The Hope In So Much More

However, as it is written: “What no eye has seen, what no ear has heard, and what no human mind has conceived” – the things God has prepared for those who love Him. – (1 Corinthians 2:9, NIV)

But as the Scriptures say, “No one has ever seen, no one has ever heard, no one has ever imagined what God has prepared for those who love Him.” – (1 Corinthians 2:9, ERV)

But as the Scriptures say, No eye has ever seen and no ear has ever heard and it has never occurred to the human heart all the things God prepared for those who love Him. – (2 Corinthians 2:9, VOICE)

 

In the ebb and flow of life, it currently feels like a season of loss. Yesterday, I learned of the passing of one of my classmates from high school. We were friends on Facebook, and I was aware that she had some health challenges, but none so great that they would be life-ending. She leaves behind a husband and two children, and I am heartbroken for their loss. Additionally, I heard this past week, that the mother of a very dear lifelong friend had a massive stroke. The prognosis is grim, and my heart hurts for her kids, and her husband and best friend of more than fifty years. Two weeks ago, I attended the memorial for a wonderful lady from our church, who was about my age and lost her long battle with cancer. Her husband and four children, as well as her parents and siblings, are left with the ache of missing her. This morning, reading this verse, I am reminded anew of the hope for those who have passed or are on the verge. Each of these ladies know/knew Jesus, and I am comforted in the fact that where they are going is beautiful beyond what I can imagine – so much more than I have ever seen or heard. The same God who hung the stars, formed the majestic mountains, determined how far the sea can roll into the land, causes the sun to rise and set each day, has prepared a place far greater still. Though there is heartache and hurt for those left behind, there is great hope for those who have gone on to their eternal home. May we hold fast to the hope we know in the One who is holding us in His hands, and extend help, hope and love to those left behind in their space of great loss.

 

When I see such loss, Filled Each Morning

I find myself torn;

Between hurting hearts,

And hope in much more.

For my eye has seen,

Such beauty indeed;

Incredible views,

And heaven, exceeds.

Imagine the sights,

The angelic sound;

In the Lord’s presence,

Where all hope is found.

Embraced by Jesus,

As He ushers in;

All who have sought Him,

True glory begins.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You for the blessed hope that we have in You. Thank You that You have prepared a place for us that far exceeds anything that we could ever hope or imagine. Forgive us for our fears and doubts, as our eternal hope in You outweighs all. Teach us to trust You more, so that we would not fear our end on earth, but rather look forward with anticipation to our heavenly homecoming. Show us how to love those who are in hurting in the midst of great loss. Lead us to show Your heart in tangible ways, extending comfort and support. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we celebrate the homecoming of those entering Your kingdom, and comfort all who are grieving loss. Amen.

 

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

 

Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ! In His great mercy He has given us new birth into a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead, and into an inheritance that can never perish, spoil or fade. This inheritance is kept in heaven for you. – 1 Peter 1:3-4

Grace in the Grief

Blessed are those who mourn, for they will be comforted. – (Matthew 5:4, NIV) 

Great blessings belong to those who are sad now. God will comfort them. – (Matthew 5:4, ERV) 

God blesses those who mourn, for they will be comforted. – (Matthew 5:4, NLT) 

 

This morning, as I checked my messages, there was a notice from a friend at church informing me that an incredible lady – a wife and mother about my age, has passed. It has been both inspiring and heartbreaking to watch, for she battled cancer with courage and strength over the last several years, as her family fought alongside her. There was a sense of maintaining as much normalcy as possible, despite the devastation that all must have been feeling. The comfort in this heart-breaking loss, is that she is free of the pain and walking in glory. That being said, her husband has lost his best friend, and the children have lost their mother. Grief is a heavy space. As I pray for the family and those closest to her, I lay hold of the promise held in this verse in Matthew. Though it is not an easy road, God will bring comfort. God will bring His perfect peace. May we hold fast to the promise that He holds the grieving in His hands, and God is our Source of comfort in every season. 

 

God of all comfort, Being Made New

We lean into Thee; 

For the ones mourning, 

Bring Your grace and peace. 

No words that we speak, 

Nor acts done in love; 

Can comfort the grief, 

Like You Lord, above. 

