To Love, Learn and Grow

This is what the Lord says – your Redeemer, the Holy One of Israel: “I am the Lord your God, who teaches you what is best for you, who directs you in the way you should go.” – (Isaiah 48:17, NIV)

The Lord, the Savior, the Holy One of Israel, says, “I am the Lord your God. I teach you for your own good. I lead you in the way you should go.” – (Isaiah 48:17, ERV)

“I am God, your God, who teaches you how to live right and well. I show you what to do, where to go.” – (Isaiah 48:17, MSG)

 

As I sit here this morning, prayerfully, after a restless night’s sleep, I am grateful for the reminder of God’s guidance and grace. Today will mark the first day of my twenty-third year of teaching, and the last “first day” that my boys have that aligns with mine, as they begin their senior year. The night before school begins is always a bit restless, as there is an eager anticipation, along with nerves, knowing that there is much to do, and I desperately want to do my job well. This verse is an excellent reminder for me, as though there is a level of preparation that is my responsibility, and indeed the investment has been made, the part of me that knows that there is much more to learn and grow and do better, is encouraged that He will lead me, each new day. May we ever trust in the One who teaches us what is best for us, and how to live right and well; for wherever we go, others see and follow our lead.

Yesterday, mom enjoyed a day with the family at home. There was much hustle and bustle with each pitching in to purge their home in a sort of “spring-cleaning” fashion, and mom utilized some of the lessons that my sister has given her, showing her new ways to make use of her phone in a more one-handed friendly fashion. With mom, we are trusting God’s guidance to show us what to do and where to go, to get mom’s in-home therapies going.

 

Hours before dawn,

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A little “Art Therapy” for this art teacher.

Still waiting for light;

Teachers lie awake,

In hope and delight.

What will this year bring?

What stories unfold?

How will we touch lives,

These young hearts of gold?

Each year there is hope,

And joy in the new;

Potential waiting,

Lord, show us break through.

May schools and classrooms,

Provide a safe space;

To learn, love and grow,

Each know they’ve a place.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You lead us and guide us in the ways we are meant to go, and that You teach us best. Thank You that as You lead us, we in turn can lead and love well. Forgive us for the times that we have not given ear to Your leading. Teach us to trust You more, so that we would ever be learning and growing, just as we desire to see in our kids. Show us how to love and encourage all those around us, so that each person feels safe to grow into all that they are becoming. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we trust You and listen to You as You teach us and lead us forward. Amen.

 

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

 

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

Help Us Teach Well

Start children off on the way they should go, and even when they are old they will not turn from it. – (Proverbs 22:6, NIV)

Teach children in a way that fits their needs, and even when they are old, they will not leave the right path. – (Proverbs 22:6, ERV)

Point your kids in the right direction – when they’re old they won’t be lost. – (Proverbs 22:6, MSG)

 

As a mom who has always tried to point my boys in the right direction, I am especially aware of both the fruit of my investment, and the need to continue to invest, as they enter this new step into adulthood, with one having acquired their license on Friday and the other scheduled to test for it this coming Friday. I find myself in a strange space of trust and anticipation, as we have an agreement in which they text me before they leave and when they arrive, whenever they drive anywhere. For me, I pray and trust that God will keep them safe and grant wisdom and protection as they go. Additionally, it provides me such appreciation for the investment that my own mom made in my life, as I am certain that she experienced what I am going through now. She invested well in teaching us the way we should go, and by doing so, was able to release us into adulthood with the assurance that she had done what she was called to do. It is my hope that when my boys are ready to venture out on their own, that I will have the same confidence.

 

Lord, help us to teach, 0802191348a8711127607626478864.jpg

Show our kids the way;

To walk in Your grace,

And in Your will, stay.

Help us to hold fast,

To Your promise made;

Invest when they’re young,

In old age, they’ll stay.

Thank You for Your grace,

Your love and Your light;

That shows us the way,

To raise our kids right.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You lovingly lead us in the way we are meant to go. Thank You that as we trust in You, You show us how to lead our kids in love, so that they will know You and not depart from You when they are old. Forgive us for the countless ways that we fall short. Teach us to trust You more. Fill the gaps where we have been lacking. Show us how to love all those around us in a way that points people to Your perfect peace. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we love You and lead our kids accordingly. Amen.

