Our Greatest Blessings

Children are a heritage from the Lord, offspring a reward from Him. – (Psalm 127:3, NIV)

Children are a gift from God; they are His reward. – (Psalm 127:3, TLB)

Children are God’s love-gift; they are heaven’s generous reward. – (Psalm 127:3, TPT)

 

My husband and I are abundantly blessed with three amazing boys between us. Earlier this month, the eldest, had his 19th birthday while I was still in Wenatchee with my mom. Upon my return, I apologized for having missed his birthday, and let him know that we would love to celebrate him still. He grinned and claimed that it wasn’t a big deal, yet I knew that he was delighted to be remembered. As he and I spoke about possibilities, we determined that a weekend in Vancouver, BC, would be wonderful. He, in his nineteen years, has never been out of the country, and has an enhanced driver’s license, so he is ready to go. Today, the weekend has finally arrived, and we are merely waiting for our hard-working young man to return home from work (he works graveyard shift) to begin our adventure. Not only is it a delight to celebrate this gift from God, but it is a joy to anticipate watching in wonder, as he takes in all things new. It never ceases to amaze me how blessed the giver ends up feeling in the process of anticipating and carrying out a planned adventure of blessings. I imagine it is but a glimpse of how God feels, as He blesses us with good things. He sees our needs and the desires of our hearts, and then orchestrates ways to surprise and delight us; His sons and daughters. May we ever give thanks to the Lord for the incredible gift of children that we have been given, for they truly are a treasure from heaven.

 

Our greatest blessings, img_2019-08-23_06-36-406737837867289030307.jpg

Come to us, so small;

They capture our hearts,

Not just part, but all.

Each milestone achieved,

Brings joy and delight;

Every tear shed,

Keeps us up at night.

With all that we are,

We love, hope and dream;

For every good gift,

To show what love means.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You for the incredible gift and blessings that are found in our children. Thank You for the opportunity to celebrate and bless them, individually, so that they might gain a glimpse of how You see them. Forgive us for the times that we grow weary and frustrated with the gifts. Teach us to treasure our children and to show them the way to love like You. Help us to love those around us with a love like Yours. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we give You all of our gratitude for the gift You have given us in our children. Amen.

 

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

 

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

Bloom Where You Are Planted

Therefore, since we are surrounded by a great cloud of witnesses, let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles. And let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us. – (Hebrews 12:1, NIV)

We have all these great people around us as examples. Their lives tell us what faith means. So we, too, should run the race that is before us and never quit. We should remove from our lives anything that would slow us down and the sin that so often makes us fall. – (Hebrews 12:1, ERV)

As for us, we have all of these great witnesses who encircle us like clouds. So we must let go of every would that has pierced us and the sin we so easily fall into. Then we will be able to run life’s marathon race with passion and determination, for the path has been already marked out before us. – (Hebrews 12:1, TPT)

 

This, this is why we are called to be in community. Though we can accomplish much through Christ on our own, we can do and be more when we are surrounded by others who walk alongside us as we navigate the journey to which we are called. Incredibly, everyone has a story to tell, and we each have encouragement to offer, based on our experiences and the person whom we have been created to be. Though the struggles and seasons of suffering stink, they often become the space where we find God has grown us the strongest. It is in such seasons that we learn perseverance and dependence on Christ, and have to let go of everything else that weighs us down if we wish to keep moving forward. One of the things that I have missed terribly throughout this trying season, is the consistent community and gathering together to worship and fellowship with friends who have become family at home. However, I know that their prayerful support has been a tremendous contribution to what has sustained us as we have navigated this new and unknown road. God has been faithful each step of the way, and we trust Him to continue as each of us prepare for the next season in mom’s journey to a full recovery.

For mom, yesterday began with some strong ongoing progress that took incredible strength and courage. What terrified mom a little over a week ago, still frightened her a bit, yet she did not hesitate to participate and do her best. Doing upper body work from a kneeling position on the floor is a scary space for mom. However, it is a position that forces her to utilize the right side of her upper body, that she desperately wants to regain. She knows that the reward is worth the risk, and willingly fended off fear to do the work required of her. Ever so slowly, mom is activating her shoulder and scapula. Each time she does the exercises to strengthen the muscles, she also is increasing the message pathways to movement. Later in the afternoon, following an errand outing for a few necessities, lunch and Dutch Bros, we returned home and mom was ready to do some walking. Normally, mom changes into her tennis shoes with an AFO (something foot orthotic that lifts her toes so they don’t drag or catch when she steps) in them, but she already had her crocs on and I suggested she give it a try. Much to her surprise, she was able to walk well in her crocs without the AFO. This is extraordinarily exciting news, as it means that she is actually lifting her right leg as she steps, and no longer just dragging it through. The more she lifts her right foot as she steps, the greater variety of terrain she will be able to take on. (She really wants to walk around her yard!) Mom’s great cloud of witnesses have been coming to see her, more and more. She recognizes the benefit of visitors, and is enjoying reconnecting with dear friends from church, Bible studies and the like. Her perseverance is an encouragement to us all. May we ever seek to surround ourselves in community, so that we may encourage one another to persevere on the path to which we have been called.

