To Love, Learn and Grow

This is what the Lord says – your Redeemer, the Holy One of Israel: “I am the Lord your God, who teaches you what is best for you, who directs you in the way you should go.” – (Isaiah 48:17, NIV)

The Lord, the Savior, the Holy One of Israel, says, “I am the Lord your God. I teach you for your own good. I lead you in the way you should go.” – (Isaiah 48:17, ERV)

“I am God, your God, who teaches you how to live right and well. I show you what to do, where to go.” – (Isaiah 48:17, MSG)

 

As I sit here this morning, prayerfully, after a restless night’s sleep, I am grateful for the reminder of God’s guidance and grace. Today will mark the first day of my twenty-third year of teaching, and the last “first day” that my boys have that aligns with mine, as they begin their senior year. The night before school begins is always a bit restless, as there is an eager anticipation, along with nerves, knowing that there is much to do, and I desperately want to do my job well. This verse is an excellent reminder for me, as though there is a level of preparation that is my responsibility, and indeed the investment has been made, the part of me that knows that there is much more to learn and grow and do better, is encouraged that He will lead me, each new day. May we ever trust in the One who teaches us what is best for us, and how to live right and well; for wherever we go, others see and follow our lead.

Yesterday, mom enjoyed a day with the family at home. There was much hustle and bustle with each pitching in to purge their home in a sort of “spring-cleaning” fashion, and mom utilized some of the lessons that my sister has given her, showing her new ways to make use of her phone in a more one-handed friendly fashion. With mom, we are trusting God’s guidance to show us what to do and where to go, to get mom’s in-home therapies going.

 

Hours before dawn,

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A little “Art Therapy” for this art teacher.

Still waiting for light;

Teachers lie awake,

In hope and delight.

What will this year bring?

What stories unfold?

How will we touch lives,

These young hearts of gold?

Each year there is hope,

And joy in the new;

Potential waiting,

Lord, show us break through.

May schools and classrooms,

Provide a safe space;

To learn, love and grow,

Each know they’ve a place.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You lead us and guide us in the ways we are meant to go, and that You teach us best. Thank You that as You lead us, we in turn can lead and love well. Forgive us for the times that we have not given ear to Your leading. Teach us to trust You more, so that we would ever be learning and growing, just as we desire to see in our kids. Show us how to love and encourage all those around us, so that each person feels safe to grow into all that they are becoming. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we trust You and listen to You as You teach us and lead us forward. Amen.

 

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

 

Show me Your ways, Lord, teach me Your paths. – Psalm 25:4

Our Help and Defense

For He is our God. We are the people He watches over, the flock under His care. – (Psalm 95:7a, NLT)

He is our God, and we are the people He cares for, His sheep that walk by His side. – (Psalm 95:7a, ERV)

For He is our God and we are His people, the flock of His pasture, His sheep protected and nurtured by His hand. – (Psalm 95:7a, VOICE)

 

God is faithful. As we choose to submit to Him and place our trust in His hands, recognizing that we honestly cannot control our circumstances, yet God, who is greater than all, is willing and able to hold us in the palm of His hands and lead us through whatever comes our way; it is only then that we begin to see the power of His promise fantastically fulfilled. For me, (and my sister and mom) having to switch in-home care companies for mom’s stroke recovery rehabilitation therapists, due to the loss of a speech therapist from the former company, was both frustrating and terrifying. Mom had a wonderful rapport with her therapists, she worked hard for them, and trusted them completely. We had to embrace the idea of the new, albeit with some reservations, and anticipate that God had a plan for mom that was greater still. Yesterday, as mom worked with both the new occupational therapist and speech therapist, it became abundantly clear that these were the people whom God had selected for mom to work with now. During the first few weeks of mom’s in-home care, she benefited greatly from the enthusiasm and energy of the young therapists, who were just getting started in their careers. However, now, after a time of building up, she was ready for some veterans to come in and fine-tune; people with bigger bags of tricks, to take her to the next step of rehabilitation and recovery. God knew, even if we could not see past the initial loss of what was familiar. May we choose to trust in He, who is the Good Shepherd, ever watching over and protecting His sheep.

 

For He is our God, Our Help and Defense

And we too, are His;

We’re safe in His hands,

He does what He says.

Our God is faithful,

In love, He protects;

He makes our path plain,

Each step He directs.

Even in spaces,

That do not make sense;

He’ll be our anchor,

Our Help and Defense.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You are the Good Shepherd and that we are the flock that You lovingly care for and call by name. Thank You that You know us and love us and hold us in the hollow of Your hands. Forgive us for our fears and doubts when the road before us does not seem to make any sense. Teach us to trust You more, as You are our anchor in the storm and our calm in the chaos. Show us how to love those around us in a way that offers peace, security, strength and trust in times of trial. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we look to You, our Good Shepherd, and listen for Your voice, in all things and at all times, as You lovingly lead us and keep us safe. Amen.

