Archive for October, 2011


In some cultures, this is the Day of the Dead – a time to remember and honor loved ones lost.   As dear friends and I gathered last eve, and the kids excitedly raced around in their alter-ego attire, we sat together and began to take time to remember the lives of those we had lost, and how the loss had impacted our life.  Though each story told a tale of sorrow and heartache, each heart that shared was able to recognize God’s faithfulness that was present both then and now. 

Time escaped us, and I had not shared.  I knew exactly which loss to speak of, yet I felt fearful, as I did not want to display the shadows of my own grief.  Though time did not allow for a whole group share, two dear ones convinced me to take a moment to share my story with them.  I gave a very clinical and abbreviated version, and felt myself completely detached from all emotional ties to that time.  I spoke of my first real experience with loss.  As I spoke, His spirit began to illuminate the identifiable impact that came from that season in my life. 

I was a sophomore in high school and at the beginning of my first high school gymnastics season.  As I rose on a rainy Sunday morning, my mom met me with tears silently streaming down her cheeks.  She went on to share with me that my cousin, whom I had loved and admired much like a big brother, had died in a motorcycle accident.  He was a freshman in college and had gone for a drive to buy a loaf of bread.  My mind could not lay hold of it all.  The next day I went to school in a sort of numb haziness.  My mom must have called the counselor, because she called me down to check on me.  Much like how I shared last evening, I reported an emotionless version of the facts to be found.  She asked if I was okay and I simply and silently nodded “yes”.  As I went about my week, I slowly and willfully began to write.  Ultimately, I ended up with a poem that held all of the emotion that had yet to escape.  As I gave my writing to my aunt, my cousin’s mom, and she began to weep as she read, the dam that had been so securely shored up in my soul, broke.  I wept.  I wept with my aunt in her sorrowful space.  I wept openly at the memorial as sweet souls spoke of Eric’s life.  At the graveside, the tears continued to tumble down my cheeks as my rock of a cousin was no more.

That was the last time that I really remember openly weeping.  I have since lost both of my beloved grandfathers, yet tears were sparse.  Part of me tried to turn off that day so many moons ago.  It is as if the gravity of the sorrow was so intense, that I never again wanted to feel such loss.  I used logic to talk myself out of grief.  My grandfathers were old and had lived long and full lives.  Yes, I would miss them, but they were now in a better place, so I had no reason to cry. 

What is the point I am attempting to make?  I am not sure.  I am in the midst of identifying the insight imparted, and now asking Him what I am supposed to do with it.  No, I don’t think that He is asking me to have a public meltdown, but I do think He is directing me to a place of emotional honesty.  He longs for me to trust Him enough to allow whatever emotion is before me to be expressed.  If I am sad, it is okay to share my sorrow with the Savior.  If I am angry, He is big enough to take it and walk me through it.  When I am overwhelmed with joy, then too, He wants me to fully embrace such emotion.  Though this is a scary space, He is bigger and will lovingly guide me along this leg of the journey.  Today, I choose to trust.  Tomorrow, I will have to choose to trust again.  Each new day will bring another opportunity to learn to trust Him more.  He is good and worthy of all of my trust – today and always.

 

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

Constant Companion

Jesus and the disciples were traveling across the sea and a sudden squall took them by surprise.  The sea began to swamp the boat, and the disciples were afraid.  Though He was sleeping, the disciples were terrified and went and woke Him.  “He got up, rebuked the wind and said to the waves, “Quiet!  Be still!”  Then the wind died down and it was completely calm. – Mark 4:39
 
Though Jesus was on the boat with the disciples in the midst of a squall, they became afraid as the outlook seemed destined for destruction.  So often, I am in a similar space.  I know that Jesus is with me, yet I become fearful as I see the wind and the waves whipping about my boat.  Also, similar to the disciples, I do know where to go for peace in the middle of a storm.  The disciples went and woke He who could calm the chaos, and in a few boldly spoken words by God’s beloved Son, the squall became silent, and all was still.
 
When my lifeboat is becoming swamped by the storms that life supplies, He is the only Source that is able to successfully sustain and somehow supply peace, despite how dismal my circumstances seem.  My Savior speaks to the space in my soul that is in utter chaos, and begins to silence the storm.  I find what must become still is my own heart, rather than my surrounding situation.  When my soul is made still and calm comes, my spirit is able to sense the still small voice, that though only a whisper, speaks volumes.  As peace comes on the inside, the overwhelming nature of the external, lessens.  The storm may still rage, but it becomes clear that my Savior is with me, and I am able to trust that He has the oars.
 