 

Seek be invested, img_2019-07-16_06-35-183702170351870846491.jpg

In community;

To learn and to grow,

Exponentially.

For each one planted,

Has something to give;

Wisdom to offer,

Strength from lessons lived.

Hearing from others,

Those far and those near;

Lifts up and strengthens,

Helps us persevere.

Reach out and grow roots,

Invest and make room;

Choose let others in,

Where you’re planted, bloom.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You call us to be in community. Thank You that we can both gain and offer strength to those around us as we do life together in You. Forgive us for allowing ourselves to be isolated when the road is difficult. Thank You for those whom You place in our lives to keep community strong, even when we are not nearby. Teach us to trust You more, so that we would reach out to those around us, regardless of our circumstances, as You bring beauty from ashes and often use our own weakness as Your greatest strength through us. Show us how to love those around us well, so that they will be encouraged and built up; strengthened to persevere through all seasons. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we invest in the communities that You call us to, and praise You for the power to persevere that comes from 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

 

Commit to Capable Hands

May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace as you trust in Him, so that you may overflow with hope by the power of the Holy Spirit. – (Romans 15:13, NIV)

I pray that the God who gives hope will fill you with much joy and peace as you trust in Him. Then you will have more and more hope, and it will flow out of you by the power of the Holy Spirit. – (Romans 15:13, ERV)

I pray that God, the Source of all hope, will infuse your lives with an abundance of joy and peace in the midst of your faith so that your hope will overflow through the power of the Holy Spirit. – (Romans 15:13, VOICE)

 

Though I likely have utilized this verse in the last six weeks, though I could not tell you for sure, it is a necessary reminder for me, as He is the hope that I must hold, no matter the frustrations, disappointments, or waves of sorrow that come my way. I say that not because there has been anything bad in the last 24 hours, as mom is well and we are continuing to navigate together with joy and hope; rather, it is a personal battle as I have to trust and be at peace for the things that I am missing at home while I am here. Saturday, I missed a memorial for an incredible woman whom I loved and worked with for many years. She and her family embraced me and my boys, and we did the same with she and hers. It hurt my heart to not be present for the family, yet I know they understood my absence, and fully support me in my own journey with my mom. Then, yesterday, I was unable to attend the graduation celebration of one of my best friend’s daughter’s, whom I have known since before she was born. I have watched her grow and thrive, blossom and evolve, into a beautiful, intelligent, compassionate, wonderful and warm young lady, with a bright future ahead of her. They too, were gracious about my absence, and would not want me to be in any other place than right here, right now. Though mom had a rough night and did not sleep well, as we were up together at least four times during the night, I know that I am meant to be here. This morning, as I sat at the kitchen table and took in the view, the sunrise was extra colorful. It lasted only a few moments, and then the bold colors faded to a bit more muted grey, yet I know what I had witnessed, was a moment for me to enjoy in awe and wonder, to remember His promises of faithfulness forever.

Today is a new day, and will be busy as we will take our first official outing together with only, she and I. Mom has physical therapy at home this morning at 8:30, followed by an appointment with her neurologist at 11:00 am. The neurology appointment is in town, so we will be getting out of the house and entering civilization. This is a prayer point for sure, as mom has had zero interest in going anywhere; she does not really want to see people unexpectedly nor unplanned. She is still learning to navigate all of this new, and is struggling with how to allow others to walk alongside her as she travels this long road of recovery and rehabilitation after a stroke. Slowly, she is allowing others in; but it is at her pace, in her time. Megan and I are fiercely protecting her wishes, so please do not push if she is not ready. Requests are welcome, but do not be offended if a “not yet” is the answer. May His hope fill us with all joy and peace as we trust in Him to the point of overflowing.

 

May the God of hope, Hope Anchors the Soul

Fill you once again;

With His joy and peace,

As You let Him in.

Disappointment comes,

As do sorrows too;

Yet ever the Lord,

Starts the next day new.

