Empowered to Love

For the Spirit God gave us does not make us timid, but gives us power, love and self-discipline. – (2 Timothy 1:7, NIV)

The Spirit of God does not make us afraid. His Spirit is a source of power and love and self-control. – (2 Timothy 1:7, ERV)

For the Holy Spirit, God’s gift, does not want you to be afraid of people, but to be wise and strong, and to love them and enjoy being with them. – (2 Timothy 1:7, TLB)

 

This morning, though earlier than my summer schedule, I woke feeling rested and refreshed. Normally, the night before the first day of school is a bit restless, and I struggle to sleep through the night. Perhaps sweet sleep came as a result of long hours invested in preparing my classroom over the last several weeks, with the final push to finish yesterday. Though I do not yet have chairs (hopefully stools) in my classroom, I walked away from school yesterday afternoon, feeling ready to pour into the lives of the kids who come into my class, just as I had poured into preparing the room. Additionally, I feel supported more than I ever have before. Not only do I still have an incredible community – through colleagues, friends, family and church, but I have a husband who is willing to jump in and do the difficult work and provide whatever support I may need. God loves me well, and makes His love tangible through my community. As I am loved, so I am empowered to do the same. May this be a year where each of us are empowered to love and enjoy those whom we are given to teach, fearlessly.

 

We’ve not been given,

wp-15360615740967735885644230007656.jpg

My classroom and favorite painting partner. ❤

A spirit of fear;

For God, in His strength,

Loves as He stays near.

He provides power,

Strength, wisdom and love;

Discipline, passion,

All grace from above.

Lead us in power,

Fearless to love well;

May joy be present,

As doubts He’ll dispel.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You equip us for all that You call us to do. Thank You that You empower us with strength, love and self-discipline to walk in Your way. Forgive us for our fearfulness and doubts, as You are our Source and our Supply. Teach us to trust You more, so that we would love fearlessly and listen carefully as You lead. Show us how to love those who seem less loveable, as we know You are especially fond of the hard and the hurting. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we love and enjoy each one whom You bring into our care. Amen.

 

 

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

Never tire of loyalty and kindness. Hold these virtues tightly. Write them deep within your heart. – Proverbs 3:3

Chaos Becomes Calm

You will keep in perfect peace those whose minds are steadfast, because they trust in You. – (Isaiah 26:3, NIV)

God, You give true peace to people who depend on You, to those who trust in You. – (Isaiah 26:3, ERV)

You will keep the peace, a perfect peace, for all who trust in You, for those who dedicate their hearts and minds to You. – (Isaiah 26:3, VOICE)

 

The perfect peace that comes from God as we depend and trust in Him, is a supernatural calm that supersedes the chaos that surrounds us. In a space where it makes no logical sense to know peace because of turmoil, yet somehow, deep within, we hold fast to the hope that we know, His peace becomes present. It does not mean that difficulties disappear, yet it is the way to know peace even when trials and troubles come our way, for God is faithful forever to all who trust in Him. May we ever choose to dedicate our hearts and minds to He who brings peace in His presence.

 

In Your perfect peace,

dsc077159190310288249327367.jpg

Photo by Dee Jones of Open Door Photography ❤

O God, You shall keep;

All who place their trust,

And earnestly seek.

Dependence on You,

Leads to perfect peace;

Chaos becomes calm,

As our hearts release.

Sometimes You silence,

The storms that surround;

But more often still,

It’s internal sounds.

You speak loving truth,

Our hearts need to hear;

Make Your presence known,

For You’re ever near.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that as we trust and depend on You, You are our peace, no matter what comes our way. Forgive us for our fearfulness and lack of faith when storms begin to stir. Teach us to trust You more when the battles rage – both inside and out. Show us how to love those around us in a way that offers peace in places that are tumultuous and bring calm into chaos. May many come into a lasting relationship with You, the Prince of Peace. Be glorified O God, as we trust in You to be our peace forever. Amen.

