Devoted and Delighted

Be devoted to one another in love. Honor one another above yourself. – (Romans 12:10, NIV)

Love each other in a way that makes you feel close like brothers and sisters. And give each other more honor than you give yourself. (Romans 12:10, ERV)

Love each other with genuine affection, and take delight in honoring each other. – (Romans 12:10, NLT)

 

Devoted love is a love that willingly chooses the other, regardless of how the recipient appears before them. To love with devotion is to be committed to caring and seeing the other person through, no matter what comes their way. Throughout my life, I have had such devotion in love modeled for me well, through both my grandmother, and my mom. My gram was a natural encourager and lifter of souls, as she loved with her whole heart and was committed to make sure that we all knew her heart for us, individually. Not only was I the recipient of her devoted love, but I was witness to the power it provided in the lives of those around me. Mom, her only daughter, has followed closely in her footsteps, as my sister and I still marvel at how she, as a single mom, managed to attend every game, concert, banquet, ceremony, etc., work full-time, manage a household, keep our home and yard beautiful, and always welcome our friends into our home with open heart and arms. Even as we have grown, married and had children of our own, mom has managed to be present at nearly all of the significant events in the lives of our children. She has driven hundreds of miles to be sure that each of her grandsons knows how proud she is of them, and she honors each of them and loves them lavishly.  With that as our model, how could my sister and I possibly choose do anything differently? With mom in a time of need, our only choice is to love with all that we are, and to delight in doing all that we can to honor whatever her heart desires. My favorite response to mom these days is, “As you wish.” She giggles every time I answer that way, but I know it delights her heart to know that she is loved as deeply as she loves others.

As for the practical application and fruit of devotion, yesterday was an incredible day for mom before my guys left to drive home! She determined that she would show them how she was doing with her walking in the hallway with her walker, and I had Mark stand and video so that we could send documentation to my sister. One of my guys followed behind us with the wheelchair in case she grew weary, and the other stood back to watch what would transpire. Incredibly, mom shocked us all, herself included, as she walked the ENTIRE length of the hallway! Prior to yesterday, she had only gone halfway unassisted. Happy tears were shared by all as we celebrated this incredible and hope-filled milestone. If she could double her distance in a matter of two days, imagine what will transpire in a matter of a few weeks?! We were beaming ear-to-ear as we sent off my guys to drive home. It had been a wonderful weekend together, and had ended perfectly. The remainder of the day was rather relaxing, as it was spent resting, doing a variety of mom’s PT and OT exercises, and movie watching. Sleep again went well last night, as there were only two wake-ups. We slept in longer than usual this morning, as our early breakfast time was nearly an hour later than we are accustomed. Today, mom has both physical therapy and occupational therapy, so I anticipate a great day ahead.

May we ever seek the Lord to equip us to be devoted to one another in love, and to delight in honoring each other above ourselves.

 

Devoted in love, img_20190630_100257_3922772888685512407775.jpg

Is love’s true design;

To prefer others,

And choose to be kind.

Honor each other,

Choose lift and build up;

Love through the trials,

And never give up.

Set down our own wants,

And see other’s need;

Love with our whole lives,

By God’s grace, proceed.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You have shown us what it is to be devoted to one another in love and to honor others above oneself through the life of Your Son, Jesus. Thank You that You equip us to do the same. Forgive us for the times that we have set aside devotion or honor for our own agenda. Teach us to trust You more, so that we would be devoted in love and honor others, as You love and honor us. Show us how to love those around us in a way that makes Your love tangible. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we choose to be devoted in love and help us delight in honoring others above ourselves. Amen.

 

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

 

Protect me, for I am devoted to You. Save me, for I serve You and trust You. You are my God. – Psalm 86:2

The Mountains We Are Called to Climb

The Sovereign Lord is my strength; He makes my feet like the feet of a deer, He enables me to tread on the heights. – (Habakkuk 3:19, NIV)

The Lord gives me my strength. He helps me run fast like a deer. He leads me safely on the mountains. – (Habakkuk 3:19, ERV)

The Lord God is my strength; He will give me the speed of a deer and bring me safely over the mountains. – (Habakkuk 3:19, TLB)

 

