Navigating the Unknown

As you do not know the path of the wind, or how the body is formed in a mother’s womb, so you cannot understand the work of God, the Maker of all things. – (Ecclesiastes 11:5, NIV)

You don’t know where the wind blows. And you don’t know how a baby grows in its mother’s womb. In the same way, you don’t know what God will do – and He makes everything happen. – (Ecclesiastes 11:5, ERV)

Just as you’ll never understand the mystery of life forming in a pregnant woman, so you’ll never understand the mystery at work in all that God does. – (Ecclesiastes 11:5, MSG)

God’s ways are not our ways, and His plans are not like ours. There are times that we cannot possibly see the purpose in what we go through, nor how the path we are on could lead to what He intended. Even so, God is good. His timing is not our own, and His ways are far higher. It is a matter of choosing to trust, even when we cannot see, for despite all things, He is good. The Lord cares about every detail of our lives. He knows how many hairs are on our heads, and the strengths and talents that He intentionally placed within us. Often, what we go through, provides the opportunity to discover strength we did not know was possible, and how to hold fast to hope. When I was young, I knew that I wanted to be a teacher. As I grew up, some of the class requirements steered me in a different direction. The one in particular, was a speech class. Rather than dig deep and suck it up, I chose to become an art major with an English minor. Graphic design was a delight, and I learned and grew in a variety of mediums. Once I graduated with my Bachelor’s Degree, I found my way to Montana as a YWAMer (Youth With A Mission), and ended up spending the next three years in and out of Asia. Ironically, (or as God designed) I ended up having to do much public speaking during that season. God called me back home to go back to school and fulfill my teaching credentials. Upon graduation from my Master’s program, I was hired to teach World Geography at my own former middle school. God had prepared my heart to have a passion for learning about new cultures, after I had experienced so much in the years prior. Additionally, I was granted the gift of coaching gymnastics, which I had done during high school and college, both as a job and joyful passion. Throughout my career thus far, I have had the opportunity to teach art and English as well. I know not where each new experience will lead, but I know that I can trust God to be with me. May we ever embrace each new path we are called to take and trust that God will lead us through. He is good, and He knows the desires of our hearts and the plan and purpose intended for each of us, individually.

No one truly knows,

Where the Lord will lead;

He grants us His strength,

As His will we heed.

Detours and trials,

And paths still unknown;

Each with a purpose,

As His grace is shown.

Even in heartache,

We grow and we learn;

He loves us through all,

To Him may we turn.

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that though we cannot possibly know or understand all of Your ways, You are faithful to lead us and grow us through all. Thank You that as we depend on You, You use every experience for good. Forgive us for our fears and doubts in the spaces that we never thought we would be. Teach us to trust You completely, for Your plans are perfect. Show us how to love those around us in ways that offer strength, hope and peace. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we trust in Your unfailing love to lead us as we navigate each step that You bring us to take. Amen.

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

Lord, You establish peace for us; all that we have accomplished You have done for us. – Isaiah 26:12

Success in Our Savior

But thanks be to God! He gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ. – (1 Corinthians 15:57, NIV)

But we thank God who gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ! – (1 Corinthians 15:57, ERV)

But we thank God for giving us the victory as conquerors through our Lord Jesus, the Anointed One. – (1 Corinthians 15:57, TPT)

There are times when we are moving forward, ever seeking to do what we are meant to do, and still obstacles come our way. It does not mean we are off course; often it is an indication that there is more that God wants to show or teach us as we press on. He does not cause frustrating things to stand in our way, but He does allow mountains and valleys before us to show His strength that equips us to overcome as we seek Him. One of my goals before my “big” birthday this summer is to run a marathon. About six weeks ago, I fractured all three bones in my little toe. This created a month-long hiatus from running, and some serious frustration. Over the last week or so, I had finally been able to get back to running and was working to rebuild endurance. On my first run back at it, we ended up running our usual pace (prior to the fracture) and I was encouraged and grateful for God’s grace and faithfulness. Fast forward to Friday evening, and out of nowhere I felt feverish and had a sore throat. I was supposed to get a long run in over the weekend, and at long last, return to teaching on campus. Sadly, neither took place, and I am again deterred by a setback. Thankfully, this race we are running is not a sprint, but is an ultra marathon. It requires ongoing forward momentum, even if our steps seem miniscule. God is faithful and grants us victory in Christ. This season may look nothing like I had hoped or imagined, but I know that He is good and will lead me forward according to His plan. He knows the desires of my heart and will not leave me or forsake me. I know not what victory in Him will look like in this season, but I know that God is good. Each new day, I will trust Him to lead me forward, and be my strength to keep moving in the right direction. May we ever thank the Lord for His goodness and faithfulness, for we have the ultimate victory in Him.

All thanks be to God,

Our true victory;

For He is our strength,

The One that we need.

