Blessings of Grace and Love

May the grace of the Lord Jesus Christ and the love of God, and the fellowship of the Holy Spirit be with you all. – (2 Corinthians 13:14, NIV)

I pray that you will enjoy the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, the love of God, and the fellowship of the Holy Spirit. – (2 Corinthians 13:14, ERV)

The amazing grace of the Master, Jesus Christ, the extravagant love of God, the intimate friendship of the Holy Spirit, be with all of you. – (2 Corinthians 13:14, MSG)

 

This is my hope and prayer for all, and especially to my brother-in-love and sister today, as we celebrate him on his birthday. Though this day looks far different than anyone might have imagined, it is good, and holds time to celebrate and appreciate the blessings beheld in who God has created him to be. For the family and for mom, life has changed dramatically. Adjusting to life away from all that she knows is challenging for mom; and adapting, supporting and caring well for mom brings a change requiring adjustment for all. My prayer is that God’s grace and love and fellowship will flood each member of the household, providing for each need, both spoken and unsaid, as they navigate the ongoing road of recovery together. The love is great, as they all are loving incredibly well, and His strength is sustaining each family member as they forge forward in this fight. May God’s grace be present with us, one and all, and may it be an extraordinary new year of blessing for Scott and the family.

 

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Be with each of you;

May also His love,

Refresh and renew.

Let time spent with Him,

Fill our hearts again;

So we may love well,

Through His grace attained.

Be blessed with goodness,

Rest well in His grace;

All glory to God,

For His loving ways.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You for the tremendous blessing of family. Thank You for the gift of those that You give to us through our loved ones. Thank You that You hear our prayers to bless and keep those we lift before You. Forgive us for not admonishing those You give as gifts to us in our lives nearly often enough. Show us how to love others in ways that refresh, renew and bless with the same grace that You give to each of us. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we lift others up and ask You to make them acutely aware of Your grace, love and fellowship. Amen.

 

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

 

The Lord bless you and keep you; the Lord make His face shine on you and be gracious to you; the Lord turn His face toward you and give you peace. – Numbers 6:24-26

Challenged in the Waiting

Wait for the Lord; be strong and take heart and wait for the Lord. – (Psalm 27:14, NIV)

Wait for the Lord’s help. Be strong and brave, and wait for the Lord’s help. – (Psalm 27:14, ERV)

Stay with God! Take heart. Don’t quit. I’ll say it again: Stay with God. – (Psalm 27:14, MSG)

 

The last three months of my life have been a season of seeking the Lord for strength, and waiting. Even now, as I am away and enjoying a long-awaited escape with my husband for our anniversary, there is a sense of waiting for the Lord for what lies ahead. Because my life is not my own and I have committed to caring for my mom in this season, there is more waiting on God as we trust and seek and pursue His help, moving forward into the next step and season for mom. There are countless details that must fall into place in order to move mom from Washington to Oregon with my sister and her family, and His help is essential to orchestrate far more than we can do on our own. Though I did not actually have the opportunity to speak with my mom and sister yesterday, my heart and mind are never far from Wenatchee, and what is going on there. I am challenged to be intentional to be present here, right now, as I have not had this much time together with my spouse in three months. It is good, and exactly what we both need right now.

Yesterday was a light day for mom as far as therapies go, as I know her Friday calendar only held physical therapy in the morning. I know Nick’s plan was to continue to do some more work with the hemi-walker, but I imagine he did some training on exercises and the regular walker with Megan too. In fact, if memory serves me correctly, I anticipate that my sister was blown away by the progress she was able to witness yesterday with her own eyes, as the gains mom has made in walking in a few short weeks have been phenomenal. Mom is demonstrating in a very visible way, how to stay with God and not quit. Though challenged in the waiting, mom takes heart and trusts big.

May we all remember to wait on the Lord in strength, for He is strong and will provide all that we need as we wait and trust in Him.