Each translation of this verse speaks to my heart on a different level to encourage and reassure, reminding me of God’s faithfulness forever. Yesterday, was a powerful and uplifting boost for both mom and me. We each were blessed with a visit from our besties. Incredibly, I was able to coordinate with both ladies, a visit at the same time, so that each of us could benefit from the boost that a best friend visit brings. While mom and June were talking and laughing, Robin and I stole away for a walk-and-talk. For me, this was two-fold, as I am a creature who needs to get outside and move, and I was desperately needing time to connect and process with my bestie. Walking and talking in this gorgeous setting fulfilled both needs, and strengthened my soul. Interestingly, as we walked, we were joined by a sweet pup, who clearly was in need of companionship to enjoy a wander as well. Our escort dog acted a bit as a guardian, as she would run ahead, seemingly check out the area, and then return to us, as if to say that all was safe for us to continue on. We actually wondered if she was part deer or mountain goat, as the sweet pup was extraordinarily sure-footed on the hillside and steep terrain that surrounded us. As I pondered the verse above, there are so many parallels between this road we are “walking” and how God works to keep our footing secure and give us strength. Though it is clear that mom’s journey to recovery and rehabilitation after the stroke is similar to climbing a mountain, she also lives in a home, nestled in the foothills. Safety is paramount along this journey, and God has been faithful to continue to protect and strengthen us each as we travel this unknown path. Our day ended early yesterday, as both mom and I fell asleep in the comfy living room chairs, as we attempted to watch a movie. We determined that she ought to watch in her bed instead, as I finished up a quick load of laundry and took care of my phone calls home. We both slept well, with a two-hour stretch, followed by a five-hour stretch, from which she is sleeping still. God is good, as He grants us strength and makes our footing secure on this mountain to which we have been called to climb.

 

The Lord is our strength,img_20190607_161828_5992541206184016162390.jpg

Makes our path secure;

Enables our feet,

To tread without fear.

He brings us safely,

To the other side;

Where pastures are green,

And rivers run wide.

All that we shall need,

The Lord does supply;

We simply need trust,

On God, choose rely.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You do not leave us when we reach mountains that we are meant to climb. Thank You that You are the One who provides all of the gear, the guidance, the strength and security we need to safely travel the path You provide. Forgive us for the times that we only see a sheer face, rather than the path and provisions that You supply to make the difficult possible. Teach us to trust You more; for when we pause and look back from when we have come, we are able to marvel at the view. Show us how to love those around us in a way that encourages, strengthens and comes alongside those around us in a way that helps each person persevere on the path You have placed before them. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we seek You to be our strength and security as we climb life’s mountains with You. Amen.

 

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

 

Your word is a lamp for my feet, a light on my path. – Psalm 119:105

Far More than Satisfied

Satisfy us in the morning with Your unfailing love, that we may sing for joy and be glad all our days. – (Psalm 90:14, NIV)

Fill us with Your love every morning. Let us be happy and enjoy our lives. – (Psalm 90:14, ERV)

With every sun’s rising, surprise us with Your love, satisfy us with Your kindness. Then we will celebrate every day we are alive. – (Psalm 90:14, VOICE)

 

Being an early riser and one who loves the outdoors, the setting I am in serves me well. Mom’s home is secured on a hill, overlooking the river, surrounded by foothills, with orchards below. The sunrise each morning glows on the hills across from us, and daily, I am reminded of new hope and a fresh start that come with the unfailing love of the Lord. With every sun’s rising, I am surprised with God’s handiwork; as no two sunrises are the same. He varies the cloud formations and color patterns, mixing His palette and providing my eyes and heart with fresh delight daily. In the same way that each new sunrise brings delight, so too does each new day on this journey with mom in her recovery and rehabilitation. The kindness of God grants of reason to celebrate each new day of life that we are given. There is joy in the journey, and new gains each step that we take. Yesterday, mom learned some new exercises in occupational therapy that she can do on her own (which she is thrilled about) and during her speech therapy session, she could do things yesterday that she was unable to do two days earlier! My heart is satisfied with His kindness, even in the moments when I struggle. He reminds me that I am not alone, and that He has us in His hands. Mom is a living miracle, and I have the privilege of watching her miraculous awakening each day.  Additionally, we laugh often, as there are some seriously silly statements that occur when exhaustion hits, and words become difficult to recall. Because I know mom so well, I typically know what she is trying to say, and we just giggle together about the “substitute” word and continue moving forward.

May we recognize Your love with every new rising of the sun, and be satisfied with Your kindness. Help us to celebrate with joy, every day that we are alive.

