The Parts Make the Whole

Each one of us has one body, and that body has many parts. These parts don’t all do the same thing. In the same way, we are many people, but in Christ we are all one body. We are the parts of that body, and each part belongs to all the others. We all have different gifts. Each gift came because of the grace God gave us. – (Romans 12:4-6a, ERV)

For just as each of us has one body with many members, and these members do not all have the same function, so in Christ we, though many, form one body, and each member belongs to all the others. We have different gifts, according to the grace given to each of us. – (Romans 12:4-6a, NIV)

In this way we are like the various parts of a human body. Each part gets its meaning from the body as a whole, not the other way around. The body we’re talking about is Christ’s body of chosen people. Each of us finds our meaning and function as part of His body. But as a chopped-off finger or cut-off toe we wouldn’t amount to much, would we? So since we find ourselves fashioned into all these excellently formed and functioning parts in Christ’s body, let’s just go ahead and be what we were made to be, without enviously or pridefully comparing ourselves with each other, or trying to be something we aren’t. – (Romans 12:4-6a, MSG)

 

This is such a critical message to remember in community – be it in family, friend groups, work or other circles in which we gather. Each of us are created with unique strengths and giftings, intended to utilize them for the encouragement and betterment of those around us. I know this to be true in my family, marriage, and among close friends, and I am extremely grateful for the way that different gifts work together to create a stronger whole. As my colleagues and I spend the week in trainings and meetings to prepare for the upcoming school year, I intend to look for and celebrate the different giftings that each part of our staff brings to the whole of our school community. It is the people that have kept me in the same school for the entire twenty-three years of my teaching career thus far. Superintendents and higher ups have come and gone, yet, there have been core people who have helped keep a familial culture in existence over the years. Those who have come in and embraced the sense of community, have remained and strengthened what was started long ago. When kids begin joining us in a little over a week, it will be our charge to identify the strengths and gifts that each of them brings to our classroom. It is my hope and prayer that we not compare ourselves nor them to each other, but rather see and celebrate each one as is, recognizing the potential in all that is yet to be.

After speaking with mom last evening, I received a bit more clarification about her appointment last week and the hold-up with in-home therapies. Apparently, it is not a need for seeing another specialist, but rather a bit of a fight/search to find in-home therapies that her new insurance will cover. This is extraordinarily frustrating, as a different insurance would have been selected, had we known it would have been so difficult. God is good, and He is faithful to meet mom’s needs, so we are trusting that He will make a way quickly, as a long delay is not beneficial to mom’s ongoing rehabilitation and recovery. On the positive side, she is working hard, making sure to work on her walking multiple times each day. Please join us in praying that all will be worked out and settled this week, so that perhaps as my nephews return to school, mom will be able to begin her therapies back up at home.

 

We each have a role, aristotle_quote_the_whole_is_greater_than_the_sum_of_its_parts_1439598_1807304324820819141384587.png

A part we’re to play;

Gifted and equipped,

God has made the way.

When we choose to live,

To walk out our days;

As He intended,

Our lives bring Him praise.

Part of the body,

Embracing our role;

Encourage others,

To work as a whole.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You have created each of us with different strengths and gifts, and intended us for community so that we could work together to be strong and whole. Forgive us for comparison, for that is the thief of joy that leads to us thinking either too little or too much of ourselves. Teach us to instead, appreciate all that You create and grow in each of us, and to encourage those around us well. Show us how to love those You place in our lives in a way that celebrates the unique way that You have created each of them. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we praise You for each person that You have placed in our community to contribute to the whole. Amen.

 

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

 

My command is this: Love each other as I have loved you. – John 15:12

Way Maker

He who did not spare His own Son, but gave Him up for us all – how will He not also, along with Him, graciously give us all things? – (Romans 8:32, NIV)

If God didn’t hesitate to put everything on the line for us, embracing our condition and exposing Himself to the worst by sending His own Son, is there anything else He wouldn’t gladly and freely do for us? – (Romans 8:32, MSG)

For God has proved His love by giving us His greatest treasure, the gift of His Son. And since God freely offered Him up as the sacrifice for us all, He certainly won’t withhold from us anything else He has to give. – (Romans 8:32, TPT)

 

More than anyone, God understands sacrifice and suffering. In fact, because He chose the ultimate sacrifice for us all, no one is left to face life alone, and though we will endure trials and hardships in this life, we have help and hope to overcome. What we see and perceive is not the whole story. God is at work, far beyond what we can observe or comprehend. Yesterday, mom had her appointment with her new primary care physician in Oregon. We thought that through the consultation, in-home therapies could be referred out and quickly established, just as they had been in Washington. Unfortunately, that was not the case. According to insurance criteria in Oregon, mom has to see a specialist of some sort to gain a referral for her in-home care. In our limited understanding, this is frustrating, as it delays the entire process of getting mom back to work with forward momentum. Even so, God sees far more than we do. He does not withhold good. I have to believe that there is purpose in the delay, and He is making a way for something even greater than we could hope or imagine on mom’s behalf. The Lord is generous and kind, and He loves our mom even more than we do, and wants even greater things for her than us. We have to trust that He has a purpose and plan for the delay, and is making a way that is greater still than anything that we have known before. May we all trust in the Lord, who does not withhold good from us, as He loves us beyond what we can even begin to grasp.