 

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Stay strong in His might;

For we need not fear,

In His loving light.

No matter how far,

Nor impossible;

The Lord’s big enough,

To make possible.

Trust in His goodness,

And wait in His grace;

Seek the Lord always,

As He’ll make a way.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that as we wait on You, You give us strength and provide all that we need. Thank You that You supply rest and reprieve when we need it most. Thank You that You see and hear our hearts and love us in spite of our shortfalls. Forgive us for our fears and frustrations with the obstacles we see, rather than faith in what we cannot see. Show us how to place all in Your hands. Teach us to know what is our part to do and what we are meant to allow You room. Lead us to love those around us in a way that strengthens resolve and refreshes the weary. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we wait on You with the strength that You supply. Amen.

 

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

 

Lord, I wait for You; You will answer, Lord my God. – Psalm 38:15

Devoted and Delighted

Be devoted to one another in love. Honor one another above yourself. – (Romans 12:10, NIV)

Love each other in a way that makes you feel close like brothers and sisters. And give each other more honor than you give yourself. (Romans 12:10, ERV)

Love each other with genuine affection, and take delight in honoring each other. – (Romans 12:10, NLT)

 

Devoted love is a love that willingly chooses the other, regardless of how the recipient appears before them. To love with devotion is to be committed to caring and seeing the other person through, no matter what comes their way. Throughout my life, I have had such devotion in love modeled for me well, through both my grandmother, and my mom. My gram was a natural encourager and lifter of souls, as she loved with her whole heart and was committed to make sure that we all knew her heart for us, individually. Not only was I the recipient of her devoted love, but I was witness to the power it provided in the lives of those around me. Mom, her only daughter, has followed closely in her footsteps, as my sister and I still marvel at how she, as a single mom, managed to attend every game, concert, banquet, ceremony, etc., work full-time, manage a household, keep our home and yard beautiful, and always welcome our friends into our home with open heart and arms. Even as we have grown, married and had children of our own, mom has managed to be present at nearly all of the significant events in the lives of our children. She has driven hundreds of miles to be sure that each of her grandsons knows how proud she is of them, and she honors each of them and loves them lavishly.  With that as our model, how could my sister and I possibly choose do anything differently? With mom in a time of need, our only choice is to love with all that we are, and to delight in doing all that we can to honor whatever her heart desires. My favorite response to mom these days is, “As you wish.” She giggles every time I answer that way, but I know it delights her heart to know that she is loved as deeply as she loves others.

As for the practical application and fruit of devotion, yesterday was an incredible day for mom before my guys left to drive home! She determined that she would show them how she was doing with her walking in the hallway with her walker, and I had Mark stand and video so that we could send documentation to my sister. One of my guys followed behind us with the wheelchair in case she grew weary, and the other stood back to watch what would transpire. Incredibly, mom shocked us all, herself included, as she walked the ENTIRE length of the hallway! Prior to yesterday, she had only gone halfway unassisted. Happy tears were shared by all as we celebrated this incredible and hope-filled milestone. If she could double her distance in a matter of two days, imagine what will transpire in a matter of a few weeks?! We were beaming ear-to-ear as we sent off my guys to drive home. It had been a wonderful weekend together, and had ended perfectly. The remainder of the day was rather relaxing, as it was spent resting, doing a variety of mom’s PT and OT exercises, and movie watching. Sleep again went well last night, as there were only two wake-ups. We slept in longer than usual this morning, as our early breakfast time was nearly an hour later than we are accustomed. Today, mom has both physical therapy and occupational therapy, so I anticipate a great day ahead.

May we ever seek the Lord to equip us to be devoted to one another in love, and to delight in honoring each other above ourselves.

 

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Is love’s true design;

To prefer others,

And choose to be kind.

Honor each other,

Choose lift and build up;

Love through the trials,

And never give up.

