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For You shaped me, inside and out. You knitted me together in my mother’s womb before I took my first breath. – (Psalm 139:13, VOICE)

You formed the way I think and feel. You put me together in my mother’s womb. – (Psalm 139:13, ERV)

 

At the very beginning of our existence, there was God and our mother. No matter what the circumstance or situation, each one of our mothers chose to carry us to term, and God knit us together in the space of our mother’s womb. I know for some, there is sorrow connected to Mother’s Day, either for lack or loss or what should have been. For those who are mourning, I pray that He would hold your heart in His hands and remind You that He is with you in a tangible way. On the other side of motherhood, may those who have mothers who have been invested and available, find way to extend appreciation today and always. Additionally, each of us have been shaped to touch the lives of those around us. Whether we are mothers by blood or not, it takes little to see those around us who could use the love and encouragement that a maternal figure can offer. May we recognize the remarkable work that our Redeemer did, even before we drew our first breath, and let us also go forth and love well as He has called us to love.

 

Shaped with a purpose,Made to Mother

Before our first breath;

It is no mistake,

We’ve life over death.

Each mother gave life,

Now we have a role;

To rise up in faith,

Let Christ make us whole.

For God is so good,

His heart of love finds;

Ways for us to give,

Grace and hope that binds.

May we choose to be,

Sister and mother;

One who loves as Christ,

Our heart to others.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You for the gift of mothers. Thank You for the mothers who love well, and show us what it is to love as You love us. Thank You that even the mothers who did not love well, chose to give life and allowed You to create the gift of the life that exists before us. Thank You that You comfort those who mourn, and that You can use any heart that is willing to speak life as a mother to those who are lacking. Forgive us for not fully appreciating the gift we have around us in the women You have placed in our lives to be motherly to us. Teach us to love and appreciate the gifts that You so generously give. Show us how to love those in need, as we are so lavishly loved by You. Thank You for the amazing gift of my own Momma. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we recognize the remarkable that You have done, and go forth in love as we are called. Amen.

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

God has brought me laughter, and everyone who hears about this will laugh with me. – Genesis 21:6

Teach me to do Your will, for You are my God. May Your gracious Spirit lead me forward on firm footing. – (Psalm 143:10, NLT)

Show me what You want me to do. You are my God. Let Your good Spirit lead me over level ground. – (Psalm 143:10, ERV)

 

We had a wonderful ladies’ event on Wednesday evening at my church. It was a time of being together, connecting, worship, followed by one woman sharing what God has been teaching her. The message was all about “Saying Yes”. First, are we invested and plugged in so that we hear what God is calling us to do, and where He is calling us to go? As we hear Him, are we willing to say yes? In reality, God instructs us; always. It is only a matter of whether or not we are listening to hear, and willing to say yes. If we ask, He is faithful to answer, though not necessarily in the way in which we might have imagined. We have to be willing and ready to say yes regardless of what His instructions look like, and trust that His way is best and His plans are good. Personally, each time that I have said yes, even when it did not make sense, I have found that the direction forward led me to beautiful unexpected places that I would have never gone, if I had not been willing to obey. May we learn to say yes to God and do His will, as He is ever leading us forward on a firm foundation in Him.

 

 

Julie saying yes

The lovely and faithful Julie McKenzie sharing about #sayingyes. ❤

Oh Lord teach us how, 

To listen and hear;

So we will choose seek,

With our hearts, draw near.

Show us what You want,

Where we’re meant to go;

Make the pathway plain,

As Your way is shown.

Dear Jesus, help me,

Find strength to say yes;

No matter the call,

For Your way is best.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that when we seek You, You teach us to do Your will. Thank You that You are ever speaking Your instruction and leading us in the direction that You intend for us to go. Forgive us for not seeking or for not obeying, as we so often get in our own way. Teach us to trust You more, so that we would be willing to say yes to all that You ask of us, as Your ways are higher than ours, and the beauty that comes from obeying You far outweighs the discomfort we may go through to take those first steps. Show us how to say yes to loving those around us as You are calling us to love. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we seek You to lead us forward on firm footing, and rise up ready to say yes to all that You ask. Amen.

