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

 

The Love that Knows No End

But You, O Lord, are a God of compassion and mercy, slow to get angry and filled with unfailing love and faithfulness. – (Psalm 86:15, NLT) 

My Lord, You are a kind and merciful God. You are patient, loyal, and full of love. – (Psalm 86:15, ERV) 

But You, O God, are both tender and kind, not easily angered, immense in love, and You never, never quit. – (Psalm 86:15, MSG) 

 

Some mornings it is far more challenging to get up and get moving than others. Because I rise quite early, there are morning that I think my body is confused, and I wake up several times prior to my alarm alerting me with an Irish jig. Today was that sort of morning. The actual getting out of bed is not so much the struggle, but rather the seeming ability to function well, prior to my coffee kicking in, is where I find myself right now. As I sit and read the various translations/interpretations of this verse, I am blessed and encouraged, for God is for me and is faithful to meet me, even in my exhausted state. He is not angered that I feel weary, but rather His grace washes over me, and I am equipped with all that I need to continue each step of what He calls me to do. God cares about the minute details just as much as He is concerned with the big stuff. I know this to be true, as His love washes over me while I sit and focus on His word. May we ever seek the Lord and His unfailing love, for His kindness knows no end and His patience does not pass away.  

 

On difficult days, Wisdom from Heaven

You still are with us; 

Ever granting strength, 

The love of Jesus. 

You never give up, 

Your love never fails; 

When we’re feeling stuck, 

You’re wind in our sails. 

We thank You, O Lord, 

For all of our days; 

For all that You are, 

And Your faithful ways. 

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You love us and meet us, no matter how we come before You. Your love lifts us up and carries us through each day. Forgive us for our moments of doubt or dismay, when all around us seems too much. Teach us to trust You more, so that we would embrace Your grace as we rise each new day. Show us how to love those around us in a way that conveys Your faithfulness and willingness to love without limits. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we seek You each new morning, and praise You for Your faithful and unending love. Amen.

 

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

 

The Lord is compassionate and gracious, slow to anger, abounding in love. – Psalm 103:8

Such a Humble Start

And while they were there, the time came for her baby to be born. She gave birth to her firstborn son. She wrapped him snugly in strips of cloth and laid him in a manger, because there was no lodging available for them. – (Luke 2:6-7, NLT) 

While Joseph and Mary were in Bethlehem, the time came for her to have the baby. She gave birth to her first son. She wrapped him up well and laid him in a box where cattle fed. She put him there because the guest room was full. – (Luke 2:6-7, ERV) 

 

There are so many details about the birth of Jesus that are beyond my ability to grasp. First, as a woman about to give birth, I cannot fathom the exhaustion Mary must have been feeling after their four-day journey. Then, after travelling eighty-some miles on foot, to be told that there were no rooms available, anywhere, would have been enough to send most over the edge. No mention is made about anyone aiding Mary with the delivery of Jesus. As far as I understand, it was Mary, Joseph, and perhaps the nearby animals in the stable that night. Modern medicine and midwives were not a reasonable option. I think that this was a space where the grace of God was made known in a tangible way, as the young couple brought the Son of God into the world. This brave, strong, young mother, made use of what she had, and wrapped Jesus in strips of cloth and laid him in a bed that was probably far from where she had imagined the precious Prince of Peace would be set to sleep as a newborn. Such a humble beginning made God-with-us all the more relatable and approachable. Though He is King of Creation, He came to us as a newborn baby, in need and dependent on His parents for ordinary things. However, He did not remain an infant in a stable, but grew and became the Overcoming One who saves, and ultimately returned to His rightful throne in heaven. May we remember the humble beginnings of our Savior, recognizing that He understands and can relate to our earthly struggles, yet He is God with us, ready to help and equip us to overcome anything that stands before us. 

 

Weary, in wonder,when-love-came-close.jpg

At their journey’s end; 

Where were they to stay, 

What did God intend? 

No room in the inns, 

But a stable found; 

To bring forth Jesus, 

The image, profound. 

Such a humble start, 

For the Prince of Peace; 

Try fathom the grace, 

To them, God released. 

