Look For in Faith

Look to the Lord and His strength; seek His face always. – (1 Chronicles 16:11, NIV

Depend on the Lord for strength. Always go to Him for help. – (1 Chronicles 16:11, ERV)

Search for the Lord and for His strength; continually seek Him. – (1 Chronicles 16:11, NLT)

 

The stretch between Christmas break and Spring break always seem extraordinarily long. Despite the disruption to our schedule with a handful of snow days, this portion of the school year still feels like a marathon. Between the ridiculously full moon and the unseasonably warm weather, the energy and struggle to focus feel like an epidemic in the classroom. Student frustration is increasing, as the rigor and demand of the work is becoming more challenging than before. This is the space where I am ever aware of the limitations of my own strength, and recognize the need for the Lord’s. I appreciate the various translations of this verse, as they remind me that I need to look for and depend on the Lord for His strength, and ever seek His face. He provides what I am lacking, as I place my trust in Him. May we ever look to the Lord and depend on Him, as He is our source of strength as we seek Him.

 

Let’s look to the Lord, Bold Grace

And choose seek His face;

Depend on His strength,

Granted by His grace.

Ever keep searching,

In spaces of need;

Go to God for help,

Allow Him take lead.

God in His leading,

All strength He supplies;

To keep pressing on,

Our Source realized.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You for Your faithfulness to meet us as we seek You. Thank You that You supply the strength we lack to press forward in all that we are called to do. Forgive us for not searching for You in the struggle. Teach us to turn to You in all things and at all times. Show us how to love those around us in a way that extends Your help, compassion and strength where it is lacking. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we seek You and depend on You to be our strength; always. Amen.

 

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

 

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

Each Child a Gift

Children are a heritage from the Lord, offspring a reward from Him. – (Psalm 127:3, NIV)

Children are a gift from God; they are His reward. – (Psalm 127:3, TLB)

Children are God’s love-gift; they are heaven’s generous reward. – (Psalm 127:3, TPT)

 

This tends to be one of the longest weeks of the summer each year; the week before school officially begins. For those of us who teach or are involved in the public-school system somehow, this week is spent in meetings, seminars, classes, and retreats to best prepare for the upcoming school year. Some of said academic gatherings are great, and the time flies by. However, others are either repeats of what we have done year in and year out, or they are extraordinarily weighty, and make the day seem far longer than we might hope. The reason that we continue to invest our time, resources, energy and heart into what we do, is the very gist of this verse. Children are a gift, and we recognize the value in each and desire to teach and foster growth in each one who enters our classroom. Perhaps if we can see the struggling as God’s love-gifts and heaven’s rewards, we might approach each child all the more delicately and thoughtfully, as to not offend the Giver. May we look at children as gifts from God, just as we do our own, so that we may love them as we are loved by Him.

 

Each child is a gift,

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Photos by Dee Jones of Open Door Photography ❤

From heaven to earth;

A life with a plan,

A purpose since birth.

Our charge and challenge,

Is to help each rise;

Point to discover,

Dreams to realize.

May we foster growth,

And nurture with love;

So each child feels known,

And knows they’re enough.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that children are a gift from You. Thank You that they are heaven’s reward here on earth. Forgive us for the times that we have viewed them as anything less than a gift. Teach us to trust You more, so that we would seek You for strength to love through the struggles, and to equip us to help kids grow in safety, security and trust. Show us how to love those whom You place on our path to care for well, so that they may know their worth in You. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we love children as You love us – unconditionally and lavishly. Amen.

 

© Shannon Elizabeth (Moreno) 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

With Gratitude, I Rise

O my Strength, to You I sing praises, for You, O God, are my refuge, the God who shows me unfailing love. – (Psalm 59:17, NLT)

I will sing praises to You, my Source of strength. You, God, are my place of safety. You are the God who loves me! – (Psalm 59:17, ERV)

You are my strength, I sing praise to You; You, God, are my fortress, my God on whom I can rely. – (Psalm 59:17, NIV)

 

With a song of gratitude in my heart, I rise. Today marks the final day of the 2017-2018 school year, and I am ready for summer! It has been a year of far more new than I had anticipated would take adjusting to, and only by His strength and unfailing love have I navigated the distance without becoming completely lost. His strength sustained me and His love surrounded me, even on the most difficult of days. As I look forward from this space of one chapter ending and another about to begin, I am reminded anew that God is my place of safety, and the One on whom I can always rely. Thirty-one days until I marry my Viking, and the coming school year holds great promise, as I will be teaching three sections of art, which is my favorite, and one block of humanities. I know that the road that lies before me will not always be smooth either, but I know Who is my refuge and Source of strength, on Whom I can depend. May we ever sing praises to the One who remains present to be our strength and our safe space, no matter what lies ahead.

