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

Transformed from the Inside Out

Don’t copy the behavior and customs of this world, but let God transform you into a new person by changing the way you think. Then you will learn to know God’s will for you, which is good and pleasing and perfect. – (Romans 12:2, NLT)

Don’t change yourself to be like the people of this world, but let God change you inside with a new way of thinking. Then you will be able to understand and accept what God wants for you. You will be able to know what is good and pleasing to Him and what is perfect. – (Romans 12:2, ERV)

Do not allow this world to mold you in its own image. Instead, be transformed from the inside out by renewing your mind. As a result, you will be able to discern what God wills and whatever God finds good, pleasing and complete. – (Romans 12:2, VOICE)

 

This is such an important message for all of us to remember. The media floods us with images of how we should look, popular culture tries to dictate what is acceptable and what is not, and those with whom we surround ourselves, have their own ideas as well. God made each of us with a plan and a purpose. Individually, we are hand-crafted with different talents and gifts to utilize for His glory. The only way to know God’s will and what is good and pleasing and complete according to Him, is to seek Him and pursue the path which He has planned for us. If we allow the world to shape our thoughts, ideals and identity, we will never realize what it is to be transformed from the inside out to live a life that fulfills the purposes of our Heavenly Father. Where the world tells us that we are not enough, Christ tells us that we can do all things in Him, as He will give us strength. May we turn a deaf ear to the shouts of the world’s wooing, and instead listen to the gentle whisper of the voice of the living God, who transforms our hearts and minds and leads us to know all that is good and pleasing and complete.

 

Allow not the world,

Transformed from the Inside Out

Image from favim.com

A place or a voice;

For all that is good,

Comes when God’s our choice.

If we choose listen,

Allow God transform;

Our hearts and our minds,

Hope and strength are born.

It’s in Christ alone,

That we come to know;

The path that is good,

Where completion grows.

So, bend not to things,

The world has to say;

Instead seek the Lord,

And walk in His way.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that we do not have to change ourselves to be like what the world expects, but rather we are called to allow You to transform us from the inside out, so that we will know what is good and pleasing and complete according to Your will. Forgive us for allowing what we see or hear to influence how we see ourselves, rather than listening to what You say about who we are and how You see us. Teach us to trust You more, so that we would worry not about the world’s approval, but instead that we would continue to further discover our infinite worth in You. Show us how to love those around us in a way that helps them to feel valued for who they are, just as they are, rather than if they were a certain way. May many come into a lasting relationship with You, as they discover who You are and how You love. Be glorified O God, as we turn away from the patterns of the world that seek to draw us in, and turn to You to transform us from the inside out. Amen.

 

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

 

Is anyone happy? Let him sing songs of praise. – James 5:13

What We Can Do

Never walk away from someone who deserves help; your hand is God’s hand for that person. – (Proverbs 3:27, MSG)

Do not withhold good from those who deserve it when it’s in your power to help them. – (Proverbs 3:27, NLT)

Do everything you possibly can for those who need help. – (Proverbs 3:27, ERV)

 

To love well, we must see the need around us and do what we can with what we have. Christ came and modeled what it is to not withhold good when it is within one’s power to help. His willingness to be present in the midst of people’s pain, is the very thing that helped them most. If healing was needed, He not only touched the physical ailment, but He heard their need and brought a love that truly listened, and healed hearts as well. Where there was hunger and seemingly not enough, Christ had the disciples share what they did have, and it was multiplied before their eyes. The very same power that was working in Jesus, is at work in us today. In the spaces where we think we don’t have enough time, talent, or resource, the Lord meets us and provides as we reach out and share what we have to help another in need. Often, the greatest need around us in others, is to be heard and known, as humans are designed to crave connection. May we navigate our days with our eyes open to see the need all around us, so that we might do what we can to be extensions of God’s hands and heart to a hurting world.

 

In our call to love,The Power of the Tongue

May we clearly see;

Help where it’s needed,

Give kindness; it’s free.

Do not withhold good,

But rather, choose give;

Whatever we can,

To better lives lived.