Let go of what was,

Choose live in today;

Trust for tomorrow,

God will make a way.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You are the source of all hope, joy and peace as we trust in You. Forgive us for allowing the weight of what we want verses what we are meant to do to burden us. Teach us to trust You more, so that we would not carry what is not ours, and that we would place all in Your capable hands. Show us how to love those around us in a way that extends hope and joy and peace in a way that instills hope where it has been absent. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we trust all in Your hands and release all that is not ours to control. Amen.

 

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

 

The Lord bless you and keep you; the Lord make His face shine on you and be gracious to you; the Lord turn His face toward you and give you peace. – Numbers 6:24-26

 

 

 

 

You Make Me Strong

I love You, Lord; You are my strength. – (Psalm 18:1, NLT)

Lord, how I love You! For You have done such tremendous things for me. – (Psalm 18:1, TLB)

I love You, God – You make me strong. – (Psalm 18:1, MSG)

 

Though I am quite sad to have missed practice last night, I know that the rest my body received as a result, has made a difference. This morning as I woke, my throat no longer hurt, and I know that the sleep that was desperately needed, was granted at last. I appreciate how God uses the people whom we trust most, to be the voice of reason. Both my fiancée and best friend worked in cahoots to convince me to stay home and rest. His love surrounds me, and His strength renews me. Gratitude and love flood my heart and mind, as I think of the tremendous things He has done for me. Not only in these small things to get through each day when I am fighting sickness, but throughout my life, as He has been my strength for all of my days. The Lord is good, and I am grateful. May we ever seek the Lord, who is our strength, and tell Him of the love we have for Him who provides and guides throughout all of our days.

 

I love You, O Lord,

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For all You have done;

The strength that You give,

The battles You’ve won.

Your grace and Your love,

Make me strong enough;

To rise and press on,

When life seems too tough.

All love and all thanks,

I lift unto You;

As You make me strong,

By Your grace and truth.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You are our strength and You do tremendous things for us. Lord we love You and give You all honor and praise. Forgive us for not seeking You to be our strength in our need. Teach us to trust You more, as You show us the way we are meant to go and empower us to do all that You ask. Show us how to love those around us in the same way that You love each of us. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we love You with our lives and praise You for the strength that You grow in us each new day. Amen.

 

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

 

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

Making Markers to Remember

“We will use these stones to build a memorial. In the future your children will as you, ‘What do these stones mean?’ Then you can tell them, ‘They remind us that the Jordan River stopped flowing when the Ark of the Lord’s Covenant went across.’ These stones will stand as a memorial among the people of Israel forever.” – (Joshua 4:6-7, NLT)

…Someday when your children ask you, “Why are these stones piled up here?” You will tell them how the waters of the Jordan parted as the covenant chest of the Eternal One crossed the river, and those stones will fix that memory for the Israelites forever. – (Joshua 4:6-7, VOICE)

 

I love how often in the Old Testament that there are significant stories of God’s faithfulness where the people of God marked their story with stones of remembrance so that the memory of all that God had done will live on for the generations yet to come. I’m not sure when or where that practice was lost, but it makes me take pause to consider yet again, all of the times in my life where I could pile stones of remembrance of God’s faithfulness. The incredible thing about God is that He cares about the small things as well as the giants that cross our paths. One example of His provision and faithfulness for me came yesterday, as I have been dealing with a dead Keurig for the last two weeks. Yes, I know it is a luxury item and I have been abundantly blessed to have one, yet as a very early riser who starts the day with coffee, it has been sadly missed as I’ve had to brew coffee in a make-shift, rustic way. Yesterday, my love spent two hours disassembling the machine to replace the part that seemed to have gone bad. The inner workings of the machine are tiny and difficult to access, yet my Viking mechanic persisted. Once he replaced the part and turned the machine on, it came to life, only to refuse to work the way it was intended. The life of my coffee maker had expired. I had posted my appreciation for his hard work on Facebook, and he later commented about its demise. A sweet friend that I have not seen in quite a while, offered to give me her machine, as she has given up coffee and no longer uses hers. Just like that, something that is not even a need, but rather a want that is appreciated, was provided. Perhaps I need to form a stack of memorial “stones” from k-cups, to remind myself of His goodness and faithfulness, and to share with others, His kindness to me. We all have stories, both big and small, of the wonderful ways that God has provided in our lives. May we ever remember the things that He has done, and consider the stones of remembrance He is building in our lives.

 

Let us make markers, Making Markers to Remember

Of God’s faithfulness;

Ways to remember,

How we have been blessed.

For as we recall,

The good God has done;

Faith grows in others,

Our daughters and sons.

