Begin With Thanks

Give thanks to the Lord for He is good; His love endures forever. – (1 Chronicles 16:34, NIV)

Give thanks to the Lord because He is good. His faithful love will last forever. – (1 Chronicles 16:34, ERV)

Give thanks to God – He is good and His love never quits. – (1 Chronicles 16:34, MSG)

 

This morning, I woke twenty minutes prior to my alarm. I am uncertain as to whether it was my full bladder or my strange dream that disrupted my slumber, but either way, I was not pleased to be awake at that time, knowing that I would be up for the day in such a short time. As I felt a toasty blast of heat on my way to the restroom, I had a quick check in my heart as to what really matters. Above all else, I have so many reasons to give thanks. So often, we need to take pause and take inventory. God’s goodness and love know no end. For me, in that moment, I remembered that this is the first day of November, a month often dedicated to giving thanks. Upon further pondering, my mental list of gratitude has grown, exponentially, and I could likely spend the month writing about all of the reasons that I am thankful. At 2:57 am, my list included a home with heat, a warm, comfortable bed, a roof over my head, a loving husband, wonderful children, our moms, siblings, and extended family, as well as an incredible circle of familial-like friends. We all have struggles and challenges and trials to face, yet in the midst of them all, we have God and His unending grace. For all of these things, and so many more, may we give thanks to God.

As for mom, her progress provides yet another reason to give God thanks. This week she had the very last of her in-home therapy appointments, as she is now going to transition to out-patient therapy. The switch is significant, as physical and occupation therapy providers have resources, tools and equipment that expedite mobility and strength, and we are eager to see how mom grows in this new chapter of her stroke recovery. Our prayer now is that the timing of the transition is seamless. We are hopeful that because she is in the same city, insurance will process and appointments will be available quickly. Above all, we give thanks to God that mom is with us, and is on the road to recovery, working hard and growing stronger every day.

 

Give thanks to the Lord,

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Photo by Dee Jones of Open Door Photography

For He’s always good;

His love’s forever,

Through all times, withstood.

Every good gift,

Comes from God above;

Blessings from heaven,

Surrounded in love.

For all that is good,

And help when it’s not;

Give thanks to the Lord,

Who amply allots.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You are good and that Your love endures forever. Thank You for the ways that You bless, sustain and help us throughout all of our days. Forgive us for losing sight of Your goodness when things don’t go our way. Teach us to look to You with gratitude, trusting that even in the struggles, trials, inconveniences and the like; You are with us and will see us through. Show us how to love those around us in a way that multiplies gratitude in others. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we give You thanks for who You are and for Your goodness and love that know no end. Amen.

 

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

 

And whatever you do, whether in word or deed, do it all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through Him. – Colossians 3:17

 

 

The Why for Worship

Ascribe to the Lord the glory due His Name; worship the Lord in the splendor of His holiness. – (Psalm 29:2, NIV)

Praise the Lord and honor His Name! Worship the Lord in all His holy beauty. – (Psalm 29:2, ERV)

Honor the Lord for the glory of His Name. Worship the Lord in the splendor of His holiness. – (Psalm 29:2, NLT)

 

On Sunday, our worship pastor, Kristi, spoke on one of our foundational beliefs, as she concluded our current Sunday series, “DNA” (the core beliefs that define who we are). Her message was packed with purpose and the biblical evidence as to why worship matters. One of the most important reasons that we worship God is because He is worthy. For me, Psalm 29:2 is two-fold in how it is phrased. First, it reminds us that we are to praise God because He deserves our worship. Second, David speaks of the splendor of God’s holiness; His holy beauty. I don’t know about you, but for me, there are certain things that I do that remind me of His beauty and holiness far better than others. That was another point mentioned on Sunday, as worship can take place whenever, wherever, and however we are drawn into His presence. Sometimes, it is on a long run outside, as I admire the beauty of creation all around me and appreciate a strong and healthy body that is able to participate in an activity that some are unable to do. At other times, it is while I am driving my car, listening to and singing along with worship music. As I go, God brings to mind His goodness and the blessings He has betrothed unto me. Still other times, there is worship in the intentional gathering together with fellow believers on a Sunday morning to praise Him corporately. This too, this intentional time each morning to spend time in His word and record what He is speaking to my heart, is also an act of worship. May we each continue into this week with a heart to worship, finding ways to turn our attention to God and honor Him for who He is, in the splendor of His holiness.

