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,

09021914503103742408969719714.jpg

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

Trust for Return

As for God, His way is perfect: The Lord’s word is flawless; He shields all who take refuge in Him. – (Psalm 18:30, NIV)

God’s way is perfect. The Lord’s promise always proves to be true. He protects those who trust in Him. – (Psalm 18:30, ERV)

What a God! His road stretches straight and smooth. Every God-direction is road-tested. Everyone who runs toward Him makes it. – (Psalm 18:30, MSG)

 

Our plans are not always the plans that God has in mind for us. On this quick trip home, much of what I thought and had planned, went differently than anticipated. At first, I was disappointed, but then realized that the change in plans at least afforded me a bit more time with my boys, and perhaps that was the purpose. God knows. His ways are always good. Two nights and only one day at home with my husband, children and a quick visit with dear friends, once again, leaves me grieving a bit, as I anticipate going back to Wenatchee. It is not a grief that is opposed to time with mom, for I am grateful to be present to help; rather, it is a strong and indescribable sense of loss of time with my husband and boys, as I desperately miss them after all of these many weeks away. For my boys, prior to this, I had never been away from them for more than a week. Now, in the last six weeks, I have seen them a total of six days. With my husband, the staggering statistics are similar. God is good and He is protecting our family and our relationships, but oh how my heart longs for home…  Today, as I go, I choose to trust Him and His plan. He knows what I need and the desires of my heart. I trust Him to protect me and make a way where there seems to be no way. Always, He is good.

As for mom, she had an amazing adventure yesterday with my sister. After having been willing to get out of the house for a few coffee-runs and driving outings with me last week, she decided she was ready to spread her wings. Mom actually determined that she was willing to go inside an establishment and have lunch with my sister! Megan happily obliged, and mom did very well and enjoyed her time out and about, as much as Meg was delighted to see her willingness to do so. This was huge, as it was the very first time that mom has been willing to go in anywhere other than a required doctor’s office.  This is particularly encouraging for me, as my family will be coming to celebrate my birthday next weekend, and the hope of actually getting out of the house and going somewhere, all together, is a wish come true. May we all continue to choose trust in the One whose way is perfect, as He is our refuge and the One who holds our heart.

 

Despite all our plans, All for Good

God’s way shall prevail;

For His ways are best,

As love never fails.

Though our way seems right,

Sometimes there is more;

We have to let go,

Push out past the shore.

For beyond the waves,

And into the sea;

Wherever He leads,

Grace will also be.

The sights that we see,

And lessons we learn;

Require steps out,

And trust for return.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You are loving and kind trustworthy. Thank You that You are our refuge and strength. Thank You that Your ways are perfect, even when we don’t understand Your plan. Forgive us for fearing the road that seems uncertain, or for grieving the turns that we did not get to take. Teach us to trust You more, as all is in Your hands. Continue to show us Your love and grace in the season of uncertain space. Lead us to love those around us well, so that we strengthen and encourage and create safe spaces, just as You do for us. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we trust You and Your ways. Amen.

 

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

 

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

The Will of the Word

All Scripture is God-breathed and is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness, so that the servant of God may be thoroughly equipped for every good work. – (2 Timothy 3:16-17, NIV)

All Scripture is given by God. And all Scripture is useful for teaching and showing people what is wrong in their lives. It is useful for correcting faults and teaching the right way to live. Using the Scriptures, those who serve God will be prepared and will have everything they need to do every good work. – (2 Timothy 3:16-17, ERV)

Every Scripture is inspired by God and is useful for teaching, for showing mistakes, for correcting, and for training character, so that the person who belongs to God can be equipped to do everything that is good. – (2 Timothy 3:16-17, CEB)

 

Instruction manuals make navigation through uncharted territory manageable. Whether it is a map to aid in finding a destination, directions as to how to construct something new, or simply a set of expectations and guidelines in a place of employment, each serves a purpose to provide necessary information to navigate successfully. The Bible has the same purpose for our everyday lives. There are so many things that we stumble upon that may at first appear uncertain, yet when we seek the Lord and read His word, we soon discover that there is a direction that we are meant to go with all things. Despite having been written so many generations ago, the lessons we can glean from Scriptures are timeless. May we ever turn to the Lord in trust, and invest time in His word so that we will know how we are meant to live well.

