Wise with Words

When you talk, you should always be kind and wise. Then you will be able to answer everyone in the way you should. – (Colossians 4:6, ERV)

Let your conversations be gracious and attractive so that you will have the right response for everyone. – (Colossians 4:6, NLT)

Make the most of every opportunity. Be gracious in your speech. The goal is to bring out the best in others in a conversation, not to put them down, nor cut them out. – (Colossians 4:6, MSG)

 

First, in a season of so many unknowns, it is difficult to speak with any sort of wisdom about what lies ahead. That being said, kindness and grace must be intentional and come from Christ, or answers will not be the right response in the moment. Before I expand further on what I am learning about this through this whole ordeal, I know the update that so many are looking for ought to come first.

Yesterday, was another good day for mom. Her day was full of various therapy sessions, each one with intention and purpose to propel her to strength and independence. She was at the table in the dining area picking at breakfast when we arrived and handed her the “smuggled in” Frappuccino. From there we met with the social worker and case coordinator (whom I affectionately refer to as Thor and Llama, based on the collections in their office), as they reviewed mom’s rights and care information with mom, my sister and me. Next up was the OT extraordinaire, Stephanie (I think, so many names), who took her in to help her begin to relearn the whole showering process. Cleanliness is next to godliness, and she felt refreshed to have soaked in that warm water, rather than hospital shower wipes. Her least favorite rebuilding session so far was speech therapy. It had little to do with the who, and everything to do with the what. Due to where the stroke occurred in mom’s brain, she is experiencing some apraxia. For those non-medical folks like myself, the dictionary defines apraxia as a disorder of the nervous system, characterized by an inability to perform purposeful movements, but not accompanied by a loss of sensory functions or paralysis. To make it even simpler, based on observations, there has been a disruption in the connection between message sending and receiving for some words to actions, words to objects, and most certainly, thoughts to movements on the right side of her body. Speech is the space where she is made glaringly aware of the disconnect. It is difficult and frustrating, and an area where extra grace will be needed, for sure. Already the speech therapist will adjust the schedule to meet with her in two 30-minute sessions, rather than one longer sitting. As soon as we returned downstairs from speech, Sophie, the recreational therapist came in. Who even knew that was a thing?! Anyway, super sweet, and her job is to help mom get back to doing the recreational things she enjoys, so I made sure she was aware that the bar was extraordinarily high. Sophie was quite pleased. Next up was OT again to work on vision and upper body, then lunch, followed by PT. It was not Penny yesterday, but Kristen was equally lovely and encouraging, and PT is by far, mom’s favorite therapy session of the day. In fact, she was trying to negotiate trading speech time for more PT time. 🙂 We were able to go outside again after dinner, and enjoyed a movie together before I headed back home for the night. A few phone calls were made on speaker, which was huge for mom, as it was a start to regaining a connection to those not standing in front of us.

Anyway, back to the verse of the day. This whole situation is showing me more and more how critically important it is to seek the Lord and His grace to speak to others. We have now had two people in the last week, tell us (in front of my mom!) stories of their own family members who had strokes and died a few months later. Seriously? Not the encouragement, wisdom, nor words seasoned in the love of Christ that this girl’s heart needed to hear, nor the protector in me wanted ANYWHERE near my mom. I was gracious, but it took much self-control to not scream that I am not their therapist, I am fighting for MY MOM, and no nay-sayers allowed. I am well aware of the risks and reality of our circumstances. What we need is love and support, encouragement and most of all, covering in prayer. It is a strange place when I don’t know someone who cares deeply for mom, is super emotional, and I am an empath who refuses to emote. Too much weight. Additionally, mom doesn’t need to see others feeling sorry for her. She needs cheerleaders, encouragers, shoulders who are ready to rise up and walk beside her. It is biblical. It is right. There is an army that has risen, and for you, we are forever grateful. For those waiting in the wings, feeling uncertain of what to do; keep praying – Your prayers are fueling this fight!

 

O Lord let my words, img_2019-05-08_06-29-487932028719116438520.jpg

Be faithful and true;

Seasoned with kindness,

Reflections of You.

By Your loving grace,

May all that I say;

Encourage, build up,

Each day, Lord, I pray.

