Take Heart

“I have told you these things, so that in Me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world!” – (John 16:33, NIV)

“I have told you these things so that you can have peace in Me. In this world you will have troubles. But be brave! I have defeated the world!” – (John 16:33, ERV)

“And everything I’ve taught you is so that the peace which is in Me will be in you and will give you great confidence as you rest in Me. For in this unbelieving world you will experience trouble and sorrows, but you must be courageous, for I have conquered the world!” – (John 16:33, TPT)

 

There is something extra encouraging about words that were specifically spoken by Jesus that build up the heart. I’m not sure if it is the weird weather, the isolation, my inability to get out and run, or the long stretches of time away from home, but this morning it was seeming to wear on me a little bit more than before. Feelings are temporary, and recognition is half the battle, but it is frustrating to discover the troubles of this world are beginning to get the best of me. Thankfully, once it is identified, it is short-lived. God is faithful to meet me however I come each morning, and show Himself faithful and kind. Not only was I reminded of where my peace and strength come from, but I received tangible evidence of His grace and love for me, as I received a sweet and timely text from my husband. Sometimes, all it takes is a momentary reminder that we are known and seen and loved. Other times, it is good to identify that this will not be a trouble-free life, yet we can have peace through the One who has overcome all.

I know it is not easy for my mom. A woman who was completely independent and always active, lost her independence overnight, as well as her ability to be active at the level she has known and enjoyed for as long as I can remember. Incredibly, she is walking this long road with courage and grace; trusting in He who is faithful. Each day, she greets the day with positivity and strength, ready to invest the energy required to continue on this road to recovery and healing. Yesterday was a slower day, with speech therapy as her only appointment. Susan is wonderful, and meets mom with kindness and grace; challenging her, yet interacting as would a friend.  Beyond that, it was a typical day of stretching, exercises, resting, meal preparation, tasks around the house, and movie watching. I imagine that sometimes, simply continuing the course is exactly what is needed to perpetuate the positive trend for recovery. Last night had a few wake-ups, but we also did not have as much social interaction as the days prior. She did have a good solid stretch of sleep from one to five, so I will gladly accept four-hour stretches where we get them. Today, mom’s only appointment is physical therapy this morning. It will be interesting to see how the remainder of the week unfolds, as there are no appointments for Thursday or Friday, due to the holiday.

May we all take heart when troubles come, for He who is in us, has already overcome all. Peace is ours for the taking, we simply must seek the Source.

 

Life is not about, 63a09efb-a46a-4c36-b1af-4a9f0cf4c2e04975274388445686015.jpg

Magic guarantees;

That all will be well,

Sweet and trouble-free.

Yet we have a hope,

An anchor secure;

God’s presence always,

Promise to be near.

God grants us the strength,

And all that we need;

To rise and press on,

Follow where He leads.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You are loving and kind and full of grace. Thank You that You are our peace and our comfort through the storms. Thank You that though there are no promises that life will be easy, there is a promise that You will be present. Forgive us for thinking that we somehow need to navigate on our own. Teach us to trust You more, as You are our strength and our safe harbor where we can rest and find peace. Show us how to love those around us in a way that offers strength and hope, peace and rest where it is difficult to find. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we ever lean into You to be our peace and our strength. Amen.

 

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

 

The Lord gives strength to His people; the Lord blesses His people with peace. – Psalm 29:11

Commit to Capable Hands

May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace as you trust in Him, so that you may overflow with hope by the power of the Holy Spirit. – (Romans 15:13, NIV)

I pray that the God who gives hope will fill you with much joy and peace as you trust in Him. Then you will have more and more hope, and it will flow out of you by the power of the Holy Spirit. – (Romans 15:13, ERV)

I pray that God, the Source of all hope, will infuse your lives with an abundance of joy and peace in the midst of your faith so that your hope will overflow through the power of the Holy Spirit. – (Romans 15:13, VOICE)

 