 

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

 

We have this hope as an anchor for the soul, firm and secure. It enters the inner sanctuary behind the curtain. – Hebrews 6:19

The Mighty Power Within

Finally, be strong in the Lord and in His mighty power. – (Ephesians 6:10, NIV)

Last of all I want to remind you that your strength must come from the Lord’s mighty power within you. – (Ephesians 6:10, TLB)

Finally, brothers and sisters, draw your strength and might from God. – (Ephesians 6:10, VOICE)

 

Though I am an individual who has been granted a generous portion of strength, it is not unflappable, and I am very aware of my own limitations. Human strength cannot be sustained 24/7 for weeks and weeks on end. Supernatural intervention is required, if we are to rise up and answer the call to do and be more than our humanity will allow. This space of being constantly dependent on Christ is an ongoing battle. I want to be enough, do enough, and have enough to spare, yet when I revert to attempting to power through, there is never enough on my own. However, when I lean into the Lord and depend on Him, He is enough, and I am able to navigate the raging waters around me as if they were still. Christ within me, is enough; yet it must come from Him and not from me. There is a delicate balance between self and spirit, and it requires patience and wisdom and waiting to discover the difference. Christ directs our steps and strengthens us for each next step we need to take. Self runs ahead and becomes weary, before there is even a plain path on which to tread.

Mom’s speech therapist accepted a different position, leaving the current in-home company that her therapies are through, without a speech therapist. This means that she has to switch in-home care companies entirely, as her insurance will only work with one company at a time. The loss of one, results in the loss of many, including: her wonderful physical therapist, occupational therapist, and in-home nursing care team. Progress under the current team has been phenomenal, so we are praying and trusting that the new organization is equally empowering for mom’s remarkable rehabilitation and recovery. May we ever seek the Lord to be our strength as He is our Source of power that moves mountains and marks milestones in mom’s healing.

 

Be strong in the Lord, Strong Heart

For He is our rock;

All strength comes from Him,

To rise up and walk.

Keep moving in faith,

Ever pressing on;

Answering His call,

When our strength is gone.

It is in that space,

Where our own strength ends;

That we discover,

On Whom to depend.

Forever faithful,

God will never leave;

His strength unending,

To Him, we must cleave.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that strength comes from You. Thank You that when we recognize that our own strength is gone, Yours is at the ready to carry us on. Forgive us for attempting to muscle our way through life’s trials, as we are not strong enough on our own. Teach us to trust and depend on You, for You have already placed Your strength within us through Your Spirit. Show us how to love those around us in a way that strengthens, encourages and builds up hearts that are depleted. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we seek You to be our strength, always. Amen.

 

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

 

For the Spirit God gave us does not make us timid, but gives us power, love and self-discipline. – 2 Timothy 1:7

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.

Show Us How to Love

And you must love the Lord your God with all your heart, all your soul, and all your strength. – (Deuteronomy 6:5, NLT)

Love God, your God, with your whole heart: love Him with all that’s in you, love Him with all you’ve got! – (Deuteronomy 6:5, MSG)

You should love Him, your true God, with all your heart and soul, with every ounce of your strength. – (Deuteronomy 6:5, VOICE)

 

As God was preparing the hearts of the Israelites to enter the promised land, one of the things that He made sure that Moses conveyed to the people was the importance of prioritizing the love of God in all things. The promise that follows verse five, explains the blessings that will come if loving God is the priority. Incredibly, the very same promises hold true today, as Jesus repeated the same message and added to it, the importance of loving our neighbors as ourselves as well. If love directs and guides the decisions that we make, then we are far more likely to walk in the will of God. Not one of us has mastered loving God and loving people perfectly. We are all sinners in need of a Savior. However, the more we seek to love God and love people well, the more His heart is shown to those who need to see it most. May we ever delight in the Lord with our whole hearts, and pursue a life that loves Him and those around us well.

 

Let the love of God, Enter With Thanksgiving

Be what rules our hearts;

Mind, spirit and strength,

Completely, not part.

For as we choose love,

There’s blessing and grace;

To walk in His way,

As we seek His face.

Let us choose to love,

Both God and others;

With all that we are,

Sisters and brothers.