God grant me wisdom,

In each circumstance;

May Your truth be known,

Your kingdom advanced.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You are the watcher of our words. Thank You that what is intended to harm, You use for good. Thank You that You guard our hearts, even though we may have moments of frustration of anger at what we hear, we can trust that You are greater and have us in Your hands. Forgive us for those moments when anger arises and our thoughts are less than godly toward others for the things that they say. Forgive us too, for the times that we have done the same. Not one of us is perfect and we all have fallen short and said the wrong thing at the wrong time, even with the best of intentions. Teach us how to lean on You to love and extend grace with wisdom through our words. Show us how to love like You to all those around us. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we seek You to speak with wisdom and grace, ever extending kindness and grace to all those around us. Amen.

 

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

 

Devote yourselves to prayer, being watchful and thankful. – Colossians 4:2

Peace in Turbulence

But as for me, it is good to be near God. I have made the Sovereign Lord my refuge; I will tell of all Your deeds. – (Psalm 73:28, NIV)

But as for me, I get as close to Him as I can! I have chosen Him, and I will tell everyone about the wonderful ways He rescues me. – (Psalm 73:28, TLB)

But the closer I am to You, my God, the better because life with You is good. O Lord, the Eternal, You keep me safe – I will tell everyone what You have done. – (Psalm 73:28, MSG)

 

God is our faithful space of safety, and it is so good to know He is near. I am not the biggest fan of flying, and on our return trip from our honeymoon, we had to fly all the way across the U.S., broken into two connecting flights. As we were about to land in Phoenix, the plane barely touched the front wheels to the ground, then lifted off again. There had been more turbulence than my stomach appreciates and the very idea of having to go up and come down again was a bit overwhelming. The plane bounced around as we made another loop, changing altitudes less than smoothly, and all I could do was close my eyes and breathe, as I prayed for the landing to come quickly. Not normally one who perspires, my entire back was drenched as we circled around. Because we were in the bulkhead row, a flight attendant was seated adjacent me, facing us. He let us know what had happened, and was in communication with the cockpit. Soon the captain came over the speakers and announced what had transpired with the promise of an actual landing coming soon. Though my body was not pleased with the turbulence, my mind found peace in God’s presence and in the hand of my husband beside me. We safely landed, and I could not have been happier to get off that plane and stand on solid ground. Thankfully, our second flight, an hour later, was uneventful. May we ever trust in the Lord, be it in turbulence or in calm, for He is faithful to be near to all who call on Him.

 

A life with the Lord, fb_img_1533560993920686939278845347391.jpg

Brings promise of peace;

Though turmoil does come,

So too, His relief.

The Lord God is good,

Despite circumstance;

He holds us all up,

Gives reason to dance.

Though turbulent times,

Will happen, it’s clear;

God’s peace will be ours,

As we choose draw near.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that life with You is good. Thank You that You are our safety and our peace, no matter what comes our way. Forgive us for our fearfulness in the turmoil. Teach us to trust You more, so that we would rest our heart in Your hands as You are our Protector and Provider of peace. Show us how to love those around us in a way that demonstrates Your faithfulness and grace. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we draw ever closer to You, our faithful space of safety forever. Amen.

 

© Shannon Elizabeth (Moreno) 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

Yet and Still

Yet I will rejoice in the Lord, I will be joyful in God my Savior. – (Habakkuk 3:18, NIV)

But I will still be glad in the Lord and rejoice in my Savior. – (Habakkuk 3:18, ERV)

Then I will still rejoice in the Eternal! I will rejoice in the God who saves me! – (Habakkuk 3:18, VOICE)

 

Yet, and still… These are powerful transition words as they represent what we choose to do in spite of our circumstances. Today is the second to last Friday of the school year. This past school week has been full of challenges that have shocked and overwhelmed our staff community as we bring this way-too-long week to a close. Yet, and still, I will rejoice in the Lord who saves me. To rejoice is to be glad; to take delight, (dictionary.com) and though none of us are glad about what has transpired, we can take delight in the One who kept us safe and sane in the midst of the chaos. There are days that my joy is renewed in knowing that we are almost done, however, the true Source and space where I find gladness and delight is in the presence of my true Protector. God is good even when circumstances are not, and I will forever have reason to rejoice in Him. May we seek the One in whom all joy resides and take delight in knowing that the trials we face are merely temporary compared to the joy we will know for all eternity.

 

To rejoice in the Lord, Yet and Still

Yet and still, I will choose;

For our God is faithful,

Hope in Him, our best news.

He saves from our chaos,

He brings calm in the storm;

He leads to safe harbor,

As He protects from harm.

