Defense Against Discouragement

Let us come before Him with thanksgiving and extol Him with music and song. – (Psalm 95:2, NIV)

Come and worship Him with songs of thanks. Let us sing happy songs of praise to Him. – (Psalm 95:2, ERV)

Come face-to-face with God, and give thanks; with loud and joyful voices, praise Him in songs. – (Psalm 95:2, VOICE)

 

The best defense against discouragement and frustration, is praise and thanksgiving. Yesterday was a bit of a battle for me. Between fending off a doozy of a headache and a report of less-than-stellar student behavior during my absence on Monday, it was a struggle to operate from a space of gratitude and joy. Thankfully, I have incredible colleagues, and the blessing of positive and encouraging interactions with them throughout my day, made all of the difference in how my heart was held. I am certain that taking the opportunity to give mom a quick call during my planning period helped too. By the time I arrived at high school gymnastics practice to warm, friendly greetings by the girls and fellow coaches, joy and gratitude were back in their proper place, and practice flew by. Days such as these, I am so grateful for the people that He has placed in my life to remind me of what truly matters. May we ever come before the Lord with thanksgiving and praise Him with song; for He is good and His love endures forever.

As I mentioned, I was blessed to get a hold of Mom during my planning period in the morning yesterday. Speaking to her before her first out-patient speech appointment was good, as I know she was a bit nervous for the new, yet excited to continue to move forward on this journey of healing. Thankfully, I had the pleasure of checking back in with Mom last evening to hear how her first appointment had gone. Although it was the usual assessment to establish a starting point, she really liked the speech therapist, and was encouraged by the work he initiated and the hope that lies ahead. Additionally, now that she has been to an out-patient appointment, the other new upcoming therapy appointments are less daunting. For all of these things, we give thanks.

 

When discouragement, img_2019-11-20_04-57-501882498755502868600.jpg

Or frustration come;

Combat them with praise,

To the Holy One.

Despite what we see,

There’s always reason;

To give thanks to God,

In each new season.

For life and for breath,

For hope, strength and peace;

So many blessings,

By grace, He’s released.

Let us rise and praise,

Give thanks where it’s due;

All unto the Lord,

Whose love’s ever true.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that in You we have reason to give thanks and sing songs of praise unto You, in every season. Thank You that even in a time that feels heavy, You are present and ready to carry the weight. Thank You that as we lift our burdens unto You and give praise where praise is due, we are able to navigate the way true. Forgive us for losing sight of gratitude in the grip of the grind. Teach us to keep our eyes on You, so that our perspective is eternal rather than on the temporary. Show us how to love those around us in the midst of their heaviness, so that they too may find reason to give thanks. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we give You praise and thanks for all of our days, for You are always good. Amen.

 

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

 

The righteous will rejoice in the Lord and take refuge in Him; all the upright in heart will glory in Him! – Psalm 64:10

Made Strong in His Peace

The Lord gives strength to His people; the Lord blesses His people with peace. – (Psalm 29:11, NIV)

May the Lord make His people strong. May the Lord bless His people with peace. – (Psalm 29:11, ERV)

God makes His people strong. God gives His people peace. – (Psalm 29:11, MSG)

 

After having been away for another long three weeks, this is exactly the reminder I need, prior to heading back to school to finish out the final three days of the school year. I know not what I will discover, as I reenter my classroom after my absence. Each time I have been away, I find myself nervous to return. It will be good to finish out the year, and I am looking forward to seeing my colleagues and students; there is simply a nervous anticipation in the waiting. God will give me the strength I need and provide His peace, if only I remember to slow down and breathe. This too, is part of the reason I rise as early as I do – extra time to process and prepare.

In the same way, God continues to give strength and peace to mom and Megan in Wenatchee. Yesterday was a leisurely Sunday, as they took care of practical things as well as enjoyed a visit with one of mom’s dearest friends. The fruit of all mom’s many months of labor is in full bloom, as her yard is bursting with color every direction the eye can see. Exposure to her yard over the last few months has certainly inspired me to dream about what to do with my own.

In all things, God is our strength and peace, and the One in Whom we can trust at all times.

