Hope When it Feels Like Hell

Be joyful in hope, patient in affliction, faithful in prayer. – (Romans 12:12, NIV)

Be happy because of the hope you have. Be patient when you have troubles. Pray all the time. – (Romans 12:12, ERV)

Do not forget to rejoice, for hope is always just around the corner. Hold up through the hard times that are coming, and devote yourselves to prayer. – (Romans 12:12, VOICE)

 

This morning, this is the very reminder that I needed the most. I know there are stages of grief, particularly when something so traumatic takes place with a parent, especially a parent who has filled the role of both mother and father, coach and teacher, friend and confidant, leader, example, pastor, sole grandparent to my children, and so much more. Anger seems to be the stage in this process that both my sister and I are in. Between the frustration of the questions of why her, the outrage at the details and the seeming disclosure violations, the paperwork battle to place her near family (which is far less costly than the dang hospital), to simply being just plain mad that it happened to OUR mom. We would never wish this on another, but why her? I know no one has the answers, and quite frankly, I would probably throat punch anyone who tried to give me answers. In fact, I woke myself in the night saying “throat punch”, as my left arm shot forward with a balled fist. Thankfully, I was facing the opposite direction of my Viking, and he was soundly sleeping. Finding joy in the hope is particularly difficult when we feel like we are on hold. Patience in static spots is not a strength of mom’s, Meg’s nor mine. Prayer, we can do, as I know so many of you are too. Perhaps that is the point of this post. Please pray for joy in hope, patience in all of this, and ever be faithful to continue to contend for mom’s complete and total healing.

 

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Of what lies ahead;

For fear’s a liar,

No matter what’s said.

God is far greater,

Than all that we face;

We must be patient,

It’s His, not our pace.

In everything,

Choose seek God and pray;

no matter what’s seen,

God will make a way.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You are bigger than our frustration and anger and grief. Thank You that You hold us in Your hands and ride out our rage, waiting lovingly to embrace us with Your joy, peace and comfort. Forgive us for allowing fear a foothold based on our limited understanding. Teach us to trust You more. Show us how to find joy in the hope of all that lies ahead, patience in the here and now, and to pray without ceasing. Lead us to love well, all those around us, so that they may recognize Your heart for them through us. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, even in this, for we know that You alone can bring beauty from ashes and hope from despair. Amen.

 

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

 

To all who mourn in Israel He will give: beauty for ashes; joy instead of mourning; praise instead of heaviness. For God has planted them like strong and graceful oaks for His own glory. – Isaiah 61:3

 

All for All

For all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God. – (Romans 3:23, NIV)

All have sinned and are not good enough to share God’s divine greatness. – (Romans 3:23, ERV)

For we all have sinned and are in need of the glory of God. – (Romans 3:23, TPT)

 

This passage is a reminder that we ALL are in need of God’s mercy and grace. From the greatest saint to the most horrendous criminal – ALL have sinned and fall short of God’s glory. We all need the Savior. Without Him, we would never be acceptable in the eyes of God, and would be doomed for all eternity. However, Jesus came and took our place so that we could be seen as righteous before God. Because of His sacrifice, all who believe and receive the incredible gift He offers, are welcomed into His glory. It does not mean that we have a free pass to live a life ruled by sin, but rather as we follow the Lord and seek to do His will, we can find forgiveness and grace when we mess up. Just as a parent loves their child and corrects and redirects them, so too does God with us when we commit our lives to Him. May we ever seek the Lord and His goodness and grace, trusting His leading and welcome embrace.

 

All people fall short, stone of grace

Have succumbed to sin;

Chose go our own way,

Not letting God in.

Because we all sin,

We all are in need;

Of the grace of God,

To go where He leads.

So, rise up in faith,

Believe and receive;

The Lord’s gift of grace,

He knows what we need.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You for Your amazing grace that meets all who come to You seeking. Forgive us, for we are all sinners in need of Your grace. Teach us to trust You more, so that we would seek You in all things and at all times, trusting You to lead, guide and equip us to walk in Your way and do Your will. Show us how to love those around us, extending Your goodness and grace to all. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we come to You in faith, trusting You to forgive us and lead us in the ways we are meant to go. Amen.