No matter the course,

Our race seems to take;

God will be faithful,

With goodness and grace.

Setbacks and detours,

And bumps in the road;

He grants us His strength,

Helps carry the load.

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that no matter what comes our way, You are faithful to be present and see us through. Thank You that even when obstacles lie before us, the road You have set us on remains the same. Forgive us for our frustration with setbacks and obstacles that come our way. Teach us to trust You to remain faithful as You lead us forward, despite how things appear. Show us how to love, encourage and support those around us as they run the race that You have set before them. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we trust You to successfully lead us along the path You have placed before us; for victory is already ours in Christ. Amen.

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

Indeed our shield belongs to the Lord, our King to the Holy One of Israel. – Psalm 89:18

The Faithful One

Know therefore that the Lord your God is God; He is the faithful God, keeping His covenant of love to a thousand generations of those who love Him and keep His commandments. – (Deuteronomy 7:9, NIV)

So remember that the Lord your God is the only God, and you can trust Him! He keeps His agreement. He shows His love and kindness to all people who love Him and obey His commands. He continues to show His love and kindness through a thousand generations. – (Deuteronomy 7:9, ERV)

I want you to know that the Eternal your God is the only true God. He’s the faithful God who keeps His covenants and shows loyal love for a thousand generations to those who in return love Him and keep His commands.  – (Deuteronomy 7:9, VOICE)

There seem to be fewer and fewer absolutes in modern society, yet God being God shall forever remain. He is faithful to His promises and loves all of His created. God’s faithfulness and love are made evident to those who seek to love and honor God in all things. The love and faithfulness of God was demonstrated to us by the generations that came before us, and will continue with those who follow. May we ever pursue a life of loving and honoring God, as we go forth and show His love and kindness to all people.

The Lord is our God,

The One who is true;

Faithful forever,

As He makes us new.

He grants us His heart,

To love and to serve;

Pours out His kindness,

As clearly observed.

All that the Lord asks,

That hearts remain true;

Choose love and honor,

In all that we do.

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You are the One true God, and You have shown Yourself faithful throughout the ages. Thank You that as we love and honor You, You show us Your faithfulness and love. Forgive us for our doubts and detours. Show us how to faithfully love and honor You in all that we say and do. Lead us to love those around us as You do. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we honor and love You and love all those You place in our lives. Amen.

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

Who is like You, Lord God Almighty? You, Lord, are mighty, and Your faithfulness surrounds You. – Psalm 89:8

Plans that Stand

But the Lord’s plans stand firm forever; His intentions can never be shaken. – (Psalm 33:11, NLT)

But the Lord’s decisions are good forever. His plans are good for generation after generation. – (Psalm 33:11, ERV)

God’s plan for the world stands up, all His designs are made to last. – (Psalm 33:11, MSG)

The Eternal’s purposes will last to the end of time, the thoughts of His heart will awaken and stir all generations. – (Psalm 33:11, VOICE)

 

There is great reassurance in these words, as so often we hear a promise, and wonder how it could ever possibly come to pass. What God says, He will do, for His word endures forever. Though disruptions and detours often come along the way, we learn and grow as we discover how to find our footing back on the path where the Lord is leading. Additionally, God’s timing is not our own. His plans stand firm and cannot be shaken, and they are good throughout all generations. Most of us want to see the fulfillment of a promise spoken within the hour, day, week or at least month in which it was heard. Things that last take time, and the Lord does not operate on our time table. His ways are higher than ours, so we have to trust that His timing is far better than our own, despite our desire to see the fulfillment unfold right now. May we ever trust the Lord and His plans, for His decisions are good and His plans cannot be shaken over time.

 

The Lord’s plans shall stand,Rediscovering Dreams

Firm forevermore;

They can’t be shaken,

Always, they’ll endure.

For His plans are good,

They are made to last;

Awakening hearts,

To do as we’re asked.

As we choose to go,

Wherever He calls;

We see faithfulness,

As hope He installs.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that Your plans stand firm forever. Thank You that Your intentions cannot be shaken, despite our lack of faith or patience in the process. Thank You that You are loving and kind, and that You are patient with us as You lead us in the ways that we are meant to go. Forgive us for where we lack, and attempt to go our own way. Teach us to trust You more, so that we would stay the course to which we have been called by You. Show us how to love those around us in a way that stirs hearts and minds to seek You, as they see Your faithfulness in action. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we trust in Your plans that stand firm forever, and Your intentions that cannot be shaken. Amen.