 

The Lord makes us strong,

img_2019-06-17_04-30-122609492394303133472.jpg

A view on a walk near home…<3

Beyond physical;

He grants strength of heart,

Unsurpassable.

And oh how His peace,

Comes in and surrounds;

Calm to our chaos,

As His grace is found.

No matter what comes,

The Lord will be near;

Promised, His presence,

So, we need not fear.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You are our strength and our peace. Thank You that You are with us wherever we go and whatever we do, so we need not fear with You. Forgive us for our anxiousness about what lies ahead when we cannot see past the first step. Teach us to trust You more, as You always make a way and never leave us nor forsake us. Show us how to love those around us in a way that offers strength and peace in places of unrest. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we trust You to be our strength and peace in all things and at all times. Amen.

 

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

 

The Lord turn His face toward you and give you peace. – Numbers 6:26

A Loving Warrior

For the Lord your God is living among you. He is a mighty Savior. He will take delight in you with gladness. With His love, He will calm all Your fears. He will rejoice over you with joyful songs. – (Zephaniah 3:17, NLT)

The Lord your God is with you. He is like a powerful soldier. He will save you. He will show how much He loves you and how happy He is with you. He will laugh and be happy about you. – (Zephaniah 3:17, ERV)

Your God is present among you, a strong Warrior there to save you. Happy to have you back, He’ll calm you with His love and delight you with His songs. – (Zephaniah 3:17, MSG)

 

It amazes me how often the verse of the day on my Bible application, is exactly the reminder I need. This morning, as I am on the other side of the mountains from mom and prepare to head back to work for a few days before returning to her after having not set foot in my classroom in nearly three weeks, I am more than a little nervous. Fortunately, I am comfortable about mom because my sister is there with her, and am able to be present with my family at home. Yesterday morning, I actually woke myself up from dreaming, as I had been telling my students about what had happened, and why I had been gone so long. Clearly returning to my classes has weighed heavily on my heart, and the unknown can be a bit of a fearful space. That being said, the past several weeks of my life have been nothing but unknowns. When we first drove to Wenatchee to mom in the hospital, we did not know the shape that she would be in. We knew not what the road to recovery and restoration would have in store, nor the timeline that would be required. Even now, we do not fully know the answers, however, God does. Even in this, we have found joy. There has been laughter, and smiles, gladness and delight. Peace and calm have come when they did not seem possible, and really did not make sense.

Mom continues to work tirelessly in each therapy session, and that which used to be the most frustration for her, is now becoming an area where she is seeing the most rapid growth and gratification. Speech therapy works not only on word recognition, cognition, reading, memory, logic and the like, but they are also working on strengthening her vocal cords. One of the things the stroke affected was the power of mom’s voice. Typically outgoing with a boisterous and jovial voice, the stroke left her quite soft-spoken. Her vocal work in speech therapy is helping her find the power in her voice again. We share many giggles in the process.

In all of this, God is with us, a present, loving warrior, battling on our behalf, loving us through the process as He calms our fears. May we ever trust in the One who delights in us, and listen to the songs He sings over us with joy.

 

The Lord is present, Bold Grace

Ever He is near;

Loving warrior,

We’ve nothing to fear.

With our God for us,

He’ll hold us upright;

Fighting our battles,

All day and all night.

Choose trust in the One,

Whose love grants us peace;

And sings over us,

Delightful release.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You for being both our loving Savior and mighty Warrior. Thank You that You delight in us and sing over us, granting us peace in our spaces of fear. Forgive us for our fear of the unknown and unexplainable; for You already know the outcome and have a plan and a purpose for all. Teach us to trust the truth of Your word, that Your plans are to prosper and not to harm, to give a hope and a future. Show us how to love those around us well, so that Your loving strength shines through us clearly. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we rise up and receive the covering You provide for us in Your strength and love. Amen.

