Wonderfully Made

For You created my inmost being; You knit me together in my mother’s womb. I praise You because I am fearfully and wonderfully made; Your works are wonderful; I know that full well. – (Psalm 139:13-14, NIV) 

You formed the way I think and feel. You put me together in my mother’s womb. I praise You because You made me in such a wonderful way. I know how amazing that was. – (Psalm 139:13-14, ERV) 

You formed my innermost being, shaping my delicate inside and my intricate outside, and wove them all together in my mother’s womb. I thank You, God, for making me so mysteriously complex! Everything You do is marvelously breathtaking. It simply amazes me to think about it! How thoroughly You know me, Lord! – (Psalm 139:13-14, TPT) 

Every human on the planet has been created intentionally, and knit together beautifully. I am struggling to figure out where humanity determined that one variation or race or people group is less than or superior to another. What is worse, is that the sin that entered in and tainted the perspective of people, one to another, has been perpetuated throughout history. As a member of Christ’s body, it is my responsibility to identify the places within my own heart where bias, prejudice and the like are hidden, so that I may repent and see all people through the Lord’s lens. Additionally, I must not shy away from the ache that this has caused in my sisters and brothers around me. To be and do better, I must actively seek to listen and understand, so that genuine change may occur. If I truly believe that all people have been intentionally and beautifully made, then I must further pursue how to admonish, defend and support every person around me. Because prejudice and discrimination have taken place for centuries, it is meant to be a lifelong process of pursuing change and bringing restoration to all. It begins within our own hearts, but must continue in our neighborhoods, communities, our nation, and our world. Daily, I am gutted as the stories of people’s own experiences as people of color, are being shared. White privilege is real, as I have not had to be fearful or exercise extreme caution in how I navigated my days because of the amount of melanin in my skin. We must listen and learn. I want to be an agent of change in the world, and this must begin with me. Though I cannot control the actions and reactions of others, I can be intentional to listen and read and learn and speak up when I see anyone being treated as less than intentionally and beautifully made. May we seek the Lord for wisdom and perseverance, as we listen, learn and become a better version of who we have been called to be. 

Each human on earth, 

Purposefully made; 

Hand-crafted by Christ, 

In various shades. 

Unique in design, 

Such intricacy; 

Each one fully known, 

Beyond what is seen. 

Lord, give us all eyes, 

That we truly see; 

Equal in value, 

Planned diversity. 

Bring restoration, 

True community; 

Everyone known, 

In love, unity. 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that everyone has been intentionally and beautifully made. Thank You that You are a creative God, that has made us beautifully diverse and wonderfully unique. Thank You that You call us to appreciate and celebrate the unique beauty and design that You have intentionally made. Forgive us for the times that we have marginalized another person or people group through ignorance or silence. Teach us to be and do better. Help us to view all people through Your lens, and with Your heart to love. Show us how to best love every individual we meet. May we support, encourage and love one another, as You call us to love. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we repent and rise up to truly be the body of Christ. 

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

Be completely humble and gentle; be patient, bearing with one another in love. – Ephesians 4:2

Do Good and Seek Peace

Turn from evil and do good; seek peace and pursue it. – (Psalm 34:14, NIV) 

Stop doing anything evil, and do good. Look for peace, and do all you can to help people live peacefully. – (Psalm 34:14, ERV) 

Turn your back on sin; do something good. Embrace peace – don’t let it get away. – (Psalm 34:14, MSG) 

If ever there was a time to do good and seek peace, the time is now. My heart breaks more every passing day, as the cities of our nation are being set on fire, and people can find no peace. How do we collectively turn from evil and do good?  

I am seeing examples of communities coming together in the aftermath of the destruction caused the night prior, and working together to clean up and restore the areas heavily damaged. There is good being done. It is a start, but not at all where it should end. Relationships are fragile, and choosing to look for ways to do good is one thing that we all can do. 

In this space, where peace is seemingly impossible, we must seek the Prince of Peace. We need wisdom and grace, mercy and understanding, to move forward to bring forth peace. May we fix our eyes, hearts and minds on He, who is our peace, and choose to do good so that peace may be found and embraced. 

Choose turn from evil, 

And seek to do good; 

It is how to love, 

Makes grace understood. 

In space of unrest, 

With Christ, pursue peace; 

Move forward in grace, 

Goodness be released. 