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

Taste and see that the Lord is good; blessed is the man who takes refuge in Him. – Psalm 34:8

Remembering His Faithfulness

I remember the days of long ago; I meditate on all Your works and consider what your hands have done. – (Psalm 143:5)

David faced some seriously discouraging circumstances. More than once, he had to flee for his very life, despite knowing that God had called him to be king. Despite the dismay at the detours, David chose to direct his heart and mind to the displays of faithfulness that the Lord had demonstrated for the many generations that had gone before him. He knew that God was faithful, and that His word was true. Rather than fixing his eyes on the hardships that he could see, David chose to meditate on all that God had done before, trusting that He would be faithful to continue to keep His promises as He had done so faithfully, for the many generations that had gone before him.

We are called to do the very same thing in the face of adversity. It is our choice to either focus on the problem, or on He who is faithful to hear our every prayer, and be present beside us, every step of the way. When we slow down and remember all the ways in which He has been faithful to us already, it is easier to meditate on the truth of His word, and what He has promised He will do. God is good, and His love endures forever. We need not allow our hearts to be overcome with fret or fear, but rather we ought to meditate on His works and the wonder of all that He has done. May we keep our hearts and minds fixed on Christ and the truth of who He is, so that we always remember what He has done, and where we are ultimately headed.

Remember the times,Break Camp and Move Out

that God has come through;

provided answers,

shown us what to do.

When there was a need,

our God did provide;

unexpectedly,

a whisper replied.

The Lord’s gentle hand,

as someone came near;

His comfort granted,

to our silent tears.

A ray of sunlight,

after raging rain;

hope we can cling to,

He makes our path plain.

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You are and have always been faithful. Thank You that You remain the same: yesterday, today and forever. Thank You that we can look to the past to remember Your faithfulness throughout the ages, when we are discouraged about today. Thank You that when we look to all that You have done, You restore our hope for both today and forever, as You are unchanging and abounding in love. Forgive us for forgetting to stop and meditate on all of Your works, as when we consider all that You have done, we cannot help but be hopeful. Teach us to trust You more, so that we would slow down and take time to consider all that You have done for us, even in the midst of our greatest trials, as You never leave us nor forsake us. Lead us to love others in such a way, that we might be an extension of Your hands and heart to those who need Your tangible touch. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we remember all that You have done, and go forth in confidence, knowing that Your faithfulness will last forever. 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

Ragnar Reminders

This is a different sort of post, as today is no ordinary day. Today, I will embark on a journey of epic proportions. Eleven friends and I will be running a 200-mile relay from the Canadian border to Whidbey Island. This endeavor begins at 6:30am, and will likely not conclude until late tomorrow afternoon. Our team is separated into two vans, containing six runners each, and van 1 is already nearing the start line for the prerace meeting. As a part of van 2, we get to have a bit more leisurely start, yet our second legs run, will be run in the wee hours of the night, prior to dawn’s early light. Van 2 has fewer opportunities for sleep, so perhaps that is why there is a bit of kindness as to when and where our first leg begins. The next 30+ hours will be a test of perseverance, stamina, and mental toughness. However, they are also hours of support, kindness, encouragement, and the best bonding in a shared experience that a person could ever imagine. Ragnar is a race that reminds me what life is like, and how it is meant to be run.

 

…And let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us, fixing our eyes on Jesus, the pioneer and perfector of faith. For the joy set before Him He endured the cross, scorning its shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God. – (Hebrews 12:1b-2)

 

We are meant to persevere and run the course that is marked before us. Our eyes are meant to be fixed on the path that Christ has prepared for us, not on the distractions and detours that could hinder us as we run. For the joy set before Him, He endured; so we too, ought to endure, trusting that there is so much more yet to come. In this race, the reward at the end is well worth the struggle. There is a huge celebration at the end, with medals, a meal, photos, and the reuniting of the two vans, to run the final quarter mile of the race, together. The joy found in our fleeting race ending, will be but a glimpse of the glory that we will find if we choose to faithfully follow our Heavenly Father for all of our days. Jesus is seated on His throne, and has prepared a place, just for us. He is always available, and ever present. May we rise up and run our own race, just as Christ has called us to run, and may we persevere, trusting in He who is faithful to see us through to the finish line.

 

Let us each rise up,Ragnar Team 2014

be ready to run;

whatever the race,

we’re called by the Son.

Ever persevere,

with eyes fixed on God;

for He is our strength,

our hope to applaud.

With joy, He endured,

for all of our sake;

so that we could run,

with swiftness, our race.

Endure the struggles,

for though there is pain;

the future glory,

is all that remains.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You so much for life and health and the ability to run the race that You have set before us, whatever that looks like for us, individually. Thank You that You strengthen us and keep us, so that we may persevere, trusting in Your faithfulness to see us through. Thank You that no matter the pain we endure in the here and now, our hope remains in our future glory with You forever. Forgive us for fixing our eyes on the temporary things around us, and help us to focus our hope in You. Lead us to love others as You so generously and graciously love each of us. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be exalted O God, as we run our race with perseverance, giving You the glory for every good thing that happens along the way. 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