Grace in the Grief

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) 

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

 

This morning, as I checked my messages, there was a notice from a friend at church informing me that an incredible lady – a wife and mother about my age, has passed. It has been both inspiring and heartbreaking to watch, for she battled cancer with courage and strength over the last several years, as her family fought alongside her. There was a sense of maintaining as much normalcy as possible, despite the devastation that all must have been feeling. The comfort in this heart-breaking loss, is that she is free of the pain and walking in glory. That being said, her husband has lost his best friend, and the children have lost their mother. Grief is a heavy space. As I pray for the family and those closest to her, I lay hold of the promise held in this verse in Matthew. Though it is not an easy road, God will bring comfort. God will bring His perfect peace. May we hold fast to the promise that He holds the grieving in His hands, and God is our Source of comfort in every season. 

 

God of all comfort, Being Made New

We lean into Thee; 

For the ones mourning, 

Bring Your grace and peace. 

No words that we speak, 

Nor acts done in love; 

Can comfort the grief, 

Like You Lord, above. 

For You know each heart, 

How to help the ache; 

To soothe the sorrow, 

And mend the heartbreak. 

O Lord, be near them, 

As they walk through pain; 

Be their close comfort, 

‘til just love remains. 

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You are our comfort when we grieve. Thank You that You know this family and all that they need. Thank You that You will bring exactly what they need to navigate their new normal. Forgive us for forgetting our own mortality, and not receiving each day we wake as an incredible gift of time that not all are afforded. Teach us to appreciate each new day, and to seek You in all things. Show us how to love well, those who are mourning. May we be used in the practical as well as the prayerful. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we praise You for being our comfort and our peace, even in the most heartbreaking of times. Amen.

 

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

(There is) A time to cry and a time to laugh. A time to grieve and a time to dance. – Ecclesiastes 3:4

Draw Near with True Hearts

Let us draw near to God with a sincere heart and with full assurance that faith brings, having our hearts sprinkled to cleanse us from a guilty conscience and having our bodies washed with pure water. – (Hebrews 10:22, NIV)

Sprinkled with the blood of Christ, our hearts have been made free from a guilty conscience, and our bodies have been washed with pure water. So, come near to God with a sincere heart, full of confidence because of our faith in Christ. – (Hebrews 10:22, ERV)

Let us draw near with true hearts full of faith, with hearts rinsed clean of any evil conscience, and with bodies cleansed with pure water. – (Hebrews 10:22, VOICE)

Christ made coming to God possible. Through His sacrifice, once and for all, we have full assurance that the price has already been paid for our sins. Because we have been washed clean from the inside out, when we draw near to God and receive what He freely offers, we can confidently enter into His presence and communicate with the nearness of a loving Father and friend. May we readily receive what Christ gives by His glorious grace, and draw near to the Lord with faith, as we are fully known.

 

One great sacrifice,

dsc05856629176734122440876.jpg

Photo by Dee Jones of Open Door Photography ❤

Made way for us all;

To become washed clean,

Be heard when we call.

What Christ did for us,

Is ours to receive;

By faith, to lay hold,

All hope we believe.

So, let us draw near,

With hearts that embrace;

The gift of new life,

Through God’s lavish grace.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You sent Your Son as the ultimate sacrifice for us all. Jesus, thank You for taking on all of our sin and shame, so that we could be made clean and worthy to approach the throne of God. Forgive us for taking Your sacrifice for granted, or for somehow thinking it could not possibly cover the weight of our own ugliness. Teach us to trust You more, so that we would receive the grace that You have so generously given, and never forget the ultimate price that You paid on our behalf. Show us how to love those around us well, so that they might recognize Your grace and love through our words and deeds. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we receive the incredible gift of grace that You freely give, and continue to come close to You so that we will know how to best walk according to Your will. Amen.

