Restore to Me the Joy

Restore to me the joy of Your salvation and grant me a willing spirit, to sustain me. – (Psalm 51:12, NIV)

Your help made me so happy. Give me that joy again. Make my spirit strong and ready to obey You. – (Psalm 51:12, ERV)

Give back to me the deep delight of being saved by You; let Your willing Spirit sustain me. – (Psalm 51:12, VOICE)

 

As I sat down to read my devotions this morning, the words that kept resonating in my heart and mind, were “restore to me the joy”, despite the lack of connection to the passages I was reading. For the last few days, I have been in a bit of a funk. I seemed to reach my breaking point yesterday, as I could not coax the normal joy from within, to make any sort of appearance externally. The weight on my heart and mind was just too heavy. Between sickness, disease, and pending death in family members, work, home, and numerous responsibilities and demands that go far beyond what one person is meant to bear alone, I was beginning to crumble on the inside. Kindness extended from colleagues made my eyes threaten to defy me, and it took everything in me to fend off tears. Isolation and work best suited my sullen state during lunch, and God granted me the strength to navigate the remainder of the day. Thankfully, gymnastics practice after school is a place that brings joy, as I delight in the doing that offers help and encouragement in an arena outside of the classroom, where I am not being assessed on every move that I make. Post practice I had the privilege of meeting up with my running buddy for a run, and that too, reminded me of the joy that is within me as I moved freely, pounding out the pain into the pavement. Upon arriving home, my amazing husband was set to love me well. He was aware of my struggle, and took care of dinner preparations, clean up, and then just sat with me, in silent support loving me all the while. This morning, I feel lighter somehow. God is faithful, and He is willing to restore His joy in us as we seek Him. His joy is not happiness with our circumstances, but rather a deep delight in Him, despite what we are walking through. The smile that is typically so readily seen on my face is not because life is always easy, but rather it is rooted in the joy granted through knowing who holds me in the hollow of His hands, every minute of every day. Perhaps yesterday I lost sight of that for a time, or my frail humanity reared its ugly head. Either way, sorrow and heavy took a spot not designated for them, and today, they are being placed back in the palms of He who can carry it all. May we ever seek the Lord to hold our heart and our hands in our heaviness, and pursue Him to restore the joy that comes in knowing our eternity is secure forever in Him.

 

O Lord God above, Restore to Me the Joy

May I ever seek;

Your joy in sorrow,

And strength when I’m weak.

For You are faithful,

You’re mighty to save;

You love us to life,

Through all of our days.

Help us to place all,

In Your mighty hands;

As Your love restores,

Faith we need to stand.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You are the One who restores true joy within us. Thank You that You love us and take our burdens upon Yourself, when we are carrying more than we should. Forgive us for losing sight of where our true joy resides. Teach us to trust You more, so that Your light will shine through us, always. Show us how to love those around us in practical and tangible ways. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we seek You to restore our joy in You. Amen.

 

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

 

When Jesus spoke again to the people, He said, “I am the light of the world. Whoever follows Me will never walk in darkness, but will have the light of life. – John 8:12

Keep Singing

O my Strength, to You I sing praises, for You, O God, are my refuge, the God who shows me unfailing love. – (Psalm 59:17, NLT)

I will sing praises to You, my source of strength. You, God, are my place of safety. You are the God who loves me! – (Psalm 59:17, ERV)

I will lift my voice to sing Your praise, O my Strength – for You came to my defense. O God, You have shown me Your loving mercy. – (Psalm 59:17, VOICE)

 

As I prepare to head home for a quick visit until Sunday morning, I have much to be grateful for as I go. God is doing a new thing in mom, as He is granting her courage and desire to actually get out of the house and enjoy a change of scenery. For me, this has been a huge answer to prayer, especially with no appointments scheduled over the long holiday weekend. Mom desperately needed something to break up the long hours, and I needed a change of scenery and an escape. Wednesday, she willingly obliged to go into town for a quick coffee run, and consequently, we picked up lunch at a favorite take out place. Yesterday, what began as another quick coffee run, turned into a glorious adventure in scenic driving, as mom directed me on amazing back roads that I had never been. We both were all smiles as we soaked in the sun and the scenery along the river, nestled between the surrounding mountains. For a few hours, life did not seem like we were in this post-stroke limbo space, but rather we were simply out on an adventure together. Dare I say, all felt gloriously normal. The outing challenged her enough to leave her needing a rest, and helped break up the day so that what could have been a long and dull day, actually flowed and was an enjoyable and relaxing one. Sleep last night was decent, and the sunrise this morning was an exceptional orange glow. As I drive home late this afternoon, I know that my way will be accompanied by a loud sing-along to my favorite songs of praise. God is loving and merciful, and He provides all that we need, just as it is needed. May we ever praise Him for His goodness and grace.

