Hope When it Feels Like Hell

Be joyful in hope, patient in affliction, faithful in prayer. – (Romans 12:12, NIV)

Be happy because of the hope you have. Be patient when you have troubles. Pray all the time. – (Romans 12:12, ERV)

Do not forget to rejoice, for hope is always just around the corner. Hold up through the hard times that are coming, and devote yourselves to prayer. – (Romans 12:12, VOICE)

 

This morning, this is the very reminder that I needed the most. I know there are stages of grief, particularly when something so traumatic takes place with a parent, especially a parent who has filled the role of both mother and father, coach and teacher, friend and confidant, leader, example, pastor, sole grandparent to my children, and so much more. Anger seems to be the stage in this process that both my sister and I are in. Between the frustration of the questions of why her, the outrage at the details and the seeming disclosure violations, the paperwork battle to place her near family (which is far less costly than the dang hospital), to simply being just plain mad that it happened to OUR mom. We would never wish this on another, but why her? I know no one has the answers, and quite frankly, I would probably throat punch anyone who tried to give me answers. In fact, I woke myself in the night saying “throat punch”, as my left arm shot forward with a balled fist. Thankfully, I was facing the opposite direction of my Viking, and he was soundly sleeping. Finding joy in the hope is particularly difficult when we feel like we are on hold. Patience in static spots is not a strength of mom’s, Meg’s nor mine. Prayer, we can do, as I know so many of you are too. Perhaps that is the point of this post. Please pray for joy in hope, patience in all of this, and ever be faithful to continue to contend for mom’s complete and total healing.

 

Find joy in the hope, 05031906408349317511433862260.jpg

Of what lies ahead;

For fear’s a liar,

No matter what’s said.

God is far greater,

Than all that we face;

We must be patient,

It’s His, not our pace.

In everything,

Choose seek God and pray;

no matter what’s seen,

God will make a way.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You are bigger than our frustration and anger and grief. Thank You that You hold us in Your hands and ride out our rage, waiting lovingly to embrace us with Your joy, peace and comfort. Forgive us for allowing fear a foothold based on our limited understanding. Teach us to trust You more. Show us how to find joy in the hope of all that lies ahead, patience in the here and now, and to pray without ceasing. Lead us to love well, all those around us, so that they may recognize Your heart for them through us. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, even in this, for we know that You alone can bring beauty from ashes and hope from despair. Amen.

 

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

 

To all who mourn in Israel He will give: beauty for ashes; joy instead of mourning; praise instead of heaviness. For God has planted them like strong and graceful oaks for His own glory. – Isaiah 61:3

 

Faithfulness Knows No End

Your love, Lord, reaches to the heavens, Your faithfulness to the skies. – (Psalm 36:5, NIV)

Lord, Your faithful love reaches to the sky. Your faithfulness is as high as the clouds. – (Psalm 36:5, ERV)

Your love, O Eternal One, towers high into the heavens. Even the skies are lower than Your faithfulness. – (Psalm 36:5, VOICE)

 

I am forever in awe of the faithfulness of God. After sustaining a fibular fracture that caused a DVT (blood clot) in my calf, I was pretty much guaranteed that my football season was over. The fracture has completely healed and my leg feels great again, but I have to take blood thinners for another few months, making contact sports an off-limits activity. Throughout my injury, I continued to attend practices, as my commitment to the team mattered to me, and I was determined to be present to the end of the season. Over the last week, the special teams coach came up with a way to allow me to actually get into a game. As a kicker, punting has very limited risk for contact, as the focus is on chasing down the kicked ball, not the kicker. Last evening, we had our last regular season game at our home field. We were significantly ahead after the first half, and it was not looking like there would be any opportunity to punt, as we were not handing over the ball at all. My coach asked me if I could kick off, to which I enthusiastically replied, “Yes!” Though I had not practiced kickoff since early in the season, prior to my injury, I was eager for an opportunity to participate in my first game. Twice I was called upon to kick off, and twice I was overwhelmed with gratitude for the opportunity to get in the game! Our next stop is the playoffs, and likely against much tougher opponents. I know not if I will have the chance to get in a game again, but I will continue to practice and be present, giving God the glory for all that He has done. May we ever give Him praise for all of our days for His faithfulness in all things great and small.

 

So great is the love,

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I’m #15, if you were curious. 🙂

Of our God on high;

Above all we see,

So deep and so wide.

