Hope When it Feels Like Hell

Be joyful in hope, patient in affliction, faithful in prayer. – (Romans 12:12, NIV)

Be happy because of the hope you have. Be patient when you have troubles. Pray all the time. – (Romans 12:12, ERV)

Do not forget to rejoice, for hope is always just around the corner. Hold up through the hard times that are coming, and devote yourselves to prayer. – (Romans 12:12, VOICE)

 

This morning, this is the very reminder that I needed the most. I know there are stages of grief, particularly when something so traumatic takes place with a parent, especially a parent who has filled the role of both mother and father, coach and teacher, friend and confidant, leader, example, pastor, sole grandparent to my children, and so much more. Anger seems to be the stage in this process that both my sister and I are in. Between the frustration of the questions of why her, the outrage at the details and the seeming disclosure violations, the paperwork battle to place her near family (which is far less costly than the dang hospital), to simply being just plain mad that it happened to OUR mom. We would never wish this on another, but why her? I know no one has the answers, and quite frankly, I would probably throat punch anyone who tried to give me answers. In fact, I woke myself in the night saying “throat punch”, as my left arm shot forward with a balled fist. Thankfully, I was facing the opposite direction of my Viking, and he was soundly sleeping. Finding joy in the hope is particularly difficult when we feel like we are on hold. Patience in static spots is not a strength of mom’s, Meg’s nor mine. Prayer, we can do, as I know so many of you are too. Perhaps that is the point of this post. Please pray for joy in hope, patience in all of this, and ever be faithful to continue to contend for mom’s complete and total healing.

 

Find joy in the hope, 05031906408349317511433862260.jpg

Of what lies ahead;

For fear’s a liar,

No matter what’s said.

God is far greater,

Than all that we face;

We must be patient,

It’s His, not our pace.

In everything,

Choose seek God and pray;

no matter what’s seen,

God will make a way.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You are bigger than our frustration and anger and grief. Thank You that You hold us in Your hands and ride out our rage, waiting lovingly to embrace us with Your joy, peace and comfort. Forgive us for allowing fear a foothold based on our limited understanding. Teach us to trust You more. Show us how to find joy in the hope of all that lies ahead, patience in the here and now, and to pray without ceasing. Lead us to love well, all those around us, so that they may recognize Your heart for them through us. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, even in this, for we know that You alone can bring beauty from ashes and hope from despair. Amen.

 

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

 

To all who mourn in Israel He will give: beauty for ashes; joy instead of mourning; praise instead of heaviness. For God has planted them like strong and graceful oaks for His own glory. – Isaiah 61:3

 

Help Us Believe

“If you can?” Said Jesus. “Everything is possible for one who believes.” – (Mark 9:23, NIV)

Jesus said to the father, “Why did you say ‘if you can’? All things are possible for the one who believes. – (Mark 9:23, ERV)

What do you mean, “If there’s anything? All things are possible, if you only believe.” – (Mark 9:23, VOICE)

This verse is a critical portion of a conversation between Jesus and the father of a young man who needed healing. The father was desperate to see his son healed, yet struggled to believe it was possible after so many years of suffering. Jesus recognized the father’s need for faith, as well as the need for healing for his son. His declaration that “all things are possible for those who believe”, greatly encouraged the father, and he asked Jesus to help him with his unbelief. In the verses that follow, Jesus heals the young man and increases the faith of the father. Jesus knows our need before we ever seek Him, yet requires that we have faith in Him to see Him move on our behalf. Where we lack faith in the midst of our need, we are charged, just as the young man’s father, to ask Jesus to help us with our unbelief. Our broken humanity struggles to believe that which we cannot see, however, that is the very nature of how faith works. Faith requires that we trust in that which we cannot see, and believe for that which is yet to come. May we ever seek the Lord to step into our spaces of need, and ask Him for help to grow our faith in the places where unbelief has found a foothold.

God, the Creator, Strength and Peace Supplied

Is able to do;

All that is needed,

For me and for you.

Faith is required,

To trust and believe;

Those who ask in lack,

Will by grace, receive.