 

May we turn in trust, The Word of God

To God and His word;

To know what is right,

To test what is heard.

For Holy Scriptures,

Are useful indeed;

To teach and to train,

To His will, we heed.

Let us keep seeking,

What God has to say;

So we may do well,

And walk in His way.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You for the gift of Your Word. Thank You that we can turn to You and read Your Word to know how to live according to Your will. Thank You that all Scripture is given by You to help us live well. Forgive us for neglecting to invest time in Your word, or for ignoring the truth that we know. Teach us to trust You more, so that we would hear all that You say and walk in Your way, as we are equipped to do good work. Show us how to love those around us well. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we invest time in Your Word, and allow You to train us and equip us to do good things according to Your perfect will. 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

Staving Off Soreness

Our bodies get sore when we either use muscles we have not used consistently in a while, or utilize them in a new and more challenging way. The resulting soreness reminds us that the muscles exist, and that we ought to perhaps pay more regular attention to the muscle groups that are groaning. Interestingly, our spiritual lives work much the same way. If we rarely exercise our faith, we may find ourselves fearful when setting foot into the new. In prayer, a loss for words is not uncommon, as the posture and position only becomes normal and natural as it is done regularly.

 

Late in the afternoon the twelve disciples came to Him and said, “Send the crowds away to the nearby villages and farms, so they can find food and lodging for the night. There is nothing to eat here in this remote place.”

But Jesus said, “You feed them.”

“But we have only five loaves of bread and two fish,” they answered. “Or are you expecting us to go and buy enough food for this whole crowd?” – (Luke 9:12-13, NLT)

 

I so appreciate this story of Jesus and the disciples, as He was training the faith muscles of the disciples for later days. Sometimes, the disciples would get it right and find faith in the things that they were being asked to do, yet other times, they would require specific instruction and modeling (true training) in their faith, to learn the lessons that they would need to go forth and do the great things that God was calling them to do down the road. Just as our bodies require consistent physical training to keep from becoming too sore, so too our spirits need ongoing faith-building to be ready to do whatever God asks us to do. The sort of training that we are given for our faith comes through time in the word, worship, fellowship, and prayer. May we be wise with our time and choose to invest well, so that we may be ready for whatever God calls us to do.

 

When muscles are sore,Staving Off Soreness

And we’re out of shape;

We’re meant to persist,

That’s how strength grows great.

Whether in our faith,

Prayer or being;

It requires of us,

Often repeating.

There’s no easy way,

To instantly grow;

Make process habit,

And strength will soon show.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You use everyday experiences to show us the truth of Your word. Thank You that though physical training is good and important to keep our bodies strong and at the ready, our spiritual training is far more significant as it lasts into eternity. Forgive us for the places where we lack consistency, be it our prayer life, time in the word, or in our faith when facing obstacles that seem larger than life. Teach us to seek You daily for our spiritual training, so that we may be fit for all that You are calling us to do. Show us how to love well, all those whom You place on our path. Be glorified O God, as we seek to be fit to serve You well. Amen.

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

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

Fifteen

Children are a gift from the Lord; they are a reward from Him. – (Psalm 127:3, NLT)

 

There is no truer statement to be made, as my children are one of the greatest gifts that God has given unto me. To be blessed with two happy, healthy, tender-hearted, intelligent, kind young men is a treasure that fills my heart to overflowing. Fifteen years ago, both of my babies took their first breath. Though they came ahead of schedule and needed assistance as their lungs developed, even then, the Lord used their lives to teach me more of who He is and about His faithfulness as a loving Father. Throughout each age and stage, these treasures have helped me gain understanding about unconditional love, and the beauty of childlike faith. Today, as they journey toward adulthood, it is a joy to continue to watch what God does in and through them, as well as learning my own lessons of new levels of letting go and trusting more. May we each recognize and remember that children truly are a gift from God, and that it is a privilege to be trusted to raise them well.

 

Children are a gift,fifteen

A treasure from God;

They make His heart known,

Among His “ta-da‘s”.

May we each embrace,

Those in our own care;

Help us love them well,

So they are prepared.