By the grace of God,

To love is a choice;

He grants strength and grace,

Listen to His voice.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You not only created us to love, but You call us to love as well. Thank You that as we choose to do that which we were made to do, we discover the blessings that You bestow by Your grace. Forgive us for not loving You or those around us with all that we are, and teach us to trust You more, so that we would love as You love us. Show us how to delight in You and those around us, so that the love You have given may be made known. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we seek to love You with all of our heart, soul and strength, and trust You to help us love our neighbors as ourselves. Amen.

 

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

 

I thank You and praise You, O God of my fathers: You have given me wisdom and power. – Daniel 2:23

To Ever Seek First

Seek the Kingdom of God above all else, and live righteously, and He will give you everything you need. – (Matthew 6:33, NLT)

What you should want most is God’s kingdom and doing what He wants you to do. Then He will give you all these other things you need. – (Matthew 6:33, ERV)

But seek first His kingdom and His righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well. – (Matthew 6:33, NIV)

 

When we are actively pursuing and invested in God, He is present and provides that which we truly need. It does not mean that He is an overindulgent Daddy that grants us our every whim, but rather He sees and knows what is best, and directs our steps and remains present. The more that we seek Him, the more our desires align with His. As they do, He equips and empowers us to go forth and do those things that have been stirring in our hearts. May we ever seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness, so that all that we do is in faithful pursuit of His will.

 

Seek first the kingdom, Safe in New Seasons

Of our God above;

As we pursue Him,

He meets us in love.

As we seek the Lord,

We learn to live right;

God’s ever faithful,

Keeps us in His sight.

The things that we need,

By grace, He’ll supply;

So we continue,

From morning to night.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that as we seek Your kingdom and pursue a life of righteousness, You supply all that we need to live according to Your will. Forgive us for not walking the way we are called to walk, or for not asking for Your help in the spaces that we need more help than we realize. Teach us to trust You more, so that we would ever seek You above all else, in all things and at all times, so that we may walk in Your will; always. Show us how to love others as You so generously love each of us. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we seek You above all else and pursue a life according to Your good and perfect will. 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

The Value of Knowledge

Wise words are more valuable than much gold and many rubies. – (Proverbs 20:15, NLT)

Gold there is, and rubies in abundance, but lips that speak knowledge are a rare jewel. – (Proverbs 20:15, NIV)

Drinking from the beautiful chalice of knowledge is better than adorning oneself with gold and rare gems. – (Proverbs 20:15, MSG)

 

Seeking wisdom, to learn and grow, is far more valuable than pursuing wealth. Knowledge is the key necessary to go from surviving to thriving. The greater our understanding, the better our direction for which path we are meant to pursue. As we go, it is essential that we continue to learn and expand our understanding, lest we grow stagnant and regress. God places people all around us to increase our understanding and grant us wisdom in ways we would not expect. May we ever pursue to grow in our understanding, as we seek wisdom rather than temporary wealth.

 

Seek understanding, The Value of Knowledge

No jewels pursue;

Instead seek wisdom,

To find the way true.

Let us learn value,

In knowledge to find;

For it is lasting,

In heart, soul and mind.

With wisdom we learn,

Which way we’re to go;

How to honor God,

So His heart’s made known.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that when we seek wisdom in You, You provide new understanding and insight. Thank You that knowledge is far more valuable than riches, as Your wisdom directs our path in the way that You intend for us to go. Forgive us for getting caught up in the pursuit of things rather than insight, and teach us to trust You more so that we would desire Your wisdom and understanding above all else. Show us how to speak wise words in a way that demonstrates Your unfailing love to those around us. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we seek wisdom rather than riches, and trust You to lead us in the ways we are meant to go. 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

Power to Move

O Sovereign Lord! You made the heavens and earth by Your strong hand and powerful arm. Nothing is too hard for You. – (Jeremiah 32:17, NLT)

Lord God, with Your great power You made the earth and the sky. There is nothing too hard for You to do. – (Jeremiah 32:17, ERV)

Eternal Lord, with Your outstretched arm and Your enormous power You created the heavens and the earth. Nothing is too difficult for You. – (Jeremiah 32:17, VOICE)

 

There are days when the tasks that lie before us appear insurmountable. However, when we slow down, and remember where our strength comes from, the seemingly impossible or overwhelmingly daunting, take on a new look when viewed through His lens. If the very same God who created heaven and earth is for us, how can we question the call before us? I think it is by design that He directs us to destinations that are practical impossibilities on our own, yet in Him, doors open, provisions are supplied, strength is granted, and a way is made where there seemed to be no way. As we choose to rely on our Redeemer, we begin to recognize the reality of all that He can do, despite our own limitations. May we ever seek the Lord and His supply as He calls us to the seemingly impossible. The Creator of heaven and earth can make way where we cannot, and His storehouse never runs low.