In all things, choose love, 

For it is the place; 

Where peace may be found, 

Purposeful embrace. 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You are the Prince of Peace. Thank You that in times of turmoil, we can turn to You and find peace and choose to do good. Forgive us, individually, and collectively, as we need Your healing to come into our hearts, homes, cities and our nation. Show us how to do good, and bring Your peace in places where peace is lacking. Teach us to love practically and tangibly, so that healing may happen and peace may be found. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we prayerfully pursue You, and listen to Your leading to love well and do the good that must be done. Amen. 

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

Peace I leave with you; my peace I give you. I do not give to you as the world gives. Do not let your hearts be troubled and do not be afraid. – John 14:27

The Path to Peace

Let us therefore make every effort to do what leads to peace and mutual edification. – (Romans 14:19, NIV)

So let’s try as hard as we can to do what will bring peace. Let’s do whatever will help each other grow stronger in faith. – (Romans 14:19, ERV)

So then, make it your top priority to live a life of peace with harmony in your relationships, eagerly seeking to strengthen and encourage one another. – (Romans 14:19, TPT)

 

If we each were to make living a life of peace and harmony with one another our priority, eagerly seeking to strengthen and encourage each other, imagine the communities in which we would all live. The beautiful thing about this decision is that it begins with us, individually. When just one person makes an intentional choice to operate out of a space of love, their approach is contagious to all whom are touched by their life. Though I am one, I know that I will try even harder to live life accordingly. Life is precious, and not one of us knows the number of our days. Every single day matters, and bad moments do not need make for bad days. Yes, there are difficult seasons, as my present one has been one of the most challenging of my life so far, yet there has been joy in every day, and blessings that have unfolded before me. God is good, even in the trials, and our charge is to love and encourage those around us. As we take our eyes off of self and look outward, suddenly we are better able to see the beauty all around us. He knows, and His design and intention for us to live at peace, in harmony with each other, is how the world is meant to work best. May we ever seek Him to grant us the grace and strength to encourage and strengthen those around us, choosing peace and kindness over the desire to be “right”.

As for mom, yesterday was an extraordinarily busy day of visiting and “farewells for now”. The morning began with a visit from two dear friends from church, who helped begin her day with sweet encouragement as they shared life together. Shortly after they had gone, mom’s best friend June, arrived with lunch and gorgeous photos of her brand-new grandson to share. I know the time went far too quickly for mom’s liking, but she did show June her hall-walking and her new mastery of the front porch steps during her visit, as she was strengthened and encouraged in her presence. Then, a mere twenty minutes after June had gone, a terrific pair of mom’s neighbors arrived for a bon voyage visit. They came bearing snacks and gifts, and added to the encouragement for mom. By the close of our time together, mom was ready to relax and retreat a bit. Seated in the living room with her feet up, she simply smiled and soaked it all in as she half-watched a movie. We continued to work on items on her checklist to prepare for her time in Oregon, which I believe is bringing more peace in her heart about the impending move. Though she wishes she could remain in her own community with her friends, she knows that she needs to gain strength in order to return to independent living. My sister, brother-in-love, and nephews, are working tirelessly as well, to ensure that their home in Oregon will be a place of peace, encouragement and strengthening for mom.

May we ever seek our Savior to empower us to live at peace and in harmony with one another, granting us the grace to encourage and strengthen each other, so that all of us might be our best selves unto the world.

 

May we choose seek peace,

dsc045065527428007422583647.jpg

Photo by Dee Jones of Open Door Photography ❤

Live in harmony;

Prefer each other,

Exist lovingly.

Use encouragement,

Whenever we can;

Seek build others up,

For it is God’s plan.

In all things choose love,

It is the best way;

We’ve been created,

To give love away.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You call us to a life of peace and harmony with one another. Thank You that You instruct us to encourage and strengthen each other. Thank You that You have the perfect design for how we ought to live. Forgive us for every time that we have chosen anything that strays away from Your design. Teach us to trust and rely on You to lead us to live a life of peace and harmony with each other. Show us how to love those around us in a way that strengthens and encourages all whom we encounter. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we trust You to lead us in a life of peace that builds others up around us. Amen.

