Beholding New Blessings

Praise the Lord, my soul; all my inmost being, praise His holy name. Praise the Lord, my soul, and forget not all His benefits. – (Psalm 103:1-2, NIV) 

My soul, praise the Lord! Every part of me, praise His holy name! My soul, praise the Lord and never forget how kind He is! – (Psalm 103:1-2, ERV) 

O my soul, bless God. From head to toe, I’ll bless His holy name! O my soul, bless God, don’t forget a single blessing! – (Psalm 103:1-2, MSG) 

 

This morning, after perusing Facebook while my coffee was brewing, I discovered the story I have watched unfold over the last five years through countless runs (that we affectionately call therapy sessions), poured out with complete honesty and zero ill intent, as my dear friend commemorated in writing, her journey to freedom through faith and forgiveness. Her story and my own, though different, had some common threads that ultimately led to a similar outcome. This story tells of one dream being destroyed, while tremendous blessings of God’s faithfulness tenderly delivered she and her children into an incredible new chapter, with many more blessings yet to unfold. These verses, written by David, are amazingly appropriate as my heart responds with joy and praise for all of His faithfulness and blessings poured out over the past several years. The freedom, goodness and grace received are remarkably evident. Though the story seems to be one of extreme heartache, the other side of it holds dreams realized and hopes restored and made far greater than one could begin to imagine. God is faithful, even on our darkest nights, as His light comes and reveals the truth, hope and good that are meant to remain. May we hold fast to God and His grace, ever praising Him for every blessing He pours out upon us as we choose to allow Him room to lead. 

 

With all of my heart, 385ace51-24e7-416b-8430-0515506705ec7822422687448967530.jpg

I choose bless Your name; 

For You are the One, 

Who does what He claims. 

You take our heartache, 

Darkness and despair; 

And lead to freedom, 

In Your tender care. 

Where hope seems but dashed, 

You mend and renew; 

Your blessings poured out, 

As we trust in You. 

All thanks be to God, 

Whose faithful indeed; 

He loves us to life, 

And meets all our need. 

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You turn stories of darkness and despair into ones of healing and hope and beautiful blessings. Thank You that You turn our ashes into beautiful stories of Your redemption and grace. Forgive us for our times of fear and doubt, as You alone are the One to work all things out. Teach us to trust You in every season and circumstance, as You have a far greater plan that our limited understanding can grasp. Show us how to love those around us well, as You use our stories of struggle to illuminate, encourage and bless those who are in their own spaces of darkness. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we bless You with all of our being for the hope, goodness and promise that You have for us all. Amen.

 

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

 

(God) who redeems your life from the pit and crowns you with love and compassion, who satisfies your desires with good things so that your youth is renewed like the eagle’s. – Psalm 103:4-5

 

*Click on “This story” as highlighted in the text to read the story to which I am referring.

A Longing Fulfilled

After this his wife Elizabeth became pregnant and for five months remained in seclusion. “The Lord has done this for me,” she said. “In these days He has shown His favor and taken away my disgrace among the people.” – (Luke 1:24-25, NIV) 

Later, Zechariah’s wife Elizabeth became pregnant. So, she did not go out of her house for five months. She said, “Look what the Lord has done for me! He decided to help me. Now people will stop thinking there is something wrong with me.” – (Luke 1:24-25, ERV) 

Soon afterward his wife, Elizabeth, became pregnant and went into seclusion for the next five months. She said with joy, “See how kind it is of God to gaze upon me and take away the disgrace of my barrenness!” – (Luke 1:24-25, VOICE)

 

God’s miracle for Elizabeth and Zechariah, through granting them a son after many years of being barren, was a magnificent prelude to the miracle arrival of the soon-to-follow birth of Jesus. Elizabeth had gone from years of longing and hoping and waiting, to a space of hope fulfilled, when she likely no longer thought it possible. Though I have not experienced the heartache of infertility personally, I have had several friends walk through a similar season of waiting and hoping and longing. Like Elizabeth, some received their own miraculous blessing through conception, others discovered their miracle through adoption, whereas others, still remain in a space of waiting. My heart cannot help but celebrate at the thought of Elizabeth’s joy, at such a longing fulfilled. May we give thanks for the gifts all around us, and for those that are yet to come.  

