Peace in Turbulence

But as for me, it is good to be near God. I have made the Sovereign Lord my refuge; I will tell of all Your deeds. – (Psalm 73:28, NIV)

But as for me, I get as close to Him as I can! I have chosen Him, and I will tell everyone about the wonderful ways He rescues me. – (Psalm 73:28, TLB)

But the closer I am to You, my God, the better because life with You is good. O Lord, the Eternal, You keep me safe – I will tell everyone what You have done. – (Psalm 73:28, MSG)

 

God is our faithful space of safety, and it is so good to know He is near. I am not the biggest fan of flying, and on our return trip from our honeymoon, we had to fly all the way across the U.S., broken into two connecting flights. As we were about to land in Phoenix, the plane barely touched the front wheels to the ground, then lifted off again. There had been more turbulence than my stomach appreciates and the very idea of having to go up and come down again was a bit overwhelming. The plane bounced around as we made another loop, changing altitudes less than smoothly, and all I could do was close my eyes and breathe, as I prayed for the landing to come quickly. Not normally one who perspires, my entire back was drenched as we circled around. Because we were in the bulkhead row, a flight attendant was seated adjacent me, facing us. He let us know what had happened, and was in communication with the cockpit. Soon the captain came over the speakers and announced what had transpired with the promise of an actual landing coming soon. Though my body was not pleased with the turbulence, my mind found peace in God’s presence and in the hand of my husband beside me. We safely landed, and I could not have been happier to get off that plane and stand on solid ground. Thankfully, our second flight, an hour later, was uneventful. May we ever trust in the Lord, be it in turbulence or in calm, for He is faithful to be near to all who call on Him.

 

A life with the Lord, fb_img_1533560993920686939278845347391.jpg

Brings promise of peace;

Though turmoil does come,

So too, His relief.

The Lord God is good,

Despite circumstance;

He holds us all up,

Gives reason to dance.

Though turbulent times,

Will happen, it’s clear;

God’s peace will be ours,

As we choose draw near.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that life with You is good. Thank You that You are our safety and our peace, no matter what comes our way. Forgive us for our fearfulness in the turmoil. Teach us to trust You more, so that we would rest our heart in Your hands as You are our Protector and Provider of peace. Show us how to love those around us in a way that demonstrates Your faithfulness and grace. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we draw ever closer to You, our faithful space of safety forever. Amen.

 

© Shannon Elizabeth (Moreno) 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

Set Down Our Stones

“Let anyone of you who is without sin be the first to throw a stone at her.” – (John 8:7b, NIV)

“Whoever hasn’t sinned should throw the first stone.” – (John 8:7b, CEB)

“Let the first stone be thrown by the one among you who has not sinned.” – (John 8:7b, VOICE)

 

This particular story recorded in the book of John, is one of the amazing goodness and grace of Jesus. A woman who was caught in sin was brought before Jesus by the Pharisees, as they hoped to trap Jesus and condemn the woman. When Jesus spoke these words to those who accused her, one by one, they dropped their rocks and walked away. Each one knew that they too had sinned and did not qualify as sinless to hurl stones. I imagine we all have certain offenses against us that make our blood boil, however, when we slow down, breathe and reflect, we have to recognize that we are also offenders of others, even if it is without intent to harm. Sometimes it is the words that escape our mouths, other times it is our actions, or often even worse, our inactions, that are among our own sins. It is critical that we deal with our own sin, rather than try to manage that of another. Granted, there are roles that we are called to fill where it is our job to help others navigate a life of obedience, but even then, it is not by throwing stones that we correct, but rather through conversation, consequence and redirection. May we look to the example of Jesus when the offenses of others are brought before us, for not one of us is free from sin.

 

The stones in our hands, Set Down Our Stones

We must choose set down;

As we all have sinned,

We’ve made our own mound.

A mountain of rocks,

Where our own sins lie;

Each one forgiven,

Love never denied.