Though I likely have utilized this verse in the last six weeks, though I could not tell you for sure, it is a necessary reminder for me, as He is the hope that I must hold, no matter the frustrations, disappointments, or waves of sorrow that come my way. I say that not because there has been anything bad in the last 24 hours, as mom is well and we are continuing to navigate together with joy and hope; rather, it is a personal battle as I have to trust and be at peace for the things that I am missing at home while I am here. Saturday, I missed a memorial for an incredible woman whom I loved and worked with for many years. She and her family embraced me and my boys, and we did the same with she and hers. It hurt my heart to not be present for the family, yet I know they understood my absence, and fully support me in my own journey with my mom. Then, yesterday, I was unable to attend the graduation celebration of one of my best friend’s daughter’s, whom I have known since before she was born. I have watched her grow and thrive, blossom and evolve, into a beautiful, intelligent, compassionate, wonderful and warm young lady, with a bright future ahead of her. They too, were gracious about my absence, and would not want me to be in any other place than right here, right now. Though mom had a rough night and did not sleep well, as we were up together at least four times during the night, I know that I am meant to be here. This morning, as I sat at the kitchen table and took in the view, the sunrise was extra colorful. It lasted only a few moments, and then the bold colors faded to a bit more muted grey, yet I know what I had witnessed, was a moment for me to enjoy in awe and wonder, to remember His promises of faithfulness forever.

Today is a new day, and will be busy as we will take our first official outing together with only, she and I. Mom has physical therapy at home this morning at 8:30, followed by an appointment with her neurologist at 11:00 am. The neurology appointment is in town, so we will be getting out of the house and entering civilization. This is a prayer point for sure, as mom has had zero interest in going anywhere; she does not really want to see people unexpectedly nor unplanned. She is still learning to navigate all of this new, and is struggling with how to allow others to walk alongside her as she travels this long road of recovery and rehabilitation after a stroke. Slowly, she is allowing others in; but it is at her pace, in her time. Megan and I are fiercely protecting her wishes, so please do not push if she is not ready. Requests are welcome, but do not be offended if a “not yet” is the answer. May His hope fill us with all joy and peace as we trust in Him to the point of overflowing.

 

May the God of hope, Hope Anchors the Soul

Fill you once again;

With His joy and peace,

As You let Him in.

Disappointment comes,

As do sorrows too;

Yet ever the Lord,

Starts the next day new.

Let go of what was,

Choose live in today;

Trust for tomorrow,

God will make a way.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You are the source of all hope, joy and peace as we trust in You. Forgive us for allowing the weight of what we want verses what we are meant to do to burden us. Teach us to trust You more, so that we would not carry what is not ours, and that we would place all in Your capable hands. Show us how to love those around us in a way that extends hope and joy and peace in a way that instills hope where it has been absent. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we trust all in Your hands and release all that is not ours to control. Amen.

 

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

 

The Lord bless you and keep you; the Lord make His face shine on you and be gracious to you; the Lord turn His face toward you and give you peace. – Numbers 6:24-26

 

 

 

 

Yet to Come

As you do not know the path of the wind, or how the body is formed in a mother’s womb, so you cannot understand the work of God, the Maker of all things. – (Ecclesiastes 11:5, NIV)

You don’t know where the wind blows. And you don’t know how a baby grows in its mother’s womb. In the same way, you don’t know what God will do – and He makes everything happen. – (Ecclesiastes 11:5, ERV)

Just as you cannot understand the path of the wind or the mystery of a tiny baby growing in its mother’s womb, so you cannot understand the activity of God, who does all things. – (Ecclesiastes 11:5, NLT)

 

God amazes me every single day. Last night, my sister, brother-in-love and I were on the phone, debriefing about the team meeting that had taken place earlier in the day, regarding the plan for mom’s care at her current acute care facility. Right now, they are predicting her transition date to be the 28th of May. To all of us, mom included, that seems awfully soon. The thought of leaving a space where she is thriving and growing, receiving the care and assistance needed to regain what was lost to the stroke, seems like a cruel insurance decision, based on the bottom line. In our own understanding, we cannot fathom how this would possibly work. Though she has made phenomenal gains, she still has a long road ahead to reach a point where independence is possible. God knows our need. He formed her body, and He knows how to heal her. He knows what exercises and therapies will reroute and reestablish the connections to bring forth the movements required to regain what her heart desires. I have watched in wonder as she has advanced level after level in a single session with memory and speech function. Mom’s ability to communicate the things that she desires to say, are coming far more rapidly, and she too, is noticing and celebrating the gains. Yes, modern science can track where the wind blows and watch how a baby grows, but ultimately, they still cannot control, nor determine the if and when at all. This is where trust and hope and faith must find footing. Yes, we will fight for mom, as we want her to have the very best care to regain everything she desires. That being said, we also will trust the One who can do exceedingly more than we could ever hope or imagine, as our ways are not necessarily His ways. We thought the best acute care facility for mom would be near one of us, out of town, but as it turns out, right here in Wenatchee is exactly where God intended her to be. God knows, and believe it or not, He loves our mom even more than we do. May we ever trust in Him who is exceedingly able to do more than we ever could hope or imagine, by His mighty hand.