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

Let love and faithfulness never leave you; …write them on the tablet of your heart. – Proverbs 3:3

Let love and faithfulness never leave you; bind them around your neck, write them on the tablet of your heart. Then you will win favor and a good name in the sight of God and man. – (Proverbs 3:3-4, NIV)

 

Though God’s word has been carved in the corners of my heart, this is the time of year that love threatens to leave me and my faithfulness falters when facing the ongoing adversity of the end of the year. There are days that school feels more like a combat zone than a place of teaching and learning, and I question my calling to this career. I manage, by the grace of God, to keep my responses calm, but internally, that which is bound around my neck and nearly choking me, is not necessarily the most loving. This week, I was granted favor that was not deserved on two occasions that made all of the difference in the moments in which they occurred. Part of my investment in such early rising, is to prepare my heart and mind for whatever may come my way each day. Without time to quietly reflect on the goodness of God, His love and faithfulness would likely feel out of reach for me. I need reminders often for things to resonate and remain at rest within me. God is good, even when our circumstances are frustrating or trying, and He loves us more than we can fathom. May we let His love and faithfulness be what we display, and allow His truth to take hold of our hearts; for favor and a good name in the sight of God and man come through walking in His ways.

 

Let God’s faithfulness,Delivering Dreams

And love remain near;

Write truth on our hearts,

So His way is clear.

As we choose follow,

Walk right and obey;

We gain the favor,

Of those on our way.

To have a good name,

Before God and man;

What faithful love does,

It’s part of God’s plan.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that Your love and faithfulness never leave us, and that as we bind them around our neck and write them upon our heart, You use them to grant us favor and a good name in Your sight and the sight of others. Forgive us for allowing our circumstances to hijack our emotions, rather than running to You for strength and help and hope when the burden is too heavy to bear. Teach us how to seek You in all situations, so that love and faithfulness never leave us. Show us how to love those around us as we are loved by You. May many come into a lasting relationship with You, Lord. Be glorified O God, as we bind Your love and faithfulness around our necks and write them on the tablets of our hearts. Amen.

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

Let the heavens rejoice, let the earth be glad. – 1 Chronicles 16:31

In Luke 7:36-50, the story of Jesus being anointed by the sinful woman is unpacked. I love the scene that my mind’s eye imagines, as the Pharisee, who has invited Jesus to dinner, likely to show Him how “great” he was, was quite put out when this immoral woman showed up and began hanging out at the feet of Jesus. It even went so far as to record what Simon (the Pharisee) said to himself, “If this Man were a prophet, He would know what kind of woman is touching Him. She’s a sinner!” (Luke 7:39, NLT)

The sinful woman was fully aware of her sin. She was repentant as she knelt at the feet of Jesus and washed them with her tears and dried them with her hair. Additionally, she anointed his feet with perfume and continued to cover them with kisses.

Simon just did not get it. Jesus wanted to be sure that he did. He stopped Simon in his tracks, and told him a story of two men being forgiven their debts. One was forgiven a small debt, the other, a much larger debt. When Jesus asked Simon which man would love more, Simon was able to reply, “The one who had been forgiven more.”

It does not appear that Simon had some sort of great revelation for himself and his own need for forgiveness, but at least it seems he gained a glimpse of why the woman’s weeping and washing of Jesus’ feet with her hair was an act of worship.

This story has many points, but the two that stand out the most are that we need to recognize our own necessity to repent, and that it is not our position to determine a person’s heart when they come before the Lord. We all have a past, and those who have been forgiven much, love much. May we ever seek the Lord and His forgiveness, so that we may go forth and love as He loves.

 

There’s no “good enough”,

caught-in-awe-sylvia-carlton

Artwork by Sylvia Carlton

Nor penance required;

Instead, we can come,

Presence is desired.

Jesus says draw near,

Despite where we’ve been;

He longs to forgive,

Wash away our sin.

As we choose take pause,

Truly recognize;

His mercy granted,

Great love realized.

As we’re forgiven,

Let us likewise love;

So others too know,

Hope in Christ above.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You show us such beautiful examples of forgiveness and gratitude for Your mercy and grace. Thank You that You call us to be gracious and merciful as You are full of mercy and grace toward us all. Forgive us for the times that we either viewed others as less than, or ourselves as more than we should. Teach us to see ourselves and others through Your lens – as loved and in need of a Savior. Help us to love well, all those around us, so that they may see Your heart through our mercy and grace. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we love without limits, and forgive as we have been forgiven. Amen.