 

O Lord, help us trust,

bloom blossom flora flower

Photo by icon0.com on Pexels.com

Your grace is secured;

For You don’t withhold,

Your love we’re assured.

Despite what we see,

In You, there is more;

The impossible,

Become open doors.

Show us Your goodness,

Flood us with Your grace;

Fill hearts with Your peace,

As You make the way.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You are good and that Your love endures forever. Thank You that You do not withhold any good thing from us. Thank You that You willingly and lovingly sacrificed everything to make the way for us to be with You. Forgive us for our fears and doubts, as we somehow make You small, when You are the Creator of all that exists. Teach us to trust You more, as You are our Healer, Provider, Father, Friend, and so much more. Show us how to love those around us through the seasons of waiting, so that they might be encouraged and strengthened and know how deeply they are loved. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we trust in Your goodness to make the way, where it seems so difficult. Amen.

 

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

 

I will lead the blind by ways they have not known, along unfamiliar paths I will guide them; I will turn darkness into light before them and make the rough places smooth. These are the things I will do; I will not forsake them. – Isaiah 42:16

Strength in Love

I love You, Lord, my strength. – (Psalm 18:1, NIV)

I love You, Lord! You are my strength. – (Psalm 18:1, ERV)

I love You, God – You make me strong. – (Psalm 18:1, MSG)

 

Everything about God is good. From sunrise to sunset, His wonders and provisions never cease to amaze me. He grants strength when we are weary, hope when we despair, and joy when sorrow seeks to sink our hearts. I am not certain of what has caused the shift, but there has been a fortification of sorts in my heart that was not present prior. Where I was anxious, I find that I have trust; where I was weary and exhausted, I have renewed strength and hope. It may be in part the new strides that mom is making with her walking, but honestly, I think that it is a work that God is doing within me. There is no magical timeline of healing and recovery that can indicate an end date to when mom will be restored and ready to be independent again, yet I find my heart in a space that is finding it easier to simply stay present and trust. I am embracing each day, each moment as they come, and celebrating the victories – great and small, appreciating the fact that I am overwhelmingly blessed to have all of this precious time with my mom. We laugh often, and there is little sweeter than our early morning wake-up routine of her surprise first call of the day, be it a song, a phrase, or something completely silly, we usually end up giggling about it as we waltz to the restroom before breakfast. Together, we sit in wonder and awe as we watch the sunrise together. Incredibly, the painting across the sky transforms rapidly, and may begin in shades of pink and blue, turn to gray, then reappear in a fiery orange glow. That was our gift from God this morning. 😊

Yesterday was quite busy in the morning, as mom had occupational therapy and physical therapy back-to-back, filling the late morning slot. During OT, Larissa, mom’s wonderful occupational therapist, devised a simple way to tape mom’s shoulder to provide a bit of extra support, as the right one is beginning to have a bit of twinge pain with some movements. The added support really seems to help. Physical therapy was a fantastic continuation of working to strengthen mom’s right leg and keep up her hallway walking. After the therapists had gone, mom was a little restless, and I talked her into a quick field trip into town to go through the Dutch Bros drive through. We both benefited from an escape, and it was a gorgeous sunny day. The remainder of our day was rather quiet, spent resting, stretching, doing laundry and the like. Mom slept very well, with only one wake-up in the night, so we are both rested and refreshed this morning. God is faithful, and He is always ready to supply the strength that we need.

 

O Lord, You are love, img_2019-07-02_06-33-255028693986524136181.jpg

Strength, power and grace;

Much more than enough,

To conquer each day.

Not in my own strength,

But only in Yours;

For it’s Your strong hand,

That opens locked doors.

Lord, show me the way,

You’d have me to go;

Each new direction,

By Your love, make known.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You are the One who gives us strength to navigate this life according to Your purpose and plan. Thank You that You turn seemingly horrendous detours into beautiful routes we would have never known. Forgive us for our fears and doubts when trials and tribulations derail us. Show us how much strength You are willing to deposit within us, so that we can navigate the new that stands before us. Teach us how to love those around us in a way that offers strength and encouragement when theirs feels depleted. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, our strength, as we praise You for Your faithful provision. Amen.