 

Though we do not know, To Drive Out Darkness

Where our feet may land;

We can always trust,

That God has a plan.

For God’s plans are good,

To bless and to grow;

To prosper, not harm,

His mercies shall show.

So often the road,

Seems narrow and wrong;

Yet turns out to be,

Just where we belong.

And as we journey,

Through this life to home;

He’s also promised,

We’re never alone.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You have promised that You will never leave us nor forsake us, and that Your plans are to prosper us and not harm us. Your plans are good, and Your ways are right. Forgive us for our doubts and fears when the road ahead does not make sense, based on what our eyes can see and our minds can comprehend. Teach us to view things through Your perspective rather than our own. Show us the miracles that are waiting in the wings, as we trust in Your goodness and grace. Grant us patience and strength as we wait. Lead us to love and encourage mom as You would, and may our heart for You be evident to all we encounter. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, in what is and what is yet to come. Amen.

 

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

 

“For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you a hope and a future.” – Jeremiah 29:11

When Loved Ones Die

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

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

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

 

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

 

Precious in His sight, When Loved Ones Die

Are those who have died;

God loves them deeply,

Draws each to His side.

Imagine the look,

Of love on His face;

As He welcomes them,

Into His embrace.

So precious are each,

Who’ve entered His rest;

All pain disappears,

In glory, they’re blessed.

And God, by His grace,

Will grant us His peace;

As we grieve the loss,

His comfort released.

 

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

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

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

Just Believe

Jesus heard this and said to Jairus, “Don’t be afraid! Just believe and your daughter will be well.” – (Luke 8:50, ERV)

But when Jesus heard what had happened, He said to Jairus, “Don’t be afraid. Just have faith, and she will be healed.” – (Luke 8:50, NLT)

 

Need has an interesting way of breaking down barriers as people reach the point of desperation. Jairus, despite being a high official in the synagogue, did not hesitate to drop to his knees in need before Jesus on behalf of his dying daughter. The desire to see her healed was greater than his concern about societal norms. Faith and hope brought Jairus to Jesus, and it was likely the comforting words that Jesus offered upon hearing the news that his daughter had died that kept him from losing his mind with grief. What Jesus says, He will do, and Jairus had to choose to either trust Him and believe, or lose hope and his only daughter to death forever. I can only imagine the wrestling match that must have been going on in his mind as they walked the long road back to his home to where his dead daughter was waiting. “Can He who healed the bleeding woman with the hem of His garment, bring life back to my dead daughter?” My mind’s eye imagines that Jairus gained a bit more boldness with each step, as he recalled what he had just witnessed with the woman who had suffered for twelve long years and then was healed by her unwavering faith. Perhaps each step was taken to an internal cadence that he simply spoke to himself, “Believe, believe, believe!” Regardless of how Jairus traveled, when Jesus and the disciples went up to his daughter with he and his wife, their daughter was brought back to life, and their lives were never the same. May we listen for the voice of Jesus in the midst of our scary spaces, and hear Him as He reminds us to have faith and just believe.

 

In uncertainty,Our Map and Our Guide

Trial or in pain;

We’re called to believe,

Trust in Jesus’ Name.

For the Lord is good,

He alone can save;

Bring comfort to fears,

When we feel afraid.

