Grief Wanes in the Wake of Gratitude

So then, just as you received Christ Jesus as Lord, continue to live your lives in Him, rooted and built up in Him, strengthened in the faith as you were taught, and overflowing with thankfulness. – (Colossians 2:6-7, NIV)

You accepted Christ Jesus as Lord, so continue to live following Him. You must depend on Christ only, drawing life and strength from Him. Just as you were taught the truth, continue to grow stronger in your understanding of it. And never stop giving thanks to God. – (Colossians 2:6-7, ERV) 

Now that you have welcomed the Anointed One, Jesus the Lord, into your lives continue to journey with Him and allow Him to shape your lives. Let your roots grow down deeply in Him, and let Him build you up on a firm foundation. Be strong in the faith, just as you were taught, and always spill over with thankfulness. – (Colossians 2:6-7, VOICE)

 

Grief shows up in unexpected spaces, and seeks to sink the soul. Last night, as I attempted to fall asleep, I was flooded by sorrow as I longed to be with my family. I have never been separated from my boys for more than a week, and after nearly three months, this mama’s heart has found its limit. My heart simply grieved for the time lost. Missed concerts, activities, milestones, mornings, moments, and the joy of doing life together. It has always been my boys and me, and this space of occasional visits on a weekend that works, is simply not enough. I know it is a preview of adulthood, but we have not yet arrived at that point, and I do not want to miss out on the precious time that I am given. This morning, as I read and pondered these two verses from Colossians 2, I recognize how relevant this particular passage is for me right now. The best remedy for grief is gratitude. I cannot dwell on time lost, but rather must fix my eyes, heart and mind on the blessings that I have before me. My boys want me to be with my mom, as they know how important it is that she have her daughter with her to care and advocate on her behalf. Both boys have set aside their own desires, and are thinking of their grandmother first. As their mom, I am beyond grateful for their kind and generous hearts. Additionally, there is the obvious, as I cannot even begin to unpack my praise to God for sparing the life of my mom. She has been the most incredible example of selfless love throughout my entire life, so how could I not be present and invest all that I am in walking beside her on this road to recovery?

As for mom’s moving along, she had her first attempt at walking with a cane yesterday. There is a huge learning curve, and she was not a fan, due to the seeming unsteadiness in comparison to her walker, yet she persevered, and walked a good fifteen feet with it, before transitioning back to the walker to complete two lengths of the hallway and into the kitchen. Her interest in getting out of the house continued as well, as she advocated to go get coffee and spring rolls from our favorite takeout place. We enjoyed our drive into town and back, and then had a very relaxing afternoon and evening. I think that it was needed after the crazy, busy weekend of birthday fun, as it was the first time that there were no extra people in the house. Today mom has occupational and speech therapies on the agenda, and tomorrow, my sister will arrive back in town so that I may return home for a bit of a furlough.

May we be strong in faith and overflowing with gratitude, for it is in this space that we find peace.

 

When we live in Christ, img_2019-07-16_06-35-183702170351870846491.jpg

Strong rooted in Him;

Our faith is built up,

To graciously live.

As we are built up,

Strengthened we give praise;

Hearts overflowing,

With thanks all our days.

In everything,

Pursue gratitude;

Grace overpowers,

Heartache’s solitude.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that we are strengthened in faith as we praise and give thanks. Thank You that gratitude helps overcome the weight of grief. Forgive us for sitting in our own heartache rather than seeking You to show us Your kindness and grace. Teach us to trust You more, as You are loving and kind, ready to hold us and lift us up, no matter how we come. Show us how to love those around us well, so that we may strengthen, encourage, help and hold others in their spaces of grief or lack. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we seek You to be our strength and our salvation forever. Amen.

 

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

 

Give thanks to the Lord, for He is good; His love endures forever. – Psalm 107:1

Come to Rest

Let my soul be at rest again, for the Lord has been good to me. – (Psalm 116:7, NLT)

My soul, relax! The Lord is caring for you. – (Psalm 116:7, ERV)

I said to myself, “Relax and rest. God has showered you with blessings.” – (Psalm 116:7, MSG)

O my soul! Return and relax. Come to your true rest, for the Eternal has showered you with His favor. – (Psalm 116:7, VOICE)

 

Just yesterday, I was reminded that this is traditionally the most challenging stretch of the school year. The work becomes challenging for students, the impending holidays and variant weather stir up emotions that they are often unaware of, and as teachers, we hit a spot of weariness that borders on burnout. It is a challenging balance to learn to rest and relax in the Lord, as I do not want to miss out on a moment of fun on the weekends. Time with my beloved friends and family encourages my heart and lifts up my soul. However, the rest that remains with me and carries me through the week, is that which is found in my Heavenly Father. A tremendous blessing is the upcoming Thanksgiving weekend, where there will be time to gather with loved ones, with much time to simply rest. May we ever seek our Savior to be our space of rest, and give Him thanks for the opportunities provided to relax in the beauty of His blessings.

