Coming to a Crossroad

Commit to the Lord whatever you do, and He will establish your plans. – (Proverbs 16:3, NIV)

Turn to the Lord for help in everything you do, and you will be successful. – (Proverbs 16:3, ERV)

Whatever you do, do it as service to Him, and He will guarantee your success. – (Proverbs 16:3, VOICE)

 

Yesterday, we came to a crossroad. Mom’s insurance company was adamantly denying her move to Good Sam’s Acute Rehab Facility in Puyallup. After have spent the previous two days attempting two appeals, we reached a point of recognizing that time was far more important than location. Additionally, we had been praying that God would open the doors we were meant to walk through, and close the ones we were not. Though Good Sam welcomed her, insurance slammed that door shut. At first, it did not make sense. Anger gave way to acceptance. Mom has lived in Wenatchee for nearly twenty years. She has an incredible community here. She is loved deeply, and her home will accommodate those I am comfortable sharing space with from home, who have known her since I was very young. As it turns out, between FMLA and twenty-two years of teaching in the same school, I have plenty of leave to be in Wenatchee as long as I am needed. Megan too, has FMLA benefits, flexibility of working remotely, and a dear friend who can aid in ease of travel on occasion. We are surrounded and loved in the Wenatchee Valley. No, this is not what we thought things would look like, but then again, this whole nightmare is nothing we ever envisioned for our mom; EVER. Just as we are grieving, so too is she. Mom is fully aware of her current circumstances, and she recognizes the road ahead. It is discouraging when people place expectations on her to “get to her old self in no time”, as no one knows what the future holds. By faith, her body will be fully restored and she will regain EVERYTHING. However, we do not know when. She may not be independent for quite a while, and consequently, may not be ready for visitors for just as long. Yesterday was the first day that she expressed any interest in seeing her phone. I will take it to her and all of her cards. The outpouring of cards, texts and calls has been incredible, as we know her family, friends and church community love her very well.

The what next is that she will be moved on Monday to an acute care facility in Wenatchee. Right now, we are not wanting people to take the liberty to just “drop by” to say “hi” and see her, even though that was normal for her before. Acute care will be extremely intense, and she will likely be exhausted and needing far more rest than she has ever needed before. An important part of healing from a stroke is sleep, so we do not want anything to hinder the process. We do not yet know what it all will look like, nor how she will feel, until we arrive and go through the paces. As she settles in, I will continue to update and let people know. I imagine there will come a point where some sort of visiting schedule could be established. However, that is a stay tuned situation. In the meantime, please, please, continue to pray. Your prayers are felt and we do have light-hearted moments in the midst of the difficult. We smile and laugh, talk and remember, share and listen, and pray. God is good, even when life is hard. May we turn to Him to lead us in all things.

 

When a door opens, 0503192119a6743790846154114741.jpg

Then slams in your face;

Do not stop running,

Rather adjust pace.

Keep moving forward,

Ever seeking Him;

He’ll show the right way,

And usher us in.

Give all to the Lord,

Allow Him to lead;

For He knows the way,

And will meet each need.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that when we commit our plans to You, You lead us in the way that we are meant to go, even if it is not the way that we thought it was supposed to be. Thank You that You already know the outcome and what is the very best place for our mom to thrive and heal. Forgive us for our fears and frustrations as we navigate all of this uncharted territory. Teach us to trust You more, as trust is all that we have. Show us Your ongoing miracles through the healing of our mom, as we are already seeing small steps of Your faithful forward momentum. Show us how to love and encourage mom and all who help care for and work with her. May those who do not know You yet, see Jesus through us and come into a lasting relationship with You. Be our light and strength and love that leads us every minute of every day, Lord God, so that You may be glorified. Amen.

 

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

 

I will say of the Lord, “He is my refuge and my fortress, my God, in whom I trust.” – Psalm 91:2

Speaking the Truth in Love

Instead, speaking the truth in love, we will grow to become in every respect the mature body of Him who is the head, that is, Christ. – (Ephesians 4:15, NIV)

No, we will speak the truth with love. We will grow to be like Christ in every way. He is the head. – (Ephesians 4:15, ERV)

Instead, we will lovingly follow the truth at all times – speaking truly, dealing truly, living truly – and so become more and more in every way like Christ who is the Head of His body, the Church. – (Ephesians 4:15, TLB)

 