He may not silence my surroundings when I think He ought to, but if my soul is made still, the hope on the horizon comes into view.  He is good and He will never leave me nor forsake me – even in the eye of the storm.  His presence is the only hope that holds my heart. 
 
I am so grateful that His presence is not determined by our circumstance.  He is always present, I am simply not always aware.  My prayer is that He would strengthen my sight so that I might always be aware of His constant companionship – be it in chaos or calm.
 

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

Jesus modeled what an intentional relationship with the Father ought to look like.  He sought refuge in quiet places so that His entire being could be focused on the Father.  Mark 1:35 – “Very early in the morning, while it was still dark, Jesus got up, left the house and went off to a solitary place, where He prayed.”  If Jesus, God’s own son, sought space to spend time with Him, how much more should I?
 
I find that my faith is most firm when I begin my day in His word, and am intentional about being aware of His presence.  For my ears and heart to be open, my body and mind must be still.  The interruptions that come outside of a solitary space, divide my attention and rob me of the full opportunity to hear His heart.   For me, in order to have a silent space, I must rise long before my boys, or my time and attention will be divided.  Yes, God still speaks, even in the midst of chaos, but for me, I am best able to hear His heart for me in still silence.  As I hear His heart, I am strengthened and supplied with what is needed to sustain my soul as I go about my day. 
 
His word breathes life, when I am willing to make time to read it.  Patience soon is present and compassion comes.  I am my best self when my security is solidified in my Savior.
 
Though my morning was not an early one, and silence was hard to come by, my faithful Father still found way to remind me of what matters most.  He is my safety and security, and the very reason my heart beats.  He is not conditional in His communication, and will meet me wherever I am at, as I direct my gaze to Him.  I am so grateful that He is present; whether in the midst of calm or chaos – leading, guiding and loving all the while. 
 

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

Settling Souls

God wants the very best for us.  He does not settle for anything less.  Why should I?  I have settled for “good enough” and “it’ll do”, when really it is not, and it certainly will not do.  Somehow, the injury inside the depths of my heart that has most recently been discovered, was not the result of my settling, rather the wound has been the result of my feeling settled for.  My own sense of “not good enough” seemed to have been written on the hearts of those that I loved and respected, resulting in several significant souls seeming to opt to settle for my presence until someone or something far better came along.  The depth of the damage seems to have sunk beyond where I can even seem to fathom.  This ache screams of rejection and running.  The result, seeing myself as settled for, only to be left alone when someone better comes along.
 
Thankfully, this is not what God sees.  He who freely chose to give His very life for me, has never settled.  Christ walked the longest road, and endured the ravaging ruin created by all, so that I might have abundant life in Him.  His love is not fickle and He will not leave.  The Savior’s love is steadfast and secure, not swayed by anything that I’ve done, or not done.  He has always had a plan and a purpose for my life.  Among them, to be His child in whom He finds delight.  This very love can cover infinite injuries and restore the most ruined of wreckage.  His heart is to heal and love, so that we might love others well.  In fact, it seems to be from that very space of heartache, He grows the most remarkable of relationships.  Our experiences turn into testimonies of His unflappable faithfulness. 
 
He does not settle for us, rather He sweetly settles our very souls as He again chooses to love us, even in our most unlovable moments.  “He makes me lie down in green pastures, He leads me beside quiet waters, He restores my soul.” – Psalm 23:2
 
Peace that passes all understanding is what He brings, even in the eye of the storm.   Today I marvel as I am changed and I am loved, for He alone settles my soul. 
 

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

Acts 26 tells some of the story of when Paul was to appear before King Agrippa to defend himself before his accusers.  “But I have had God’s help to this very day, and so I stand here and testify to small and great alike.  I am saying nothing beyond what the prophets and Moses said would happen.” – Acts 26:22 

What stands out to me the most about Paul’s words spoken before the king, is that first and foremost, he acknowledged his source of all.  His strength, his courage, his endurance, his wisdom, and his ability to boldly speak truth – all supplied by the Savior.  This comes as both an example and a model of great faith.

