Sustained by Our Shepherd

The Lord is my Shepherd; I have all that I need. He lets me rest in green meadows; He leads me beside peaceful streams. He renews my strength. – (Psalm 23:1-3a, NLT)

The Eternal is my Shepherd, He cares for me always. He provides me rest in rich, green fields beside streams of refreshing water. He soothes my fears; He makes me whole again. – (Psalm 23:1-3a, VOICE)

 

For more than two weeks now, I have had a vicious run of migraines. Each morning, as I have been up and beginning the new day, the pressing pain that begins at the base of my skull and travels upward, would greet me as I began to get ready. I mention this only to tie in the application of how the Lord has shown me the above truths made tangible over the past few weeks, as well as just yesterday. Regardless of the way that I felt, He sustained me and gave me the strength to keep working anyway. The breaks in my day are spaced just right, so that I am able to have a bit of solace in a dark room to regroup, before tackling the next several hours of teaching. On a day when I had grown weary of enduring, a friend encouraged me to go to a chiropractic appointment that she helped facilitate, by watching a few minutes of my class. That particular bit of help provided ten hours of relief, which made coaching through an entire gymnastics meet without a migraine, far more pleasant. Yesterday, as I was again weary from pressing through the pain, I met with a friend to check in. Where I had imagined there would be some intense conversation, there was instead, laughter and light and life. There was peace and rest in that place, despite how I was feeling, and it was clearly by His leading. From there, I had an acupuncture appointment. The moment I walked in, she was quick to identify the need, and worked specifically to alleviate the source of the prolonged pain. When I left, my head felt far better than when I had arrived. She instructed me to go home, eat, and then go to bed. Though not my typical M.O., I listened, and this morning, I have renewed hope that this crummy cycle has been stopped. He is good and provides rest and peace and strength as we need it. May we place our trust in Him, and seek the Lord to lead us to the places where He will provide refreshment, strength and wholeness all of the days of our lives.

 

We have a Shepherd,Masterd by Our Maker No Longer Slaves to Sin

Who’s all that we need;

He leads us to rest,

when to Him, we plead.

He knows where we’re weak,

as strength He does give;

not just to survive,

but to truly live.

He brings us to peace,

when the storms surround;

He soothes all our fears,

He’s where hope is found.

Let us choose to trust,

in the Lord above;

for peace, rest and strength,

all given in love.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You are our Shepherd and that You give us all that we need. Thank You that You give us rest, and that You lead us to peaceful places, despite the turmoil we may be facing. Thank You that You renew our strength, even when we are beyond weary. Forgive us for becoming fearful in our weariness or unrest. Teach us to trust You more, so that we would run to You in all things, trusting You to lead us to the places where You will provide rest and peace and renewal. Show us how to offer peace and strength and rest to those who are weary around us. May they see You in us, and choose to pursue a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we trust You as our good Shepherd who provides all that we need. Amen.

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

I thank You and praise You, O God of my fathers: You have given me wisdom and power. – Daniel 2:23

Speak of What’s Seen

This morning, as part of my reading plan led me through Acts 4, my heart fixed on verse twenty. “For we cannot help speaking about what we have seen and heard.” – (Acts 4:20) A multitude of moments passed through my mind, as I thought of the Lord’s faithfulness – again and again.  However, the display of His goodness that is the most recent and readily recalled in my heart and mind, is how He so graciously provided for my dear friend Anne, in the final few months of her life.

AineFor those who have read the various things that I have written about Aine (pronounced On-ya, Gaelic equivalent to Annie), this may be a bit of repetition, but for those who have not, this is some of what I have seen and heard that I cannot help but speak of now.  Aine, began battling stage four breast cancer in 2004.  After a mastectomy, she actually seemed to be doing very well, and the cancer was under control – or so she thought.  Fast forward to 2008, and spots of bone cancer were discovered in her femur, spine and a few other small spaces.  At the time, radiation was done for the largest spot on her leg, and was left at that.  She maintained her busy, active life, and gave little attention to the cancer that was trying to creep in.  In 2011, the cancer had become invasive enough that she at last relented, and decided to go ahead and give chemo a try.  At first, the chemotherapy did bring her numbers down.  And then it seemed to stop working.  It was a roller coaster of treatment trial and error, and all the while, Aine was upbeat, positive, and trusted that the Lord would heal her.  Late 2012, she began getting migraines.  She had never had them before, so this led to a series of tests.  By January 2013, we knew that she had multiple brain tumors.  In February, she underwent full-brain radiation.  Remarkably, the tumors responded very well.  Most of them shrank or disappeared, and the migraines ceased.  Unfortunately, the bone cancer had been unattended during this time, and was spreading like wild fire.  She faithfully rallied, enduring a few emergency hospital stays, fighting what we thought was the end, because she had become so ill, all the while, holding fast to her faith in our Heavenly Father.