For You know each heart, 

How to help the ache; 

To soothe the sorrow, 

And mend the heartbreak. 

O Lord, be near them, 

As they walk through pain; 

Be their close comfort, 

‘til just love remains. 

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You are our comfort when we grieve. Thank You that You know this family and all that they need. Thank You that You will bring exactly what they need to navigate their new normal. Forgive us for forgetting our own mortality, and not receiving each day we wake as an incredible gift of time that not all are afforded. Teach us to appreciate each new day, and to seek You in all things. Show us how to love well, those who are mourning. May we be used in the practical as well as the prayerful. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we praise You for being our comfort and our peace, even in the most heartbreaking of times. Amen.

 

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

(There is) A time to cry and a time to laugh. A time to grieve and a time to dance. – Ecclesiastes 3:4

To Notice the New

“Forget the former things; do not dwell on the past. See, I am doing a new thing! Now it springs up; do you not perceive it? I am making a way in the wilderness and streams in the wasteland. – (Isaiah 43:18-19, NIV) 

So, don’t remember what happened in earlier times. Don’t think about what happened a long time ago, because I am doing something new! Now you will grow like a new plant. Surely you know this is true. I will even make a road in the desert, and rivers will flow through that dry land. – (Isaiah 43:18-19, ERV) 

Don’t revel only in the past, or spend all your time recounting the victories of days gone by. Watch closely: I am preparing something new; it’s happening now, even as I speak, and you’re about to see it. I am preparing a way through the desert; waters will flow where there had been none. – (Isaiah 43:18-19, VOICE) 

 

We are not called to dwell on the past and spend all of our time focusing on that which has already taken place, but rather we are to walk forward with eyes and hearts open, so that we can see, recognize and know the new things that God is doing as they come to pass. Yes, reflection and appreciation are good, as long as they do not get in the way of living in the present and perceiving the gifts that God is giving as He does new things to make the seemingly impossible, possible. For me, this past year has been one of remarkable blessings and new that God has done both in and for me. If I had been stuck in a space of dwelling on former things, I would not have seen, experienced, and appreciated the incredible new things that He has done. In the same way, if I choose to stay stuck and revel in the glow of recent events, I may miss all of the good that God is doing both today, and in the days yet to come. He is faithful forever, and we are meant to move with eyes and hearts open, so that we are aware of the presence of God in all things. May we embrace the grace that the Lord has for us each new day, and forge forward in faith, trusting that He is doing new things that will bless our hearts and further grow our faith. 

 

Don’t dwell on the past, To-Notice-the-New.jpg

For those things are gone; 

Instead, look forward, 

See what’s going on. 

The Lord makes a way, 

Where it seems there’s none; 

Supplies all we need, 

The Most Holy One. 

Grants strength for today, 

Hope for tomorrow; 

Comfort where we ache, 

Joy where there’s sorrow. 

New blessings He’ll bring, 

As we trust in faith; 

Impossible things, 

In Christ there’s a way. 

May we choose to move, 

With eyes open wide; 

As love, hope and strength, 

To all whom abide. 

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You for the abundant blessings, provision and grace that You have granted throughout the past year. Thank You for Your unending faithfulness that remains the same, yesterday, today and forever. Forgive us for the times that we have allowed the past to dominate our present, rather than choose praise You for the peace that Your provided and set our sights on what is today and that which is yet to come. Teach us to see the new that You are doing before us. Show us how to love those around us in a way that encourages, blesses and helps others see the new that You are bringing in all that lies ahead. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we praise You for the past, recognize the remarkable gift of today, and anticipate with hope, all that is yet to come. Amen.

 

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

 

See, the former things have taken place, and new things I declare; before they spring into being I announce them to you. – Isaiah 42:9

All Together for Good

And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love Him, who have been called according to His purpose. – (Romans 8:28, NIV)

And we know that God causes everything to work together for the good of those who love God and are called according to His purpose for them. – (Romans 8:28, NLT)

We are confident that God is able to orchestrate everything to work toward something good and beautiful when we love Him and accept His invitation to live according to His plan. – (Romans 8:28, VOICE)

 