 

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

 

It is God who arms me with strength and keeps my way secure. – 2 Samuel 22:33

 

Help for the Asking

You, Lord, are forgiving and good, abounding in love to all who call to You. – (Psalm 86:5, NIV)

My Lord, You are good and merciful. You love all those who call to You for help. – (Psalm 86:5, ERV)

O Lord, You are good and ready to forgive; Your loyal love flows generously over all who cry out to You. – (Psalm 86:5, VOICE)

 

God is gracious and forgiving, quick to show His loving kindness to all who call on His Name. I am so grateful that His mercies are new every morning. No matter what transpired yesterday, today has been made new. Frustrations, failures, faults – all forgiven when we seek Him. New strength, courage and resolve are granted, so that we are able to begin anew each day. May we cry out to Christ in our space of need, and receive the good that He has to offer.

 

Goodness and mercy,the-endowment-of-early-mornings.jpg

All grace to forgive;

The Lord’s love waiting,

To help as we live.

Love overflowing,

For all those who call;

Upon our Lord God,

His mercy’s for all.

Seek now His kindness,

Choose to receive grace;

Give thanks to the Lord,

Throughout all our days.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You are good and ready to forgive. Thank You that You pour out Your loyal love upon all who call on Your Name. Forgive us for not seeking or embracing that which You freely give. Teach us to trust You more, so that we would recognize and receive You grace and be able to offer the same to those around us. Show us how to love as we are loved by You. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we cry out to You for help and receive the abundance that You freely give. Amen.

 

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

 

This is the confidence we have in approaching God: that if we ask anything according to His will, He hears us. – 1 John 5:14

That Precious Baby

Jesus’ parents were amazed at what was being said about Him. – (Luke 2:33, NLT)

Jesus’ father and mother were speechless with surprise at these words. – (Luke 2:33, MSG)

Mary and Joseph stood there, awestruck over what was being said about their baby. – (Luke 2:33, TPT)

 

It is difficult to fathom being in Mary and Joseph’s shoes. Though they had both been visited by an angel that told them that she would be with child, conceived by the Holy Spirit, and then they were visited just after Jesus was born by shepherds who worshiped this newborn baby because of an angelic announcement, the significance of their Son likely began to hit home a bit more as Simeon unpacked what God had promised about Him. As parents, we always have great hopes for our children from the moment we know that they have been conceived. For most, we can only imagine and dream of who they might become, and pray that they will grow and live well, according to God’s design. For Mary and Joseph, that design was astounding. Their Son was to be the Savior of the world. However, His position would not be without a painful price. I wonder if the two of them could even fully process the prophetic promise presented before them, as they held their eight-day-old baby boy. What a wonder indeed. Jesus grew and was faithful to fulfill all that to which He had been called. His sacrifice is our salvation. May we ponder in wonder and awe, the incredible sacrifice and willing obedience displayed by Mary and Joseph while Jesus was so young, and the faithfulness of God forever.

 

Imagine hearing, Majesty Moved from the Cradle to the Cross

Such uncertain words;

Both saving and pain,

The gist of that heard.

A precious baby,

Innocent and new;

Would bear such a weight,

For me and for you.

That precious baby,

Grew into a man;

Who helped, healed and saved,

Faithful to God’s plan.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You for the example of Mary and Joseph, as parents who were willing to faithfully follow what God asked of them, no matter the cost. Thank You for sending You one and only Son to save us and restore us to right relationship with You. Forgive us for not embracing the mercy and grace that You freely give, if only we choose to come before You. Teach us to trust You more, so that we would be willing to walk wherever You lead, no matter what risk is required. Show us how to love those around us in a way that demonstrates Your mercy and grace in tangible ways. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we praise You for Your faithfulness forever, and trust You to lead us wherever You call us to go. Amen.

 

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

 

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

Laughter Lightens the Load

He will fill your mouth with laughter and your lips with shouts of joy. – (Job 8:21, NIV)
First, I love that this verse comes from Job. If anyone knew suffering, surely it was Job. For one who knew such sorrow, to cling to the Lord in hope reminds us that God is faithful in the end, even if things appear otherwise. As a team, there has been much joy and laughter, despite the heat, “Belizian time“, and things not going according to plan. I love how God brings laughter to lighten the load, and joy rises and spreads when a few are intentional to choose it. May we each choose joy today and enjoy the laughter that lightens our load.
The Lord is faithful,

 When we choose press in;

He brings us laughter,

Grants new joy again. 

No matter what comes,

The God of all grace;

Will walk beside us,

Bring hope to our space. 

Receive what He gives,

For there is great joy;

As laughter will rise,

Through goodness employed. 


Dear Heavenly Father, thank You for Your goodness and grace. Thank You that You bring us laughter and joy as we seek Your face. Forgive us for not embracing the good that You give. Teach us to trust You more so that we would embrace Your grace so that we would receive the joy and laughter You give. Show us how to love others in a way that spreads joy and laughter to those who need to know your joy. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we embrace Your grace and go forth in Your joy and laughter today. Amen.