No matter the challenge,

Nor struggle that we face;

We’ve reason to rejoice,

In the God of all grace.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that in You, we have reason to be glad and take delight in You and the promises that You have made. Thank You that You save us. Forgive us for losing sight of our reasons to rejoice when life gets trying and hectic. Teach us to trust and lean into You more, so that we would not lose sight of You and all that You have done and continue to do in us and for us. Show us how to love those around us well, so that they too will find reason to be glad, even when life is hard. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we rejoice in You forever. Amen.

 

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

 

Let us then approach the throne of grace with confidence, so that we may receive mercy. – Hebrews 4:16

You Lead Us to Rest

The Lord is my shepherd; I have all that I need. He lets me rest in green meadows; He leads me beside peaceful streams. He renews my strength. He guides me along right paths, bringing honor to His Name. – (Psalm 23:1-3, NLT)

The Lord is my shepherd. I will always have everything I need. He gives me green pastures to lie in. He leads me by calm pools of water. He restores my strength. He leads me on right paths to show that He is good. – (Psalm 23:1-3, ERV)

God, my shepherd! I don’t need a thing. You have bedded me down in lush meadows, You find me quiet pools to drink from. True to Your word, You let me catch my breath and send me in the right direction. – (Psalm 23:1-3, MSG)

 

God is our provider and protector. He leads us to places of rest and refreshment and brings restoration when we are depleted. He will lead us and guide us on the right path, if we seek and trust in Him. Our modern-day meadows come as we listen to His leading about rest. At times, we are given an unexpected span of time to rest and allow Him to refresh where we are weary, yet at other times, we have to be intentional to listen to His leading and make time to slow down from our typical race-pace, and just be. It is in these wonderful windows of time and space that we are refreshed and renewed. I love that this illustration in Psalm 23 speaks of green meadows and peaceful streams of water, as so often, getting outside and simply enjoying what He has made, renews strength and recharges what has felt depleted. May we ever rely on our Redeemer, as He provides for our every need. He renews our strength and sets our feet on the right path to show that He is good.

 

O God, my Shepherd,

dsc045002000268283.jpg

Photo by Dee Jones of Open Door Photography ❤

I don’t need a thing;

For You provide us,

Most everything.

You lead us to rest,

In meadows of green;

Bring places of calm,

Beside peaceful streams.

You restore our strength,

When ours is all gone;

And show us the way,

We’re meant to walk on.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You are our Shepherd. Thank You that a shepherd protects and provides for his sheep. Thank You that You lead us to rest in peaceful places and restore our strength when we are depleted. Thank You that You guide us in the way that we are meant to go so that we may bring honor to Your Name. Forgive us for not seeking You to be our Source for rest and strength and direction. Teach us to trust You more, so that we would slow down and intentionally seek You. Show us how to rest in You. Lead us to love others well, so that they too may find rest, strength and direction in You. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we trust You as our Shepherd who leads, protects and provides for us. Amen.

 

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

 

Your righteousness reaches to the skies, O God, You who have done great things. Who, O God, is like You? – Psalm 71:19

He Won’t Withhold Good

For the Lord God is a sun and shield; the Lord bestows favor and honor; no good thing does He withhold from those whose walk is blameless. – (Psalm 84:11, NIV)

The Lord God is our protector and glorious king. He blesses us with kindness and honor. The Lord freely gives every good thing to those who do what is right. – (Psalm 84:11, ERV)

For the Eternal God is a sun and shield. The Eternal grants favor and glory; He doesn’t deny any good thing to those who live with integrity. – (Psalm 84:11, VOICE)

 

This verse both comforts and challenges me. I am overwhelmingly aware of God’s provision and protection, as I have experienced both throughout the entirety of my life thus far. However, the next part is more difficult, as I am quite certain of my own shortcomings, and know that my walk is not without blame. That being said, I have to remember that as I seek the Lord and look to live with integrity according to His will, He covers the places where I have fallen short, and God sees Christ, not me. When we are in Christ, we are His, and He freely gives His good to those who earnestly pursue the path He has placed before us. That is not to say that our road will not be without obstacles, but as we travel, we will be aware of His presence and provision as we go. In all things, He is good. May we ever seek the Lord and His ways, so that we may live a life of integrity according to His wonderful will.

 

For the Lord our God, He Won't Withhold Good

Protector and King;

He grants us favor,

Through good that He brings.

He will not withhold,

His goodness and grace;

As we do what’s right,

And obey by faith.

Although we fall short,

His grace is enough;

To help us press on,

When our road is rough.

