A Loving Warrior

For the Lord your God is living among you. He is a mighty Savior. He will take delight in you with gladness. With His love, He will calm all Your fears. He will rejoice over you with joyful songs. – (Zephaniah 3:17, NLT)

The Lord your God is with you. He is like a powerful soldier. He will save you. He will show how much He loves you and how happy He is with you. He will laugh and be happy about you. – (Zephaniah 3:17, ERV)

Your God is present among you, a strong Warrior there to save you. Happy to have you back, He’ll calm you with His love and delight you with His songs. – (Zephaniah 3:17, MSG)

 

It amazes me how often the verse of the day on my Bible application, is exactly the reminder I need. This morning, as I am on the other side of the mountains from mom and prepare to head back to work for a few days before returning to her after having not set foot in my classroom in nearly three weeks, I am more than a little nervous. Fortunately, I am comfortable about mom because my sister is there with her, and am able to be present with my family at home. Yesterday morning, I actually woke myself up from dreaming, as I had been telling my students about what had happened, and why I had been gone so long. Clearly returning to my classes has weighed heavily on my heart, and the unknown can be a bit of a fearful space. That being said, the past several weeks of my life have been nothing but unknowns. When we first drove to Wenatchee to mom in the hospital, we did not know the shape that she would be in. We knew not what the road to recovery and restoration would have in store, nor the timeline that would be required. Even now, we do not fully know the answers, however, God does. Even in this, we have found joy. There has been laughter, and smiles, gladness and delight. Peace and calm have come when they did not seem possible, and really did not make sense.

Mom continues to work tirelessly in each therapy session, and that which used to be the most frustration for her, is now becoming an area where she is seeing the most rapid growth and gratification. Speech therapy works not only on word recognition, cognition, reading, memory, logic and the like, but they are also working on strengthening her vocal cords. One of the things the stroke affected was the power of mom’s voice. Typically outgoing with a boisterous and jovial voice, the stroke left her quite soft-spoken. Her vocal work in speech therapy is helping her find the power in her voice again. We share many giggles in the process.

In all of this, God is with us, a present, loving warrior, battling on our behalf, loving us through the process as He calms our fears. May we ever trust in the One who delights in us, and listen to the songs He sings over us with joy.

 

The Lord is present, Bold Grace

Ever He is near;

Loving warrior,

We’ve nothing to fear.

With our God for us,

He’ll hold us upright;

Fighting our battles,

All day and all night.

Choose trust in the One,

Whose love grants us peace;

And sings over us,

Delightful release.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You for being both our loving Savior and mighty Warrior. Thank You that You delight in us and sing over us, granting us peace in our spaces of fear. Forgive us for our fear of the unknown and unexplainable; for You already know the outcome and have a plan and a purpose for all. Teach us to trust the truth of Your word, that Your plans are to prosper and not to harm, to give a hope and a future. Show us how to love those around us well, so that Your loving strength shines through us clearly. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we rise up and receive the covering You provide for us in Your strength and love. Amen.

 

© Shannon Elizabeth 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

Let Us Rejoice and Be Glad

This is the day the Lord has made. Let us rejoice and be happy today! – (Psalm 118:24 ERV)

This is the day the Lord has made. We will rejoice and be glad in it. – (Psalm 118:24, TLB)

This is very day of the Lord that brings gladness and joy, filling our hearts with glee. – (Psalm 118:24, TPT) 

 

This particular day that the Lord has made provides tremendous reason to rejoice! After months of waiting and imagining what the day would be like, today is the day. Though I set my alarm for 5:00 am, I woke, with this verse on my heart, at about 3:40 am. I rose full of joy at the realization that this is the day on which I wed the one whom God has provided to love and be loved by well. After an incredible evening of loved ones gathering to dine and rehearse for today, my heart is overflowing with gladness and joy, as I have seen and known His faithfulness that brought us to this day. We will have our “first look” at 6:00 am, as my dear friend and photographer explained the glory of the morning’s early light for photos. After our hearts are captured and recorded, there will be much time to rest and relax prior to preparations for the ceremony this evening. God has blessed us with family that we would choose as friends and friends whom we consider family. No matter how the day unfolds, I have reason to rejoice, as I will become the wife of my tender-hearted Viking. May we each rise with a thankful heart, recognizing that each new day is a gift from God and holds countless reasons to rejoice.

