Setting Our Sight

Finally, brothers and sisters, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable – if anything is excellent or praiseworthy – think about such things. – (Philippians 4:8, NIV)

Brothers and sisters, continue to think about what is good and worthy of praise. Think about what is true and honorable and right and pure and beautiful and respected. – (Philippians 4:8, ERV)

Finally, brothers and sisters, fill your minds with beauty and truth. Meditate on whatever is honorable, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is good, whatever is virtuous and praiseworthy. – (Philippians 4:8, VOICE)

 

In light of recent events in the news, there is much temptation to allow our thoughts to fix on things that are entirely opposite of that to which we are called.  Demoralizing or demonizing an entire group of people based on the actions of a few, is not focusing on what is honorable, right or lovely at all. As an individual who has a varied circle of people whom I love, opinions and affiliations among them lie on both sides of the argument. Both camps feel as if the media/popular opinion is making their side out to be something it is not. The name calling and judgments passed from both camps bring out the worst in people, rather than the best. It is my hope that rather than focusing on the bad, we all might fill our minds with beauty and truth.  Let us fix our hearts and minds on things that are honorable, right, pure, lovely, good, virtuous and praiseworthy.

 

For we are all called,

dsc059097914322808950888301.jpg

Photo by Dee Jones of Open Door Photography ❤

To set our hearts right;

Love as the Lord loves,

In Him take delight.

As we choose to set,

Our hearts and our minds;

On the things of God,

There’s hope for mankind.

Hope’s found in choosing,

To set our soul right;

To love and be kind,

In good things delight.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You created each of us with the capacity to love and be loved. Thank You that You do not have a political agenda nor affiliation. Forgive us for allowing our opinions, emotions or personal experiences to taint how we view others. Help us to fix our eyes on that which is good, lovely, honorable, right, true and above all, that which brings glory to You. Show us how to love those around us well, regardless of differing opinions and views of the world. May many come to know You through our love. Be glorified O God, as we set our souls on the good that You give to us daily, as we choose with intention to open our eyes and hearts to notice. Amen.

 

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

 

Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses, let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles. And let us run with perseverance the race marked before us. – Hebrews 12:1

Peace is Made Known

“I have told you these things so that in me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world.” – (John 16:33, NIV)

“I have told you these things so that you can have peace in me. In this world you will have troubles. But be brave! I have defeated the world!” – (John 16:33, ERV)

“And everything I taught you is so that the peace which is in me will be in you and will give you great confidence as you rest in me. For in this unbelieving world you will experience trouble and sorrows, but you must be courageous, for I have conquered the world!” – (John 16:33, TPT)

 

One of the hardest times to find peace is in the midst of a trial. It is so easy to allow our fears and emotions to get the best of us, and forget Who is ultimately in control. I am quite certain that this is why God calls us to be in community. When one falls down or is struggling, facing a trial or uncertainty that lies before them, sisters and brothers who know our stories can come alongside to help and encourage, as God equips us to be His hands, heart and voice made tangible to those around us. May we reach out to love well, those in a place of need, and be transparent with the trusted, when we find ourselves in a similar space, so that the peace of God may be made perceivable to all.

 

O Lord, it’s Your peace, IMG_1849

That so many need;

There’s pain and pressure,

Heartache, trials and greed.

The troubles we find,

Are nothing for You;

Each already faced,

Your love will shine through.

Please teach us to trust,

In places we doubt;

For in You, there’s peace,

That’s what love’s about.

Show us how to give,

What You’ve given us;

So peace is made known,

By grace You promise.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that our peace comes from You. Thank You that though we will have troubles because we live in a broken world, we can take courage knowing that You are with us. Thank You too for community, as You surround us with those who can come alongside us and encourage and lift us up if we are willing to invest. Forgive us for the times we have tried to power through the pressures on our own, rather than seeking You and sharing with those whom You have shown us are trustworthy in our world. Help us to trust You more, so that we would seek You for peace, even in the most tumultuous of trials. Help us to love those around us in a way that offers peace and strength in the midst of their struggles too. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we take heart in You, as You have already overcome every obstacle that stands in our way. Amen.