God is able to take all that we experience – every trial and triumph, each heartache and happiness, and use them together for good for those who choose to receive what He offers and walk in His ways. If we never experienced defeat, we would not appreciate the thrill of victory. If we did not know what it was to ache, we could not fully grasp the beauty and bounty of His blessings. God does not cause the struggles and trials that we face, but He does take our ashes and brings beauty for all to behold. I am in a season currently, where I am witnessing just how much beauty and blessing He ushers into the spaces that once were swallowed by sorrow. Dashed hopes have become dreams displayed for my heart to hold again, and where there was once nothing but wreckage, now resides fresh tenacity and vitality, as a new chapter of my story is being authored by He who breathes love and life and grace. May we be confident in our hope in knowing that in all things, God works for the good of those who love Him and have chosen to follow the path that He has placed before us.

 

God takes our ashes, All Together for Good

Our space of despair;

Fills them with beauty,

By His tender care.

He orchestrates all,

To work out for good;

For those who accept,

His plans as we should.

In all things, God makes,

His greatness abound;

Darkness becomes light,

And true joy is found.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You take our wreckage and return beauty and hope and good things as we trust our lives in Your hands. Thank You that though we will face trials, we can hold fast to confident hope, knowing that You will ultimately use all things for good. Forgive us for struggling to see hope when darkness seems to surround us. Teach us to trust You more, and to remember that You are the Light that dwells within us. Show us how to love those around us well, so that we may extend hope in spaces of struggle and celebrate with those in seasons of blessing. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we trust You to work all things together toward something good as we pursue the path that You have placed before us. Amen.

 

 

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

 

May God Almighty grant you mercy. – Genesis 43:14

Love Remains Present

Be happy with those who are happy, and weep with those who weep. – (Romans 12:15, NLT)

When others are happy, you should be happy with them. And when others are sad, you should be sad too. – (Romans 12:15, ERV)

Laugh with your happy friends when they’re happy; share tears when they’re down. – (Romans 12:15, MSG)

 

Part of loving well is walking alongside those around us, no matter what state they are in. If a person is happy and has reason to celebrate, we ought to join them in expressing joy. When we encounter the sorrowful, it is not our job to fix them, but rather to sit beside them in the midst of their pain and be present. Remarkably, when happiness is shared, it miraculously feels multiplied; yet when sadness and sorrow is shared by someone who comes and sits in the space alongside the suffering, the weight of the ache is lessened somehow. God intended us to be in community. So much of scripture directs us as to how to be in relationship with one another, and to function as a body of believers. Two are better than one… A three-strand cord is not easily broken… There are countless references reminding us that we are not meant to do this life alone. May we place our trust in He who walks beside us in joy and pain, and go forth with intent to do the same.

 

Choose to celebrateThe Benefit of Broken Barriers

Those with happiness;

Share space of sadness,

With ones in a mess.

For God walks beside,

And ever stays near;

Present in weeping,

And likewise in cheer.

We have been chosen,

As community;

To love as Christ loves,

For His love sets free.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You not only call us to be happy with those who are happy, and to weep with those who weep, but You sent Your Son to show us what it looks like to love like that. Thank You Jesus, for showing us how to love without limits, despite what You were going through and the things that surrounded You. Forgive us for making excuses as to why we just cannot get involved when things seem to messy or emotional. Teach us to trust You more, so that we would remain present with those whom You have placed in our lives, no matter what comes their way. Show us how to love like You. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we are happy with those who are happy, and share tears with those who are down. Amen.

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

When times are good, be happy. – Ecclesiastes 7:14

Strength in the Sorrow

I am sad and tired. Say the word, and make me strong again. – (Psalm 119:28, ERV)

My soul is weary with sorrow; strengthen me according to your word. – (Psalm 119:28, NIV)

 

Sorrow is a sadness that seems to strangle the soul; it comes and clings to the core and clouds one’s countenance for a season. The magnitude of what is now missing weighs heavily on my heart; though expected, and even celebrated for the blessed homecoming that has happened, there is this space of having to reconcile earthly loss with heavenly gain. This verse perfectly depicts the space where I find my heart. I am sad and tired, exhausted really. However, I know that my strength and hope are held in Christ, and it is by His grace that I can move forward, and it was His strength that carried me through yesterday. Each day is made new, and I need seek Him for today and trust that He will remain present; as He will carry me when I cannot go any further. Already, He has poured out His grace through the kindness of family and friends who have surrounded each of us who are lamenting the loss of my grandmother. This season of sorrow, though seemingly heavy, will be short, and then there will be a time to celebrate a life well lived. May we ever seek the Lord and His strength, as He is trustworthy and true to His word as the giver of strength and holder of hope.