 

Let my soul find rest, Hope in Discouragement

As I seek the Lord;

For in Him alone,

His grace He affords.

When we are weary,

And need to relax;

God provides spaces,

If we only ask.

O Lord we seek You,

And the rest You give;

All thanks for Your grace,

In Your peace, we live.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that in You, we can find real rest. Thank You that Your grace and goodness provide all that we need to be at peace, even in our weariness. Forgive us for seeking rest anywhere other than You. Teach us to trust You more, so that we would seek You and Your rest in our weariness, and give You all praise for the strength and grace You provide to keep going. Show us how to love and encourage those around us who are weary and losing hope. May many come to find true rest in a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we seek You for rest in our weariness, and give You praise for the grace and goodness that You give. 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

His Promises Prove True

God’s way is perfect. The Lord’s promise always proves to be true. He protects those who trust in Him. – (Psalm 18:30, ERV)

 

It is easy to grow weary in the waiting, when a promise has been spoken and we can envision what the fulfillment could look like. However, if we lose patience and stray from the way in which God has called us to walk, we miss out on the way that is best. His way is perfect and His promises prove true. The Lord protects us in the wait, as we trust in Him to lead, guide and walk beside us as we only move when and where He asks us to go. May we trust in the Lord and believe Him at His word, for His way is perfect and His promises are true.

 

For the Lord our God,

Hold Hope He is Faithful

image from quotespictures.com

Is faithful indeed;

Perfect in His ways,

Protects in our needs.

His promises true,

So let us choose trust;

Do as the Lord asks,

For His ways are just.

Let’s not run ahead,

Of where the Lord calls;

Instead may we trust,

That He’ll tear down walls.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that Your way is perfect and Your promises are true. Thank You that You protect those who trust in You. Thank You that You make the impossible possible, when we trust You and Your timing, as You can break down barriers that seem too big to ever overcome. Forgive us for our fears and lack of faith. Teach us to trust You more, so that we would not try to run ahead of You or branch off on our own, but rather that we would do what You ask and follow where You lead. Show us how to love others in such a way, that they might see Your grace and goodness through us. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we trust in You and believe that Your promises are true. Amen.

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

Not that we are competent in ourselves to claim anything for ourselves, but our competence comes from God. – 2 Corinthians 3:5

Live Life

We had a worship night for women last night at my church. Our women’s pastor brought a simple, yet profound word, as she conveyed real examples from her own life to share what the Lord had placed upon her heart for us. The following is what I gleaned from our time together.

Fear and obstacles that stand before us, are the two greatest factors that hold us back from the fullness of all that God has for us. Typically, we are held back in one of two ways. We either refuse to even get out of the boat, despite seeing Jesus walking toward us upon the water through the wind and waves, or we get out of the boat, begin walking, and then suddenly see the wind and waves surrounding us and begin to sink. Either way, we miss out on the miracles our Maker has for us, as we are called to weather the storms, not simply wait for them to pass.

 

Dear brothers and sisters, when troubles of any kind come your way, consider it an opportunity for great joy. – (James 1:2, NLT)

 

As we continue to keep walking toward our Savior, despite the wind and the waves – our fears and the obstacles before us – we allow Him opportunity to move mightily in us and through us, and discover joys we would have never known on the journey, because of His great faithfulness to us.

So how the heck do we do this? The words Pastor Wendy heard were simple, yet so significant. Live Life. Live. Continue pressing in and pressing on, in spite of the fears and the obstacles. Do not limit the Lord, nor make Him too small. He can do exceedingly more than we could hope or imagine, and the joy that awaits us is unfathomable. Our charge is to be available and to move forward in all that He calls us into. We are not meant to be stuck in the boat in fear, nor sinking in the waves as terror overtakes us. May we look to the Lord and consider all trials opportunities for His joy, as He will do abundantly more in us and through us as we choose to keep pressing forward.

 

We must make the choice,

To embrace with joy;

All that comes our way,

Choose faith to employ.

From inside the boat,

We never will know;

How great His power,

Nor give room to grow.

Despite what we face,

The waves and the wind;

The Lord is right there,

To lift us again.

He walks right beside,

Each step of our way;

Provides what we need,

Enough for each day.