 

A longing fulfilled, The Mirror of the Heart

Such wonder indeed; 

A hope that’s answered, 

God’s grace meeting needs. 

Needs birthed within us, 

Desires of the heart; 

Treasured reflections, 

Of where His grace starts. 

Seek Him in longing, 

Place hope in His Name; 

Wait and choose trust Him, 

He does what He claims. 

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You for the examples of real-life heartache and hope that You give us in Your word. Thank You that You are the same yesterday, today and forever. Thank You that You are the same God who has done countless miracles throughout the ages, and are present to make the impossible possible still. Forgive us for our frustration and lack of faith based on what we see. Teach us to trust You more, knowing that You are moving, even when we are unaware. Show us how to love those around us in a way that encourages hope, despite the way that things may appear. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we praise You for Your faithfulness, grace and presence that remains the same forever. Amen.

 

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

 

Not one of all the Lord’s good promises to Israel failed; every one was fulfilled. – Joshua 21:45

Comfort for the Mourning

Blessed are those who mourn, for they will be comforted. – (Matthew 5:4, NIV) 

Great blessings belong to those who are sad now. God will comfort them. – (Matthew 5:4, ERV) 

You’re blessed when you feel you’ve lost what is most dear to you. Only then can you be embraced by the One most dear to you. – (Matthew 5:4, MSG)  

 

This morning, I woke to discover the devastating news of another former student’s passing. His sweet mama posted the news on Facebook, likely as a quick way to communicate, without having to retell the heartbreak time and time again. When the seeming natural order of life is disrupted, and a parent outlives their child, the heartache over what should have been can steal all hope, if comfort is not sought through Him alone, who is our Comforter. Sadly, I have seen both sides of this sorrow as it has run its course in the lives of people near me. For some, comfort came as they pursued God and were not afraid to ask “WHY?!” For others, something within them died at the loss, as they seem to be stuck in a space where they cannot be comforted and restored. Though there is nothing nor anyone that can ever take the place of a loved one lost, God can heal the hole that is left in our heart over time. He turns the grief into grace, and utilizes it to comfort others in a way that only one who has walked such a road, can do. May peace and grace be poured out upon the mourning, as God is our Comfort and ready to embrace every hurting heart. 

 

In the midst of grief, Compassion in Confrontations

May we seek the Lord; 

True Source of comfort, 

All peace He affords. 

Present in heartache, 

Faithful, He won’t leave; 

He’ll love us to life, 

Grant hope to believe. 

Allow His embrace, 

Bring comfort and peace; 

He’ll carry the weight, 

Yield sorrow’s release. 

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You bless those who mourn with Your comfort. Forgive us for not seeking You to be our Source. Teach us to turn to You in our every need, and to offer Your comfort and peace to those around us. Show us how to be Your hands, heart and voice to the hurting by loving people through their sorrow and loss. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we trust in You to be our comfort in mourning. Amen.

 

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

 

May Your unfailing love be my comfort, according to Your promise to Your servant. – Psalm 119:76

 

 

Help in the Heaviness

He comforts us in all our troubles so that we can comfort others. When they are troubled, we are able to give them the same comfort God has given us. – (2 Corinthians 1:4, NLT) 

He comforts us every time we have trouble so that when others have trouble, we can comfort them with the same comfort God gives us. – (2 Corinthians 1:4, ERV) 

He consoles us as we endure the pain and hardship of life so that we may draw from His comfort and share it with others in their own struggles. – (2 Corinthians 1:4, VOICE) 

 

There are times that the weight of loss or struggle or hardships around us, find a way of seeping into our soul, causing sorrow to set heavy on our heart. Yesterday, as we heard the devastating news that a former student from our school, a boy who was in my own boys’ grade and classes, died Tuesday night, from gunshot wounds. Though I did not ever have him as a student, I did teach his younger sister and currently teach his younger brother. As I hesitantly pulled out an old yearbook to place a face with the name, the weight of the grief rested heavily through the recognition of the familiar smiling face of the young man. My own experience with loss has taught me that time eases the pain, however, that is likely little comfort for those closest to him who are only beginning to process the permanence of this tragic loss. I pray that God would surround each hurting heart with the comfort needed most, and that every need would be provided as they navigate this devastating reality. May we all be extra kind and compassionate in this season, as heavy hearts are hidden among us. 

