Such a Humble Start

And while they were there, the time came for her baby to be born. She gave birth to her firstborn son. She wrapped him snugly in strips of cloth and laid him in a manger, because there was no lodging available for them. – (Luke 2:6-7, NLT) 

While Joseph and Mary were in Bethlehem, the time came for her to have the baby. She gave birth to her first son. She wrapped him up well and laid him in a box where cattle fed. She put him there because the guest room was full. – (Luke 2:6-7, ERV) 

 

There are so many details about the birth of Jesus that are beyond my ability to grasp. First, as a woman about to give birth, I cannot fathom the exhaustion Mary must have been feeling after their four-day journey. Then, after travelling eighty-some miles on foot, to be told that there were no rooms available, anywhere, would have been enough to send most over the edge. No mention is made about anyone aiding Mary with the delivery of Jesus. As far as I understand, it was Mary, Joseph, and perhaps the nearby animals in the stable that night. Modern medicine and midwives were not a reasonable option. I think that this was a space where the grace of God was made known in a tangible way, as the young couple brought the Son of God into the world. This brave, strong, young mother, made use of what she had, and wrapped Jesus in strips of cloth and laid him in a bed that was probably far from where she had imagined the precious Prince of Peace would be set to sleep as a newborn. Such a humble beginning made God-with-us all the more relatable and approachable. Though He is King of Creation, He came to us as a newborn baby, in need and dependent on His parents for ordinary things. However, He did not remain an infant in a stable, but grew and became the Overcoming One who saves, and ultimately returned to His rightful throne in heaven. May we remember the humble beginnings of our Savior, recognizing that He understands and can relate to our earthly struggles, yet He is God with us, ready to help and equip us to overcome anything that stands before us. 

 

Weary, in wonder,when-love-came-close.jpg

At their journey’s end; 

Where were they to stay, 

What did God intend? 

No room in the inns, 

But a stable found; 

To bring forth Jesus, 

The image, profound. 

Such a humble start, 

For the Prince of Peace; 

Try fathom the grace, 

To them, God released. 

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You for loving us so much, that You sent Your Son to make the way for us to be restored to right relationship with You. Thank Your that because He came as a baby, in such a humble space, we find comfort as we seek Your grace. Forgive us for either forgetting that baby Jesus grew, became, overcame and is now seated at Your right hand, or for not recognizing that Jesus experienced the same joys and pains as we do and understands. Teach us to trust You more, so that we would bring all before You in faith. Show us how to love those around us in a way that makes Your heart tangible. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we praise You for Your purposes that are accomplished through that which does not seem to make sense. Amen.

 

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

 

The Word became flesh and made His dwelling among us. We have seen His glory, the glory of the one and only Son, who came to us from the Father, full of grace and truth. – John 1:14

 

 

Refreshment and Restoration for the Tired

I will refresh the weary and satisfy the faint. – (Jeremiah 31:25, NIV) 

I will give rest and strength to those who are weak and tired. – (Jeremiah 31:25, ERV) 

I’ll refresh tired bodies; I’ll restore tired souls. – (Jeremiah 31:25, MSG) 

 

This extended weekend away has done exactly what God promised Jeremiah, it has refreshed my weariness and restored the spaces within me that were just plain tired. Though my body still wakes at the usual early hour, I have not jumped right out of bed to get to task. I have moved at a leisurely pace, meandering to the coffee pot beside my bed, prior to taking my time to spend time in His word and reflect. Much of our time has been spent walking and exploring all over the city, and for me, there is much refreshment in movement. Being able to explore in the cool, late fall air, as we take in the sights and sounds of a city I have seldom seen, is the very sort of adventure to rejuvenate my heart and mind. Though I miss my husband and boys, it is a joy to escape and spend intentional time with my best friend. Though refreshment and restoration rarely come in the form of a weekend getaway, God is faithful to give rest and strength when we need it most. May we ever turn to Him to restore our hearts and minds when we need refreshment, and give Him praise for the faithful ways that He provides. 

 

The Lord is faithful, img_2018-12-03_06-57-562597762703058698717.jpg

No matter our need; 

He hears what we ask, 

Grants blessings indeed. 

When weary and tired, 

In great need of rest; 

The way God answers, 

Is always the best. 

He refreshes strength, 

Fortifies resolve; 

Renews and restores, 

Makes fatigue dissolve. 