 

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

 

But everyone who believes in this raised-up Jesus is declared good and right and whole before God. – Acts 13:39, MSG

Found By the Seeking

For everyone who asks receives; the one who seeks finds; and to the one who knocks, the door will be opened. – (Luke 11:10, NIV)

Yes, whoever continues to ask will receive. Whoever continues to look will find. And whoever continues to knock will have the door opened for them. – (Luke 11:10, ERV)

All who keep asking will receive, all who keep seeking will find, and doors will open to those who keep knocking. – (Luke 11:10, VOICE)

 

Just as a parent will hear the requests of their children, so too, does God hear our prayers. It is promised that when we seek Him, we will find God. He opens doors that we are meant to walk through, and grants us what we need to keep moving forward. Our charge is to keep looking, knocking and asking, for the Lord hears and sees our pursuit of Him and His will. May we ever trust in the Lord and His faithfulness, so that we ask, seek and knock before Him, believing in His loving kindness that hears, opens and empowers.

 

Seek and ask the Lord,

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Photo by Dee Jones of Open Door Photography ❤

He’s faithful to give;

All that is needed,

To faithfully live.

Knock on heaven’s door,

It will open wide;

God ever welcomes,

His seekers inside.

Trust in His goodness,

Know that the Lord hears;

Blesses the faithful,

All who choose draw near.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You hear us, see us, and bless us with Your faithful presence and help when we seek You. Forgive us for attempting to make our own way, rather than seeking You. Teach us to trust You more, as You are faithful to answer as we ask. Show us how to love those around us in ways that demonstrates Your ongoing presence and faithfulness, so that they may know of Your goodness and grace. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we seek You for answers, ask for Your help and trust the path You provide for us to follow. Amen.

 

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

 

Know therefore that the Lord your God is God; He is the faithful God, keeping His covenant of love to a thousand generations of those who love Him and keep His commandments. – Deuteronomy 7:9

The Process of Good Growth

Let perseverance finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything. – (James 1:4, NIV) 

If you let that patience work in you, the end result will be good. You will be mature and complete. You will be all that God wants you to be. – (James 1:4, ERV) 

So, let it grow, and don’t try to squirm out of your problems. For when your patience is finally in full bloom, then you will be ready for anything, strong in character, full and complete. – (James 1:4, TLB) 

 

Growth is a process. Just as children often experience growing pains as their bodies mature, so too do people, as we learn and insight is expanded. The challenges in maturing, both physically and spiritually, are often difficult and at times, painful. There is a letting go of what was and growing into what is meant to be. As a parent, this is alarmingly obvious as we watch our children mature. When our kids are young, they are dependent on us for nearly everything, yet as they age, new learning and growth takes place, and they are expected to do more and more for themselves. Ideally, we will raise them up in the ways they should go, and ultimately, they will become adults who are independent, strong in character, and able to spread their wings and soar. Yesterday, we celebrated the seventeenth birthday of my boys. I am in awe of both how they have grown and who they are becoming as young men. Though it is still a process, even painful at times, they are learning responsibility, chivalry, kindness, patience, faithfulness, self-control, and the attributes that most admire in sweet, young men. Had there been a folding of expectations any time things became difficult, they would not know or understand how to persevere. Because they had to keep moving forward, even when things became difficult, they know that though things may be tough, they can overcome with persistence and faith. May we each seek the Lord to be our strength in the trials, rather than attempt escape that which we are intended to walk through. For each time we persevere and overcome, we mature further in our faith. 

 

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We all travel through; 

Learning to spread wings, 

And how we’re meant to. 

For we all are called, 

To seek so we find; 

The way God prepared, 

With us each in mind. 

As we move forward, 

Trials surely come; 

We need persevere, 

So His work is done. 

Both that within us, 

And things He has planned; 

Let’s keep pressing on, 

Follow His commands. 

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You call us to patiently persevere, even when the road before us seems rough. Thank You that You never leave us or forsake us when we place our trust in You. Thank You that each time we keep pressing forward through trials and difficulty, You grow us and show us You strength and grace. Forgive us for our desire to escape challenges. Teach us to run to You for all that we need, so that we would ever persevere and grow stronger in You. Show us how to love those around us in a way that promotes patient perseverance that leads to gracious growth. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we seek Your strength for patience to persevere, even when our way is more challenging that we would like, for You are faithful to see us through. All glory to You, now and forever. Amen.