 

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

 

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

Provision of Peace and Strength

The Lord gives His people strength. The Lord blesses them with peace. – (Psalm 29:11, NLT)

May the Lord make His people strong. May the Lord bless His people with peace. – (Psalm 29:11, ERV)

We ask You, Eternal One, to give strength to Your people; Eternal One, bless them with the gift of peace. – (Psalm 29:11, VOICE)

 

Emotions are running high, and kids are on edge daily as the winter break whispers of its nearness. The uncertainty of what is coming when so many of our students desperately need routine, is enough to send them in a downward spiral that requires more strength and resolve than one might think is humanly possible to perpetuate for such a length of time. Strength and peace are needed now, more than ever – for students, teachers, and every staff member who interacts with these sweet souls in distress. It is my prayer that God would give strength to the weary, and bless every heart with His perfect peace. May we walk beside one another, shoulder-to-shoulder, encouraging and lifting up, as strength and peace are present wherever people come together with purpose.

 

The Lord is our Source, Provision of Peace and Strength

He makes our hearts strong;

When we’re feeling weak,

He helps lead us on.

Where chaos seems reign,

The Lord brings His peace;

He settles our hearts,

As grace is released.

Let’s rise up, dear ones,

Seek the Lord of all;

He knows all our need,

And won’t let us fall.

Look too for others,

To walk alongside;

Encourage, support,

Let peace and strength rise.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You are our Source of strength and peace, no matter what comes our way. Lord, be with all of those who struggle this time of year, as there is uncertainty or sorrow in the season. Give us grace to extend loving kindness, so that Your heart may be made known. Forgive us for our frustration with behaviors and attitudes that are the manifestation of people’s pain. Teach us to trust You more, so that we may see things through Your eyes. Show us how to bring peace to the chaos, and how to love in Your strength in a way that soothes unsettled souls. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we receive Your strength and peace, and go forth and give as we have been given. Amen.

 

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

 

For the Lord your God will bless you, …and your joy will be complete. – Deuteronomy 16:15

Come to Rest

Let my soul be at rest again, for the Lord has been good to me. – (Psalm 116:7, NLT)

My soul, relax! The Lord is caring for you. – (Psalm 116:7, ERV)

I said to myself, “Relax and rest. God has showered you with blessings.” – (Psalm 116:7, MSG)

O my soul! Return and relax. Come to your true rest, for the Eternal has showered you with His favor. – (Psalm 116:7, VOICE)

 

Just yesterday, I was reminded that this is traditionally the most challenging stretch of the school year. The work becomes challenging for students, the impending holidays and variant weather stir up emotions that they are often unaware of, and as teachers, we hit a spot of weariness that borders on burnout. It is a challenging balance to learn to rest and relax in the Lord, as I do not want to miss out on a moment of fun on the weekends. Time with my beloved friends and family encourages my heart and lifts up my soul. However, the rest that remains with me and carries me through the week, is that which is found in my Heavenly Father. A tremendous blessing is the upcoming Thanksgiving weekend, where there will be time to gather with loved ones, with much time to simply rest. May we ever seek our Savior to be our space of rest, and give Him thanks for the opportunities provided to relax in the beauty of His blessings.

 

Let my soul find rest, Hope in Discouragement

As I seek the Lord;

For in Him alone,

His grace He affords.

When we are weary,

And need to relax;

God provides spaces,

If we only ask.

O Lord we seek You,

And the rest You give;

All thanks for Your grace,

In Your peace, we live.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that in You, we can find real rest. Thank You that Your grace and goodness provide all that we need to be at peace, even in our weariness. Forgive us for seeking rest anywhere other than You. Teach us to trust You more, so that we would seek You and Your rest in our weariness, and give You all praise for the strength and grace You provide to keep going. Show us how to love and encourage those around us who are weary and losing hope. May many come to find true rest in a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we seek You for rest in our weariness, and give You praise for the grace and goodness that You give. Amen.

 

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

 

Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of compassion and the God of all comfort. – 2 Corinthians 1:3

To Find Favor

Let love and faithfulness never leave you; bind them around your neck, write them on the tablet of your heart. Then you will win favor and a good name in the sight of God and man. – (Proverbs 3:3-4, NIV)

 

Though God’s word has been carved in the corners of my heart, this is the time of year that love threatens to leave me and my faithfulness falters when facing the ongoing adversity of the end of the year. There are days that school feels more like a combat zone than a place of teaching and learning, and I question my calling to this career. I manage, by the grace of God, to keep my responses calm, but internally, that which is bound around my neck and nearly choking me, is not necessarily the most loving. This week, I was granted favor that was not deserved on two occasions that made all of the difference in the moments in which they occurred. Part of my investment in such early rising, is to prepare my heart and mind for whatever may come my way each day. Without time to quietly reflect on the goodness of God, His love and faithfulness would likely feel out of reach for me. I need reminders often for things to resonate and remain at rest within me. God is good, even when our circumstances are frustrating or trying, and He loves us more than we can fathom. May we let His love and faithfulness be what we display, and allow His truth to take hold of our hearts; for favor and a good name in the sight of God and man come through walking in His ways.