 

Ascribe to the Lord,

Glory due His Name;

He alone is worthy,

All praise we proclaim.

The splendor of God,

Holiness indeed;

Who sees and hears us,

Cares about our need.

Because the Lord loves,

In infinite ways;

May we seek honor,

With our lives, give praise.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You for Your goodness and kindness and grace. Thank You that You alone are worthy of all of our worship and praise. Thank You for making the beauty of Your holiness tangible through all that You have created, so that we would begin to understand our countless reasons to worship You. Forgive us for neglecting to give glory and honor where it is due, as all praise and worship belong to You alone. Teach us to be intentional in our worship, and to recognize how we can honor You in ways that You have created us to be. Show us how to love others well, so that they too may see Your heart in the blessings they behold. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we choose to worship You and the splendor of Your holiness in all that we do by giving our best, unto You. Amen.

 

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

 

Therefore, since we are receiving a kingdom that cannot be shaken, let us be thankful, and so worship God acceptably with reverence and awe. – Hebrews 12:28

The Path to Peace

Let us therefore make every effort to do what leads to peace and mutual edification. – (Romans 14:19, NIV)

So let’s try as hard as we can to do what will bring peace. Let’s do whatever will help each other grow stronger in faith. – (Romans 14:19, ERV)

So then, make it your top priority to live a life of peace with harmony in your relationships, eagerly seeking to strengthen and encourage one another. – (Romans 14:19, TPT)

 

If we each were to make living a life of peace and harmony with one another our priority, eagerly seeking to strengthen and encourage each other, imagine the communities in which we would all live. The beautiful thing about this decision is that it begins with us, individually. When just one person makes an intentional choice to operate out of a space of love, their approach is contagious to all whom are touched by their life. Though I am one, I know that I will try even harder to live life accordingly. Life is precious, and not one of us knows the number of our days. Every single day matters, and bad moments do not need make for bad days. Yes, there are difficult seasons, as my present one has been one of the most challenging of my life so far, yet there has been joy in every day, and blessings that have unfolded before me. God is good, even in the trials, and our charge is to love and encourage those around us. As we take our eyes off of self and look outward, suddenly we are better able to see the beauty all around us. He knows, and His design and intention for us to live at peace, in harmony with each other, is how the world is meant to work best. May we ever seek Him to grant us the grace and strength to encourage and strengthen those around us, choosing peace and kindness over the desire to be “right”.

As for mom, yesterday was an extraordinarily busy day of visiting and “farewells for now”. The morning began with a visit from two dear friends from church, who helped begin her day with sweet encouragement as they shared life together. Shortly after they had gone, mom’s best friend June, arrived with lunch and gorgeous photos of her brand-new grandson to share. I know the time went far too quickly for mom’s liking, but she did show June her hall-walking and her new mastery of the front porch steps during her visit, as she was strengthened and encouraged in her presence. Then, a mere twenty minutes after June had gone, a terrific pair of mom’s neighbors arrived for a bon voyage visit. They came bearing snacks and gifts, and added to the encouragement for mom. By the close of our time together, mom was ready to relax and retreat a bit. Seated in the living room with her feet up, she simply smiled and soaked it all in as she half-watched a movie. We continued to work on items on her checklist to prepare for her time in Oregon, which I believe is bringing more peace in her heart about the impending move. Though she wishes she could remain in her own community with her friends, she knows that she needs to gain strength in order to return to independent living. My sister, brother-in-love, and nephews, are working tirelessly as well, to ensure that their home in Oregon will be a place of peace, encouragement and strengthening for mom.

