Endings and Beginnings

You are my refuge and my shield; I have put my hope in Your word. – (Psalm 119:114, NIV)

You are my refuge and my shield; Your word is my source of hope. – (Psalm 119:114, NLT)

You are my hiding place and my shield of protection; I hope in Your word. – (Psalm 119:114, VOICE)

 

Though David often had need for the Lord to be his literal hiding place, there were times too, that he needed his heart to be covered and “hidden” by God. For me, that is more often the space that I find myself in. When the cares of my circumstances become overwhelming or seem far too heavy to bear, it is in that space that I need seek Christ to cover my heart with His, as He is my place of refuge and a shield about me. He renews my hope with the truth of His word and reminds me anew of who He is. Today, I am being granted the gift of time with my boys as they prepare to leave for a ten-day cruise with the Sea Scouts. I had hoped and prayed for a way to get home to help them pack and prepare and send them off, and God has been faithful to provide faithful friends for such a time as this, so that I could do exactly that and know that mom is in great hands and comfortable in my brief absence.

Yesterday was an incredible day to end mom’s therapies in Washington. As she met with Nick, her physical therapist, he had me guide mom through the paces of navigating her front steps with her hemi-walker. Giving her verbal cues and only keeping a hand touching her low back to remind her that I was present if there was a need, she was able to go down the steps, walk some steps in the grass, turn around, and then return up the stairs. It was the very first time since her stroke that mom had set foot on grass, and after Nick left, she could not stop the tears from falling. For her, it was yet another mile-marker that reminded her that hope is tangible and that she is truly making progress. A few hours later, mom had her final session with Susan, her speech therapist. The beautiful thing about speech therapy is that there is much opportunity to visit, as word recall is largely called forth through conversation. Time flew by, and goodbyes were difficult. Lastly, a bit later in the afternoon, was Larissa, mom’s occupational therapist. Larissa went to great lengths to make certain that we had a solid plan in place for ongoing exercises and stretches for mom to be doing daily during the gap time between now and when therapies begin in Oregon. She has been innovative and kind, and has gone above and beyond to help research and facilitate mom’s needs. As she was leaving, she refused to call it goodbye, but rather a “see you later.” Each of mom’s therapists parted ways with mom with hugs and words of well-wishes, encouraging her and letting her know how much they had loved working with her and how much they would miss her. Mom has a way of winning folks over quickly, and once she has, she is not forgotten. My hope and prayer now, is that she will find the same to be true of her new therapists in Oregon, and that she will discover a new community with which to connect during her season in that space. God has always been her refuge, and I trust that He will continue to provide her hope and tangible evidence of His faithfulness.

 

My refuge and shield, 08011905054602014993045993958.jpg

Where all hope is found;

The God of all grace,

Your word’s always sound.

You grant me safety,

And You cover me;

My heart is hidden,

In You, lovingly.

Hidden from the things,

That make me choose fear;

Blind to Your presence,

As You’re ever near.

Help us ever seek,

The light of Your grace;

For goodness is found,

Following Your ways.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You are our safety and our refuge, and that we can ever find hope in Your word. Thank You that You are present to help and protect and provide. Forgive us for our fearfulness in the unsteady or the unknown. Teach us to trust You more. Show us how to love those around us in a way that offers peace and grace and safety. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we trust and hope in You forever. Amen.

 

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

 

I will say of the Lord, “He is my refuge and my fortress, my God in whom I trust.” – Psalm 91:2

Never Hidden From Grace

“Who can hide in secret places so that I cannot see them?” declares the Lord. “Do I not fill the heaven and earth?” declares the Lord. – (Jeremiah 23:24, NIV)

“Someone might try to hide from me in some hiding place. But it is easy for me to see that person,” says the Lord, “because I am everywhere in heaven and earth.” – (Jeremiah 23:24, ERV)

“Can anyone hide from Me in a secret place? Am I not everywhere in all the heavens and earth?” says the Lord. – (Jeremiah 23:24, NLT)

 

There are times, even if we are not trying to hide, our circumstances may make us feel hidden from plain sight. For me, being in a situation where I am confined to my mom’s home, not being able to come and go as I please, is a strange sort of hidden space. Thankfully, God is faithful to remind me each new morning of His faithfulness and mercy, as He paints the sky anew, in plain view, as I rise. We are not hidden from His sight nor His reach, and the same way His glory fills the skies, is how He fills this house with His grace and mercy and love.

