Modeled Love

You, my brothers and sisters, were called to be free. But do not use your freedom to indulge the flesh; rather, serve one another humbly in love. – (Galatians 5:13, NIV)

My brothers and sisters, God chose you to be free. But don’t use your freedom as an excuse to do what pleases your sinful selves. Instead, serve each other with love. – (Galatians 5:13, ERV)

Brothers and sisters, God has called you to freedom! Hear the call, and do not spoil this gift by using your liberty to engage in what your flesh desires; instead, use it to serve each other as Jesus taught through love. – (Galatians 5:13, VOICE)

 

Yesterday, we reached an impasse, and recognized that we had to make the final decision as to where mom would land next, as her stay at the acute rehabilitation facility comes to a close near the end of this month. After asking mom what she most wanted, watching how the familiarity of home made such a dramatic difference in her ability to recall information through an activity during speech therapy, and hearing from various therapists how often patients’ recovery accelerates by leaps and bounds in their own familiar settings, it became evident that her home was where she needed to be next. This is where the choosing to serve one another humbly in love comes in; for it is neither an easy nor convenient choice for either my sister or me. Megan has the obstacle of a seven-hour journey if she drives, a crazy, busy schedule at home with work and family, and the heartache of being away from mom whenever she needs to be home. For myself, I am still in my first year of a new marriage, raising two teenage sons, finishing their junior year, attempting to coordinate sub plans and grading from three hours from home, and seeking to maintain balance and normalcy in both spaces. Both Meg and I would not have it any other way. The words penned by Paul the Apostle, were modeled by mom throughout our entire lives. It is a simple decision to make, despite the logistical challenges. Additionally, we are overwhelmingly blessed and supported by our spouses, children, families, friends, and our extended communities – both near and far. The outpouring of love and support, both prayerfully and through notes and messages, has been an incredible blessing, and often just what was needed at the moment it was needed most.

As for mom specifically, she is continuing to make great gains. Her speech and language retrieval is phenomenally fast, but is more difficult by day’s end when she is tired. Physically, she is building more strength every day, and more and more movement is coming along. It is a painfully slow process, but it is happening. She would love to just jump up and take off running, but even as babies, we must first learn to crawl, then stand, then wobble and scoot, before we ever take steps. For a growing infant, the process takes the entire first year. Mom is making tremendous strides toward walking again, and it has not quite been a month yet. So often it is a matter of keeping it all in perspective.

For those who are walking alongside us in prayer, these are our present petitions before our Savior: for a smooth transition home, for protection from fear, protection physically, emotionally, and spiritually, against discouragement, for total and complete healing, for strength, for patience, for calendars and schedules to align easily, for grace, balance and wisdom, for her incredible community to continue to be patient about visiting until she is ready, as it needs to be in her time.

 

Jesus set us free, dsc090724766454540718468749.jpg

And gave us a choice;

To choose for ourselves,

Use heart, mind and voice.

Our purpose is more,

Than our own desire;

But rather to love,

Sacrifice, inspire.

Just as we are loved,

By He who gave all;

So we ought to give,

As we heed His call.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You for sending Your Son and showing us what it means to choose to love and serve freely. Thank You for the treasured gift of our mom, who has modeled the same for us throughout our entire lives. Forgive us for the times that we have chosen to indulge our own selfish desires, rather than love like You. Teach us to trust You more, so that we choose to love and serve in the same way that You have always done for us. Show us how to love those around us as You would. Especially direct our steps as we prepare to bring mom back to her own home. May those around us who do not know You yet, come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we choose to serve in love, just as You have modeled for us through Your Son and those that You have strategically placed in our lives. Amen.