So seek to do right,

And honor our King;

He won’t withhold good,

As our best we bring.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You are our Protector and glorious King. Thank You that You bless us with kindness and honor as we seek to do Your will. Forgive us for not walking in the way that You have called us to walk, or for neglecting to do as You ask. Teach us to trust You more, so that we would do as You ask and go where You call, without hesitation or fear. Show us how to love those around us in a way that demonstrates Your kindness and honor, so that their eyes might look to You. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we seek You to live a life of integrity according to Your good and perfect will. Amen.

 

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

 

For the Lord your God will bless you, …and your joy will be complete. – Deuteronomy 16:15

He Gives Good

For the Lord our God is our sun and our shield. He gives us grace and glory. The Lord will withhold no good thing from those who do what is right. – (Psalm 84:11, NLT)

The Lord God is our protector and glorious king. He blesses us with kindness and honor. The Lord freely gives every good thing to those who do what is right. – (Psalm 84:11, ERV)

 

I love seeing the surprise on the face of another, when unexpected blessings are poured out upon them. Yesterday, months of planning finally came to fruition. After a time killing distraction of a drive to the Hoover Dam, I brought the Viking to our long-awaited destination. When we arrived to what he thought would be some old friends of mine’s home, he was instead, greeted by four of our dearest friends, and his brother, whom he has not seen in over a year, who drove ten hours to be with us for the birthday celebration. The tears of joy on the faces of both brothers as they embraced, blessed the rest of us nearly as much as them. Viking is a good man who loves his people well, works hard, serves, and freely gives. Good things have come to him, as he has been on the giving end for so many. May we give thanks to God, who is our sun and shield, who gives us grace and glory. All praise to Him for every good thing that He brings.

 

The sun and our shield, He Gives Good

The Lord God on high;

Gives grace and glory,

Love none can deny.

Good freely given,

To those who do right;

Who love as He loves,

Held dear in His sight.

All thanks be to God,

For good that He brings;

Let us give Him praise,

As our hearts choose sing.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You for being our sun and our shield. Thank You for the grace and glory that You give. Thank You for the good that You bring our way. Forgive us for choosing poorly, or for not giving You glory for all of the good that You give. Teach us to trust You more to guide us in Your way and to honor You in what we do and say. Show us how to love well, all whom You place in our circle to love. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we give You thanks and praise for who You are and all that You do. Amen.

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

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

Always with Joy

Always be full of joy in the Lord. I say it again – rejoice! – (Philippians 4:4, NLT)

Be glad in the Lord always! Again I say, be glad! – (Philippians 4:4, CEB)

 

When we are walking with the Lord, there is always a reason to be glad. Our joy is not dependent on our current circumstances, but rather on our hope for what is yet to come. In Christ, we know that no matter what comes our way in the here and now, our future glory will be exceedingly more than we can begin to hope or imagine. Joy comes through the blessed assurance that we are known, cared for and loved. The Lord is our Protector, Redeemer, Father and Friend, and loved us when we were most unlovable. Let every heart rise in recognition of our reason to rejoice, for our Redeemer is faithful, always!

 

May our joy be full,Enter With Thanksgiving

And our hearts rejoice;

Let songs fill the air,

In praise, lift our voice.

For gladness is ours,

Because God is good;

He’s faithful always,

All hope understood.

Be glad and rejoice,

For this is the day;

A gift we’re given,

To live, love and pray.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You give us reason to rejoice, and You fill our hearts with joy. Thank You that we can be glad in You, no matter what is going on in or around us. Thank You that joy is not dependent on our circumstances, but rather on our future glory in Your presence. Forgive us for confusing comfort with joy. Teach us to trust You more, so that we would seek You and follow You and Your will in all things and at all times. Show us how to share Your joy with those around us by loving others as we are loved by You. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we go forth in your joy, ever glad for the good that You have granted unto us all. Amen.

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

He will yet fill your mouth with laughter and your lips with shouts of joy. – Job 8:21

Seeking Strength and Peace

In peace I will lie down and sleep, for You alone, O Lord, will keep me safe. – (Psalm 4:8, NLT)

The Lord gives His people strength. The Lord blesses them with peace. – (Psalm 29:11, NLT)

But all who listen to Me will live in peace, untroubled by fear of harm. – (Proverbs 1:33, NLT)

 

There have been four shootings in the last forty-eight hours in my city – three of which were fatalities. What once was a sleepy little town, is growing and changing, and the bounty of broken and hurting people has blown up. I see it in the schools, where kids come and try to navigate the new, with a very different set of standards guiding them as they go. Many are in crisis, and are simply in survival mode. How do we best meet needs and love all who come, just as Jesus calls us to love? We are not called to be afraid, nor hide away in fear, yet neither are we asked to be foolish. The Lord grants wisdom to all who seek Him, and gives strength where we have none. His peace surrounds us and keeps us safe, despite the seeming destruction of what we formerly knew to be true. There is no easy answer nor simple solution when the safety of one’s city has been stolen by violence. However, change begins with one. One act of kindness. One extension of encouraging words. One person providing peace in the midst of scattered storms… If we seeks the Lord and listen to Him, He will grant us strength and wisdom, removing the fear that has fought to find footing around the brutal acts of broken people. May we let Love be what leads us; not fear.