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

For the law made nothing perfect, and a better hope is introduced, by which we draw near to God. – Hebrews 7:19

 

Kindness to Cope

Now let Your unfailing love comfort me, just as You promised me, Your servant. – (Psalm 119:76, NLT)

Now comfort me with Your faithful love, as You promised. – (Psalm 119:76, ERV)

Send Your kind mercy-kiss to comfort me, Your servant, just like You promised You would. – (Psalm 119:76, TPT)

 

Can I be really raw and real right now? Though I know this is true and I trust Him, I am struggling in my current circumstance. Yesterday, I went to what I thought would be a fairly routine check back for my fractured fibula, but as the appointment unfolded, the orthopedist had some concerns about the swelling that was still present in my lower leg. She sent me to ultrasound to have imaging done to be certain there were no blood clots, as occasionally a clot could cause swelling such as mine. As it turned out, her suspicion was confirmed, and I do indeed have a blood clot in my calf. I was promptly whisked from one doctor to the next to the next, until I ultimately ended up in the ER for bloodwork so that they could start me on blood thinners immediately. Now, here is the space of struggle… I know that God, in His great love for me, gave the doctor the wisdom to check for a blood clot. Additionally, each next door I was meant to walk through to work toward solutions, opened rapidly. The difficulty that I am having in all of this is the loss of my mobility due to the fracture, and now knowing that I will be on blood thinners for a season and not allowed to partake in contact sports.  After having trained with my football team since the fall, I am deeply disappointed. Likely, my difficulty sleeping at night is further fueling my frustration. At the end of the day, I know God is good and that He will meet me and comfort me, as His presence is promised forever. May we ever be open to receive the comfort conveyed by our Creator, and trust that His promises are always true.

 

With unfailing love, peace in presence

The Lord, He is near;

To be our comfort,

As each cry He hears.

His presence promised,

His faithful love, true;

Provides what’s needed,

As He walks us through.

Let mercy surround,

In our fear and doubt;

By Your love, lead us,

Your path You’ve laid out.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that Your unfailing love is present to comfort us, just as You promised. Forgive me for allowing my frustration to compete with my gratitude in the good that You do and how You make Your mercy known. Teach me to trust You more, so that I would lay hold of Your unfailing love and find comfort in Your promised presence forever. Show me how to love those around me with love that comforts and remains present through difficulties. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we give You praise for Your unfailing love and trust in Your promises that we know are true. Amen.

 

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

 

The Lord is gracious and compassionate, slow to anger and rich in love. – Psalm 145:8

Ambassadors of Love

No one has ever seen God. But if we love each other, God lives in us, and His love is brought to full expression in us. – (1 John 4:12, NLT)

No one has ever seen God. But if we love each other, God lives in us. God’s love has reached its goal – it is made perfect in us. – (1 John 4:12, ERV)

No one has ever seen God with human eyes; but if we love one another, God truly lives in us. Consequently, God’s love has accomplished its mission among us. – (1 John 4:12, VOICE)

 

When we love God and love people as He has called us to do, though we do not see God with human eyes, our hearts lay hold of who God truly is, as He becomes tangible through the expression of love brought before us. The more we choose to love, the more we are available to be ambassadors to those around us, granting glimpses of His goodness and grace to those longing to feel it for themselves. His love accomplishes its mission among us as we choose to live out a life in His love. May we ever pursue the path that keeps us loving God and loving people as our priority, as it is the place where we experience His love made perfect in us.

 

Though no eye has seen, Ambassadors of Love

Our great Holy God;

He lives in each heart,

That seeks His path trod.

For those who choose love,

As priority;

Have God within them,

His heart plainly seen.

To love each other,

The goal surely met;

God’s mission complete,

In Him, no regrets.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that though no human eye has seen the fullness of Your face, our hearts have come to know the glory of Your grace and goodness of Your love. Thank You that when we love You and love one another, You live in us and bring Your love to full expression in us. Forgive us for not allowing the fullness of Your love to be expressed through us to those around us. Teach us to trust You more, so that we would love without withholding, and allow Your love to be made complete in us. Show us how to love those around us as You would have us love. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we love each other as You call us to love. Amen.

 

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

 

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

The Strength of His Love

Because God’s faithful love toward us is strong, the Lord’s faithfulness lasts forever! Praise the Lord! – (Psalm 117:2, CEB)

For great is His love toward us, and the faithfulness of the Lord endures forever. Praise the Lord. – (Psalm 117:2, NIV)

For He loves us very dearly, and His truth endures. Praise the Lord. – (Psalm 117:2, TLB)

 

Despite what we see or what we may feel, the Lord’s love for us lasts forever. His love is not dependent on what we do, but rather He loves because we are His. God is faithful forever and worthy of all of our praise. So often on the days that we choose to trust and praise, regardless of what we see, breakthrough comes and we become aware of the hand of God that has been moving all along. May we rise up and trust in His great love for us, as His faithfulness will remain forever.