 

Wake up, rise and sing, With Gratitude I Rise

For the day has come;

School’s at last ending,

The work has been done.

All praise to the One,

Our strength and our song;

Who carried us through,

All of the year long.

Safety and comfort,

Through His love given;

sing grateful praise,

This life I’m living.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You for Your strength, safety and unfailing love on which we can depend. Forgive us for not recognizing nor giving You praise enough for the incredible ways that You love, support, strengthen and protect us. Teach us to trust You more, so that we would seek You for strength, safety and love in all things and at all times. Show us how to love others well, so that our very lives are songs of praise for all that You have done and continue to do in us and through us. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we sing praise to You for Your faithfulness forever. Amen.

 

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

 

Because of the tender mercy of our God, …the rising sun will come to us from heaven. – Luke 1:78

Come to Rest

Let my soul be at rest again, for the Lord has been good to me. – (Psalm 116:7, NLT)

My soul, relax! The Lord is caring for you. – (Psalm 116:7, ERV)

I said to myself, “Relax and rest. God has showered you with blessings.” – (Psalm 116:7, MSG)

O my soul! Return and relax. Come to your true rest, for the Eternal has showered you with His favor. – (Psalm 116:7, VOICE)

 

Just yesterday, I was reminded that this is traditionally the most challenging stretch of the school year. The work becomes challenging for students, the impending holidays and variant weather stir up emotions that they are often unaware of, and as teachers, we hit a spot of weariness that borders on burnout. It is a challenging balance to learn to rest and relax in the Lord, as I do not want to miss out on a moment of fun on the weekends. Time with my beloved friends and family encourages my heart and lifts up my soul. However, the rest that remains with me and carries me through the week, is that which is found in my Heavenly Father. A tremendous blessing is the upcoming Thanksgiving weekend, where there will be time to gather with loved ones, with much time to simply rest. May we ever seek our Savior to be our space of rest, and give Him thanks for the opportunities provided to relax in the beauty of His blessings.

 

Let my soul find rest, Hope in Discouragement

As I seek the Lord;

For in Him alone,

His grace He affords.

When we are weary,

And need to relax;

God provides spaces,

If we only ask.

O Lord we seek You,

And the rest You give;

All thanks for Your grace,

In Your peace, we live.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that in You, we can find real rest. Thank You that Your grace and goodness provide all that we need to be at peace, even in our weariness. Forgive us for seeking rest anywhere other than You. Teach us to trust You more, so that we would seek You and Your rest in our weariness, and give You all praise for the strength and grace You provide to keep going. Show us how to love and encourage those around us who are weary and losing hope. May many come to find true rest in a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we seek You for rest in our weariness, and give You praise for the grace and goodness that You give. Amen.

 

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

 

Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of compassion and the God of all comfort. – 2 Corinthians 1:3

Present With Me

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

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)

He is ever present with me; at all times He goes before me. I will not live in fear or abandon my calling because He stands at my right hand. – (Psalm 16:8, VOICE)

 

The one thing that we can count on in life, is change. No matter how much we want the world around us to stay the same, there are variables that we cannot control, and change is inevitable. Often the change that we fear the most, challenges us and grows us the most. If we remember who goes before us and is present with us, regardless of what lies ahead, we will not be shaken to the point of no return. Some of the most beautiful transformations take place in dark and uncomfortable spaces. Incredibly, what emerges at the end of the press, is a thing of beauty, strength, and new life. God does this with us too. This new school year that lies before me is full of change. We have new administrators, many new staff members, and I will be in a new teaching position. I am not necessarily fearful, but am a bit reluctant, as I know not what lies ahead in this unknown. What I have to remember is who goes before me, and why I do what I do. May we ever trust the Lord and His presence in the places and spaces that we are called to walk, knowing that He will go before us and never leave us, even in the new and unknown.

 

The Lord is with me, Present With Me

Wherever I go;

He goes before me,

This truth, I do know.

He’ll stay by my side,

No matter what comes;

I need never fear,

All battles, He’s won.

Let us choose rise up,

In faith, move ahead;

Answer all He asks,

Do all He has said.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You are always with us. Thank You that we will not be shaken because You will remain beside us. Forgive us for our fears or for the moments we move away from that which we’ve been called to do. Teach us how to trust You and Your presence more. Show us how to love those around us in a way that strengthens and encourages others to be all that You have made them to be. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we go forth without fear, trusting Your presence every step that we take. Amen.