 

Forever faithful, img_2019-07-05_06-48-18148229039848643710.jpg

God of strength and grace;

Our space of refuge,

For all of our days.

You show us Your love,

As it never fails;

Kindness unending,

Your goodness prevails.

May we ever sing,

Give unending praise;

To You, our Savior,

Hope of all our days.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You are goodness and kindness, strength and love. Thank You that You are our refuge forever. Thank You that You teach our hearts to sing, so that we may ever praise You. Forgive us for forgetting the tune that You have planted in our heart when things feel too heavy. Teach us to trust You more, so that we will place all in Your hands and praise You through life’s storms. Show us how to love those around us in a way that helps lighten the load that others are bearing, so that they too, may find the song within. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we praise You, our strength and refuge, for Your unfailing love. Amen.

 

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

 

Sing to Him; yes, sing His praises. Tell everyone about His wonderful deeds. – 1 Chronicles 16:9

Make Our Path Plain

Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; in all of your ways submit to Him, and He will make your paths straight. – (Proverbs 3:5-6, NIV)

Trust the Lord completely, and don’t depend on your own knowledge. With every step you take, think about what He wants, and He will help you go the right way. – (Proverbs 3:5-6, ERV)

Trust in the Lord completely, and do not rely on your own opinions. With all your heart rely on Him to guide you, and He will lead you in every decision you make. Become intimate with Him in whatever you do, and He will lead you wherever you go. – (Proverbs 3:5-6, TPT)

 

I am in territory where the only choice I have is trust. Without a medical background, and only knowing a strong, vibrant and healthy mom, this new normal leaves me in a space of dependency on God that I have not known before. For myself and my children, I have been here, but for my mom? Oh Jesus, why? This has been the resounding question that I have had to battle over and over again. Why her? My mom is the kindest, most generous, most loving human on the planet. She loves with her whole heart, and everyone who meets her, considers her a friend. We have had to turn people away at the hospital, again and again, as my sister and I (together prayerfully, with input from mom) determined that visitors beyond immediate family or those whom were on the direct contact list, would need to wait, as too many too soon are overwhelming in this space of her healing. (That being said, encouraging notes bless her very much.) In the coming days, my sister and I will have to find and decide which acute care facility will be the best fit for mom (with her input of course), either near Meg in Albany, or near me in Federal Way. Either way, there is much to prayerfully consider. We need the Lord to lead us and direct our steps. Our opinions matter far less than His, and we need clear guidance as to which space will best bring restoration to Mom, and provide the level of care that she would give to anyone who enters her home. For those who have ever set foot in her house, you know exactly the sort of loving hospitality she deserves. God has shown Himself trustworthy over and over again in my life, so here I stand, choosing to trust for my mom. Please join us in contending for her full healing, and for the very best placement for her – a space where she feels loved and valued, encouraged and known; a care facility where she will thrive and heal quickly and completely, that is located very near to either my sister or myself.

 

To trust in the Lord, 04291921376784107530368167090.jpg

We place in His hands;

All that is heavy,

For He understands.

God already knows,

The road that is best;

It is up to us,

To seek Him, invest.

For God is faithful,

He always is near;

He’ll never leave us,

Our heart, He shall hear.

So, give all to Him,

Seek His loving grace;

He’ll make the path plain,

As we seek His face.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You love us more than we can even fathom, and You are ready to show us the way that we are meant to go in all things. Thank You that we can trust You, even with the things that are beyond our understanding. Forgive us for our frustration and confusion in the unknowns in uncharted territory. Thank You for the grace that You give and for the those that You place around us to make Your loving kindness tangible. Show us which way to go, O God. Make the path plain for my Mom. Heal her completely. Restore every synapse connection that was broken and restore full movement to her right side. God, You are far greater than anything that comes against our bodies. We trust You to heal our mom. Show us how to best get her to the place for You to work in and through her, as You have created her to be a witness of Your love and grace, even in this. Be glorified in this nightmare O God, and lead many unto a lasting relationship with You. We praise You for Your faithfulness to us, and choose to trust You again today to make our path plain as You lead us. Amen.