 

God of all comfort, Being Made New

We call on Your Name; 

To hold heavy hearts, 

Love well through the pain. 

Lord, will You show us, 

What we’re meant to do; 

To extend Your grace, 

Help see others through. 

Show us how to love, 

Others through their pain; 

Let us be Your light, 

That through all remains. 

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You are good, even when the circumstances that surround us are not. Thank You that You see every heartache, and You hear every prayer. Thank You that You comfort us the way our hearts need it most. Forgive us for avoiding painful places that we see in others, rather than being present to offer comfort, just as You have comforted us. Teach us to trust You more, so that we would know how to be present in heaviness, and how to comfort those who are hurting. Show us how to love those dealing with loss in practical and tangible ways. May many come into a lasting relationship with You, the ultimate Comforter. Be glorified O God, as we seek Your comfort to share with others, and thank You for the comfort that You continue to provide for us all. Amen.

 

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

 

He will wipe every tear from their eyes. There will be no more death or mourning or crying or pain, for the old order of things has passed away. – Revelation 21:4

See How Good

Taste and see that the Lord is good; blessed is the one who takes refuge in Him. – (Psalm 34:8, NIV)

Give the Lord a chance to show you how good He is. Great blessings belong to those who depend on Him! – (Psalm 34:8, ERV)

Taste and see how good the Lord is! The one who takes refuge in Him is truly happy! – (Psalm 34:8, CEB)

 

When I look back and reflect on all that has transpired over the past few years, I am in awe of the goodness of God. Though I have walked through some seasons of trial and heartache, He has been my refuge and my strength. All the while, the Lord provided and protected, and has now brought me into a space of unbelievable blessing. Even on the most difficult days, I have been fully aware of His goodness and grace. Today, I know happiness that my heart had only hoped for, and am ever aware of just how good God truly is. This evening, my Viking and I leave on our honeymoon for eight glorious days. Together, we will experience new things in a destination that neither of us have been. Each step of the way, leading to today, we have stood in awe at just how good the Lord has been to us. May we always run to our Redeemer, who is our refuge, and depend on Him in all things and at all times; for He is good and His love endures forever.

 

The Lord God is good, Carnival_Sunshine_0002

He’s faithful and true;

He answers our call,

To make all things new.

God is our refuge,

Our safe place to stay;

Our bringer of hope,

Who shows us the way.

Great are His blessings,

So full is His joy;

For those who trust Him,

His grace is employed.

All thanks be to God,

For all He has done;

For love and fresh starts,

As each day’s begun.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You are our refuge and the source of all blessings bestowed upon us. Thank You that You are faithful forever to be present with us in all things and at all times. Thank You that You are so good. Forgive us for our moments of doubt when trials feel that they might overwhelm us. Teach us to run to You, our refuge, in seasons of struggle and those filled with joy. Show us how to love those around us in a way that demonstrates the same sense of security and abundant blessing that You grant to us. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we taste and see how wonderful You are. Amen.

 

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

 

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

All Together 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)

And we know that God causes everything to work together for the good of those who love God and are called according to His purpose for them. – (Romans 8:28, NLT)

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)

 

God is able to take all that we experience – every trial and triumph, each heartache and happiness, and use them together for good for those who choose to receive what He offers and walk in His ways. If we never experienced defeat, we would not appreciate the thrill of victory. If we did not know what it was to ache, we could not fully grasp the beauty and bounty of His blessings. God does not cause the struggles and trials that we face, but He does take our ashes and brings beauty for all to behold. I am in a season currently, where I am witnessing just how much beauty and blessing He ushers into the spaces that once were swallowed by sorrow. Dashed hopes have become dreams displayed for my heart to hold again, and where there was once nothing but wreckage, now resides fresh tenacity and vitality, as a new chapter of my story is being authored by He who breathes love and life and grace. May we be confident in our hope in knowing that in all things, God works for the good of those who love Him and have chosen to follow the path that He has placed before us.

 

God takes our ashes, All Together for Good

Our space of despair;

Fills them with beauty,

By His tender care.