 

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

 

Start children off on the way they should go, and even when they are old they will not turn from it. – Proverbs 22:6

Comfort for the Mourning

Blessed are those who mourn, for they will be comforted. – (Matthew 5:4, NIV) 

Great blessings belong to those who are sad now. God will comfort them. – (Matthew 5:4, ERV) 

You’re blessed when you feel you’ve lost what is most dear to you. Only then can you be embraced by the One most dear to you. – (Matthew 5:4, MSG)  

 

This morning, I woke to discover the devastating news of another former student’s passing. His sweet mama posted the news on Facebook, likely as a quick way to communicate, without having to retell the heartbreak time and time again. When the seeming natural order of life is disrupted, and a parent outlives their child, the heartache over what should have been can steal all hope, if comfort is not sought through Him alone, who is our Comforter. Sadly, I have seen both sides of this sorrow as it has run its course in the lives of people near me. For some, comfort came as they pursued God and were not afraid to ask “WHY?!” For others, something within them died at the loss, as they seem to be stuck in a space where they cannot be comforted and restored. Though there is nothing nor anyone that can ever take the place of a loved one lost, God can heal the hole that is left in our heart over time. He turns the grief into grace, and utilizes it to comfort others in a way that only one who has walked such a road, can do. May peace and grace be poured out upon the mourning, as God is our Comfort and ready to embrace every hurting heart. 

 

In the midst of grief, Compassion in Confrontations

May we seek the Lord; 

True Source of comfort, 

All peace He affords. 

Present in heartache, 

Faithful, He won’t leave; 

He’ll love us to life, 

Grant hope to believe. 

Allow His embrace, 

Bring comfort and peace; 

He’ll carry the weight, 

Yield sorrow’s release. 

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You bless those who mourn with Your comfort. Forgive us for not seeking You to be our Source. Teach us to turn to You in our every need, and to offer Your comfort and peace to those around us. Show us how to be Your hands, heart and voice to the hurting by loving people through their sorrow and loss. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we trust in You to be our comfort in mourning. Amen.

 

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

 

May Your unfailing love be my comfort, according to Your promise to Your servant. – Psalm 119:76

 

 

Cling to Christ

Cling to your faith in Christ, and keep your conscience clear. For some people have deliberately violated their consciences; as a result, their faith has been shipwrecked. – (1 Timothy 1:19, NLT)

Continue to trust in God and do what you know is right. Some people have not done this, and their faith is now in ruins. – (1 Timothy 1:19, ERV)

Cling tightly to your faith in Christ and always keep your conscience clear, doing what you know is right. For some people have disobeyed their consciences and have deliberately done what they knew was wrong. It isn’t surprising that soon they lost their faith in Christ after defying God like that. – (1 Timothy 1:19, TLB)

 

To cling tightly to our faith in Christ, we must walk in His way and do His will. This is made possible through trust and keeping our own conscience clear. One of the greatest obstacles to doing right is the tendency to hold onto unforgiveness. If we do not forgive others, God does not forgive us. When we harbor bitterness toward others, there is no love to give. Our charge is to release offenses to Him and choose to forgive. That does not mean that we neglect nor ignore harm, but rather allow vindication to be His. When there is a grievance that demands intervention – be it the law, a pastor, a leader, parent or person who can intervene, then we ought to access the appropriate channels to allow the authority over them to determine what is just. For us, we need to seek the Lord to reach a space where we release the wrong and pray for their ultimate good. With offenses, much of the time there is no intent to cause harm. Rather, it is the “offender” caught up in their own “stuff”, completely unaware that they have caused some sort of turmoil in the recipient. A great way to combat being easily offended is to assume positive intent. Often a mere glimpse of what is going on leads to ugly assumptions, rather than recognition that there is far more to the story, and nothing that is done in our direction is intended for harm.  May we be unoffendable with the small stuff, and quick to seek understanding when it is something that we struggle to release. Let us depend on the Lord for wisdom and strength so that we forgive as we have been forgiven.