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

God has brought me laughter, and everyone who hears about this will laugh with me. – Genesis 21:6

Out of the Desert

Give thanks to Him who led His people through the wilderness. His faithful love endures forever. – (Psalm 136:16, NLT)

He led His people through the desert. His faithful love will last forever. – (Psalm 136:16, ERV)

 

Being a teacher towards the end of the school year can be tough. Middle school seems to be particularly brutal once all of the state testing has concluded. Students have endured all that they feel they are capable of learning, and many begin to check out. The final six-week stretch has felt especially long this year, as certain classes had clusters of kids together that fed off of one another, making the task of teaching all the more a challenge. That being said, God sustained me with His strength and grace, and surrounded me with stellar colleagues who were in the very same fight. Daily, we were able to encourage and support each other, and today, we have reached the end. There have been students that have stayed strong throughout the duration of the year, and have brought light and laughter to our days. Even the difficult students, when on their own, have provided glimpses of good that can be recognized today as we gather for our final few hours to celebrate and send them off to high school. May we ever give God thanks for His faithfulness in the wilderness, and His love that lasts forever.

 

In the wilderness,Out of the Desert

God’s faithful to be;

Present and loving,

He stays close to me.

Through the hardest times,

Strength and love He gives;

Endurance to fight,

Proof that our God lives.

Ever He’s faithful,

He loves for all time;

No matter what comes,

Hope in Him is mine.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You lead us through the dry and difficult seasons. Thank You that even in the desert, You make Your love, faithfulness and presence known. Thank You for the people that You place in our lives to walk beside us. Forgive us for losing faith in the fight when we become overwhelmed with what we see in front of us. Thank You that Your faithfulness is not dependent on our faith. Teach us to trust You more, so that we would not lose heart, but rather press forward in faith; always. Show us how to love those around us in a way that encourages and strengthens in their spaces of wilderness and lack. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we receive Your faithful love and go forth and give as we have been given. Amen.

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

Father, I thank You that You have heard me. – John 11:41

Carried

Praise the Lord; praise God our Savior! For each day He carries us in His arms. – (Psalm 68:19, NLT)

Praise the Lord! Every day He helps us with the loads we must carry. He is the God who saves us. – (Psalm 68:19, ERV)

 

I am abundantly aware of His help and His arms in this long and exhausting season. This latter portion of the school year has been the most difficult one that I can recall in recent years. There are numerous factors contributing to the building burnout, yet each day, as the final bell rings, I breathe a sigh of relief and recognize the grace that has carried me. God is good, and He is my help and my hope, even when I struggle. He walks beside us, and helps us carry the burdens that we are unable to bear on our own, and He saves us from walking away when we are meant to stay. May we ever seek Him to be our help and our hope, and give Him our praise for all that He has done.

 

When the road is rough,Compassion in Confrontations

And we’re weary, worn;

Trust in the Lord’s help,

With strength, He’ll adorn.

For when we are weak,

He comes along side;

Helps carry our load,

To rest, He will guide.

Rise up, praise the Lord,

He’s our God who saves;

Our help and our hope,

Throughout all our days.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You are the Lord, our God and Savior. Thank You that You carry us in Your arms when we cannot continue on our own. Thank You that You never leave us nor forsake us. Forgive us for attempting to bear burdens on our own, rather than turning to You in trust. Teach us to trust You more, so that we would lay them at Your feet, and allow You to show us what is ours to carry, and what You are already managing on our behalf. Lead us to love those around us in such a way, that we help lift them up and let them know that they are not alone when the road gets rough. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we praise You for who You are, and thank You for all that You do to be our help and our hope. 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

The Hope that Upholds

Don’t 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)

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

 

This is a timely reminder, as this particular stretch of the school year is the longest and most difficult season. Students struggle to stay focused, and stress out over the impending state testing. Furthermore, I think they begin to realize that the year is drawing to a close, and the sense of security that has been established at school, will be gone in six short weeks. As the benefactor of the bad behaviors, it is often difficult to remember that there is reason for the rebellion. I am called to pray and be patient, as I have hope in knowing that there is so much more than the difficult days that I feel stuck in at times, in the right now. God has promised so much more. Despite what I see or experience in the present, I can be happy and rejoice in the knowledge that there is hope that lies in what is yet to come. The incredible thing that I find, is that often when I am able to fix my eyes on the joy that lies before me, rather than the rough that I am in, those around me seem to grab hold of the joy as well, and something changes – even if it is only a glimmer of good in what had seemingly gone horribly wrong. May we ever remember our reason to rejoice and have patience in our times of trouble. Let our first response be to pray, as hope in Him will light our way.