 

For great is His love, Strong Heart

It’s faithful and true;

Forever endures,

For me and for you.

All that He’s promised,

Shall always remain;

We can lay hold of,

Truth His word proclaims.

For God’s faithfulness,

And His lasting love;

May we ever praise,

The Lord God above.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that Your faithful love toward us is strong and eternal. Thank You that Your faithfulness knows no end. Forgive us for failing to trust Your goodness when we cannot see evidence of You working in our circumstances. Teach us to trust You more, so that we will trust Your faithfulness, even when we cannot see how You are moving on our behalf. Show us how to love others in a way that lifts others up and gives strength and hope where it is lacking. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we give You all of our praise because You are faithful forever and Your truth never ends. 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

Happy with Hiccups

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



Good is such a relative term. What is good to one, is miserable to another. Sometimes, our perspective matters most in determining if times are good. Right now, I am staying at a beautiful facility in the jungle in Belize as a part of a medical mission team. Many of the team members are dear friends, and I am enjoying the opportunity to get to know the others as well. The hiccup in this humidity is that there has been no water in the main house where I am staying for the past two days, and consequently, I have not had a shower in as many days. Despite feeling a bit slimy, times truly are good and I am happy to be here in this place, at this time, with these people. May we ever recognize the good that comes from God, and lay hold of the joy that He brings.
As the sun rises,  Happy with Hiccups

There is good to see;

We must make the choice,

In Him, find happy. 

For there will be snags,

Small stealers of joy;

But we have the choice,

His grace, to employ. 

For throughout all things,

And during all times;

God is always good,

And His love we’ll find. 


Dear Heavenly Father, thank You for the incredible good that You surround us with every day. Thank You for the joy that is ours for the taking, if we choose joy in You. Forgive us for not recognizing the good all around us, or for allowing small things to bear too much weight in our world. Teach us to trust You more so that we would appreciate the good that You grant us, and exude the joy that is ours in You. Show us how to love those around us as You love us. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we are happy and appreciate the good that You have given. Amen.

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

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

Encourage and Build Up

So encourage each other and build each other up, just as you are already doing. – (1 Thessalonians 5:11, NLT)

So encourage each other and help each other grow stronger in faith, just as you are already doing. – (1 Thessalonians 5:11, ERV)

So support one another. Keep building each other up as you have been doing. – (1 Thessalonians 5:11, VOICE)

 

I continue to stand in awe as I watch how God orchestrates community. A few years ago, when my world turned upside down, I found myself in the midst of friends who became family. These people encouraged and built up both me and my boys, and we have grown stronger as a result. As life keeps moving forward, and the circle expands, each of us have opportunity to encourage, build up, and support one another as we grow. Though time marches on and life becomes busy, the joy that is found in time spent together, remains. May we lay hold of every opportunity to encourage and build each other up, as we grow in faith and His strength as we walk out His will.

 

Called to encourage,Encourage and Build Up

And build others up;

To grow in our faith,

In strength we lift up.

Choose invest time well,

In community;

It is where your friends,

Become family.

All thanks be to God,

Who knows what we need;

Surrounds us the best,

So we can succeed.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You call us to be invested in communities. Thank You that as we encourage and build one another up, we grow stronger in our faith, and friends become family in You. Thank You that You know our need and meet it far better than we ever could. Forgive us for attempting to isolate ourselves or for withdrawing from the places that we have been planted. Teach us to trust You completely, so that we would invest well in the people that You have brought into our lives. Show us how to love, encourage and build others up, just as You have done for us. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we support each other as You have called us to do. Amen.

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

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

Encourage and Build Up

So encourage each other and build each other up, just as you are already doing. – (1 Thessalonians 5:11, NLT)

So encourage each other and help each other grow stronger in faith, just as you are already doing. – (1 Thessalonians 5:11, ERV)

 

Though these were Paul’s words to the church of Thessalonica, they are still are relevant and applicable to us today. We are called to continue to encourage and build each other up, so that we may grow stronger in our faith. God created us for community, and it is in that space of community that we find not only the opportunity to encourage and build others up, but we ourselves are encouraged and built up as well. May we rise up and be ready to look for every occasion that we might encourage and build others up.