Ready to rise up,

Go forth as You call;

Lead us as we love,

Lord, please bless them all.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You for the incredible gift that You give to us through children. Thank You for the blessing that my own boys are to me. Please continue to bless and protect them as they walk out the second half of their teen years. May they ever pursue Your heart and Your will for their lives. Forgive us for not recognizing the great gift that You have given us through the next generation. Teach us to trust and rely on You to love and lead them well, so that You will be glorified and given proper praise. Show us how to love those around us, especially the kids who are challenging to love. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we appreciate the great gift You give us through our children, and may we honor You by loving them 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

Listen and Abide

Jesus said to the people who believed in Him, “You are truly my disciples if you remain faithful to My teachings. And you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free.” – (John 8:31-32, NLT)

If you hear My voice and abide in My word, you are truly My disciples; you will know the truth, and that truth will give you freedom. – (John 8:31-32, VOICE)

 

To be a disciple of Christ requires discipline on our part. It is not merely a confession of faith, but a commitment to action. As people who are fully committed to follow Christ, we need to know His voice and His word. The Lord does not leave us guessing as to how we might come to know more of Him, but rather He has provided His Holy Word, which transcends time, cultures and technology. The truth remains, and the lessons we learn through investing in His word, help us learn and understand how to recognize and hear His voice. Freedom is found in knowing the truth. No more are we bound to the lies that lead us to believe that we must stay in our circumstances or remain as we are, for in Christ, we are made new and He has a plan and a purpose for each one of us. May we listen for His voice and abide in His word, so that we may know the truth and discover the freedom that is found in Christ alone.

 

For Jesus made known,Aquiring Armor

To all who believed;

The truth and the light,

By which we’re set free.

It is through hearing,

God’s word and His voice;

The truth is made known,

Wisdom to make choice.

As we choose abide,

In this truth we know;

True freedom is found,

And faith greatly grows.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that when we listen for Your voice and abide in Your word, You teach us the truth and set us free from all that hinders us from fully following You. Thank You that discipline is what differentiates a follower from a disciple. Thank You that we can choose to invest and You supply the rest. Forgive us for not listening for Your voice or investing in Your word as often as we should, as You are the One to show us the way that is best in all things. Teach us to trust You more, so that we would listen for Your voice and abide in Your word, allowing us to hear and know what Your will is for us in all things. Show us how to love those around us in a way that illuminates the truth and provides freedom from the weight that wears them down. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be exalted O God, as we listen for Your voice and invest time in Your word, so that we may hear and know the truth. Amen.

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

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

Fame and Fortune are Fleeting

So don’t be impressed with those who get rich and pile up fame and fortune. They can’t take it with them; fame and fortune all get left behind. – (Psalm 49:16-17, MSG)

 

All that is amassed on Earth is temporary, but the lessons and growth that are gained in our hearts are eternal. It is essential that we keep our hearts right in regard to those who seem to acquire much in the here and now. Of those who have much, much is required. We are called to be good stewards of whatever we are given. Rather than looking to another who seemingly has more in envy, there ought to be a sort of recognition that there is great responsibility with greater resources. Instead of worrying about what others have, we ought to instead look to the Lord and inquire of Him as to how He wants us to best utilize what we have been given. If we have more resources than we need, how are we being called to use them? When we are known beyond our own small circle, how does He want us to best represent Him to others? May we seek the Lord and clearly see resources and recognition through His lens, so that we may honor Him with what is given while it is before us.

 

Do not be impressed,To Reflect His Radiance

With fortune or fame;

For they are fleeting,

Not something to claim.

Whatever’s done here,

Shall die at the grave;

Unless it’s of God,

And sharing His Name.

Seek first to be wise,

To learn to love well;

Value what matters,

So truth our lives tell.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that fame and fortune are fleeting, but all that is of You, lasts forever. Forgive us for being impressed or envious of those who have more than us, and teach us to see abundance and notoriety through Your lens. Show us how to utilize our resources to love and bless those around us, so that they can more clearly see You through us. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we worry only about being known by You, and seek to honor You with all that we are given. Amen.

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

And the Lord said, “I will cause all my goodness to pass in front of you.” – Exodus 33:19

Hope is What We Hold

For everything that was written in the past was written to teach us, so that through endurance and the encouragement of the Scriptures we might have hope. – (Romans 15:4)

 

Knowing the word of God impacts our perspective on both today and the future. As we grow in understanding of who He is and what He has done in the past, the more confident we become in who God is for us both now and forevermore. Spending time studying His word increases our understanding, which in turn helps us gain a greater trust in Him. With trust, we are able to anticipate the future with hope (looking forward with confidence), for all that He has promised. May we study His word and allow every encouragement to take root in our hearts, so that hope is what we hold.