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

The fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control. – Galatians 5:22-23

For that is what God is like. He is our God forever and ever, and He will guide us until we die. – (Psalm 48:14, NLT)

This God is our God forever and ever. He will lead us from now to the end of time! – (Psalm 48:14, ERV)

 

One of the attributes of God that I appreciate most is His faithfulness. Because He is faithful, He will never leave us nor forsake us, and His promises remain true for all time. When we make the choice to invite God to be the Lord of our lives, He comes close and dwells within us. As we seek Him for answers, He shows us the ways in which we are meant to go. His leading lasts forever, if we are only willing to listen. May we ever look to the Lord and His faithfulness, trusting Him to lead us from now until our days are done.

 

Faithfulness of God,Lead for Life

It knows not an end;

For He’s forever,

Our hope, guide and friend.

He’s promised to lead,

To the end of time;

Always He’s present,

With our best in mind.

So trust in the Lord,

Seek always, His face;

To find direction,

Love, mercy and grace.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You are our God forever and ever. Thank You that You will lead us from now until the end of time. Thank You that we can trust in Your faithfulness, for it endures forever. Forgive us for our lack of faith and trust when trials come. Teach us to trust You more, so that we would seek and heed Your guidance all of our days, as Your ways are higher than ours. Show us how to love those around us in tangible and observable ways. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we listen to Your leading all of our lives long. Amen.

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

Because of the tender mercy of our God, …the rising sun will come to us from heaven. – Luke 1:78

No power in the sky above or in the earth below – indeed nothing in all creation will ever be able to separate us from the love of God that is revealed in Christ Jesus our Lord. – (Romans 8:39, NLT)

I am sure that nothing now, nothing in the future, no powers, nothing above us or nothing below us – nothing in the whole created world – will ever be able to separate us from the love God has shown us in Christ Jesus our Lord. – (Romans 8:39, ERV)

 

By the end of the evening yesterday, I was seriously grumpy. Fortunately, no one was home, nor near me, to need deal with my less-than-stellar state of mind. Perhaps the weight of the weekend had caught up to me and I was just really exhausted. Whatever the case, God’s love for me did not waver based on my foul mood. In fact, He utilized people to encourage and bless me in spite of myself. Two different people sent messages to me that were uplifting and kind, reminding me that His love is not dependent on the condition of my countenance. There is nothing that can separate us from His love for us. No matter where we go or what we do, He still loves. God’s love is not reliant on us doing or being enough, but rather it is something He does freely and fiercely because we are His children. Nothing in us or around us can stand in the way of Christ having loved us with His life. It is that love that overcomes all that cannot be hidden, harmed, nor removed, no matter what comes. May we each embrace the gracious gift of love that God gives, knowing that there is nothing in all of creation that will ever be able to separate us from His love for us.

 

Wherever we go,Enter With Thanksgiving

Whatever we do;

The love of the Lord,

Is present and true.

There’s nothing on earth,

Above nor below;

That can take away,

Or make His love go.

I am certain now,

Of this truth I claim;

None can separate,

From love in His Name.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You for Your good and gracious love. Thank You that there is nothing in all of creation that can separate us from Your love. Thank You that You love relentlessly so that we may know the peace of Your perfect love. Forgive us for not seeking You in our struggles or somehow thinking that Your love cannot reach us in our space of uncertainty. Teach us to trust You more, so that we would seek You in all things and at all times. Show us how to love those around us as we are loved by You, so that they too, may come to know the goodness of Your grace. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we receive Your relentless love, and go forth and love likewise. Amen.

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

May God be gracious to us and bless us and make His face shine upon us. – Psalm 67:1

Be wise in the way you act with those who are not believers. Use your time in the best way you can. When you talk, you should always be kind and wise. Then you will be able to answer everyone in the way you should. – (Colossians 4:5-6, ERV)

Live wisely among those who are not believers, and make the most of every opportunity. Let your conversations be gracious and attractive so that you will have the right response for everyone. – (Colossians 4:5-6, NLT)

 

The things that we say and do matter. In some circles, the only Jesus people have ever seen is that which we display through our words and deeds. If we show love and kindness and wisdom with our words and actions, the grace of God within us will draw others unto Himself. This is not something that just flows out of us at will, but rather is a capacity within us that is nurtured and grown as we seek and spend time with our Savior. The more we know Him, the more we reflect His heart through our words and way of being. May we ever seek the Lord and His grace, so that our lives are a clear reflection of His goodness and grace as we respond according to the Lord’s leading.