He orchestrates all,

To work out for good;

For those who accept,

His plans as we should.

In all things, God makes,

His greatness abound;

Darkness becomes light,

And true joy is found.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You take our wreckage and return beauty and hope and good things as we trust our lives in Your hands. Thank You that though we will face trials, we can hold fast to confident hope, knowing that You will ultimately use all things for good. Forgive us for struggling to see hope when darkness seems to surround us. Teach us to trust You more, and to remember that You are the Light that dwells within us. Show us how to love those around us well, so that we may extend hope in spaces of struggle and celebrate with those in seasons of blessing. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we trust You to work all things together toward something good as we pursue the path that You have placed before us. Amen.

 

 

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

 

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

Peace is Made Known

“I have told you these things so that in me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world.” – (John 16:33, NIV)

“I have told you these things so that you can have peace in me. In this world you will have troubles. But be brave! I have defeated the world!” – (John 16:33, ERV)

“And everything I taught you is so that the peace which is in me will be in you and will give you great confidence as you rest in me. For in this unbelieving world you will experience trouble and sorrows, but you must be courageous, for I have conquered the world!” – (John 16:33, TPT)

 

One of the hardest times to find peace is in the midst of a trial. It is so easy to allow our fears and emotions to get the best of us, and forget Who is ultimately in control. I am quite certain that this is why God calls us to be in community. When one falls down or is struggling, facing a trial or uncertainty that lies before them, sisters and brothers who know our stories can come alongside to help and encourage, as God equips us to be His hands, heart and voice made tangible to those around us. May we reach out to love well, those in a place of need, and be transparent with the trusted, when we find ourselves in a similar space, so that the peace of God may be made perceivable to all.

 

O Lord, it’s Your peace, IMG_1849

That so many need;

There’s pain and pressure,

Heartache, trials and greed.

The troubles we find,

Are nothing for You;

Each already faced,

Your love will shine through.

Please teach us to trust,

In places we doubt;

For in You, there’s peace,

That’s what love’s about.

Show us how to give,

What You’ve given us;

So peace is made known,

By grace You promise.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that our peace comes from You. Thank You that though we will have troubles because we live in a broken world, we can take courage knowing that You are with us. Thank You too for community, as You surround us with those who can come alongside us and encourage and lift us up if we are willing to invest. Forgive us for the times we have tried to power through the pressures on our own, rather than seeking You and sharing with those whom You have shown us are trustworthy in our world. Help us to trust You more, so that we would seek You for peace, even in the most tumultuous of trials. Help us to love those around us in a way that offers peace and strength in the midst of their struggles too. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we take heart in You, as You have already overcome every obstacle that stands in our way. Amen.

 

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

 

Shout aloud and sing for joy. – Isaiah 12:6

Comfort in Mourning

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

Great blessings belong to those who are sad now. God will comfort them. – (Matthew 5:4, ERV)

You’re blessed when you feel you’ve lost what is most dear to you. Only then can you be embraced by the One most dear to you. – (Matthew 5:4, MSG)

 

Yesterday was a very heavy day for me. As I made my drive in to work, word of the tragedy that had taken place the previous night in Las Vegas flooded the airwaves. Grief gripped my heart like a vice, as I thought of the families who were suffering both with loss, inexplicable harm to loved ones, and the wait in not knowing if those dear to them were safe or had fallen in harm’s way. Sadly, my grief grew as I learned of the loss of an incredible woman, who had been lovingly invested in her church, community and family, and tragically died shortly after childbirth. It is in these moments, these seasons of sorrow, that I look to the Lord for comfort and some sort of sense to be made out of all of that which seems so senseless. Though I do not think I will ever completely understand why such horrific acts and terrible tragedies occur, I must cling to the promise that God blesses and comforts those who mourn. He is our comfort and our place of peace, even when nothing seems steady nor secure. May we ever cling to Christ, who is our comfort, as He will bless and embrace those who mourn.

 

God brings His blessing,Comfort in Mourning

To all those who mourn;

He’s our safe harbor,

Through all of life’s storms.

He’ll be our comfort,

When flooded with grief;

The One to embrace,

As love grants relief.