In all things and at all times, I need to not only recognize, but also acknowledge the truth that every good and perfect gift comes from God.  For without Him, I have nothing.  In Him, I can do all things according to His purpose, as He calls me.  Where I lack in courage, He will supply safety, where I am weak, He will not waiver.  Where I lack knowledge, He knows all things.  He is.  I am not.  In Him, I am abundantly able to do all that He asks.  I must surrender my “stuff” that gets in the way, and trust that He can, where I cannot.

My prayer today is that He would grow me in the courage, wisdom, and strength necessary to answer each call that He places on my heart.  He does not call me to anything for which He will not faithfully prepare and equip me.  He is good and He is love.  Today, I will make a conscious effort to give credit where credit is due.  All glory and honor to Him.  Amen.

 

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

Giving Grace

As the apostle Paul was being led into the barracks by the Roman soldiers to escape an angry mob asking for his arrest, he likely took his captors by surprise when he wanted to address the crowd.  In Acts 21:39, (in reply to the soldiers) Paul answered, “I am a Jew from Tarsus in Cilicia, a citizen of no ordinary city.  Please let me speak to the people.”

Paul, despite having been beaten, shackled in chains, and having been chased by an angry mob to the point that he had to be carried away by the soldiers so that the crowd would not kill him, he still wanted to speak.  He wanted to tell of truth before them, so that all who could hear might have the opportunity to believe.  Because Paul had been forgiven much, (he had been just as those in the crowd before his encounter with Christ), he wanted to extend the same grace that had been granted to him, to the angry people in need.

He was a man living an example of how to bless those who persecute you.  He knew God’s grace, and was willing to extend it to all, regardless of how he had been treated.  In fact, he regarded his own life as nothing and was willing to lay it down for his faith.  He had tremendous trust which translated to phenomenal faith in the Father, to boldly speak and act as he was called to do, despite the fire in front of him.

My faith is not that remarkable.  It is a good day if I pray for those who persecute me, rather than think unkind thoughts back toward them.  God is so kind and full of grace toward me.  My heart’s desire is that I might extend that very same kindness and grace toward ALL – not just to those who are kind to me, but even to individuals that attack my character or say things that cause great sorrow to my soul.  He does not limit His grace to me, nor should I to another.  Grudges must go if we are to grow.  May this day be abundant in grace that is both extended to us, and by us.  Amen.

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

Faithful Flow

The ebb and flow of life’s circumstance tend to challenge one’s security in the Savior.  Questions about how things could happen if God really loved, attempt to mingle in the mind.  Each time such thoughts try to enter, I have a choice – Will I believe the lie and think that I am the exception to His loving kindness, or do I recognize that even Job, one of God’s most faithful of followers, endured many rounds in the ring, requiring him to trust big despite the bleak outlook before him? 

So often the trials are the times that I feel closest to Christ.  When nothing makes sense and my security is shaken, the arms of my Savior is the only space that seems safe.  He is near, even if we are unaware.  If He has been invited, He will not leave us, even if we are unable to feel His presence.  Regardless of my circumstance, I am to be intentional to seek refuge in the shadow of His wings.  He sees and knows, He loves and grows, so that I may become a clearer reflection of Him. 

I am surrounded by both ends of the spectrum.  Some who are near and dear to me, are in the midst of an overwhelming mess.  Fears of losing homes, jobs, and loved ones – their need is ever near.  Yet others in my circle seem in the midst of a season of blessing.  New homes, new jobs, new life.  Their season, though no longer seen, has shifted from sorrow to joy.  Their leg of the journey has found footing and God’s faithfulness is in the forefront of their minds.  God never ceases to amaze me, regardless of the season I find myself in.  He uses both the blessings and the burdens to strengthen our character and grow our faith. 

My takeaway today is to look for His faithfulness in all things.  Hindsight shows me my Savior’s presence, even on the darkest of days.  Foresight may see the same, if my outlook is through the lens of my loving Lord.  It is only as I seek Him, regardless of my circumstance, that His strength may be seen and His faithfulness found.

 

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

Overseeing Offspring

“Keep watch over yourselves and all of the flock of which the Holy Spirit has made you overseers.  Be shepherds of the church of God, which He bought with His own blood.” – Acts 20:28  In order to keep watch over anything, I must be intentional and aware of my surroundings.  If I subject myself to things that are not beneficial, or allow myself to become overly busy, I am likely to become exhausted and unaware of what matters most.  The more I become distracted, the easier it becomes for garbage to gain ground. 
 