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You are faithful to refresh tired bodies and restore weary souls. Forgive us for attempting to press on through our own exhaustion, rather than seeking You for solutions to strengthen and restore us in our spaces of depletion. Teach us to trust You more, as You are the Grantor of strength who lifts us up when we cannot lift ourselves. Show us how to love those around us a way that strengthens and restores the weary and worn out in practical ways. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we rest in You. Amen.

 

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

 

Yes, my soul, find rest in God, my hope comes from Him. – Psalm 62:5

Give Worry Away

Give all your worries and cares to God, for He cares about you. – (1 Peter 5:7, NLT) 

Let Him have all your worries and cares, for He is always thinking about you and watching everything that concerns you. – (1 Peter 5:7, TLB) 

Since God cares for you, let Him carry all your burdens and worries. – (1 Peter 5:7, VOICE) 

 

This is far more easily spoken than actually carried out. Often, we don’t even recognize the burdens that we are bearing until they begin to take a toll on us, physically. Tension headaches, illness and exhaustion can all be symptomatic of unnecessary burden bearing. Yes, we have responsibilities and obligations as adult members of society, however, we are not called to carry the weight of the world on our shoulders. First and foremost, we ought to present our cares and concerns to Christ. He cares and has promised to never leave us nor forsake us. The Lord’s strength surpasses our understanding, and He is more than able to carry the burdens too weighty for us to bear. May we ever seek the Lord and lay our worries and cares in His capable hands, as He cares for us all. 

 

May lofty burdens,

wp-1540986023788172550623987343732.jpg

Photo by Dee Jones of Open Door Photography ❤

Be given away; 

To He who’s able, 

To carry the weight. 

Our God is willing, 

With arms open wide; 

To receive our cares, 

As we choose abide. 

So, cast each worry, 

All burdens on Him; 

And watch in wonder, 

As His grace pours in. 

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You invite us to give you our burdens and worries. Thank You that You are far better equipped to bear the weight than we are. Forgive us for attempting to power through on our own when life gets too heavy. Teach us to trust and rely on You. Show us how to love those around us in a way that helps lighten loads, and reminds others that they need not bear burdens alone. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we bring our burdens before You and trust Your strength, grace and love to carry that which we are not meant to bear. Amen.

 

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

 

Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own. – Matthew 6:34

Power to the Tired

He gives strength to the weary and increases the power of the weak. – (Isaiah 40:29, NIV)

He helps the tired people be strong. He gives power to those without it. – (Isaiah 40:29, ERV)

His understanding is beyond human reach, giving power to the tired and reviving the exhausted. – (Isaiah 40:29, CEB)

 

I am so grateful to know where our strength comes from when we feel as though there is none remaining in us. It has been an incredibly long week, particularly for my fiancé, as he has worked long days with a grueling commute, and then has been driving to his old house to work and make preparations to sell and then on to further make ready the new home that we will all share in a few short weeks. Yesterday evening, he hit the wall, and was done. Exhaustion had taken over, and rest was required. After spending a few hours at the house with him, working on finishing details beyond his already lengthy day, he reached a point where he needed to be done. We left, met the boys, my mom and sister for dinner, gave a tour of our new home, and departed so my Viking and my bonus son could get some rest. This morning, I trust that he will be strengthened and rested and revived. God is faithful to provide what we need as we need it most. May we ever seek the Lord and His strength in our weariness and allow His rest to refresh us from exhaustion.

 

O Lord, I thank You, Power to the Tired

You’re faithful to meet;

Us when we’re weary,

Revive from defeat.

You grant us power,

When we find we’ve none;

You love us to life,

All things, overcome.

Your understanding,

And help in our need;

Grant strength to rise up,

In Your strength, succeed.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You love us, no matter how we come. Thank You that You give strength when we are weary and grant us power when we are weak. Thank You that You see us in our need and provide in places we lack. Forgive us for attempting to power through beyond what we are meant to do. Teach us to turn to You for strength in spaces it is lacking, and for renewal when we are worn. Show us how to love those around us in practical ways so that we may help strengthen and encourage in practical ways when they are weary. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we seek You for the strength and refreshment we need to navigate all that we are called to complete. Amen.