 

Let us above all, The Favor of Forgiveness

Cling to Christ, our Lord;

Trust in His wisdom,

And grace He affords.

For we are each called,

To love and forgive;

Depend on the Lord,

And strength that He gives.

Just as we forgive,

God will forgive us;

Let’s lavish with grace,

Granted by Jesus.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You call us to cling to You and Your word. Thank You that You will lead us and guide us in all things, if only we willingly seek You. Thank You that You call us to keep short accounts, as releasing offenses prevents barriers from being built – both in our heart and between us and others. Forgive us for the times that we have not clung to our faith and have allowed the words or actions of others to offend us. Teach us to trust You more, so that we would assume positive intent when it is small, and wisdom to know what do when it is something that causes harm. Show us how to love and forgive those around us, so that they too may come to understand Your glorious grace. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we cling to our faith and keep our conscience clear by coming before You with all things first. Amen.

 

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

I desire to do Your will, my God; Your law is within my heart. – Psalm 40:8

A Praying Parent

Then you will call on Me and come and pray to Me, and I will listen to you. – (Jeremiah 29:12, NIV)

When you call on Me and come and pray to Me, I will listen to you. – (Jeremiah 29:12, CEB)

When you call on Me, when you come and pray to Me, I’ll listen. – (Jeremiah 29:12, MSG)

 

There is power when a parent prays. Both my Viking and I are evidence of faithful mothers who have prayed without ceasing. Though they had to watch and pray as we each navigated our own heartaches along the way, there has been much joy found in the faithful answers to prayers long heard, and at last with answer, in His perfect timing. Their example to us has set and established a pattern for us to follow in our own lives, both as parents and human beings. May we ever call on the Lord and pray to Him, for He hears and listens to all who call on His Name.

 

As we call on Christ,

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Photos by Dee Jones of Open Door Photography<3

He’s faithful to hear;

Always He listens,

Ever He is near.

There is such power,

When parents choose pray;

Dreams for their children,

Come to pass one day.

His peace and His grace,

Protection and more;

Through praying parents,

Who love and adore.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You for the gift of parents who pray. Thank You that You heard the prayers of our wonderful moms, and blessed us all in the process. Forgive us for our inconsistency in praying about all that lies before us. Teach us to come to You for all things at all times, as You are our Provider and our peace. Show us how to love those around us in the same way that our moms have loved us so well – with grace, mercy, and unconditional love. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we seek You and pray to You, trusting that You hear our every word. Amen.

 

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

 

For great is Your love, reaching to the heavens; Your faithfulness reaches to the skies. – Psalm 57:10

Assured to Approach

This is the confidence we have in approaching God: that if we ask anything according to His will, He hears us. – (1 John 5:14, NIV)

We can come to God with no doubts. This means that when we ask God for things (and those things agree with what God wants for us), God cares about what we say. – (1 John 5:14, ERV)

We live in bold confidence that God hears our voices when we ask for things that fit His plans. – (1 John 5:14, VOICE)

 

This verse is a great reminder of how God is our loving Father. Just as a parent listens and cares about what we say, the words are only given weight if they are for good and in agreement with what the parent knows is best. God, who is the ultimate Father, knows the potential outcome before we begin. His heart is for our good, and He leads and guides us in the direction that ultimately leads to His glory. That being said, we have a free will, and He will not control us like robots. He allows us to make our own decisions, yet His blessing is present when we pursue things according to His will. Our Heavenly Father knows best, and when we approach Him with a heart that is after His, He hears and leads us in the way we are meant to go. God is good and He wants good for us. May we ever approach God with confidence, trusting that He hears us as our heart is set to walk in His will.

 

We have a Father, Be strong and courageous

Who knows our heart best;

He listens to us,

And provides us rest.

Whatever we ask,

That follows His will;

He hears and He helps,

By grace He fulfills.

So, seek the Lord’s heart,

And ask all of Him;

He hears and He loves,

Granting hope within.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You are our loving Father who knows what is best for us; always. Thank You that we can come to You and ask of You, anything that aligns with Your will and be heard. Forgive us for asking things out of selfish ambition or for not asking when our intent is motivated by love, as You call us to do. Teach us to trust You more and help us to ever be motivated to do all things in love. Show us how to love those around us in a way that clearly conveys Your goodness and grace. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we come to You confidently, trusting that You will hear our heart in all things as we seek You. Amen.

