Prepare

For we are God’s handiwork, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, in which God prepared in advance for us to do. – (Ephesians 2:10, NIV)

God has made us what we are. In Christ Jesus, God made us new people so that we would spend our lives doing the good things He had already planned for us to do. – (Ephesians 2:10, ERV)

For we are the product of His hand, heaven’s poetry etched on lives, created in the Anointed, Jesus, to accomplish the good works God arranged long ago. – (Ephesians 2:10, VOICE)

 

As the calendar turns another page and we are now making our way into December, the word that keeps coming to my heart and mind, is “prepare”. I did a quick biblical word study, and discovered that the many mentions of preparing or preparation were for battles, arrivals, departures, deaths, feasts, sacrifices, celebrations and ceremonies. In each instance, those preparing were the ones whom had been called. The tenth verse of the second chapter of Ephesians, helps us recognize that we all have been called, created and prepared to do good works that God has planned for us. It is not difficult to find places where good is needed during this holy season, and we are each meant to step in and offer what we have to give – be it our time, our talents or our resources. Our heart is what requires preparation the most frequently, as the distractions all around us can dull our awareness to the places we have been prepared to extend good. May we slow down often in this sacred season, to prepare our hearts, so that we are ready and available to do the good things that God has for us to do.

 

This sacred season,Prepare

May we rise, prepare;

Set our hearts on good,

And how we can share.

For we’re created,

Each of us prepared;

With plan and purpose,

In God’s loving care.

Let us each choose seek,

So that we may find;

The good we can do,

In love for mankind.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that in the same way You prepared each one of us with a plan and a purpose, may we too, prepare our hearts this season, to walk out the good that You have for us to give. Thank You that we all have something to offer, be it our time, talent or resources. Forgive us for the times that we think we have nothing to give, or we neglect to slow down and look for ways to extend Your heart to others in this sacred season. Teach us to take time to listen to Your leading, and to be willing to walk out whatever You ask of us. Show us how to love those around us in tangible and practical ways this season, that make Your goodness and grace evident. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we prepare our hearts in the same way that You prepared each of us, to do good and represent You well. Amen.

 

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

 

Show me Your ways, Lord, teach me Your paths. – Psalm 25:4

A Loving Warrior

For the Lord your God is living among you. He is a mighty Savior. He will take delight in you with gladness. With His love, He will calm all Your fears. He will rejoice over you with joyful songs. – (Zephaniah 3:17, NLT)

The Lord your God is with you. He is like a powerful soldier. He will save you. He will show how much He loves you and how happy He is with you. He will laugh and be happy about you. – (Zephaniah 3:17, ERV)

Your God is present among you, a strong Warrior there to save you. Happy to have you back, He’ll calm you with His love and delight you with His songs. – (Zephaniah 3:17, MSG)

 

It amazes me how often the verse of the day on my Bible application, is exactly the reminder I need. This morning, as I am on the other side of the mountains from mom and prepare to head back to work for a few days before returning to her after having not set foot in my classroom in nearly three weeks, I am more than a little nervous. Fortunately, I am comfortable about mom because my sister is there with her, and am able to be present with my family at home. Yesterday morning, I actually woke myself up from dreaming, as I had been telling my students about what had happened, and why I had been gone so long. Clearly returning to my classes has weighed heavily on my heart, and the unknown can be a bit of a fearful space. That being said, the past several weeks of my life have been nothing but unknowns. When we first drove to Wenatchee to mom in the hospital, we did not know the shape that she would be in. We knew not what the road to recovery and restoration would have in store, nor the timeline that would be required. Even now, we do not fully know the answers, however, God does. Even in this, we have found joy. There has been laughter, and smiles, gladness and delight. Peace and calm have come when they did not seem possible, and really did not make sense.

Mom continues to work tirelessly in each therapy session, and that which used to be the most frustration for her, is now becoming an area where she is seeing the most rapid growth and gratification. Speech therapy works not only on word recognition, cognition, reading, memory, logic and the like, but they are also working on strengthening her vocal cords. One of the things the stroke affected was the power of mom’s voice. Typically outgoing with a boisterous and jovial voice, the stroke left her quite soft-spoken. Her vocal work in speech therapy is helping her find the power in her voice again. We share many giggles in the process.

In all of this, God is with us, a present, loving warrior, battling on our behalf, loving us through the process as He calms our fears. May we ever trust in the One who delights in us, and listen to the songs He sings over us with joy.