 

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

 

“Though the mountains be shaken and the hills be removed, yet My unfailing love for you will not be shaken nor My covenant of peace be removed,” says the Lord, who has compassion on you. – Isaiah 54:10

 

As Unto You

Work willingly at whatever you do, as though you were working for the Lord rather than for people. – (Colossians 3:23, NLT)

Whatever you do, do it from the heart for the Lord and not for people. – (Colossians 3:23, CEB)

Put your heart and soul into every activity you do, as though you are doing it for the Lord Himself and not merely for others. – (Colossians 3:23, TPT)

 

After student-led conferences, there is a sort of shift as we are race forward into the holiday season. We have a four-day week this week, less than three-day week next week, then we are only a month away until Christmas Break. Calendars fill rapidly, and it is easy to over-commit. That being said, my intent going into this busy, but beautiful season, is going to be – if I cannot put my heart and soul into whatever it is, as if unto the Lord, then my answer to the invitation will need to be a “no”. My family, my job, and my existing commitments to that which I am called, have to be my priority as I go. I love people deeply, and grew up as a “pleaser”, so I must be certain that my motivation is as unto the Lord. He is well-pleased with us because we are His, not for anything that we do or do not do. May we keep our eyes fixed on the Lord as we walk into this wonderful season, and allow Him to lead us into the things that we can do with our whole heart.

 

In all that we do, Weighing the Why

May it be done well;

As unto the Lord,

Love’s own personnel.

As we choose commit,

To events and tasks;

We need make certain,

Our heart in it lasts.

How we choose to work,

The care placed in things;

Is our way to show,

The good that God brings.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You call us to do all things as unto You. Thank You that we are not created to please people, but rather to be obedient to You. Thank You that as we live and love according to Your call, work is done well and people are loved as You love. Forgive us for the times that we have over-committed ourselves and have been pulled in so many different directions that we were unable to fully invest in anything. Teach us to balance our time and place our whole heart into the things that we are called to do. Show us how to love and prioritize people as we work as unto You. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we put our heart and soul into every activity that we do, as unto You. Amen.

 

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

 

A person’s steps are directed by the Lord. How then can anyone understand their own way? – Proverbs 20:24

 

Faithfulness Knows No End

Your love, Lord, reaches to the heavens, Your faithfulness to the skies. – (Psalm 36:5, NIV)

Lord, Your faithful love reaches to the sky. Your faithfulness is as high as the clouds. – (Psalm 36:5, ERV)

Your love, O Eternal One, towers high into the heavens. Even the skies are lower than Your faithfulness. – (Psalm 36:5, VOICE)

 

I am forever in awe of the faithfulness of God. After sustaining a fibular fracture that caused a DVT (blood clot) in my calf, I was pretty much guaranteed that my football season was over. The fracture has completely healed and my leg feels great again, but I have to take blood thinners for another few months, making contact sports an off-limits activity. Throughout my injury, I continued to attend practices, as my commitment to the team mattered to me, and I was determined to be present to the end of the season. Over the last week, the special teams coach came up with a way to allow me to actually get into a game. As a kicker, punting has very limited risk for contact, as the focus is on chasing down the kicked ball, not the kicker. Last evening, we had our last regular season game at our home field. We were significantly ahead after the first half, and it was not looking like there would be any opportunity to punt, as we were not handing over the ball at all. My coach asked me if I could kick off, to which I enthusiastically replied, “Yes!” Though I had not practiced kickoff since early in the season, prior to my injury, I was eager for an opportunity to participate in my first game. Twice I was called upon to kick off, and twice I was overwhelmed with gratitude for the opportunity to get in the game! Our next stop is the playoffs, and likely against much tougher opponents. I know not if I will have the chance to get in a game again, but I will continue to practice and be present, giving God the glory for all that He has done. May we ever give Him praise for all of our days for His faithfulness in all things great and small.

 

So great is the love,

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I’m #15, if you were curious. 🙂

Of our God on high;

Above all we see,

So deep and so wide.

The Lord’s faithfulness,

Will never run out;

He’s with us always,

His presence devout.