God made His reach and His vision for mom and her recovery evident yesterday as we met her new physical therapist. Nick is a wonderful man, with vast experience, who really took the time to get to know mom, what she is able to currently do, what she hopes to accomplish; and then began actively working with her to reach her goals. In one visit, he showed her new things that she is capable of doing that she did not realize she could already do. Additionally, for the first time, a few of her steps down her long hallway with the walker, did not require his assistance to bring her “stubborn” right leg through! This is huge progress, and truly tangible evidence that mom can see and feel and hold. There is little quite so encouraging as that which you can actually see and feel for yourself, in the direction you are working tirelessly toward. Last night, despite three wake-ups, was better for sleep for both of us as well. Today holds the meetings with her new speech therapist and occupational therapist, so I anticipate a busy, yet encouraging day. Please pray with us that today’s therapists are as wonderful as both Nick and Kari, whom we met on Saturday for an initial evaluation. If the first two are any indication, I would venture to say that yet again, God has orchestrated this change for such a time as this. May we ever trust in the One who hand-crafted the heavens and the earth, for we are never hidden from His sight.

 

Though there may be times, img_2019-06-25_07-02-53343082748570767751.jpg

Where we feel unseen;

The Lord keeps us close,

His love intervenes.

There’s nowhere we go,

That God cannot see;

He’ll never let go,

Presence, guaranteed.

We need only look,

Upon the vast sky;

Recognize His grace,

Grants us wings to fly.

Fly in His freedom,

Soar in His great grace;

Know how we are loved,

No matter our space.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that there is no place that we are hidden from You and Your great love for us. Thank You that the hands that created the heavens and the earth also created each of us, and know us individually. Thank You that no concern, care, celebration, nor fear escapes You. You see and know all. Forgive us for feeling isolated or unseen when our circumstances keep us from the communities we love. Teach us to trust You more, so that we would lean on You in the seasons that feel isolated, knowing that we are never alone. Show us how to reach out and love the lonely, helping to remind them how loved they truly are. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we rely on Your grace and celebrate Your nearness. Amen.

 

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

 

But as for me, how good it is to be near God! I have made the Sovereign Lord my shelter, and I will tell everyone about the wonderful things You do. – Psalm 73:28

To Stay on Track

Search me, God, and know my heart; test me and know my anxious thoughts. See if there is any offensive way in me, and lead me in the way everlasting. – (Psalm 139:23-24, NIV)

God, examine me and know my mind. Test me and know all my worries. Make sure that I am not going the wrong way. Lead me on the path that has always been right. – (Psalm 139:23-24, ERV)

God, I invite your searching gaze into my heart. Examine me through and through; find out everything that may be hidden within me. Put me to the test and sift through all my anxious cares. See if there is any path of pain I’m walking on, and lead me back to your glorious, everlasting ways – the path that brings me back to You. – (Psalm 139:23-24, TPT)

 

This is a powerful prayer for self-reflection. Though God already knows us and knows our heart and mind, the invitation is extended through our asking that He show us things that we need to change. It is an admission of our own need, and an acknowledgement of who God is and how He loves us so much that He is willing to show us the best ways to stay on track with Him. May we ever seek the Lord and His ways, allowing Him reign so that we follow the path that leads to a life in His love.

 

Search my heart, O God, To Stay on Track

Please show me the ways;

That are needing change,

Throughout all my days.

You know me so well,

My heart and my mind;

In love, You point out,

The wrongs that You find.

Not to embarrass,

To hurt nor cause harm;

But rather to lead,

Uphold in Your arms.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that as we seek You and ask You to show us what needs to change, You are faithful to lead us away from that which can cause harm and show us the best ways to walk in Your will. Forgive us for not seeking Your heart for direction. Teach us to trust You and know You always have our very best in mind. Show us how to love those around us in a way that points to the path paved by You. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we seek You to lead us and guide us on the path You have prepared for us forever. Amen.