 

Be wise with actions,choose-love1

Wherever you go;

For our words and deeds,

Are how God’s made known.

Help every word,

Be gracious and kind;

So we always speak,

With Your heart in mind.

If we seek the Lord,

For wisdom and grace;

He’ll help us respond,

And walk in His ways.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You will give us wisdom to act according to Your will and use our time wisely, if we seek You for help. Thank You that You do the same for how we speak with others, as You grant us Your grace to extend kindness and wisdom in how we answer everyone. Forgive us for acting according to our own will, rather than Yours, or for attempting to be kind without seeking You and Your grace. Teach us to trust You more, as You are our Source and Supply in all things. Show us how to love with kindness, wisdom and grace, so that people see You through how we love. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we seek Your wisdom to act according to Your will wherever we go. Amen.

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

Shout aloud and sing for joy. – Isaiah 12:6

Always be full of joy. Never stop praying. Whatever happens, always be thankful. This is how God wants you to live in Christ Jesus. – (1 Thessalonians 5:16-18, ERV)

Always be joyful. Never stop praying. Be thankful in all circumstances, for this is God’s will for you who belong to Christ Jesus. – (1 Thessalonians 5:16-18, NLT)

 

My heart is full, and there is joy despite the sorrow of loss. After hearing more stories of the incredible life that my Gram led, I am even more convinced than I was before that she did exactly what we are called to do in the verses above. Her heart was lined with joy that poured out to all who had the blessing to be near. Gram prayed unwaveringly for each of us, and the words that left her lips were laced with gratitude. Even in the final few months of her life, when she was ill and in agony, she found joy in the nearness of family and friends, and would still love and live and laugh in spite of the pain. Though I will miss her terribly, the lilt of her laughter, the warmth of her smile, the kindness of her encouraging words – the essence of who she was in Christ, will forever live in my heart and mind until we again embrace in eternity. Her example is one that continues to challenge me to seek the Lord in all things. In all circumstances, I can find His joy and express gratitude for who He is, simply because I am loved well. May we never stop praying, as it is in our space of communing with Christ that we find joy and gratitude rises up within us.

 

Such fullness of joy,Always

Shall rise and find way;

When we seek the Lord,

In all things, choose pray.

No matter what comes,

Let thanks leave our lips;

For God who is love,

He strengthens, equips.

To pray and be full,

Of thanks and His joy;

God’s own will for us,

Through grace He’ll employ.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that when we seek You and pray to You, we always have reason to be thankful and full of joy. Thank You that this is Your will for us, as You have designed us to have Your joy dwelling within us all of our days. Forgive us for allowing our circumstances to steal our joy or to keep us from giving thanks for the good that exists in spite of the difficult. Teach us to trust You more, so that we would never stop praying and praising You. Thank You for the incredible example of my Grandmother, who prayed without ceasing and was overflowing with thankfulness and joy. Show us how to love others in a way that demonstrates our gratitude and allows the joy that You give to overflow and bless every life we are near. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we are filled with Your joy, pray always, and give thanks in all things. Amen.

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

The Lord is gracious and compassionate, slow to anger and rich in love. – Psalm 145:8

How does one adequately express the essence of a ninety-eight year life lived well? I thought about speaking of my Gram’s faithfulness to God, her unwavering love for her family, friends and church, or perhaps the way that she utilized the gifts that God gave her of music and writing and art to touch the hearts of those around her for Him. For a few weeks I allowed my thoughts to simply settle, and just waited for words to come. As I was driving home from work a few weeks ago, and the lines I knew I was to record and share began playing over and over in my mind, I discovered that my portion to share was not about what Gram had done, but rather where her faith and hope had taken her. Those who knew Rosemary Elizabeth Steiner, knew that she was certain of her eternity. Her hope was not in earthly treasures, but rather in her heavenly home. Gram reminded us always that we were precious in her sight, just as we are in Christ’s. May we all rejoice in the hope of our eternity, and celebrate her incredible homecoming together.