Strength when we’re weary,

Healing where there’s pain;

Faith to move mountains,

To trust is to gain.

Ever let’s seek Him,

The Lord of all grace;

Trust in His goodness,

Faithful all our days.

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You for the examples of real people, just like us in Your word, who sought You and learned from You, as You showed them the goodness of Your love and grace. Thank You that You are ever faithful to hear us in our need, and grant us what is needed most. Forgive us for our faltering faith, as we struggle to believe that which we cannot see before us. Show us how to trust You more, as You are ever moving on our behalf, even when we are unaware of how You are moving. Teach us to love those around us in a way that encourages faith and demonstrates the goodness of Your grace. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we seek You always, and ask You to grow our faith in spaces where it is lacking. Amen.

 

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

 

For we live by faith, not by sight. – (2 Corinthians 5:7, NIV)

 

 

Promise to Save

“For I am with you and will save you,” says the Lord. – (Jeremiah 30:11a, NLT)

I am with you and will rescue you, declares the Lord. – (Jeremiah 30:11a, CEB)

For I am with you to save you, declares the Lord. – (Jeremiah 30:11a, ESV)

 

When I am with people and my mind is occupied, I am in a reasonably good space, considering I am not allowed to do the very things I long to do the most. However, in the quiet moments, when I am alone, I find fear and anxiety try to find a foothold, as I become acutely aware of my own mortality and the potentially ticking time bomb that is currently calling a vein deep in my calf, home. I know that not one of us knows the number of our days, nor have we been given any sort of guarantee nor shelf life. However, I do know that this verse in Jeremiah is a great reminder this morning, as God is with me, and He will save me from this season in His time. For whatever reason, it is a road that I have to currently walk. I do not know if it is to learn patience, perseverance, or to simply be shown in an even greater capacity, how He remains present through all things. Whatever the reason, I will keep fixing my eyes on the reality that He is with me and that He is present to save. May we set our hearts and minds on the truth and trust in the Lord who is mighty to save.

 

Allow not the fear, Ready to Rescue

To find a way in;

For God is present,

He fights from within.

Ready to rescue,

The Lord’s ever near;

Let anxiousness go,

As He calms all fear.

Rise up in His strength,

Keep moving, be brave;

For God is with us,

He’s mighty to save.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You are with us and You save us. Thank You that Your presence preserves and strengthens us as we keep pressing forward. Forgive us for our fears and anxiety over the unknown, as lack of faith fuels these things. Teach us to trust You more, for You have promised to be with us, always. Show us how to hold fast to Your promised presence, so that we will walk boldly into all that You ask of us. Lead us to love others in Your strength, so that we would encourage and support those around us well. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we trust in Your presence and Your promise to save. Amen.

 

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

 

I thank and praise You, O God of my fathers: You have given me wisdom and power. – Daniel 2:23

Keep Me Close

I cling to You; Your strong right hand holds me securely. – (Psalm 63:8, NLT)

I stay close to You, and You hold me with Your powerful arm. – (Psalm 63:8, ERV)

My soul clings to You; Your right hand reaches down and holds me up. – (Psalm 63:8, VOICE)

 

I find myself in a season where so many facets of my life are new and unknown. As I tread into territory that I have never traversed before, I am overwhelmingly grateful for the certainty and security that I know in Christ. Much of the new that lies before me is exciting and holds great promise, yet without God, I would be in a constant state of overload in my own uncertainty as to how I need to navigate each next step as it arrives. In Christ, I can rest assured that He goes before me, remains with me, and will hold me up through each next step of this journey that is unfolding in front of me. My soul will ever cling to Christ, as He is where my hope and strength is found. May we ever stay close to the Lord, as He will uphold us with His mighty hand.

 

My soul clings to You, Healed Hands Reach Out

O Lord God above;

As You take my hand,

Uphold me in love.

As I cling to You,

My strength is assured;

For Your strong right hand,

Holds me up secure.