Whatever we do,

When love’s our command;

Is light to the world,

As God’s heart and hand.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You love us so well. Thank You for the people whom You have placed in our paths to show us Your hands and heart for us. Thank You that You call us to do what we can for those around us, just as You have done for us. Forgive us for neglecting the needs we see, or for allowing our hearts to become overwhelmed rather than seek You for direction. Teach us how to trust You more, so that we would seek You and Your guidance as to how we are meant to meet the needs we see. Show us how to love others as we are so lavishly loved by You. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we do all that we can for those who need help around us. Amen.

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

And the Lord said, “I will cause all My goodness to pass in front of you.” – Exodus 33:19

In Him, We’re Free

Now the Lord is the Spirit, and where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is freedom. – (2 Corinthians 3:17)

 

We are no more bound to the Old Testament law, that required sacrifices and ceremonies to be considered worthy to approach the throne of God. Rather, through the sacrifice of Jesus Christ, we have been set free, and by His Spirit dwelling in us, may now boldly approach His throne of grace without fear. The very same freedom that we have in Christ for worship, communication and fellowship with our Heavenly Father, is ours to operate in throughout every area of our lives. God does not intend for us to be bound, caught in the pain or panic of perpetually needing to perform. Instead, He is calling us to walk confidently in who He has created us to be, operating in the gifts that He has placed within us. When we walk in His freedom, there is joy in the journey and hope for what lies ahead. May we each embrace the glorious gift of grace that He has given, and walk forward in the freedom provided through Christ’s perfect sacrifice.

 

The Spirit of Christ,butterflies

given unto us;

our dear Savior’s gift,

set free through Jesus.

Freedom from the law,

and our bond to sin;

deemed righteous, set free,

in the end, we win.

Now gone are the chains,

of “you’re not enough”;

we’re covered and called,

the Lord’s righteousness.

Go forth and be bold,

in Christ we are free;

to walk in His light,

and help blind eyes see.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You are Spirit and You are freedom. Thank You that Your Spirit dwells in us, granting us freedom in You. Thank You that You set us free from the burden of our sin and failure, and set our feet on Your path of righteousness; not because of anything that we are able to do in our own strength, but because You dwell within us. Forgive us for not embracing the freedom that You have already granted us in You, and help us to trust You more so that we may embrace You grace and walk boldly into the freedom that You supply. Lead us to love others unhindered, just as You love us without limits as well. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be exalted O God, as we walk in freedom by Your Spirit within us. Amen.

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

For it is commendable if a man bears up under the pain of unjust suffering because he is conscious of God. – 1 Peter 2:19

Chosen With Purpose

“You did not choose me. I chose you. And I gave you this work: to go and produce fruit – fruit that will last. Then the Father will give you anything you ask for in My Name. This is my command: Love each other.” – (John 15:16-17, ERV)

 

Each and every one of us have been created and chosen by God. He has made us with purpose to do good works, not dependant on our own ability, but rather based on our availability and willingness to go where He calls and obey what He asks. The greatest stumbling block between us and the fulfillment of our purpose, is if we allow the voices in and around us that try to dictate our identity to speak louder that the voice of He who created us. “And therein lies a danger: If we allow other people to tell us what we are and are not qualified to do, we will limit what God wants to do with us. We may never get to those who need our help.” – (Christine Caine, Undaunted)

 

Which voice will we choose listen to? Voices that tell us that we are ill-equipped, not strong enough, not smart enough, not educated enough, just plain not enough; or do we listen to Christ, who calls us His own? In Him, we can do all things to which we are called. Not because we are enough on our own, but because He is enough, and He is faithful to provide all that we lack. What is impossible with people is possible with the living God. We have to choose faith over fear, and grace over perceived gifts. Obviously there are areas where specific giftings are necessary, however, to love others well, requires only a heart that is willing to walk where He calls and faith to do as He asks. May we each embrace our status as chosen by God, and go forth loving people well.

 

The Lord God of all,Chosen With Purpose

He somehow chose me;

He loved me so much,

His love set me free.

The freedom granted,

drives me to obey;

to honor and serve,

and walk in His way.

