Grace to Intake

I rise before dawn and cry for help; I have put my hope in Your word. – (Psalm 119:147, NIV)

I get up early in the morning to pray to You. I trust what You say. – (Psalm 119:147, ERV)

I wake before the dawn and call for help; I hope in Your words. – (Psalm 119:147, VOICE)

 

I am not certain if it is the ever-changing nature of my job, an ongoing growth in my recognition of my own shortcomings, or simply an acute awareness of my need for God to navigate each day, but whichever takes the lead on a given day, the intentional act of rising early to seek the Lord and hope in His word, grants renewed strength. When my hope is in the Lord and the truth of His word, joy is sustained, no matter what surrounds me. There are days that even so, it is difficult to keep my eyes fixed on Him and the hope He holds, rather than the weight of what lies before me. God is good, and His love endures forever. He is faithful and true, and we can trust in His word. May we wake each morning and present our requests, trusting that what the Lord says, He will do.

 

Early each morning, The Endowment of Early Mornings

With purpose I wake;

Time spent with the Lord,

His grace I intake.

Grace for the new day,

No matter what comes;

Hope, strength and His love,

As my day’s begun.

Always He’s faithful,

To speak to my heart;

Reminders of love,

His goodness imparts.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You are faithful to meet us whenever we come to You. Thank You that when we rise early, You begin our day with Your faithfulness and grace to carry us through. Forgive us for not seeking or for taking our eyes off of the truth that we hold in our eternal hope. Teach us to trust You more, so that we would know the faithfulness that is found in You in all things and at all times. Show us how to love those around us in a way that blesses each with grace and peace. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we rise early in the morning to seek You, and hope in You forever. Amen.

 

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

 

Look to the Lord and His strength; seek His face always. – Psalm 105:4

 

 

Consider Greater Love

And let us consider how we may spur one another on toward love and good deeds. – (Hebrews 10:24, NIV)

We should think about each other to see how we can encourage each other to show love and do good works. – (Hebrews 10:24, ERV)

Let us consider how to inspire each other to greater love and to righteous deeds. – (Hebrews 10:24, VOICE)

 

Yesterday was an “off” day at school. A few of my students who have the propensity to struggle with everyday expectations, each had a difficult day. I am not sure whether it can be attributed to the full moon, the numerous guest teachers on campus, the changing seasons, or perhaps an off day due to a wrench in their normal routine, but whatever the cause, the challenge remained and I was extraordinarily grateful for colleagues who are kind and encouraging. Thankfully, I learned long ago to not take a student’s display of distress, personally. Rather, it sets me on a path of seeking to discover more of what motivates and helps calm the child best, so that I might better anticipate and diffuse potential outbursts on a day that they are struggling. Both the presence of para-educators and an interpreter, and later that of administrators who were looking for students, became a source of help that inspired me to greater love, despite my temporary frustration. Sometimes, just knowing that someone else sees the reality of what has taken place, is enough to feel validated in the moment and motivation to let go and move on. There is no “perfect” in humanity. We will always irritate and frustrate, as we as become irritated and frustrated by others. What we do with it matters most. When we choose to love and extend grace, even when it is seemingly undeserved, we are offering the very thing that we have been given through life in Christ. May we ever seek the Lord to be our strength, so that we may choose to love and do good works, always.

 

Help us consider, Show the Love

How to choose to love;

To do the good works,

We’re called to get done.

Love is not about,

How much it’s deserved;

But rather a choice,

We choose as we serve.

At our very worst,

God still loves with grace;

So too, we should love,

The whole human race.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You love us no matter how we come or what we have done. Thank You that Your grace covers our shortcomings. Forgive us for the times that we do not choose love or good works, despite the clear call that You have given. Teach us to trust and rely on You for the strength and endurance to love even when it is challenging. Show us how to love those who are struggling in practical ways that help them understand goodness and grace, and to encourage others to do the same. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we choose to love and do good, encouraging one another as we are encouraged by You, according to Your perfect plan to which we are called. Amen.