The Lord’s faithfulness,

Will never run out;

He’s with us always,

His presence devout.

All glory to Him,

In Heaven on high;

For His care for us,

Each day and each night.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that Your love reaches us wherever we are and Your faithfulness knows no end. Thank You that You meet us where we are and bless us beyond what we could hope or imagine. Forgive us for our times of doubt, when we cannot see how You are moving on our behalf. Teach us to understand that Your ways are higher than our ways, and that we can trust You always. Show us how to love those around us in a way that demonstrates Your faithfulness in a tangible way. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we give You all praise and honor for Your love and faithfulness that knows no end. Amen.

 

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

 

For the Lord is good and His love endures forever; His faithfulness continues through all generations. – Psalm 100:5

Patient Acceptance

Always be humble and gentle. Be patient and accept each other with love. – (Ephesians 4:2, ERV) 

Always be humble and gentle. Be patient with each other, making allowance for each other’s faults because of your love. – (Ephesians 4:2, NLT) 

Be humble. Be gentle. Be patient. Tolerate one another in an atmosphere thick with love. – (Ephesians 4:2, VOICE) 

 

Last evening, I was the grateful recipient of patient acceptance, as my teammates and coach were humble and gentle, allowing for my very “off” time at practice. After sleeping so little the night before, I was exhausted and struggling to recall plays. Rather than respond with irritation or unkindness, I was surrounded by people who gently and patiently helped remind me of the routes that I could not recall, and continued to encourage, despite my exhausted state. After sleeping so little the night before, I was struggling to remember routes for the different plays. Rather than grow weary of my questions and seeming memory lapse, those around me gently reminded me of that which I could not recall, and encouraged, even when I did a less than stellar job. Having been on the receiving end of humility, gentleness and patience, I am all the more refueled to go and do likewise in love for those around me. No one has it all figured out, and we are all a work in progress. We tend to thrive and grow exponentially in an atmosphere where we are given grace where we fall short, and encouraged by those who walk in humility, gentleness and love. May we ever go forth with patience, humility and gentleness, accepting others as we are accepted by God. 

 

Always be humble, Patient Acceptance

Choose gentle and kind; 

Patient, accepting, 

With others in mind. 

When we act in love, 

Encourage, build up; 

The empty places, 

Soon become filled up. 

Acceptance in love, 

Provides room to grow; 

So let us choose love, 

As grace is made known. 

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You love and accept us as we are, despite our faults and failures. Thank You that You call us to patiently, humbly and gently do the same for one another. Forgive us for the times that we have not tolerated one another in love. Teach us to look to You to walk in patience, humility and gentleness, so that we may love others as we are loved by You. Show us how to love and accept others as You do. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we follow Your example of humility and gentleness, patiently accepting one another in love. Amen. 

 

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

 

Show me Your ways, O Lord, teach me Your paths; …my hope is in You all day long. – Psalm 25:4-5

Friends Sharpen Each Other

As iron sharpens iron, so a friend sharpens a friend. – (Proverbs 27:17, NLT)

As one piece of iron sharpens another, so friends keep each other sharp. – (Proverbs 27:17, ERV)

In the same way that iron sharpens iron, a person sharpens the character of his friend. – (Proverbs 27:17, VOICE)

 

I am overwhelmingly blessed to see how this principle plays out practically in my everyday life. In each of my various roles, God has given me great friends who walk beside me and challenge me to continue to learn and grow. As a mother, teacher, coach, athlete, friend and in all of these, a follower of Christ, I have fantastic friends with whom I am walking, as we sharpen one another to be more than we were before. May we recognize and invest in the relationship that God has given us to sharpen and shape one another into who we are meant to become.

 

As iron sharpens,img_2017-12-01_05-13-37440905203.jpg

So friend sharpens friend;

Pushing each other,

To grow and extend.

For as we’re challenged,

Our character grows;

We become better,

As grace clearly shows.