 

The Lord, our great God,hope-overflowing

Maker of all things;

Has power to move,

As His strength He brings.

Nothing that we face,

Is beyond His reach;

He can move mountains,

For those who choose seek.

Ever seek the Lord,

To walk in His way;

Ask for help and strength,

To by faith, obey.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You made the heavens and the earth by Your mighty hands, and that nothing is impossible for You. Thank You that we can come to You for help, and that You will supply what we need to follow where You lead. Forgive us for attempting to take things on in our own strength, or for avoiding that which You are calling us to out of fear because of our own lack. Teach us to trust You more, so that we would rely on You and Your mighty hands to be our help and our hope when we cannot see how what lies before us is possible. Show us how to love and encourage those around us, so that they might see the hope that is found in You. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we seek You for strength when we cannot see a way, and trust You to lead us, even when we cannot see the path that You have placed before us. Amen.

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

Shout aloud and sing for joy. – Isaiah 12:6

Love Remains Present

Be happy with those who are happy, and weep with those who weep. – (Romans 12:15, NLT)

When others are happy, you should be happy with them. And when others are sad, you should be sad too. – (Romans 12:15, ERV)

Laugh with your happy friends when they’re happy; share tears when they’re down. – (Romans 12:15, MSG)

 

Part of loving well is walking alongside those around us, no matter what state they are in. If a person is happy and has reason to celebrate, we ought to join them in expressing joy. When we encounter the sorrowful, it is not our job to fix them, but rather to sit beside them in the midst of their pain and be present. Remarkably, when happiness is shared, it miraculously feels multiplied; yet when sadness and sorrow is shared by someone who comes and sits in the space alongside the suffering, the weight of the ache is lessened somehow. God intended us to be in community. So much of scripture directs us as to how to be in relationship with one another, and to function as a body of believers. Two are better than one… A three-strand cord is not easily broken… There are countless references reminding us that we are not meant to do this life alone. May we place our trust in He who walks beside us in joy and pain, and go forth with intent to do the same.

 

Choose to celebrateThe Benefit of Broken Barriers

Those with happiness;

Share space of sadness,

With ones in a mess.

For God walks beside,

And ever stays near;

Present in weeping,

And likewise in cheer.

We have been chosen,

As community;

To love as Christ loves,

For His love sets free.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You not only call us to be happy with those who are happy, and to weep with those who weep, but You sent Your Son to show us what it looks like to love like that. Thank You Jesus, for showing us how to love without limits, despite what You were going through and the things that surrounded You. Forgive us for making excuses as to why we just cannot get involved when things seem to messy or emotional. Teach us to trust You more, so that we would remain present with those whom You have placed in our lives, no matter what comes their way. Show us how to love like You. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we are happy with those who are happy, and share tears with those who are down. Amen.

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

When times are good, be happy. – Ecclesiastes 7:14

Eyes Fixed Forward

Look straight ahead, and fix your eyes on what lies before you. – (Proverbs 4:25, NLT)

Keep your head up, your eyes straight ahead, and your focus fixed on what is in front of you. – (Proverbs 4:25, VOICE)

Let your eyes look directly ahead [toward the path of moral courage] and let your gaze be fixed straight in front of you [toward the path of integrity]. (Proverbs 4:25, AMP)

 

It is far better to fix our eyes on what is directly in front of us, than it is to focus on what has been, or on that which is yet to come. We are designed to be fully engaged in each day as it arrives, and we are only able to do that if we are seeking the Lord and trusting Him as we move forward into each new day. The Lord is faithful to show us the ways in which we are meant to move, if we keep our sights set on our Savior. He makes plain the path and lovingly directs our steps, so that we are able to navigate each new thing as it comes. May we keep our eyes up, ever looking to the Lord, so that we may clearly see what lies before us and walk in a way that is upright before Him.

 

Let us lift our heads,Bold in Battle

Each focus our eyes;

Directly forward,

And on Christ, rely.

With the Lord in us,

He helps us to see;

Not just the struggle,

But integrity.

He points us the path,

Where we’re meant to go;

To do right by Him,

Learn, live, love and grow.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You remind us to keep our heads up and our eyes forward so that we do not lose our focus on You and the path that You have placed before us. Forgive us for allowing the things of life to distract us or detour us from the way that You have prepared for us to go. Teach us to trust You more, so that we would not stray from the direction and calling that You place before us, and help us to fix our eyes securely on You and where You are leading us to go. Show us how to love those around us in a way that helps them see the good in whatever is directly in front of them. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we keep our heads up and our eyes fixed forward on You and what You ask us to do. Amen.

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

I thank and praise You, O God of my fathers: You have given me wisdom and power. – Daniel 2:23