 

This is a great day, wp-1532171212517484228603887301688.jpg

Which the Lord has made;

Full of glad reasons,

To praise the Lord’s Name.

Joy that’s unending,

Because of His grace;

Sweet love descending,

As we seek His face.

Let us choose rejoice,

In all He has done;

All thanks be to God,

O great, Holy One.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You for this day and all that it holds. Thank You for the countless reasons that we have to rejoice. Thank You for Your incredible gift of redemption and the way in which You bring beauty from ashes and hope from despair. Forgive us for not rising with gratitude each day, for each new day is a gift with reason to be glad for who You are and all that You have done. Teach us to rise with hearts full of praise, as we rejoice in Your love throughout all our days. Show us how to love those around us with hearts that rejoice at the goodness You grant us with each breath that we take. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we celebrate Your goodness and faithfulness, both today and forevermore. Amen.

 

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

 

Give thanks to the Lord, for He is good; His love endures forever. – 1 Chronicles 16:34

Yet and Still

Yet I will rejoice in the Lord, I will be joyful in God my Savior. – (Habakkuk 3:18, NIV)

But I will still be glad in the Lord and rejoice in my Savior. – (Habakkuk 3:18, ERV)

Then I will still rejoice in the Eternal! I will rejoice in the God who saves me! – (Habakkuk 3:18, VOICE)

 

Yet, and still… These are powerful transition words as they represent what we choose to do in spite of our circumstances. Today is the second to last Friday of the school year. This past school week has been full of challenges that have shocked and overwhelmed our staff community as we bring this way-too-long week to a close. Yet, and still, I will rejoice in the Lord who saves me. To rejoice is to be glad; to take delight, (dictionary.com) and though none of us are glad about what has transpired, we can take delight in the One who kept us safe and sane in the midst of the chaos. There are days that my joy is renewed in knowing that we are almost done, however, the true Source and space where I find gladness and delight is in the presence of my true Protector. God is good even when circumstances are not, and I will forever have reason to rejoice in Him. May we seek the One in whom all joy resides and take delight in knowing that the trials we face are merely temporary compared to the joy we will know for all eternity.

 

To rejoice in the Lord, Yet and Still

Yet and still, I will choose;

For our God is faithful,

Hope in Him, our best news.

He saves from our chaos,

He brings calm in the storm;

He leads to safe harbor,

As He protects from harm.

No matter the challenge,

Nor struggle that we face;

We’ve reason to rejoice,

In the God of all grace.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that in You, we have reason to be glad and take delight in You and the promises that You have made. Thank You that You save us. Forgive us for losing sight of our reasons to rejoice when life gets trying and hectic. Teach us to trust and lean into You more, so that we would not lose sight of You and all that You have done and continue to do in us and for us. Show us how to love those around us well, so that they too will find reason to be glad, even when life is hard. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we rejoice in You forever. 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

Filled Each Morning

Satisfy us in the morning with Your unfailing love, that we may sing for joy and be glad all our days. – (Psalm 90:14, NIV)

Fill us full every morning with Your faithful love so we can rejoice and celebrate our whole life long. – (Psalm 90:14, CEB)

With every sun’s rising, surprise us with Your love, satisfy us with Your kindness. Then we will sing with joy and celebrate every day we are alive. – (Psalm 90:14, VOICE)

 

How our days begin make all the difference in how we perceive the remainder of our waking hours. When we wake and are acutely aware of the faithful love that God has for us, there is a deep-rooted joy from within that rises up and remains present throughout the day, regardless of what comes our way. That is not to say that we will always be happy with our circumstances, yet we can continue to find joy, in spite of them, when we know the kindness of the Lord. God makes His unfailing love known to us in countless ways, if we are only willing to open our eyes to the wonder of all that He does. Each morning the sun rises, and we have a new day to take in His goodness and grace as we draw breath with purpose and can see the evidence of His love all around us. May we rise and rejoice, ever celebrating each new morning that we are granted, for His faithful love will be with us all the day long.

 

Fill us each morning, Filled Each Morning

With Your faithful love;

As joy and gladness,

Are given to us.

Let us choose to sing,

Celebrate Your ways;

Give thanks for the good,

Throughout all our days.