 

When hard times come near,Enter With Thanksgiving

Forget not rejoice;

For in Christ there’s hope,

Our happiest choice.

Let us ever pray,

In good times and bad;

For He’s the answer,

And makes our hearts glad.

No matter what’s seen,

In Him we shall know;

Hope that’s forever,

As love and grace flow.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that we can have joy and rejoice in You, because of the hope that You alone provide. No matter what we see or what we are living in, there is always better that will come through You. Thank You that when we pray to You, You hear our prayers. Thank You that You give us patience when we are in the midst of the difficult. Forgive us for our lack of hope and joy, as we forget to set our hearts to pray in all things. Teach us to trust You more, so that we would devote ourselves to pray in all things and at all times, so that we would be patient in times of trouble, and have hope no matter what we see. Show us how to love others, so that we would offer Your goodness and grace in such a way that they too would come to know the hope that is found in You. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we rejoice in the hope we have in You, and choose to pray at all times. Amen.

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

But because of His great love for us, God, who is rich in mercy, made us alive with Christ. – Ephesians 2:4-5

Strength We Lack

I love You, Lord; You are my strength. – (Psalm 18:1, NLT)

I love You, God – You make me strong. – (Psalm 18:1, MSG)

 

Today is the final day before Christmas break. This has been the longest week of the school year thus far. Between a very full moon, the threat of snow, much colder temperatures than usual, and the anticipation of a much needed and long awaited break, both the campus and our classrooms have been engulfed in constant energetic activity. As educators, it takes every ounce of strength we have to attempt to channel that energy into productivity in the classroom. By the time the last bell rings at 2:10, I look back at my disheveled room in awe, and wonder how on earth I managed to navigate another day. In reality, I do know how. My source of strength lies in the Lord, and He meets me in each moment and provides the strength I lack. Despite my weariness, He meets me and restores my strength and joy, granting what is needed to navigate each class period. My love of the Lord grows ever greater, as I recognize His provision and care for me and those around me. May we go forth this day in His strength, ready to finish the week strong, as we trust Him to provide whatever we lack through His loving grace.

 

When weariness comes,Healed Hands Reach Out

And strength is near gone;

The Lord will provide,

Help us carry on.

Let all that we are,

Give Him thanks and praise;

For His loving grace,

Granted all our days.

We love You, O God,

Our strength and our song;

In You there’s enough,

To rise and press on.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You for the gift of Your grace. Thank You that You meet us where we are and provide the strength that we need to continue in the direction that we are called. We love You Lord for who You are and how You love us so well. Forgive us for not seeking You or giving You the praise that is due Your Name. Teach us to trust You more, so that we would come to You in our need and our plenty, asking for what we need and giving You praise for who You are. Show us how to love those around us in tangible ways, so that they may be strengthened and encouraged to finish well. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we give You thanks and praise for the strength You provide for all of our days. We love You Lord. 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

Embracing What Lies Ahead

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)

 

On this day before the beginning of a brand new school year, I am so thankful that God is with us. The things that bring uneasiness and concern, can be placed in His hands, and replaced with joyful anticipation of all that is yet to come. His delight in us fills our hearts and minds with hope for all that will be, and grants us the strength to look forward with joy, as we anticipate all that will be accomplished in the coming year. May we rise up and remember that our Mighty Savior is living among us, and that He delights in us and rejoices over us with songs. Let us embrace all that lies ahead with hope, as we trust in He who is able to make all grace abound.

 

For the Lord our God,Bold in Battle

Is living with us;

He’s mighty to save,

All hope in Jesus.

He takes all delight,

In hearts that choose seek;

He calms all our fears,

Gives strength when we’re weak.

And more than that still,

He chooses rejoice;

Over us with songs,

Joy’s His tone of voice. 

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You live among us and that You are mighty to save. Thank You that You delight in us with gladness. Thank You that with Your love, You calm our every fear. Thank You that You rejoice over us with joyful songs. Forgive us for forgetting how great Your love is for us. Teach us to trust You more, so that we would seek You in all things and at all times. Show us how to love others in a way that brings joy and calms fears, just as You do for us. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we seek You with all that we are, and receive all that You give. Let our every word and deed represent You well. 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