 

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

The second is equally important: “Love your neighbor as yourself.” No other commandment is greater than these. – Mark 12:31

Love Lights the Way

Anyone who loves a fellow believer is living in the light and does not cause others to stumble. – (1 John 2:10, NLT)

Those who love their brothers and sisters live in the light, and there is nothing in them that will make them do wrong. – (1 John 2:10, ERV)

Anyone who loves his brother or sister lives in the light and will not trip because his conscience is clear. – (1 John 2:10, VOICE)

 

As always, it all boils down to love. If we are loving those around us according to God’s good and perfect will, we will be living in His light and will not lead others astray. True love, God’s love, points people in the right direction and helps others do good according to His will and His ways. For me, the more I am loved well, the more I am compelled to do the same. Love fuels love, and the overflow is light and life and the good that God intended all along. May we ever invest in our time with the Lord, who is love, so that we are filled and equipped to go forth and love those around us in His light.

 

Brothers and sisters;

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Photo by Dee Jones of Open Door Photography ❤

Let us choose to love,

For as we invest,

Good shall rise above.

If our choice is love,

For one and for all;

His light will be spread,

Answer to His call.

A love that is pure,

Will point all to good;

As we love like God,

Grace is understood.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You are good and loving and light into our darkness. Thank You that You call us to be the same to those around us. Forgive us for the times that we have chosen anything other than love, as love leads to the good You intend. Teach us to trust You more, so that we would love those around us, even when it is difficult. Show us how to love like You, allowing Your light to illuminate dark places and soften the hardest of hearts. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we invest our lives in Your love so that we may love others as You love us. Amen.

 

 

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

Even in darkness light dawns for the upright, for those who are gracious and compassionate and righteous. – Psalm 112:4

To Lead in Love

Direct your children onto the right path, and when they are older, they will not leave it. – (Proverbs 22:6, NLT)

Teach children in a way that fits their needs, and even when they are old, they will not leave the right path. – (Proverbs 22:6, ERV)

Point your kids in the right direction – when they’re old they won’t be lost. – (Proverbs 22:6, MSG)

 

As we draw ever nearer to the first day of school, this verse hits home even harder. Not only am I charged with teaching, directing and pointing my children in the right direction, but all those who enter my classroom as well. Though my capacity to impact students is different than my own children, how I make them feel each day is equally important. If they enter my class and feel safe and cared for, then, and only then, will they be engaged and interested in learning. Direction can be difficult at any age. What kept me from becoming lost along the way in my own life, were those who taught, directed and pointed me in the way I was meant to go. It was not through telling nor commanding, but rather through loving, supporting and encouraging, with redirection in love as needed. May we each seek the Lord to be our guide as we teach, direct and point children in the ways that they are meant to go.

 

Let us choose to lead,

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Photo by Dee Jones of Open Door Photography ❤

All children in love;

Show them their value,

They matter above.

For as we are known,

Then too, are we heard;

What speaks to the heart,

Love beyond mere words.

For when we choose show,

Safety and true care;

Kids rise and flourish,

Find goodness to share.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You for the blessing that children are to us all. Thank You for the role to which You call and entrust us to fill in the lives of those around us. Forgive us for our failures, as we lose our cool and forget the impact that our words and actions have on kids. Teach us to seek You to be our example and our strength, so that we would teach, direct and point kids with goodness and grace. Show us how to love kids well, so that they would know that they are safe and cared for, and will glean the good that we have to offer. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we seek and trust in You to equip and strengthen us to teach kids well. Amen.