O Lord, in all things,

Keep me close to You;

No matter what comes,

Your grace sees me through.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that as we cling to You, You hold us up with Your mighty hands. Thank You that no matter how uncertain things seem all around us, our hope in You is secure forever. Forgive us for allowing what we see before us to give fear or anxiety a foothold. Teach us to trust You more, so that we would cling to You in faith, knowing that You will hold us secure, regardless of what we see. Show us how to love those around us in a way that encourages and builds others up, especially in the spaces where they feel the most uncertain. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we cling to You and praise You for holding us secure with Your mighty hands. Amen.

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

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

 

Gentle Answers Abolish Anger

A gentle answer turns away wrath, but a harsh word stirs up anger. – (Proverbs 15:1, NIV)

A gentle answer makes anger disappear, but a rough answer makes it grow. – (Proverbs 15:1, ERV)

A tender answer turns away rage, but a prickly reply spikes anger. – (Proverbs 15:1, VOICE)

 

God has placed me in a field where I have the opportunity to put this truth into practice daily. Teens tend to have short fuses, and carry frustration until it finds a foothold so large, that it can no longer be contained. The vast majority of the time, I find that if I speak calm, kind words, and give the student room to have a voice, (appropriately) whatever anger had begun to rage, begins to dissipate as quickly as it had onset. It is no different for adults. When we are already riled up about something, how someone interacts with us, matters. If we are treated with kindness and gentleness, whatever spiked our fury, somehow lessens, and rational thought returns to our heart and mind so that we are able to communicate like civilized human beings. May our every response be gentle and kind, so that we are agents of peace rather than proponents of rage.

 

O Lord, help my words,gentle-answer-mtc

Be gentle and kind;

Words that diffuse rage,

That render hate blind.

May wrath turn away,

With kindness spoken;

Let Your love pour out,

To hurt and broken.

Grant me Your answers,

With love as I speak;

So peace will be known,

And anger made weak.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You give us guidance in Your word that shows us how to live and love well. Thank You that gentle answers come from You, if we seek You for strength and direction when angry words or actions move in our direction. Forgive us for reacting in our own rage and making things worse, rather than responding gently to diffuse displeasure. Teach us to trust You more, so that we would stop and breathe before we respond to someone who is enraged. Give us Your words to speak gently, so that we may turn away wrath, rather than make it grow. Show us how to love others, even in their fits of frustration, just as You love us. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we depend on You to equip us with gentle answers to help diffuse anger that comes our way. Amen.

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

But because of His great love for us, God, who is rich in mercy, made us alive with Christ. – Ephesians 2:4-5

Be Not Blinded

But whoever hates their brother or sister is in darkness. They live in darkness. They don’t know where they are going, because the darkness has made them blind. – (1 John 2:11, ERV)

 

If we are in Christ, we cannot allow our hearts to hold hate toward anyone. To live a life in the Lord is to remain in the light of His love. There is no room for hate and love to coexist. As the Lord’s love fills us, we must let go of the ugliness we harbor towards others. When we grant darkness space to occupy our hearts and minds, the truth becomes hidden and we no longer see what is right. However, if we choose to fill our hearts and minds with the light of the love of Christ, there is no room for darkness and we begin to see others through the lens of His loving eyes. Yes, there are times when there is reason for righteous anger, but never a reason for hate. We need the Lord’s help and wisdom to keep from allowing hurt and bitterness to find a foothold, so that we give all to God, trusting that He is good and just. May we give every darkness to God, so the light of His love may shine true.

 

Oh Lord help our hearts,When My Soul Waits

Keep darkness away;

Allow no hatred,

To come near and stay.

God fill us anew,

With Your loving light;

So darkness in us,

Will quickly take flight.

Help us always choose,

Your love and Your light;

So that we love well,

In You, do what’s right.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You called us out of darkness into Your loving light. Thank You that You fill us anew with the light of Your love, so that we may go forth and love as we are loved by You. Forgive us for allowing darkness to dwell within us, as anger or bitterness sometimes gets the best of us. Teach us to trust You more, so that we would give all of our anger, hurt and frustrations to You, so that they do not gain a foothold in our hearts. Keep darkness far from us, I pray. Show us how to live in the light of Your love, so that we love well, all whom You place in our path. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we trust You to shine Your light through us as we love others well. Amen.

