hurts are being placed in His outstretched arms as He removes one brick at a time from my emotional fortress walls.  God’s grace is providing glimpses of what is yet to come, as I continue to allow Him access to make the paralyzed places new.  He provides where I lack, and orders opportunities for openness in safe settings. 
I know that there is much new yet to come.  I am a work in progress until the day I meet Him face to face.  I am so glad God is not finished with me yet…

Forever Faithful Father

Though this morning’s message was designed for and directed to the men – the words that were spoken went straight to my soul. 
The reminder that there seem to be stages as we walk out our own journey, pressed a finger on specific points lying buried in the cavern of my heart.  There have been promises spoken over my life.  Good words of great hope and encouragement.  Some of these promises I have seen come to pass, and I celebrate the blessings that their fulfillment has brought into my life.  There are other promises, one in particular, that I have been waiting on for years.  More than eight years of waiting, trusting, hoping, praying and fearing as to when it will come to pass.  I know that God is good.  I know His word is true.  I know that He will never leave me or forsake me.  Yet, here I am, still waiting…
To walk forward in faith requires much trust and personal sacrifice.  Each new day, I attempt to place one foot in front of the other in a forward direction, despite fear of failure or messing it up somehow.  Am I trusting Him completely?  Am I fixing my eyes on the dream, or on the Fulfiller of dreams? 
Sometimes, it is only on the dream.  It is in those moments that discouragement and disillusionment attempt to overtake the newly exposed pockets of vulnerability and openness; places in which I am asked to sacrifice my illusion of strength and allow Him to break my heart for what breaks His.  I am called to allow my own vulnerability to be visible so that He may mend the hurts that lie hidden deep within my heart.  When I permit these places again to be hidden, I am limiting God in how He can do what He needs to do to bring forth the promise spoken, to the present.
There are times, moments – when my eyes are fixed securely on Him.  It is in these moments that I am given glimpses of what will one day be.  A peek into the promise He whispered to my heart so long ago. 
God is not slow to answer – He is patient.  He is lovingly waiting for me to give Him permanent access to the places I keep trying to hide.  He is bringing healing and hope.  I am reluctant to release my shell of “safety” that protects my vulnerability from being viewed.  This natural need to escape emotion, rather than to risk running through it, is slowly being severed.  Even this morning, as I was seated and listening to the words being spoken, God was whispering the application points to me personally.  His gentle finger pointing precisely to the points of pain, and His hands extended, anticipating my obedience.  Internally, I was completely gutted.  Externally, the facade of “fine” found its place, again covering my countenance. 
The pockets of internal brokenness are creeping ever closer to escape.  As I extend my hands back toward His, I find His arms awaiting embrace.  Freedom to find my Father’s lap and bury my face in His chest – favor to fold in His strength as mine is completely undone.  These steps of surrender are propelling me ever closer to the promise.  Each step toward my loving Father, brings more previews to the promise fulfillment.  I am so grateful for His ongoing grace as I go.  To Him, and all those He has provided to be His hands and His heart as earthly fathers – Happy Father’s Day. 

Refuge or Ruin

Grace can be given

or goodness removed

love may be lavished

or minds made confused.

Fighting forgiven

and faith be restored

anger ignited

and treasures ignored.

Admonishing actions

displaying of grace

targeting terror

alone in the race.

Power in writing

strength in the spoken

the choice to build up

or ravish the broken.

The mighty force found

in word and in deed

harm to the hurting

or blessing finds need.

Dependent on grace

His love He’ll impart

empower me Lord

to offer Your heart.

Temple of Trust

Over the past many months, my world has been shaken by an epidemic of friends fighting cancer.  One friend in particular, has allowed me to travel this road beside her, gaining insight and understanding that was previously not even on my radar.

She is a courageous warrior, waging war on the unseen.  Though the impact of the disease can be felt, as bone pain imparts pandemonium on an active lifestyle, it is an invisible invader, fighting for control in God’s temple.  Her resolve to remain active and her unwavering faith, inspire me daily.  She loves to dance and she loves to hike.  Each week she faithfully attends dance, conquering the complaints called out by her core, as battling bones fight on.  As for hiking, her energetic enthusiasm to master the miles with a spring in her step – nothing short of inspiring!

Though her physical feats are fantastic, the thing that inspires and challenges me the most, is her unwavering faith.  She knows that though the cancer is attempting to cling to her core, the battle is not hers.  Her hands are held securely in His, as He lovingly leads her along this rocky road.  Despite the fear, she forges forward to trust.  As she attends appointments, her primary concern is not for her own outcome, rather she waits, listens and shares, as she recognizes the impact that her attitude may make in walking this particular path.  Her humor brings joy to potentially painful places, and her spirit soars in scenarios where most would sink.

This battle is not an easy one, but resolve to trust and run the race, provide promise for remarkable results in this life and beyond.

© Shannon Elizabeth Moreno and Revelations in Writing, May 2011 – present.