 

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

 

Love never gives up on people. It never stops trusting, never loses hope, and never quits. – 1 Corinthians 13:7

To Rest and Recharge

Yes, my soul, find rest in God; my hope comes from Him. – (Psalm 62:5, NIV)

Oh, I must find rest in God only, because my hope comes from Him! – (Psalm 62:5, CEB)

Let all that I am wait quietly before God, for my hope is in Him. – (Psalm 62:5, NLT)

 

Yesterday was an unusual day for me. Though I easily woke at the typical time, the more I moved around, the more I became aware of my own weariness from my lack of sleep the night prior. After doing my devotional reading, and even determining which verse stood out to me, I was struggling to stay alert as my fingers kept missing the keys they were aiming for on the keyboard. Thinking perhaps a shower would help, I set aside finishing my reflecting and writing, and went downstairs. However, after that, my head felt heavy, and all I wanted to do was lie down; so, I did. At first, I thought a short “power nap” would do, but soon discovered that my body really needed real rest. What I realized is that He was providing me time to recharge, as God did not demand that I finish writing, and that He was ready to grant me the rest needed if I would only slow down and just rest. The extra hour plus of sleep that I gained yesterday morning carried me through a full day of meetings, followed by a long union meeting in a hot high school gym to learn about and vote upon our newly proposed teaching contract. The vote was ratified and our district is pleased to have a nearly unanimous “Yes” vote on the new three-year contract. I went to sleep easily, knowing that hope in Him and the rest I’d found had carried me through a day that would have otherwise been difficult. May we ever seek the Lord to be our rest, for our hope comes from Him alone.

 

When weariness comes,

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Photo by Dee Jones of Open Door Photography ❤

We need to find rest;

In Christ, choose recharge,

For His grace is best.

The Source of all hope,

On God we depend;

As His love for us,

Does not know an end.

So, ever choose seek,

The Lord God above;

Our hope and our rest,

He grants us in love.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You for Your amazing faithfulness and love. Thank You that You see us and know us, and are ever ready to grant us the rest and hope that we need. Forgive us for not slowing down to recognize our own spaces of need or for neglecting to seek You. Teach us to trust You more, as You are our grantor of hope and rest. Show us how to love those around us in a way that provides the help and hope that is needed to lighten hearts and loads, and ultimately draw people unto You. May many come into a lasting relationship with You, Lord. Be glorified O God, as we find our rest in You, our holder of hope. Amen.

 

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

 

Then Jesus said, “Come to me, all of you who are weary and carry heavy burdens, and I will give you rest.” – Matthew 11:28

Wedding Photo Preview

Yesterday, we were blessed to receive a plethora of photos from our early morning photo shoot on our wedding day. We are over-the-moon with how they turned out, as each shot captures our heart for one another and the way in which we love and enjoy each other. Rather than my usual writing, I thought I would share this joy with you before I head to my oral surgery appointment this morning.

Can you tell how much love

Lifted kiss

Laughter by the rock

Smiling fields

*Photos are by Dee Jones of Open Door Photography

By day the Lord directs His love, at night His song is with me – a prayer to the God of my life. – Psalm 42:8

Dear Heavenly Father, we thank You and praise You that You direct Your love and that Your song is with us wherever we go. I am so grateful for the blessings You have granted in my life, and am trusting You to go before me and remain with me in the unknown. Teach us to trust You in all things and forgive us for our fearfulness in the unknown. Show us how to love relentlessly, especially those who are most difficult to love. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we receive Your love and listen to Your song in our hearts. Amen.

The Favor of Forgiveness

And forgive us our sins, as we have forgiven those who sin against us. – (Matthew 6:12, NLT)

Forgive our sins, just as we have forgiven those who did wrong to us. – (Matthew 6:12, ERV)

Forgive us the wrongs we have done as we ourselves release forgiveness to those who have wronged us. – (Matthew 6:12, TPT)

 

Yesterday morning, we were up fairly early, and had plenty of time to finally finish watching “The Shack”, before we needed to get ready to go to church. What stood out to me in the final hour of the movie was the powerful impact that the decision to forgive had on the life of the main character. “The Shack” beautifully illustrated how forgiveness is often not a one-and-done decision, but rather it is an ongoing journey that we make a thousand times, choosing to forgive again and again, each time the pain enters our awareness. Though not an easy path to traverse, the healing that comes is well worth the work. As the main character, Mackenzie, made the most difficult decision of his life to choose to forgive one who had brought such incredible pain to his entire family, he was granted forgiveness of his own that set him free from a weight he had carried most of his life. It was a powerful reminder that we all have a story and each one of us needs to choose to forgive. May we seek the Lord to see others through His lens, so that we may be quick to forgive and love well.

