Do Not Conform

Do not conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is – His good, pleasing and perfect will. – (Romans 12:2, NIV)

Don’t change yourselves 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)

 

We are called to be exactly who God created us to become; not some ideal that society sets before us. Rather than looking to the world to determine what is popular and widely accepted, God calls us to look to Him and allow Him to grow us in the gifts He birthed within us, as He transforms our hearts and minds to more clearly reflect His own. The more we seek the Lord and allow Him to shape who we are becoming, the better we are able to discern what is good and pleasing to Him. At the end of the day, knowing and doing God’s will is walking out God’s very best for us. He knows the plans, even when we do not, so moving in the direction He is calling will lead us to where we need to go. May we turn a deaf ear to the lies that tempt us to fit a mold not intended for us, and depend on the Lord to continue transforming us into the people that He has created us to become.

 

God has made mom a fighter, and with the loving support and encouragement of my sister and her family, mom has begun ditching her wheelchair during the day, to rely solely on her walker! This process began on Friday, and already they are seeing terrific improvement. Mark and I will go visit this weekend, and I cannot wait to witness the progress, and to see mom after far too long. We also will have the joy of delivering some of her winter clothing, as we all had a great conversation while Mark and I were gathering Mom’s requested items from her closet yesterday, prior to heading home. It has been equally long since I have seen my sister, so it will be a wonderful reunion for us all.

 

Do not choose settle, Do Not Conform

For what others want;

Instead, seek the Lord,

Our best confidant.

We’re not meant to be,

What the world expects;

But rather we ought,

Do what God directs.

For in Him we are,

Transformed and renewed;

Grown in our purpose,

With hearts He makes new.

So, do not conform,

Rather, seek the One;

Who loves us to life,

In love, get things done.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You call us to be transformed by the renewing of our minds in You, rather than giving in to that which the world says we ought to do or be. Thank You that as we seek You and know You more, You help us to more clearly recognize Your will and walk it out. Forgive us for the times we seek the world’s approval rather than Yours. Teach us to worry less about pleasing others and more about honoring You. Show us how to love those around us in a way that is good and pleasing unto You. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we seek You to be transformed and renewed in You. Amen.

 

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

 

Let the morning bring me word of Your unfailing love, for I have put my trust in You. Show me the way I should go, for to You I entrust my life. – Psalm 143:8

 

Maker of Mountains

I lift up my eyes to the mountains – where does my help come from? My help comes from the Lord, the Maker of heaven and earth. – (Psalm 121:1-2, NIV)

I look up to the hills, but where will my help really come from? My help will come from the Lord, the Creator of heaven and earth. – (Psalm 121:1-2, ERV)

I look up at the vast size of the mountains – from where will my help come in times of trouble? The Eternal Creator of the heaven and earth and these mountains will send the help I need. – (Psalm 121:1-2, VOICE)

 

For a visual girl, such as myself, this is such a powerful reminder. At mom’s I am surrounded by hills and mountains that leave me in awe each morning as the sun rises and sets around us; and at home, snow-capped mountain ranges can be seen clearly beyond the water’s horizon of the Puget Sound. Either place, I am reminded from Whom my help comes. The very One who created such beauty, is more than able to be near and provide whatever help I need. We need only glimpse of the glory of creation to know that One who is far greater, has the world in His hands. This is critical to know, as we continue this road to recovery with mom. Our latest dilemma is such that her former in-home speech therapist took a new job, leaving the current in-home care company without a speech therapist. What this means for us, is that we have to switch all of her therapies to a different company because insurance will only work with one company. She loses her amazing physical therapist and occupational therapist, as well as a great in-home nurse. We have to trust that God has her in His hands and has a greater plan. He hasn’t brought her this far, to only bring her this far. We need His help to wrap our minds around how quickly time is flying and how labor-intensive progress is to make small gains. Our current arrangement is wonderful, ideal even for mom’s healing, but it has an expiration date. My capacity to be present in Wenatchee full-time will end in the middle of August. Meg will have exhausted her leave around the same time as well. He is our help and our hope, and we are trusting for miraculous things to determine the best next thing for mom. Thankfully, we have loving families and options in both Meg’s home and mine, if needed, yet it is not a path that mom is even ready to consider yet. All this to say that rather than looking at the size of the mountains before us, we need to look to the One who created them all. He is able to do abundantly more than we could hope or imagine as we choose to trust in Him. We do not know and cannot predict the direction this road will take, but for today, we continue to move forward in faith and trust in He who is our help and our hope forever.