 

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

 

Show me Your ways, Lord, teach me Your paths. – Psalm 25:4

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

The Wonders of His Word

Open my eyes so that I can see all the wonderful things in Your teachings. – (Psalm 119:18, ERV)

Open my eyes so that I can examine the wonders of Your instruction! – (Psalm 119:18, CEB)

Open my eyes to see the miracle-wonders hidden in Your word. – (Psalm 119:18, TPT)

 

God is good, and He has given us His word to lead us and guide us in the ways we are meant to go. At a first read, it is easy to assume that much is not applicable today, as life in current times is far different than it was back then. Incredibly, people are people, and the wisdom to be gained from His word remains constant throughout the test of time. There are examples of what we should and should not do, instructions and examples of faith, perseverance, love, hope, help, and healing. God is the same yesterday, today and forever, so the same God who parted a sea to move an entire population to safety, is alive and working among us today. May we seek the Lord for insight as we press into time in His word, growing in understanding and discovering the wonders in His holy word.

 

Lord, help me to see, Remain in His Love

The truth in Your word;

So my heart may hold,

The grace You have stirred.

Many examples,

Of Your love and grace;

To inspire and guide,

Throughout all our days.

As I see and learn,

Lord, help me to grow;

So I might apply,

All I come to know.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You for Your word. Thank You that as we seek You for insight, You open our understanding to the truth of Your word. Thank You for the gift of Your word to guide us as we go. Forgive us for not seeking or digging deeper to discover the wonders of Your instruction, that make life far easier to navigate. Teach us to trust You more, recognizing that You answer those who ask. Show us how to love those around us in a way that demonstrates the goodness of walking in Your way and following Your instruction. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we seek You to open our understanding to the wonders of Your word. Amen.

 

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

 

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

Our Invitation for Intervention

Search me, God, and know my heart; test me and know my anxious thoughts. See if there is any offensive way in me, and lead me in the way everlasting. – (Psalm 139:23-24, NIV)

God, examine me and know my mind. Test me and know all my worries. Make sure that I am not going the wrong way. Lead me on the path that has always been right. – (Psalm 139:23-24, ERV)

God, I invite Your searching gaze into my heart. Examine me through and through; find out everything that may be hidden within me. Put me to the test and sift through all my anxious cares. See if there is any path of pain I’m walking on, and lead me back to Your glorious, everlasting ways – the path that brings me back to You. – (Psalm 139:23-24, TPT)

 

Though God already knows our mind and our thoughts, it is our invitation for His intervention that makes all the difference. When we request that our Redeemer show us that which is within us that needs to go, He makes His path plain and leads us in light of His love. There are plenty of anxious thoughts within me, as the state of my school feels chaotic. This morning, I have to attend mandatory “Active-Shooter Training” for an hour before my classes even begin. In this space, I have to walk forward in faith, and trust that I am where I am meant to be for such a time as this. If my mind and my thoughts determined my path on my own, I would have walked away a few months ago. However, that is not how I am being led. Though I know not what will become of this year, I have to trust that He will bring about His glory and use it all for good. May we ever seek the Lord and invite Him in, as He leads us in light of His love and shows us which way we are meant to go.

 

Search me and know me, Our Invitation for Intervention

O Lord above all;

I trust You’ll catch me,

Not allow me fall.

For as I seek You,

You make Your path plain;

As You lead onward,

I’ll trust in Your Name.

Remove from my heart,

All that is untrue;

Flood me with Your love,

As I follow You.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that as we seek You and invite You in, You show us our worries and how to trust in You. Forgive us for our anxious thoughts, as each one is a space where we struggle to trust You enough. Lead us in Your ways everlasting, so that we will follow the path that You set before us. Show us how to love others well, so that we walk in light of Your love and act as agents of calm in spaces of chaos. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we invite You to search our hearts and thoughts and show us where change is needed and the direction that we are meant to go. Amen.

