Come Close

Come close to God, and God will come close to you… – (James 4:8a, NLT)

 

Everyone has heard stories of receiving that dreaded phone call – the one that announces unfortunate news of a loved one, causing an immediate emotional response, and a quick call to action. Yesterday morning, that phone call came to me. At the start of my second period class, I received a frantic phone call from my Mom. It was miraculous that I was at my computer taking attendance when she called, otherwise I would not have even seen her photo pop up on my phone screen, as I keep my ringer off during class. She never calls during school hours, so on a whim, I answered. On the other end of the line, I heard a voice that I barely recognized as hers, telling me that she’d been in a horrible accident. When I asked if she was okay, her response was simply, “no.” She was able to tell me her location, and I knew in that moment, that nothing mattered more than my getting to where she was to be present. My quick, internal, “Oh God, help me!” was followed by my class quickly being covered, a rapid exit from my room, and my arrival on the scene of the accident before the first responders had my mom loaded in the ambulance. Seeing her face and talking to her in person as I held her hand when I arrived at the accident site, brought a bit of peace, despite the destroyed car in front of me. The hardest span of time throughout the entire ordeal, was the time between leaving the scene and arriving at the hospital. Though I could see she had no lacerations visible, the internal and skeletal damage was unknown. All I could do was breathe and pray as I made my way, trusting that He had her in His hands. Thankfully, after two CT Scans, two x-rays, hours of waiting, blood draws and routine checking, Mom was given the all-clear (and the last few hours of her care were provided by a friend of mine who happened to be the nurse on shift in the ER), and walked away from an accident that could have taken her life. God protected and preserved the life of my Mom, and I am forever grateful. Though it is only the morning after, in hindsight, I already can look back and see how He covered and protected my Mom, surrounded and provided for me, as a way was made for me to get to her so quickly, as well as the loving community of friends and family that called, made themselves available, and sent messages to check on Mom as soon as they heard the news. Much of the time I spent waiting for Mom during her scans and x-rays, was utilized to reply to dear ones who were desiring updates on her well-being. I was back and forth between two phones, as the notes kept coming in. Last evening, two of my beloved favorites came to help with both the care of my Mom and to go and check on the status of her car, while another pair of dear former neighbors came to call on Mom to see that she was okay for themselves. God is so good, and He has provided and placed us both in kind and caring communities that are family. More than anything, this continues to show me how near God is in all things and at all times, and how He uses people to be His hands and heart when we hurt. May we ever draw close to God, for He will be near to us.

 

When that call comes in,ambulance

And hearts are dismayed;

Call upon the Lord,

He will not delay.

His presence made clear,

In tangible ways;

Hope and help to us,

As we seek and pray.

Choose draw closer still,

For God will be near;

He calms anxious hearts,

His love covers fear.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that when we draw near to You, You are right here, waiting. Thank You that You are faithful to bring peace to our anxious hearts, and surround us with support and encouragement when it is needed most. Forgive us for our fearfulness when we walk into the unknown. Teach us to trust You more. Show us how to love and encourage those around us in times of peace and in times of turmoil. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we draw ever nearer to You. Amen.

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

For the Lord your God will bless you, …and your joy will be complete. – Deuteronomy 16:15

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No Separation

Yesterday, as I stood on the outer edge of a sea of people dressed in blue, I was deeply moved with each name that was shouted out for whom that participant would be running to remember. Name after name was called out, signifying a life taken too soon. For every name called, a family no longer had their son or daughter, sister or brother, husband or wife, mom or dad, to come home to and in whom to find comfort. Trouble and hardship had likely been the companion of so many of those wearing blue, yet each stood tall, proudly calling out the name of the loved one whom they were there to remember. As we bowed our heads in silence, followed by a time of corporate prayer, I was in awe of how great His love is for those who seek Him, and how close a community can become in the face of adversity.

 

Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? Shall trouble or hardship or persecution or famine or nakedness or danger or sword? … No, in all these things we are more than conquerors through Him who loved us. – (Romans 8:35 & 37)

 

Four separate families who had lost loved ones in the past year, fired the cannon prior to the start of our race. The first shot was to honor the fallen; the next, for those still fighting; the third, for the families; and finally, the last blast, was to signal the beginning of our run. All along the route, there were flags and photos of soldiers who had been killed in the line of duty. Despite the somber scene as we passed the pictures, joy was on the faces of the folks in blue. It appeared that hope has been restored, and that they do indeed, know that they are more than conquerors in Him.

 

No matter what comes,No Separation

what trial we face;

we’re never too far,

to receive God’s grace.

His arms are outstretched,

we need only run;

toward Him, He’s waiting,

gracious Holy One.No Separation 2

When we are in Him,

He’ll use all for good;

the ugly, the raw,

what’s misunderstood.

Hold onto all hope,

for He never fails;

conquerors in Christ,

His love shall prevail.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that there is nothing nor anyone who can separate us from Your love. Thank You that in You, we are more than conquerors. Thank You that though we will face trials and troubles in this life, we need not fear, for You will be with us. Forgive us for our fearfulness, and help us to hold fast to our hope in You. Keep our eyes from fixing on the problems and challenges, and instead, help us to focus fully on You. Let us love as You love us, and live as the conquerors You have created us to be. May many come to know the power present in a life invested in You. Be glorified, O God, in all that we say and do. Amen.

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

They will celebrate your abundant goodness and joyfully sing of your righteousness. – Psalm 145:7