There is a growing trend that has good intentions, but it is missing an essential element. “Speak your truth”, is a phrase I hear almost daily. Sadly, this phrase is lacking the cover and intention of love. So often, when people speak “their truth”, hearts are wounded and relationships fractured, as there are no intentions to express love through the words spoken. Just as a parent is called to raise up a child in the ways they are meant to go, they are directed to do so in love. We can correct, redirect and guide children with love, even when they do not like what we have to say. Truth lovingly spoken is far better received than that which is barked out or expressed in a way that points blame. Likewise, when we encourage, challenge and spur on one another to become more than we have been before, we must do so in love. When another comes alongside us and offers to help as we learn and grow to be more than we were before, it is received far better than if we are simply told that we are “not enough”, according to the eyes of the speaker. May we ever seek our Savior so that we may grow more and more like Him. Let every word we speak be spoken with intention to love.

 

Let us choose to speak, Speaking the Truth in Love

The truth in His love;

So our words spoken,

Bring life and build up.

Even when the truth,

Needs to redirect;

When done in His love,

Grace is still expressed.

May we seek the Lord,

To grow in His ways;

So truth that we speak,

Is His love displayed.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that choosing to speak the truth in love is choosing to follow after You. Thank You that You call us to speak truth, yet to do so in love. Forgive us for the times that we have spoken what we perceived as the truth with no intention of loving the recipient. Teach us to trust You more, so that we would stop, think and listen before speaking so that we may say everything with the intention to love like You. Show us how to love well those around us, even those whom we are meant to guide and direct in a different direction. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we give our every thought, word and deed unto You, and ask that You would show us how to surround each in love before we follow through. Amen.

 

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

 

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

Provided to Share

And God will generously provide all you need. Then you will always have everything you need and plenty left over to share with others. – (2 Corinthians 9:8, NLT)

And God can give you more blessings than you need, and you will always have plenty of everything. You will have enough to give to every good work. – (2 Corinthians 9:8, ERV)

 

God’s economy is not logical by the world’s standards. When we give, we end up gaining more. Sometimes, we feel compelled to give of our time, talents or resources when it appears that we have nothing to offer. However, I find that each time I extend myself from this very space where I have to trust, God comes in and multiplies my little to more. If it is time, I somehow find I have more than I thought I had; if it is offering something of myself – He meets me in the moment and does more than I ever could. When the gift is monetary, my budget always works out – even when it logically should not. A reimbursement check here, a random refund there, a gift, an error in billing… The overwhelming ways in which He works to provide are so inspiring, that I find I am quicker to obey when He asks that I give. May we remember Who is ultimately our Provider, and trust that He is true to His word. Let generosity be our mode of operation, as Jesus modeled a life of generously giving of Himself wherever He went.

 

And God shall provide,Tether Our Hearts

For each of our needs;

At times we’ll be called,

To generous deeds.

For we all have gifts,

That we’re meant to share;

Time, talent, resource,

To show that God cares.

As we choose to give,

Obediently;

The Lord blesses us,

Most abundantly.

To see a need met,

Know God’s faithfulness;

Brings confident joy,

His love is expressed.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You generously and abundantly provide all that we need, so that we may share with those around us. Thank You that You ask us to give of ourselves, not because You need us to, but because You desire to bless us with the benefit of seeing Your faithfulness for both the recipient and ourselves when we watch how mightily You move. Forgive us for the times that we have hesitated or avoided giving where You asked us to give because in our own minds we could not figure out how to make it work. Teach us to trust You more, so that we would say yes to You, whenever You ask us to give of ourselves. Help us to hear You clearly. Show us how to love those around us well, with our time, talent and resources. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we share with others, that which You have so lovingly provided unto us. 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

The Way to Love

For this is how God loved the world: He gave His one and only Son, so that everyone who believes in Him will not perish but have eternal life. – (John 3:16, NLT)

For God expressed His love for the world in this way: He gave His only Son so that whoever believes in Him will not face everlasting destruction, but will have everlasting life. – (John 3:16, VOICE)

 

God loves us so much, that He willingly gave of Himself. Through His Son, Jesus, all who believe in Him will have life forever with Him. He, who is love, showed us that love gives what matters most. For us today, there is no longer need for sacrifice like His, as that which Jesus gave, covered it all. However, we do have resources that are valuable to us and to God’s economy. The manner by which we are able to love in a way that is sacrificial, is to give of our time, talents and resources. God designed and gifted each of us in a unique way, so that we might love well. We all have a choice as to how we use what we have been given. Are we utilizing the gifts from God that we have been granted to love others well, or are we keeping them to ourselves and just living out our days in isolation? Though there is no longer an extensive list of that which we shall and shall not do, we have been called to love God and love people. If we are committed to love, then our expression of His love will reflect the very nature of that which He has given unto us. May we believe and receive what we have been freely given, and go forth in His love, to love as we are loved by Him.