 

Precious OnesWith Gram2

Weep not precious ones,

For I am now home;

The view before me,

Is like none I’ve known.

I walk on gold streets,

With angels, I sing;

Each breath full of life,Praise in Mourning

Love’s sweet offerings.

And O when my eyes,

At last saw His face;

So tender and kind,

His welcome embrace.

Gentle were His words,

As He said to me,

“Well done, precious child!”

I fell to my knees…

Though strong were His hands,Strength in the Sorrow

My Savior knelt down;

He placed on my head,

My very own crown.

I could not contain,

The tears in my eyes;

As loved ones appeared,

This hope – realized.

Oh sweet beloveds,

Do not weep for me;

It’s but a moment,

To your setting free.

©Shannon E. Moreno 2017

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You for the incredible gift of my Gram that I have known for my entire life. Thank You that my children have had the privilege and the pleasure of knowing her too. Thank You for the example and blessing that Rosemary Elizabeth Steiner has been to so many. Forgive us for not recognizing nor appreciating the treasures we have in those around us nearly enough. Teach us to honor and give thanks for all those whom You have placed in our lives. Show us how to love well, just as she loved like You. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we celebrate the blessed homecoming of those who faithfully follow You. Amen.

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

Show me Your ways, O Lord, teach me Your paths; …my hope is in You all day long. – Psalm 25:4-5

Don’t worry about anything; instead, pray about everything. Tell God what you need, and thank Him for all He has done. Then you will experience God’s peace, which exceeds anything we can understand. His peace will guard your hearts and minds as you live in Christ Jesus. – (Philippians 4:6-7, NLT)

Don’t worry about anything, but pray and ask God for everything you need, always giving thanks for what you have. And because you belong to Christ Jesus, God’s peace will stand guard over all your thoughts and feelings. His peace can do this far better than our human minds. – (Philippians 4:6-7, ERV)

 

Always the truth of His word is timely. I love that He cares for us individually and so personally. Tomorrow is the day of my grandmother’s memorial. Though I am not a fan of public speaking, I agreed to share. What’s more, is I don’t read my poetry aloud. It is such a space of baring my soul, that it is too vulnerable and raw for this girl who so seldom sheds tears. That being said, a few weeks ago, on my way home from work, the first four lines of a poem were forming in my mind in memory of my Gram. I knew that they were meant to be written down and shared, so when asked, I agreed to speak, despite my disdain for standing in front of folks. The four lines became twenty-eight, and contain words I know that I am meant to share. I have been worried about not being able to get through the reading, as a lump forms in my throat when I barely whisper the words out loud on my own. Yet here I sit, this morning, and am reminded again, that I am not to worry, but rather I am to pray and tell God what I need and thank Him for all that He has done. As I began to do just that, I was reminded of His faithfulness the last time I had to speak at a memorial for my dear friend who had passed. His peace was present in a way that guarded my heart and mind, and I was able to speak when I feared I would be unable to say a word. May we ever give our worries to the One who is able to grant us peace, let Him know what we need, and thank Him for all that He has done.

 

Let not our worries,

Hold Hope He is Faithful

Come stand in the way;

Instead, seek the Lord,

In all things, choose pray.

Tell God what’s needed,

Thank Him for what’s done;

Our faithful Father,

Holy, gracious One.

His peace will meet us,

Guarding heart and mind;

Calm out of chaos,

This love we shall find.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You don’t want us to worry, but rather You are ready and willing for us to bring our burdens and concerns to You. Thank You that we can tell You what we need and thank You for what You have done, and as we do, we experience Your peace that guards our hearts and minds. Thank You that we are Yours. Forgive us for allowing ourselves to get worked up and worried over things rather than bringing them before You. Teach us to trust You more, so that we would be in constant communication with You, allowing Your peace, comfort and clarity to come, rather than our anxiousness. Show us how to love those around us in a way that offers peace and comfort in places of worry, so that they can see Your peace through us. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we pray and give our worries to You, and thank You for all that You have done. Amen.

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

Answer me, O Lord, out of the goodness of Your love; in Your great mercy turn to me. – Psalm 69:16

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