All glory to Him,

In Heaven on high;

For His care for us,

Each day and each night.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that Your love reaches us wherever we are and Your faithfulness knows no end. Thank You that You meet us where we are and bless us beyond what we could hope or imagine. Forgive us for our times of doubt, when we cannot see how You are moving on our behalf. Teach us to understand that Your ways are higher than our ways, and that we can trust You always. Show us how to love those around us in a way that demonstrates Your faithfulness in a tangible way. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we give You all praise and honor for Your love and faithfulness that knows no end. Amen.

 

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

 

For the Lord is good and His love endures forever; His faithfulness continues through all generations. – Psalm 100:5

Provided Time

There is a time for everything, and a season for every activity under the heavens. – (Ecclesiastes 3:1, NIV)

There is a right time for everything, and everything on earth will happen at the right time. – (Ecclesiastes 3:1, ERV)

There’s an opportune time to do things, a right time for everything on earth. – (Ecclesiastes 3:1, MSG)

 

I absolutely believe this to be true for everything, except for grading papers. I loathe having to sit down for long stretches of time, especially on the weekends, to grade tests or papers when I could be out doing just about anything else on earth. However, yesterday, I learned that even so, there is a time and place for grading that is not nearly as painful, and it was provided. My boys were off to work at a collegiate football game until the wee hours of the morning, and my love and his son were heading to his friend’s auto shop up north to work on a car that they were being given, and I had been invited to tag along. After being warned ahead of time that there was little to do, I had determined to bring along tests that needed to be graded, with the hope that I might make a dent in my pile. The warning I had been given was true, as the shop was way out in the middle of nowhere, and there was nothing to keep me from focusing on grading. There was even a chair, a desk space and a portable heater, so I was set up for success from the start. Though I took a few stretch breaks and drove into town to pick up dinner for all of us, by the time we left, I had managed to grade all but three of the ninety tests that had been in my stack! It may seem like a small thing, but for me, it is huge. His provision of a time and place for me to accomplish what I would have otherwise avoided, is a reminder of His concern in even the minute details of our lives. He will provide a right time for everything if we are asking, and will make a way, even if we feel there is no way. May we ever seek the One who is faithful in all things forever.

 

For all things there’s time, Provided Time

A season for all;

God will make a way,

When on Him, we call.

Even in spaces,

That seem there’s no way;

In the Lord’s timing,

He’ll provide pathway.

Trust in His timing,

For God has a plan;

He knows all our needs,

By grace, understands.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that in You, there is a time for everything, and that You will make a way where there seems to be no way, as we turn in trust to You. Thank You that You care about the seemingly small and mundane details of our lives. Forgive us for not seeking You in our struggles, even in the seemingly small or insignificant things. Teach us to trust You more, as You are faithful to make Your presence known and help us in our need. Show us how to love others in a way that provides help and hope, even in the things that seem small and insignificant, as often those are the things that matter most to the individual. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as with give You glory for Your faithful provision in all things great and small. Amen.

 

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

 

And the Lord said, “I will cause all my goodness to pass in front of you.” – Exodus 33:19

Strength We Lack

I love You, Lord; You are my strength. – (Psalm 18:1, NLT)

I love You, God – You make me strong. – (Psalm 18:1, MSG)

 

Today is the final day before Christmas break. This has been the longest week of the school year thus far. Between a very full moon, the threat of snow, much colder temperatures than usual, and the anticipation of a much needed and long awaited break, both the campus and our classrooms have been engulfed in constant energetic activity. As educators, it takes every ounce of strength we have to attempt to channel that energy into productivity in the classroom. By the time the last bell rings at 2:10, I look back at my disheveled room in awe, and wonder how on earth I managed to navigate another day. In reality, I do know how. My source of strength lies in the Lord, and He meets me in each moment and provides the strength I lack. Despite my weariness, He meets me and restores my strength and joy, granting what is needed to navigate each class period. My love of the Lord grows ever greater, as I recognize His provision and care for me and those around me. May we go forth this day in His strength, ready to finish the week strong, as we trust Him to provide whatever we lack through His loving grace.

