Help in the Heaviness

He comforts us in all our troubles so that we can comfort others. When they are troubled, we are able to give them the same comfort God has given us. – (2 Corinthians 1:4, NLT) 

He comforts us every time we have trouble so that when others have trouble, we can comfort them with the same comfort God gives us. – (2 Corinthians 1:4, ERV) 

He consoles us as we endure the pain and hardship of life so that we may draw from His comfort and share it with others in their own struggles. – (2 Corinthians 1:4, VOICE) 

 

There are times that the weight of loss or struggle or hardships around us, find a way of seeping into our soul, causing sorrow to set heavy on our heart. Yesterday, as we heard the devastating news that a former student from our school, a boy who was in my own boys’ grade and classes, died Tuesday night, from gunshot wounds. Though I did not ever have him as a student, I did teach his younger sister and currently teach his younger brother. As I hesitantly pulled out an old yearbook to place a face with the name, the weight of the grief rested heavily through the recognition of the familiar smiling face of the young man. My own experience with loss has taught me that time eases the pain, however, that is likely little comfort for those closest to him who are only beginning to process the permanence of this tragic loss. I pray that God would surround each hurting heart with the comfort needed most, and that every need would be provided as they navigate this devastating reality. May we all be extra kind and compassionate in this season, as heavy hearts are hidden among us. 

 

God of all comfort, Being Made New

We call on Your Name; 

To hold heavy hearts, 

Love well through the pain. 

Lord, will You show us, 

What we’re meant to do; 

To extend Your grace, 

Help see others through. 

Show us how to love, 

Others through their pain; 

Let us be Your light, 

That through all remains. 

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You are good, even when the circumstances that surround us are not. Thank You that You see every heartache, and You hear every prayer. Thank You that You comfort us the way our hearts need it most. Forgive us for avoiding painful places that we see in others, rather than being present to offer comfort, just as You have comforted us. Teach us to trust You more, so that we would know how to be present in heaviness, and how to comfort those who are hurting. Show us how to love those dealing with loss in practical and tangible ways. May many come into a lasting relationship with You, the ultimate Comforter. Be glorified O God, as we seek Your comfort to share with others, and thank You for the comfort that You continue to provide for us all. Amen.

 

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

 

He will wipe every tear from their eyes. There will be no more death or mourning or crying or pain, for the old order of things has passed away. – Revelation 21:4

Drawing Strength

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)

 

For whatever reason, be it the full moon, the constant fog each morning, spirit week at school, Halloween drawing near – whatever it is, there has been an abundance of energy and distraction in the classroom so far this week, and two days have felt like an entire week. In my own strength, I would have had to tap out about halfway through Monday. However, when I seek the true Source of strength and rely on His power already placed within me, I am equipped and empowered to press on. It does not mean that it is easy or that all is smooth sailing, but it does assure me that He is present and He will not leave me alone, even on the most trying of days. Though yesterday was rough, I had the strength I needed to navigate the day and was slightly less weary than the day prior. As I continue to draw my strength from He who is my strength, I trust that all I need will be supplied. He is faithful forever and I will trust in Him. May we ever be strong in the Lord, who is our strength, for He will grant us what we need to navigate each new day.

 

Let us remember, Rest from the Heaviness

Where true strength comes from;

From when our day starts,

To when it is done.

Faithful forever,

The Lord will be near;

To supply our needs,

Our requests, He hears.

Trust in the Lord’s grace,

His power and might;

The strength that He gives,

To fight the good fight.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that we can call on You to be our strength and You are faithful to supply what we need for each new day. Forgive us for attempting to “power through” on our own, rather than seeking You. Teach us to trust You more, so that we would come to know Your faithful provision of power when we feel powerless. Show us how to love those around us in a way that strengthens and lifts up those who are weary. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we trust in You and Your strength to successfully navigate our days. Amen.

