Automatic Responses

May the God who gives endurance and encouragement give you the same attitude of mind toward each other that Jesus had. – (Romans 15:5, NIV)

All patience and encouragement comes from God. And I pray that God will help you all agree with each other, as Christ Jesus wants. – (Romans 15:5, ERV)

I pray that our God, who calls you and gives you perseverance and encouragement, will join all of you together to share one mind according to Jesus the Anointed. – (Romans 15:5, VOICE)

 

This road we are walking alongside mom, as she journeys to recovery from her stroke, is certainly the epitome of an example of needing to walk forward in all patience, endurance and encouragement that comes from God. It has been by His grace, that we have been able to make decisions in agreement in love, with mom’s input and her very best in mind. Incredibly, one month to the day from when she was admitted to the ER for her stroke, she will transition to her home to begin the in-home care portion of her recovery and healing. Though the idea of moving mom to her house in less than a week is rather intimidating to all of us, the hope held in the potential benefits far outweigh our fears of the unknown. Additionally, both Meg and I will be able to be present for the transition time, as we discover and establish a new routine and figure out how to best navigate mom living back at home. Her mobility is still limited, and she will be moving home with the aid of a wheelchair. She is working on walking with assistance, but she is not yet walking without help. Mom is stable to stand, and does a fantastic job with transferring from chair to other seated spaces. Research indicates that most grow and thrive at a much more rapid rate in their own familiar surroundings. Based on the automatic responses we have seen from her; I believe this wholeheartedly.

Last evening was a perfect example. It was clear that mom is getting more and more back to herself, as she asked me to call her to let her know when I had arrived safely home last evening. I made certain that I had all of the correct information to reach her in her room, prior to my drive home. After a bit of orchestrating, I was able to get through. It was the most incredible thing – my mom sounded like herself on the phone! You see, the stroke has affected her voice, as the message to her vocal cords has somehow been compromised, so she is very soft-spoken right now. However, normally (pre-stroke) anytime that my mom, sister or I speak with each other on the phone, we are accused of speaking rather loudly. (I think we are just extremely excited to share with each other 😊Anyway, the voice that answered the line when I called (knowing it was me, as the nurse had let her know because I had to contact the nurse’s station first) was the loud, animated mom voice that I know so well. We were talking and laughing and my sweet husband was sitting beside me, shaking his head, grinning from ear-to-ear, in recognition of the incredible voice that was coming through the phone. We did not talk too long, and her voice did quiet down a bit, but she heard and felt the strength she had projected as well.

These are the sort of automatic responses that seem to happen when her mind is relaxed and fixed on home. We are praying and trusting that God will continue to move mountains on mom’s behalf, as He provides and heals and leads us each step of the way on this wild and wonderful road to recovery.

 

The God of all hope,

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Always an automatic smile with the grandsons. ❤

Grants love that’s secure;

Peace, love and patience,

The strength to endure.

Likewise, He will give,

Us both heart and mind;

To walk united,

Be gracious and kind.

Let us ever give,

All into His hands;

For not our own will,

But Your faithful plan.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that Your ways are higher than our ways, and You know the outcome before we even begin. Thank You that You give endurance and encouragement, peace and unity, as we lean into You. Forgive us for our fears in the unknown that lies before us. Teach us to trust You more. Show us Your power again, as You have done so many times before. Lead us to love those around us in a way that grants encouragement to the weary and peace and unity, where it is lacking. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we place all that lies ahead in Your hands. Amen.