 

For God loved the world,Purposeful Prayer

Far more than we see;

Mighty sacrifice,

For all who believe.

To trust in the One,

Who in love, gave all;

So we’d know the way,

To rise from our fall.

The thing that He asks,

Is that we choose love;

Lift up each other,

Fix our eyes above.

By the Lord’s great grace,

All who choose believe;

Will live forever,

By His love, receive.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You for Your love that is so much greater than we can grasp. Thank You that what You require of us is trust in You. Thank You that as we believe, we are called to love as we are loved. Forgive us for not loving others as You so lavishly love each of us. Teach us to trust You more, so that loving You and loving people becomes our passionate pursuit, all of our days. Show us how to love others as You have loved us. Lead us to lovingly give of our time, talents and resources in a way that points people to You. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we receive the remarkable give of Your love, and go forth to love others as we are loved by You. Amen.

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

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

Strength and Peace

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)

 

When I read a passage of scripture, I often opt to read multiple translations of the text. Often, I find new insight or perhaps a perspective that I had not seen before, as His word further comes to life through time invested. This morning is no exception. What I love about the above verse and the three different translations, is that the truth that is being expressed is the same, yet how it is conveyed seems to take on a variation in purpose. All three are clear in that God gives both strength and peace to those who are His. How that message is expressed, seems to have three different purposes in the three different translations.

The first, “The Lord gives His people strength. The Lord blesses them with peace.” (NIV) is a solid statement of faith. God is, and He does. The second, “May the Lord make His people strong. May the Lord bless His people with peace.(ERV) feels more like a blessing or a benediction. Lastly, the final translation, “We ask You, Eternal One, to give strength to Your people; Eternal One, bless them with the gift of peace.” (VOICE) very much is presented as a prayer. The words are full of encouragement, whether as a statement, blessing or prayer. God is indeed our source of strength and peace, and He blesses us with both when we seek Him. May we lift our eyes to the Lord and trust in His unfailing love, allowing His strength and peace to be poured out upon us as we go forth.

 

The Lord is our strength,Who Wants to Fight

our blessing of peace;

when all is awry,

He is our release.

Always He’s faithful,

our hope is assured;

our lives in His hands,

where future’s secured.

Let His peace come reign,

as He makes us strong;

let our very lives,

sing out His love song.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You give us strength and You bless us with peace. Thank You that when we belong to You, we can come to You in prayer, we can boldly state the truth, and we can speak Your words over others too. Forgive us for not seeking or resisting what You are offering. Teach us to trust You more, as You are our Source of strength and peace, and the place where we find rest and restoration within our hearts and minds. Show us how to live and love so that we may offer strength and peace to people who do not yet know You. May many be drawn into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we embrace the blessings of Your strength and peace that You pour out upon us. Amen.

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

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

Near to Those Who Call

The Lord is near to all who call on Him, to all who call on Him in truth. – (Psalm 145:18)

God promises to be present when we call on His Name. He is near, when we feel fear. As we pray and trust in He who made our hearts and hands, He is faithful to come close and make His presence known. Our job is to trust God, more than that which we are facing. As we do, we become acutely aware of how great God is, and how His presence can shrink the appearance of the obstacles before us. Far greater is He who is in us, than that which is in the world. May we choose to call on Christ in truth and in trust, and be still long enough to become aware of how close He comes in our every moment of need.

In truth we must call,

image by Avi Duckor-Jones

image by Avi Duckor-Jones

on the Name of God;

for He shall be near,

on each path we trod.

We must trust in Him,

and look to His face;

to become aware,

of His present place.

For each time we ask,

He makes Himself known;

helps us know He’s near,

as His love is shown.

Whatever we face,

shan’t even compare;

to the Lord’s goodness,

once we are aware.

Present in moments,

of fear and despair;

He’s strength and He’s hope,

when we’re unaware.

Let us each rise up,

and call on His Name;

for we can all trust,

promises proclaimed.