Invest in people,

That bring out our best;

May we do likewise,

Through such love, we’re blessed.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You call us to love You and love one another. Thank You that You designed us for relationship for a reason. Thank You that as we invest in friendships, we learn and grow from each other. Forgive us for not dedicating the time and energy we should to those whom You have called us to walk beside. Teach us how to manage our time and energy so that we are able to fill the roles to which we are called, and walk with whom You call us to walk. Show us how to love well, all those that cross our path. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we sharpen each other to become who You are calling us to be so that we more clearly reflect Your heart to the world. 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

Being Loved Well

So now I am giving you a new commandment: Love each other. Just as I have loved you, you should love each other. – (John 13:34, NLT)

 

As I sat down to write, after reflecting on my week, I am in awe as I recognize that I have been the recipient of not only Christ’s love, but people who love me well. Despite the busy and chaos that seem to accompany this season that I both teach and coach, I have been loved well in multiple ways in my world. At school, we kicked off a secret pal exchange among staff members. Not only was it a joy to select a surprise for a colleague, but I was blessed by the kindness of whomever treated me. A beautiful bouquet was delivered to me at work on Valentine’s Day, and I was overwhelmed with the thoughtfulness and sweet sentiment that accompanied the card. My fellow coaching staff continues to step up and work together to coach our 135+ gymnasts well, and their kindness and encouragement to kids blesses my heart. Treasured friends remain steadfast, and grant ongoing love and support as I navigate my days. Last evening, I was swept away for a fancy dinner out, and treated like royalty. Both the words spoken and the actions shown, were tangible demonstrations of loving well. My heart is bursting because it has been filled to overflowing, and I am loved, just as I am called to do likewise. May we each embrace the grace that God so generously gives, and go forth in obedience and love each other well.

 

What a joy to see,being-loved-well

The tangible ways;

Where we are loved well,

Throughout all our days.

We’re not only called,

To go forth and love;

But He shows to us,

The hope from above.

Where we have been placed,

He often will show;

His love through others,

So we see and know.

Thank You, Lord Jesus,

For all I’ve received;

Help me to love too,

So Your love is seen.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You for loving us and showing us what love is through the hands and hearts of those who surround us. Thank You that You call and equip us to go and love likewise. Forgive us for not choosing to love as we are loved. Teach us to trust You more, so that we would hear Your heart for those around us, and know how to love as we are loved. Help us to be Your hands, heart and voice to all whom we encounter, allowing Your light to shine brightly through us. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we receive the love that You shower upon us with gratitude, and as we go forth and love others well. 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

My Love and My Strength

I love You, Lord; You are my strength. – (Psalm 18:1, NLT)

Lord, how I love You! For You have done such tremendous things for me. – (Psalm 18:1, TLB)

I love You, God – You make me strong. – (Psalm 18:1, MSG)

 

The verse speaks for itself, as David is a dude to whom I can relate. This past week has been one of the busiest weeks of the year thus far. Monday, semester grades were due and it was the first day of gymnastics season. (I am the head coach at my school) Tuesday, after a full day of teaching and coaching, I rushed home to make dinner for my boys, and then was blessed with an evening at a hockey game. Wednesday, I had early morning practice, another full day of teaching, afternoon staff meetings, followed by time with my boys, and then errand running with my dear friend. By the time I had arrived home on Wednesday afternoon, the beginning of a migraine had taken root. Thursday, I woke and was greeted by a pounding headache still, but did not have a “tap out” option in my week, so I had to trust the Lord to provide the strength I needed to teach, participate in team collaboration, function during my mid-year evaluation, coach, and arrive safely home. I was able to get outside for a long walk, followed by a quieter evening at home. Friday found its arrival with the migraine still in place, so another day of trusting and leaning in happened here. Thankfully, I was able to reach my chiropractor and friend, and she ordered her schedule to meet me at the office after practice, to adjust, as misalignment often contributes to the pain. At last, after three days, I had relief. He had done tremendous things for me to sustain, and then provide way for real relief. It is amazing how God demonstrates His strength in our weakness, and further shows us how worthy of love He is, as He loves us so well. May we let our love for the Lord lead us, as we trust Him to be our strength.

 

Lord, how I love You,not-defined-by-a-day

For all that You are;

How You provide strength,

You’re never too far.

When we call on You,

You hear each request;

You grant us the strength,

To navigate best.

I can’t even count,

The most wondrous things;

Each act of Your love,

My reasons to sing.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, I love You and am so thankful for who You are and how You love. You are my strength in weakness, and my hope and help, as I need You to navigate my days well. Forgive me for the times that I attempt to power through without seeking You. Teach me to trust You more, so that I would seek You in all things and at all times, and recognize the tremendous things that You do for me each day. Show me how to love well, those around me, so that they might gain glimpses of Your goodness and grace. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be exalted O God, as we love You with our lives, and trust You to be our strength. 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