Set down our own wants,

And see other’s need;

Love with our whole lives,

By God’s grace, proceed.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You have shown us what it is to be devoted to one another in love and to honor others above oneself through the life of Your Son, Jesus. Thank You that You equip us to do the same. Forgive us for the times that we have set aside devotion or honor for our own agenda. Teach us to trust You more, so that we would be devoted in love and honor others, as You love and honor us. Show us how to love those around us in a way that makes Your love tangible. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we choose to be devoted in love and help us delight in honoring others above ourselves. Amen.

 

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

 

Protect me, for I am devoted to You. Save me, for I serve You and trust You. You are my God. – Psalm 86:2

Even in This

The Lord Himself goes before you and will be with you; He will never leave you nor forsake you. Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged. – (Deuteronomy 31:8, NIV)

The Lord will lead you. He Himself is with you. He will not fail you or leave you. Don’t worry. Don’t be afraid. – (Deuteronomy 31:8, ERV)

And He will be leading you. He’ll be with you, and He’ll never fail you or abandon you. So don’t be afraid. – (Deuteronomy 31:8, VOICE)

 

Last weekend, Mom spent Easter with us. She let me know when she arrived safely home as promised on Tuesday, but I had not been able to reach her since. At first, I thought nothing of it, as she is a busy, social, love of a lady, who easily gets caught up in her wonderful community at home. On Saturday, my nephew, her grandson, had prom. My sister posted great photos, and normally, no matter how busy, Mom would be first to jump in and rave about how fantastic they were. However, we did not see nor hear a single response. By Sunday, both my sister and I were becoming a bit frantic, and I contacted some of her friends who live nearby. The most recent contact any of them had made, was Thursday. My sister contacted the police to make a non-emergent wellness check. To our horror, they found our mom, unresponsive. Thankfully, they had her sitting up and speaking a little before they had paramedics rushing her to the emergency room. What is known, is that she had a stroke. She is currently unable to move her right arm and right leg. Speaking is possible, but slow and difficult. Mom knows the answers to important questions, but after yesterday’s ordeal, was completely exhausted. This verse is what I will cling to, as we don’t know what this week, month or coming year will hold. What we do know, is that God is with us and will not abandon us, just as we will not be leaving Wenatchee while our mom is in the hospital. Fear is a liar, be it a loud one. Please pray with us for miraculous healing and full and complete recovery for our mom. She is more than any description I could write, and the only consistent grandparent that my boys know. To know her is to love her, as she loves with all that she is. As we were leaving the hospital so she could sleep last evening, she was listing food in the fridge that we might enjoy for dinner…

 

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Despite how things look;

When storms come our way,

And our world is shook.

He’ll steady our hearts,

And show us the way;

To trust He is good,

And get through today.

When we’re feeling lost,

God will take our hand;

He’ll show us the way,

To walk out His plan.

And when we’ve no strength,

His is all the more;

Our God lifts us up,

As hope He restores.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You are the Great Physician and that You love our Mom even more than we do. Thank You that You knit her together in her mother’s womb, and You know how ever synapse and connection works best. Thank You that You are a God who heals and restores, strengthens and leads. Father, we are trusting You. Forgive us for allowing fear to creep in. Show us Your strength and power and provision in ways we have never known before. Turn this trial into an incredible testimony, and bring beauty from these ashes as only You can do. Show us how to love Mom and all who are caring for her in the ways that bless and encourage best. May those who do not know You yet, come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, even in this. Amen.