 

 

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

 

I lift up my eyes to the mountains – where does my help come from? My help comes from the Lord, the Maker of heaven and earth. – Psalm 121:1-2

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

The Endowment of Early Mornings

Every morning, Lord, I lay my gifts before You and look to You for help. And every morning You hear my prayers. – (Psalm 5:3, ERV)

Lord, in the morning You hear my voice. In the morning I lay it all out before You. Then I wait expectantly. – (Psalm 5:3, CEB)

In the morning, O Eternal One, listen for my voice; in the day’s first light, I will offer my prayer to You and watch expectantly for Your answer. – (Psalm 5:3, VOICE)

 

Being up in the early hours to usher in the first morning’s light reminds me of the greatness of God and kicks off my day in awe and appreciation of all that lies ahead. We are called to present our requests before God, and He wants all that we are in exchange for all that He is and all that He desires to do in and through us. God sees and He hears everything that we freely offer unto Him. In doing so, we ought to wait in anticipation of all that He will do. The Lord is faithful to meet us each morning and will move mightily in and through us as we present all unto Him. May we rise each morning and lay our gifts – our prayers, our hearts and our offerings to the Lord and trust that He will see and hear and move on our behalf.

 

Early each morning, The Endowment of Early Mornings

I choose wake and rise;

To draw near to God,

His grace realized.

For each day I come,

And bring Him my best;

He grants me His strength,

And extends His rest.

I cannot but help,

Of Him stand in awe;

For He is faithful,

As near Him I draw.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You are faithful to meet us each morning as we rise and present our all unto You. Thank You that You see and hear and move on our behalf. Thank You that we can wait expectantly, assured that You will answer in Your faithfulness. Forgive us for doubting when answers take longer than we would anticipate. Teach us to trust You and Your timing, for Your timing is perfect. Show us how to love those around us in a way that gives ear to every word spoken, so that they may gain a glimpse of how You listen to each of us. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we rise each morning and present our all unto You, anticipating the wonderful ways that You move on our behalf. Amen.

 

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

 

Great is His faithfulness; His loving-kindness begins afresh each day. – Lamentations 3:23

 

 

 

Our Story, His Glory

For you have been given not only the privilege of trusting in Christ but also the privilege of suffering for Him. – (Philippians 1:29, NLT)

God has blessed you in ways that serve Christ. He allowed you to believe in Christ. But that is not all. He has also given you the honor of suffering for Christ. Both of these bring glory to Christ. – (Philippians 1:29, ERV)

 

At first read, this verse does not seem all that encouraging. Who wants to suffer? And suffering as an honor? Eesh… However, the more I think about it, the more I can see present day application in our area. Currently, in the U.S., there are few examples of people suffering for their faith. That being said, there are those who are in the midst of trials and tragedies that cling closely to Christ. The way in which they hold fast to their faith is a witness to all who know their story. I know I stand in awe when I hear stories of Christians who stand their ground in countries where people are persecuted for their faith. Additionally, I am amazed by the resilience and perseverance of people in the midst of personal pain who cling to Christ with all that they have. When we go through trials of any kind and choose to trust in the Lord, and allow our faith to flavor everything we do, people cannot help but notice and wonder why. God uses our circumstances to draw others unto Himself. It is in the throes of trials that we discover how great God is, and the hope we have in Him. As we come to grasp with certainty the hope we hold, others cannot help but desire what we have. May we recognize the privilege we have to walk out our lives in faith, and trust Christ in all things so that we might bring glory unto Him.

 

We have been given,Being Made New

Privilege in Christ;

In times of blessing,

And when it’s not nice.

For how we choose trust,

In good and in pain;

Will show to the world,

The hope in His Name.