With each sun’s new rise,

Your grace satisfies;

May we opt rejoice,

Each day of our lives.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You fill us each morning with Your faithful love as we seek You with intention. Thank You that Your love is evident all around us, and Your goodness will never end. Forgive us for not opening our eyes to Your kindness in the midst of our messes. Teach us to turn to You in trust so that we may see and know Your faithful love that remains with us, no matter our circumstances. Show us how to love those around us in a way that extends Your kindness, spreads joy, and creates a sense of gratitude for each new day. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we seek You each morning and recognize Your unfailing love so that we may sing for joy and be glad all of our days. Amen.

 

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

 

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

Living Among Us

For the Lord your God is living among you. He is a mighty Savior. He will take delight in You with gladness. With His love, He will calm all your fears. He will rejoice over you with joyful songs. – (Zephaniah 3:17, NLT)

The Lord your God is with you. He is like a powerful soldier. He will save you. He will show how much He loves you and how happy He is with you. He will laugh and be happy about you. – (Zephaniah 3:17, ERV)

The Lord your God is in your midst – a warrior bringing victory. He will create calm with His love; He will rejoice over you with singing. – (Zephaniah 3:17, CEB)

 

This is the exact sort of reminder that many of us need this time of year. In the midst of the busy, crazy, seemingly endless push to the finish, we are not alone. More than that, God is with us and He delights in us. He will bring calm and He rejoices over us with singing. Just as a lullaby soothes the restless soul of a little one, so do the joyful songs of our Heavenly Father as He sings over us. Music can change our entire countenance, and I imagine that when that perfect song comes to mind to lift our mood, it did not drift in on its own. May we ever be open to the One who is among us, as His love brings calm in our chaos while He delights in us with gladness.

 

God is in our midst, Forgiveness is Free

He’s mighty to save;

He delights in us,

And makes our hearts brave.

He calms all our fears,

And sings joyfully;

Victory in love,

To eternity.

So, trust in the Lord,

He is ever near;

Delighting with joy,

And calming each fear.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You are not God out there, but You are God living among us, right here. Thank You that You are a Mighty Savior who brings victory. Thank You that You delight in us and show us how much You love us. Thank You that You rejoice over us with singing and calm us with Your love. Thank You that You are the ultimate example of a good Father. Forgive us for not turning to You in trust in our trials. Teach us to trust You more, as You are our help and our hope. Show us how to love those around us in a way that brings calm, comfort and joy, so that they may see Your light within us. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we give You praise for all of our days for Your presence, help and joy among us. Amen.

 

 

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

Let love and faithfulness never leave you; …write them on the tablet of your heart. – Proverbs 3:3

Our Saving Help

But may all who seek You rejoice and be glad in You; may those who long for Your saving help always say, “The Lord is great!” – (Psalm 70:4, NIV) 

But let all who seek You rejoice and be glad in You, and let those who love Your saving help say again and again: “God is great!” – (Psalm 70:4, CEB) 

Let all those on the hunt for You sing and celebrate. Let all who love Your saving way say over and over, “God is mighty!” – (Psalm 70:4, MSG) 

 

God is our help and our hope, and we have reason to rejoice and be glad regardless of our circumstances because He is always good. It is the great love of the Lord that saves us, as He holds us in the hollow of His hands. The more we seek God, the more we come to know Him, and cannot help but rejoice and be glad for the salvation that He brings. May we ever seek the Lord and rejoice in Him, for He is mighty to save and loves us throughout all of our days. 

 

May each heart that seeks, Love Made Known

Rejoice and be glad; 

For our saving help, 

Is no passing fad. 

Our God is mighty, 

We’re held in His hands; 

As we seek, we find, 

He shows us His plans. 

God saves and He leads, 

As we seek His face; 

He’s faithful to help, 

For He grants us grace. 

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You are faithful to hear and help us as we seek You. Thank You that we have reason to rejoice and be glad, for You are mighty to save as You love. Forgive us for not seeking You in our spaces of need, or for not rejoicing in who You are and how You love. Teach us to trust You more, so that we would remember that You hold us in Your hands and that You are greater than anything that we face. Show us how to love those around us in a way that offers strength and hope and light where there is need. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we seek You with gladness and give You praise for Your saving ways that You extend to each of us who seek You. 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

Gather With Gladness

Every day they met together in the temple and ate in their homes. They shared food with gladness and simplicity. – (Acts 2:46, CEB)

The believers shared a common purpose, and every day they spent much of their time together in the temple area. They also ate together in their homes. They were happy to share their food and ate with joyful hearts. – (Acts 2:46, ERV)

 

I love the value that was placed on community in the early church. There is nothing that brings people together better than sharing a meal with joy and generosity. When those around us who are united in purpose come together as family, the joy that is discovered in fellowship over a meal is multiplied. Each summer, my church creates opportunity for family connect groups. These groups meet one evening a week for a meal at a host home during the month of August, as new friendships are discovered and relationships are formed. My first connect group of the year begins this evening, and I am reminded of the early church as I prepare to go. Though I know not who will be in attendance, I anticipate joy and gladness as we gather in grace to share a meal together. May we ever seek opportunities to gather together with those around us, and meet with others to share a meal with joy – as God so often uses such circumstances to form friendships He intended to occur all along.