 

The Lord is present, Bold Grace

Ever He is near;

Loving warrior,

We’ve nothing to fear.

With our God for us,

He’ll hold us upright;

Fighting our battles,

All day and all night.

Choose trust in the One,

Whose love grants us peace;

And sings over us,

Delightful release.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You for being both our loving Savior and mighty Warrior. Thank You that You delight in us and sing over us, granting us peace in our spaces of fear. Forgive us for our fear of the unknown and unexplainable; for You already know the outcome and have a plan and a purpose for all. Teach us to trust the truth of Your word, that Your plans are to prosper and not to harm, to give a hope and a future. Show us how to love those around us well, so that Your loving strength shines through us clearly. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we rise up and receive the covering You provide for us in Your strength and love. Amen.

 

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

 

The Lord gives strength to His people; the Lord blesses His people with peace. – Psalm 29:11

Countless Expressions of Love

Many, Lord my God, are the wonders You have done, the things You planned for us. None can compare with You; were I to speak and tell of Your deeds, they would be too many to declare. – (Psalm 40:5, NIV)

Lord my God, You have done many amazing things! You have made great plans for us – too many to list. I could talk on and on about them, because there are too many to count. – (Psalm 40:5, ERV)

O Lord, our God, no one can compare with You. Such wonderful works and miracles are all found with You! And You think of us all the time with Your countless expressions of love – far exceeding our expectations! – (Psalm 40:5, TPT)

 

Whenever I pause to reflect on the wonders God has done, I stand in awe of the love and faithfulness He has shown me. As a visual learner, I have a tremendous appreciation for tangible reminders of God’s faithfulness – be it in writing, some sort of visual or the imagining of the altars of stone that were made so long ago to commemorate God faithfully seeing His people through a variety of challenges. Saturday, I had a tangible visual placed in my daily sight line, as a reminder of all that He has done. “The dragonfly has been a symbol of happiness, new beginnings and change for many centuries. The dragonfly means hope, change and love.” (- Why the Dragonfly) For me, in my life, this is the epitome of what God has done in my life. Knowing the symbolism behind the dragonfly, I have been gently reminded of His faithfulness to me at some incredibly pivotal times over the last few years. It seemed everywhere I went, I would see beautifully colorful dragonflies; overseas, out of state, and locally. After life took a turn that I had never imagined, God walked me through and brought me to a place of change, happiness and new beginnings. Where hope had been dashed, it was renewed. Where love had been lost, it has been gifted to me in ways I never thought possible. God works wonderful miracles in ways we would never think possible. His blessings far exceed what we would hope for when we trust in Him. May we ever seek the Lord and give thanks for the wonders He has done, for none can compare to the Lord.

 

God’s great faithfulness, fb_img_15485608179591346201081960421969.jpg

To none can compare;

Wherever we are,

God will meet us there.

In the deepest depths,

Or on mountain top;

His love, unfailing,

Grace that will not stop.

Beyond all His love,

His blessings abound;

Our Grantor of hope,

Where new life is found.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You for Your goodness and grace and Your unending faithfulness throughout all our days. Thank You that no matter what comes, You are faithful to be with and see us through in ways far greater than we could have thought possible. Forgive us for losing sight of who You are and how You love, when we are in the heat of our own battles. Teach us to trust You more and continue to show us tangible reminders of Your goodness and faithfulness throughout all our days. Show us how to love those around us, according to Your good and perfect will. May we be a blessing that is an extension of Your hands and heart to those in need of Your touch. May many come into a lasting relationship with You.  Be glorified O God, as we give praise for who You are and how You love, and remember the new that You bring us into. Amen.

 

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

 

Guide me in Your truth and teach me, for You are God my Savior, and my hope is in You all day long. – Psalm 25:5

Restoration

Dear friend, I pray that you may enjoy good health and all that may go well with you, even as your soul is getting along well. – (3 John 1:2, NIV) 

Dear friend, I am praying that all is well with you and that your body is as healthy as I know your soul is. – (3 John 1:2, TLB) 

Beloved friend, I pray that you are prospering in every way and that you continually enjoy good health, just as your soul is prospering. – (3 John 1:2, TPT) 

 

Just as John’s words were an encouragement to Gaius, may they also be an encouragement to each of us. Often, the condition of our soul carries with it a seeming sort of boost for our physical health as well. However, I know this is not always the case, as I am acquainted with a handful of faithful believers who are fighting horribly difficult and serious battles with their health. It is my prayer that healing would come and health would be fully restored this side of heaven. May it be well with our souls as we seek our Savior for all things – body, heart, soul and mind. 