Let us do likewise,

Forgive each other;

Demonstrate God’s grace,

To one another.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You give us incredible examples of Your forgiveness and grace, though they are not deserved. Thank You that we all are in need of mercy and grace, as not one of us is without sin. Forgive us for holding stones in our hands, ready to throw, rather than slowing down to look at our own lives and recognize that we too have reason to receive retribution for our own offenses. Teach us to trust You more, so that we would set down our stones and seek Your strength and grace to extend to those around us. Show us how to love others with the same mercy, grace and goodness that You extend to us in our own spaces of need. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we set our stones in Your hands, and receive the goodness that You give in their place to extend to those around us. 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

Rest Enters In

I must calm down and turn to God; He is my only hope. – (Psalm 62:5, ERV)

Yes, my soul finds rest in God; my hope comes from Him. – (Psalm 62:5, NIV)

My soul quietly waits for the True God alone because I hope only in Him. – (Psalm 62:5, VOICE)

I am standing in absolute stillness, silent before the One I love, waiting as long as it takes for Him to rescue me. Only God is my Savior, and He will not fail me. – (Psalm 62:5, TPT)

 

It is easy to get caught up in the chaos of life. This time of year, it seems as if days are on fast forward, and there is barely time to breathe. Our hope and strength and rest in this space are found in God alone. When we calm down and turn to God, and in absolute stillness are silent before Him, we become acutely aware of His presence and provision, and that He is Lord of all. Though we fall short and fail, He will not. His love endures forever. All that we need, He will provide, if we trust and wait on Him, and listen to His leading. May we each make space to slow down and quietly wait on the Lord, for in Him there is hope and He is where we find true rest.

 

Be silent, my soul, wp-1522150974280316262713.jpg

In quiet, just wait;

For rest’s found in God,

Do not hesitate.

He’s always faithful,

All hope comes from Him;

When we seek, we find,

His rest enters in.

In gentle stillness,

Choose wait on the Lord;

Hope is provided,

Through rest He affords.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that when we come to You and wait quietly before You, we find rest and hope in You. Thank You that You rescue us from our chaos, and that Your love never fails. Forgive us for not slowing down to seek Your face. Please show us Your nearness for all of our days. Help us to grasp the hope that is found in You alone. Show us how to love those around us in a way that brings peace into chaos and hope where there has been none. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we slow down and quietly wait on You, because You alone are the One in whom we hope. Amen.

 

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

 

He who refreshes others will himself be refreshed. – Proverbs 11:25

Answers in Love

Answer me, Lord, out of the goodness of Your love; in Your great mercy turn to me. – (Psalm 69:16, NIV)

Answer me, Lord, from the goodness of Your faithful love. Out of Your great kindness turn to me and help me! – (Psalm 69:16, ERV)

Now answer me, God, because You love me; Let me see You great mercy full-face. – (Psalm 69:16, MSG)

 

God’s mercy and grace are always at the ready, because of His great love for us. Yesterday was one of those days where I was acutely aware of His goodness and faithful love for me. The morning was a bit of a rough start with a sick kiddo at home, students were very much out of sort, and news of disease destroying bodies of dear ones, could have set the day for complete disaster. Thankfully, in His kindness, God was with me. Calm covered me, when chaos could have reigned. Peace was present, where turmoil tried to rise. Despite the struggles of the day, His love is what led the way. That is not to say that I did not have to pause to breathe in grace, for surely without it the day would have gone far differently. However, in the goodness of His faithful love, mercy and grace were given to me, so that I could do the same. May we ever seek the Lord and His loving kindness, as He is faithful to meet us with His mercy.

 

When chaos tries reign, 0109181835_15155887641285679451.jpg

The Lord, He is near;

Full of His mercy,

His love is made clear.

He answers each call,

In kindness, He turns;

With help, He’s ready,

As goodness is learned.

So great is His love,

That shows us His grace;

Hears each cry for help,

As we seek His face.

So call on the Lord,

He is ever near;

His love overwhelms,

As mercy’s made clear.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You answer us in Your great mercy and love when we seek You. Thank You that in Your faithfulness and kindness, You help us. Forgive us for not seeking You in our struggles, or not giving You proper praise for the help You provide. Teach us to trust You more, as You are our help and our hope, and faithful forever. Show us how to extend the very same kindness, love and mercy that we’ve been given to those around us, that we’ve been given by You. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we seek You to receive mercy because of Your goodness and faithful love, so that we may offer the same to others. 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

A Moment to Mark the Season

For a child is born to us, a son is given to us. The government will rest on His shoulders. And He will be called: Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace. – (Isaiah 9:6, NLT)

This will happen when the special child is born. God will give us a son who will be responsible for leading the people. His Name will be “Wonderful Counselor, Powerful God, Father Who Lives Forever, Prince of Peace.” – (Isaiah 9:6, ERV)

