Remembering to Look Up

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)

On this Patriot’s Day, as we remember the terrible tragedy that struck the safety of our own soil, we can also recall a time that our nation banded together as a united front, to help the hurting, care well for the courageous that continued to search for the missing, and sought the strength and security that our Savior alone provided. Our help to make sense of something so senseless, could only come as we chose to cling to Christ.

Time has passed, and the new generation of kids I have in my classroom were not even born yet when 9/11 occurred. Many of them, have no personal connection to the event, as they have not traveled beyond the West Coast, or for some, even outside of our state. They have never known life without scanners and security guards at government buildings and hospitals, nor do many have connections to fire fighters, law enforcement officers, or military personnel. History needs to be shared. Each generations ought to be made aware of what has gone before them, so they gain empathy and compassion for those who serve and protect our nation. Today, this verse is more personal, as I lift my eyes to the Lord, Maker of heaven and earth, and trust Him to lead and guide me; to show me how to create connections that are relevant and personal for seventh grade students, to an event that occurred prior to their existence. May we each take time to remember the lost, and the lives of those who continue to live with the holes in their hearts all of these years later. Be our help Lord.

Remember the time,911

when tragedy struck;

nation was silenced,

in shock we were stuck.

The world fell silent,

in horror, we watched;

such acts of terror,

and countless lives lost.

The chaos encased,

in great clouds of dust;

everywhere running,

which sense could they trust?

It did not take long,

for heroes to rise;

to search for missing,

help those still alive.

Even days after,

the tragedy fell;

people were praying,

holding hope as well.

Out of the ashes,

came beauty indeed;

people united,

to rise and meet needs.

Let us remember,

the community;

together triumphs,

with trust, unity.

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that when we lift our eyes up to You, You are where our help comes from. Thank You that we can trust and depend on You, even on the darkest of days. Thank You that You bring beauty from ashes and hope from despair. Thank You that You alone, can turn tragedy into triumph. Forgive us for allowing tragedy, trials, grief, or our own lack of hope in what we cannot see to keep us from looking to You. Teach us to trust You more, so that we would lift our eyes to You, no matter what comes our way – for You are our Help and our Hope, always. Lead us to love and encourage others, no matter what circumstance life has them in, and may many find their hope forever in You. Be glorified O God, as we look to You to be our Help and our Hope, always. 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

Coaching through Christ

Coaching gymnastics has been a part of my life since I was sixteen years old. More of my life has been spent coaching and in the gym, than not. That being said, I still get nervous before the first day of tryouts every year. I am not sure if it is empathy for the masses that will walk into the little gym after school, or if it is my own desire to be sure that everything is in place as it ought to be. Perhaps it is a bit of both. Either way, the butterflies come as the time draws near, yet the moment the first girl walks into the gym, all fear fades away, and I am home.

 

Despite this being a space where I know that the Lord has both called and equipped me, I imagine the nerves are a blessing. Because I get nervous, I remain dependant on Him. Though coaching is operating in an area of strength, I am ever aware of my need for Christ to be present. If I am not functioning in His grace, the girls will know the difference. Coaching is so much more than training up gymnasts, it is about creating confidence in young ladies, where they may not have had confidence before. My hope is that they will walk out of the gym having discovered that they can do more than they ever thought they could.

 

Girls are not allowed to say “can’t” in our gym. Essentially, they are discovering that they “can do all things through Christ who strengthens us,” – (Philippians 4:13) through ongoing acts of faith. It requires faith in their coaches and faith in themselves to attempt new skills and take on new challenges. For those who are willing, great goals are achieved, and new confidence is discovered.

 

Our lives ought to operate the same way. Can’t should not be a part of our vocabulary. If God calls us to it, He will make a way for us to get through it. The seemingly impossible is possible in Christ. It is only through His strength that we can discover how much more He has made us to be, if we are only willing to walk where He calls. May we rise up in His strength, and go forth, trusting that He is faithful to supply all that is needed to answer that which He asks.

 

When working in strength,Coaching through Christ

or a deficit;

rely on the Lord,

our hope to beget.

For there is no can’t,

when the Lord has called;

He’ll grant what’s needed,

Provider of all.

May we rise in faith,

trust His strength, go forth;

know that He is faithful,

our tried and true north.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You are faithful to walk us through whatever You call us to do. Thank You that nerves remind us of our need for You, even in our areas of strength. Thank You that You are loving and kind, and that You care about the little things too. Forgive us for the times that we try to operate in our own strength, rather than rely on You. Teach us to trust You more, so that we may learn to lean on You in all things and at all times. Let us love others as You love us, and may many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we go forth in Your strength in all that we do. Amen.

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

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

The Comfort of Christ

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)

 

Not all pain and suffering are bad. Often our pain has a purpose. The very comfort that we receive from Christ, grows in us a compassion and empathy for others who suffer in a similar way. God can use our experiences to express His goodness through us, as we are able to listen and understand others in a way that those who have not experienced similar suffering could not. May we embrace His goodness and grace in our times of trial and trouble, so that we may be equipped to offer comfort and compassion to those who experience similar trials one day.

 

God is our comfort,The Comfort of Christ

through trial and pain;

when troubles do come,

His presence is plain.

Look for His goodness,

despite suffering;

kindness extended,

Love’s true offering.

Just past our trials,

Christ often brings due;

a chance to extend,

how He loved us through.

Embrace His goodness,

regardless of pain;

trust in His purpose,

allow Him to reign.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You are always good, and that You comfort us when troubles come so that we too, can comfort others as we have been comforted by You. Forgive us for thinking that there could not possibly be a purpose in our pain or trials, and help us to keep our eyes fixed securely on You. Thank You that even in the midst of our suffering, You provide Your peace, Your presence, and tangible evidence of Your love for us. Help us to trust You more, so that we may go forth in faith, allowing You to speak through our places of pain to touch lives for Your glory. May many come to know of Your loving kindness, and come into a saving relationship with You. Be exalted, O God, as we trust You to be our comfort, so we too, can comfort others. 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