 

When weariness comes,Healed Hands Reach Out

And strength is near gone;

The Lord will provide,

Help us carry on.

Let all that we are,

Give Him thanks and praise;

For His loving grace,

Granted all our days.

We love You, O God,

Our strength and our song;

In You there’s enough,

To rise and press on.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You for the gift of Your grace. Thank You that You meet us where we are and provide the strength that we need to continue in the direction that we are called. We love You Lord for who You are and how You love us so well. Forgive us for not seeking You or giving You the praise that is due Your Name. Teach us to trust You more, so that we would come to You in our need and our plenty, asking for what we need and giving You praise for who You are. Show us how to love those around us in tangible ways, so that they may be strengthened and encouraged to finish well. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we give You thanks and praise for the strength You provide for all of our days. We love You Lord. Amen.

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

Let us then approach the throne of grace with confidence, so that we may receive mercy. – Hebrews 4:16

Hope Never Fails

And hope will never fail to satisfy our deepest need because the Holy Spirit that was given to us has flooded our hearts with God’s love. – (Romans 5:5, VOICE)

 

The Holy Spirit within us grants us hope in our spaces of greatest need. Love from the Lord fills our hearts, and points to the places where hope is held, even when darkness seeks to destroy. It is our charge to look to the Lord when we struggle to hold His hope. He meets us in our moments of need, and floods us with His love. There is a delicate balance between hope for the future, and truly fixing our ultimate hope in Him alone.

Right now, this is a very personal struggle as I wait, not so patiently, for my back to heal from a compression fracture. It has been two very long months, and I am really ready to resume my full activity level with a vengeance. That being said, I must wait and see what the specialist says today after I get a new set of x-rays and he looks at my progress. My hope is that he will say that my back is better and I can return to all activities, but I know that I must really place my hope in the Lord, and trust that He has my very best in mind, and whatever the verdict, I am loved and I am held. God will carry me, regardless of the outcome. If I am cleared, the Lord will grant wisdom as to how I am to resume regular activities. If I am not, He will sustain my sanity, and grant me the grace that is needed to continue to wait for my body to heal.

When we hope in the Lord, we will never be disappointed. His love never fails. Humans fail. God never fails. May we place our trust in Him and allow the Lord to hold our heart and our hope as we go forward into this brand new day.

 

To hope in the Lord,Refreshment Through Repentance

Love that will not fail;

Where people fall short,

The Lord shall prevail.

Let us place our trust,

In He who is love;

Hope that is fulfilled,

By our God above.

Let not the longings,

For things here and now;

Influence our hope,

Of what He’ll allow.

For all that matters,

On our final day;

Is do we trust Him,

Let Him lead the way?

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that hope in You will never fail to satisfy our deepest need because Your Holy Spirit dwells within us, and floods our hearts with Your love. Thank You that no matter what surrounds us, Your hope is ahead of us. Forgive us for our fearfulness and lack of faith when things seem hopeless through our own eyes. Teach us to trust You more, and to hold fast to an eternal perspective rather than one that is temporary. There is so much more than the here and now. Show us how to love others well, so that they too, might see the hope that is found in You alone. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we hope in You and allow Your love to flood our hearts and overflow to those around us. Amen.

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

You have made known to me the paths of life; You will fill me with joy in Your presence. – Acts 2:28

A Time to Be Still

As a go-getter, it is in my nature to constantly be on the move. I would rather go do something, anything, than sit around and be idle. However, constant motion and activity do not lend themselves well to quiet time and stillness before the Lord. It has taken years to establish routine and discipline that create a time and space that I now crave to quiet myself in the peace of His presence.