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that when we call on You in truth, You are near. Thank You that Your presence is enough to strengthen, sustain, encourage, enlighten, and supply all that we need to navigate through any storm. Thank You that You first loved us, so that we may come to know You. Forgive us for failing to call on You in times of need and in times of thanksgiving. Teach us to trust You more, so that we would call on You in truth and in trust in all things and at all times. Lead us to love in such a way, that Your light and hope is clearly expressed to those who don’t yet know You. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be exalted O God, as we call on You in truth and are aware of how very near You are. Amen.

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

The joy of the Lord is your strength. – Nehemiah 8:10

What We Have In Christ

Think about what we have in Christ: the encouragement He has brought us, the comfort of His love, our sharing in His Spirit, and the mercy and kindness He has shown us. If you enjoy these blessings, then do what will make my joy complete: Agree with each other and show your love for each other. Be united in your goals and in the way you think. – (Philippians 2:1-2, ERV)

Therefore if you have any encouragement from being united with Christ, if any comfort from His love, if any common sharing in the Spirit, if any tenderness and compassion, then make my joy complete by being like-minded, having the same love, being one in spirit and of one mind. – (Philippians 2:1-2, NIV)

In Christ, we are given out of the abundance of who He is – His comfort, His love, His Spirit, His mercy, His kindness, His tenderness and His compassion. If we receive and appreciate all that we are given, we too, should go and do likewise. Our love for Christ is best expressed through how we love one another. If we walk united in purpose, and agree to love one another as He loves us, joy is found and our faith is sound. May we go forth today united in purpose, and love as He first loved us.

Such encouragement,Hearts of Thanks

found in Christ the Lord;

His comfort granted,

and grace He affords.

Gift of His Spirit,

kindness, mercy too;

all gifts He gives us,

as we are made new.

Let us be tender,

compassionate, kind;

love as one body,

one spirit, one mind.

For if we choose love,

as He first loved us;

the world will know,

the joy of Jesus.

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You for the encouragement that You provide when we are united with You. Thank You that You grant us the comfort of Your love, Your tenderness and compassion, Your mercy and grace, and in You, we may go and do likewise as one body if we choose to trust in You. Forgive us for not seeking to invest in the body, or for choosing to serve our own selfish ambitions, rather than love as You love us. Teach us to trust You more, so that we would be tender, kind, compassionate, merciful and full of Your goodness and grace to all whom we encounter. Lead us to love others as You so perfectly love each of us. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we are encouraged through our unity in You to go forth and do all that You are calling us to do. 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

Faithful to Move the Fallen Forward

David is remembered as a man after God’s own heart. This is not because he always did everything right in the eyes of the Lord, but rather it was his relentless pursuit of redemption and restoration, even when he had done wrong in the sight of the Lord. He knew that all that he had was a gift from God, and was not at all what he deserved. David’s attitude of gratitude is expressed over and over in the Psalms, and his willingness to praise publicly and put aside his position of prestige, proved to the people that God alone, was deserving of all worship and praise.

 

Then King David went in and sat before the Lord, and he said:

“Who am I, O Lord God, and what is my family, that You have brought me this far?” – (1 Chronicles 17:16)

 

David approached God from a position of humility, despite being king. His beginnings as a shepherd boy were not forgotten, nor was the Lord’s faithfulness that had brought him through the trials and tribulations that led to his long before predicted position of leadership. Just as David took time to reflect on all that the Lord had done in his life thus far, so too we ought to do likewise. When we look back and reflect upon all that the Lord has done, we cannot help but stand in awe of His love and faithfulness granted unto us. Even if we are in the midst of messiness, we have previous examples and present provisions, that prove to us that He is for us, and that His promises shall stand the test of time. May we remember the Lord’s faithfulness forever, and look forward with faith in the Lord’s goodness and grace that He grants to all who call on His Name.

 

Lord, help us recall,External Appearance

all that You have done;

to bring us this far,

O Great Holy One.

For You Lord, are good,

Your love will endure;

despite that which comes,

Your faithfulness sure.

Help us move forward,

with trust that’s secure;

thank You for Your grace,

and presence so near.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that no matter where we are in our journey with You right now, we can look back and see that You have brought us a great distance from where we once were. Thank You that You are faithful to transform, renew and restore us, as You lead us forward into the promise of all that You have planned for us. Forgive us for our fearfulness that keeps us from moving forward. Teach us to trust You more, so that we may quickly recall all that You have done for us before, raising up in our hearts, a renewed strength and sense of purpose that will propel us forward toward who You are calling us to become. Lead us to love others with the same tender and relentless love that You have given to us. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we remember how far You have brought us, and lead us to move boldly forward into what we are to become. 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