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You for loving us so much, that You sent Your Son to make the way for us to be restored to right relationship with You. Thank Your that because He came as a baby, in such a humble space, we find comfort as we seek Your grace. Forgive us for either forgetting that baby Jesus grew, became, overcame and is now seated at Your right hand, or for not recognizing that Jesus experienced the same joys and pains as we do and understands. Teach us to trust You more, so that we would bring all before You in faith. Show us how to love those around us in a way that makes Your heart tangible. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we praise You for Your purposes that are accomplished through that which does not seem to make sense. Amen.

 

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

 

The Word became flesh and made His dwelling among us. We have seen His glory, the glory of the one and only Son, who came to us from the Father, full of grace and truth. – John 1:14

 

 

Trust and Pray

In You, Lord my God, I put my trust. – (Psalm 25:1, NIV)

To You, O Lord, I pray. – (Psalm 25:1, TLB)

Always I will lift up my soul to You, Eternal One. – (Psalm 25:1, VOICE)

 

Yesterday evening, after we had finished dinner, I began chatting with my son about the details for his homecoming dance that I thought was nearly two weeks away. As we began speaking about specifics, it came to light that the dance is actually taking place this Saturday evening. Normally, that would be no problem, but this weekend I have long since planned to be at the women’s retreat with my church. What is a mom to do when her child is going to his first dance with a date, and is scheduled to be away for the weekend?! The first prayer that flooded my heart was, “Please let him have the date wrong!” Once it was confirmed that the dance was indeed this weekend, I simply and silently called out for help. My sweet husband was nearby and was witness to this new information. As soon as the actual date was discovered, he cancelled his plans for Saturday to help facilitate preparation and transportation for my boy and his date. Though I am not yet certain how every detail will be orchestrated, I am confident that God will make a way. My retreat is in a town that is only 45 minutes away, and we have a sizeable break on Saturday afternoon. It is possible for me to drive home to help him prepare and take photos at the beginning of the evening, prior to returning to my retreat. God is good, and I trust Him to provide a way for this to work for all of us. Perhaps seemingly small, but to my son who adores this sweet young lady, and to this momma who loves her son with her whole heart, the care and provision granted matter more than mere words can express. It is a reminder that He cares about us; about what matters to our heart. God hears each prayer, even those whispered in frustration. May we ever present our prayers and petitions to our Provider, and give Him all glory for His goodness.

 

Let us choose lift up,

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Photo by Dee Jones of Open Door Photography ❤

All things as we pray;

For God always hears,

In love, makes a way.

He grants us His grace,

When we need find rest;

Provides solutions,

For His heart knows best.

The things still unseen,

He already knows;

As we pray, we’ll find,

A way He will show.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You are good and that You hear our every prayer. Thank You that we can come to You for all things, no matter how great or small. Forgive us for thinking that the small things are ones that we can “handle” on our own, rather than relying on Your wisdom and grace to lead us and guide us through. Teach us to trust You more, so that we would bring all things before You in prayer, knowing that You can make a way where there seems to be no way. Show us how to love those around us in ways that provide help and hope that make Your love and faithfulness tangible. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we pray to You and place our trust in You. Amen.

 

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

But God has surely listened and has heard my prayer. – Psalm 66:19

 

 

 

 

 

Worship in All that We Do

So I beg you, brothers and sisters, because of the great mercy God has shown us, offer your lives as a living sacrifice to Him – an offering that is only for God and pleasing to Him. Considering what He has done, it is only right that you should worship Him in this way. – (Romans 12:1, ERV)

Therefore I urge you, brothers and sisters, by the mercies of God, to present your bodies [dedicating all of yourselves, set apart] as a living sacrifice, holy and well-pleasing to God, which is your rational (logical, intelligent) act of worship. – (Romans 12:1, AMP)

 

As someone who thrives on movement, I am acutely aware of the blessing I have been given to have a healthy body that can be challenged and pushed to do extraordinary things. When we use our bodies to fulfill the purposes and callings that have been placed upon our lives, whatever we do can be an act of worship to God. Something that has stuck out to me for many years is the line from Chariots of Fire, “…when I run I feel His pleasure.” -(Eric Liddell) This is an encouragement to me, as I pursue new athletic endeavors, knowing that each one presents opportunity to love as I am called to love, and to utilize what I have been given to its full potential. My hope is that each time I take to the field this season, I will remember the One who gives me strength, and consider every moment an act of worship that will be pleasing unto Him. May we dedicate all that we do unto the Lord, and allow our every deed to be an act of worship to the One who gives us life.