 

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

 

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

 

 

Pray Expectantly

Listen to my voice in the morning, Lord. Each morning I bring my requests to You and wait expectantly. – (Psalm 5:3, NLT)

Every morning, Lord, I lay my gifts before You and look to You for help. And every morning You hear my prayers. – (Psalm 5:3, ERV)

In the morning, O Eternal One, listen for my voice; in the day’s first light, I will offer my prayer to You and watch expectantly for Your answer. – (Psalm 5:3, VOICE)

 

Most mornings, I am up long before the sun has risen. This is a treasured time of solitude in the silent stillness, where I am able to invest time in His word and reflect on God’s goodness. Though I am spending this time intentionally, my prayers are fairly familiar each day, as my main request is to be equipped to love well. The Lord is faithful and kind, and grants far more patience than I would ever have on my own. However, I imagine there is far more that I ought to be asking for. There are dreams and desires that He has planted in my heart that lie dormant and hidden, rather than being placed on the altar with anticipation before Him – hopes of mighty movement in lives, circumstances, and things yet to come, that I need to present before Him and watch expectantly for Him to answer. God is faithful forever, if we only choose to come before Him in trust. May we begin each day presenting our praise and petitions before our faithful Father, and watch expectantly for Him to answer, as He always hears.

 

O Lord as I rise, Approaching the Throne of Grace

I come first to You;

With all that I am,

Trusting Your word’s true.

Listen for my voice,

At the dawn’s first light;

I know You’ll hear me,

In us, You delight.

I’ll offer requests,

And all of my praise;

Watching for answers,

You’re faithful always.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that we can come to You each morning and present our requests to You, and You hear our prayers. Thank You that we can pray anytime about anything, and You are available and willing to listen. Thank You that You long for us to be in communication with You. Forgive us for neglecting to bring forth the things that we keep hidden in our hearts, as You already know them anyway. Teach us to trust You more, so that we would seek You for all things, and wait in expectation, knowing that You are moving on our behalf to bring answers. Guard our hearts from discouragement when answers do not come in the time frame we are hoping to see. Thank You that Your timing is perfect. Show us how to love and pray for those around us in meaningful and tangible ways. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we lift our prayers and praise before You each morning, and wait expectantly for You to answer. Amen.

 

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

 

Listen… be wise, and keep your heart on the right path. – Proverbs 23:19

Faith Requires Action

My brothers and sisters, if a person claims to have faith but does nothing, that faith is worth nothing. Faith like that cannot save anyone. – (James 2:14, ERV)

My brothers and sisters, what good is it if people say they have faith but do nothing to show it? Claiming to have faith can’t save anyone, can it? – (James 2:14, CEB)

Dear brothers, what’s the use of saying that you have faith and are Christians if you aren’t proving it by helping others? Will that kind of faith save anyone? – (James 2:14, TLB)

 

No, there is nothing that we can do to make God love us more than He already does, nor is there a way to “earn” His favor. However, when there is a transformed heart through faith in Him, a desire to love as we are loved rises up within us. What we do and how we love is an outward demonstration of the internal transformation that Christ is doing within us. If we claim to have faith, but have no kindness, there is no evidence that faith actually exists. The outward expression of the faith that is fortified in Christ, ought to grow greater as we dig deeper in our walk with the Lord. May we ever invest time and energy in allowing God to grow our faith, so that our actions may clearly shine the light of His love.

 

Brothers and sisters, Good Gifts

May our faith shine bright;

As we seek love well,

In others, delight.

For faith in just words,

Means nothing at all;

If it is not shown,

Our words simply fall.

Yet faith that is shown,

Through actions in love;

Illuminate light,

From the Lord above.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that when we act in faith and choose to love and move in the direction You call, Your light shines bright before others. Forgive us for the times that faith has been a theory hidden in our hearts, rather than what we act upon and allow to lead us to move and do as You have done for us. Teach us to trust You more, so that we will give action to the faith we hold in our hearts. Show us how to love well those around us, so that needs are met and good is given where it has been lacking. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we put our faith in action. Amen.