 

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

 

The Lord will turn His face toward you and give you peace. – Numbers 6:26

Trust at All Times

No, despite all these things, overwhelming victory is ours through Christ, who loved us. – (Romans 8:37, NLT)

But in all these troubles we have complete victory through God, who has shown His love for us. – (Romans 8:37, ERV)

Yet even in the midst of all these things, we triumph over them all, for God has made us to be more than conquerors, and His demonstrated love is our glorious victory over everything! – (Romans 8:37, TPT)

 

When trials and challenges come our way, we need not fear, for He has given us victory in all things through Christ who loves us. Yesterday, as I walked through the process of oral surgery, this held true for me in a wonderful way. I am not necessarily fearful, but rather one who dreads anything dental, as they can never keep my mouth numb throughout an entire procedure. With conscious sedation, though there were points in the process that I could feel a bit, I was comfortable enough that it was not a problem, and the entire process was over fairly quickly. Additionally, my loving husband took the day off to take me to my appointment, wait there for me during the process, and be with me to bring me home and care for me. God provided all that I needed and more. Though my challenge was fairly trivial compared to some that people endure, it demonstrates how much He cares, even in the small things. May we ever seek the Lord in every trial and challenge we face, for victory comes through Him who loves us more than we can comprehend.

 

The Lord’s ever near,

Come with me

Photo by Dee Jones of Open Door Photography ❤

Our help and our hope;

He grants victory,

With our fears, He’ll cope.

He provides His help,

And a hand to hold;

Takes our hand and heart,

To help us be bold.

By His loving grace,

In strength we shall rise;

Able to go forth,

Without compromise.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You meet us wherever we are, no matter what lies before us, and You are willing to be our hope, help and strength. Thank You that we never have to face anything alone. Forgive us for our fearfulness in the face of the unknown. Teach us to trust You more, as You alone already know every outcome and are greater than anything that lies before us. Show us how to walk beside others in love as they face the seemingly impossible that lies before them. May many come into a lasting relationship with You, as they recognize the love and strength that comes from You alone. Be glorified O God, as we learn to trust You in all things at all times. Amen.

 

 

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

 

Love always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres.  – 1 Corinthians 13:7

Wedding Photo Preview

Yesterday, we were blessed to receive a plethora of photos from our early morning photo shoot on our wedding day. We are over-the-moon with how they turned out, as each shot captures our heart for one another and the way in which we love and enjoy each other. Rather than my usual writing, I thought I would share this joy with you before I head to my oral surgery appointment this morning.

Can you tell how much love

Lifted kiss

Laughter by the rock

Smiling fields

*Photos are by Dee Jones of Open Door Photography

By day the Lord directs His love, at night His song is with me – a prayer to the God of my life. – Psalm 42:8

Dear Heavenly Father, we thank You and praise You that You direct Your love and that Your song is with us wherever we go. I am so grateful for the blessings You have granted in my life, and am trusting You to go before me and remain with me in the unknown. Teach us to trust You in all things and forgive us for our fearfulness in the unknown. Show us how to love relentlessly, especially those who are most difficult to love. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we receive Your love and listen to Your song in our hearts. Amen.

Peace in Turbulence

But as for me, it is good to be near God. I have made the Sovereign Lord my refuge; I will tell of all Your deeds. – (Psalm 73:28, NIV)

But as for me, I get as close to Him as I can! I have chosen Him, and I will tell everyone about the wonderful ways He rescues me. – (Psalm 73:28, TLB)

But the closer I am to You, my God, the better because life with You is good. O Lord, the Eternal, You keep me safe – I will tell everyone what You have done. – (Psalm 73:28, MSG)

 