May we ever seek our Savior to empower us to live at peace and in harmony with one another, granting us the grace to encourage and strengthen each other, so that all of us might be our best selves unto the world.

 

May we choose seek peace,

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Photo by Dee Jones of Open Door Photography ❤

Live in harmony;

Prefer each other,

Exist lovingly.

Use encouragement,

Whenever we can;

Seek build others up,

For it is God’s plan.

In all things choose love,

It is the best way;

We’ve been created,

To give love away.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You call us to a life of peace and harmony with one another. Thank You that You instruct us to encourage and strengthen each other. Thank You that You have the perfect design for how we ought to live. Forgive us for every time that we have chosen anything that strays away from Your design. Teach us to trust and rely on You to lead us to live a life of peace and harmony with each other. Show us how to love those around us in a way that strengthens and encourages all whom we encounter. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we trust You to lead us in a life of peace that builds others up around us. 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

The Time We’re Given

Teach us to number our days, that we may gain a heart of wisdom. – (Psalm 90:12, NIV) 

Teach us how short our lives are so that we can become wise. – (Psalm 90:12, ERV) 

Teach us to number our days so that we may truly live and achieve wisdom. – (Psalm 90:12, VOICE) 

 

Godly wisdom is needed to navigate our days well. As a child, our potential lifespan seems endless, yet as we grow, we recognize how quickly the days and years go, and the intention to make every day count becomes more of a desire. Now in my forties, I am acutely aware of the brevity of life. I have lost loved ones that lived full, long lives, and have lost others who did not have the benefit of living out a long life. Not one of us has any guarantees, and we need recognize that each new day we wake, is a blessing that we have been granted. What we do with what we are given, matters. May we pursue the Lord with all that we are, so that we may know best, how to utilize the gift of time we each have been given.  

 

Great God of all hope, The Time We Are Given

We ever seek You; 

To lead and guide us, 

And grant wisdom too. 

For Godly wisdom, 

Teaches us to know; 

What we are to do, 

Where we’re meant to go. 

Dear God in Your grace, 

Help us each to use; 

The time we’re given, 

As Your love we choose. 

A choice to live well, 

To share grace and love; 

Ever keep learning, 

Your ways, high above. 

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You for the gift that You give us with each new day that we are granted. Thank You that You designed each of us with a plan and a purpose. Forgive us for taking the gift of time You have given for granted, as each day provides precious time to learn and grow with new love to show. Teach us how to trust You and Your plan for our lives, so that we may walk out our days with purpose in You. Show us how to love those around us well, so that Your goodness and grace are the things that lead each to make their days count. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we give Your praise for the gift of our days, and seek You to live them well. Amen.

 

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

 

Trust in Him at all times, you people; pour out your hearts to Him, for God is our refuge. – Psalm 62:8.

Seek to Receive

Let us then approach God’s throne of grace with confidence, so that we may receive mercy and find grace to help us in our time of need. – (Hebrews 4:16, NIV) 

 

With Jesus as our high priest, we can feel free to come before God’s throne where there is grace. Then we receive mercy and kindness to help us when we need it. – (Hebrews 4:16, ERV) 

So now we come freely and boldly to where love is enthroned, to receive mercy’s kiss and discover the grace we urgently need to strengthen us in our time of weakness. – (Hebrews 4:16, TPT)

There are days that I seem to be more readily available to receive the grace that is desperately needed to navigate than others. I know there is nothing that we can or cannot do to be more or less worthy of receiving His grace and mercy, yet I think our intentionality to approach His throne directly affects the help that we receive; for when we seek, we find. If we do not ask, we are actually attempting to power through on our own. Lately, I have been intentional to pray over the day as I drop my boys off at school. I begin by asking for protection over them – body, heart and mind, and for them to be blessed and a blessing to and by those around them. From there, I begin lifting up my day – my students, my colleagues, lesson plans, classroom environment, and the like. Though I am uncertain as to whether or not there has been a change in students, I feel like there is a shift for me. Perhaps I am simply more aware of the grace I am being granted to get through each day. Whatever the shift, it matters. May we boldly approach Love’s throne for the grace and mercy we need; for He is faithful to meet us and provide the strength and grace to carry us through.