 

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

 

Praise the Lord, my soul, and forget not all His benefits – who forgives all your sins and heals all your diseases. – Psalm 103:2-3

O Soul, Be At Rest

Let my soul be at rest again, for the Lord has been good to me. – (Psalm 116:7, NLT)

My soul, relax! The Lord is caring for you. – (Psalm 116:7, ERV)

I said to myself, “Relax and rest. God has showered you with blessings.” – (Psalm 116:7, MSG)

 

In the midst of our struggles or the peak of our pain, is often the time when we need most to be reminded of the Lord’s goodness and care for us. A cliché offering of thoughtlessly uttered words does not typically bring rest to a soul stirred up. However, when someone comes alongside us and remains present in our pain and near in our need, we become acutely aware of the goodness of God. As we see and experience His blessings made tangible, it is far easier to slow down and relax and rest in His goodness. Our focus fixes back on Him, rather than that which diverted our attention in the first place. May we relax and rest in the Lord, for He has been good to us, no matter the obstacles before us.

 

O soul, be at rest,

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Photo by Dee Jones of Open Door Photography ❤

For the Lord is good;

His care is present,

And grace understood.

Despite what we face,

His presence is near;

He will provide rest,

As we release fear.

Embrace the blessings,

He tangibly gives;

Each day that we live.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that we can rest and relax in You because You care for us and shower us with Your blessings. Thank You that You make Your goodness tangible in ways our hearts can grasp. Forgive us for allowing our circumstances to steal our rest in You. Teach us to trust You more, so that we would fix our eyes on Your goodness that knows no end, rather than our trial that is temporary. Show us how to love well all those whom You place around us, so that we may make Your goodness tangible to others. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we rest and relax in You because You are always good. Amen.

 

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

 

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

Come to Rest

Let my soul be at rest again, for the Lord has been good to me. – (Psalm 116:7, NLT)

My soul, relax! The Lord is caring for you. – (Psalm 116:7, ERV)

I said to myself, “Relax and rest. God has showered you with blessings.” – (Psalm 116:7, MSG)

O my soul! Return and relax. Come to your true rest, for the Eternal has showered you with His favor. – (Psalm 116:7, VOICE)

 

Just yesterday, I was reminded that this is traditionally the most challenging stretch of the school year. The work becomes challenging for students, the impending holidays and variant weather stir up emotions that they are often unaware of, and as teachers, we hit a spot of weariness that borders on burnout. It is a challenging balance to learn to rest and relax in the Lord, as I do not want to miss out on a moment of fun on the weekends. Time with my beloved friends and family encourages my heart and lifts up my soul. However, the rest that remains with me and carries me through the week, is that which is found in my Heavenly Father. A tremendous blessing is the upcoming Thanksgiving weekend, where there will be time to gather with loved ones, with much time to simply rest. May we ever seek our Savior to be our space of rest, and give Him thanks for the opportunities provided to relax in the beauty of His blessings.

 

Let my soul find rest, Hope in Discouragement

As I seek the Lord;

For in Him alone,

His grace He affords.

When we are weary,

And need to relax;

God provides spaces,

If we only ask.

O Lord we seek You,

And the rest You give;

All thanks for Your grace,

In Your peace, we live.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that in You, we can find real rest. Thank You that Your grace and goodness provide all that we need to be at peace, even in our weariness. Forgive us for seeking rest anywhere other than You. Teach us to trust You more, so that we would seek You and Your rest in our weariness, and give You all praise for the strength and grace You provide to keep going. Show us how to love and encourage those around us who are weary and losing hope. May many come to find true rest in a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we seek You for rest in our weariness, and give You praise for the grace and goodness that You give. Amen.

 

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

 

Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of compassion and the God of all comfort. – 2 Corinthians 1:3

Jesus is…

My pastor began a series yesterday, titled, Jesus is… The intent of the next several weeks is to unpack through scripture, just who Jesus is, and what that means to us, individually. First and foremost, Jesus is God. Again and again, scripture affirms how He is the Alpha and Omega, the beginning and the end. (Revelation 1:8) Jesus is the image of the invisible God. (Colossians 1:15) Jesus is the exact representation of God. (Hebrews 1:3) Christ is the chief cornerstone in whom all join together to become a holy temple in the Lord. (Ephesians 2:20-21) Scriptures throughout the Bible point to the truth that Jesus is God. The more we understand and learn about who Jesus is, the clearer picture we will have of God. The character of Jesus is the character of God.