 

O Lord, as I pray,

Twin Falls, on the way to Hana.

May I keep in mind; 

Your faithful in need, 

Bring health, as designed. 

May things all be well, 

Mind, body and heart; 

As we seek Your face, 

Make illness depart. 

You are the Healer, 

Of all misaligned; 

Please heal and restore, 

Each heart, soul and mind. 

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that we are encouraged in our faith and that You are the Healer of each part of us, Your created. Thank You that You hear every prayer. Forgive us for not seeking You to contend for those who need healing as often as we should. Bring to our minds all those to lift up before You and teach us to pray as You would have us pray. Show us how to love those around us in tangible and practical ways. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we thank You for all of the goodness that You have granted in our lives. Amen.

 

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

 

Finally, brothers and sisters, rejoice! Strive for full restoration, encourage one another, be of one mind, live in peace. And the God of love and peace be with you. – 2 Corinthians 13:11

 

 

Faithful Beyond What We Can Fathom

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 know that in everything God works for the good of those who love Him. These are the people God chose, because that was His plan. – (Romans 8:28, ERV)

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)

 

Though I have seen and experienced this to be true again and again in my life, I still struggle when I cannot see how good could possibly come in the midst of difficulty. What I have to look at is not whether or not I see how good may come forth, but rather ask myself if I am walking out my purpose to which I have been called. I love God and know that which I have been called to do to live according to His plan. In that, I have to trust that He will be faithful to bring good from the battles and beauty where all seems to be in ashes. May we ever place our confident hope in He who is faithful, and trust Him to work everything together for good as we love Him and seek to walk out our purpose according to His will.

 

Let us have great faith, How Impossible Becomes Possible

As we love the Lord;

For He works all things,

For those who adore.

As we choose to trust,

He’s faithful to do;

What He has promised,

For His word is true.

In Him, good shall come,

Despite what we see;

He’s faithful always,

His love brings beauty.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You work everything out for our ultimate good as we love and trust in You. Forgive us for not trusting You beyond what we see and help us to know that You are faithful forever to those who love You and seek to do Your will. Teach us to trust You more, so that we would trust You for the good that is yet to come, rather than fixing our eyes on the struggle we are in. Show us how to love and encourage those around us so that they may trust You in the ultimate outcome of all situations and circumstances. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we trust in Your faithfulness to bring good, even when we cannot fathom how it will be so. 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

Anticipate God’s Goodness

We can rejoice, too, when we run into problems and trials, for we know that they help us develop endurance. And endurance develops strength of character, and character strengthens our confident hope of salvation. – (Romans 5:3-4, NLT)

And we are also happy with the troubles we have. Why are we happy with troubles? Because we know that those troubles make us more patient. And this patience is proof that we are strong. And this proof gives us hope. – (Romans 5:3-4, ERV)

And that’s not all. We also celebrate in seasons of suffering because we know that when we suffer we develop endurance, which shapes our characters. When our characters are refined, we learn what it means to hope and anticipate God’s goodness. – (Romans 5:3-4, VOICE)

 

Though all three versions say essentially the same thing, the last part of verse four from the VOICE, really spoke to my heart. It has been an extremely long week in the classroom for me, as I am adjusting to new curriculum, which honestly requires hours of preparation each day, learning how to best help and work with new students, an Open House at the start of the week, (which made for a 14+ hour day), and have had to respond to some serious behavioral challenges that came up in class as the week unfolded. I do not think that I can say that I am rejoicing about the trials, but I am able to see the patience and refining that God is doing through the process, and I find myself hoping for and anticipating God’s goodness through it all. What I know is that I cannot do it all in my own strength. With Him, all things are possible, and great things can be accomplished. Hearts can be changed and minds can be renewed. He has placed me with phenomenal team members who teach the same subject and grade level. Together, we are working to navigate through the new, and the time it takes to discern what needs to be taught and how to best do so, is divided. Additionally, there are extraordinary staff members in roles that mentor, support, encourage and teach the kiddos who are struggling both academically and/or behaviorally, so that they can learn, grow and experience successes in and out of the classroom. May we ever look to the Lord with gratitude for the endurance and strength of character He develops within us, even if we are not yet in a space of celebrating our struggles. May we see the hope that is held in Him, and anticipate God’s goodness as He moves among us.