 

Let us choose forgive, The Favor of Forgiveness

For it shall be done;

With equal measure,

Through the Holy One.

We are forgiven,

As we freely choose;

To give all to God,

Let His Spirit move.

For His grace and love,

Bring healing and life;

He mends broken hearts,

Brings peace where there’s strife.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You for Your forgiveness and grace. Thank You that You forgive us as we choose forgive others. Thank You that we never have to forgive on our own, but rather You walk beside us and grant us the strength, peace and love to do the seemingly impossible. Forgive us for all of the times that we have withheld forgiving others. Teach us to trust You more. Show us how to forgive as You have forgiven us. Lead us to love with Your grace and goodness that breaks down barriers and brings peace to places that need to know it most. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we choose to forgive others as You have forgiven us. Amen.

 

 

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

 

But with You there is forgiveness, so that we can, with reverence, serve You. – Psalm 130:4

Jettison Judgment

Therefore, let us stop passing judgment on one another. Instead, make up your mind not to put any stumbling block or obstacle in the way of a brother or sister. – (Romans 14:13, NIV)

So, we should stop judging each other. Let’s decide not to do that will cause a problem for a brother or sister or hurt their faith. – (Romans 14:13, ERV)

So, don’t criticize each other anymore. Try instead to live in such a way that you will never make your brother stumble by letting him see you doing something he thinks is wrong. – (Romans 14:13, TLB)

 

This is a two-fold instruction for us to follow. First, we are not called to judge one another. Rather, we are called to love. The very nature of loving others includes making choices that will not bring harm to them. If we are mindful of the things that are a struggle for those around us, we will be abiding by the second part of what we are instructed to do. We each have a different level of what is and is not acceptable in our own eyes and within our own walk with God. If we know that another cannot or does not do something because it is what they feel is right before God, then it is not that difficult to refrain from it in their presence, so as to not lead them to be tempted to judge us. Above all, if we are guided by God in choosing to love one another first, the latter is less likely to be as much of a struggle. May we ever seek the Lord and His eyes for others, so that we would see through the lens of love, rather than judgment.

 

Seek first to choose love, choose-love1

So we will not judge;

Brothers and sisters,

Whom we’re called to love.

Likewise, let us seek,

To walk in a way;

That does not distract,

As we live each day.

If we are aware,

Of stumbling blocks;

Simply choose avoid,

Those things as we talk.

It is far better,

To build others up;

Love with open hearts,

And fill well their cup.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You forgive us and love us as we are. Thank You that when we seek You, You will lead us and direct our steps as to how to love best. Forgive us for judging others or for saying or doing things that cause those around us to stumble. Teach us to trust You more, so that we would seek You for wisdom as to how to best navigate each encounter with others to demonstrate love above all else. Show us how to love without judgment and to walk in Your grace so that we do not draw judgment from others. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we trust You to show us others through Your eyes so that we do not judge, and to grant us wisdom to walk upright and not cause those around us to stumble. Amen.

 

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

Do not judge, or you too will be judged. – Matthew 7:1

 

Beautifully Broken

May these words of my mouth and this meditation of my heart be pleasing in Your sight, Lord, my Rock and my Redeemer. – (Psalm 19:14, NIV)

May my words and thoughts please You. Lord, You are my Rock – the One who rescues me. – (Psalm 19:14, ERV)

May my spoken words and unspoken thoughts be pleasing even to You, O Lord my Rock and my Redeemer. – (Psalm 19:14, TLB)

 