 

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

 

“For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you a hope and a future.” – Jeremiah 29:11

To Build Up and Encourage

Therefore encourage one another and build each other up, just as in fact you are doing. – (1 Thessalonians 5:11, NIV)

So encourage each other and help each other grow stronger in faith, just as you are already doing. – (1 Thessalonians 5:11, ERV)

So support one another. Keep building each other up as you have been doing. – (1 Thessalonians 5:11, VOICE)

 

Though I know not their heart after God, it is as if each one of my mom’s in-home care team has chosen to live this verse out as their life’s ambition. It takes a special sort of person to do in-home care, as I imagine one is never sure what they will encounter when they approach a home for the very first time. Each and every one of the care providers who has entered mom’s home has been an incredible source of encouragement for mom. Their positivity about mom’s progress thus far, and their excitement and motivation to walk this road of healing beside her, is faith-building as she continues to do the difficult work each day. Yesterday, as I asked mom if there was anything she would like to do or anyone she wished to see, she actually took me up on the offer for the first time and named the names of three of her dearest friends. I immediately sent out messages to them, and they responded promptly with enthusiasm. My heart lightened too, as I sat with the four of them and enjoyed the familiar banter among dear sister-friends. The sharing of life together was a needed boost for all of them, and each seemed to walk away encouraged and built up. After the ladies had been visiting for a while, mom’s in-home nurses arrived to do their check-in. They encouraged the girls to keep visiting while they checked in with me about particulars, and made sure to let all of them know how wonderful such visits were for mom and her rehabilitation and recovery. Pathways and progress multiply in the familiar, and in the last 24-48 hours, I have noticed a significant increase in the strength of her voice.

Beyond just yesterday, there has been an outpouring of encouragement and support for not only mom, but for my sister and me as we walk this road to recovery together. Mom’s living room and kitchen are lined with cards that have been sent over the last month by family and friends, far and near. Dear ones have been taking my boys to school in the mornings, and I know the same has been true for my sister when she is here as well. Our communities have rallied around us and covered us in prayer. We have been built up and encouraged, and are encouraged to do likewise. May we ever reach out and support one another; for we were indeed created to be in a community.

 

Build up each other,

img_2019-06-05_06-47-096960588294766447506.jpg

A sweet photo of mom and some of her besties from last year. ❤

Encourage, reach out;

Help one another,

It’s what love’s about.

For God created,

People to all need;

Sense of belonging,

A community.

Family and friends,

The gifts whom God gives;

To walk alongside,

To thrive as we live.

Let’s choose encourage,

Love well and build up;

Bless one another,

Fill up empty cups.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You call us to encourage and build each other up. Thank You that You place people in our lives that do so when we need it the most. Forgive us for the missed opportunities to offer a word of encouragement or to come alongside another who needed a boost. Teach us to trust You more, so that we would listen to Your leading and encourage and build others up in the same way that You encourage and build us up. Show us how to love those around us in a way that strengthens and builds up where they are depleted. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we praise You for the encouragement that we have received and seek Your heart to extend the same to others around us. Amen.

 

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

 

You, Lord, hear the desire of the afflicted; You encourage them, and You listen to their cry. – Psalm 10:17

Extend the Good

You go before me and follow me. You place Your hand of blessing on my head. – (Psalm 139:5, NLT)

You are all around me – in front of me and behind me. I feel Your hand on my shoulder. – (Psalm 139:5, ERV)

You’ve gone into my future to prepare the way, and in kindness You follow behind me to spare me from the harm of my past. With Your hand of love upon my life, You impart a blessing to me. – (Psalm 139:5, TPT)

 

The kindness of God never ceases to amaze me. So often, He uses the people He has placed in my life to show me His love in remarkable ways. Yesterday, as the start of the school day was drawing near, I walked into the library and crossed paths with a colleague and friend. She happened to be wearing my shirt for the Seattle Majestics (the semi-pro, full-tackle, women’s football team I made about a month ago), and I smiled and complimented her on her shirt. Her response was very sweet and supportive, and I walked away blessed and encouraged. Not twenty yards out the library door, I encountered another dear co-working friend, wearing the same shirt and a sweet smile. I did a double-take in disbelief, and again was built up with blessing. One of my dearest friends made a cameo in my class, also donning said shirt, as she informed my students of my latest endeavor. Though I was likely several shades of red, it was entertaining to see my kids respond to the idea of their teacher playing football. At the end of the day, we had a staff meeting and there were a total of four fabulous ladies sporting the shirts in support of this new adventure. For me, it was a reminder that I am valued and known, even if I am quiet and often fly under the radar. He sees and He knows, and His hand of blessing is upon me. May we ever remember Who goes before us and stands behind, as the Lord loves to impart blessings upon us.

 

The Lord goes before, img_20171206_163718_0541739637535.jpg

And He stands behind;

He extends blessings,

With our hearts in mind.

He knows and He sees,

The need of each heart;

The hand of His love,

His blessing imparts.