 

Look to the mountains, img_2019-06-22_08-20-406022810217687705642.jpg

Such wonder to see;

How vast and how high,

From sky to the sea.

The same Creator,

Of all of these things;

Is our help and hope,

Salvation He brings.

No matter what comes,

The giants we face;

God will be our help,

With His endless grace.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that no matter when we look, we are reminded that if You can create such beauty, You can certainly help and hold us in Your hands. Thank You that You are the help we need, always. Forgive us for seeing the size of our need, rather than the size of our God. Teach us to trust You more, as You are greater than all. Show us how to love others in a way that supports and strengthens them, encouraging them to press on and look up as they continue to move ahead. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we look to You to be our help at all times and trust in You for all things. Amen.

 

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

 

Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways submit to Him, and He will make your paths straight. – Proverbs 3:5-6

Consider Greater Love

And let us consider how we may spur one another on toward love and good deeds. – (Hebrews 10:24, NIV)

We should think about each other to see how we can encourage each other to show love and do good works. – (Hebrews 10:24, ERV)

Let us consider how to inspire each other to greater love and to righteous deeds. – (Hebrews 10:24, VOICE)

 

Yesterday was an “off” day at school. A few of my students who have the propensity to struggle with everyday expectations, each had a difficult day. I am not sure whether it can be attributed to the full moon, the numerous guest teachers on campus, the changing seasons, or perhaps an off day due to a wrench in their normal routine, but whatever the cause, the challenge remained and I was extraordinarily grateful for colleagues who are kind and encouraging. Thankfully, I learned long ago to not take a student’s display of distress, personally. Rather, it sets me on a path of seeking to discover more of what motivates and helps calm the child best, so that I might better anticipate and diffuse potential outbursts on a day that they are struggling. Both the presence of para-educators and an interpreter, and later that of administrators who were looking for students, became a source of help that inspired me to greater love, despite my temporary frustration. Sometimes, just knowing that someone else sees the reality of what has taken place, is enough to feel validated in the moment and motivation to let go and move on. There is no “perfect” in humanity. We will always irritate and frustrate, as we as become irritated and frustrated by others. What we do with it matters most. When we choose to love and extend grace, even when it is seemingly undeserved, we are offering the very thing that we have been given through life in Christ. May we ever seek the Lord to be our strength, so that we may choose to love and do good works, always.

 

Help us consider, Show the Love

How to choose to love;

To do the good works,

We’re called to get done.

Love is not about,

How much it’s deserved;

But rather a choice,

We choose as we serve.

At our very worst,

God still loves with grace;

So too, we should love,

The whole human race.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You love us no matter how we come or what we have done. Thank You that Your grace covers our shortcomings. Forgive us for the times that we do not choose love or good works, despite the clear call that You have given. Teach us to trust and rely on You for the strength and endurance to love even when it is challenging. Show us how to love those who are struggling in practical ways that help them understand goodness and grace, and to encourage others to do the same. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we choose to love and do good, encouraging one another as we are encouraged by You, according to Your perfect plan to which we are called. Amen.

 

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

The second is equally important: “Love your neighbor as yourself.” No other commandment is greater than these. – Mark 12:31

Beautifully Broken

May these words of my mouth and this meditation of my heart be pleasing in Your sight, Lord, my Rock and my Redeemer. – (Psalm 19:14, NIV)

May my words and thoughts please You. Lord, You are my Rock – the One who rescues me. – (Psalm 19:14, ERV)

May my spoken words and unspoken thoughts be pleasing even to You, O Lord my Rock and my Redeemer. – (Psalm 19:14, TLB)

 

First thing in the morning, before the chaos of the day ensues, it is fairly easy to keep my thoughts fixed on that which is pleasing to the Lord and my words follow, much the same. As the day moves forward and responsibilities and demands grow heavy, it can become far more difficult to keep my heart, mind and mouth aligned. Yesterday, after spending several hours packing and moving things from my old house to the new one we all will share, in the heat of the day, I was hot, tired and a bit grumpy. When we returned to the new house with the last load of the day, I scanned Instagram. What jumped out at me was a post from a friend of mine who had a photo of a broken plate with the words to a Matthew West song that I love. “But if it’s true You use broken things then here I am Lord, I’m all Yours.” – (Matthew West, Broken ThingsHaving read the words, they began to sink deep in my heart and the song began to play on repeat in my heart and mind. I was reminded that even when we are broken down, tired or hurting, He will use us if we are willing. That tug at my heartstrings reset my mind and heart to what matters, and I was able to continue the remainder of my afternoon and evening with the thought that He would use whatever I bring, and He sets my heart where it ought to be. May our every word and thought be pleasing unto God, for He is our Rock and Redeemer.