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

Is anyone happy? Let him sing songs of praise. – James 5:13

The Strength of His Love

For His unfailing love toward those who fear Him is as great as the height of the heavens above the earth. – (Psalm 103:11, NLT)

His love for His followers is as high above us a heaven is above the earth. – (Psalm 103:11, ERV)

As high as the heaven is over the earth, so strong is His love for those who fear Him. – (Psalm 103:11, MSG)

 

God’s love never fails. He is faithful to demonstrate His love to those who faithfully follow Him. Our human minds cannot conceive the height nor depth of a sacrificial love so great that it will not fail. As we seek the Lord and follow after Him, we gain deeper insight and understanding of His love for us, individually. It is from that very space of being loved beyond what we can fully grasp, that we can go forth and love others well. May we ever pursue the Lord with all of our hearts, and share well what He has given to us with others.

 

For the love of God,grasping-the-greatness-of-love

Has strength that won’t quit;

For all who believe,

Shall come to know it.

There’s no height nor depth,

That we can conceive;

As great as His love,

For those who believe.

So, ever seek Him,

And trust in His Name;

For His love won’t fail,

This truth we proclaim.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that Your unfailing love towards us is beyond our comprehension. Thank You that as we seek You and trust in You, You begin to reveal more and more of who You are and how You love to us, so that we might love like You. Forgive us for not seeking or embracing You, as Your love covers and cleanses all. Teach us to trust You more, so that we would ever pursue a deeper understanding of who You are as we place our trust in You. Show us how to love well, just as we are loved by You. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we trust in Your unfailing love, and go forth to love as we are loved by You. Amen.

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

Let us then approach the throne of grace with confidence, so that we may receive mercy. – Hebrews 4:16

Desire to Learn

To learn, you must want to be taught. – (Proverbs 12:1a, TLB)

To learn, you must love discipline; it is stupid to hate correction. – (Proverbs 12:1, NLT)

 

Learning is a lifelong process. It requires discipline, determination and desire. For one to truly learn, it is not merely a pouring in of wisdom and knowledge, but it involves correcting and redirecting as well. If we truly long to learn and grow, we must embrace both – the pouring into, but also the discipline that involves correction, so that we may come to know the truth of God’s will in our lives. There is an internal battle between our will and desires, and that which comes from Christ. We do not intrinsically know all that He has for us, so it requires us to pursue with passion, to learn from the Lord. May we seek to learn that which the Lord has for us, embracing the discipline required and the correction given, so that we might more clearly reflect the radiance of our Redeemer.

 

In silence, we wait,Believe Instead of Striving

To hear from the Lord;

In spaces of need,

All grace He affords.

He grants us wisdom,

Shows us what to do;

Corrects, redirects,

Again makes us new.

As we come to learn,

And grow in His grace;

The truth shall take root,

Lead to His embrace.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You are willing to teach all who choose to seek You. Thank You that You do not just give us information and leave us to process it all, but rather You correct and redirect us, as You lovingly lead us wherever You are calling us to go. Forgive us for resenting redirection or cowering from correction. Please give us hearts that not only long to learn, but that embrace discipline and correction too. Thank You that such things are further evidence of the depth of your love and desire to draw us closer to You. Show us how to love others with our lives, so that they may come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we readily receive Your correction and redirection, so that we may come closer still, unto You. Amen.

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

Listen… be wise, and keep your heart on the right path. – Proverbs 23:19

Love Without Fear

There is no fear in love. But perfect love drives out fear, because fear has to do with punishment. The one who fears is not made perfect in love. – (1 John 4:18)

 

God is love. He is the only One who love perfectly, and because of His great love, we need not fear. His intent toward us is not punishment, but rather to transform and renew us. All of our fears can be made quiet, as Christ grants us confidence through His lavish love, to face all things through Him. May we lay hold of that which He has freely given, so that His great love can drive out our every fear.

 

There’s only one love,Presenting Our Praise

that drives away fear;

it comes from the Lord,

Who loves to draw near.

The Lord’s love transforms,

renews heart and mind;

it silences fears,

is patient and kind.

So be not afraid,

as He drives out fear;

lay hold of His love,

aware He is near.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that there is no fear in Your love, for You are perfect love and Your love drives out fear. Thank You that Your intent for us is not punishment, but rather refinement and renewal, so that we may more clearly reflect Your likeness to the world. Forgive us for our fearfulness, and help us to give You our every fear as we embrace Your perfect love, allowing it to drive out all that frightens us. Teach us to trust You more, so that we will rise up in faith, embracing how You love us perfectly. Lead us to go forth and do the same for all whom we encounter. May many come into a saving relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we allow Your perfect love to drive out fear, and operate our lives through the faith that You grow in us. Amen.

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

He who refreshes others will himself be refreshed. – Proverbs 11:25