 

Rise up, be ready,OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

For we have been called;

To build others up,

Help faith be installed.

As we encourage,

Choose help others grow;

Both sides are strengthened,

As hope is made known.

For you already,

Are choosing love well;

Continue in faith,

In His will, we’ll dwell.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You call us to encourage and build each other up. Thank You that in doing so, we help one another grow stronger in our faith. Thank You that You supply all that we need to do that which You call us to do. Forgive us for neglecting occasions to encourage or build others up. Teach us to trust You more, so that we would lay hold of every opportunity and choose to love others as we are loved by You. Show us how to love well, so that our words and deeds encourage and build others up. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we encourage and build others up, just as You do for us. Amen.

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

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

Glimpses of God’s Glory

Jesus responded, “Didn’t I tell you that you would see God’s glory if you believe?” – (John 11:40, NLT)

 

Jesus spoke these words to Martha at the entrance to Lazarus’ tomb, just prior to raising him from the dead. Martha was more concerned with what the tomb might smell like than what the Savior was about to do. She was temporarily trapped in trusting the perceived truth that she could see, rather than the reality held in the power of her precious Savior.

It did not take long for her heart to be set right and her world to be flipped upside down. With but three words spoken, “Lazarus, come out!” Martha’s brother was returned to her as Jesus raised him from the dead, restoring him to life once again.

Though we seldom see Jesus work in the same way as He did in Lazarus, His awesome power is at work all around us. He restores the broken-hearted, heals the sick, provides for those in need, and places the lonely in families. The power of God is not limited to our perception of God. He can do exceedingly more than we could ever hope or imagine. We only get to see God’s glory when we choose to believe that He is who He says He is. May we lay hold of the faith that He imparts unto us, and believe big for the things that He has placed in our hearts. Let His glory be seen to the ends of the earth as we listen, love and get out of the way.

 

May we rise in faith,The Reason for Reverence

In trust, hold what’s true;

For the Lord is near,

His wonders anew.

God’s glory prepared,

For our eyes to see;

His grace and power,

As we are set free.

Choose to walk in faith,

To trust and believe;

Let every heart,

Invest and receive.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that when we believe and trust in You, we have the privilege of seeing how You move mightily on our behalf. Thank You that You give us glimpses of Your glory in our everyday walks of faith. Forgive us for our lack of faith or our fearfulness when all around us seems to be falling apart. Teach us to trust You in all things and at all times, despite how things appear, as You so often move the most miraculously when things seem to be at their worst. Show us how to love others well, and how to model a belief that points people unto You. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we believe in who You are and how You love. 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

 

 

 

Faithfulness Forever

Your faithfulness extends to every generation, as enduring as the earth You created. – (Psalm 119:90, NLT)

You are loyal forever and ever. You made the earth and it still stands. – (Psalm 119:90, ERV)

 

David compared the faithfulness and loyalty of God to something tangible that we could grasp. Just as the earth endures, despite man’s destructive nature, so too does the faithful love of the Lord to those who call on His Name. God’s faithfulness did not end because of our sinfulness. Instead, He made the way for our relationship to be restored unto Himself through the life, death and resurrection of His Son. There is no greater love nor loyalty than that of one willing to lay down His life on our behalf. As I consider people in my own life, I am fiercely loyal to those whom I know care for either my children or for me. How much more invested ought my heart be in the One who laid down His life so that I could live? May we lay hold of the magnitude of the Lord’s faithfulness unto us, and respond in a way that demonstrates our gratitude.

 

May my heart embrace,Enter With Thanksgiving

Your great faithfulness;

The way that You love,

Grant life unto us.

Just as creation,

Forever endures;

So too, You’re faithful,

Throughout all our years.

Help us to receive,

These blessings from You;

So we may go forth,

And live life anew.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You are faithful to every generation, and that Your faithfulness does not end. Thank You that we can trust in You forever, as You have made the way for us to walk upright before You. Forgive us for not receiving all that You offer, and teach us to trust You more. Show us how to walk in Your ways and live in Your truth. Lead us to love others in such a way, that they may see Your faithfulness and loyalty through how we care. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we trust in Your faithful love forever. Amen.

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

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