For a child has been born – for us! The gift of a son – for us! He’ll take over the running of the world. His Names will be: Amazing Counselor, Strong Father, Eternal Father, Prince of Wholeness. – (Isaiah 9:6, MSG)

 

My boys had their Christmas music concert last night, and the director said something that really resonated true with me. He declared that as the choir and alumni joined in the singing of Silent Night with the procession of concert choir members off of the stage and to the back of the auditorium, tonight, just as in each year prior, that moment seems to mark the start of the season in his heart. As my son, his classmates, and a number of other beautifully trained voices joined in such a hauntingly sweet a cappella version of the familiar, I understood clearly what he was saying. Being seated between those whom I love, and listening to my son sing and his twin brother play the viola beautifully with the orchestra, it all made sense. I too have a bit of a moment on the final day of school before Christmas break, when I can at long last breathe, and slow down in full awe and wonder of the real reason for the season. It is as if I am gifted a pause button as we send off our students with cheerful farewells, knowing that the things I love most about the season can be soaked in and mulled over now, rather than merely glimpsed at the usual race pace. May we each find moments to take pause and remember the real reason for this wonderful season, as the child born to us became our Wonderful Counselor, our Mighty God, our Everlasting Father, and our precious Prince of Peace.

 

Let us remember, 1214171825a1647878590.jpg

This season of cheer;

Why we celebrate,

Is God who came near.

He came as a babe,

So mild and meek;

Yet overcame all,

To help when we seek.

Our great Counselor,

Father forever;

Our most Mighty God,

His peace ends, never.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You for sending Your Son to us to lead us and become our Wonderful Counselor, our Mighty God, our Everlasting Father and our Prince of Peace. Thank You that You are so much more than we can hope or imagine, if we simply turn in trust to You. Forgive us for forgetting just how mighty You are, and how deeply Your love flows for each of us. Teach us to trust You more, so that we would slow down and recognize the remarkable reason that we celebrate this season. Show us how to love those around us well, so that they too may have milestones that help set the season in their hearts. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we give You all of our praise and adoration this most holy season, and let us again recognize in awe and wonder, all that You have done for us. Amen.

 

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

 

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

Gentle Answers Abolish Anger

A gentle answer turns away wrath, but a harsh word stirs up anger. – (Proverbs 15:1, NIV)

A gentle answer makes anger disappear, but a rough answer makes it grow. – (Proverbs 15:1, ERV)

A tender answer turns away rage, but a prickly reply spikes anger. – (Proverbs 15:1, VOICE)

 

God has placed me in a field where I have the opportunity to put this truth into practice daily. Teens tend to have short fuses, and carry frustration until it finds a foothold so large, that it can no longer be contained. The vast majority of the time, I find that if I speak calm, kind words, and give the student room to have a voice, (appropriately) whatever anger had begun to rage, begins to dissipate as quickly as it had onset. It is no different for adults. When we are already riled up about something, how someone interacts with us, matters. If we are treated with kindness and gentleness, whatever spiked our fury, somehow lessens, and rational thought returns to our heart and mind so that we are able to communicate like civilized human beings. May our every response be gentle and kind, so that we are agents of peace rather than proponents of rage.

 

O Lord, help my words,gentle-answer-mtc

Be gentle and kind;

Words that diffuse rage,

That render hate blind.

May wrath turn away,

With kindness spoken;

Let Your love pour out,

To hurt and broken.

Grant me Your answers,

With love as I speak;

So peace will be known,

And anger made weak.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You give us guidance in Your word that shows us how to live and love well. Thank You that gentle answers come from You, if we seek You for strength and direction when angry words or actions move in our direction. Forgive us for reacting in our own rage and making things worse, rather than responding gently to diffuse displeasure. Teach us to trust You more, so that we would stop and breathe before we respond to someone who is enraged. Give us Your words to speak gently, so that we may turn away wrath, rather than make it grow. Show us how to love others, even in their fits of frustration, just as You love us. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we depend on You to equip us with gentle answers to help diffuse anger that comes our way. Amen.