So let us hold fast,

And give God glory;

As we choose to trust,

Him for our story.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that we have the privilege to trust You in all things. Thank You for the blessings that You bestow upon us. Thank You for Your grace, strength, presence and peace in times of suffering. Thank You that You can use our suffering for Your glory. Forgive us for wanting to hide away in our suffering, rather than to rise up and move forward in faith. Teach us to trust You more, as You are the ultimate Author of our story, and You have prepared the perfect ending. Show us how to love people well through their seasons of blessing and of suffering, so that they may come to know the hope that is found in You. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we trust You in all things and at all times, allowing You glory for whatever happens in our story. 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

Faithful Tree Tending

But the fruit that the Spirit produces in a person’s life is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control. There is no law against these kinds of things. – (Galatians 5:22-23, ERV) 

But the Holy Spirit produces this kind of fruit in our lives: love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control. There is no law against these things! – (Galatians 5:22-23, NLT)

 

No human is all of these things, all of the time. However, I imagine we all can come up with a few folks who come close. Typically, those who exhibit abundant fruit, are those who have been faithful to tend their “trees” and nourish the soil of their hearts well for many years. If we are consistent in our seeking and allow the Almighty access to all areas of our hearts and lives, the evidence of His hand becomes clear by the fruit that we produce. When we are given hate, we respond in His love; when sorrow comes, His joy soon follows in the faithful. Where there is chaos, peace is held in the hearts of those who depend on Him. In trying times, patience is provided, and kindness escapes the lips of those leaning into the Lord. No matter what lies before us, when we give all to Him, God’s goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control are available in us by His Spirit, and it is up to us to listen and obey as we walk out each day. We all are a work in progress. On those days when I feel my patience growing thin, I recognize my desperate need for the Lord, and have to choose to either seek Him, or snap at everyone who pushes my limit. May we ever seek the Lord and His fruit, for that which the Spirit provides is desirable and will draw others unto Himself.

 

The fruit the Lord gives,Becoming Branches

Is sweet and so good;

It draws others near,

As the faithful should.

The Spirit within,

Chooses to grow well;

Love, joy, peace, patience,

Goodness, self-control.

Also there’s kindness,

And sweet faithfulness;

So much is given,

With His gentleness.

There’s no law that stands,

Against these great things;

So let us pursue,

The fruit that Christ brings.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that when we seek You and allow You access to our hearts and lives, You grow in us the fruit of Your Spirit, as it is sweet and desirable to all. Thank You that we all can have love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control in You. Forgive us for not seeking You or trusting You when things go awry. Teach us to trust You more so that we would lean into You and allow Your Spirit within us to prune the places that are lacking life, and grow greater in us, the fruit that gives light and life to all who come near. Show us how to love according to the fruit of Your Spirit, so that many may come to know Who You are and how You love. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we seek You to tend the trees of our hearts so that we produce the fruit that You have for us. Amen.

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

For it is commendable if a man bears up under the pain of unjust suffering because he is conscious of God. – 1 Peter 2:19

Drawing Strength from God

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

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

 

This is a season where such a reminder is especially relevant. Days are long and demanding, and time to rest is rare. If I attempt to power through my days in my own strength, I grow weary and do not run well. However, when I press into the Lord and seek Him to be my Source and Supply as I choose to do that which I am called to do in this season, He meets me in my need and provides the strength and stamina to stand strong and continue to answer what He is asking. Additionally, He supplies spaces of rest that I would not have anticipated, as He knows my needs far better than I do.

A simple example of His provision came as I woke this morning. Normally, I sleep between four and six hours each night. For me, it is enough, and He supplies all that I need to run strong. That being said, today is a day off, as it is our semester break, and I knew I did not HAVE to wake at a certain time. I set no alarm, and chose to allow my body to wake when it was ready. I naturally woke up at 4am, but decided that perhaps a bit more sleep would be wise. When I woke again, it was 8:30! More than eight and a half hours of sleep in one night… Strength from Him comes in spectacular ways.

May we each remember to draw our strength and might from God, as He is the ultimate Provider, and knows our every need.

 

For all that we need,Believe Instead of Striving

The Lord will supply;

We must look to Him,

In His strength, we rise.

Our God who indwells,

Our hearts and our minds;

Answers as we ask,

What’s needed, supplied.