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

He who refreshes others will himself be refreshed. – Proverbs 11:25

The Peace that Comes

Yesterday was a difficult day. There was nothing in particular that made it so, yet it was just an “off” day. I didn’t feel well, nor rested, my back was bothering me quite a bit, and discouragement had found a foothold in my heart. I did the best I could to press in and press on, despite how I was feeling, but that nagging weight just would not lift. During my planning period at school, a friend and I were going to meet to review some student work. When we greeted one another, she recognized that I was not quite myself, and asked if I wanted to walk and talk instead. I of course said “Yes!“, so off we went.

It is remarkable how much the freedom of simply getting out and moving in the fresh air and sunshine does for my entire countenance. By the time we completed a large loop, I no longer felt weary, but energized, and was prepared to take on my final two classes, which happen to be my most challenging. His peace was restored, and gratitude was at the forefront of my mind.

At times, it takes another to remind us to get out and find the place from which we find our peace. When I move, I feel nearest to Him who is my peace. The air that I breathe, the ground on which I connect with every step – His handiwork.

 

And let the peace that comes from Christ rule in your hearts. For as members of one body you are called to live in peace. And always be thankful. – (Colossians 3:15, NLT)

 

May His peace be present with every breath that we take today, as we go forth in peace. Let gratitude fill our hearts and minds, as He is our reason for all goodness and grace.

 

No matter our plight,OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

His hope is secured;

Peace comes from the Lord,

Where grace is assured.

All thanks be to God,

From whom blessings flow;

We are His body,

Let our praise be known.

When things are askew,

And nothing seems right;

Press into the Lord,

He’s for us, He’ll fight.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You are for us, even when things feel like they are all against us. Thank You that we can turn to You in trust, and know that You are for us and not against us. Thank You that all peace comes from You, and because of who You are and how You love, we always have reason to give You thanks. Forgive us for allowing our circumstances to dictate our gratitude, or lack thereof. Teach us to trust You more, so that we would praise You in all things and at all times. Show us how 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 seek You to be our peace and give You our gratitude; always. 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

 

 

Fear Not in the Face of the Unknown

Don’t be afraid, for I am with you. Don’t be discouraged, for I am your God. I will strengthen you and help you. I will hold you up with my victorious right hand. – (Isaiah 41:10, NLT)

Don’t worry – I am with you. Don’t be afraid – I am your God. I will make you strong and help you. I will support you with my right hand that brings victory. – (Isaiah 41:10, ERV)

 

These words are incredibly encouraging reminders of truth, as I am standing in the face of the unknown. Over the weekend, as I competed in a Tactical Strength Challenge, I sustained an injury in my first event (of three). At the time, this verse proved to be true, as I had some fearful and worried moments, as pain began to radiate from the small of my back. I had to decide whether or not to keep going. For me, it was a decision to trust in His strength, as He had already brought me so far. He did sustain me, and ultimately, I did exceedingly better than I anticipated I would, considering I was finishing the competition in pain. After seeing a doctor and having x-rays taken, fear and discouragement again are seeking foothold, as the injury has turned out to be more significant than anticipated. Somehow, I suffered a compression fracture in my low back during my third and final deadlift. Now I am at an impasse, where I must slow down and take a break from my normal routine of training, as I seek the best possible solution for a speedy recovery. Fear and discouragement are fighting for a foothold, as movement is so much a part of my existence. I know God is good, and that He holds me in His hand. In Him, just as He sustained me and granted me strength, despite pain, He will lead me in the direction I am meant to go to find healing and wholeness once again. The Lord will uphold me, and I can trust in Him. May we give our fears and worries to Him, and allow the Lord to be our strength and support, as all victory comes from Him.

 

Do not be afraid,photo

For the Lord is good;

No matter what comes,

Let‘s trust as we should.

For He is our God,

Where all strength comes from;

Victory granted,

Through faith in His Son.