 

Troubles and trials, Delivering Dreams

Though never much fun;

Serve hearts with purpose,

As battles are won.

These things bring patience,

And patience will show;

The strength from the Lord,

As we learn and we grow.

In this refining,

We learn what it means;

To anticipate,

God’s goodness indeed.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that as we go through trials and troubles, You develop patience and endurance within us. Thank You that strength and hope grow as our characters are refined, and we learn what it truly means to hope and anticipate Your goodness. Forgive us for our frustration with our circumstances. Teach us to press into You, ever seeking and depending on You for strength in the struggles, as You are our Source. Show us how to love well, those around us who are struggling, and how to give strength and hope where there is none to be found. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we rejoice in the refining and development of our character that takes place in our trials, and look forward with hope as we anticipate Your goodness that is yet to come. 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

Present With Me

I know the Lord is always with me. I will not be shaken, for He is right beside me. – (Psalm 16:8, NLT)

I always remember that the Lord is with me. He is here, close by my side, so nothing can defeat me. – (Psalm 16:8, ERV)

He is ever present with me; at all times He goes before me. I will not live in fear or abandon my calling because He stands at my right hand. – (Psalm 16:8, VOICE)

 

The one thing that we can count on in life, is change. No matter how much we want the world around us to stay the same, there are variables that we cannot control, and change is inevitable. Often the change that we fear the most, challenges us and grows us the most. If we remember who goes before us and is present with us, regardless of what lies ahead, we will not be shaken to the point of no return. Some of the most beautiful transformations take place in dark and uncomfortable spaces. Incredibly, what emerges at the end of the press, is a thing of beauty, strength, and new life. God does this with us too. This new school year that lies before me is full of change. We have new administrators, many new staff members, and I will be in a new teaching position. I am not necessarily fearful, but am a bit reluctant, as I know not what lies ahead in this unknown. What I have to remember is who goes before me, and why I do what I do. May we ever trust the Lord and His presence in the places and spaces that we are called to walk, knowing that He will go before us and never leave us, even in the new and unknown.

 

The Lord is with me, Present With Me

Wherever I go;

He goes before me,

This truth, I do know.

He’ll stay by my side,

No matter what comes;

I need never fear,

All battles, He’s won.

Let us choose rise up,

In faith, move ahead;

Answer all He asks,

Do all He has said.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You are always with us. Thank You that we will not be shaken because You will remain beside us. Forgive us for our fears or for the moments we move away from that which we’ve been called to do. Teach us how to trust You and Your presence more. Show us how to love those around us in a way that strengthens and encourages others to be all that You have made them to be. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we go forth without fear, trusting Your presence every step that we take. 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

Run With Purpose

So I run with purpose in every step. I am not just shadowboxing. – (1 Corinthians 9:26, NLT)

So I run like someone who has a goal. I fight like a boxer who is hitting something, not just the air. – (1 Corinthians 9:26, ERV)

I don’t know about you, but I’m running hard for the finish line. I’m giving it everything I’ve got. No sloppy living for me! I’m staying alert and in top condition. – (1 Corinthians 9:26, MSG)

 

Why a verse about running? Running is in the forefront of my mind. Tomorrow I leave to head north for my fourth Ragnar Relay. Ragnar is a twelve-person, 200 mile relay, that begins early Friday morning, and ends sometime on Saturday afternoon as the final team crosses the finish line. Hundreds of teams participate, and there is an incredibly supportive and festive atmosphere throughout the entire event. Each member runs three separate legs, varying in length, depending on experience, preference and physical condition. As a repeat Ragnarian and an avid fitness fanatic, I will be running leg eleven, which is one of the longest and most grueling legs, for which I earn a bonus medal. The thing I love about running is that it is a reminder of our spiritual life. If we are consistent in our training, (time in the word, time on the road/gym) we are prepared for obstacles that come our way. Though the uphills and battles may be unpleasant, when we are trained, we are able to fight through them and dig deep and lean into Him. May we ever run our race with purpose, every step we take. Each moment matters, as He has a plan and a purpose for all of His created.