When mercy and grace, 

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Photo by Dee Jones of Open Door Photography<3

Are needed the most; 

Go to the Lord’s throne, 

He’s a loving host. 

With kindness and grace, 

He hears our heart’s cry; 

His love lifts us up, 

He’s ever nearby. 

So, run to the Lord, 

Let Him know the need; 

His grace will cover, 

And His love shall lead. 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You for Your mercy and grace that welcomes us as we come to You. Thank You that You hear our every prayer, and meet us wherever we are. Forgive us for attempting to power through on our own, rather than seeking You for all that we need. Teach us to trust You more, so that we would know Your ongoing faithfulness forever. Show us how to love those around us in a way that extends Your kindness and grace where it is needed most. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we approach Your throne for the mercy and grace we need each day. Amen.

 

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

 

The Peace in Letting Go

Refrain from anger and turn from wrath; do not fret – it leads only to evil. – (Psalm 37:8, NIV)

Stop being angry! Turn from your rage! Do not lose your temper – it only leads to harm. – (Psalm 37:8, NLT)

Stop your anger! Turn off your wrath. Don’t fret and worry – it only leads to harm. – (Psalm 37:8, TLB)

 

Anger, wrath and rage ultimately bring the most harm to the holder. They have a way of rotting us from the inside out, and lead us to decisions that go against the good that we know we ought to do. Fret and worry are much the same. Each of these responses to external things, create an internal reaction that ruins the resolve within us. This verse does not say, “Never be angry.” Rather, it is a call to not sit and dwell in that space, allowing rage to rise. There is a time for righteous anger, yet how we respond to it matters most. Our charge is not to retaliate nor vindicate, (for this is why there are laws and authorities in place) alternatively, we are to set it in God’s hands. Of course, this is more easily said than done, yet with intention, it is worthwhile. Peace takes root where the anger or worry attempted reign. May we recognize our own responses as they occur and give all anger and worry to Him who brings peace in the most tumultuous spaces.

 

Stop being angry, Set Down Our Stones

Leave wrath in the dust;

Let go of worry,

Turn to God in trust.

For vengeance is His,

So too, are good plans;

As we trust in Him,

His grace lends a hand.

A hand that gives love,

When we’re lacking peace;

Comfort in worry,

What we need’s released.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You call us to let go of anger, wrath, rage and worry. Thank You that though there is a time for righteous anger, we are not meant to sit and hold it in our hearts and hands. Thank You that as we release these things to You, You replace them with Your comfort and peace. Forgive us for holding anger or worry. Teach us to trust You more, so that we would place all things in Your hands. Show us how to love those around us who are holding anger or worry in such a way, that they may discover the freedom of letting go. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we give our anger and worry to You, and allow Your comfort and peace to take their place in our hearts. Amen.

 

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

Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own. – Matthew 6:34

Weighing the Why

Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit. Rather, in humility value others above yourself, not looking to your own interests but each of you to the interests of others. – (Philippians 2:3-4, NIV)

In whatever you do, don’t let selfishness or pride be your guide. Be humble, and honor others more than yourselves. Don’t be interested only in your own life, but care about the lives of others too. – (Philippians 2:3-4, ERV)

Don’t be selfish; don’t try to impress others. Be humble, thinking of others as better than yourselves. Don’t look out only for your own interests, but take an interest in others, too. – (Philippians 2:3-4, NLT)

 