Do not let worry,

Be what our hearts see;

Instead, let His hand,

Bring our victory.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that in You, we need not be afraid nor discouraged, for You are our strength and our help. Thank You that You hold us up with Your victorious right hand. Forgive us for allowing fear and discouragement to find footing in our hearts when unexpected things come at us and knock us down. Teach us to trust You more, as You are our strength and our hope, and all that we need is found in You. Show us how to walk victorious in You, so that we might be an encouragement to those around us. Lead us to love well, all who are afraid or discouraged, so that they too may find Your hope and help. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we trust in Your strength and help, and choose to place fear and discouragement in Your hands. Amen.

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

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

 

No Fear in Perfect Love

Such love has no fear, because perfect love expels all fear. If we are afraid, it is for fear of punishment, and this shows that we have not fully experienced His perfect love. – (1 John 4:18, NLT)

We need have no fear of someone who loves us perfectly; His perfect love for us eliminates all dread of what He might do to us. If we are afraid, it is for fear of what He might do to us and shows us that we are not fully convinced that He really loves us. – (1 John 4:18, TLB)

 

Perfect love drives out fear, and assures us that we are loved. God loved us not because we are lovable, but because He is love. In His perfect love, God made the way for us to come to experience a love that goes beyond what we can grasp, and receive hope that heals hurts and drives out fear. Through Christ, we need not fear punishment, but rather are to embrace the grace given in its place, as we are so deeply and completely loved. When fear creeps in, we must trust in He who is greater than all that can come against us. Allowing fear a foothold is releasing the reality of how completely Christ loves us and is for us. May we allow His perfect love to permeate every hollow of our heart, so that fear cannot find place to hide His unending grace.

 

In God’s perfect love,Enter With Thanksgiving

there‘s no room for fear;

His love is complete,

it‘s grace that comes near.

For we mustn’t dread,

what He’ll do to us;

the Lord, He forgives,

through His Son, Jesus.

May we be convinced,

of how great His love;

no more allow fear,

to grab a hold of…

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You are love. Thank You that in You, there is no fear, as Your love eliminates all fear. Thank You Jesus, for taking all of our sin and shame upon Yourself, so that we need not fear punishment, as You have already paid the price. Forgive us for our fearfulness. Teach us to trust You more, so that we might fully experience Your perfect love, and not question Your presence and Your willingness to be for us. Show us how to love without fear, so that people might see Your love through us. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we set aside fear and embrace Your perfect love. 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

Free in the Truth

Jesus replied, “I tell you the truth, everyone who sins is a slave to sin. Now a slave has no permanent place in the family, but a son belongs to it forever. So if the Son sets you free, you will be free indeed.” – (John 8:34-36)

 

We are all sinners who need a Savior. Each one of us was once stuck as a slave to our sinful nature. If we choose to trust in Christ, He is our freedom from a life enslaved to sin. More than that, He adopts us as sons and daughters into the Lord’s family, granting us an eternal inheritance with Him. Christ’s presence is available now, and will remain with us forever. God’s perfect truth frees us to become all that He has created us to be. May we embrace the grace the God freely gives, and receive our redemptive place as sons and daughters of the Holy King, whose reign will never end.

 

Do not allow sins,butterflies

that once reigned the past;

to have a foothold,

nor dark shadows cast.

For in Christ the Lord,

the chains are no more;

we’ve been adopted,

empowered to soar.

Considered the kids,

of God our Great King;

forgiven and free,

let’s bring offering.

Offer our whole heart,

our strength and our will;

to be who we’re called,

and His purpose fill.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that when we seek You and give our lives to You, You forgive us and adopt us into Your family. Thank You that You call us sons and daughters forever. Thank You that as members of Your family, we are set free from the chains to sin that once had us bound. Forgive us for trying to return to our old chains, or for revisiting again and again, that which You have forgiven and forgotten. Teach us to trust and rely on You to do that which You are calling us to do. Keep our hearts aligned with Yours, and help us to love all whom we encounter in the same way that You so lavishly love each of us. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we walk out our days as Your sons and daughters, displaying the freedom that we have found in Your truth. 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