Protects from the past,

And prepares the way;

Strength for tomorrow,

And love all our days.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You go before us and stand behind. Thank You that You walk beside us and bless us as we go. Thank You that You place us in communities. Thank You for the incredible gift of the people whom You have placed in mine. Forgive us for not recognizing Your hand of blessing in the good that goes on around us each day. Teach us to trust You more, so that we would fix our eyes on the blessings that You bestow upon us, rather than the struggles that we face. Thank You that You are with us through it all. Show us how to support, encourage, walk beside and love those around us in the day-to-day, as that is the community to which we are called. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we praise You for Your presence and Your blessings, and extend the good that we have been given to those around us. Amen.

 

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

 

Father, I thank You that You have heard me. – John 11:41

Without Rival

“Our chief want is someone who will inspire us to be what we know we could be.” – Ralph Waldo Emerson

 

Incredibly, God is the answer to that desire for every man, woman and child. His plans and purposes for us are good, and He will provide all that we need to become who He has created us to be.

“For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the LORD, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you a hope and a future.” – (Jeremiah 29:11, NIV)

The quote by Ralph Waldo Emerson is the opening line in Without Rival, by Lisa Bevere, which is the book which the ladies in my church have selected for a book study. So far, some of the most impactful lines of the first chapter include:

“Godliness is the ability to adopt God’s vantage point.” – This one is particularly poignant, as so often I pray to see things from God’s perspective rather than my own.

“God loves each of us as if there was only one of us.” – His love for us is unique, not equal. Equal implies measurable, and the love of God is infinite! Being loved uniquely means that we are loved individually, just as we are – for His love knows no end.

“Knowing who you are is vastly more important than knowing where you are going or even what you can do.” – Because we are His created, He has much to say about who we are, and what we could become in Him.

 

We all hold the hope,lisa-bevere-without-rival

Internal desire;

To be all we can,

Find one who inspires.

We’re each loved and known,

We find as we seek;

Shows us through His eyes,

A love that’s unique.

For the Lord has made,

Each of us designed;

With plan and purpose,

A future in mind.

What matters the most,

Is we come to know;

Who we truly are,

Not places we’ll go.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You for the gift of Your word and the treasure of the communities to which we are called. Thank You for the those whom You have placed in my own community at Grace. Thank You for the freedom to study and discuss the truth of Your word without fear. Forgive us for taking our freedom for granted, or for not fully investing in the opportunities that You place before us. Teach us to trust You with our hearts and minds, so that we would be open to hear what You have to say through Your word and through those around us. Show us how to listen intently, speak boldly, and love relentlessly, so that Your love may be expressed without fear to all those who cross our paths. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we learn to live and love without rival as we are called. Amen.

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

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

Good Wherever You Go

Do good wherever you go. After a while, the good you do will come back to you. – (Ecclesiastes 11:1, ERV)

 

We don’t give to get, for doing so would result in bitter disappointment. However, what I have discovered is that when I go forth in kindness, most often, kindness is returned. This is not because I expect to be treated kindly, but I think that people cannot help but to respond gently when they are treated in the manner in which they hope to be treated. So often a kind word or a smile disarms even the hardest of hearts. In light of recent events that have gone on in our nation, it is evident that we need to do more good wherever we go. No matter how we are viewed, we must offer kindness and do whatever good we have the capacity to offer. For communities that are typically neglected, outcast, or disregarded, good needs to be extended all the more. May we rise up at the ready, and go forth doing good wherever we go.

 

In a world where hate,The Power of the Tongue

Too often abounds;

May we offer good,

Let kindness resound.

For hate begets hate,

But love, it disarms;

Kind and gentle words,

Bring an end to harm.

Let us each choose love,

It’s where hope resides;

Each act of kindness,

A positive stride.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You are good, and that Your Son set the example of doing good wherever He went. He loved the “unlovable“, approached the “unapproachable“, and did good everywhere He went. Forgive us for our apathy when we have the capacity to do good. Teach us to trust You more, so that we rise up and do good wherever we go. Show us where we can act on Your behalf as agents of Your goodness and grace to someone in need. Help us to love as we are loved by You. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we do good wherever we go, just as You have done so much good for us and in us. Amen.

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

The Lord is gracious and compassionate, slow to anger and rich in love. – Psalm 145:8

Always Thankful, for Peace Shall Come

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)

Let the peace that Christ gives control your thinking. It is for peace that you were chosen to be together in one body. And always be thankful. – (Colossians 3:15, ERV)

Yet another reason for our hearts and minds to be filled to overflowing with gratitude to God, is for the peace that comes from Christ when we allow Him to rule in our hearts. As we seek the Lord and His will, we are better equipped to be at peace with those around us. Regardless of the external chaos that can come, when Christ reigns, His peace is present in the midst of it, and He provides people within the body to remind us of His faithfulness and give us greater reason to give thanks. May we always be thankful for the God of all peace; for we are each called to live in peace as members of one body.