I am so thankful that God is gentle as He comes alongside us to remind us of what matters most. This past weekend, I was wrestling with a decision that I thought I had already made. After much prayer and a loving and supportive ear from my Viking, I discovered that I was meant to navigate a different direction than I had determined I would go. Weighing the “why” brought me to a place of peace with the decision that is best for my family. Because I had unconditional support, I had not previously given much consideration to the choice I thought I had already made. It was the gentle prompting in my heart that led me to wrestle with my “why”, and ultimately choose differently.  May we ever seek our Savior to lead and guide us in our every decision, allowing Him room to show us the way that is best for others and not just ourselves.

 

Let each decision, Weighing the Why

Be unto the Lord;

Set aside all pride,

And seek the Adored.

For all that we do,

Impacts more than us;

We need consider,

Others and adjust.

God, help us be wise,

And allow You room;

To show us what’s best,

So Your love may bloom.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You love us and lead us in the ways that are best for all. Thank You that You come alongside us and guide us when we determine to go a direction that You do not intend for us to go. Forgive us for our selfishness and pride that lead us to make decisions that are less than the very best You have for us. Teach us to hold our plans loosely, so that we are willing to allow You to interrupt and reroute us as we go. Show us how to love those around us in a way that considers their best interest in all that we say and do. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we seek Your wisdom and grace to lead us in the ways we are meant to go to best love, support and encourage those around us. Amen.

 

 

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

 

Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres. – 1 Corinthians 13:4 & 7

Beautifully Broken

May these words of my mouth and this meditation of my heart be pleasing in Your sight, Lord, my Rock and my Redeemer. – (Psalm 19:14, NIV)

May my words and thoughts please You. Lord, You are my Rock – the One who rescues me. – (Psalm 19:14, ERV)

May my spoken words and unspoken thoughts be pleasing even to You, O Lord my Rock and my Redeemer. – (Psalm 19:14, TLB)

 

First thing in the morning, before the chaos of the day ensues, it is fairly easy to keep my thoughts fixed on that which is pleasing to the Lord and my words follow, much the same. As the day moves forward and responsibilities and demands grow heavy, it can become far more difficult to keep my heart, mind and mouth aligned. Yesterday, after spending several hours packing and moving things from my old house to the new one we all will share, in the heat of the day, I was hot, tired and a bit grumpy. When we returned to the new house with the last load of the day, I scanned Instagram. What jumped out at me was a post from a friend of mine who had a photo of a broken plate with the words to a Matthew West song that I love. “But if it’s true You use broken things then here I am Lord, I’m all Yours.” – (Matthew West, Broken ThingsHaving read the words, they began to sink deep in my heart and the song began to play on repeat in my heart and mind. I was reminded that even when we are broken down, tired or hurting, He will use us if we are willing. That tug at my heartstrings reset my mind and heart to what matters, and I was able to continue the remainder of my afternoon and evening with the thought that He would use whatever I bring, and He sets my heart where it ought to be. May our every word and thought be pleasing unto God, for He is our Rock and Redeemer.

 

Lord I am the clay,

Scars as Signs of Strength

Just as the Japanese practice the art of Kintsukuroi (the Japanese art of embracing broken and flawed things and making them beautiful), so does God with us as we are willing. ❤

And You, the Potter;

Let my heart reflect,

Love as Your daughter.

Where my heart and mind,

Choose to sit and dwell;

Become the story,

My whole life will tell.

O here I am, Lord,

In my brokenness;

Use what I offer,

In Your tenderness.

May all of my words,

And thoughts in my mind;

Be shaped by Your love,

For You are so kind.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You stop us in our tracks and remind us of what matters most. Thank You that You use us, in our broken imperfections, to touch those around us with Your love. Forgive us for allowing the weight of the world to shape how we see things, rather than coming before You as we are and trusting that You can use all that we offer. Teach us to set our hearts and minds on things of You, so that our every thought and word are pleasing in Your sight. Show us how to love those around us in a way that reflects Your light and love. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we come to You, Lord, and say, “I’m all Yours.” Amen.