 

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

 

The end of a matter is better than its beginning, and patience is better than pride. – Ecclesiastes 7:8

 

 

Speaking the Truth in Love

Instead, speaking the truth in love, we will grow to become in every respect the mature body of Him who is the head, that is, Christ. – (Ephesians 4:15, NIV)

No, we will speak the truth with love. We will grow to be like Christ in every way. He is the head. – (Ephesians 4:15, ERV)

Instead, we will lovingly follow the truth at all times – speaking truly, dealing truly, living truly – and so become more and more in every way like Christ who is the Head of His body, the Church. – (Ephesians 4:15, TLB)

 

There is a growing trend that has good intentions, but it is missing an essential element. “Speak your truth”, is a phrase I hear almost daily. Sadly, this phrase is lacking the cover and intention of love. So often, when people speak “their truth”, hearts are wounded and relationships fractured, as there are no intentions to express love through the words spoken. Just as a parent is called to raise up a child in the ways they are meant to go, they are directed to do so in love. We can correct, redirect and guide children with love, even when they do not like what we have to say. Truth lovingly spoken is far better received than that which is barked out or expressed in a way that points blame. Likewise, when we encourage, challenge and spur on one another to become more than we have been before, we must do so in love. When another comes alongside us and offers to help as we learn and grow to be more than we were before, it is received far better than if we are simply told that we are “not enough”, according to the eyes of the speaker. May we ever seek our Savior so that we may grow more and more like Him. Let every word we speak be spoken with intention to love.

 

Let us choose to speak, Speaking the Truth in Love

The truth in His love;

So our words spoken,

Bring life and build up.

Even when the truth,

Needs to redirect;

When done in His love,

Grace is still expressed.

May we seek the Lord,

To grow in His ways;

So truth that we speak,

Is His love displayed.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that choosing to speak the truth in love is choosing to follow after You. Thank You that You call us to speak truth, yet to do so in love. Forgive us for the times that we have spoken what we perceived as the truth with no intention of loving the recipient. Teach us to trust You more, so that we would stop, think and listen before speaking so that we may say everything with the intention to love like You. Show us how to love well those around us, even those whom we are meant to guide and direct in a different direction. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we give our every thought, word and deed unto You, and ask that You would show us how to surround each in love before we follow through. Amen.

 

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

 

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

Ask. Seek. Knock.

Ask and it will be given to you; seek and you will find, knock and the door will be opened to you. For everyone who asks receives; the one who seeks finds; and to the one who knocks, the door will be opened. – (Matthew 7:7-8, NIV)

Continue to ask, and God will give to you. Continue to search, and you will find. Continue to knock, and the door will open for you. Yes, whoever continues to ask will receive. Whoever continues to look will find. And whoever continues to knock will have the door opened for them. – (Matthew 7:7-8, ERV)

 

In this passage, Jesus was reminding His followers to be persistent in their pursuit of God. Just because we don’t see answers right away, does not mean that we are to give up and let go of the very thing we are asking. Often it is a matter of us continuing to seek faithfully, trusting that the One whom we seek, hears and will answer in His perfect timing. God is never late, yet again and again, we grow impatient and quit asking or seeking before He is done developing our resolve to persevere. This is where being rooted in the body is so important. We can come alongside one another and encourage each other to continue in our quest for answers, wisdom and open doors. May we rise up with resolve to keep asking, searching, seeking and knocking, so that we may continue to find direction and answers according to His good and perfect will.

 

We must first choose ask, Asking for Amazing Answers

For answers to come;

Our God is faithful,

The All-Knowing One.

Each time we seek Him,

The Lord we shall find;

He’s always ready,

With our hearts in mind.

When we choose to knock,

He opens new doors;

Shows us the new paths,

We’re meant to explore.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that when we ask, You hear our prayers and provide answers. Thank You that as we seek You, we find You. Thank You for Your faithfulness to open new doors as we knock, and make Yourself known in our pursuit of You. Forgive us for not persevering in our quest to discover more of You – be it answers, wisdom or direction for our lives. Teach us to trust You in the process, so that we will persevere, no matter how long it takes to discover the answers we seek. Show us how to love and come alongside those who are in need of knowing You or Your will, so that we may encourage and lift one another up to persevere. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we ask, seek and knock all of our days, so that we may always pursue the path that follows Your ways. Amen.