 

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

 

The Lord makes firm the steps of the one who delights in Him. – Psalm 37:23

Establish the Work

May the favor of the Lord our God rest on us; establish the work of our hands for us – yes, establish the work of our hands. – (Psalm 90:17, NIV)

Lord, our God, be kind to us. Make everything we do successful. Yes, make it all successful. – (Psalm 90:17, ERV)

O Lord our God, let Your sweet beauty rest upon us and give us favor. Come work with us, and then our works will endure, and give us success in all we do. – (Psalm 90:17, TPT)

 

This is a fitting verse this morning, as I prepare to head back to my classroom to begin the process of preparing for the school year. My prayer is that I can create a space that is safe, comfortable and welcoming, and that as students enter my room, we are able to establish a caring community that fosters growth and learning, bringing out the best in each of us. Such a request is no small ask, and it will require God’s hand to be upon my heart, daily. God is so good, and He is able to do abundantly more than we can ever ask or imagine, and I am asking and imagining that an amazing space of peace be ever present in my classroom. I am trusting Him to establish the work of my hands both now, and in the days to come. Each investment sown in love, does not come back void, but rather finds way to fill in dark spaces with much needed light. May we ever seek our Savior to be our strength and source in all that we do, so that He may establish the good we hope to see.

As for mom, it sounds as if God’s beauty is resting upon her in her new space as well. Though the weariness from travel seemed to have caught up with her a bit yesterday, it was still a good day for mom. My sister arrived home from work to find Terry (mom’s in-home care provider) and Skyler (my nephew) playing Dirty Marbles (family favorite game – cross between Sorry and Chinese Checkers) at the kitchen table. Her new medical insurance card finally arrived in the mail yesterday, so the process of seeing a new physician and establishing in-home therapies should follow soon. It was wonderful to talk to mom and Megan on the phone last evening, as mom sounded good, and as if all is well within her. God continues to be so faithful in every step of the process in this journey for mom. We are trusting the same to be true as an appointment is set to see a new physician, and in-home therapies are sought after.  God will continue to bring mom success on her road to recovery, as she models such faith and trust in Him.

 

May the Lord’s favor, 10221815182971527373307308191.jpg

Be present with us;

As we pursue Him,

Seek love like Jesus.

Establish our work,

Lord, all that we do;

So, Your love’s made clear,

And Your heart shines through.

God, show us the way,

To best persevere;

And work unto You,

As You’re always near.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that as we seek You and place our trust in You, You establish the work of our hands that is intended to honor You. Thank You that You lead us and guide us and love us throughout each day. Forgive us for the times that we deceive ourselves and try to go our own way. Teach us to trust You and stay true to the truth we know. Show us how to establish all that we do in the love and grace that You intend. Lead us to love those around us well, so that they might come to understand what grace, goodness, hope, peace and love look like for themselves. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we trust You to establish the work of our hands, so that we may honor You in all that we do. Amen.

 

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

 

Lord, You establish peace for us; all that we have accomplished You have done for us. – Isaiah 26:12

The Value of Virtue

“It’s not what goes into your body that defiles you; you are defiled by what comes from your heart.” – (Mark 7:15-16, NLT)

“Your souls aren’t harmed by what you eat, but by what you think and say!” – (Mark 7:15-16, TLB)

“What truly contaminates a person is not what he puts into his body, but what comes out. That’s what makes a person defiled.” – (Mark 7:15-16, TPT)

 

Our bodies are a temple and should be treated accordingly. Though we ought to be wise with what and how much we consume, it is not what makes the temple unclean, but rather the things that come from our heart. Our charge to love God and love people requires an investment in our relationship with Him. When we are intentional to seek time with the Lord and study His word, our hearts are cleansed and what we think and say more clearly reflects what He intends for us. In other words, the temple is made beautiful by the expressions of the heart, not by the appearance of the structure. May we ever seek our Savior to cleanse and empower us, so that we may go forth in love, according to His good and perfect plan.

 

The things from the heart, img_2019-03-02_05-51-164357877272792768654.jpg

Each word that’s spoken;

Has power to heal,

Or make things broken.

It is up to us,

To seek and choose well;

And trust in the Lord,

As in Him we dwell.