 

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

 

In Him and through faith in Him we may approach God with freedom and confidence. – Ephesians 3:12

Honor Captivates Kindness

Like a parent feels compassion for their children – that’s how the Lord feels compassion for those who honor Him. – (Psalm 103:13, CEB)

As a father is kind to his children, so the Lord is kind to those who honor Him. – (Psalm 103:13, GNT)

The Lord is like a father to his children, tender and compassionate to those who fear Him. – (Psalm 103:13, NLT)

 

As the One who spoke the world into existence, God deserves all honor and reverence, for all things are subject to His might. Incredibly, as we walk in awe and recognize the power present in our Creator and Savior, He has kindness, compassion and tenderness for us. Just as a good earthly father is both fiercely protective of His children and also deeply loves them with kindness and compassion; God loves us perfectly, despite our imperfections. May we stand in awe of the One who gives us light and life and love and seek to honor Him in all that we say and do, extending kindness and compassion, just as He lovingly lavishes upon us.

 

Just as a parent,wp-15291591867885875988528188491956.jpg

Loves deeply each child;

So too does the Lord,

His grace reconciles.

As we choose to trust,

Seek to honor Him;

The Lord’s tenderness,

Finds way to come in.

God’s great compassion,

Abundant for all;

Who ask in His Name,

Seek answer His call.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You are kind, tender and compassionate to us as we seek to honor You and are in awe of who You are and all that You have done. Forgive us for the times that we have not honored You with our words or deeds. Teach us how to live life in response to the lavish love that You have given, so that we would ever pursue a path that honors You. Show us how to love others in a way that honors You. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we stand in reverent awe of who You are and all that You have done, giving thanks for Your kindness and compassion toward us. Amen.

 

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

 

Show me Your ways, O Lord, teach me Your paths; …my hope is in You all day long. – Psalm 25:4-5

Speaking the Truth in Love

Instead, speaking the truth in love, we will grow to become in every respect the mature body of Him who is the head, that is, Christ. – (Ephesians 4:15, NIV)

No, we will speak the truth with love. We will grow to be like Christ in every way. He is the head. – (Ephesians 4:15, ERV)

Instead, we will lovingly follow the truth at all times – speaking truly, dealing truly, living truly – and so become more and more in every way like Christ who is the Head of His body, the Church. – (Ephesians 4:15, TLB)

 

There is a growing trend that has good intentions, but it is missing an essential element. “Speak your truth”, is a phrase I hear almost daily. Sadly, this phrase is lacking the cover and intention of love. So often, when people speak “their truth”, hearts are wounded and relationships fractured, as there are no intentions to express love through the words spoken. Just as a parent is called to raise up a child in the ways they are meant to go, they are directed to do so in love. We can correct, redirect and guide children with love, even when they do not like what we have to say. Truth lovingly spoken is far better received than that which is barked out or expressed in a way that points blame. Likewise, when we encourage, challenge and spur on one another to become more than we have been before, we must do so in love. When another comes alongside us and offers to help as we learn and grow to be more than we were before, it is received far better than if we are simply told that we are “not enough”, according to the eyes of the speaker. May we ever seek our Savior so that we may grow more and more like Him. Let every word we speak be spoken with intention to love.

 

Let us choose to speak, Speaking the Truth in Love

The truth in His love;

So our words spoken,

Bring life and build up.

Even when the truth,

Needs to redirect;

When done in His love,

Grace is still expressed.

May we seek the Lord,

To grow in His ways;

So truth that we speak,

Is His love displayed.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that choosing to speak the truth in love is choosing to follow after You. Thank You that You call us to speak truth, yet to do so in love. Forgive us for the times that we have spoken what we perceived as the truth with no intention of loving the recipient. Teach us to trust You more, so that we would stop, think and listen before speaking so that we may say everything with the intention to love like You. Show us how to love well those around us, even those whom we are meant to guide and direct in a different direction. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we give our every thought, word and deed unto You, and ask that You would show us how to surround each in love before we follow through. Amen.

 

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

 

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