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

But because of His great love for us, God, who is rich in mercy, made us alive with Christ. – Ephesians 2:4-5

Carried

Praise the Lord; praise God our Savior! For each day He carries us in His arms. – (Psalm 68:19, NLT)

Praise the Lord! Every day He helps us with the loads we must carry. He is the God who saves us. – (Psalm 68:19, ERV)

 

I am abundantly aware of His help and His arms in this long and exhausting season. This latter portion of the school year has been the most difficult one that I can recall in recent years. There are numerous factors contributing to the building burnout, yet each day, as the final bell rings, I breathe a sigh of relief and recognize the grace that has carried me. God is good, and He is my help and my hope, even when I struggle. He walks beside us, and helps us carry the burdens that we are unable to bear on our own, and He saves us from walking away when we are meant to stay. May we ever seek Him to be our help and our hope, and give Him our praise for all that He has done.

 

When the road is rough,Compassion in Confrontations

And we’re weary, worn;

Trust in the Lord’s help,

With strength, He’ll adorn.

For when we are weak,

He comes along side;

Helps carry our load,

To rest, He will guide.

Rise up, praise the Lord,

He’s our God who saves;

Our help and our hope,

Throughout all our days.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You are the Lord, our God and Savior. Thank You that You carry us in Your arms when we cannot continue on our own. Thank You that You never leave us nor forsake us. Forgive us for attempting to bear burdens on our own, rather than turning to You in trust. Teach us to trust You more, so that we would lay them at Your feet, and allow You to show us what is ours to carry, and what You are already managing on our behalf. Lead us to love those around us in such a way, that we help lift them up and let them know that they are not alone when the road gets rough. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we praise You for who You are, and thank You for all that You do to be our help and our hope. 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

Come Close

Come close to God, and God will come close to you… – (James 4:8a, NLT)

 

Everyone has heard stories of receiving that dreaded phone call – the one that announces unfortunate news of a loved one, causing an immediate emotional response, and a quick call to action. Yesterday morning, that phone call came to me. At the start of my second period class, I received a frantic phone call from my Mom. It was miraculous that I was at my computer taking attendance when she called, otherwise I would not have even seen her photo pop up on my phone screen, as I keep my ringer off during class. She never calls during school hours, so on a whim, I answered. On the other end of the line, I heard a voice that I barely recognized as hers, telling me that she’d been in a horrible accident. When I asked if she was okay, her response was simply, “no.” She was able to tell me her location, and I knew in that moment, that nothing mattered more than my getting to where she was to be present. My quick, internal, “Oh God, help me!” was followed by my class quickly being covered, a rapid exit from my room, and my arrival on the scene of the accident before the first responders had my mom loaded in the ambulance. Seeing her face and talking to her in person as I held her hand when I arrived at the accident site, brought a bit of peace, despite the destroyed car in front of me. The hardest span of time throughout the entire ordeal, was the time between leaving the scene and arriving at the hospital. Though I could see she had no lacerations visible, the internal and skeletal damage was unknown. All I could do was breathe and pray as I made my way, trusting that He had her in His hands. Thankfully, after two CT Scans, two x-rays, hours of waiting, blood draws and routine checking, Mom was given the all-clear (and the last few hours of her care were provided by a friend of mine who happened to be the nurse on shift in the ER), and walked away from an accident that could have taken her life. God protected and preserved the life of my Mom, and I am forever grateful. Though it is only the morning after, in hindsight, I already can look back and see how He covered and protected my Mom, surrounded and provided for me, as a way was made for me to get to her so quickly, as well as the loving community of friends and family that called, made themselves available, and sent messages to check on Mom as soon as they heard the news. Much of the time I spent waiting for Mom during her scans and x-rays, was utilized to reply to dear ones who were desiring updates on her well-being. I was back and forth between two phones, as the notes kept coming in. Last evening, two of my beloved favorites came to help with both the care of my Mom and to go and check on the status of her car, while another pair of dear former neighbors came to call on Mom to see that she was okay for themselves. God is so good, and He has provided and placed us both in kind and caring communities that are family. More than anything, this continues to show me how near God is in all things and at all times, and how He uses people to be His hands and heart when we hurt. May we ever draw close to God, for He will be near to us.

 

When that call comes in,ambulance

And hearts are dismayed;

Call upon the Lord,

He will not delay.

His presence made clear,

In tangible ways;

Hope and help to us,

As we seek and pray.