 

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

 

Those who know Your Name trust in You, for You, Lord, have never forsaken those who seek You. – Psalm 9:10

Not Meant to Shoulder Alone

Give all your worries and cares to God, for He cares about you. – (1 Peter 5:7, NLT)

Let Him have all your worries and cares, for He is always thinking about you and watching everything that concerns you. – (1 Peter 5:7, TLB)

Pour out all your worries and stress upon Him and leave them there, for He always tenderly cares for you. – (1 Peter 5:7, TPT)

 

This is a timely reminder, as school feels really heavy right now. The academic demands feel unapproachable to some, and the behaviors displayed in response, disrupt and distract, making the teaching process extremely challenging. Inadvertently, I begin to carry the weight of the worry as to how to help all kids learn and grow. Though it is critical that I care, it is not my burden to bear alone. First and foremost, I need to give the weight of the worry and stress to the Lord, and allow Him to hold the heaviness. Second, I must ask for what I need. If it is strength or clarity or perspective, God is faithful to meet us where we are. When it is a tangible need that can be met in the moment by a colleague or simply by creating a built-in break, then each avenue ought to be utilized. May we cast all our cares to the Lord, for He is able and willing to walk us through, bearing the weight we are not meant to shoulder alone.

 

When worry and stress,

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Photo by Dee Jones of Open Door Photography ❤

Begin to weigh down;

Give all to the Lord,

In Him, help is found.

Help in our struggles,

Strength when we feel weak;

In love and in grace,

He answers who seek.

So, go to the Lord,

With stress and concern;

He’s ever for us,

Unto Him, let’s turn.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that we are not meant to bear the weight of the world on our shoulders. Thank You that we can come to You and give You our worries and cares, and You will shoulder the weight and grant us the help we need to navigate whatever we face. Forgive us for attempting to bear heavy burdens on our own, rather than running to You. Teach us to trust You more, as You are our strength and peace, no matter what storm we face. Show us how to love those around us in a way that provides help, peace and hope in the places where stress or anxiousness were weighing heavily on their heart. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we give all of our worry and stress to You, and trust You to be our strength. Amen.

 

 

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

 

Praise be to the Lord, to God our Savior, who daily bears our burdens. – Psalm 68:19

Beautifully Broken

May these words of my mouth and this meditation of my heart be pleasing in Your sight, Lord, my Rock and my Redeemer. – (Psalm 19:14, NIV)

May my words and thoughts please You. Lord, You are my Rock – the One who rescues me. – (Psalm 19:14, ERV)

May my spoken words and unspoken thoughts be pleasing even to You, O Lord my Rock and my Redeemer. – (Psalm 19:14, TLB)

 

First thing in the morning, before the chaos of the day ensues, it is fairly easy to keep my thoughts fixed on that which is pleasing to the Lord and my words follow, much the same. As the day moves forward and responsibilities and demands grow heavy, it can become far more difficult to keep my heart, mind and mouth aligned. Yesterday, after spending several hours packing and moving things from my old house to the new one we all will share, in the heat of the day, I was hot, tired and a bit grumpy. When we returned to the new house with the last load of the day, I scanned Instagram. What jumped out at me was a post from a friend of mine who had a photo of a broken plate with the words to a Matthew West song that I love. “But if it’s true You use broken things then here I am Lord, I’m all Yours.” – (Matthew West, Broken ThingsHaving read the words, they began to sink deep in my heart and the song began to play on repeat in my heart and mind. I was reminded that even when we are broken down, tired or hurting, He will use us if we are willing. That tug at my heartstrings reset my mind and heart to what matters, and I was able to continue the remainder of my afternoon and evening with the thought that He would use whatever I bring, and He sets my heart where it ought to be. May our every word and thought be pleasing unto God, for He is our Rock and Redeemer.