For He will grant strength,

Remove what’s unclean;

Plant in us, His light,

So His love is seen.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that what we consume is not what makes us unclean, but rather the state of our heart and what we think and say. Forgive us for allowing our hearts to stray from You, so that our thoughts or words no longer reflect Your goodness and grace. Teach us to trust You in all things and at all times to grant us Your grace to speak light and life and love. Show us how to love those around us in the same way that You so lavishly and unconditionally love each of us. May many come into a lasting relationship with You, as Your heart is made visible by our love. Be glorified O God, as we seek and trust in You to help us fix our thoughts on the things of You so that our words and deeds shine Your light wherever we go. Amen.

 

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

 

And over all these virtues put on love, which binds them all together in perfect unity. – Colossians 3:14

 

Offerings Become Art

Therefore, my dear brothers and sisters, stand firm. Let nothing move you. Always give yourselves fully to the work of the Lord, because you know that your labor in the Lord is not in vain. – (1 Corinthians 15:58, NIV)

As a result of all this, my loved brothers and sisters, you must stand firm, unshakable, excelling in the work of the Lord as always, because you know that your labor isn’t going to be for nothing in the Lord. – (1 Corinthians 15:58, CEB)

With all this going for us, my dear, dear friends, stand your ground. And don’t hold back. Throw yourselves into the work of the Master, confident that nothing you do for Him is a waste of time or effort. – (1 Corinthians 15:58, MSG)

 

This verse is both a challenge and an encouragement. As an individual who has felt called to teach since a very young age, it has been an interesting path to traverse over the last twenty-one years. There have been times that the obstacles and challenges seemed so impossible, that I wanted to walk away. The time, resources and self that are poured into each day, have to be for Him, or our perspective becomes distorted.  I know this is only the first week, but there is something that feels more steady and secure than it ever has before. Perhaps it is the tangible support I have at home that provides me the freedom to invest more of myself as I begin each day full, rather than depleted. Another possibility is that I am, for the first time in my career, teaching what I love most, for the majority of my day. Though I enjoy teaching the variety of subjects I have taught throughout my career thus far, I know that my excitement and enthusiasm for helping kids discover that they can create art, is not a waste of time or effort. There is something powerful to watch as students realize that they are able to do far more than they ever thought possible. May we ever stand firm and stay the course to which we are called, for nothing we do for Him is ever for naught.

 

If all that we do, 257314779340194518937431.jpeg

Is unto the Lord;

No effort wasted,

As grace is outpoured.

For God gladly takes,

What we choose to bring;

And uses for good,

All our offerings.

Whether it is time,

Resources or heart;

All done unto God,

Become lifetime art.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that all that we do unto You can be used for Your glory. Thank You that as we stay the course to which we are called, we see Your faithfulness unfold in Your time. Thank You that You are always good, even when we cannot see the good before us. Forgive us for our doubts that make us question the direction we know we are meant to go. Strengthen us to stand firm and press on, trusting completely in You to bring beauty from our investment of time, energy and heart. Show us how to love those around us in a way that encourages them to discover or continue on the path to which they are called. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we trust You to use our every offering for good as we stay the course to which we are called. Amen.

 

 

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

 

Commit your way to the Lord; trust in Him and He will do this. – Psalm 37:5

To Find Favor

Let love and faithfulness never leave you; bind them around your neck, write them on the tablet of your heart. Then you will win favor and a good name in the sight of God and man. – (Proverbs 3:3-4, NIV)

 

Though God’s word has been carved in the corners of my heart, this is the time of year that love threatens to leave me and my faithfulness falters when facing the ongoing adversity of the end of the year. There are days that school feels more like a combat zone than a place of teaching and learning, and I question my calling to this career. I manage, by the grace of God, to keep my responses calm, but internally, that which is bound around my neck and nearly choking me, is not necessarily the most loving. This week, I was granted favor that was not deserved on two occasions that made all of the difference in the moments in which they occurred. Part of my investment in such early rising, is to prepare my heart and mind for whatever may come my way each day. Without time to quietly reflect on the goodness of God, His love and faithfulness would likely feel out of reach for me. I need reminders often for things to resonate and remain at rest within me. God is good, even when our circumstances are frustrating or trying, and He loves us more than we can fathom. May we let His love and faithfulness be what we display, and allow His truth to take hold of our hearts; for favor and a good name in the sight of God and man come through walking in His ways.

 

Let God’s faithfulness,Delivering Dreams

And love remain near;

Write truth on our hearts,

So His way is clear.

As we choose follow,

Walk right and obey;

We gain the favor,

Of those on our way.