 

May the break of dawn,0607190510a_hdr6867141396644053477.jpg

The first light of morn;

Remind us of grace,

Hope when we’re forlorn.

With each brand-new day,

The rise of the sun;

Shows God’s faithfulness,

Before we’ve begun.

His kindness endures,

As we make our way;

Sweet satisfaction,

When covered by grace.

There’s no greater joy,

Love held in His hands;

Our lives a great gift,

To walk out His plan.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You bless us and renew us each morning with Your unfailing love, and that You are our reason to be glad for all of our days. Forgive us for allowing circumstances to steal our joy or hide our hope, as both hope and joy are found in You alone. Teach us to turn to You in all things and at all times, so that we never miss a sunrise or a miraculous moment that You intend for us to see, that is meant to remind us of Your incredible, infallible love. Show us how to love those around us in a way that celebrates the gift of each new day, and marvels at each minute miracle that You place before us. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we sing for joy at the wonders of Your love, and marvel at the miraculous ways in which You move. Amen.

 

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

 

In the morning, Lord, You hear my voice; in the morning I lay my requests before You and wait expectantly. – Psalm 5:3

Blanketed in Peace

“Glory to God in the highest heaven, and peace on earth to those with whom God is pleased.” – (Luke 2:14, NLT)

“Glory to God in heaven, and on earth peace among those whom He favors.” – (Luke 2:14, CEB)

“Glory to God in the highest realms of heaven! For there is peace and a good hope given to the sons of men.” – (Luke 2:14, TPT)

 

Just as the host of angels sang these words after the one had brought the glorious announcement to the shepherds in their fields at night so many years ago, we are reminded of the very same peace and glory today. Last evening as our candlelight service ended, snow began falling and blanketing the earth around us. To me, there is nothing quite so serene, peaceful and beautiful as a scene freshly blanketed in snow. It reminds me that we are made new, and restores hope that the things that seem chaotic will become calm, and that which is broken or fractured can be made new. Peace on earth, goodwill to all, for the Light of the world has come to bring hope to us through the baby born in a stable so long ago. That baby grew and lived and loved with His very life, so that we could know life everlasting. May we take pause in awe and wonder, and marvel at the peace and good hope that has come to us, as gently as freshly fallen snow.

 

Just as fresh snow falls,

Blanketed in Peace

photo credit: Flickr by pixelmama

And blankets the earth;

We’re reminded of,

Our dear Savior’s birth.

For on that dark night,

A long time ago;

The angels appeared,

To shepherds below.

With heavenly voice,

They lifted a song;

All glory to God,

May peace carry on.

Great hope is granted,

To those who believe;

Who trust in the Lord,

With this He is pleased.

So, gaze and the snow,

Take in its pure light;

Remember the peace,

That came on that night.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You for the precious gift of Your Son and the hope and peace that is found in Him. Thank You for the beauty of Your creation, and the tangible reminder of how we are made clean and new in You, just as the earth appears in a blanket of freshly fallen snow. Forgive us for not recognizing the reminders of Your peace and hope that You present all around us. Teach us to trust You more, so that we are acutely aware of Your presence and Your peace, even in the places where it does not make sense. Show us how to be ambassadors of peace and hope to a world in need, as we love as we are loved by You. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we celebrate the peace that came to us through the precious gift of Your Son. Amen.

 

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

 

But because of His great love for us, God, who is rich in mercy, made us alive with Christ. – Ephesians 2:4-5

Marvelously Made

As I further reflect on the truths conveyed in the book study I am participating in, I find myself pondering the point upon which we all struggled. A question for conversation in the Undaunted study guide was phrased in the following way:

“The Bible tells us that God’s works are marvelous. God made you and me. This means we are marvelous! Tell something marvelous about yourself. Why is it so hard, in a day-to-day way, to see ourselves as marvelous in God’s sight and truly valuable?”

Our entire group struggled with the word marvelous, as I think we were all viewing the meaning in the vein of: excellence, greatness, or somehow superb. This morning, I decided to dig a bit deeper into the meaning of the word, as the root of marvelous, is marvel. Indeed, upon further investigation, I discovered that marvelous can mean: such as to cause wonder, admiration, or astonishment; surprising; extraordinary, or even improbable. To me, these things are a bit easier to share, as they are the things in us that make us wonder in awe because a great and loving God has placed them in us, rather than something that we have somehow achieved in our own strength. What has God placed in you, that makes you marvel in reverent awe of Him?