 

Each one of us called,Run With Purpose

With purpose to run;

Towards the call given,

’til our days are done.

We’re meant to stay sharp,

To train, be alert;

Ever at ready,

To do the Lord’s work.

May we choose be fit,

Trained up in His word;

With strength and resolve,

To do as we’ve heard.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You for the gift of running. Thank You for the parallels that You show me as I go. Thank You that training is essential in all things, and that is our reminder of how critical it is to spend time with You. Forgive us for attempting to run without purpose, or going out without being equipped with the time we need with You. Teach us to invest our time where it matters most, so that our hearts, minds and bodies are best prepared for whatever You ask of us. Show us how to love others well, so that they may see and know Your heart for them. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we celebrate the strength that You give our bodies, and give You praise for the great things that You will do. 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

Prepare and Trust

Do your best, prepare for the worst – then trust God to bring victory. – (Proverbs 21:31, MSG)

Go ahead and prepare for conflict, but victory comes from God. – (Proverbs 21:31, TLB)

 

When we know a trial or struggle stands before us, we are called to rise up and do what we can do. However, ultimately, we must trust God to provide the strength and success in whatever we are facing, as He is the Rock on which we can stand. May we rise up and ready our hearts for whatever lies before us, trusting that God is our victor, and He has the very best for us as we forge forward in faith.

 

The battles will come,Healed Hands Reach Out

Of this, rest assured;

But do not lose heart,

Success is secured.

For we need not fret,

In the heat of mess;

If we trust the Lord,

And give it our best.

Whatever we lack,

The Lord has and more;

So rise up in faith,

See what is in store.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You meet us in our need, no matter what we are facing. Thank You that You call us to prepare for the worst and trust for the best. Thank You that in all things, You are present with us, seeing us through. Forgive us for our lack of faith when we cannot clearly see evidence of Your hands. Teach us to trust You more, so that we would seek You in every moment of each day, knowing that You are with us and for us.  Show us how to love and support those that You place in our path so that they might see You through our words and deeds. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we prepare and trust in the goodness of You. 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

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The Scope of Suffering

Suffering is a natural part of our human existence. Sinful and broken people cause harm that results in adversity, as well as the mere existence of illness and disease that also provide places of pain, distress and hardship. We are not promised a life that is free from suffering, but rather we have hope and help for comfort and strength in the midst of our struggles, and the hope that is held in the promise of that which is yet to come.

In His kindness God called you to share in His eternal glory by means of Christ Jesus. So after you have suffered a little while, He will restore, support, and strengthen you, and He will place you on a firm foundation. – (1 Peter 5:10, NLT)

Hardship and suffering seem to be seasonal. We go through seasons of struggle and seasons of blessing. In our most challenging times, God affords us the opportunity to seek Him and find Him in ways that we never have before. When we do, we come to know His strength, power and presence, in a tangible way, and recognize the hope we hold in Him. Though the suffering and struggles are never pleasant, they are the spaces in which we grow most, and if we are willing, God can use our trials to touch and encourage the lives of others to draw them closer to Himself. May we recognize the kindness of God, even in the midst of our storms, as He has called us to share in His eternal glory forever. Let His love lead us, as He restores, supports and strengthens us, again setting our feet on His firm foundation so that we may walk wherever He calls.

The God of all grace,Hold My Heart

has called unto us;

to forever trust,

His own Son, Jesus.

For in suffering,

our hope is made known;

as we’re granted strength,

by God on the throne.

He stays by our side,

no matter how rough;

the battle we face,

our God is enough.

He’ll set our feet sure,

both firm and steadfast;

and our hope in Him,

forever shall last.

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that despite the suffering and trials that all of us endure at one point or another, You are present and willing to strengthen us and be our help and our hope. Thank You too that though You do not bring the trials nor suffering, You use them to grow us closer to You. Thank You that You can use even our ugliest ashes to bring beauty, hope and strength to another. Forgive us for allowing fear or anxiousness to reign in the midst of suffering and trials. Teach us to place all of our hope in You, so that we would recognize that though the suffering is for a season, glory with You will be for all of eternity. Lead us to love others with an eternal perspective, so that our desire will be that each will come into a saving knowledge of who You are and how You love. May many choose to trust in You. Be glorified O God, as we trust You to restore us, strengthen us and make us firm and steadfast for You, despite our trials. Amen.

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

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