Not only am I given charge to beware for myself, but also for my children.  My boys are gifts from God, the flock over whom I am given charge,  and who I am called to raise well.  I find that instilling a strong set of Godly morals comes somewhat naturally, yet when it comes to instructing each child to a deep and meaningful relationship with God, I am in dire need of direction.  Though I rise every morning and am purposeful to spend time with Him, I do not model my intentional choice while my boys are awake.  They are likely unaware of this part of my relationship with the Redeemer, therefore less likely to develop a similar practice to become aware of His presence.  
 
How do I lead and keep watch over my children well, and best instruct them in the way that they are to go?  In order to do as He intends, I need God’s wisdom and His counsel.  If I lean on my own understanding, I will fall short and fail every time.  My understanding is limited, His is not.  He knit them together in my womb, and knows what each of their heart’s need most.  His loving kindness will direct my days if I submit each one to Him and am willing to listen to what He longs to speak to my heart for my children.  Each boy is wired in a unique way, so each has an individual need to make their relationship really their own. 
 
Each of our sons has a name that was deliberately chosen for them.  Adventurous has a name that means “bearer of light”.  Naturally, he has a gift to bring joy and laughter wherever he goes.  He loves an audience, and is a loving light to all who come near him.  How am I to encourage that light to shine all the brighter for our Savior? 
 
My other son, Cautious, has a name that means “Godly warrior”.  He too seems to be appropriately named, as he is honest to a fault and will fight for what is right every time.  He is quick to confess his “crimes”, and is eager to choose wisely.  The encouragement that comes from his mouth to others, combats discouragement and sorrow.  His tender heart must be protected and propelled to continue in the way in which he is to go.
 
It is my prayer that I might lead them as they are to go, so that even at their tender age of nine, they might move mountains on His behalf.
 

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

Where Deity Dwells

In response to Acts 17:24 – “The God who made the world and everything in it
is the Lord of heaven and earth and does not live in temples built by hands.”
 
 
He who made the land and sky
dwells not in man-made things
for in each heart that calls on Him
His truth and life He brings.
Hearts that have become His home
each empowered by His love
to be His heart, His hands and feet
for He is quite enough.
Yet as we come together
united, common cause
encourage one another well
not pointing out the flaws.
For when at last we see Him
in His glory and His grace
I want His words to be the ones
“well done, you’ve won this race”.
When at last I see His eyes
and may run to His embrace
I hope to be a reflection
and mirror back His grace.
Each day I wake has purpose
determined before my birth
to live and love and honor Him
assured of my great worth.
A worth that is eternal
because He resides in me
I cannot make it more or less
Lord, open eyes to see.

 

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

The Rain of Radiance

As I drove around town running errands this morning, I was again blessed by the beautiful colors that accompanied the fall rain.  In the midst of ugly weather, comes beauty in the trees.  The kaleidoscope of glorious golds, radiant reds and overwhelming oranges that surrounded me were a sort of reward for braving the gloomy grey.  Without the rain and changing weather, the leaves would not know how to turn and tell their tale of the switching seasons. 
 
For me, this is a reminder that with the challenges and struggles that I face, opportunity will arise for beauty to be held, as I am willing to turn to my Beloved for strength.  He is faithful to sustain, and lovingly leads me in the way that I am to go, if I direct my gaze to God.  His provision of strength and courage come as I extend my heart and mind to Him.  The beautiful and wonderful seem to be the end result of even the gloomiest of seasons.  Without winter, there would be nothing spectacular about spring.  It seems that we must endure hardship to truly appreciate the blessings.   
 
“He has made everything beautiful in its time.  He has also set eternity in the hearts of men; yet they cannot fathom what God has done from beginning to end.” – Ecclesiastes 3:11  As the rain makes the ground greener and the trees more colorful, God uses our trials and struggles to strengthen our hearts so that we might more clearly reflect the radiance of our Redeemer.  In doing this, He is bringing beauty out of the ashes of ache. 
 
I pray that my eyes may see and my heart might understand what He has done with each new day as it draws to a close.  I want to see all of the brilliance He has bestowed upon the broken, and the will provided to the weary.  God grant me Your eyes to see the remarkable through the rain. 
 

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

%d bloggers like this: