A Loving Warrior

For the Lord your God is living among you. He is a mighty Savior. He will take delight in you with gladness. With His love, He will calm all Your fears. He will rejoice over you with joyful songs. – (Zephaniah 3:17, NLT)

The Lord your God is with you. He is like a powerful soldier. He will save you. He will show how much He loves you and how happy He is with you. He will laugh and be happy about you. – (Zephaniah 3:17, ERV)

Your God is present among you, a strong Warrior there to save you. Happy to have you back, He’ll calm you with His love and delight you with His songs. – (Zephaniah 3:17, MSG)

 

It amazes me how often the verse of the day on my Bible application, is exactly the reminder I need. This morning, as I am on the other side of the mountains from mom and prepare to head back to work for a few days before returning to her after having not set foot in my classroom in nearly three weeks, I am more than a little nervous. Fortunately, I am comfortable about mom because my sister is there with her, and am able to be present with my family at home. Yesterday morning, I actually woke myself up from dreaming, as I had been telling my students about what had happened, and why I had been gone so long. Clearly returning to my classes has weighed heavily on my heart, and the unknown can be a bit of a fearful space. That being said, the past several weeks of my life have been nothing but unknowns. When we first drove to Wenatchee to mom in the hospital, we did not know the shape that she would be in. We knew not what the road to recovery and restoration would have in store, nor the timeline that would be required. Even now, we do not fully know the answers, however, God does. Even in this, we have found joy. There has been laughter, and smiles, gladness and delight. Peace and calm have come when they did not seem possible, and really did not make sense.

Mom continues to work tirelessly in each therapy session, and that which used to be the most frustration for her, is now becoming an area where she is seeing the most rapid growth and gratification. Speech therapy works not only on word recognition, cognition, reading, memory, logic and the like, but they are also working on strengthening her vocal cords. One of the things the stroke affected was the power of mom’s voice. Typically outgoing with a boisterous and jovial voice, the stroke left her quite soft-spoken. Her vocal work in speech therapy is helping her find the power in her voice again. We share many giggles in the process.

In all of this, God is with us, a present, loving warrior, battling on our behalf, loving us through the process as He calms our fears. May we ever trust in the One who delights in us, and listen to the songs He sings over us with joy.

 

The Lord is present, Bold Grace

Ever He is near;

Loving warrior,

We’ve nothing to fear.

With our God for us,

He’ll hold us upright;

Fighting our battles,

All day and all night.

Choose trust in the One,

Whose love grants us peace;

And sings over us,

Delightful release.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You for being both our loving Savior and mighty Warrior. Thank You that You delight in us and sing over us, granting us peace in our spaces of fear. Forgive us for our fear of the unknown and unexplainable; for You already know the outcome and have a plan and a purpose for all. Teach us to trust the truth of Your word, that Your plans are to prosper and not to harm, to give a hope and a future. Show us how to love those around us well, so that Your loving strength shines through us clearly. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we rise up and receive the covering You provide for us in Your strength and love. Amen.

 

© Shannon Elizabeth 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

Courage Comes

Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged, for the Lord your God will be with you wherever you go. – (Joshua 1:9, NIV)

Remember, I commanded you to be strong and brave. Don’t be afraid, because the Lord your God will be with you wherever you go. – (Joshua 1:9, ERV)

Haven’t I commanded you? Strength! Courage! Don’t be timid; don’t get discouraged. God, your God, is with you every step you take. – (Joshua 1:9, MSG)

 

As my sister and I navigate these days with our mom, into this vast unknown, there are many barriers and bumps that cause fear and discouragement. On our own, we would be huddled in the corner in the fetal position, rocking back and forth in a puddle of tears; sorrow and fear, anger and devastation overtaking us. Thankfully, we are not on our own. The battle belongs to the Lord, and He has surrounded us with an army of warriors who love fiercely – from our families, friends who are framily, to all those near and far who love mom deeply. Even the hospital staff is wonderful, and they are fighting fiercely to deal with the insurance loopholes required to move her to the very best acute care facility available. Mom continues to make progress with her speaking, at least when she is relaxed and speaking with Megan and me, but we are finding that she struggles when there are more than one or two people in the room, particularly those she does not know really well. Words are far more difficult to find when she is put on the spot, and when she feels pressed, she becomes quiet and just shakes her head with a disgusted smile. That smile makes me die inside a little more, each time I see it. My mama bear instincts rise up, and I want to throat punch people who say foolish things that do NOT encourage her, or motivate her to keep pressing forward. There are some enormous decisions to be made, and I am in need of covering as I contact HR to find out what my options are for FML in the coming weeks. What we do know is that mom will be at the Good Samaritan Acute Care Facility in Puyallup. Additionally, through dear friends, we have discovered that a mutual friend is actually on staff there! We see evidence of God’s hands all over this journey, it is just a road we wish we’d never had to walk. God knows, and we know He is with us; we just need to keep our eyes and ears open for the reminders. Humanity is fragile, but God is strong. May we ever depend on Him to be our strength and courage for every step we take.

 

Be strong, take courage, img_2019-05-02_06-41-226964497963981900913.jpg

For our Lord is near;

Despite what we see,

We need never fear.

Into His great hands,

We are firmly held;

The strength of His love,

Cause doubts be dispelled.

Lean into Jesus,

For in Him is found;

All safety and grace,

In strength, to abound.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You are our strength in weakness, and that You are our courage when we feel afraid. Forgive us for our fear of what we perceive, as we only see in part, what You already know. Lord Jesus, please go before us and prepare the way. Orchestrate the transportation to the new facility for mom – the very best and most comfortable method to safely transport; the timing that You have already set in place; please expedite the insurance paperwork and grant favor so that the current out-of-network status will be overturned, and above all else, continue to bring complete and total healing and restoration to mom. May her heart and mind and attitude be an example to those who do not know You yet, and draw others into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, even in this, for You are good, even when circumstances are not. Amen.

 

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

 

Be still and know that I am God… – Psalm 46:10a

Safe in New Seasons

And when you are old, I will still be there, carrying you. When your limbs grow tired, your eyes are weak, and your hair a silvery gray, I will carry you as I always have. I will carry you and save you. – (Isaiah 46:4, VOICE)

I will be your God throughout your lifetime – until your hair is white with age. I made you, and I will care for you. I will carry you along and save you. – (Isaiah 46:4, NLT)

And I will still be carrying you when you are old. Your hair will turn gray, and I will still carry you. I made you, and I will carry you to safety. – (Isaiah 46:4, ERV)

 

Aging is an interesting phenomenon. Each mile mark that I reach, there are new blessings and challenges. Last November, for the first time in my life, I discovered that I needed reading glasses. As I attempted to read a recipe on the back of a can of pumpkin, I discovered that I simply could not see the small print. Since then, I went to the eye doctor and she confirmed what I already knew. Age had finally caught my eyes, and glasses would be needed from here on out. After a lifetime of not wearing them, it is a strange adjustment that I forget most of the time, until I have to sit in front of a computer or read multiple pages of text. That being said, the joys that God has brought in this time in my life, far outweigh such a small thing. His care, concern and covering has stayed constant, and I am endlessly amazed at how He blesses me with His presence and His love. Though I may fight the white hair portion of aging for a while, I will fully embrace His grace and goodness as each new chapter unfolds. May we recognize and remember that God has promised to remain present throughout our lifetime, and He will carry us when we cannot walk on our own.

 

All throughout our lives, Safe in New Seasons

God’s promised to stay;

To be by our side,

To show us the way.

We need never fear,

New seasons of life;

For God is faithful,

Through peace and through strife.

When we have no strength,

The Lord remains strong;

He will lift us up,

Lead us further on.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You for the gift of life. Thank You that You are with us through each new season that we walk through. Thank You that if we grow weary or weak, we need not fear, for You are with us and will carry us on. Forgive us for fearing what is yet to come, and teach us to trust You to continue to carry and save us throughout our lifetime. Show us how to love those around us in a way that strengthens and encourages and helps those in need. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we trust You to remain present forever, and go forth in the confidence that You will carry us along and keep us in Your care. 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

Stronger Together

Two people are better off than one, for they can help each other succeed. – (Ecclesiastes 4:9, NLT)

Two people are better than one. When two people work together, they get more work done. – (Ecclesiastes 4:9, ERV)

Two are better than one because a good return comes when two work together. – (Ecclesiastes 4:9, VOICE)

 

This holds true for nearly every area in our lives. We were created to be in community, and not intended to be isolated and alone. Spiritually, when we are invested in relationships with people who share our commitment to our faith, we find encouragement, covering, questions that need to be asked, and company to keep in both celebration and heartache. For our intellect, this also holds tremendous value. When planning, preparing or facing a problem, having another to discuss ideas with makes all the difference in finding a reasonable solution. Likewise this is true for our bodies. It is far easier to remain healthy and choose wisely when we train with others seeking to do the same. When given the option, two are always better than one, as working together increases resolve and return. May we seek to invest in the people placed around us, so that we can help one another succeed in all that we have been called to do.

 

For where there are two,stronger-together

More strength can be found;

Resolve unshaken,

When two hold their ground.

Together the two,

Can accomplish more;

There’s a great return,

As each part outpours.

Work is divided,

And more goals succeed;

Each one better off,

Together complete.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You have created us to be in community. Thank You that we are far better off when we work with others than when we go alone. Thank You that You use people in our lives to encourage us and grow us spiritually, mentally and physically. Thank You that You allow us to do the same for others if we are willing to be invested. Forgive us for not reaching out to those around us and isolating ourselves when we are meant to be invested. Teach us to trust You more, so that we would step outside of what is “comfortable”, and work together with those whom You bring beside us to get things done. Show us how to love those around us in such a way, that they might be encouraged and built up through our every interaction with them. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we work together with others to do that which You have called us to do. Amen.

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

He will yet fill your mouth with laughter and your lips with shouts of joy. – Job 8:21

Praying on Purpose

It is easy to get caught up in the rigor of daily life, and forget just how critical it is to lift up one another in prayer. When we cover each other, there is power released through our prayers. Protection, courage, passion and perseverance all come by His grace when choose to be intentional in our prayers.

 

So we keep on praying for you, asking our God to enable you to live a life worthy of His call. May He give you the power to accomplish all the good things your faith prompts you to do. – (2 Thessalonians 1:11, NLT)

 

That is the very sort of covering that I desire, so that I might live my life worthy of His call. I am well aware that on my own, I cannot accomplish that which I am prompted to do. However, by His strength, I can do all things that He asks of me. Faithful women of prayer have gone before me. My grandmother and my mom are both women whom I know have lifted many words heavenward on my behalf. The grace that I have been given, has largely been prayed in by them and faithful friends. I desire to do the same. May we each have the seed planted deep within our heart, so that we would be people who faithfully and consistently pray for those around us.

 

Power is released,Believe Instead of Striving

When we choose to pray;

The grace to do good,

To walk in His way.

As faith leads us on,

Shows us what to do;

Ask God for the help,

To see His plan through.

May we choose live lives,

Worthy of You, Lord;

Praying by Your grace,

Use all You afford.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You for Your grace and the power that is released when people pray. Thank You that You hear every prayer that is lifted before You, and You give what is needed to accomplish that which we are called to do. Forgive us for our lack of faithfulness in prayer. Teach us to trust You more, so that we would bring before You, every need, concern, praise, and hope – daily. Show us how to pray as You would have us pray. Lead us to love those around us in a way that encourages each to seek You for strength and grace. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we pray for the people around us, trusting You to enable each of us to live lives worthy of our call. Amen.

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

Let the heavens rejoice, let the earth be glad. – 1 Chronicles 16:31

Encouraging Each Other

But encourage one another daily, as long as it is called Today, so that none of you may be hardened by sin’s deceitfulness. – (Hebrews 3:13)

                                                                                                                                                            To protect our hearts from unbelief, we need to be invested in fellowship with other believers.  Our charge is to talk about our shared faith, so that we may build each other up, increasing awareness of the deceitfulness of sin, and covering one another with the love and concern of Christ.  Isolation allows temptation to take root and thrive; but being surrounded by those who share the same passionate pursuit of the path that Christ has set before us, protects our hearts and minds from that which would try to lead us astray.  May we each invest well in the body, and encourage one another daily in that to which we have been called.

For this is the day,OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA
that the Lord has made;
given as a gift,
to keep our path straight.
We’re not meant to walk,
this road on our own;
but beside others,
so His grace is grown.
When we’re surrounded,
by those seeking Him;
all can encourage,
fend off lure of sin.
May all of our words,
be love and be light;
encouraging all,
to fight the good fight.

 
Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You created us to be a part of a body of believers, and do not intend for us to do life on our own.  Thank You that You call us to encourage each other, and help keep one another from falling into the snare of sin.  Forgive us for thinking that we need to fight the fight on our own, or for isolating ourselves and trying to power through.  Teach us to trust You more, so that we will hear Your call as to whom You are leading us to let in, and allow our hearts to trust to speak into our lives.  Show us how to encourage others well, so that Your love may be made evident through us.  May many come into a lasting relationship with You.  Be exalted O God, as we encourage one another and keep our hearts soft before You.  Amen.
For the Lord your God will bless you, …and your joy will be complete. – Deuteronomy 16:15

To Reflect His Radiance

When Moses came down from Mount Sinai with the two tablets of the Testimony in his hands, he was not aware that his face was radiant because he had spoken with the Lord. – (Exodus 34:29)

 

Moses was returning from spending forty days and nights alone in God’s presence. There were no distractions, no agendas; it was just Moses in the Lord’s presence, gaining wisdom and insight as to how God wanted the people to follow Him. God’s radiance was evident on the face of Moses, because he had spent time alone in His presence. Though we may not light up a room reflecting the very glory of God, we should appear different, changed somehow – through the time we spend in prayer, in the Word, and in the intentional presence of our Savior. God out there, is now God with us, so we have all the more opportunity to reflect the radiance of the living Lord. May we invest our hearts and minds in time alone with Christ, so that we too, may reflect His radiance wherever we go.

 

Time alone with God,To Reflect His Radiance

is our space to grow;

gain understanding,

so His truth we’ll know.

As insight is gained,

His love light will show;

a tangible change,

sets our hearts aglow.

So seek time alone,

the Lord shall bestow;

His grace and mercy,

all goodness to sow.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that time with You is well spent. Thank You that the more time we spend in Your presence, the more we reflect Your heart to those around us. Forgive us for our lack of investment in our relationship with You, or for covering the countenance that You crafted within us to reflect Your glory. Teach us to trust You more, so that others may see and know that there is a difference in us, through You. Lead us to love others as You so lavishly love each of us. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified Lord God, as we reflect Your radiance to those around us. 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

Ragnar Review

After a three-day hiatus from this wonderful community of friends and family near and far, I thought it might be good to share with you, the reason for my absence. Though I have mentioned previously that I would be participating in the Ragnar Relay, prior to actual participation, that was but a glimpse of what was yet to come. So, without further ado, I will attempt to unpack some of the experience.

 

Meg Ragnar 2013One year ago, yesterday, I was on Whidbey Island with my boys, with the intention of watching my sister finish some crazy, long relay race, called the Ragnar Relay. As I stood beside her husband, watching the team of twelve running together in unison across the finish line, I wondered what could have transpired to bring a group of twelve friends and strangers together to stretch themselves to run 200 miles round the clock, until they had finished. Watching the exchanges between teammates as they snapped photos, hugged one another, high-fived, and shared laughs, I found myself drawn into the community of a close-knit team, wondering if I too, should take on such an endeavor.

 

In December, I decided that I was ready to really commit to running again. The process was a slow and painful one, as I had always beEncourage Each Otheren accustomed to being able to run far without my lungs complaining because they had not properly prepared for this. As the months went by, I slowly built momentum, ever improving as I found friends who were able to run too. In the late spring, I discovered a sweet friend from church was a perfect running partner. She and I not only logged miles together, but became fast friends. Our runs have been times to comfort and care for one another, each knowing that the other will be lifting the needs of the other up to the Lord, long after the run is done.

 

Ragnar nailsLast week, leading up to our race, there was running gear to organize, safety gear to purchase, nails to be painted, bags to be packed, and a plethora of other preparations to be made. At long last, Thursday arrived. After seeing my boys off on the ferry solo for the first time, and waiting for the arrival of my sister and brother-in-law, we three then made our way to the meet up for dinner with our van’s portion of our team. The relay teams are typically twelve members, so it was strange to meet up with only two others, and recognize that our five was it in our van, as one of our original teammates had to drop out unexpectedly. That being said, it meant that over dinner, we discussed our strategy as to how we would cover the three legs that were now vacant and needed to be run. It was a small and compatible group, so all was off to a great start.

 

We called it a night and returned to our hotel, where we would try to get a few hours of sleep. Our scheduled meet up time with the other halfRagnar Van Decorating of our team was 3:45 am, as we had to drive together up the Canadian border, where the race was to begin. The two vans made a necessary Starbucks stop at the halfway point, and it was the first time that many of us met one another. My dear friend and her friend were in the other van, and my sister and brother-in-law were in the same van as me. Everyone was a bit groggy, yet kind and optimistic. We were able to mingle and decorate the van windows before finishing our drive to the start line.

 

Van 2.

Van 2.

The two vans leap frog each other throughout the course. Runners 1-6 are in van one, and runners 7-12 are in van two. There are a total of 36 legs to be run, and they are all run sequentially and continuously, until the entire course is run. While van one runners are running, van two is resting, getting a meal, and moving ahead to the next major exchange in preparation for handoff.

 

Each leg of the race, presented its only challenges and rewards. The region where the race was run is very hilly, so hills could be counted on,Our team.

in EVERY leg. If you pass a runner while you are running your leg, it is called a “kill”, and “kills” are tallied on van windows. There is a sweet sense of accomplishment to mark “kills” when you are exhausted from running a leg. Each van follows and provides support to their runner along the course as they run. As a van, it is determined prior to running, how much support the runner thinks they might want (water, etc.) and the cheering van shows up, offering the words of encouragement needed, usually right when it is most needed.

Shan Ragnar 2014

Every step I took, I was aware of God’s goodness and His grace, as He so clearly was covering me and my teammates. Despite the lack of sleep and one less team member, we were able to do abundantly more than we thought we could. As I ran, I felt His presence and His strength, especially when I knew I should have had none. So often the song in my heart was “You Make Me Brave“, the lyrics in particular, “You make me brave, You make me brave, No fear can hinder now the promises You made.” In moments that I feared I could not take another step, I would breathe deeply in the truth of God, the fear would pass, and strength was renewed.

Ragnar tired 2014

After four legs run, very little sleep, only two proper meals, and countless stories of God’s faithfulness, grace and goodness, I am ready to sign up to be a repeat Ragnarian again next year!

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You for Your goodness, Your grace, and for Your protection over each one of us. Thank You for helping us do abundantly more than we ever thought we could on our own. Thank You that in You, we find our strength. Forgive us for our fears and doubts, and help us to trust You in all things and at all times. May our faith in You lead us to love others as You love us, and may many come to know the hope that is held in You alone. Let us glorify You in all that we say and do. Amen.

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

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

 

Me, My SIs, Bro-in-law

Me, My SIs, Bro-in-law

Love this lady!

Love this lady!

Bonds Not Broken

Aine and MeSorrow in parting,

when likely the last;

invested friendships,

through much time has passed.

Weathering seasons,

united in grace;

when one friend falls down,

next helps back in place.

When trials are faced,

together to stand;

prayerful covering,

place all in God’s hand.

In joy and triumph,

we too celebrate;

rejoicing in Christ,

our Father and fate.

May we too build up,

each other in love;

offer compassion,

kindness from above.

Where people are knit,

as a three-strand chord;

Christ in the center,

our strength and our sword.

Invest first in Christ,

grow with each other;

may we rise in strength,

sisters and brothers.

(Responding to Acts 20:25-35)

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You for the men and women who have gone before us and modeled what it means to be a church body that is surrendered to You. Thank You that You loved us first, and You draw us unto Yourself. Thank You that You provide people to make Yourself more tangible to us. Forgive us for not fully investing where we are called, and help us to surrender all to You. Teach us how to trust You more so that we follow Your promptings as to where and with whom we are meant to invest more of ourselves. Show us how to pour out what You have given freely, and create among us, strong bonds that will withstand life’s storms. Let our love that is poured out, draw people unto You, and may many come to know You as their Father and Friend. Amen.

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