 

Let God’s faithfulness,Delivering Dreams

And love remain near;

Write truth on our hearts,

So His way is clear.

As we choose follow,

Walk right and obey;

We gain the favor,

Of those on our way.

To have a good name,

Before God and man;

What faithful love does,

It’s part of God’s plan.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that Your love and faithfulness never leave us, and that as we bind them around our neck and write them upon our heart, You use them to grant us favor and a good name in Your sight and the sight of others. Forgive us for allowing our circumstances to hijack our emotions, rather than running to You for strength and help and hope when the burden is too heavy to bear. Teach us how to seek You in all situations, so that love and faithfulness never leave us. Show us how to love those around us as we are loved by You. May many come into a lasting relationship with You, Lord. Be glorified O God, as we bind Your love and faithfulness around our necks and write them on the tablets of our hearts. Amen.

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

Let the heavens rejoice, let the earth be glad. – 1 Chronicles 16:31

Stop Running

This week has been an emotional roller coaster. As someone who tends to stick to the merry-go-round emotionally, the highs and lows, twists and turns, have left me exhausted. The reason I never really get off the merry-go-round is because when something is weighty emotionally, I have always been able to pound it out on the pavement or press it out while lifting heavy.

For the last five weeks, I have had no such outlet. Having sustained a compression fracture in my low back, I was quite limited in the activities I was allowed to do. Walking daily and lifting light weights with my arms only, was not doing the job that my previous go-to activities had done. The unresolved emotional weight I was carrying had completely worn me down, and I began to anxiously anticipate my check back appointment with the specialist. I had placed so much hope in being healed enough for him to release me to run, that I could not even consider an alternative.

My appointment on Thursday was not all that I had hoped it would be. Better than it could have been, but not the “skies have parted” sort of report that I was hoping to receive. I was granted permission to run short distances, if I promised to listen to my body, and stop if my back began to hurt at all. Short distances are better than what I had been able to run for the five weeks prior, so I took the news straight-faced and was on my way. He did imply that running in my upcoming race in June was really not going to happen, but I just smiled and let him know I was more concerned about the one that was coming in July…

I happened to meet with a friend to walk after my appointment with the specialist, and she really challenged my thinking. She asked if I had any idea what God might be trying to speak to me during this time, as He uses these things for good, and the injury really didn’t make sense in the first place. As I paused for but a moment, the answer flooded my mind. I had to lose running physically, to recognize that I needed to stop running emotionally. Why, oh why am I so thick-headed that extreme measures are necessary to get my attention?

Thankfully, my story does take a turn for the better. It seems that as soon as I said, “Yes, Lord, I am willing,” the release came. I submitted spaces that I had been holding, and am determined to allow Him access where it has so long been denied.

Yesterday evening was the first opportunity to test running on the road. My long-time running bestie and I met to go for the maiden voyage. Because she is a nurse, I knew I would get away with NOTHING if it hurt. I prayed that it would not, yet had to be ready in my heart to accept waiting longer if it did. We set out on a modified course of one that we have run many times before. Each stride I took, I was acutely aware of what was going on with my body. Muscles that had been dormant for five weeks, reactivated. My heart seemed to skip a beat, as I realized that though I was aware of muscles being activated in my back, there was no pain at the injury site, and I was all clear! We successfully completed a short run, and I don’t think I stopped smiling the entire time. I know there is still healing that has to happen, but I am encouraged that a bit of what was lost has been regained.

With every step on this road to recovery, I have had to stop and place my trust in Him. I have been reminded anew of just how true the following verse is for me:

Give all your worries to Him, because He cares for you. – (1 Peter 5:7, ERV)

May we all take time to give our worries to Him, as He cares for us, individually. His love is greater than any that we have ever known, and He uses every circumstance to draw us closer to Him.

 

In sickness and health,Stop Running

For better or worse;

The Lord’s love is great,

Despite what’s deserved.

If we will take time,

To call on His Name;

The depth of His grace,

Is made for us, plain.