 

Actively look for, Welcome Boxes 1

People that we know;

To join together,

So His grace may flow.

With hearts full of joy,

May we freely share;

What we’ve been given,

So all know You care.

May our hearts be filled,

As we share a meal;

Joy overflowing,

His way is ideal.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You created us to be in community. Thank You that You call us to continue to do what the early church did – to gather together to worship and to share meals and fellowship together. Forgive us for isolating ourselves and not plugging into the community to which we are called. Teach us to trust You more, so that we would be willing to go where You call and invite others to share time and fellowship and food with us. Show us how to love well the people that You have placed in our path. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we gather together with gladness. Amen.

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

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

Overcoming Power

“He isn’t here! He is risen from the dead! Remember what He told you back in Galilee, that the son of Man must be betrayed into the hands of sinful men and be crucified, and that He would rise again on the third day.” – (Luke 24:6-7, NLT)

 

Grief does funny things to our ability to think clearly. I can only begin to imagine the weight of the sorrow shared by those who had walked closely beside Jesus, prior to His crucifixion. Despite His having told those dear to Him what had to happen, and what would happen after, if they were anything like most of us, they probably could not grasp anything beyond His having to die. Even more surreal to see in one’s mind, is the arrival at the empty tomb. What began as shock, horror, and perhaps even outrage that Jesus’ body was missing, was quickly turned to worshipful awe, as they were greeted by angels who told them what had happened. It had to have been quite a sight to see, if the first words from those whom God had sent, was, “Don’t be afraid.” I envision it being a two-fold extension of kindness. Don’t be afraid of us, and do not be afraid of what you do not see. It did not take long for the truth that they had been told prior to Jesus’ death to be recalled, and suddenly, everything changed. Mourning turned to gladness, and sorrow surrendered to great joy! Jesus had risen! May we rise this day and remember the reason for the festivities. The Light of the world defeated death and conquered the grave so that we could have life everlasting in Him.

 

Two days of darkness,Hope in an Empty Tomb

Then third day, He rose;

Defeating the grave,

All hope to disclose.

Greeted by angels,

At the empty tomb;

Awe and amazement,

Minds blown at the truth.

Though He had foretold,

Was hard to believe;

No more was Christ dead,

He’d risen indeed.

What joy they had found,

Their sorrow, no more;

Jesus has risen,

Worship and adore!

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You did not stop at the death on the cross on our behalf, but You showed us Your power as You defeated death and overcame the grave so that we could have life everlasting in You. Thank You that the very same power that conquered the grave is available to all who trust in You. Forgive us for allowing our circumstances to defeat our resolve, rather than turning to trust in You. Teach us to trust You more, as You alone have the power to carry us through every circumstance. Show us how to live and love boldly, as we have been given all that we need to love as You love us. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we trust You to fill us so that we may live and love in the overcoming power You place in each of us. Amen.

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

Taste and see that the Lord is good; blessed is the man who takes refuge in Him. – Psalm 54:8

When the Sun Shines In

God blesses those who mourn, for they will be comforted. – (Matthew 5:4, NLT)

When doubts filled my mind, Your comfort gave me renewed hope and cheer. – (Psalm 94:19, NLT)

 

This has been the longest week that I have walked through in a very long time. Between the loss of my grandmother, the final push of gymnastics season, and the last week of school prior to spring break, I had many doubts in my moments of mourning as to whether or not I would be able to get through the week with my sanity intact. Incredibly, God provided comfort in the quiet moments when my heart felt overwhelmed by loss, and fortified my body and mind with strength to stand, even in the instances when I did not think I could. Little things mean everything to me, and as the week wore on, countless blessings brought hope and cheer to my hurting heart. Yesterday, at the close of the school day, the sun was shining and I was smiling. His grace had gotten me through what at the start of the week, seemed impossible. My day closed with sushi, more sunshine, and company with one who makes my heart feel cherished. As I returned home and began to drift off to sleep, rather than grief, I was overwhelmed with gladness. God is so good. May we ever seek the Lord and His strength, as He is the One who removes our doubts, grants comfort in our grief, and renews our hope and cheer.