 

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

 

Not that we are competent in ourselves to claim anything for ourselves, but our competence comes from God. – 2 Corinthians 3:5

The Essence of Prayer

In the same way, the Spirit helps us in our weakness. We do not know what we ought to pray for, but the Spirit Himself interceded for us through wordless groans. And He who searches our hearts knows the mind of the Spirit, because the Spirit intercedes for God’s people in accordance with the will of God. – (Romans 8:26-28, NIV)

Meanwhile, the moment we realize we get tired in the waiting, God’s Spirit is right alongside helping us along. If we don’t know how or what to pray, it doesn’t matter. He does our praying in and for us, making prayer out of our wordless sighs and aching groans. He knows us far better than we know ourselves, knows our pregnant condition, and keeps us present before God. That’s why we can be so sure that every detail in our lives of love for God is worked into something good. – (Romans 8:26-28, MSG)

 

Yesterday, my pastor spoke about prayer. He reminded us that the essence of prayer is talking to God. So often we overcomplicate prayer, thinking that it requires specific rituals, routines or the “right” words. In actuality, prayer is us communing with God. It is a time of intentional slowing down to not only share our hearts with Him, but to listen as well. When we do not have the words to speak, we can rest in silence before Him, fixing our hearts on Him, and He hears what we cannot put into words. May we take time each day to commune with our Maker, as He knows and He hears our every heart cry and is faithful to be present as we travel each step of our path.

 

In strength and weakness, Refreshment Through Repentance

Our faithful Lord hears;

Each prayer that we pray,

Throughout all our years.

Even without words,

With our hearts to Him;

He hears and He knows,

Each need from within.

All things in our lives,

Can be used for good;

As we live for Him,

His grace understood.

So make time to pray,

With our God, commune;

You’ll find He’s faithful,

His heart to us tuned.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that prayer is not the complicated thing that we tend to make it out to be. Thank You that prayer is talking to You. Thank You that You made the way for us to commune with You directly. Forgive us for neglecting our relationship with You through lack of prayer. Teach us how to slow down, pull away and be disciplined to have intentional time conversing with You. Show us how to love well, all those whom we encounter, and to pray for all who are in need. Help us to listen too. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we come before You intentionally and spend time communing with You. Amen.

 

 

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

 

I thank You and praise You, O God of my fathers: You have given me wisdom and power. – Daniel 2:23

Provision of Peace and Strength

The Lord gives His people strength. The Lord blesses them with peace. – (Psalm 29:11, NLT)

May the Lord make His people strong. May the Lord bless His people with peace. – (Psalm 29:11, ERV)

We ask You, Eternal One, to give strength to Your people; Eternal One, bless them with the gift of peace. – (Psalm 29:11, VOICE)

 

Emotions are running high, and kids are on edge daily as the winter break whispers of its nearness. The uncertainty of what is coming when so many of our students desperately need routine, is enough to send them in a downward spiral that requires more strength and resolve than one might think is humanly possible to perpetuate for such a length of time. Strength and peace are needed now, more than ever – for students, teachers, and every staff member who interacts with these sweet souls in distress. It is my prayer that God would give strength to the weary, and bless every heart with His perfect peace. May we walk beside one another, shoulder-to-shoulder, encouraging and lifting up, as strength and peace are present wherever people come together with purpose.

 

The Lord is our Source, Provision of Peace and Strength

He makes our hearts strong;

When we’re feeling weak,

He helps lead us on.

Where chaos seems reign,

The Lord brings His peace;

He settles our hearts,

As grace is released.

Let’s rise up, dear ones,

Seek the Lord of all;

He knows all our need,

And won’t let us fall.

Look too for others,

To walk alongside;

Encourage, support,

Let peace and strength rise.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You are our Source of strength and peace, no matter what comes our way. Lord, be with all of those who struggle this time of year, as there is uncertainty or sorrow in the season. Give us grace to extend loving kindness, so that Your heart may be made known. Forgive us for our frustration with behaviors and attitudes that are the manifestation of people’s pain. Teach us to trust You more, so that we may see things through Your eyes. Show us how to bring peace to the chaos, and how to love in Your strength in a way that soothes unsettled souls. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we receive Your strength and peace, and go forth and give as we have been given. Amen.