 

As the day closes,Image-1

And fear tries rush in;

I lean on the Lord,

Where comfort begins.

The Source of all strength,

In chaos, our peace;

Protector, Savior,

Where grace is released.

He loves the hurting,

The scorned and broken;

He’s asking of us,

To be truth spoken.

Not just with our words,

But in love, choose serve;

Meet needs before us,

His peace to preserve.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You are our Source of peace and strength, no matter what surrounds us. Thank You that in You, we need not fear – for You keep us safe from harm. Father, I lift my city before You, and ask that You would move mightily in the hearts of all who love You, so that we may seek You and obey whatever You ask of us to bring peace into this place. Forgive us for our fearfulness when we see so much violence in such a short span of time. Teach us to turn to You in trust, so that we would hear what You would have us do, and then we would go forth and obey. Show us how to love all who are hurting around us, so that they might come to know Your perfect peace for themselves. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we seek You for strength and peace. 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

 

 

Secure in His Hand

I give them eternal life, and they will never perish. No one can snatch them away from Me. – (John 10:28, NLT)

I give My sheep eternal life. They will never die, and no one can take them out of My hand. – (John 10:28, ERV)

I give them a life that is unceasing, and death will not have the last word. Nothing or no one can steal them from My hand. – (John 10:28, VOICE)

 

Once we commit our hearts and lives to the Lord, no one can take His love, hope nor peace away from us. Our future is secure in His hands. Eternity is promised in His presence, when our trust is in the Lord. No matter what comes, we are His. There is much comfort in the blessed assurance that the Lord holds us in His hands and will not allow anything nor anyone to steal us away from Him. May we trust all that we are in His hands, and allow the hope found in Christ alone, to permeate every pore of our being.

 

The Lord gives us life,Generous Giving

for eternity;

as we give ourselves,

His love sets us free.

Free to embrace hope,

by truth, we are found;

no more set to die,

in His life, we’re crowned.

And beyond the hope,

He holds us secure;

nothing can remove,

our future’s assured.

All glory to God,

our Savior and King;

Protector, defense,

from trials life brings.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You give eternal life, and that in You, we will never truly die. Thank You that nothing and no one can steal us from Your loving and protective hand. Forgive us for seeing You as less than You are and making You too small in our own understanding. Teach us to begin to grasp the greatness of who You are and how You love, so that we would trust without wavering. Show us how to love others in a way that highlights the hope we hold in You. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we receive all that You offer, and trust in You with all that we are. Amen.

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

Surely goodness and love will follow me all the days of my life, and I will dwell in the house of the Lord forever. – Psalm 23:6

Where Hope and Help are Held

We wait in hope for the Lord; He is our help and our shield. In Him our hearts rejoice, for we trust in His holy Name. – (Psalm 33:20-21)

 

To wait in hope, is to look forward with expectation and confidence, patient that He who has promised will do what He says He will do. Having the Lord as our help and our shield means that He is our Provider and Protector in all things and at all times. As we learn to hope in Him, our hearts cannot help but rejoice, knowing that He is worthy of our trust; for He is Holy. Regardless of how things appear in the here and now, may we wait in hope for the Lord; for He is our help and our shield. Let our hearts rejoice, for we can trust in His Holy Name.

 

Let us look forward,Bold and Unhindered

with expectation;

confidence in Christ,

due exaltation.

He’s our help and shield,

may our hearts rejoice;

because we can trust,

the Lord as our choice.

He’ll never leave us,

all hope is assured;

God our Redeemer,

where each prayer is heard.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that as we wait in hope, You are our help and our protection. Thank You that You are our Source of joy, despite our circumstances. Thank You that we can always trust in Your Holy Name. Forgive us for the times that we have lost sight of hope in You, and help us to trust You more, so that our hope will forever be secure in who You are. Lead us to love others in such a way, that they too, may find a forever hope in You. Be glorified O God, as we wait on You with expectation and confidence, trusting Your Holy Name. 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