 

The weight of sorrow,Strength in the Sorrow

Makes weary and worn;

This space of sadness,

When hearts are forlorn.

‘Tis but a season,

Deep ache for the lost;

Time to cling to Christ,

He knows what love costs.

Seek the Lord for strength,

He’s true to His word;

His hope shall breathe joy,

And peace undeterred.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that we can come to You in our seasons of sorrow, and You meet us and grant us strength. Thank You for the peace that passes all understanding, even in the midst of our own pain. Forgive us for trying to trudge forward rather than rely on You for strength. Teach us to trust You more, as it takes but a word from You and we are restored. Show us how to love those around us through their seasons of sorrow, and celebrate with them, their seasons of joy. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we seek Your strength in our sorrow, and trust You to be true to Your word. Amen.

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

As you know, we consider blessed those who have persevered. – James 5:11

Lasting Joy

Even in laughter the heart may ache, and joy may end in grief. – (Proverbs 14:13)

 

Though I know not what Solomon was referring to in this particular verse, right now, it strikes a chord. There are seasons when there is heartache despite our laughter, and even the joy that we find in the little things, can come crashing down around us. Thankfully, this is not the end. While earthly moments of joy may end in grief, our eternal joy will end in jubilation. When we choose to invest our lives in Christ, our hope is secure, and our eternity assured. These seasons of heartache and grief are temporary, and the joy that is yet to come – that shall last FOREVER. Today, whether we find ourselves in a season of joy or one of heartache, let us lift our eyes and hearts to Him who is the holder of all hope, and the place where true lasting joy is found forever.

 

When your laughter hides,Aquiring Armor

deep desperate ache;

and joy’s elusive,

because of heartbreak –

Call on the Lord.

When moments are good,

and life’s going well;

give praise to the King,

of His glory tell –

Give thanks to God.

No matter the time,

nor season we’re in;

the Lord is present,

as we call on Him –

Spirit come near.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that no matter what season of life we are living in, You promise to be present and faithful. Thank You that even when we are laughing through heartache or what seemed to bring joy ends in grief, You are faithful and good. Thank You that our hope in You is certain, and the joy in You is not only for today, but for all of eternity. Forgive us for allowing our circumstances to steal the joy that You give, and help us to hold fast to the truth. Teach us to trust You more, so that we will allow Your hope to be what overwhelms our hearts. Lead us to love others well, be it in their times of joy or times of pain. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we love You with our life, regardless of whether life provides laughter or heartache, for You are our hope forever. Amen.

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

Listen… be wise, and keep your heart on the right path. – Proverbs 23:19

Standing Strong in Struggles

Today, as I again read the first two chapters of Job, I am reminded anew that though God does not cause the trials in our lives, He does allow them. Often they have nothing to do with sin, but rather are a test of sorts, meant to deepen our dependence on Him. In the case of Job, God saw his faith, and allowed Satan access to him, with the condition that Job was not to be killed. Even after losing everything and all of his children, in the midst of being chided by his wife to curse God, Job’s faithfulness remained.

 

He replied, “You are talking like a foolish woman. Shall we accept good from God, and not trouble?” In all this, Job did not sin in what he said. – (Job 2:10)

 

When trials and struggles come our way, do we remain upright and confident in Christ? Are we able to keep from sinning in what we say? It is one thing to quickly cry out to Christ when calamity comes our way, yet it is entirely another, to continue to trust for a long season of suffering or despair. As we choose Him in the midst of our heartache and struggles, He is faithful to be present. Just as Job’s friends initially sat beside him in silence (as he actually needed), God is present, and will remain. Christ whispers the words that our hearts need to hear, and holds us up when we cannot take even one more step forward. He is faithful forever; we need simply place all of our trust in Him, no matter how things appear. May we fix our eyes on Christ and allow Him access to our whole heart, so that we become rooted and established in He who will help us weather every storm.