 

Lord I am the clay,

Scars as Signs of Strength

Just as the Japanese practice the art of Kintsukuroi (the Japanese art of embracing broken and flawed things and making them beautiful), so does God with us as we are willing. ❤

And You, the Potter;

Let my heart reflect,

Love as Your daughter.

Where my heart and mind,

Choose to sit and dwell;

Become the story,

My whole life will tell.

O here I am, Lord,

In my brokenness;

Use what I offer,

In Your tenderness.

May all of my words,

And thoughts in my mind;

Be shaped by Your love,

For You are so kind.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You stop us in our tracks and remind us of what matters most. Thank You that You use us, in our broken imperfections, to touch those around us with Your love. Forgive us for allowing the weight of the world to shape how we see things, rather than coming before You as we are and trusting that You can use all that we offer. Teach us to set our hearts and minds on things of You, so that our every thought and word are pleasing in Your sight. Show us how to love those around us in a way that reflects Your light and love. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we come to You, Lord, and say, “I’m all Yours.” Amen.

 

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

 

And walk in the way of love, just as Christ loved us and gave Himself up for us as a fragrant offering and sacrifice to God. – Ephesians 5:2

*Another song that comes to mind and is a great reminder, Beautifully Broken, by Plumb.

 

Stand in Awe

Those who live at the ends of the earth stand in awe of Your wonders. From where the sun rises to where it sets, You inspire shouts of joy. – (Psalm 65:8, NLT)

Far and wide they’ll come to a stop, they’ll stare in awe, in wonder. Dawn and dusk take turns calling, “Come and worship.” – (Psalm 65:8, MSG)

 

These words ring ever true, as I find myself caught off guard in awe at the beauty that surrounds me so often. Yesterday was a crazy, busy day, that had some unexpected twists and turns that made parts of the day difficult. The evening ended well, and as I drove home, though I have taken in the view countless times, I found myself nearly in tears with gratitude for the good in my life and the beautiful region that I am blessed to call home. I love the mountains and the ocean, and here, I am a short drive away from both. More than that, each morning as I walk with my best friend and her pups, we take in a spectacular view of both the majestic mountains and the Puget Sound, as the sun rises and reflects on the water and reveals the splendor created by His hands. Wherever I go, I seem to stand in awe of the wonder that unfolds before me. I anticipate nothing less, as I prepare to leave for Belize this coming Saturday. May our hearts look and listen to all that He shows us, as His goodness inspires joy and reason to worship for all of our days.

 

To ends of the earth,Stand in Awe

May in awe we stand;

Of all Your wonders,

On sea and on land.

From the sun rises,

To each new sunset;

Let’s look to the One,

Who paid all our debt.

O how He loves us,

This wonder employ;

Stand in awe of God,

And worship with joy.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You bless us with such goodness and beauty all around us. Thank You for tangible reminders of Your power and majesty. Thank You that You draw us unto Yourself through the people and places that surround us. Forgive us for not slowing down to look and listen to all that You have for us. Teach us to take notice of all of the wonders that You have made. Show us how to love and appreciate the people and places that You have given to us to care for well. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we stand in awe of Your wonders, and worship You with joy. 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

You Are Strength

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

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

 

Whether it is strength of heart, strength of mind, or physical strength, God provides what we need when we need it most. This past weekend, I both experienced His provision of strength, and watched others dig deep and find strength they did not realize that they had. As a visual learner, I so love concepts to be made tangible before me. There is a quote about running that really can parallel to our walk of faith as well:

“When you can no longer run with your legs, run with your heart.”

It is a reminder that when we come to the end of ourselves, we begin to rely on the One who created us with purpose and equipped us to run whatever race He sets before us. When we lean into Him, we find strength we did not know we had, and accomplish far more than we ever thought possible. Whatever that next step is, He will provide the strength that is needed to get from here to there. May we trust in the Lord who is our strength, and love as we are loved.

 

O Lord, You are good,

You Are Strength

Both of these ladies discovered strength they did not realize they had. ❤

 

With love, make me strong;

All praise unto You,

Throughout my life long.

I love You, my God,

Unto You, I’ll run;

Wherever You call,

’til my days are done.