 

In our space of doubt,When the Sun Shines In

Brought forth by our fear;

The God of all grace,

Will wipe all our tears.

He’ll be our comfort,

For He’s ever near;

Renewing our hope,

Blessings of His cheer.

No matter what comes,

In mourning or doubt;

God will be present,

If we seek Him out.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You are the God of all comfort and the One who renews our hope. Thank You that when we grieve, You are near to comfort and bless us with Your presence and Your hope. Thank You that You remove our doubts and supply all that we need to continue to do what You have called us to do. Forgive us for entertaining our doubts rather than reaching out to You. Teach us to trust You more, so that we would rely on You to renew our hope and cheer, and seek Your comfort in times of mourning. Show us how to love those around us so that we may extend Your comfort, hope and cheer to those struggling with doubt and those who are mourning. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we rely on You to be our comfort and to renew our hope and cheer, as You are ever near. Amen.

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

Answer me, O Lord, out of the goodness of Your love; in Your great mercy turn to me. – Psalm 69:16

Praise in Mourning

Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of compassion and the God of all comfort. – (2 Corinthians 1:3, NIV)

All praise goes to God, Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Anointed One. He is the Father of compassion, the God of all comfort. – (2 Corinthians 1:3, VOICE)

 

This morning, I find myself in a strange space – torn between grief and gladness; sorting between sorrow and surrender. My whole life, my grandmother has been a very real and powerful presence. Her faithfulness to our Heavenly Father, paired with the gifts that He birthed within her that she used without restraint, have been the model that I have looked to, and one whom I admire most. Gram has always been the glue that bound our family to one another. Despite differences, each of us has had a unique and treasured gift in the bond that she has formed with us, individually. The ability to see the value in people and set their heart at peace simply by being in her presence, is a trait that drew so many unto her.  She lived a live unrivaled, faithful in all that she endeavored. Gram served her family, her church, her community, and above all, God. The love grown deep in the quiet time on her knees, overflowed to all who knew her. No matter what I was going through, I knew she was covering me in prayer. After ninety-eight years on the earth, and a long year of colon cancer taking root and stealing the independence she had always known, she went home to be with Jesus last night. I am grateful that her suffering was not prolonged, yet grieve not getting one more visit. God is compassionate, and He offers comfort to us as we mourn. Though there is much sorrow for the personal loss of the phenomenal person my grandmother was, it is tempered with great joy in knowing that she is singing with our Savior. No more sorrow, no more pain. I imagine a great celebration as she is reunited with so many who have gone before her. May we all take comfort in the Father of compassion and comfort, as we give praise for the blessings we’ve been given in the time we had.

 

This morning, it seems appropriate that I share one of my grandma’s poems rather than write my own. Her words are likely the echo of what she is singing right now.

 

Song of Praise – by Rosemary Steiner

Glory and majestyPraise in Mourning

To the Lord God,

Who created the Heavens

And the Earth;

And breathed life

Into all creatures,

Even us, His people.

He gave meaning to our being;

He called us brothers

And prepared a place

For us with Him

Eternally.

He breathed life into us,

Transcendent life of the Spirit –

Gave us eyes to see beauty,

Ears to hear truth,

Wills to choose His way.

The heavens reflect His omnipotence

Time without end.

God enjoys the music of the spheres,

But hears our dissonance

With compassion,

How worthy is He.

How infinite His love.

Holy be His Name forever. Amen.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You for the incredible gift that so many of us were given through the long and loving life of Gram. Thank You that though we mourn her passing, we can celebrate her homecoming with You. Thank You that we have the blessed hope of being together again for all of eternity in heaven. Forgive us for our fears and regrets, and teach us to trust You so that we might fully live out each of our days, according to Your good and perfect will. Show us how to love with compassion and comfort, all those who grieve. May many come into a lasting relationship with You, as they see the faithfulness that has been fulfilled through the life of my grandmother. Be glorified O God, as we choose to give You praise, even as we mourn. Amen.

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

There is a time to cry, a time to laugh; a time to mourn, a time to dance. – Ecclesiastes 3:4