 

Many people have a misguided image of God. They perhaps have heard just a part of the story and see God as an angry God. Would an angry God send His Son to restore relationship with people for all time? Jesus, who was fully God and fully man, showed us the heart of the living God. Not only is God loving, but He is a God of compassion too.

 

A man with leprosy came to Him and begged Him on his knees, “If you are willing, You can make me clean.” Filled with compassion, Jesus reached out His hand and touched the man, “I am willing,” He said. “Be clean!” Immediately the leprosy left him and he was cured. – (Mark 1:40-42)

 

Jesus cared more about a man in his moment of need, than He did about societies social graces. It was unacceptable to touch one considered unclean, yet Jesus touched he who was thought to be untouchable, and healed more than just a physical ailment. Suffering and separation from society ceased, with one tender touch from Jesus. May we hold fast to the truth that our God is compassionate and caring, and that He is willing to touch us, even when we feel that we are untouchable.

 

Invisible God,The Power of His Name

elusive, unseen;

yet so crystal clear,

through Jesus, is seen.

Compassionate Lord,

Who comes close to touch;

to cure what’s ailing,

because He loves much.

Alpha, Omega,

beginning and end;

all the in between,

our Savior and friend.

He’s hope in the hard,

and peace in the storm;

joy in the morning,

and Light all day long.

May we ever seek,

to understand more;

the nature of God,

through Christ’s open door.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You sent Your Son to show us who You are in a tangible way. Jesus, thank You that You made clear that You are the living God. Thank You that the better we come to know You, the more clearly we understand who God is. Forgive us for having misguided opinions or orientations toward You, and help us to set our sights solely on the pursuit of who You are, so that You may instruct us in all things. Teach us to trust You completely, and to listen well to all that You have to say. Lead us to love others as You love – with compassion that is not afraid to reach out and touch, even the seemingly untouchable. May many come into a saving relationship with You. Be exalted O God, as we grow in our understanding of Christ. Amen.

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

As you know, we consider blessed those who have persevered. – James 5:11

The Mouth Makes Known the Heart

Though caring for our bodies is quite important, the care and condition of our hearts is critical.

 

“Don’t you see that whatever enters the mouth goes into the stomach and then out of the body? But the things that come out of the mouth come from the heart, and those make a man unclean.” – (Matthew 16:17-18)

 

The condition of our heart is what matters most to God. He sees where others cannot, and only He can shed light where darkness dwells. As we allow Him to rule and reign in our hearts, minds and entire lives, that which comes out of us, becomes pure and pleasing before Him. If we keep things hidden, or do not allow Christ full access, that which escapes from our mouth reveals the darkness dwelling within. May our every move be motivated by our magnificent Maker.

 

Whatever’s let in,The Mouth Makes Known the Heart

will soon be revealed;

is it light and love,

or darkness, concealed?

For out of our lips,

flows what’s in our heart;

may each word we speak,

shed light where it’s dark.

Words that encourage,

grant hope, offer peace;

go forth when Christ reigns,

and set captives free.

May the words we speak,

come straight from the Lord;

let His light flood in,

as love is outpoured.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that more than the external, You care about our heart condition. Thank You that You sent Your Son to make the way for each of us to have clean hearts before You. Thank You that You provide Your word, Your Holy Spirit, and Your Presence to instruct us, correct us, and cleanse us so that we may be considered clean and worthy before You. Forgive us for the things that we keep hidden in our hearts, and consequently, for the ugliness that comes out of us. Create in us a clean heart, and restore a right spirit within us. Teach us to turn to You in all things and at all times, and may we receive Your forgiveness and grace, and go forth, extending the same to all those whom we encounter. Help us to love others as we are loved by You. May many come to know You as their Savior and King. Be exalted in everything that we say and do, so that our entire lives are a reflection of You. Amen.

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

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