You Lord, are my strength,

O Father, I sing;

Your grace sustains me,

Through everything.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You are our strength. Thank You that the strength You provide is not just physical, but strength of heart and mind as well. Forgive us for not depending on You when things are difficult, or for not praising You when they are easy. Teach us to give You glory in all things and at all times. We love You, Lord and want to honor You in all. Show us how to love those around us in a way that strengthens and builds others up. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we love You and praise You for the strength that You provide us as it is needed. 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

Actively Ask

Indeed, if you call out for insight and cry aloud for understanding, and if you look for it as for silver and search for it as for hidden treasure, then you will understand the fear of the Lord and find the knowledge of God. – (Proverbs 2:3-5, NIV)

 

God grants us the insight we need when we actively pursue Him for answers. The Lord sets our feet on the path to His peace. If we lack wisdom, we must pursue answers. If we lack clarity, He will make things clear. Our part is to pursue with perseverance. We are not meant to pray and then walk away. We are called to contend for the answers we seek, and to keep contending until we know what we are meant to do. The more we seek Him, the more we know and understand who He is, and why He alone is worthy of all of our praise. May we call out for insight and cry aloud for understanding in all things, as we persevere in our pursuit of the knowledge of God.

 

When we need answers,Refreshment Through Repentance

Unsure of the way;

Cry out to Jesus,

Our Source for each day.

It’s through our searching,

That wisdom is gained;

True understanding,

in seeking His Name.

He’s faithful to come,

To give what we need;

He’ll show us the way,

And by His grace, lead.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that when we call out for insight and cry aloud for understanding, searching for wisdom as for treasure – You meet us and grow us and give us understanding of who You are, and how great Your love is for us. Thank You that when we gain even a glimpse of Your greatness, we begin to understand the awe and wonder that remain as we humbly stand before You. Forgive us for our lack of perseverance in our seeking understanding. Show us how to keep asking, as You are faithful to all who seek You. Teach us to trust You more, so that we may be Your ambassadors to those around us, loving others well, just as You so lavishly love each of us. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we seek You for insight and understanding in all things, and trust the path that You provide. 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

 

 

 

Waves of Wonder

Life seems to happen in waves. As the tides change and the waters encroach and recede, so do sets of challenges and victories as we go about our days. Similar to the sea, both the wonderful and the wearying seem to come in sets. Repeated rollers come our way, seeming to be relentless; followed by complete calm. Our successful navigation throughout our days is not dependant on the waves, but rather on our reliance on the Creator of all things. In His hands, we are able to stay afloat, or ride the waves into the shore without being pulled under. One of the best ways to keep our eyes fixed on Him and our hearts in the proper posture, is through praise.

 

“I will praise You, O Lord, with all my heart; I will tell of all Your wonders, I will be glad and rejoice in You; I will sing praise to Your Name, O Most High.” – (Psalm 9:1-2)

 

Our hearts are not capable of praising and being pulled under simultaneously. As we praise, and speak of His faithfulness, something happens in our spirits that keeps us from sinking into the undertow of self-pity. Whenever the woes of the world begin to drag me down, the most effective thing I can do is jump in my car, turn up tunes that speak of His goodness and faithfulness, and sing along at the top of my lungs. Though it does not make the struggle disappear, it resets my focus on the Father, and creates a proper posture in my heart and mind, to allow God to be God, and recall that I am not. There is much freedom found through worshipful sound…

 

I will praise You, Lord,Waves of Wonder

with all of my heart;

I’ll tell of Your work,

the peace You impart.

I’ll choose to be glad,

I’ll rejoice in You;

I will sing always,

of how You make new.

As each waves rolls in,

I’ll call on Your Name;

in Your mighty hands,

I’ll not be the same.

Strength in my weakness,

chaos into calm;

O Lord, Your goodness,

my hope and my song.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You are faithful and worthy of all of our praise. Thank You that Your wonders are a source of gladness and reason to rejoice. Thank You that Your Spirit dwells in us, and ministers to our hearts as we focus on You. Forgive us for looking at the size of the waves, rather than You who can create all calm in our hearts, minds and environment. Teach us to trust You more, and to praise You with our whole heart, regardless of what is happening around us. May our awe and wonder inspire others to seek You and find You too, as we live and love as You love us. Be glorified in our praise today, and may our every word and deed speak of Your wonders. Amen.

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

Let love and faithfulness never leave you; …write them on the tablet of your heart. – Proverbs 3:3