Let the peace of Christ,

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

in our hearts, come reign;

for we’re one body,

and His truth remains.

We are called to peace,

together to live;

with hearts full of thanks,

all praise to Him give.

May our tender space,

of true gratitude;

encourage others,

in their attitude.

All glory to You,

our God of all peace;

our Help and our Hope,

where love learns increase.

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You are our place of peace. Thank You that all peace comes from You. Thank You that regardless of what is going on in our surroundings, Your peace can be present within us. Thank You that You call us to live peaceably as the body of Christ. Forgive us for not seeking Your peace in the storms or for avoiding others with whom peace does not come easily. Teach us to trust You more, so that we would know and exhibit Your peace in all things and at all times. Lead us to live lives that are overflowing with thankfulness. Show us how to love others so that they may come to know Your peace that passes all understanding in their hearts and minds. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as Your peace rules in our hearts and communities, and we give all thanks and praise unto You. Amen.

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

The fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control. – Galatians 5:22-23

When Faith Intersects

It is incredible to see what God will do when faith intersects. As one in need and another obedient to pour out, both by faith say yes to the Lord, mountains are moved and miracles happen. In Lystra there sat a man crippled in his feet, who was lame from birth and had never walked. He listened to Paul as he was speaking. Paul looked directly at him, saw that he had faith to be healed and called out, “Stand up on your feet!” At that, the man jumped up and began to walk. – (Acts 14:8-10)

 

Despite having been inflicted since birth, the man received hope when it was offered. Imagine hearing of a Healer, when all you’d ever known was brokenness… Additionally, Paul, as he shared the great news of Christ, was sensitive to the Spirit, and was aware of the Lord’s leading for that moment in that place. Two men chose to say yes to God, despite the crowd and chaos around them. Each opted for the hope that Christ was offering in that time and space. May we too, find the faith to both hold hope in the seemingly impossible spaces, and obediently reach out, wherever Christ calls us to offer a word, a touch, or a helping hand.

 

God constantly moves,When Faith Intersects

we need be aware;

as we choose by faith,

to offer each prayer.

When we are in need,

He knows what to do;

by faith we must trust,

He will see us through.

In our times of strength,

as He has us move;

may we obey well,

what we’re called to do.

As faith intersects,

hope is on the rise;

He heals the broken,

and opens blind eyes.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You see our small seeds of faith, and call on us to rise up. Thank You that when we do, miracles happen in our hearts, homes and communities. Thank You too, that You have placed You Holy Spirit in the hearts of all who believe. Thank You that if we will be still and listen, You will speak to our hearts and show us the ways in which You are calling us to go. Forgive us for not heeding the call, or for being too busy to truly listen so that we will clearly hear from You. Teach us to trust You more and to quiet our hearts and minds before You, so that we will not miss all that You have for us. Lead us to love others in a way that helps them find faith in You. May many come into a lasting relationship with You, Lord. Be exalted O God, as we follow in faith for all of our days. Amen.

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

Is anyone happy?  Let him sing songs of praise. – James 5:13

Unity of the Spirit

Make every effort to keep the unity of the Spirit through the bond of peace. – (Ephesians 4:3)

 

Make daily, an earnest attempt, to be united in one purpose, empowered by the Holy Spirit, Who holds together and seals our state of order as we follow our Heavenly Father’s good and perfect plan for our lives. God wants us to work together with fellow believers, to be His body. Our charge is to be the church, so that lives may be touched and communities changed. Both are only possible if we are choosing to be united in purpose, trusting the Holy Spirit to lead and direct us as we go. May He equip our every effort to keep the unity of the Spirit, as we pursue His bond of peace.

 

Seek the Lord daily,Unity of the Spirit

to find unity;

only by His strength,

can peace flow from me.

He grants us order,

plants community;

in hearts that seek Him,

that choose to believe.

Trust in His leading,

for His ways are good;

all things together,

as one, understood.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You call us to be united by Your Spirit, and that You equip us to be bound together as one in You, by Your peace. Thank You that Your plans for us are good, and that they include us working together with members of a body of believers. Forgive us for seeking to do things in our own strength, or for neglecting to be united peacefully with the body of believers. Teach us to allow You to reign and rule in our hearts and lives, so that Your peace may pour out upon each relationship we invest in, and may Your love through us be evident to all. Let those who are looking, find a lasting relationship with You forever. Amen.

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

Is anyone happy?  Let his sing songs of praise. – James 5:13