God of all wonder,

Your power and might;

Is what we can trust,

To set all things right.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You are good and faithful and loving. Thank You that You move mountains when we have but a mustard seed of faith. Forgive us for the times that our faith falters because we rely on what we see, rather than what we know to be true in You. Teach us to trust You more, so that we would have faith, even when things do not make sense, as You see the entire outcome. Help us to live and love in such a way, that our faith is infectious to all whom we encounter. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we believe and have faith, no matter what we see; for You are alone are the One who directs our path. 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

The Lord Listens

But God has surely listened and heard my voice in prayer. – (Psalm 66:19)

 

Have you ever prayed about something so long, that you weren’t even sure what to pray any longer? So often in the space where it seems like an eternity to us, it is actually a matter of God orchestrating lives and hearts for such a time as this to answer according to His good and perfect plan. He hears and knows our heart’s cry far better than we do ourselves, and even hears the silent whisperings of our heart that we can’t seem to give a voice. Though His answer may come in a different package than expected, He is faithful to answer, and His ways are good. May we continue to lift our voice unto the Lord in prayer, trusting that He hears, and is faithful to answer according to His good and perfect will.

 

The Lord hears our voice,The Lord Listens

as we lift His Name;

our ev’ry heart cry,

His peace He’ll proclaim.

He listens in love,

to each prayerful word;

each wonder whispered,

Lord Jesus has heard.

He’s faithful to act,

in our place of need;

all expectations,

His love shall exceed.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You listen and hear our voice in prayer. Thank You that You hear both the audible and inaudible prayers of our heart, and You move on our behalf. Thank You that You know what we need far better than we do, and that it is Your joy to bless us beyond what we could hope for. Forgive us for wanting to quit when perseverance is required. Teach us to trust You more, so that we may seek You first for the strength that is needed to endure the long road on which we are traveling. Lead us to love others beyond what they would expect or hope for, just as You so generously love each of us. May many come into a lasting relationship with You, Lord. Be exalted O God, as we lift our voices in prayer, knowing that You hear and move on our behalf. 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

Fear Not the Long Road

Do not be terrified by them, for the Lord your God, who is among you, is a great and awesome God. – (Deuteronomy 7:21)

 

Though this verse was Moses’ exhortation to the Israelites as they were preparing to enter into the promised place where there were giant men before them that dwelled in the land, the promise of God’s presence is still true for us today. God is a great and awesome God, and He is among us. With Him, we need not be afraid of anything that stands before us.

 

The Lord our God, is Christ with us. When Jesus died, resurrected, and ascended into heaven, He sent His Spirit to dwell in the hearts of all who choose to trust in Him. God with us, is His Spirit among and in us, as we make our hearts His home. Great, means high rank; extraordinary powers – and the Lord is the greatest who ever was, is or is yet to come. Additionally, when we hear that He is an awesome God, it is recognizing that God is the One who inspires an overwhelming feeling of reverence, admiration, and awe. He is good, and with Him, we need not be afraid of anything that lies ahead.

 

Fear not the long road,Fear Not the Long Road

that’s lying ahead;

for the Lord, our God,

will do what He said.

He’ll remain present,

when the road is rough;

He’ll give us the strength,

that’s more than enough.

For the Lord is great,

awesome in power;

present to lead us,

our safe, Strong Tower.

His promises shall,

forever hold true;

our hope for all time,

as He makes us new.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that though things before us at times seem terrifying or overwhelming, in You, we have nothing to fear. Thank You that You, our great and awesome God, are with us, always. Forgive us for allowing fear to deter us from the plans that You have for us, and help us to embrace the road You call us to travel, trusting You, each step of the way. Help us to hold fast to Your promises and Your presence, fixing our eyes and hearts securely on You. Lead us to love others well, as You so perfectly love each of us. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be exalted O God, as we forge forward, without fear, in the fold of Your embrace. 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

Chasing Dreams

Desires, dreams, the very hopes we hold in our heart that are deeply rooted and established in our faith, are not there by mistake.  God places these things in us, so that we faithfully move forward with Him.  However, there is often a long and winding road to take between that which we long to do, and the fruition of said reality.

Paul was no exception.  He desperately desired to preach the gospel in Rome.  I imagine that Paul’s plan did not include chains, shipwrecks, snakes, arrests, and long delays, in order to actually arrive to his desired destination.  “Although he may have wished for an easier passage, he knew that God had blessed him greatly in allowing him to meet the believers in Rome and preach the message to both  Jews and Gentiles in that great city.  In all things, God worked for Paul’s good.” – (Acts 28:17-20 NIV footnotes)

Like Paul, we can trust that God will work all things out for our ultimate good.  He may not make it easy, nor comfortable, but He will be present, and will provide what we need to do that which He has called us to do.  When all is said and done, we too, will see that God has worked all things together for good, and that though His ways are not our ways, His ways work wonders.  As He moves in us and through us, hearts are moved and lives are changed.  His kingdom is further established in the hearts and homes of all who hear.