God is our faithful space of safety, and it is so good to know He is near. I am not the biggest fan of flying, and on our return trip from our honeymoon, we had to fly all the way across the U.S., broken into two connecting flights. As we were about to land in Phoenix, the plane barely touched the front wheels to the ground, then lifted off again. There had been more turbulence than my stomach appreciates and the very idea of having to go up and come down again was a bit overwhelming. The plane bounced around as we made another loop, changing altitudes less than smoothly, and all I could do was close my eyes and breathe, as I prayed for the landing to come quickly. Not normally one who perspires, my entire back was drenched as we circled around. Because we were in the bulkhead row, a flight attendant was seated adjacent me, facing us. He let us know what had happened, and was in communication with the cockpit. Soon the captain came over the speakers and announced what had transpired with the promise of an actual landing coming soon. Though my body was not pleased with the turbulence, my mind found peace in God’s presence and in the hand of my husband beside me. We safely landed, and I could not have been happier to get off that plane and stand on solid ground. Thankfully, our second flight, an hour later, was uneventful. May we ever trust in the Lord, be it in turbulence or in calm, for He is faithful to be near to all who call on Him.

 

A life with the Lord, fb_img_1533560993920686939278845347391.jpg

Brings promise of peace;

Though turmoil does come,

So too, His relief.

The Lord God is good,

Despite circumstance;

He holds us all up,

Gives reason to dance.

Though turbulent times,

Will happen, it’s clear;

God’s peace will be ours,

As we choose draw near.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that life with You is good. Thank You that You are our safety and our peace, no matter what comes our way. Forgive us for our fearfulness in the turmoil. Teach us to trust You more, so that we would rest our heart in Your hands as You are our Protector and Provider of peace. Show us how to love those around us in a way that demonstrates Your faithfulness and grace. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we draw ever closer to You, our faithful space of safety forever. Amen.

 

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

 

The Lord gives strength to His people; the Lord blesses His people with peace. – Psalm 29:11

Blessings to the Trusting

But blessed is the one who trusts in the Lord, whose confidence is in Him. – (Jeremiah 17:7, NIV)

But those who trust in the Lord will be blessed. They know that the Lord will do what He says. – (Jeremiah 17:7, ERV)

Happy are those who trust in the Lord, who rely on the Lord. – (Jeremiah 17:7, CEB)

But blessed is the one who trusts in the Lord and has made the Lord their hope and confidence. – (Jeremiah 17:7, TLB)

 

Saying something and actually walking it out are two entirely different things. Conversations about trusting God come easily, but when the rubber meets the road, the trusting can become a challenge. It is far easier to trust God where we have seen His faithfulness before, yet when we face a new challenge or prepare for a new season, it can feel a bit like cliff diving. The first step is the most difficult, yet once we leap, we have little other choice, but to trust and rely on Him. What I have found to be true is that every single time that I have chosen to trust and rely on Him, He has been faithful to be present and bless me with whatever was needed to navigate the season or situation. God is good and He is near to all who call on His Name. May we ever place our confidence in our Creator and trust Him in all things at all times; for as we do, we discover His bountiful blessings of faithfulness.

 

The blessings of God, Gentleness for the Weary

Come to those who trust;

Who rely on Him,

He’s faithful and just.

May our confidence,

Come from Him alone;

By His loving grace,

His presence is shown.

So, trust in the Lord,

He’s faithful to do;

All that He’s promised,

Forever it’s true.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You bless those who trust and rely on You. Thank You that Your Word is true and that we can place our hope and confidence in You. Forgive us for our fearfulness or lack of reliance on You. Teach us to trust You in all things and at all times, as Your promise to be present and be our Strength is reason to forever hope in You. Show us how to love those around us in a way that demonstrates trust and confidence in You. May many come into a lasting relationship with You, Lord. Be glorified O God, as we trust in You and rely on You in all things and at all times. Amen.