First thing in the morning, before the chaos of the day ensues, it is fairly easy to keep my thoughts fixed on that which is pleasing to the Lord and my words follow, much the same. As the day moves forward and responsibilities and demands grow heavy, it can become far more difficult to keep my heart, mind and mouth aligned. Yesterday, after spending several hours packing and moving things from my old house to the new one we all will share, in the heat of the day, I was hot, tired and a bit grumpy. When we returned to the new house with the last load of the day, I scanned Instagram. What jumped out at me was a post from a friend of mine who had a photo of a broken plate with the words to a Matthew West song that I love. “But if it’s true You use broken things then here I am Lord, I’m all Yours.” – (Matthew West, Broken ThingsHaving read the words, they began to sink deep in my heart and the song began to play on repeat in my heart and mind. I was reminded that even when we are broken down, tired or hurting, He will use us if we are willing. That tug at my heartstrings reset my mind and heart to what matters, and I was able to continue the remainder of my afternoon and evening with the thought that He would use whatever I bring, and He sets my heart where it ought to be. May our every word and thought be pleasing unto God, for He is our Rock and Redeemer.

 

Lord I am the clay,

Scars as Signs of Strength

Just as the Japanese practice the art of Kintsukuroi (the Japanese art of embracing broken and flawed things and making them beautiful), so does God with us as we are willing. ❤

And You, the Potter;

Let my heart reflect,

Love as Your daughter.

Where my heart and mind,

Choose to sit and dwell;

Become the story,

My whole life will tell.

O here I am, Lord,

In my brokenness;

Use what I offer,

In Your tenderness.

May all of my words,

And thoughts in my mind;

Be shaped by Your love,

For You are so kind.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You stop us in our tracks and remind us of what matters most. Thank You that You use us, in our broken imperfections, to touch those around us with Your love. Forgive us for allowing the weight of the world to shape how we see things, rather than coming before You as we are and trusting that You can use all that we offer. Teach us to set our hearts and minds on things of You, so that our every thought and word are pleasing in Your sight. Show us how to love those around us in a way that reflects Your light and love. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we come to You, Lord, and say, “I’m all Yours.” Amen.

 

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

 

And walk in the way of love, just as Christ loved us and gave Himself up for us as a fragrant offering and sacrifice to God. – Ephesians 5:2

*Another song that comes to mind and is a great reminder, Beautifully Broken, by Plumb.

 

Blessings to the Trusting

But blessed is the one who trusts in the Lord, whose confidence is in Him. – (Jeremiah 17:7, NIV)

But those who trust in the Lord will be blessed. They know that the Lord will do what He says. – (Jeremiah 17:7, ERV)

Happy are those who trust in the Lord, who rely on the Lord. – (Jeremiah 17:7, CEB)

But blessed is the one who trusts in the Lord and has made the Lord their hope and confidence. – (Jeremiah 17:7, TLB)

 

Saying something and actually walking it out are two entirely different things. Conversations about trusting God come easily, but when the rubber meets the road, the trusting can become a challenge. It is far easier to trust God where we have seen His faithfulness before, yet when we face a new challenge or prepare for a new season, it can feel a bit like cliff diving. The first step is the most difficult, yet once we leap, we have little other choice, but to trust and rely on Him. What I have found to be true is that every single time that I have chosen to trust and rely on Him, He has been faithful to be present and bless me with whatever was needed to navigate the season or situation. God is good and He is near to all who call on His Name. May we ever place our confidence in our Creator and trust Him in all things at all times; for as we do, we discover His bountiful blessings of faithfulness.

 

The blessings of God, Gentleness for the Weary

Come to those who trust;

Who rely on Him,

He’s faithful and just.

May our confidence,

Come from Him alone;

By His loving grace,

His presence is shown.

So, trust in the Lord,

He’s faithful to do;

All that He’s promised,

Forever it’s true.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You bless those who trust and rely on You. Thank You that Your Word is true and that we can place our hope and confidence in You. Forgive us for our fearfulness or lack of reliance on You. Teach us to trust You in all things and at all times, as Your promise to be present and be our Strength is reason to forever hope in You. Show us how to love those around us in a way that demonstrates trust and confidence in You. May many come into a lasting relationship with You, Lord. Be glorified O God, as we trust in You and rely on You in all things and at all times. Amen.

 

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

 

They will celebrate Your abundant goodness and joyfully sing of Your righteousness. – Psalm 145:7