 

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

 

The Lord gives strength to His people; the Lord blesses His people with peace. – Psalm 29:11

No Fear in His Hands

Don’t worry – I am with you. Don’t be afraid – I am your God. I will make you strong and help you. I will support you with my right hand that brings victory. – (Isaiah 41:10, ERV)

Don’t be afraid, for I am with you. Don’t be discouraged, for I am your God. I will strengthen you and help you. I will hold you up with my victorious right hand. – (Isaiah 41:10, NLT)

 

This is a great reminder for us all. I find it to be extra timely today, as both of my boys will be going on their first drive with the instructor for driver’s education. They have been practicing with me, but have a healthy respect, and sometimes fear, as they sit in the driver’s seat. I know they are both a bit nervous, but this is not something they need to fear, as God will go before them, remain with them, and be guiding their hands. Any time that we go forth into an unknown, there is opportunity for fear to rise. However, if we keep in mind Who is our strength and remains ever present with us, there is no reason for us to be afraid. May we ever leave worry and fear behind and trust in the Lord who is our strength and help, and brings victory as He holds us in His hands.

 

Let not worry rise,No Fear in His Hands

Do not be afraid;

For God is our strength,

His path has been laid.

Instead, look to God,

For He makes us strong;

We’re held in His hands,

Through all our days long.

Victory is found,

As we trust His grace;

He’ll give what we need,

To run well our race.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You are with us so we do not need to be afraid. Thank You that You make us strong as You help us and support us with Your hands. Forgive us for attempting to walk alone, rather than seeking You. Teach us to trust You more, so that we would come to the place where true strength is found. Show us how to love all whom we encounter in a way that encourages and strengthens each one. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we rely on Your presence and Your strength as You hold us up with Your hands. Amen.

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

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

Knowing His Nearness

I always remember that the Lord is with me. He is here, close by my side, so nothing can defeat me. – (Psalm 16:8, ERV)

I know the Lord is always with me. I will not be shaken, for He is right beside me. – (Psalm 16:8, NLT)

 

No matter where we go or what we are facing, we are never alone. When we have invited Christ to be Lord of our lives, He remains present to be our help and our strength. I love that He cares about even the little details. Yesterday, I walked into a situation that I was nervous about; not because it was bad, nor dangerous – just that it was new and unknown, and I was uneasy. He was with me, and postured people appropriately to put my heart at ease. As I left my experience, I found my heart full of gratitude for the grace that I had been given, and the care I had been shown. The Lord is as close as our next breath, and will never leave us nor forsake us. He is faithful, and I am grateful. May we ever place our trust in Him.

 

The Lord, He is good,Enter With Thanksgiving

He always remains;

My help and my hope,

With strength, He sustains.

I won’t be shaken,

With God by my side;

As He is for me,

In Him, I’ll abide.

Always remember,

In love the Lord reigns;

With our God for us,

No fear can remain.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You are with us, close beside us so that nothing can shake us. Thank You that You are our Defender and our strength. Forgive us for our fear and lack of faith. Teach us to trust You more, so that we would not forget how much greater You are than anything that may lie before us. Show us how to love others in such a way, that they might see Your faithfulness through us. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we trust in Your nearness, always. 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

Teach in Love

The earth is filled with Your love, O Lord; teach me Your decrees. – (Psalm 119:64)

As I prayerfully prepare to greet my new students for the first time today, this verse seems quite fitting. If I learn His decrees and follow His ways, I can be a part of perpetuating His great love that goes out into all the earth. My charge is to begin with one child at a time. Each student that walks through the door of my classroom needs to know that they are safe, valued, cared for, loved, and that an adult on campus believes in their potential. It is no small task to be a champion for children. We must love those who resist it the most, and encourage the elusive and errant, to help them find their way to the road that leads to their greatest success. This is the most rewarding and challenging job on the planet, and even after eighteen first days of new students, I still feel nervous for this one. I am continually challenged to stretch, grow, and discover new and better practices to accommodate the needs of my students. All it takes is one student responding to that which is extended, to know that it is all worth it. Each of us has a call to follow His decrees and recognize and pour out His love to all the earth. Though it seems to be a monumental task, it is really us beginning with one. Who is one person that we can love as Christ loves us? Our neighbor? Our employer? Our coworkers? In Christ, we have the capacity to do as He did, as we are meant to be His hands and heart to the world. May we go forth this day, following His decrees, and love well, all whom we encounter.