 

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

 

Father, I thank You that You have heard me. – John 11:41 

Faithful Answers

You faithfully answer our prayers with awesome deeds, O God our Savior. – (Psalm 65:5a, NLT)

God, You answer our prayers and do what is right. You do amazing things to save us. – (Psalm 65:5a, ERV)

You leave us breathless when Your awesome works answer us by putting everything right. – (Psalm 65:5a, VOICE)

Yesterday morning began in a hurried panic. My boys and I were supposed to be up and out the door by 3:30am to get to the airport by 4:00am for departure for their school music tour to San Francisco. My alarm sounded first at 2:45, and I have a vague recollection of glancing at the screen and rapidly pressing the dismiss option, knowing that there would be a second alarm ten minutes later. At 2:55, as the second alarm debuted, I think I thought I hit snooze, but actually pressed dismiss again. Perhaps the combination of not returning home from football practice until close to ten and staying up until nearly midnight helping the boys finish packing, had pushed me to the point of exhaustion. After what felt like a few minutes, I woke, looked at the clock in a daze, read 4:30, and realized in a panic that we were already thirty minutes late! I ran through the house to wake the boys and hustle them out the door, scrambling to get luggage loaded as I called out a quick checklist for the boys. We rushed out the door and I had them at the airport drop off curb by 5:00am. I gave them specific instructions of where to go to check-in their bags and line up for the security check-through, informing them that I would wait in the cell phone lot, just in case, until I heard that they were checked in, through security, and on their way. Sadly, about twenty minutes later, I received a series of anxious calls from both them and their music director. The boys had missed the bag check-in deadline by two minutes and their director was not allowed to permit them to take a later flight by themselves, due to liability issues, so I had to go pick them back up. Though sleep-deprived and frazzled, my mind was in solution-mode. My first go-to was to call mom as I drove to see if she could look up later flights and if she knew anyone who might have a “buddy pass”. Within five minutes of returning home, I had a call into the principal of their school, a call back from mom with a later flight that had two seats available that she went ahead and booked, (as the airline only charged a minimal fee for the flight change), and I determined that I would go straight to the district office to sign some sort of release of liability paperwork to get my boys where they needed to be. We were in and out of the district office in fifteen minutes, and on our way to the airport where the boys were able to make their flight and then reconnect with their group, having only missed a tour of Alcatraz. All throughout, there were some serious prayers being audibly offered. My boys may or may not have thought I was a bit loony as I prayed aloud for each step we took. However, they were witness to doors opening rapidly, and ways being made, when we had been told by their music director that it was impossible. God is faithful to meet us, even in the seemingly small things. He moves mightily on our behalf and shows us His power where we have none. May we ever seek the Lord in all things, for He is faithful to answer our prayers with His awesome deeds.

 

Faithful to answer,

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The Lord God, He hears;

He opens the way,

As He is so near.

When all seems but lost,

God’s presence remains;

He’ll lead and He’ll guide,

He makes our path plain.

So, trust in the Lord,

In faith, call on Him;

His love makes wrongs right,

When invited in.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You for Your faithfulness to hear us when we call on You. Thank You for the way that You are faithful to answer, in ways that we would not have imagined. Thank You that You care about all things – great and small. Forgive us for trying to navigate difficulties on our own rather than seeking You, our Source and Supply. Teach us to trust You more, as You do amazing things as we call on Your Name. Show us how to love those around us in ways that demonstrate Your faithfulness. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we seek You for answers and give You praise for Your faithfulness forever. 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

His Kindness

The Lord is gracious and compassionate, slow to anger and rich in love. – (Psalm 145:8, NIV)

The Lord is kind and merciful, patient and full of love. – (Psalm 145:8, ERV)

You are kind and tenderhearted to those who don’t deserve it and very patient with people who fail You. Your love is like a flooding river overflowing its banks with kindness. – (Psalm 145:8, TPT)

 

I am so grateful that these attributes of God are true, as He does not place conditions on His love for us. It is a very good thing, as I know that I have not been the best version of myself lately, for pain and exhaustion do not breed patience in me. In spaces where I have gone in expecting the worst simply because of my own shortcomings, God has provided His loving kindness in unexpected ways. He has granted patience that I have not deserved and flooded me with His kindness in moments that I needed it most. May we ever turn in trust to He who is gracious and compassionate, slow to anger and rich in love.

 

Even at our worst, Possibilities

His kindness prevails;

For the love of God,

Will not ever fail.

