How Long?

How long must I wrestle with my thoughts and day after day have sorrow in my heart? – (Psalm 13:2a, NIV)

My soul is weary with sorrow; strengthen me according to Your word. – (Psalm 119:28, NIV)

How much longer must I cling to this constant grief? I’ve endured this shaking of my soul. – (Psalm 13:2a, TPT)

My life’s strength melts away with grief and sadness; come and strengthen me and encourage me with Your words. – (Psalm 119:28, TPT)

 

I have set aside personal reflection for public view on the shift in schooling for quite some time, due largely in part to weight of my own sorrow. You see, not only is this the loss of concluding this school year with my students, but it is my own children’s senior year, and the second spring in a row that I have been absent from both. Last year, two weeks from now, our entire world came to a crashing halt. My mom suffered a massive stroke, and we were unsure of what the outcome would be. Immediately, my husband and I made the drive over the mountains to be with her, and I made arrangements to take a leave of absence to remain with mom, as Mark returned home to be with our kids. Mom is a fighter, and did remarkably well as my sister and I were able be with her around the clock, and after all of my years of teaching, I had plenty of leave to stay on through the majority of the remaining school year. Because mom was thriving and making gains, I did not give myself room to grieve. Now, nearly a year later, I am in an entirely different circumstance, yet in a similar space of loss. There have been moments of sorrow and grief, but I have given little time or space to ponder or process. Then, yesterday, as I returned to school for my designated twenty minutes to pick up any supplies I might need from my classroom, the weight of reality began to set in. Silent hallways and classrooms without kids running around, laughing, or talking to one another, left a hollow void in my heart.

My friend and colleague has a remarkable way with capturing in words, moments, so eloquently, and when I read what she posted on Facebook as a reflection of her twenty minutes in her classroom, I found myself fighting back the sting of tears. It took deep, intentional breaths to not fully succumb to the depth of sorrow I was feeling as I read what she had written. My own boys had been in her very first sixth grade class, and she recognized and grieved for those seniors too. There is just so much…

The beauty in the brokenness is that we are not stuck in it. God is faithful to pick us up, dust us off, and grant us fresh resolve. He does strengthen us, and today, my goal and focus is to be prepared for our launch of distance learning, come Monday morning. Additionally, today is my day to email a check-in to my art students, so that holds some hope and joy as well. In all things, God has a way of bringing beauty from ashes. I look forward to seeing how all of this season changes our neighborhood, schools, city, state, and nation for the better.

 

Hollow empty halls,wp-15870437506012790305386090599192.jpg

That mirror my heart;

Loss of what should be,

This season apart.

Such sorrow in loss,

Of all that could be;

Lord help us rise up,

As Your hope sets free.

Even in losses,

You can bring gains;

Beauty from ashes,

For Your love remains.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You hold us as we wrestle through our sorrow and heaviness, and You strengthen us with resolve once again. Thank You that You truly do bring beauty from ashes, and hope from despair. Forgive us for allow ourselves to sit in our sorrow too long, or for ignoring it and allowing the weight to burden us. Teach us to place all in Your hands, so that You can walk us through it into the good that You have in store for us. Show us how to love those around us well, even though we cannot see people the way we want to right now. May many come into a lasting relationship with You, and know the comfort and peace that You alone offer. Be glorified O God, as we seek Your comfort and strength in our sorrow, and anticipate the good that lies ahead. Amen.

 

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

 

“…He will give a crown of beauty for ashes, a joyous blessing instead of mourning, festive praise instead of despair. In their righteousness, they will be like great oaks that the Lord has planted for His own glory.” – Isaiah 61:3

Faithful to Love

“I have loved you even as the Father has loved me. Remain in my love. When you obey my commandments, you remain in my love, just as I obey my Father’s commandments and remain in His love.” – (John 15:9-10, NLT)

“I have loved you as the Father has loved me. Now continue my love. I have obeyed my Father’s commands, and He continues to love me. In the same way, if you obey my commands, I will continue to love you.” – (John 15:9-10, ERV)

 

As Jesus spoke to the people of Corinth, He was urging them to remain faithful, just as He had stayed faithful to His Heavenly Father. Obedience leads us to a space where we are right with God. He loves us because we are His, but the favor of the Lord is granted when we are walking in His will, rather than walking away from that which we are called. If God calls us to love Him and love people, it only makes sense that it is through our obedience that we would experience more of His love in our own lives. As we give love, we better understand and recognize what it is to receive love in return. May we love as we are loved in obedience to what the Lord is asking, and come to know and understand the riches of remaining in His love for us.

 

To love and be loved,The Wonder of Unfailing Love

 

Is God’s hope for us;

That is evident,

Through His Son, Jesus.

No matter what came,

To Him on His way;

He still chose to love,

In God’s will, remain.

So let us choose love,

As done unto us;

In obedience,

Love in faithfulness.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You love us with an everlasting love. Thank You that You have shown us what it is to remain in Your love. Forgive us for not obeying Your command to love as we are loved. Teach us to trust You more, so that we would love one another according to Your good and perfect will. Show us how to love like You, so that all those around us might see Your faithfulness through our love. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we love as You have loved us in obedience to Your commands. Amen.

 

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

 

Listen… be wise, and keep your heart on the right path. – Proverbs 23:19

In Hope, Be Still

Let all that I am wait quietly before God, for my hope is in Him. – (Psalm 62:5, NLT)

I must calm down and turn to God; He is my only hope. – (Psalm 62:5, ERV)

My soul quietly waits for the True God alone because I hope only in Him. – (Psalm 62:5, VOICE)

 

I find myself in a strange space this season, as I face impending endings – with dear friends moving away, a grandmother living out her last days, and then the dealing with that which is in my own heart, as I adapt to the new dynamics in my own life. When I quiet myself before the Lord, I am able to see the hope, even in the sorrow of change. For those moving, God is taking them into a new season, as He also is with those of us remaining here. My grandmother has outlived her spouse, her family members, and all of her closest friends, and for her, she is certain of her destination, so she faithfully waits in hope for her homecoming. For myself, in the stillness of my quiet mornings with God, I am reassured of all that He has for me. His plan and purpose for me has not changed, so I am able to continue to hold fast to the hope that is found in Him alone. May we all slow down and quiet ourselves before the Lord, so that we may hear the still small voice within that reminds us that He is our hope and He has good plans for us.

 

Let all that I am,Anxious for Answers

Wait in stillness here;

For God is my hope,

So I need not fear.

In times of great change,

In seasons of doubt;

Help me trust in You,

To show the way out.

Out where there is hope,

And freedom is found;

Where all of me trusts,

In You, I’ll abound.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You are our hope and our peace. Thank You that as we wait quietly before You, You reassure us and fill us with Your hope. Forgive us for not slowing down to turn to You. Teach us to quiet ourselves before You in all things and at all times, so that we may hold fast to the hope that is held in You alone. Show us how to love others in a way that gives hope to the hopeless and peace to those who know none. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we wait quietly before You, knowing that all hope is found in You alone. 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