 

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

 

And walk in the way of love, just as Christ loved us and gave Himself up for us as a fragrant offering and sacrifice to God. – Ephesians 5:2

*Another song that comes to mind and is a great reminder, Beautifully Broken, by Plumb.

 

Love Always

(Love) It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres. – (1 Corinthians 13:7, NIV)

Love never gives up on people. It never stops trusting, never loses hope, and never quits. – (1 Corinthians 13:7, ERV)

Love is a safe place of shelter, for it never stops believing the best for others. Love never takes failure as defeat, for it never gives up. – (1 Corinthians 13:7, TPT)

 

This is the time of year that I find myself shaking my head in frustration and disbelief at times, as students struggle to settle into the routine that has been established and carried out all year long. It requires regular self-reminders that it takes very little to disrupt the balance in a young person’s life, and something as simple as sunshine, can contribute numerous distractions. My charge is to never give up, to hold hope and choose to persevere. How I spend the remaining twenty-six school days with my students matters. My prayer is that my classroom would be a safe space where students know that I believe the best in them, that they would see that failure is not defeat, and that perseverance pays off. May we each choose to protect, trust, hope and persevere in the places where we are called.

 

Love is the answer,

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Photo by Dee Jones of Open Door Photography ❤

When all goes awry;

For where there is hope,

There’s reason to try.

Love never gives up,

Because things are tough;

It chooses persist,

Love provides enough.

Love always believes,

The best for others;

It will not relent,

For love’s what matters.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You are the perfect example of love unto us, as You always protect, always are trustworthy, always give us hope, and always grant us the strength to persevere as we seek You. Thank You that You grant us the strength to do the same. Forgive us for the times that we grow weary in choosing love. Teach us to trust You more, so that we would rely on You to supply us with all that we need to never give up on those around us, no matter how difficult things seem. Show us how to love others in a way that provides safe shelter, shows others that we have their very best in mind, and that we are for them; always. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we seek to love others as You so completely love each of us. Amen.

 

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

 

Let the heavens rejoice, let the earth be glad. – 1 Chronicles 16:31

Do Not Withhold Good

Do not withhold good from those who deserve it when it’s in your power to help them. – (Proverbs 3:27, NLT)

Do everything you possibly can for those who need help. – (Proverbs 3:27, ERV)

Never walk away from someone who deserves help; your hand is God’s hand for that person. – (Proverbs 3:27, MSG)

 

If our eyes are open to truly see, we can perceive plainly that the need for good to be given is everywhere. Too often, it can become overwhelming if we look to see the lack and take it upon ourselves to somehow “fix” things. Instead, we ought to be ever alert to that which we can do to bless those around us. Often, it is a kind and encouraging word, a simple gesture of holding a door or extending a smile that makes all the difference in the direction a day is going for another. Yes, there are far greater needs, but we are called to do what we can do whenever and wherever we are able. When we consider our words and actions are representation of Jesus to the world, how we maneuver matters most. Are we intentional in the words we choose and generous and kind in our actions? May we look to the Lord as our example of how to give good to those who need it and go forth in the light of His lavish love.

 

Do not withhold good, wp-15187855050751138593129.jpg

For we are each called;

To do what we can,

To love one and all.

For those who need help,

Let us choose rise up;

Extend hands of grace,

Choose fill empty cups.

Each time we reach out,

And choose to love well;

We represent God,

Of His grace we tell.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You do not withhold good from us. Thank You that You call us to be Your hands, heart and voice to those around us as we go forth and do good. Forgive us for withholding that which You have freely given and teach us to trust You more so that we will do everything that we can to love as we are loved by You. Show us how to help where help is needed so that Your love is made tangible to those around us. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we do all that we possibly can to help those around us, just as we are helped by 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