 

I will praise Thee; for I am fearfully and wonderfully made: marvelous are Thy works; and that my soul knoweth right well. – (Psalm 139:14 KJV)

 

Marvelously Made

Artwork by Sylvia Carlton

In reverent awe,

I wonder at Thee;

for You have chosen,

each part that makes me.

From hair on my head,

to love in my heart;

all of me designed,

a purposeful part.

Before I was born,

a plan was in place;

You knew what I’d love,

and trials I’d face.

You made me with strength,

hand-crafted by You;

with a heart driven,

to ever pursue.

I give all my praise,

to You, Lord above;

in awe I marvel,

at Your wondrous love.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You know us better than we know ourselves. Thank You that You have a plan and a purpose for each of us, and You have created in us, all that is needed to accomplish that which You have designed us to do. Forgive us for not marveling at the wonderful ways that You have uniquely hand-crafted each of us, individually, with a plan and a purpose. Teach us to stop and wonder in awe at the work of Your hands, as You so intentionally and beautifully love each of us. Lead us to love others You would love them, and give us Your eyes to marvel at who You have created them to be. May many come into a saving relationship with You. Be glorified as we go forth in gratitude in the gifts You have granted. Amen.

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

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

Purposeful Pursuit

But you, man of God, flee from all this, and pursue righteousness, godliness, faith, love, endurance and gentleness. – (1 Timothy 6:11)

 

Though this was Paul’s charge to Timothy after he had unpacked the dangers of false doctrine and the love of money, the charge given applies to all who choose to follow in the faith. Another version states it this way: But you belong to God. so you should stay away from all those things. Always try to do what is right, to be devoted to God, and to have faith, love, patience, and gentleness. – (1 Timothy 6:11, ERV) If we devote out hearts and minds to the Lord, then our desire will be to do what is right and to flee from that which is not. The more we know God, the more we take on His character, growing in faith, love, patience and gentleness. May we rise up as people of God, and pursue His righteousness, enduring all things through His strength, as He calls us according to His purposes.

 

Let every heart,Knowing Love

who holds the Lord dear;

flee from what’s evil,

and trust Christ is near.

May we all pursue,

righteousness and love;

faith and endurance,

like the Lord above.

Let Your love and light,

in truth shine through us;

as we pursue You,

may folks see Jesus.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that as we turn to You and away from what is not good nor beneficial for our growth in You, that You meet us. Thank You that as we pursue righteousness, godliness, faith, love, endurance and gentleness, You grant us Your strength and Your heart to reflect Your love and character to those around us. Forgive us for our failure to rely on You or for seeking after things that are not beneficial to our eternal gain, and help us to have Your perspective on what lies before us. Teach us to trust You more, so that we may view all things with an eternal filter. Help us to love others as You so relentlessly love each of us. May many come to know the glory of Your grace and marvel and the mercy You freely offer. Be glorified O God, as we pursue the things of You and flee from that which is not. Amen.

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

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

Beholding His Healing

Beholding His Healing
Up to Bethesda,

with its colonnades;

people with great need,

wait with hope each day.

A paralyzed man,

who’d waited for years;

approached by Jesus,

the Savior came near.

Jesus asked the man,

“Do you want your health?”

“Sir, I have no help,

nor physical wealth.”

To him Jesus said,

“Grab your mat and walk.”

At once he was cured,

and with Jews he talked.

Rather than marvel,

at this miracle;

they spoke of the law,

he did not fulfill.

They asked of the One,

who had healed the man;

he knew not Jesus,

nor what He had planned.

Later Jesus found,

the man He had healed,

“Stop now, your sinning,”

His truth was revealed.

From that very day,

the truth he did speak;

he told of Jesus,

Healer of the weak.

 

(Responding to John 5:1-15)

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that while we were still blind and crippled by our own sinfulness, You came close so that we might become whole in You.  Thank You that You are our Healer of mind, body, heart and soul.  Forgive us for seeking answers anywhere other than You.  Teach us to trust You completely, and to obey whatever You ask.  May our weaknesses be strengths in You, and may we too, tell our stories of Your great faithfulness in our lives.  Let the words of our mouth point people to You.  May many come to know You, as we share of Your great love.  Amen.

 

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