 

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

 

They will celebrate Your abundant goodness and joyfully sing of Your righteousness. – Psalm 145:7

Growing Good

Large cypress trees will grow where there were thorn bushes. Myrtle trees will grow where there were weeds. All this will happen to make the Lord known, to be a permanent reminder of His goodness and power. – (Isaiah 55:13, ERV)

In place of the thorn the cypress will grow; in place of the nettle the myrtle will grow. This will attest to the Lord’s stature, an enduring reminder that won’t be removed. – (Isaiah 55:13, CEB)

Prickly thorns and nasty briers will give way to luxurious shade trees, sweet and good. And they’ll remind you of the Eternal One and how God can be trusted absolutely and forever. – (Isaiah 55:13, VOICE)

 

Just as God promised to replace the harsh and harmful places with those that are beneficial and blessed, He does the same in the lives of those who place their trust in Him. It takes little to look back and discover the spaces within our own hearts and lives where God has taken the things that brought harm and redeemed us with His blessings that overflow and offer good to those around us. God is faithful, and each place where we see new growth of good, we have a lasting reminder of His goodness and power – both in us and for us forever. May we seek the Lord and His everlasting love, as He is the One who brings new growth of good where destructive and harmful things once stood.

 

In place of the thorns, How Faith Grows

God will grow new good;

As we see Him move,

His heart’s understood.

This amazing grace,

That makes broken new;

Shows with great power,

That His word is true.

For as bad gives way,

To new, good and sweet;

The Lord is made known,

Our sacred retreat.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that where dead and destructive things once grew, You have brought new that is good and beneficial. Thank You that in every space where You have turned the harmful into good, we have an enduring reminder of Your goodness and power. Forgive us for our frustration and fearfulness of the prickly and nasty spaces – both inside and out. Teach us to trust You more, so that we would rely on You to be our strength in the pruning process, and our guide to navigate through the new. Show us how to love others well, so that we may be reminders of Your faithfulness forever. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we keep our eyes and hearts open to be aware of the good that You are growing in and around us. Amen.

 

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

 

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

All for Good

And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love Him, who have been called according to His purpose. – (Romans 8:28, NIV)

We are confident that God is able to orchestrate everything to work toward something good and beautiful when we love Him and accept His invitation to live according to His plan. – (Romans 8:28, VOICE)

So we are convinced that every detail of our lives is continually woven together to fit into God’s perfect plan of bringing good into our lives, for we are His loves who have been called to fulfill His designed purpose. – (Romans 8:28, TPT)

 

I don’t know that I can even count the number of times that what I perceived as something awful, (and at the time, perhaps it was) that God, in His infinite goodness and grace, ultimately used it for good. Each time that I have had to walk through the hard or horrible that life brings, as I sought God and relied on Him, He provided what I needed to navigate the season, and later used the experience for something positive. At times the benefit has been personal growth and the discovery of His strength in times of my own weakness, yet still other times, He has turned my experience into a tool by which I am able to honestly speak to others going through similar, as I can share of His faithfulness that brought me through. God is good, and He has a plan and a purpose for each of us. When we choose to trust in Him, He leads us through life by the light of His love, even when we are in spaces of darkness. May we ever seek the Lord and His plan, as He is good and is the only One who can bring beauty from our ashes.

 

With all certainty, His Passion for Our Peace

I truly can say;

God works all for good,

When we seek His way.

Though life’s not easy,

And despair may come;

The Lord is faithful,

’til each day is done.

He walks beside us,

And shows us the way;

Grants us renewed strength,

Fresh start for each day.

We can be certain,

He’ll use all for good;

If we choose to trust,

Hope our livelihood.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that when we trust You, You ultimately work all things for good in our lives. Thank You that even when we cannot see how that is possible, You are moving and making it so. Forgive us for our fearfulness and doubt. Teach us to trust Your hand in all things, as You are far greater than anything that we face. Show us how to love those around us in a way that encourages, strengthens and builds faith. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we trust You to orchestrate everything in our lives toward something good, as only You can do. Amen.