 

Lord I am the clay,

Scars as Signs of Strength

Just as the Japanese practice the art of Kintsukuroi (the Japanese art of embracing broken and flawed things and making them beautiful), so does God with us as we are willing. ❤

And You, the Potter;

Let my heart reflect,

Love as Your daughter.

Where my heart and mind,

Choose to sit and dwell;

Become the story,

My whole life will tell.

O here I am, Lord,

In my brokenness;

Use what I offer,

In Your tenderness.

May all of my words,

And thoughts in my mind;

Be shaped by Your love,

For You are so kind.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You stop us in our tracks and remind us of what matters most. Thank You that You use us, in our broken imperfections, to touch those around us with Your love. Forgive us for allowing the weight of the world to shape how we see things, rather than coming before You as we are and trusting that You can use all that we offer. Teach us to set our hearts and minds on things of You, so that our every thought and word are pleasing in Your sight. Show us how to love those around us in a way that reflects Your light and love. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we come to You, Lord, and say, “I’m all Yours.” Amen.

 

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

 

And walk in the way of love, just as Christ loved us and gave Himself up for us as a fragrant offering and sacrifice to God. – Ephesians 5:2

*Another song that comes to mind and is a great reminder, Beautifully Broken, by Plumb.

 

Rest from the Heaviness

“Come to Me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest.” – (Matthew 11:28, NIV)

“Come to Me all of you who are tired from the heavy burden you have been forced to carry. I will give you rest.” – (Matthew 11:28, ERV)

“Come to Me, all you who are struggling hard and carrying heavy loads, and I will give you rest.” – (Matthew 11:28, CEB)

 

It is good to work hard and complete the tasks that lie before us, yet there comes a point when we have to listen to our bodies and choose to slow down and rest. God provides the time and space necessary for us to rest, if we only choose to do so, and He grants us help and hope and relief when all seems too much to slow down. Often the thing that keeps us from resting is a busy mind. When the day is done and we actually lie down to rest, our mind continues to plan, prepare, and ponder ways to accomplish the long list that is yet to be done, further removing the rest that is so desperately needed. Thankfully, true to His word, when we turn our attention to Him, rather than what needs to be done, peace comes and rest enters in. May we ever seek the Lord in our times of weariness, for He is the perfect Provider of the rest our bodies and minds require.

 

Jesus is calling, Rest from the Heaviness

For He says to come;

All who are weary,

Seek the Holy One.

For He grants us rest,

And His perfect peace;

He loves us to life,

Grants heavy relief.

So, let us draw near,

To our God above;

As He grants us rest,

And fills with His love.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that we can come to You in our weariness with our heavy burdens, and You will give us rest. Thank You that Your rest refreshes and provides relief so that we can press on in Your strength. Forgive us for not slowing down to rest, even though it is intended for us all. Teach us to trust You more, so that we would take time to rest and refresh in You, as You lighten our load and make our burdens bearable. Show us how to love those around us in a way that helps shoulder the heavy loads and encourages rest as it is needed. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we come to You when we are weary and heavy burdened, knowing that You will grant us rest. Amen.

 

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

 

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

 

Power Within

Finally, be strong in the Lord and His mighty power. – (Ephesians 6:10, NIV)

Finally, be strengthened by the Lord and His powerful strength. – (Ephesians 6:10, CEB)

Last of all I want to remind you that your strength must come from the Lord’s mighty power within you. – (Ephesians 6:10, TLB)

 

Strength is a peculiar thing. We can work hard to build it up, yet there are variables beyond our control that can take it away in an instant or over time. The strength that is sustained within us, is strength of heart that comes from the Lord. His strength is that which grants us the resolve to keep rising, even when what lies before us is heavy, and often far more than we can bear. Though physical strength is both a blessing and a gift from God, it is the strength within us, that He deposits by His Spirit, that will carry us through all of the days of our lives. May we ever seek to be strengthened by the Lord in His mighty power, so that we are equipped to do all that to which we are called.

 

Be strong in the Lord, Strong Heart

And His great power;

We can trust in Him,

Our safe Strong Tower.

He strengthens our hearts,

Emboldens our minds;

Grants us the resolve,

Move as we’re designed.