 

I urge you, dear friends, Worship in All that We Do

In all that you do;

To give all to God,

In worship and truth.

All that we offer,

Is pleasing to Him;

From hearts of worship,

Praise flows from within.

Let all that we do,

Be an offering;

Though we can’t repay,

God finds this pleasing.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You give us the ability to dedicate ourselves to You in whatever we do. Thank You that it is pleasing to You when we choose to offer that which we do as a sacrifice to You. Forgive us for neglecting to give You praise for that which You make possible. Teach us to recognize Your hand in every detail of our lives, so that we will give You all of the glory for the good that You bring. Show us how to love and encourage those around us in a way that sets us apart by Your grace. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we dedicate all that we are and all that we do as an act of worship unto You. 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

Today I Trust

This morning as I woke, thirteen minutes prior to my alarm, my first thought was, “Today is the day!” At first, a laundry list of last minute details started filing through my mind, but was shortly squashed by the tender reminder: 

 

“Trust in the Lord with all your heart, lean not on your own understanding. In all your ways acknowledge Him, and He will make straight your path.” – (Proverbs 3:5-6, ESV) 

 

Trust. Such a simple concept, yet often so difficult to truly do. Today, I will choose trust, as it is in His hands. My bag has been packed for a few days, my boys’ bags are packed and ready for camp, I have their camp mail ready to go out so that they know my thoughts are with them, and I have done all that I know to do to prepare here, so now it is a matter of getting there. At times, our trust gets tried in the details, whereas other times there is something major lying before us and we have no choice but to trust. I imagine there will be plenty of opportunity to trust and trust again, as I go where I’ve never been to do things I’ve never done. I have to trust the Lord to be my strength and to lead me in the way I am meant to go. As a non-medical person going on a medical outreach, my role is all about trusting His leading. So far, He has taken something I enjoy, and turned it into part of my purpose and role for the health fair portion of our outreaches. My part will be to share about fitness, and help people recognize how simple it is for them to get out and get moving. God uses whatever we are willing to give, and I never cease to be amazed and how He does just that. May we choose this day to trust in the Lord with our whole heart, and lean not on our own understanding. May we acknowledge Him in all of our ways, and look to Him to direct our path.  

 

Lord, I choose to trust, So Much More

With all of my heart; 

For Your ways are best, 

From finish to start. 

Help me not to lean, 

On what I now know; 

But rather to trust, 

So my faith can grow. 

For Your ways are best, 

Not early or late; 

When I choose You, Lord, 

You make my path straight. 

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You for being trustworthy. Thank You that we can trust in You with all of our heart, rather than our own understanding, and as we do, You show us the way to go. Forgive us for worrying when we need to trust. Teach us how to acknowledge You in all things, so that we would recognize how easily You can handle all that seems impossible to us. Show us how to love all those whom You place in our path. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we trust You with all of our heart and acknowledge You in all of our ways. Amen.

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

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

Trust, for He is Good

But I trust in Your unfailing love; my heart rejoices in Your salvation. I will sing the Lord’s praise, for He has been good to me. – (Psalm 13:5-6, NIV)

But I trust in Your unfailing love. I will rejoice because You have rescued me. I will sing to the Lord because He is good to me. – (Psalm 13:5-6, NLT)

 

This morning, for whatever reason, I am just plain tired. The good news is that today is not an ordinary school day. It is an early dismissal day for the students, so the energy required on these days is different than on typical school days. Shortened classes go quickly, and after the students leave for the day, the remainder of the afternoon is spent collaborating with colleagues. In a sense, this is a bit of a rescue from my own exhaustion. Just knowing that I need only rise up until 12:40, is an encouragement in and of itself. At just the right time, there is a break in my ordinary routine, and I feel rescued from the weariness that is threatening. God knows what we can take, and provides precious rest in places where it is needed most. His love never fails, and I am so grateful that He cares about the smallest of details. May we ever trust in the unfailing love of the Lord, and rejoice in the salvation that He has provided. Let our hearts sing praise, for He is always good.