 

When Jesus visited Mary and Martha and Martha was busy rushing about, trying to take care of things to be certain that all of the preparations had been made for their guests, Mary simply sat at the Lord’s feet to listen and be in His presence. Martha was frustrated with her sister for not helping, as she was so busy moving, that she did not pause to recognize the remarkable that was right in front of her. Jesus, in His kind and gentle way, reminded her of what really mattered. “Martha, Martha,” the Lord answered, “you are worried and upset about many things, but only one thing is needed. Mary has chosen what is better, and it will not be taken away from her.” – (Luke 10:41-42)

 

The chores, the busywork, the going and doing – they will always be there. Our investment in Christ is eternal. What we choose today impacts our eternity. Yes, God is gracious and merciful and He does not keep a checklist of who has a quiet time and who does not, but He longs for our hearts and our time. Jesus wants to spend time with us and to speak to us. Why wouldn’t we choose to make the Creator of all the priority in each day?

 

A time to be still,A Time to Be Still

quiet in His peace;

faithful investment,

our burdens released.

All that need be done,

will always remain;

we must take the time,

to give Him our shame.

A space to listen,

to hear God’s own heart;

promises spoken,

and wisdom imparts.

Let our hearts give praise,

to Glory Divine;

for He is so good,

our Hope for all time.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that though You love a heart that seeks to serve You, You more than anything, want our hearts. Thank You that You desire to spend time with us, to speak with us and commune with us. Thank You that You call us Your children. Forgive us for our distractions that keep us so focused on doing, that we neglect the why we do what we do. Help us to slow down and fix our eyes and all of our attention on You, so that we might clearly hear all that You have for us. Teach us to trust You more. Lead us to love others, just as You so willingly and patiently love each of us. May many come into a saving relationship with You. Be exalted O God, as we slow down and seek You in the sweet silence of a time set aside just for 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

Watch and Wait

Therefore, in the present case I advise you: Leave these men alone! Let them go! For if their purpose or activity is of human origin, it will fail. But if it is from God, you will not be able to stop these men; you will only find yourselves fighting against God. – (Acts 5:38-39)

 

Though Gamaliel was a member of the council whom Peter and John were standing before on trial, he became an unlikely ally when he spoke the wise words above. Gamaliel recognized that if these men were moving in their own strength, that they would not be sustained for very long, and the whole movement would soon die out. However, if it was in fact a true manifestation and movement of the living God, then there would be no stopping it anyway. His wise council gave the disciples room to breathe, as they continued to faithfully follow that which they had been called to do. Many of the movements that people claim are from God that occur today, must also be approached in much the same way. Watch, wait, and see if it stands the test of time. If it is of God, there will be no stopping the power of His presence as He moves mightily through His people. Likewise, if it is of human origin, it will not be sustained, and will quickly lose momentum and fade away. May God grant us the wisdom to know when to wait and see, and when to walk away from that which is not of Him. Let us have Your heart to discern what is good and pleasing before You, O God.

 

The power of God,Bless You

propels us to move;

to step out in faith,

and plainly speak truth.

When others speak out,

words leave us unsure;

seek God for wisdom,

the truth shall endure.

Weigh everyone’s words,

with the Word of truth;

allow His Spirit,

to shine His light through.

Where Christ’s light reflects,

we can clearly see;

what we should embrace,

and from what to flee.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You grant us wisdom and discernment when we earnestly seek You. Thank You that there are times when we must wait and see whether or not something is truly a movement from You, or if it is a movement of men. Thank You that You are good, and that You guard our hearts and minds, as we fix our eyes on You. Forgive us for our misconceptions that we may be holding onto, and please shine Your light and reveal to us what is true. Teach us to trust You more, so that we may release our wrong thinking and embrace everything You have for us to hold fast in our hearts. Lead us to love others as You so tenderly love each of us. May many come to know the power and presence available to all who call on Your Name, personally. Be glorified, O God, as we seek Your wisdom and truth. Amen.

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

Your righteousness reaches to the skies, O God, You who have done great things.  Who, O God, is like You? – Psalm 71:19