When tragedy strikes,

And hope seems but gone;

Bring grief to the Lord,

He’ll carry us on.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that even in the midst of sorrow and heartache and so much tragedy, You are present to provide Your comfort. Thank You that Your arms embrace us, even when we cannot bear to lift our eyes from the weight of our sorrow. Thank You that You meet us in our mourning and bless us with Your comfort. Forgive us for not turning to You in our grief. Teach us to trust You more, as You alone are the Provider of comfort and the One who blesses us in the midst of heartache. Show us how to love and comfort those who are grieving, so that they may know Your comfort in a tangible way. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we seek Your comfort in our times of mourning. Amen.

 

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

 

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

Confident that He Hears

And we are confident that He hears us whenever we ask for anything that pleases Him. – (1 John 5:14, NLT)

We can come to God with no doubts. This means that when we ask God for things (and these things agree with what God wants for us), God cares about what we say. – (1 John 5:14, ERV)

We live in bold confidence that God hears our voices when we ask for things that fit His plan. – (1 John 5:14, VOICE)

 

This truth is seemingly both a blessing and a curse. God is not a star to wish upon, nor a fairy godmother that grants our every whim; however, He is the One who sees and knows our hearts, and hears our prayers as we seek Him. We can be confident that our requests are heard when our hearts are turned toward His. That being said, there is always the struggle when we pray without ceasing for help or healing for someone who is ill or in need, and do not see the results that we hope He will bring. This is where faith in His unconditional love for us has to fill in, when the seeming lack of an answer leaves our hearts heavy and hurting. Yes, His ways are higher than our ways, and He knows each heartache before it happens. He does not cause our pain, but I believe that He uses those places where answers seem to have been silent, to strengthen our faith as He pours out His grace. Often, it is days, months, years or even decades later, that God brings beauty from our ashes where it seemed answers were absent. May we be ever confident in our God who hears, and trust in His unfailing love for us all.

 

We have this great hope, Rediscovering Dreams

In our God above;

He hears each request,

And listens in love.

Though often answers,

Don’t look as we’d like;

He knows what is best,

And will make things right.

On the darkest days,

His glory still shines;

His purpose and plans,

Are loving; divine.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that we can be confident that You hear our every prayer as we seek You with a heart after that which is good and pleasing in Your sight. Thank You that Your love is not dependent on whether or not our prayers are answered according to what we want to see. Forgive us for our doubts and disappointments when prayers seem to go unanswered. Teach us to trust You more, even in the most painful and difficult of circumstances. Show us how to love and support those who are in the midst of the wait, or who feel as if their prayers have fallen on deaf ears. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we are confident that You heart us, and trust Your will, regardless of what we see before 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

Faith in the Fight

O Lord my God, I cried to You for help, and You restored my health. – (Psalm 30:2, NLT)

Lord my God, I prayed to You, and You healed me. – (Psalm 30:2, ERV)

 

I do not understand why some people are healed in an instant, while others continue to battle day in and day out with sickness and disease. What I do know is that God is able to heal, so my charge is to contend for those who are still fighting, as they wait for healing to come. I have witnessed both healing and heartache, and through it all, have seen the goodness of God. Today, as I learned of a dear one’s relapse in her battle against cancer, I will rise up with resolve to continue to contend on her behalf, just as she will fight with fervor. May His healing come quickly to those in the wait, and may each of us who know Him, be utilized to strengthen and encourage those who are fighting.

 

O Lord hear our cry, Faith in the Fight

As we choose contend;

For those in the fight,

Your healing, please send.

Each word we offer,

To You up in prayer;

Is heard and received,

As Your hope is shared.

Come near, Lord Jesus,

With Your healing hands;

Restore what’s broken,

May Your peace advance.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, we call out and contend for Your touch for those who are fighting sickness and disease. Thank You that You are our Help and our Healer. Thank You that You give us strength and sustain us in the fight, and that You can do abundantly more than we could hope or imagine. Forgive us for our fears and doubts, as it is difficult to see beyond a diagnosis or statistics. Teach us to trust You more, as You are greater than all. Show us how to love, support and encourage all those around us who are fighting for restoration. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we cry to You for help, and trust You to bring healing. Amen.

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

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