No matter what comes,

He’s faithful to be;

Present with His strength,

To help in our need.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that we can be strong in You and Your mighty power, no matter what comes our way. Thank You that though physical strength is a blessing and a gift, it is strength of heart that comes from You that will carry us through the trials that life provides. Forgive us for not seeking You to supply the strength we need and teach us to trust You for all of our days. Show us how to love those around us in a way that strengthens hearts and minds, just as You do for us. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we give You praise for Your strength and power that You provide within us as we turn in trust to You. Amen.

 

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

 

May God be gracious to us and bless us and make His face shine upon us. – Psalm 67:1

Delight to Walk Upright

Restore to me the joy of Your salvation, and make me willing to obey. – (Psalm 51:12, NLT)

Your help made me so happy. Give me that joy again. Make my spirit strong and ready to obey You. – (Psalm 51:12, ERV)

Give back to me the deep delight of being saved by You; let Your willing Spirit sustain me. – (Psalm 51:12, VOICE) 

By Friday, many of us simply need a reminder of our real reason for joy. If we are willing to start our day seeking the Savior, who is our salvation and our Source of strength, joy rises up and the desire to do what is right before God gains renewed resolve. He is good, and His unending love will lead us and fill us as we choose to depend on Him to direct our path. May we delight in the Lord, who is our Source of joy and strength, and depend on Him to lead us in the ways in which we are meant to go.

 

Lord, return to me,Delight to Walk Upright

The sense of delight;

That entered my heart,

Made heavy things light.

Restore the pure joy,

Found in knowing You;

For You make us strong,

To walk Your way true.

Please make me willing,

To seek and obey;

For true joy is found,

As we walk Your way. 

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You willingly and lovingly restore the joy of our salvation and strengthen our spirits to walk in Your way as we seek You. Forgive us for wandering aimlessly without Your direction, or for forgetting to pursue the One who provides our joy. Teach us to trust You more, so that we would begin each day anew, fixing our eyes on You. Remind us afresh of the joy we know, simply through time in Your presence. Show us how to love those around us in a way that spreads joy and helps sustain the weary. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we seek You to restore and refresh our joy when we grow weary, and give us a willingness to walk in Your 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

When Loved Ones Die

The Lord cares deeply when His loved ones die. – (Psalm 116:15, NLT)

Very dear to the Lord are the lives of His followers. He cares when they face death. – (Psalm 116:15, ERV)

Precious in the eyes of the Eternal are the deaths of those who follow after Him. – (Psalm 116:15, VOICE)

 

I know the Lord cares about our grief when we lose loved ones, in fact, when Lazarus died and Jesus saw his sisters, He wept. His heart is for us, as we were designed by the work of His hands. Though I am certain I have read Psalm 116 many times before, this morning is the first time that this particular verse caught my attention. Perhaps it is because my heart is heavy after the loss of the grandson of my mom’s best friend, yet it certainly is a significant reminder of the Lord’s love and compassion in our seasons of loss. God sees, knows, and cares about those who die and those who are left behind in grief. May we find comfort in knowing that He is waiting with open arms for those who have gone on to be with Him, and that when we know and follow the Lord, we will one day be reunited in heaven.

 

Precious in His sight, When Loved Ones Die

Are those who have died;

God loves them deeply,

Draws each to His side.

Imagine the look,

Of love on His face;

As He welcomes them,

Into His embrace.

So precious are each,

Who’ve entered His rest;

All pain disappears,

In glory, they’re blessed.

And God, by His grace,

Will grant us His peace;

As we grieve the loss,

His comfort released.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You care deeply about Your loved ones who die, and those who are left behind to mourn. Thank You that You welcome little children into Your open arms and embrace them, and You extend comfort and peace to those who mourn so deeply. Thank You that though grief and healing are a long road, You remain present and are big enough to handle our fears, frustrations and questions. Forgive us for not running into Your waiting arms, as we so often freeze in the weight of our own grief. Teach us to trust You more, so that we would lean on You, and trust You to carry us when we do not have the strength to walk another step. Father, please be with the family of Eli as they prepare to remember him well tomorrow. Thank You that You are good, even when life is hard. Show us how to love and support those who are grieving or walking in the weight of loss. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we give You the glory for loving us through loss, and for welcoming those who go before us into Your presence. Amen.

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

Your righteousness reaches to the skies, O God, You who have done great things. Who, O God, is like You? – Psalm 71:19