The challenging part,

Is we’ll never know;

All that lies ahead,

If we will not go.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You take our fears and trials and use them as opportunities to grow us and give us greater joy as You demonstrate Your love and care for us as we choose to keep walking forward in spite of what lies before us. Forgive us for allowing fears or obstacles to paralyze us where we are, and keep us from allowing You access to all. Teach us to trust You more, so that we would consider even the trials opportunities for great joy, as You give grace and strength that we have not known before. Show us how to love others in such a way, that they see You through us. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we recognize trials and obstacles as opportunities for great joy because of who You are. Amen.

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

Since we are living by the Spirit, let us follow the Spirit’s leading in every part of our lives. – Galatians 5:25

 

To Choose to Be Still

“Be still, and know that I am God!…” – (Psalm 46:10a, NLT)

“Be still, be calm, see, and understand that I am the True God…” – (Psalm 46:10a, VOICE)

 

Life can get extraordinarily busy. I am no exception. This is by far, my busiest season, as I am on the go from 3:30am to 8:00pm or later most weekdays. The reason for such early rising is to provide myself the opportunity to do just as this verse instructs. Beginning my day in silent stillness before the Lord, offers calm and clarity to take on each new day. It can be easy to get caught up in the busy, and forget Who has equipped us to do the things that we do, and as we make way through the midst of it all, how deeply we are loved by Him. Our reason to be still is to come into a space of understanding of who God is, and how He loves. As we learn and grow, we are compelled to go forth and do likewise – not out of obligation nor selfish ambition, but simply because we are loved we and want to do the same. May we take pause and be still before the Lord, so that we may hear His heart for us, and understand the greatness of our God.

 

We are invited,Hope in What is Unseen

to come before Christ;

in quiet stillness,

where hope’s realized.

As we choose be still,

our hearts come to know;

the greatness of God,

and how His love flows.

True understanding,

place of clarity;

is found in stillness,

solidarity.

Let our hearts be calm,

come into His rest;

know He is the Lord,

and He loves us best.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that when we quiet ourselves before You, we come to understand more of who You are, and how You love. Thank You that You are the True God who knows us and loves us, in spite of ourselves. Forgive us for not slowing down to be still before You, as we miss out on all that You have for us. Teach us to be still and set our hearts on You, as we further discover who You are and how You love. Show us how to demonstrate the love and grace that You give to us and to all whom we encounter. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we choose to be still and recognize the greatness of You. Amen.

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

Father, I thank You that You have heard me. – John 11:41

Facing the Giants

God is good and loving, and He always has our very best in mind. When He calls us out of something, or leads us into something new, it is for our benefit, and at times, for our protection. When we fail to trust Him, we may miss out on all that He has for us. Even more than that, there are times when “failing to trust God brings even greater problems than those we originally faced. When we run from God, we inevitably run into problems.” – (NIV footnotes for Numbers 14:34)

 

The Israelites were a prime example of this. Because they failed to trust God, they did not enter into the promised land when it was right there, before them. Instead, they rebelled against God and those He had placed in leadership, and ended up wandering in the desert until they died.

 

From the Israelite perspective, following God into the promised land was a frightening prospect. There were men the size of giants, and their numbers seemed far greater than those of the Israelites. However, the Israelites had been miraculously brought out of captivity, provided for again and again by the mighty hand of God Himself, and yet, they failed to see God’s capacity to carry them over one more hurdle to receive the promise that God had made. Despite the numerous examples that we have throughout the Bible, history, and in our own lives, it is easy to fall prey to the same. If we allow our gaze to fix on that which we face before us, rather than Him who will carry us through, our desire to run begins to outweigh our passion to pursue God’s direction for our lives. May we fix our eyes on He who is more than able to carry us through every circumstance, and trust Him to provide what is needed to get where He calls us to go.

 

Our God is loving,Facing the Giants

and He always has;

the best intentions,

for our promised land.

Yet we have to trust,

and choose to obey;

listen and follow,

and walk in His way.

Even when walking,

seems horrid and hard;

He calls us to trust,

allow Him to guard.

He will not take us,

where He will not go;

His presence promised,

and peace we shall know.

Lead us, Lord Jesus,

wherever You say;

and grant us the strength,

to rise and obey.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You will not lead us where You are not also willing to be present. Thank You that You go before us, behind us, and with us, so that we are never alone or unprotected. Thank You that though trusting You can be frightening at times, failing to do so can mean missing out on all that You have for us. Forgive us for the times that we have run from You, and teach us to trust You more so that we run to You, and embrace all that You call us to do. Lead us to move in rapid obedience, fixing our eyes on You. Help us to love others with You kindness and grace, just as You so completely love each of us. May many come into a lasting relationship with You, as they learn to fix their eyes and hearts on You, the only One who can lead us into the places of promise. Be glorified O God, as we move in obedience, even in the scary spaces. Amen.

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

Surely goodness and love will follow me all the days of my life, and I will dwell in the house of the Lord forever. – Psalm 23:6