 

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

 

Listen… be wise, and keep your heart on the right path. – Proverbs 23:19

Pass It On

As the Scriptures say, “People are like the grass; their beauty is like a flower in the field. The grass withers and the flower fades. But the word of the Lord remains forever.” And that word is the Good News that was preached to you. – (1 Peter 1:24-25, NLT)

The Scriptures say, “Our lives are like the grass of spring, and any glory we enjoy is like the beauty of a wildflower. The grass dries up and dies, and the flower falls to the ground. But the word of the Lord lasts forever.” – (1 Peter 1:24-25, ERV)

For as Isaiah said, “All life is like the grass, and its glory like a flower; The grass will wither and die, and the flower falls, But the word of the Lord will endure forever.” – (1 Peter 1:24-25, VOICE)

 

Our life, the very beauty that God grows within us, is fleeting. What is true and lasting is that which He plants within us to pass on to those around us. As we demonstrate the love of God to the people with whom we meet, that which lasts beyond what is seen, is shared with those around us. May we allow the truth of His word to spring up in love, so that what is shown is lasting and life-giving to those with whom we interact.

 

Looks, they are fleeting,Enter With Thanksgiving

But what truly lasts?

The love of the Lord,

To all shall be passed.

The word of the Lord,

Is truth for all time;

It lasts beyond life,

Brings future divine.

For God’s word is shown,

As we choose to love;

Elevate people,

Do as Jesus does.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that though what is seen is temporary, the truth of Your word endures forever. Thank You that as we love like we are loved, we share the truth of who You are with those around us. Forgive us for allowing the beauty that You place within us to be hidden rather than allow Your light to shine bright. Teach us to trust You more, so that we would love fearlessly and give generously, just as You do unto us. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we choose to let Your light shine through our love so that the truth of who You are may be evident in us. Amen.

 

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

 

Is anyone happy? Let him sing songs of praise. – James 5:13

His Passion for Our Peace

But as He came closer to Jerusalem and saw the city ahead, He began to weep. “How I wish today that you of all people would understand the way to peace. But now it is hidden from your eyes.” – (Luke 19:41-42, NLT)

Jesus came near Jerusalem. Looking at the city, He began to cry for it and said, “I wish you knew today what would bring you peace. But it is hidden from you now.” – (Luke 19:41-42, ERV)

When the city came into view, He wept over it. “If you had only recognized this day, and everything that was good for you! But now it is too late.” – (Luke 19:41-42, MSG)

 

I’m not quite sure why this portion of passage has never stood out to me before, but this morning, I feel as if it is giving me deeper insight into the heart of our loving Father. The verse, “Jesus wept,” is often quoted and easily pointed back to the loss of His dear friend, Lazarus, and the response Jesus had when He saw the grief of those mourning the loss. In this passage, Jesus is grieving over an entire city. He knows the fate that will befall them, as He has shared His message of hope and peace again and again, yet knew that His time was nearing an end and the people who chose not to hear Him would be lost. I imagine that God grieves over us in much the same way when we stay stuck in our sorrow, grief and hopelessness, rather than turning to Him in trust. Jesus came and bore the weight of all of our heaviness so that we could know His peace, yet we must receive it in order to know it for ourselves. Though Jesus knocks and waits, we are not immortal. Each of us have an expiration date that is unknown. If we choose to neglect our opportunity to know Him when He is directly in front of us, the possibility may pass us by. May we ever seek our Savior and turn to Him in trust, as He is our place of peace at all times.

 

The Lord sees our hearts, His Passion for Our Peace

When lost, without peace;

With weeping, He grieves,

When we choose not seek.

God is the answer,

The hope our hearts need;

He’s ever waiting,

As we ask, He’ll lead.

He’s always gentle,

Won’t force His way in;

Waits for us to ask,

Then sets free from sin.

Peace He will bring us,

If we make request;

Grace freely granted,

He gives us His best.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that Your heart is so clearly for us. Thank You that You love us to the point of tears, and that You willingly sent Your Son so that we could have life abundantly in You. Forgive us for not seeking You in trust when evidence of Your goodness and faithfulness are all around us. Teach us to trust You in all things and at all times, so that we would ever seek You. Show us how to love those around us in a way that offers Your peace to those who need it most. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we trust You with our lives and receive the grace and peace that You abundantly give. Amen.

 

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

 

He will yet fill your mouth with laughter and your lips with shouts of joy. – Job 8:21