Let us draw our strength,

From God who’s above;

So we can be strong,

As we walk in love.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that true strength and might come from You. Thank You that Your strength and power are present within us as we turn to trust in You. Thank You that You provide what we need, so that we may stand strong and continue walking in the direction to which we have been called. Forgive us for attempting to power through things in our own strength; for without You, we fall short and grow weary every time. Teach us to trust You more, as You are our strength and know what we need far better than we do. Show us how to love others well, so that we may build up and encourage those around us. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we draw our strength and might from You. 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

Speak Truth in Trust

No, we will speak the truth with love. We will grow to be like Christ in every way. He is the head, and the whole body depends on Him. All parts of the body are joined and held together, with each part doing its own work. This causes the whole body to grow and be stronger in love. – (Ephesians 4:15-16, ERV)

God wants us to grow up, to know the whole truth and tell it in love – like Christ in everything. We take our lead from Christ, who is the Source of everything we do. He keeps us in step with each other. His very breath and blood flow through us, nourishing us so that we will grow up healthy in God, robust in love. – (Ephesians 4:15-16, MSG)

 

In order to speak the truth in love, we must be invested in our relationship with Christ. When we know Him, we know His voice, and are equipped to hear His heart for us and those around us. As we invest in community that chooses to do likewise, we draw from one another’s strengths, and grow stronger into who He is calling us to be. The more we are like the Lord, the greater our capacity for loving those around us. May we invest in our relationships with God and the community to which we are called, so that we grow ever stronger in life and in love.

 

We must choose to speak,ç€À

The whole truth in love;

It is how we grow,

Trust in God above.

For He is the head,

On Whom we depend;

All parts joined as one,

Neighbors become friends.

This work together,

Causes us to grow;

Still stronger in love,

Making the truth known.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You reveal Your truth to us by Your love as we intentionally seek You. Thank You that You equip us and grow us stronger in our capacity to love and work together as we depend on You. Forgive us for not seeking You, or for failing to speak truth in love, when we have the words and the opportunity. Teach us to trust You more, so that we would rise up in strength and courage to do whatever part You are calling us to do. Show us how to love those around us in the same way that You so gently, yet relentlessly, love each of us. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we speak the truth in love as You call us to do. Amen.

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

As you know, we consider blessed those who have persevered. – James 5:11

The Draw of the Morning

Let me hear of Your unfailing love each morning, for I am trusting You. Show me where to walk, for I give myself to You. – (Psalm 143:8, NLT)

Show me Your faithful love this morning. I trust in You. Show me what I should do. I put my life in Your hands! – (Psalm 143:8, ERV)

 

Part of the draw of the early morning is the silent stillness. It is in this quiet space, that I most clearly am aware of His love and direction, as I am intentional to quiet myself before Him, and listen for His leading. The masks that we sometimes wear, have not yet made way, and we are at our most real as we rise. If we can give ourselves to the Lord at the start of the day, we are more apt to be aware of what He is asking as the day unfolds. May we trust in the Lord and His faithful love, and place our lives in His hands. Let His goodness and grace lead us in the ways we are meant to go.

Hope for Eternity

O Lord, as I rise,

Let me be aware;

Of Your tender love,

Your mercy and care.

For I trust in You,

Please show me the way;

To walk where You ask,

To in Your will, stay.

I place my whole life,

In Your very hands;

Lead me and guide me,

To walk out Your plan.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You speak to our hearts of Your unfailing love each new day, and You show us where to walk. Thank You that we can trust our lives in Your hands. Forgive us for our lack of faith, or for not taking the time to slow down and listen to Your leading. Teach us to trust You more, so that we would give ourselves to You completely, and trust You to lead us in all things and at all times. Show us how to love others with the unfailing love that You give so generously to us. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we listen for Your unfailing love each morning as we rise, and we trust in You completely to lead us the ways in which we are meant to go. Amen.

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

Surely goodness and love will follow me all the days of my life, and I will dwell in the house of the Lord forever. – Psalm 23:6