 

I trust in Your love,Be Transformed 1

My God and my King;

For You’re always good,

And rescue, You bring.

Salvation from death,

But also You give;

Love, strength, hope and life,

So we truly live.

Let our hearts choose sing,

All praise unto You;

For Your loving grace,

That carries us through.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You for Your unfailing love that saves. Thank You that You rescue us when we lose our way, and You lead us with Your goodness and grace. Thank You that You are good and loving and kind, and that You meet us where we are but do not allow us to stay stuck in spaces we do not belong. Forgive us for not seeking You when we feel stuck, and help us to ever trust in Your grace and strength to be our help and our hope at all times. Show us how to rejoice and give praise to You, as to You alone, all praise is due. Help us to love those around us in tangible ways that help them to see how much You care. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we trust in Your unfailing love and sing praise to You forever. Amen.

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

And the Lord said, “I will cause all my goodness to pass in front of you.” – Exodus 33:19

Knowing His Nearness

I always remember that the Lord is with me. He is here, close by my side, so nothing can defeat me. – (Psalm 16:8, ERV)

I know the Lord is always with me. I will not be shaken, for He is right beside me. – (Psalm 16:8, NLT)

 

No matter where we go or what we are facing, we are never alone. When we have invited Christ to be Lord of our lives, He remains present to be our help and our strength. I love that He cares about even the little details. Yesterday, I walked into a situation that I was nervous about; not because it was bad, nor dangerous – just that it was new and unknown, and I was uneasy. He was with me, and postured people appropriately to put my heart at ease. As I left my experience, I found my heart full of gratitude for the grace that I had been given, and the care I had been shown. The Lord is as close as our next breath, and will never leave us nor forsake us. He is faithful, and I am grateful. May we ever place our trust in Him.

 

The Lord, He is good,Enter With Thanksgiving

He always remains;

My help and my hope,

With strength, He sustains.

I won’t be shaken,

With God by my side;

As He is for me,

In Him, I’ll abide.

Always remember,

In love the Lord reigns;

With our God for us,

No fear can remain.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You are with us, close beside us so that nothing can shake us. Thank You that You are our Defender and our strength. Forgive us for our fear and lack of faith. Teach us to trust You more, so that we would not forget how much greater You are than anything that may lie before us. Show us how to love others in such a way, that they might see Your faithfulness through us. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we trust in Your nearness, always. Amen.

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

May God be gracious to us and bless us and make His face shine upon us. – Psalm 67:1

Hand-Crafted for Good

For we are God’s handiwork, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do. – (Ephesians 2:10, NIV)

 

As I am preparing to go to high school camp as the girls’ cabin leader next week, this verse is a great reminder for my heart. I want to do and be all that God desires, yet in Him, I already am. My job is to show up and be available. He prepared the way, long before I even knew that I would be going. Some of the details that have come to light this week have been mind-blowing. The way that God has orchestrated the pairing of the person whom I will co-lead with is unbelievable. She and I have walked parallel roads, and share stories that are so similar, it is almost eerie. Just knowing that, I cannot even begin to fathom the other details that He has prepared for the benefit of the campers and fellow leaders. It is going to be a phenomenal week. When we are mindful of who we are in Him, and allow Him to be God and we choose to show up and walk where He leads – the possibilities are endless. May we choose to embrace the grace of being His handiwork, and move forward in faith where He calls.

 

Hand-crafted, we’re His,Ragnar2016.cheeringrunners

Created in Christ;

Made to do good works,

Our Father’s delight.

Prepared in advance,

The Lord makes a way;

For us to follow,

So we can obey.

It is from this space,

Of obedience;

That lives can be changed,

And hope can advance.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that we are Your workmanship, created in You to do good works that You prepared in advance for us to do. Thank You that You equip us and walk beside us in the process. Forgive us for thinking that we have to do anything in our own strength or of our own accord. Teach us to trust You more. Show us how to do the things You have prepared in advance for us to do. Lead us to love others in the same way that You love each of us. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we do that which You have prepared for us to do. Amen.

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

Your righteousness reaches to the skies, O God, You who have done great things. Who, O God, is like You? – Psalm 71:19