 

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

 

They will celebrate Your abundant goodness and joyfully sing of Your righteousness. – Psalm 145:7

Wisdom Guides to Good

Wisdom will lead you to a life of joy and peace. – (Proverbs 3:17, ERV)

She (wisdom) will guide you down delightful paths; all her ways are satisfying. – (Proverbs 3:17, NLT)

The ways of wisdom are sweet, always drawing you into the place of wholeness. – (Proverbs 3:17, TPT)

 

The wisdom that we gain from God will guide us to the good He has in store for us. If we seek the Lord and His will, He leads us and imparts to us His wisdom so that we are able to walk in His ways. Though the path He plans is not always the easiest road, there is perpetual purpose as we run the race that He lays out before us. The Lord grants the wisdom needed to navigate well and experience His joy and peace along the journey. May we ever seek the Lord and His wisdom as we go, as He leads us to His perfect place of wholeness in Him.

 

In God, there’s wisdom, The Wisdom We Seek

That will lead the way;

In joy and in peace,

For all of our days.

No matter the road,

That we’re called to trod;

The way ends in good,

If we choose seek God.

The Lord is our Source,

He’ll guide us in peace;

To wholeness in Him,

As grace is released.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that when we seek You for wisdom to know which way to go, You provide us with joy and peace for the journey. Thank You that all of Your ways are good, no matter how we perceive the path that lies before us. Thank You that where You lead, always ends in wholeness in You. Forgive us for our fearfulness or mistrust in the process based on what we see. Teach us to trust You more, as Your ways are higher than ours, and You work even when we cannot see change taking place. Show us how to love those around us in ways that impart wisdom and promote joy and peace. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we seek You for wisdom and trust You to lead us for all of our days. 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

 

Faithful the Shepherds

And there were shepherds living out in the fields nearby, keeping watch over their flocks at night. An angel of the Lord appeared to them, and the glory of the Lord shone around them, and they were terrified. But the angel said to them, “Do not be afraid. I bring you good news that will cause great joy for all the people.” – (Luke 2:8-10, NIV)

 

For many of us, this is a very familiar passage in scripture. Every Christmas, for as far back as I can remember, I have heard this passage in Luke, and imagined the angel appearing to the shepherds at night, and then the shepherds making their way to see the newborn Jesus after standing in the splendor of the choir of heavenly hosts. However, I had never really wondered why the shepherd? Yesterday, my pastor unpacked the history of this passage in a way that made me ponder the message long beyond the time seated in service. Why would God make such an important announcement to those whom society considered the lowly and unclean? Additionally, how intriguing that the space where our Savior lay, was familiar and comfortable to the shepherds, rather than some palace or huge house that they would be too intimidated to approach… God does not call the equipped, but rather He equips the called. The shepherds were faithful and fearless to do the job in their fields at night, so why not use those very same traits for more? There is so much more to the story, and I am barely scratching the surface. (Click here for the link to the podcast) My greatest take-away was the gift of more – a glimpse at more of the story, more insight, more understanding, and even more to be grateful for as we celebrate this most holy season. May the God of all peace reveal more of Himself to us all this blessed Christmas season.

 

Faithful the shepherds, Faithful the Shepherds

Watching flocks by night;

When an angel showed,

Gave them a good fright.

The first words spoken,

“Do not be afraid,

For good news I bring;

Of where Jesus lay.”

The babe long promised,

Had at last arrived;

Hope for all people,

Salvation alive.

Faithful the shepherds,

Who went on their way;

To see this baby,

In a manger lay.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You do not call the equipped, but rather You equip the called. Thank You that You use the most unlikely of us to do incredible things, simply because we are willing. Thank You for Your goodness and grace. Forgive us for our fearfulness and stubbornness when things before us seem impossible. Teach us to trust You more, as You are God and we are not. Show us how to love those around us in a way that shines Your goodness and grace in a way that makes love tangible. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we praise You and thank You for the greatest gift ever given. Amen.

 

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

 

Not that we are competent in ourselves to claim anything for ourselves, but our competence comes from God. – 2 Corinthians 3:5