 

God is always good,Doing Good Mutes Malicious Talk

even though life’s not;

His hope will remain,

our eternal lot.

When the trials come,

His presence is clear;

if we’ve invested,

we’ll know He is near.

No matter the ache,

how great or how small;

He sees and He knows,

upholds us through all.

For the Lord is good,

His love shall remain;

both now and always,

let Christ come and reign.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that even in the midst of struggles and suffering, You remain present – helping, holding, loving and granting Your hope. Thank You that no matter what comes, our hope is held in You. Thank You that what awaits in eternity is well worth the temporary trials that we endure on earth. Forgive us for our lack of endurance and faith when struggles seem unending, and teach us how to persevere in Your promises and Your presence. Teach us to trust You more, for You are always good. Lead us to love and be faithful to You, no matter what comes, just as You so clearly demonstrated through the life of Your Son, Jesus. Jesus, draw many unto Yourself, so that those who are lost, may be found forever in You. Be exalted, O God, as we stand strong in You, even in the struggles. Amen.

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

Surely goodness and love will follow me all the days of my life, and I will dwell in the house of the Lord forever. – Psalm 23:6

My Soul Finds Rest

My soul finds rest in God alone; my salvation comes from Him. – (Psalm 62:1)

 

As I sat in my comfy chair eating breakfast and sipping coffee, I was again in awe, as I gazed upon a glimpse of the sunrise.

 

I am an early riser. People wonder how I wake as early as I do. This verse in the sixty-second Psalm, answers the question perfectly. My soul finds rest in Him. As I choose to rise early each morning to begin my day in the still silence of the dawn, my soul finds rest. He reminds me again and again that my salvation comes from Him, and that every promise presented in His word for us, is for me too. Jesus loves us without limits and touches the tender places as only our Savior can. In Him alone, my soul finds rest. Through Christ, I am saved. May the truth of His word and the reality of who He is, permeate every pour of your being today.

 

O weary soul,My Soul Finds Rest

in God find rest;

He hears your cry,

and loves you best.

He is the One,

Who’ll save your soul;

if you ask Him,

He’ll make you whole.

You won’t look far,

to find His peace;

for each heartbeat,

is His release.

The brokenness,

that’s full of ache;

with tender touch,

His love replace.

Find rest, sweet soul,

in Christ alone;

the greatest gift,

man’s ever known.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that in You, our souls find rest. Thank You that our salvation comes from You as a gift when we come to You and invite You in. Thank You that we cannot somehow earn either one. Thank You that You love us without limits, and You wait patiently for us to call on Your Name. Thank You that when we do, You come. Forgive us for our stubborn self-sufficiency, and help us to recognize our desperate need for You in all things and at all times. Teach us to seek Your rest, rather than our own; for only Your rest satisfies our soul. May we go forth in love as we are loved by You, and may many come to know Your salvation for themselves, and find their rest in You. Be glorified, O God, in all that we say and do. 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

Storm Be Still

Storm Be StillWhen sorrow rages,

much like a great storm;

and waves keep crashing,

heart heavy and torn.

Weariness has come,

as ache keeps raging;

the weight of the woes,

relentless, waging.

The flood keeps flowing,

desperate the need;

soul at last cries out,

“I’m done, Father lead.”

In but a moment,

all raging shall cease;

as tender His hands,

hold up and grant peace.

The storm shall subside,

and sweet calm will come;

reach out hands and heart,

to Comforting One.

For just as the sea,

couldn’t help but obey;

so too our sorrows,

each tear wiped away.

Wait in His presence,

in storm and in peace;

allow His great love,

wash over, increase.

(Responding to Luke 8:24)

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You are our Comfort and safe space, when the weather of the world wages war on our soul. Thank You that even in the moments of mourning, You are present, our place of peace. Thank You that when we cry out to You, You hear us and hold our heart and our hands. Forgive us for fearing we might feel too much, and help us to be aware of Your nearness when the weight seems unbearable. Thank You that You come and calm the storm in us, and allow us to be still in Your sweet presence. Teach us to trust You more, so that we are quick to surrender our sorrows to You. May our willingness to be transparent, allow many to see and come to know the holy hope that is held in You. Let many be moved into a lasting relationship with You, the Lover of our soul. Amen.

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