 

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

 

For the Lord your God will bless you, …and your joy will be complete. – Deuteronomy 16:15

Listen for Wisdom

Get all the advice and instruction you can, so you will be wise the rest of your life. – (Proverbs 19:20, NLT)

Listen to advice and accept discipline, then you, too, will become wise. – (Proverbs 19:20, ERV)

 

Wisdom comes over time, through actively seeking to know and understand. My mom models this principle, much like her mother before her. She pursues new learning wherever she can, and reads constantly. Her circle of friends is vast and diverse, exposing her to a wide knowledge base, even in her social arena. Today is the day that we celebrate her birth, and I am beyond blessed to call her my Mom. She loves with her whole heart, and gives all of herself to those whom she loves and whatever she does. Her wisdom is not flaunted, but sweet and subtle, just as her mother before her. However, when a conversation of depth is covered, the years of actively pursuing truth is evident, and I still call my mom to ask her how to do things and want her to be pleased with the things that I say and do. May we give thanks for the moms who raised us, or those who came alongside us to show us what it is to mother well.

 

All thanks be to God, Mom

For my own mother;

Whose wisdom and strength,

Led like no other.

As she sought advice,

Her wisdom and grace;

Showed me how to live,

To run well, my race.

Thank You, dear Jesus,

For this precious gift;

For my loving Mom,

All praise to You, lift.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that as we seek advice and instruction from You, You give us wisdom. Thank You for my mom and her mom before her that have modeled this so beautifully for me. Please bless and keep her today and always, as she is a treasure that I am so grateful to have in my life. Forgive us for not seeking You for advice and instruction, and teach us to remember that all wisdom that lasts, comes from You. Show us how to love and appreciate those whom You have placed in our path to both parent us, and for us to do the same. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we seek wisdom and instruction from You, so that we might be wise in the ways that You are calling us to go. Amen.

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

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

Lift My Eyes

I lift my eyes up to the mountains – where does my help come from? My help comes from the Lord, the Maker of heaven and earth. – (Psalm 121:1-2, NIV)

I look up to the mountains; does my strength come from mountains? No, my strength comes from God, who made heaven, and earth, and mountains. – (Psalm 121:1-2, MSG)

 

While driving my Mom back to her home on the eastern side of our state, I was reminded anew that I never grow weary of taking in the view. I am in awe as I see the sight of the snow-capped peaks, the trees that are nearly new again – despite serious devastation due to fire, and it is impossible not to recognize the hand of God in all of the beauty that surrounds along the journey. The very same God that made all that we see, is close and personal, as He protects and provides for us. His hand has been abundantly evident over this past week, as my Mom is recovering from a horrific car accident that could have been far worse. Though her car was a total loss, she sustained only bruises and soreness, which is miraculous, considering the speed at which the other driver was doing when he barreled into her lane on a sharp corner. Our help comes from Him – the very same One who created all; as He helps and protects. May we ever keep our eyes looking up, so that we do not miss all of the mighty works of His hands.

 

As I lift my eyes,Lift My Eyes

Such sights to behold;

Beauty created,

His glory is told.

The very same strength,

That made mountains rise;

Comes alongside us,

Our hope realized.

Let’s lift up our eyes,

In awe, see the view;

As our Creator,

Will be our strength too.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You are our Source of strength and help. Thank You that You, who made the heavens and earth, see each of us where we are and are willing to help us and grant us strength. Forgive us for looking to anything or anyone other than You for strength, as You are our help and our hope. Thank You that You often send people alongside us to encourage and walk with us too. Teach us to trust You more, so that we would seek You for the strength we need in all circumstances. Show us how to love well those around us, so that we might strengthen and encourage as You call us to do. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we lift our eyes up to You and seek You for strength and help. Amen.

