A Shield About Us

But You, Lord, are a shield around me, my glory, the One who lifts my head high. – (Psalm 3:3, NIV)

But You, Lord, protect me. You bring me honor; You give me hope. – (Psalm 3:3, ERV)

But You, God, shield me on all sides; You ground my feet, You lift my head high. – (Psalm 3:3, MSG)

 

God is our hope, our help and our place of protection in all things and at all times. When feeling low or unsure of where to go, He will direct our steps and lift our head high in His hope. The Lord is faithful in all things – great and small, and cares about all. On Saturday afternoon, my husband’s back went out. He stretched and iced, used heat, and did all of the things that he knows to do to best to help his body. Unfortunately, in the wee hours of Sunday morning, it was clear that those things, along with much prayer, were not the solution this time. In the past, what has helped the most, has been chiropractic care, as misalignment has been the culprit causing bulging discs to place pressure on sensitive spinal nerves. While he searched online for a possible office that would be open on a Sunday, I prayed for a solution. A long-time friend, who happens to be a chiropractor in Seattle, came to mind. I sent her a message, asking if she knew anyone in our area that might be open on a Sunday (as I did not want to ask her to work on her one day off). She sent a name that might respond to a message if we left one, but said she would be in her office and would be happy to see him. Seriously?! A few hours later, we were on our way. Treatment provided rapid relief, and he happens to have this week off from work. God is good and my Viking can rest and recover, rather than further aggravate the injury. May we trust God to be a shield about us, as He lifts our head and grants us hope.

 

No matter what comes, A Shield About Us

The Lord will be near;

A shield about us,

We need never fear.

For He is our hope,

Throughout all our days;

Our glorious God,

He’s faithful always.

He’ll lift our head up,

When things all look down;

And remind our heart,

Where true hope is found.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You are a shield about us. Thank You that You lift us up and provide hope in difficult spaces. Thank You that You care about all things – great and small. Forgive us for neglecting to turn to You in our need. Teach us to trust You more, as You are our hope and help Whom we can trust forever. Show us how to love those around us in ways that make Your goodness tangible. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we give You praise for Your protection and provision, as You are the hope to which we can cling. Amen.

 

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

 

So we will wait for the Lord. He helps us and protects us. – Psalm 33:20

Ragnar Ready

As you know, we count as blessed those who have persevered. – (James 5:11, NIV)

 

These past many months have been all about perseverance. In late April, I sustained a compression fracture in my low back during a Tactical Strength Competition in the first event of three. I did not realize that the pop I felt during my deadlift was so serious, so I completed the competition.

When I went to the doctor on that Monday, I was sent for x-rays immediately. Low and behold, I had broken a bit of my back. Lovely! Not exactly something that fits in my lifestyle, nor my training plan. There was a half-marathon in June, and then Ragnar (a 12-person, 200-mile relay) in July, that I needed to be healthy and strong to participate.

Fast-forward to June, and I became the proud owner of a pricey souvenir t-shirt for a race I was not yet ready to run. Though I have been on a modified training regime since my injury occurred, I simply was not yet ready to run 13.1 miles at once. Allowing that race to go, was my ticket to run Ragnar, and the July race was far more important to me.

Here I am, the day prior to Ragnar, and I am cleared by doctors to run the distance! I ran my first full long run on Monday, and felt good. I was able to complete the mileage equivalent to my longest leg, so I should be good to go. Nerves are certainly present, as is some soreness, but I trust that He will continue to carry me to the finish. Please feel free to pray for safety and health for all of the Ragnar runners as you feel inspired. It is a wonderful, crazy, adventure that I am so grateful to be a part of for the third year in a row!

 

Thousands of runners,

photo (9)

Load up in their vans;

Working together,

The best that we can.

Through heat and the rain,

Through the dark of night;

The runners keep on,

With vests and headlights.

When the sun blazes,

Dear friends, we’ll still run;

’til there is a break,

Van 2 to van 1.

But alas, that rest,

Is very short-lived;

Perhaps for a nap,

Then more grit to give.

Despite the struggle,

Always at the end;

With medals and joy,

“Let’s do this again!”

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You for Your faithfulness and goodness. Thank You for healthy bodies that can run. Thank You for healing and wholeness and restoration. Forgive us for our frustrations with what we can’t do, and help us celebrate and appreciate what we can do. Teach us to be grateful for everything, as every step, every breath, is a gift. Show us how to honor You with all that we do, and help us to love others well in the process. May many be drawn into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we honor You in all that we do. Amen.

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

Answer me, O Lord, out of the goodness of Your love; in Your great mercy turn to me. – Psalm 69:16

 

 

Coaching through Christ

Coaching gymnastics has been a part of my life since I was sixteen years old. More of my life has been spent coaching and in the gym, than not. That being said, I still get nervous before the first day of tryouts every year. I am not sure if it is empathy for the masses that will walk into the little gym after school, or if it is my own desire to be sure that everything is in place as it ought to be. Perhaps it is a bit of both. Either way, the butterflies come as the time draws near, yet the moment the first girl walks into the gym, all fear fades away, and I am home.

 

Despite this being a space where I know that the Lord has both called and equipped me, I imagine the nerves are a blessing. Because I get nervous, I remain dependant on Him. Though coaching is operating in an area of strength, I am ever aware of my need for Christ to be present. If I am not functioning in His grace, the girls will know the difference. Coaching is so much more than training up gymnasts, it is about creating confidence in young ladies, where they may not have had confidence before. My hope is that they will walk out of the gym having discovered that they can do more than they ever thought they could.

 

Girls are not allowed to say “can’t” in our gym. Essentially, they are discovering that they “can do all things through Christ who strengthens us,” – (Philippians 4:13) through ongoing acts of faith. It requires faith in their coaches and faith in themselves to attempt new skills and take on new challenges. For those who are willing, great goals are achieved, and new confidence is discovered.

 

Our lives ought to operate the same way. Can’t should not be a part of our vocabulary. If God calls us to it, He will make a way for us to get through it. The seemingly impossible is possible in Christ. It is only through His strength that we can discover how much more He has made us to be, if we are only willing to walk where He calls. May we rise up in His strength, and go forth, trusting that He is faithful to supply all that is needed to answer that which He asks.

 

When working in strength,Coaching through Christ

or a deficit;

rely on the Lord,

our hope to beget.

For there is no can’t,

when the Lord has called;

He’ll grant what’s needed,

Provider of all.

May we rise in faith,

trust His strength, go forth;

know that He is faithful,

our tried and true north.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You are faithful to walk us through whatever You call us to do. Thank You that nerves remind us of our need for You, even in our areas of strength. Thank You that You are loving and kind, and that You care about the little things too. Forgive us for the times that we try to operate in our own strength, rather than rely on You. Teach us to trust You more, so that we may learn to lean on You in all things and at all times. Let us love others as You love us, and may many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we go forth in Your strength in all that we do. Amen.

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

When times are good, be happy. – Ecclesiastes 7:14