Please teach me O Lord,

Cautious & Adventurous last year on the 1st day of school... :)

Cautious & Adventurous last year on the 1st day of school… 🙂

so I too, teach well;

let me love like You,

as in You, I dwell.

Help my eyes to see,

Your love everywhere;

and lead me to love,

the lost in despair.

May my words bring life,

help all kids to know;

that their life matters,

may I help them grow.

Let safety be known,

as they enter in;

and peace overwhelm,

despite where they’ve been.

May love and laughter,

fill my classroom walls;

as we learn and grow,

discovering calls.

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You for the privilege of teaching young people. Thank You that parents send us their very best, and we get to love and care for their kids as if they were our own. Thank You that You teach us and grow us in Your ways and Your love, so that we can love others as You call us. Forgive us for fearing failure, as that is a space where You teach us and grow us all the more. Teach us to trust You more, so that we can be transparent with kids, creating a safe space where we learn from failure and build on success. Above all, lead us to love well, so that students leave at the end of the day, in a better place than when they arrived. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we learn Your decrees and love as You love us. Amen.

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

Let love and faithfulness never leave you; …write them on the tablet of your heart. – Proverbs 3:3

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

A Champion for Every Child

Today is the first day of a brand new school year. Much like my students, I am nervous and excited, in anticipation of what the year may hold. Every year, I embrace the kids who enter my classroom as my kids, and think of each one as my own. My job is to love, protect, honor and respect each one, as if they were my own child. This year, two of the students that will walk into my classroom during the course of the day, are my own flesh and blood. Adventurous and Cautious were given the choice between the two seventh grade teams of teachers, and they both chose to be with me. I am both delighted and terrified, and have forewarned them that there would be absolutely no slack given, and that the high standard I hold for all of my students, would be securely in place for them as well.

 

Yesterday, for the first time in my eighteen years of first day preparations, the district for which I teach, held a rally for all employees in the entire district. Our new superintendant spoke in an enormous auditorium, before a sea of educators and champions for children. It was one of the most positive and powerful gatherings that I can ever recall attending as an educator. After our superintendant, a guest speaker, spoke to encourage and motivate the entire room. His charge was for each of us to be a champion for our children. “Every child needs a champion.” He referred to his students as his babies, and I found his love and passion to connect with kids, both refreshing and validating. Students learn best when they feel safe and known.

 

So, how do I begin well? Today, I chose to wake extra early so that I would have more time to pray and to prepare, prior to waking my boys, and then going on to greet my new “babies” for the very first time. God’s grace is greater than my lack. He is faithful to meet me in each moment, if I am willing to submit my moments to Him. Not only do I want to start well, but I want each and every one of our 180 days together, to go well, so that when we arrive at the end of the 2014-2015 school year, every student can look back and see how far they have traveled, and know that they have journeyed well; together, supported, and loved.

 

Lord grant me Your grace,IMG_0187

to love children well;

to lift each one up,

all darkness dispel.

May my words grant life,

extend each child hope;

may Your peace be felt,

be their safety rope.

Let every child,

have a champion;

one who listens well,

and praises each win.

Let love be the guide,

of correction brought;

and walking beside,

how the battle’s fought.

God, hold each student,

in Your tender hand;

protect and connect,

with each You have planned.

May we be ready,

and open to hear;

all that You ask us,

to bless a child’s year.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You for new beginning and for the gift of children. Thank You for the blessings that each one brings, and for the countless lessons that kids can teach us, if we are only willing to listen. Thank You for the privilege of spending my days instructing and coaching middle schoolers, and for Your grace and mercy that is made new every morning. Thank You for every child that is preparing for the first day of school. Please bless them and protect them, provide for them, and grant them Your hope, as they get ready to take on a new year. Forgive us for forgetting those who are silent or who rub us the wrong way, and help us to see every child through Your eyes, so that we may love each one, as You love us. May many come to know You, as we extend our hearts to be champions for children. Be exalted O God, as we love children well. 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