What is the dream,Chasing Dreams

that your heart does hold?

Do you pursue,

or fearfully fold?

Are there delays,

obstacles in route?

Are there trials,

disturbing pursuit?

You move forward,

be faithful to trust;

don’t be deterred,

by obstacles thrust.

Often the bumps,

the trials and tests;

grow us further,

to trust in the mess.

When the dream comes,

may hearts recognize;

strength in struggles,

bring hope realized.

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You place in us, dreams and desires.  Thank You that in You, we have all that we need to move forward in faithful pursuit, as You call us to go.  Thank You that despite the way things often appear, You are working and moving in us and through us, even when we don’t understand how it is possible.  Forgive us for our fears and disappointments when things do not go the way that we imagined they would, and help us to trust You more.  Teach us to see things through Your eyes, rather than our own, so that we may have an eternal perspective.  Lead us to love as You love, so that many may come to know the saving grace that is available in You.  May lives be changed and hearts made new.  Be glorified in all that we say and do.  Amen.

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

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

Waiting On a Promise

Moses is remembered as a mighty man of faith, yet his journey between the promise and its fulfillment, was not an easy one.  It all began well, as God appeared to Moses in a burning bush, and spoke to him personally.  God told him He had heard the cries of his people, and that “He had come down to rescue them from the hand of the Egyptians and to bring them up out of that land into a good and spacious land, a land flowing with milk and honey – the home of the Canaanites, Hittites, Amorites, Perizzites, Hivites and Jebusites.” – (Exodus 3:8) 

What God next told Moses, however, brought up Moses’ own insecurities, and made him question God.  God told Moses that He was sending him to Pharaoh to bring His people out of Egypt, so Moses started asking questions.  At first, the questions seemed practical and reasonable, yet soon, they revealed his own insecurities about his ability to speak publicly.  In fact, Moses then said, “O Lord, please send someone else to do it.” – (Exodus 4:13) God was none too pleased with Moses’ response, yet chose to answer his request by allowing his brother, Aaron, to partner with him in this endeavor.

Once Moses and Aaron had met up, and Aaron too had heard the charge from God, they went to Pharaoh and did as the Lord had asked them to do.  Pharaoh did not exactly agree to what they asked.  In fact, it seemed as if the promise that had been spoken, was even farther off than it had been prior to their powwow with Pharaoh.  “Moses returned to the Lord and said, ‘O Lord, why have you brought trouble upon this people?  Is this why you sent me?” – (Exodus 5:22)

Isn’t it easy for us to do the same thing?  A promise is spoken, or a dream discovered, and we expect the fulfillment – the fruition to be found – immediately.  Often, there is a long and arduous road in between a promise and it’s fulfillment.  Our character is shaped and developed, as we overcome obstacles and learn to trust Him more.  As we learn from the Israelites, grumbling in said deserts, often delays the promise all the more…

A promise spoken,Waiting On a Promise

the birth of a dream;

hope that is chosen,

God’s blessing, it’d seem.

Then comes the waiting,

and patience grows dim;

weariness finds us,

don’t let darkness in.

The doubt and the fear,

lay each of them down;

fix eyes on the Lord,

where fulfillment’s found.

Despite what is seen,

continue to trust;

for what He has said,

will be done for us.

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You are faithful to do what You say You will do.  Thank You that Your timing is not our timing, nor Your ways, our ways.  Thank You that You are patient and kind, and that You lovingly lead us where You call us to go, even if it takes years of wandering in the desert to reach the promised place of peace.  Forgive us for our doubts, fears, and our grumbling, and help us to trust completely, despite what we see.  Make us aware of Your persistent presence, and help us to be satisfied in knowing that You are at work in us.  May we live in faith and love with trust, so that others may see You in us.  Let those who are looking, come to know You as their Savior, soon.  Be glorified, even in our waiting.  Amen.

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