Lord, help us to choose,

To always trust You;

No matter what comes,

For You’ll see us through.

Thank You for the gifts,

That You choose to give;

My hope is in You,

By faith help me live.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that we can come to You and give our worries to You, and You love us back to life. Thank You that when we slow down and listen, You speak to us – intentionally and specifically, so that we may grow ever closer to You. Forgive us for running when we are meant to sit still, and teach us to trust You more. Show us how to be silent before You, so that You can speak to our hearts the things that You desire for us to hear. Lead us to love others in such a way, that they might see You through our kindness and care. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we give all of our worries to You, and go forth in the grace that You give. Amen.

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

May God Almighty grant you mercy. – Genesis 43:14

The Faultless Father

One of my favorite stories that my dad likes to tell, is when I was quite young, I had a cracker that I had broken somehow, and with total trust and assurance that my dad could indeed do what I was asking, I extended the fractured pieces toward him and said, “Daddy, fix it?”

 

Though our human fathers may be capable of many great things, not one of them can fix in us, all that is fractured. However, our Heavenly Father, can. I know today is a mixed bag of emotions for many, as not all have access to their earthly fathers, nor the desire to do so. There is a Father that we all have access to, who is waiting with arms open wide. Jesus came to heal the broken, love the hurting and save all those who are feeling lost and alone. Peace is found in Him who created each of us, and knows us better than we know ourselves.

 

Dad and boys

Cautious, Super Spouse & Adventurous a few years ago…

May we each make time,

to celebrate You;

our ultimate Dad,

whom hope is held through.

Please bless all the dads,

who honor You well;

that love as You ask,

in whose hearts You dwell.

Be near to the ones,

who have lost their dad;

memories of joy,

rather than the sad.

Stay close too, to those,

whose fathers are not;

what they’re meant to be,

will You fill that spot?

Lord Jesus, today,

I’m happy to say;

You’re our perfect Dad,

on this Father’s Day.

 

A father to the fatherless, a defender of widows, is God in His holy dwelling. – (Psalm 68:5)

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that whether we have a wonderful dad, an absent dad, or anything in between – You are our Father without fault, who loves us unconditionally. Thank You that You see and know us, yet still love, in spite of ourselves. Thank You that when we come to You and commit our lives to You, You welcome us into Your family forever. Forgive us for our failings with our fathers, and heal fractured places in each of us. May today be a reason for all to celebrate fathers – and above all, a celebration of You, our Heavenly Father. Let our hearts hold fast to the security we have in You, and may we live and love as lights to all whom encounter. May many come to know You as their Heavenly Father today. Be exalted as we celebrate You and the fathers who reflect Your heart and character today. Amen.

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

May God be gracious to us and bless us and make His face shine upon us. – Psalm 67:1

 

 

Knowing Our Need

In the midst of a weekend of remembrance, I found myself flooded with many memoires of Anne. It seemed no matter where I went, little things were reminding me of her, and the sorrow seemed to want to wrap itself around me like tightly bound burial clothes. Each time the sorrow would attempt to seep in, I would shove it away, dismissing it, as I deemed the moments as inappropriate to deal with the emotions as they attempted to ensue. Ongoing repression tends to lead to agitation, and I found myself getting irritated with my boys over things that usually do not phase me. God brought to my attention the need to seek a sister in the body, as He was not asking me to process this alone. A few texts later, and I was on my way to a pleasant escape.

“Now you are the body of Christ, and each one of you is a part of it.” – (I Corinthians 12:27) Just as I needed time with another to verbalize what was going on, so also, others need the gifts that He has placed in me, in order to be their best selves, and function best in their role in the body. He created us to need each other to function as a whole. Not all of us are teachers, nor apostles, nor administrators, yet every one of us can make ourselves available in some capacity to serve one another. As we choose to serve, our gifts begin to unwrap.

To be the body,Aine and Me

we must do our part;

place best foot forward,

be willing to start.

Faith is required,

in order to move;

we must trust in Him,

all doubt be removed.

Just come as we are,

He takes what we bring;

and creates beauty,

with our offering.

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You created us to be relational people. Thank You that we were designed to love You and love each other. Forgive us for where we have failed to do either, and help us to choose love anew today. Thank You that we each are given different strengths to best benefit the body as a whole. Please teach us how we are to use our gifts to edify the body, encouraging one another in love. Lead us to love as You love us, and may many come to know the amazing grace available to all who seek Your face. May we be a united body before You. Amen.

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