Through the Valleys and Highest Peaks

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)

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)

 

This is the truth. Though the things we walk through may not be good, God can bring good out of our experiences. He will take our difficulties and direct our steps, demonstrating to us, just how much strength that He has deposited within our hearts for such a time as this. Things we might have never noticed before, suddenly become significant and beautiful beyond what our human heart can hold.

Yesterday, I was able to plug into my church and run media, experiencing Sunday in a way that felt “normal” for the first time in a month. There is something significant about being present as our worship team warms up and runs through the songs, then witnessing the wonderful unfolding of what God has in store, in two services. The two never unfold exactly alike, and there are always morsels of the message that I can carry with me into the week, that often come back to mind in moments when the message aligns with what lies before me. It is the great unfolding of His plan, as we invest in the truth of His word. We are not promised an easy or pain-free life, but we are promised that He will never leave us nor forsake us; and He is able to work ALL THINGS toward something good. God truly does bring beauty from ashes when we allow Him in. My own life is a living testament of His faithfulness. So many times, the places of trial or heartache became the greatest sources of strength, victory and grace. God is always good, and I know He is bringing even more beauty to the life He created for my mom.

Mom enjoyed a balance of time with Megan’s family, therapies, rest, and Mark and me even were able to sneak over and surprise her for a hug and quick visit, before trading off with Meg’s fellas. It is a joy to hear the perspective of both Scott and Mark, (Meg and my spouses), as they have had large gaps in between visits with mom, so they see giant leaps in her progress, rather than the day-to-day victories that my sister and I witness. Both of our guys cannot contain their joy as they speak of the change they see in mom. Each has been instrumental in my sister’s and my ability to be with mom every day. If not for them holding down the fort and running the households back home, we would not be able to be here. May we ever remain confident in He who is able to use ALL THINGS for good, and continue to trust in Him for every step of this uncharted journey.

 

Beauty from ashes, 0515190557_hdr3238003239624041706.jpg

Great hope from despair;

Our most holy God,

Hears every prayer.

He’ll never forsake,

Nor leave us alone;

He sees all our needs,

And we each are known.

Trust that He is good,

His plan, purposeful;

Beauty from ashes,

A life meaningful.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You work all things out for good for those who love You. Thank You that even though the circumstances or struggles are not good, You bring good from the process. Thank You that You are God and we are not. Forgive us for the times that we are too blinded by our own hurt or struggle to see how You are working for our good in the midst of it. Teach us to trust You more, as You are far greater that anything that stands before us. Show us how to love those around us as we walk through the valleys and climb the highest peaks. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we trust You and praise You for the beauty You bring from ashes, and watch in anticipation for all that is yet to come. Amen.

 

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

 

…To bestow on them a crown of beauty instead of ashes, the oil of joy instead of mourning, and a garment of praise instead of a spirit of despair… – Isaiah 61:3

Compassion in Confrontations

When Jesus landed and saw a large crowd, He had compassion on them and healed their sick. – (Matthew 14:14)

 

Despite having just learned of the death of His dear cousin, John the Baptist, Jesus set aside the solitude He was seeking to mourn, and chose to heal the hurts of others instead. Christ’s compassion is so great, that He chose to set aside His own sorrow, and allow His light and life to flow into those who had not yet come to know what true love looks like. When we are suffering or stuck in a sorrowful space, we need not stand alone. For Christ, who came and experienced loss and pain and suffering far greater than our own grief, is loving and kind, and will be compassionate and close, if we call on His Name. May we remember to reach out to our Redeemer in all thing at all times, for He is compassionate and has wholeness in store for all who call on Him.

 

For Jesus has known,Compassion in Confrontations

the darkness of grief;

the anguish of loss,

the need to retreat.

Yet in His sorrow,

He kept His eyes up;

healing the hurting,

with His tender touch.

May we do likewise,

no matter what comes;

allow Christ to move,

so His will is done.

Christ calls us to love,

as He has loved us;

in kindness be near,

let Him fill each cup.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You are the God of compassion and the Healer of our souls. Thank You that You came and showed us that even in You own season of sorrow, You set aside Your space to withdraw when You saw needs that You could meet in the moment. Thank You that You modeled compassion that was not limited by circumstance. Forgive us for being blinded by our own sorrow or pain, and help us to see the needs surrounding us that You can meet through us. Teach us to trust You more, so that we will be willing and available in all things and at all times, despite what we are going through. Lead us to love with kindness and compassion, just as You so tenderly and completely love each of us. May many come into a lasting relationship with You, as they recognize the hope that is held in You alone. Be exalted O God, as we choose to convey compassion and kindness, even in the midst of our greatest confrontations. 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

On the Road to Damascus

Journey on Damascus road.

image by David Bane

image by David Bane

Heart full of a vengeful load.

Saul met Light that did explode.

He fell to the ground that day.

“Why do you persecute me?”

“Who are you Lord? I can’t see.”

“Jesus, God eternally.”

“Get up now, be on your way.”

Companions stood there speechless.

As his sight was now reachless.

They led him off, the teachless.

To Damascus for three days.

God spoke to Ananias.

“But Lord, he wants to fry us!”

“Go heal and teach of Jesus.

And he’ll turn and change his ways.”

In obedience he went.

Saul knew he was heaven sent.

With healing he did repent.

And then gave God all his praise.

WIth the scales gone from his eyes,

he was baptized, turned from lies.

God equipped him to be wise.

To God, his whole life he raised.

(Responding to Acts 9:1-19)

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that while we were yet sinners, You interrupted our space of being stuck to show us Your grace.  Thank You that it is Your love that lights our path and pulls us out of the miry muck.  Forgive us for forgetting or taking for granted the gifts of grace and guidance You give to us.  Please help us to hear Your heart, and be quick to do as You ask.  Teach us to trust You more in all things and at all times.  May our obedient movement make room for many to come to know You as Hope and Healer.  Amen.

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