To have a good name,

Before God and man;

What faithful love does,

It’s part of God’s plan.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that Your love and faithfulness never leave us, and that as we bind them around our neck and write them upon our heart, You use them to grant us favor and a good name in Your sight and the sight of others. Forgive us for allowing our circumstances to hijack our emotions, rather than running to You for strength and help and hope when the burden is too heavy to bear. Teach us how to seek You in all situations, so that love and faithfulness never leave us. Show us how to love those around us as we are loved by You. May many come into a lasting relationship with You, Lord. Be glorified O God, as we bind Your love and faithfulness around our necks and write them on the tablets of our hearts. Amen.

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

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

Love Prospers Through Forgiveness

Love prospers when a fault is forgiven, but dwelling on it separates close friends. – (Proverbs 17:9, NLT)

Overlook an offense and bond a friendship; fasten onto a slight and – goodbye friend! – (Proverbs 17:9, MSG)

Those who forgive faults foster love, but those who repeatedly recall them ruin relationships. – (Proverbs 17:9, VOICE)

 

I have seen both sides of the truth in these wise words that Solomon recorded. Friends who forgive, foster even closer friendships, but those who choose to dwell on something hurtful, end up losing the friendship altogether. There are times when it is necessary to forgive and walk away, but typically, hurtful things can be discussed and worked through, rather than allowing them to drive a wedge between people who are close. Most often, the offense is a misunderstanding or a misstep that was done with good, not malicious intent. Seeking to understand is always the best mode of operation, rather than harboring bitterness and cutting ties. Sadly, it takes investment from both sides, and if only one half of the equation is willing to work to make amends, then the friendship still ends up lost. May we each offer forgiveness for the faults of others, as we have been forgiven so much.

 

Where we choose forgive,Faith and Hope in Action

The heart of love grows;

Grace that is offered,

Makes God’s true love show.

When we dwell on hurts,

Close bonds are destroyed;

Fixing on our hurts,

Is poison employed.

Let love be fostered,

As we choose forgive;

Love well each other,

In this life we live.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You not only call us to love and forgive, but You have shown us these very acts employed, over and over again. Thank You that You continue to love and forgive us for our faults, as not one of us can navigate this life without mistakes and missteps. Forgive us for dwelling on offenses, and teach us to trust You more, so that we would choose to forgive faults and foster love, rather than repeatedly recall offenses and birth bitterness. Show us how to love as we are loved, forgiving those who offend us as we choose extend Your grace. May many come into a lasting relationship with You, as they come to know Your forgiveness and the depth of Your unending love. Be glorified O God, as we forgive offenses and choose to love well. 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

Peacemakers Plant Seeds of Peace

And those who are peacemakers will plant seeds of peace and reap a harvest of righteousness. – (James 3:18, NLT)

 

I teach in a growing community. Three brand new mega-apartment complexes will have opened in our city by this time next year. One of the complexes will house students that will attend the school where I teach. This can be both terrific and terrifying for teachers. On one hand, it provides an opportunity for a whole new group of students to care for and embrace, yet on the other, it can be a nerve-wracking thing, as there are many variables that are unknown, leaving questions unanswered and planners without a proper path to plan. The first housing community opened just prior to the start of the school year, and housed far more students than had been projected. With so many more students than anticipated, schools were scrambling to figure out the best ways to meet student needs, and accommodate numbers in the classrooms.

Thankfully, the first opening taught our district how we might best prepare for the next. With the second community six weeks or so away from opening and sending students to my school, we are working to make the transition to a new place as pleasant as possible. What has been determined, is that if we go as peacemakers and ambassadors to meet the families before they come to register students for school, there will be familiar friendly faces that they know are for them, and ready to help welcome them to their new school community. It is a way of planting seeds of peace. I imagine that an investment of time and care will reap a harvest of right relationships between school and community in the long run.

May we choose to be peacemakers wherever we go, planting seeds of peace. Let the harvest be one of righteousness before the Lord.

 

Let us go in peace,

Forgiveness is Free

wherever we go;

to plant well Your seeds,

of truth that we know.

May what is then reaped,

be Your righteousness;

so all whom we meet,

will come to feel blessed.