On to the part that I can’t help but speak of…  By late July, Aine was in bad shape.  We knew the end was near, and she needed care and a place to stay.  Aine had no family nearby, and was single.  Her church family gathered around her and truly held her up and provided for her every need.  Dear friends poured out resources she did not anticipate, and a home for her to stay in was provided by the perfect hosts, those whom God had clearly called.  Aine was loved and cared for until she drew her last breath, and though she was essentially an orphan by the world’s standards, she had not ever been alone – either spiritually, nor tangibly.  Today, I know with utmost certainty, that my sweet sister, Aine, who loved to dance and hike, is dancing and moving freely on streets of gold – surrounded and held.

Stay not silent,Speak of Whats Seen

the blessings, do share;

for they build up,

reminders HE cares.

Let others know,

how He’s been right there;

they too can trust,

in Christ’s tender care.

Speak of His good,

tell of His great grace;

make known His peace,

accept and embrace.

As we reach out,

give ourselves away;

we’re living words,

our actions do say.

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You for Your great faithfulness, even in what seems to be such a space of struggle.  Thank You that above all things, You are good.  Help us to speak about what we have seen and heard of Your faithfulness; for You are worthy of all of our praise.  Forgive us for fixing our eyes on the struggles, rather than on the remarkable provisions You grant in the midst of them.  Teach us to hold fast to our hope in You, and lead us to live in such a way, that our very lives speak of Your goodness and grace.  May we live in love, so that others too, may come into a lasting relationship with You.  Be glorified in both the struggle and the standing strong.  Amen.

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

“He will yet fill your mouth with laughter and your lips with shouts of joy.” – Job 8:21 NIV

Certain Hope

“Now faith is being sure of what we hope for and certain of what we do not see.” – (Hebrews 11:1)

Daily headaches have been a part of my existence for as long as I can remember.  Yesterday, as I had a check-up with a new neurologist, I thought it would be a simple in and out, as the migraines have been well-controlled with medication.  This mindful medical professional took the time to have an in depth conversation about not just migraines, but headaches as well.  She was horrified to hear that I have been living with daily headaches for so long.  As I described the nature of these headaches, she smiled confidently, and told me that she may have a simple and successful treatment that would bring an end to the daily clobbering in my cranium.  Immediately, I began to pray silently, as she described the procedure.  Rather than fear rising up, (which typically would be my response at the suggestion of a shot in the base of my skull), I heard myself telling her that I thought we should go ahead and give it a try.  His presence was tangible to me, and I knew that I could trust and believe that He is who he says, and that He would do what He promises He’ll do.

In His strength, I sat and waited for the procedure to begin.  Five times she cleansed the area hidden in my mass of hair, before she was ready to actually begin the injections.  What I thought would be just one, seemed to be a series, but He was with me and I did not panic.  Minor discomfort was the extent of the pain, and I didn’t begin to black out until she was nearly finished.  Thankfully, she was able to complete the procedure and have me lie down, so all ended well.

As I left the office, I felt a new sense of hope, knowing that God is doing something new.  Into the evening, the typical pressure the resides in my noggin, was somehow less.  This morning, I woke without the intensity of the typical ache.  He is my Healer, and for this and so much more, I give praise.

Believe in the One,Certain Hope

Who is ever true;

our heart in His hands,

He will see us through.

Always, He’s faithful,

steadfast to His word;

present as promised,

may praises be heard.

Be certain of Him,

through Him we’re secure;

in Him, we may hope,

our future assured.

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that we may place our faith in You, for You are who You say You are, and You do what You say You will do.  Though we do not see with our eyes, our hearts hold fast to the hope that is found in You.  Thank You that You are ever present, and that You never leave us nor forsake us.  Thank You that You strengthen and equip us for that which we are about to face, and You hold our heart and hand as we go.  Forgive us for allowing fear a foothold, and help our first response be to call on You, be it in times of trouble or times of peace.  May we walk by faith and not by sight, and may our lives lived in love shine brightly before all who are around us.  May many come to know You as their Savior this season, as they see the faithfulness of You, our Heavenly Father.  All glory and honor to You, our hope to which we hold.  Amen.

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