He’s patient and kind,

Full of mercy too;

Slow to get angry,

His grace gets us through.

With great compassion,

He gives love away;

Though undeserving,

He floods us with grace.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You love us whether we deserve it or not. Thank You that You are patient and full of love. Thank You that You flood us with Your kindness and love, even when we fail You miserably. Forgive us for our lack of faith that gets us in a frenzy over our circumstances, rather than keeping our eyes and hearts securely set on You. Teach us to trust You more, so that we would continue to hope and trust in You no matter what we see or are experiencing in the moment. Show us how to love those around us in a way that gives grace, compassion and kindness where it is needed most. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we praise You for Your kindness, faithfulness and love for us at all times. 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

Soar in Strength

 

But those who trust in the Lord will find new strength. They will soar high on wings like eagles. They will run and not grow weary. They will walk and not grow faint. – (Isaiah 40:31, NLT)

 

I apologize in advance if the running references are not in your realm of reality right now. However, for the next few days, I will be in run, rest, repeat mode, and it is very much in the forefront of my mind and will likely flavor that which I write. Today is no exception. The new strength that is found through trusting the Lord, is spiritual, emotional, and often physical. When we come to the end of ourselves and feel like we’ve no more to give, His Spirit within us rises, and whispers, “press on.” Though fighting through weariness, fatigue, and exhaustion can be grueling, the reward on the other side is well worth it. To look back and see the strength that was supplied and the ground that was covered despite our moments of doubt, provide new strength and hope as we gain even greater trust in He who gives us all that we need. Although I have trained, I must trust. There are elements and unknowns that I cannot anticipate. I need the Lord to go before me, remain beside me, and be my strength, as I run the road that lies ahead. May we ever trust in the Lord to grant us new strength, so that we may soar on wings like eagles; run without growing wearing, walk without growing faint – wherever His path leads us.

 

Those who trust in God,

Silhouetted Woman Running at Sunset

Shall find strength anew;

They’ll soar high on wings,

Just as eagles do.

They’ll run and not tire,

Walk and not grow faint;

The Lord is faithful,

To arm each with strength.

So go forth and run,

Wherever He leads;

Our God shall supply,

All that we will need.

 

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that when we trust in You, we find strength anew. Thank You that by Your grace, we soar on wings like eagles, in the direction You call us to fly. Thank You that we can run and not grow weary, walk and not grow faint, when we are moving in the direction to which You are calling us to move. Forgive us for attempting to fly on our own, or for running the wrong direction. Lead us on the path that You have placed before us, so that we would run the race to which we are called. Show us how to love and encourage all of those who are running near us, so that each may run well, their own race. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we trust in You to supply the strength we need to complete all that which we are called to do. Amen.

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

Because of the tender mercy of our God, …the rising sun will come to us from heaven. – Luke 1:78

 

Trust, for He is Good

But I trust in Your unfailing love; my heart rejoices in Your salvation. I will sing the Lord’s praise, for He has been good to me. – (Psalm 13:5-6, NIV)

But I trust in Your unfailing love. I will rejoice because You have rescued me. I will sing to the Lord because He is good to me. – (Psalm 13:5-6, NLT)

 

This morning, for whatever reason, I am just plain tired. The good news is that today is not an ordinary school day. It is an early dismissal day for the students, so the energy required on these days is different than on typical school days. Shortened classes go quickly, and after the students leave for the day, the remainder of the afternoon is spent collaborating with colleagues. In a sense, this is a bit of a rescue from my own exhaustion. Just knowing that I need only rise up until 12:40, is an encouragement in and of itself. At just the right time, there is a break in my ordinary routine, and I feel rescued from the weariness that is threatening. God knows what we can take, and provides precious rest in places where it is needed most. His love never fails, and I am so grateful that He cares about the smallest of details. May we ever trust in the unfailing love of the Lord, and rejoice in the salvation that He has provided. Let our hearts sing praise, for He is always good.

 

I trust in Your love,Be Transformed 1

My God and my King;

For You’re always good,

And rescue, You bring.

Salvation from death,

But also You give;

Love, strength, hope and life,

So we truly live.