Choose draw closer still,

For God will be near;

He calms anxious hearts,

His love covers fear.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that when we draw near to You, You are right here, waiting. Thank You that You are faithful to bring peace to our anxious hearts, and surround us with support and encouragement when it is needed most. Forgive us for our fearfulness when we walk into the unknown. Teach us to trust You more. Show us how to love and encourage those around us in times of peace and in times of turmoil. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we draw ever nearer to You. 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

Be Glad In It

Saturdays are typically my go and get things done day. Yesterday, the intention was very much the norm, though I woke feeling a bit off. I was dizzy and a little nauseous, but figured it would pass if I powered through. Devotions were done, boys were up and out the door for their all-day retreat with youth group, and I went on my way to workout. What I normally blast through, was quite a struggle. My stomach was stirring maliciously, and I had to breathe through each movement. Finally, during the last five minutes or so of the workout, I had to tap out. I simply sat down and waited for it to finish. Stopping is not my M.O., but wisdom told me it was stop or create a scene with how my body responds.

When I arrived home, I crawled straight into bed. All I could do was toss and turn as my body fought the fever. Food and drink did not feel like quality options, so attempted sleep was it – all day long. No errands run, no outing fun – just rest. The fever must have broken late last night, as I don’t remember waking again until this morning.

Today is a brand new day. The sun is shining, the house is quiet, and my stomach seems satisfied with some Gatorade and gluten free pretzels. Though I will likely take another day to rest (and keep my germs to myself) I am so grateful for the difference that a day can make.

 

This is the day the Lord has made. We will rejoice and be glad in it. – (Psalm 118:24, NLT)

 

My rejoicing yesterday, despite how I was feeling, was the blessing that my mom was in town. She stayed at my house all day, to be available if I needed anything. Her trip to the store yesterday provided that which is palatable for me today.

Each new day is a gift, despite the challenges presented. He grants us what we need to sustain us and see us through, therefore we have reason to rejoice and be glad in the blessings of today.

 

Today is the day,photo (7)

Designed just for you;

He brought you to it,

So He’ll see you through.

Let us choose be glad,

In all things rejoice;

Thanks to our Savior,

We’ve always the choice.

No matter what comes,

Hope will not delay;

With God and His grace,

There’s always a way.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that each new day is a gift from You, no matter what comes our way. Thank You that You can use even our sickness or discomfort, to show us more of Your love and provision. Forgive us for our lack of gratitude when things don’t seem to go our way. Teach us to trust You more, so that we might recognize that You can take every trial and odd turn and use it for Your glory. Show us how to love others with Your goodness and grace. May many choose to seek Your face. Be glorified O God, as we rejoice and are glad in each new day that You grant us. 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 Peace that Comes

Yesterday was a difficult day. There was nothing in particular that made it so, yet it was just an “off” day. I didn’t feel well, nor rested, my back was bothering me quite a bit, and discouragement had found a foothold in my heart. I did the best I could to press in and press on, despite how I was feeling, but that nagging weight just would not lift. During my planning period at school, a friend and I were going to meet to review some student work. When we greeted one another, she recognized that I was not quite myself, and asked if I wanted to walk and talk instead. I of course said “Yes!“, so off we went.

It is remarkable how much the freedom of simply getting out and moving in the fresh air and sunshine does for my entire countenance. By the time we completed a large loop, I no longer felt weary, but energized, and was prepared to take on my final two classes, which happen to be my most challenging. His peace was restored, and gratitude was at the forefront of my mind.

At times, it takes another to remind us to get out and find the place from which we find our peace. When I move, I feel nearest to Him who is my peace. The air that I breathe, the ground on which I connect with every step – His handiwork.

 

And let the peace that comes from Christ rule in your hearts. For as members of one body you are called to live in peace. And always be thankful. – (Colossians 3:15, NLT)

 

May His peace be present with every breath that we take today, as we go forth in peace. Let gratitude fill our hearts and minds, as He is our reason for all goodness and grace.

 

No matter our plight,OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

His hope is secured;

Peace comes from the Lord,

Where grace is assured.

All thanks be to God,

From whom blessings flow;

We are His body,

Let our praise be known.

When things are askew,

And nothing seems right;

Press into the Lord,

He’s for us, He’ll fight.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You are for us, even when things feel like they are all against us. Thank You that we can turn to You in trust, and know that You are for us and not against us. Thank You that all peace comes from You, and because of who You are and how You love, we always have reason to give You thanks. Forgive us for allowing our circumstances to dictate our gratitude, or lack thereof. Teach us to trust You more, so that we would praise You in all things and at all times. Show us how to love others as You so perfectly love each of us. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we seek You to be our peace and give You our gratitude; always. 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