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

The joy of the Lord is your strength. – Nehemiah 8:10

Deep Love Covers Sin

Above all, love each other deeply, because love covers over a multitude of sins. – (1 Peter 4:8, NIV)

Most important of all, love each other deeply, because love makes you willing to forgive many sins. – (1 Peter 4:8, ERV)

 

When we love deeply, we have a greater capacity to forgive. The greatest example I know of this sort of love in my own life, is the love I have for my children. Though I am flawed and far from perfect, I am loved by God, and love my children with all that I am. When they make mistakes or choose to do foolish or rebellious things, I do not love them any less. In their space of being stuck, I come alongside them and correct or redirect in love, and do not hold their errors against them.

Christ has done so much more for us. Every single sin we’ve ever done is washed away with our acceptance of His love for us. When we choose Him, His love covers all of our sin and shame, and makes us acceptable before the Father. Additionally, He grants us the capacity to love others with His love, so that we too, might forgive others as we have been forgiven. May we go forth and love each other deeply, so that we are willing to forgive one another, just as we have been forgiven. As we choose to do as Christ has done for us, love wins.

 

Most importantly,Acceptance As We Acknowledge

let love lead the way;

with one another,

all of each new day.

For love’s great power,

covers over sin;

it helps us forgive,

it is how love wins.

So let us each choose,

deeply love others;

give grace and forgive,

sisters and brothers.

As we love as Christ,

so many shall see;

what love truly is,

and how to be free.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You love us deeply, and You love for us covers all of our sin as we accept what You have done for us. Thank You that the very same love that You give to us, You place in our hearts to pass on to one another. Forgive us for not loving one another as You designed us to love. Teach us to trust You more, so that we will rely on Your loving kindness and grace to cover over the things that we think we are unable to get past. Help us to forgive others as we have been forgiven. Show us how to love relentlessly and deeply, so that others may come to know Your grace through the You in us. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we love each other deeply, because love covers a multitude of sins. Amen.

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

Taste and see that the Lord is good; blessed is the man who takes refuge in Him. – Psalm 34:8

 

The God of All Comfort

He comforts us every time we have trouble so that when others have trouble, we can comfort them with the same comfort God gives us. – (2 Corinthians 1:4, ERV)

 

I am always amazed to watch and see how God brings beauty from ashes. From the places of so much pain and brokenness, He can bring strength and wholeness that were never before imagined. Often, it is from the very place of pain where a person has come, that God leads the one whom He has freed, to be one to walk beside another stuck in a similar space. No one can know and understand the heartache and the hurt quite like one who has traveled the very same road. May we each be available and willing to allow the God of all comfort to use all of our ashes to bring forth beauty in the broken.

 

Just as God comforts,Faith and Hope in Action

us when we’re in pain;

so we are too called,

to bless in His Name.

To walk alongside,

those on the same road;

we’ve traveled before,

to show the way home.

Home to perfect peace,

in His strength and grace;

ashes to beauty,

as we seek His face.

May we give comfort,

as God has for us;

and point to the One,

our Healer, Jesus.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that comfort us every time that we have trouble, and because of Your comfort, we in turn, can comfort others in You. Thank You that You bring beauty from our ashes as we are willing to walk beside others on similar roads and share our stories. Thank You that this is but one of the ways that You work all things together for good for those who love You. Forgive us for allowing the weight of our burdens to begin to break us, and help us to hand them all to You. Teach us to trust You more, so that You may bring Your comfort, strength and endurance to see us through to the place where all of the ugliness has been worn away, and what remains, is something beautiful. Lead us to share of Your faithfulness in love, and may many come to trust in You as a result. Be glorified O God, as we receive Your comfort so that we can in turn, go forth and comfort others. Amen.

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

They will celebrate Your abundant goodness and joyfully sing of Your righteousness. – Psalm 145:7