Let our hearts choose sing,

All praise unto You;

For Your loving grace,

That carries us through.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You for Your unfailing love that saves. Thank You that You rescue us when we lose our way, and You lead us with Your goodness and grace. Thank You that You are good and loving and kind, and that You meet us where we are but do not allow us to stay stuck in spaces we do not belong. Forgive us for not seeking You when we feel stuck, and help us to ever trust in Your grace and strength to be our help and our hope at all times. Show us how to rejoice and give praise to You, as to You alone, all praise is due. Help us to love those around us in tangible ways that help them to see how much You care. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we trust in Your unfailing love and sing praise to You forever. Amen.

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

And the Lord said, “I will cause all my goodness to pass in front of you.” – Exodus 33:19

Turn to Trust

But when I am afraid, I will put my trust in You. – (Psalm 56:3, NLT)

When struck by fear, I let go, depending securely upon You alone. – (Psalm 56:3, VOICE)

When I get really afraid I come to You in trust. – (Psalm 56:3, MSG)

 

I so appreciate that these were the honest words prayed by the heart of David, who was a mighty warrior. As one who had fought lions, giants, armies, elements, exhaustion and having to endure the anguish of alone, he identified and admitted his fear, and recognized and ran to the One in whom he knew he could trust. God was faithful to be present and protect David, despite the times of trial that he endured. The very same God who was worthy of such trust for David, remains present, approachable and available for each of us today. If fear attempts to find footing, we have One to whom we can run. May we depend securely upon the Lord alone, for He is the One in whom we can place all of our trust.

 

When fear tries creep in,Compassion in Confrontations

May we turn to trust;

For our God alone,

Is faithful and just.

As we choose let go,

Give God all our fear;

He makes His heart known,

Through His drawing near.

To come still closer,

The Lord welcomes us;

To release each fear,

And trust in Jesus.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that when we are afraid, we can come to You and trust You to be present and faithful to remain with us. Thank You that You never leave us nor forsake us. Forgive us for choosing to remain frozen in our fears, rather than running to You and laying them at Your feet. Teach us to trust You more, so that we would bring You our every fear, and trust You to lead us and guide us through the spaces that seem far beyond what we are equipped to handle. Show us how to love well, every person that we encounter, so that they might gain glimpses of You through how we love. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we trust You when we are afraid, knowing that You are faithful; always. 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

Seek to Find Rest in Him

Find rest, O my soul, in God alone; my hope comes from Him. – (Psalm 62:5)

Rest is a rare commodity during the school year. It seems as though each day is thoroughly scheduled, leaving little time for rest. I rise early, to be intentional to protect my precious time with God, and I attempt to go to bed at a reasonable time each night, so as to not push myself to the point of exhaustion too soon. Typically, there are wonderful windows of rest that appear, unannounced, and I try to enjoy each one as it comes. The only challenge with this constant motion, is that if I get sick, it becomes a bit of a push to keep pressing forward. Everything in me wants to stop and sleep, but life dictates that I continue to do that which I am called to do.

God is remarkable at providing the rest that we need, just when we need it the most. This past week, I have been fighting some sort of cold or sinus yuck. I have not given in to the temptation to simply stop everything and sleep, and here it is Friday and I have a scheduled in-service day with no workshop to attend, and a women’s retreat that begins this evening. My body and soul will both be refueled, as my hope is firmly held in Him. Though it is likely to be a busy weekend, there are long gaps between sessions, where I could actually nap if necessary. (Anyone who knows me well, is likely laughing out loud at that thought!) I know that the sort of rest that I will find in Him in a space of actively seeking, will be far greater and more beneficial, than anything that a mere nap could ever provide. May we place our hope in God alone, as He is where we find rest when we grow weary.

To enter His rest,His Perfect Plan

our souls need to seek;

our great God alone,

space of calm retreat.

For He is our hope,

what the weary need;

He comes where we are,

and in love, He’ll lead.

Lead us to stillness,

where we will find rest;

and show us again,

how You love us best.

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that we can find rest in You alone. Thank You that our hope comes from You. Thank You that when we seek You, we find You. Thank You that You lovingly lead us to places of rest when we are weighed down by weariness. Forgive us for attempting to press on and press through, rather than seeking You for the rest that our soul so desperately needs. Teach us how to trust You more, so that we will seek You and listen to Your leading, to find the places of rest that You are providing. Show us how to love others in such a way, that they too, might come to know the hope that is found in the amazing gift of grace that You give. May many choose to live for You. Be glorified O God, as we seek You to find rest, and place all our hope in You. 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