May we each take time,

To tell of His good;

How He’s provided,

Beside us, He stood.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You are faithful forever. Thank You that You care about even the small details in our lives because You love us where we are. Thank You for the example that was set long ago, as Your people placed stones of remembrance to commemorate Your faithfulness to them. Forgive us for not acknowledging the ways that You meet us and bless us – both big and small, for Your hand is in it all. Teach us to remember and give You praise for all things. Show us how to set stones of remembrance in our hearts so that we would always have words of gratitude to give. Help us to love those around us in a way that creates reason to remember in their lives as well. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we remember Your faithfulness and tell others of the great things that You have done. 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

Speak Truth from the Heart

As part of being called to love, we must speak life to those around us. To speak life is to speak the truth from the heart, and to love and honor God in the process. When we neglect to speak encouraging words, and instead speak death or demise, we tear down rather than build up those whom Christ has created in His very own image.

Only those who live pure lives, do what is right and speak the truth from their hearts. Such people don’t say bad things about others. They don’t do things to hurt their neighbors. They don’t tell shameful things about those close to them. – (Psalm 15:2-3, ERV)

Let us choose to speak,Speak Truth from the Heart

encouraging words;

so all who are near,

may embrace what’s heard.

Invest in the Lord,

so we may live pure;

do right and speak truth,

offer truth to hear.

Speak not of the bad,

that dwells in others;

do nothing to harm,

sisters or brothers.

Speak not of the shame,

their actions impart;

for the Lord forgives,

and grants a new start.

Rather choose build up,

and point to the Lord;

His love is enough,

it’s freely outpoured.

Our words have power, and can have an impact for far longer than we know. For the child who hears nothing but negativity at home, and then hears encouraging words at school from a teacher or a staff member, their life course could be forever altered, simply because someone took the time to speak the truth in love into their life. Sadly, the opposite holds true as well. If our words are spoken carelessly and without love, the damage can be far deeper and longer lasting than we could ever imagine. In Christ, we have the power to choose to invest our lives in Him, so that we might live lives that are pure, and do what is right; speaking the truth from our hearts. As we do, people are encouraged and changed, and we cannot help but no longer stay the same either.

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that in You, we have the power to speak truth in love, and encourage and build up those who are around us.  Thank You that You equip and empower us to do so, when we invest our hearts and lives in You.  Forgive us for the missed opportunities that we have had, because we were too wrapped up in our own “stuff” to see the need around us.  Teach us to trust You more, so that we would have an outward focus, fixing our eyes on You, and those whom You place on our path to love as You love us.  Lead us to love like You.  May many come into a lasting relationship with You.  Be glorified O God, as we speak Your truth from the hearts that You have made new within us.  Amen.

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

The Lord is gracious and compassionate, slow to anger and rich in love. – Psalm 145:8

Willing to Set Free

On a Sabbath, when Jesus was teaching in a synagogue, He noticed a woman bent over and crippled by a spirit. She had been this way for eighteen years. Imagine what it must have been like for her, an outcast of society – both a woman and one whom was disfigured, noticed and called forth by Jesus. When Jesus saw her, He called her forward and said to her, “Woman, you are set free from your infirmity.” – (Luke 13:12) He went on to reach out and touch her, and she was healed immediately. The untouchable received a touch, and her response was righteous. …Immediately she straightened up and praised God. – (Luke 13:13b)

 

Jesus sees us too. He knows what has us bent over and bound, and He is willing to set us free. When He calls us, are we willing to walk forward and allow His touch? The woman must have either moved out of desperation or deep faith. Either way, she stepped forward when Christ called. If she had remained hidden and frozen in fear, she would have missed her moment of healing. May we be brave and bold to respond to whatever Jesus asks, so that we may receive all that He has for us.

 

Seen in a space,Willing to Set Free

where hidden to most;

Christ is aware,

and has us come close.

Draw near to Him,

for He’s calling you;

He wants to heal,

ever make us new.

His tender touch,

and our lives shall change;

Christ’s love made known,

our great Savior reigns.

Whom Christ sets free,

finds freedom indeed;

to live and love,

and help those in need.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You see what binds us, and You call us unto Yourself so that You can set us free. Thank You that You touch our brokenness and make us whole again. Forgive us for our fears that keep us from bringing what has us bound before You. Teach us to trust You more so that we may move forward in faith, and allow You access to all. Touch our hearts, minds, and entire lives so that we may move in Your freedom. Lead us to love others, as You so faithfully love each of us. May many come into a saving and lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we respond to Your requests, and receive all of our adoration and praise. Amen.

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

May God be gracious to us and bless us and make His face shine upon us. – Psalm 67:1