 

All that was written,The Bread of Life

the words of the past;

recorded to teach,

us lessons that last.

People who endured,

despite trying odds;

they put all their faith,

in Almighty God.

Through hardships and pain,

and journeys so long;

they trusted in Christ,

and He made them strong.

The very same God,

Who supplied the needs;

His Spirit with us,

while Christ intercedes.

Let hope now take hold,

and fill up our hearts;

His promises last,

as grace He imparts.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You for the gift of Your word. Thank You that we have more access in this generation, than any generation before us. Thank You that Your word is full of examples of people who persevered in faith, endured trials, and ultimately overcame in Your strength. Thank You for the encouragement that You provide, and the promises that are packed throughout each passage. Thank You that You are faithful and unchanging. Forgive us for neglecting the easy access we have available to study Your word, and help us to have a passion to pursue knowing You and Your word more each day. Teach us to trust You more, so that we may listen to Your leading, and allow Your Spirit to instruct our hearts as we dig deeper in Your word. Help us to be transformed into Your likeness as we invest in our relationship with You. May we love others well, just as You so willingly and tenderly love each of us. Let those who are looking, be found in You. Be exalted O God, as we invest our hearts, minds, time and energy into knowing You more. Amen.

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

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

A Champion for Every Child

Today is the first day of a brand new school year. Much like my students, I am nervous and excited, in anticipation of what the year may hold. Every year, I embrace the kids who enter my classroom as my kids, and think of each one as my own. My job is to love, protect, honor and respect each one, as if they were my own child. This year, two of the students that will walk into my classroom during the course of the day, are my own flesh and blood. Adventurous and Cautious were given the choice between the two seventh grade teams of teachers, and they both chose to be with me. I am both delighted and terrified, and have forewarned them that there would be absolutely no slack given, and that the high standard I hold for all of my students, would be securely in place for them as well.

 

Yesterday, for the first time in my eighteen years of first day preparations, the district for which I teach, held a rally for all employees in the entire district. Our new superintendant spoke in an enormous auditorium, before a sea of educators and champions for children. It was one of the most positive and powerful gatherings that I can ever recall attending as an educator. After our superintendant, a guest speaker, spoke to encourage and motivate the entire room. His charge was for each of us to be a champion for our children. “Every child needs a champion.” He referred to his students as his babies, and I found his love and passion to connect with kids, both refreshing and validating. Students learn best when they feel safe and known.

 

So, how do I begin well? Today, I chose to wake extra early so that I would have more time to pray and to prepare, prior to waking my boys, and then going on to greet my new “babies” for the very first time. God’s grace is greater than my lack. He is faithful to meet me in each moment, if I am willing to submit my moments to Him. Not only do I want to start well, but I want each and every one of our 180 days together, to go well, so that when we arrive at the end of the 2014-2015 school year, every student can look back and see how far they have traveled, and know that they have journeyed well; together, supported, and loved.

 

Lord grant me Your grace,IMG_0187

to love children well;

to lift each one up,

all darkness dispel.

May my words grant life,

extend each child hope;

may Your peace be felt,

be their safety rope.

Let every child,

have a champion;

one who listens well,

and praises each win.

Let love be the guide,

of correction brought;

and walking beside,

how the battle’s fought.

God, hold each student,

in Your tender hand;

protect and connect,

with each You have planned.

May we be ready,

and open to hear;

all that You ask us,

to bless a child’s year.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You for new beginning and for the gift of children. Thank You for the blessings that each one brings, and for the countless lessons that kids can teach us, if we are only willing to listen. Thank You for the privilege of spending my days instructing and coaching middle schoolers, and for Your grace and mercy that is made new every morning. Thank You for every child that is preparing for the first day of school. Please bless them and protect them, provide for them, and grant them Your hope, as they get ready to take on a new year. Forgive us for forgetting those who are silent or who rub us the wrong way, and help us to see every child through Your eyes, so that we may love each one, as You love us. May many come to know You, as we extend our hearts to be champions for children. Be exalted O God, as we love children well. 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