I know on my own,

I am not enough;

yet through Christ in me,

I’ve strength to stand up.

The places He calls,

where I’m scared to go;

He comes alongside,

makes His presence known.

Help me be willing,

to do all You ask;

and grant me Your strength,

to complete each task.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You loved, created, and chose each of us for Your purposes. Thank You that above all, You love. Thank You that You call us to do the same. Thank You that You do not call us to do anything that You are not also willing to equip us to accomplish. Forgive us for our fearfulness and self-doubt. Teach us to trust You more, so that we will listen not to the voices that surround us, and instead will be tuned in to Your voice so that we hear clearly that which You have to say. Lead us to love others without hesitation, just as You so relentlessly love each of us. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be exalted O God, as we walk out our purpose with resolve. Amen.

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

The fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control. – Galatians 5:22-23

Knowledge Requires Action

Part of Paul’s exhortation to the Philippians included a reminder that simply hearing or knowing the truth is not enough. As we grow in our understanding of the Word of God, we must also put what we learn into practice. It is not enough to simply have heard the word, and let it lie forgotten. It must take root and grow in our hearts, as we allow the Holy Spirit to point us to the places of application in our lives.

 

Whatever you have learned or received or heard from me, or seen in me – put into practice. And the God of peace will be with you. – (Philippians 4:9)

 

Back then, the people of Philippi did not have access to a Bible as we do. They had to rely on what they had heard and what Paul and other early disciples modeled for them. We have the benefit of both the Bible and an abundant history of faithful followers whom have demonstrated a life lived in obedience before Him. To know that the God of peace will be present with me, makes any sacrifice required, more than worth the price. His presence is far greater than anything we may need to give up out of obedience to Him. May we each be willing to put into practice all that He is showing us, and may our hearts be overwhelmed with the presence of His perfect peace.

 

Let my heart take hold,Knowledge Requires Action

of Your every word;

may truth penetrate,

where Your voice is heard.

Please open my ears,

my mind and my heart;

so all that’s received,

I’m willing to start.

Lord, grant me Your peace,

so I will press on;

no matter the storm,

our true battle’s won.

Let hope be our hold,

as eyes fix on You;

we’ll trust and obey,

as You make us new.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You provide Your word and Your Holy Spirit, to lead us and guide us in how we are meant to live. Thank You that so many have gone before us, modeling a life lived faithfully in You. Thank You that You do not expect us to just figure it out, but You promise to provide Your peace, that surpasses all understanding, as we press on in faith. Forgive us for neglecting to put what we know into practice, or for not allowing the truth to shape how we live. Teach us to give all of ourselves unto You, so that we may become who You have called us to be. Thank You that You are merciful and kind, loving and full of grace. Thank You that You long for us to come to a place where we surrender and choose total obedience unto You. Help us to be disciples, as You call us to be, not just fans. May many come to the place of total surrender, as we walk in loving obedience before You. Let our knowledge lead to action that inspires others too, to make a choice. Be glorified, Lord God, as we move. Amen.

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

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

Identity in Him

Our value is notIdentity in Him

in what we can do;

it is determined,

by Who dwells in you.

For in our own strength,

we’ll not be enough.

But our loving God,

grants strength for the rough.

If we’d only see,

through His loving eyes,

we’d learn our value;

the ultimate prize.

For you, you alone –

He still would have died.

His love is that deep,

His grace is that wide.

You are His treasure,

of infinite worth,

He’s loved you always,

even before birth.

Beloved sweet child,

such wonder to hold,

nothing can compare,

you’re worth more than gold.

You are anointed,

He’s called you by name.

Receive His embrace;

of His love, proclaim.

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that our true identity lies in You and not in what the world says that we are or are not.  Forgive us for giving ear to the lies of the enemy that attempt to tell us that we are not enough, and grant us the wisdom and strength to know that in You, we have all that we will ever need.  Keep discouragement far from us, and help us to be an encouragement to others on Your behalf.  May we clearly reflect Your love and light to others through all that we say and do, so that they too, might be guided unto You.  Amen.

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