Let Your love lead us,

in all that we do;

in word and in deed,

all glory to You.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You call us to be peacemakers who plant seeds of peace wherever we go. Thank You that as we do, a harvest of righteousness is reaped. Please watch over and bless each family that is preparing to moving into our community – provide protection, direction and all that they need. Forgive us for not sowing peace in places that need it most, and help us to trust You more, so that we would be Your ambassadors of peace, no matter what is going on around us. Show us how to plant seeds of peace everywhere we go, and how to love as You first loved us. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we go forth as peacemakers who plant seeds of peace wherever You direct our steps. Amen.

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

Surely goodness and love will follow me all the days of my life, and I will dwell in the house of the Lord forever. – Psalm 23:6

The Light of His Word

As people understand Your word, it brings light to their lives. Your word makes even simple people wise. – (Psalm 119:130, ERV)

 

The only way that we can come to understand God’s word is to actually invest time reading it. When we do, His Spirit in us, reveals insight and understanding that we did not have before. I am in awe how I can read a passage of scripture that I have read many times before, and it seems that each time it is read, something new is gained through the investment. Even more incredible, is that so often what I learn, applies to what is going on in my life at the time. If I am struggling with difficulty, there is something about the reward of perseverance; if sorrow, the reminder that joy comes in the morning. There is ALWAYS something new to be gained through time in His word, and His wisdom is worth more than anything else that is out there.

 

I love that we don’t have to be biblical scholars to study God’s word. He will reveal Himself to us individually, and personally. He meets us where we are, and shows us more of Himself, each time that we choose invest in Him. Interestingly, the more one invests in the study of His word and time spent with Him, the more it is craved. After making time in God’s word a part of how I begin each day for the past four plus years, I feel really off if something delays my regular routine. Each offering of opportunity to further study the word, is something that I gravitate toward all the more. As new insights come, so do more questions with more to be revealed. I know I will never “arrive”, which makes the pursuit all the more necessary. May we passionately pursue God and His word, as He brings light to our lives and wisdom to our way.

 

Seek understanding,Jesus is God of the Miraculous

through time in the word;

for light for our lives,

is in that space heard.

It is Christ with us,

who shows us the way;

grants wisdom and grace,

to live out each day.

Not just for scholars,

but all who pursue;

the Lord through His word,

shall come to know truth.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You for the gift of Your word. Thank You that as we invest time in reading and meditating on what it says, You reveal more and more of who You are, and how You want us to live. Thank You that You grant us wisdom and understanding by Your Spirit in us, and that there are no prerequisites to our studying Your word. Forgive us for thinking that it is too difficult or that we do not know enough, and help us to learn to listen to Your Spirit within us as we study Your word. Teach us to trust You more, so that we will count on Your faithfulness to reveal more and more of who You are and what You have for us, each time we invest time spent with You. Lead us to love others well, so that they too might see the light and grace that You alone give to all who choose to follow You. May many make the decision to be Your disciples. Be glorified O God, as we seek to understand Your word, and walk in the wisdom that You grant us. 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

To Reflect His Radiance

When Moses came down from Mount Sinai with the two tablets of the Testimony in his hands, he was not aware that his face was radiant because he had spoken with the Lord. – (Exodus 34:29)

 

Moses was returning from spending forty days and nights alone in God’s presence. There were no distractions, no agendas; it was just Moses in the Lord’s presence, gaining wisdom and insight as to how God wanted the people to follow Him. God’s radiance was evident on the face of Moses, because he had spent time alone in His presence. Though we may not light up a room reflecting the very glory of God, we should appear different, changed somehow – through the time we spend in prayer, in the Word, and in the intentional presence of our Savior. God out there, is now God with us, so we have all the more opportunity to reflect the radiance of the living Lord. May we invest our hearts and minds in time alone with Christ, so that we too, may reflect His radiance wherever we go.

 

Time alone with God,To Reflect His Radiance

is our space to grow;

gain understanding,

so His truth we’ll know.

As insight is gained,

His love light will show;

a tangible change,

sets our hearts aglow.

So seek time alone,

the Lord shall bestow;

His grace and mercy,

all goodness to sow.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that time with You is well spent. Thank You that the more time we spend in Your presence, the more we reflect Your heart to those around us. Forgive us for our lack of investment in our relationship with You, or for covering the countenance that You crafted within us to reflect Your glory. Teach us to trust You more, so that others may see and know that there is a difference in us, through You. Lead us to love others as You so lavishly love each of us. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified Lord God, as we reflect Your radiance to those around us. Amen.

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

Not that we are competent in ourselves to claim anything for ourselves, but our competence comes from God. – 2 Corinthians 3:5