Modeled Love

You, my brothers and sisters, were called to be free. But do not use your freedom to indulge the flesh; rather, serve one another humbly in love. – (Galatians 5:13, NIV)

My brothers and sisters, God chose you to be free. But don’t use your freedom as an excuse to do what pleases your sinful selves. Instead, serve each other with love. – (Galatians 5:13, ERV)

Brothers and sisters, God has called you to freedom! Hear the call, and do not spoil this gift by using your liberty to engage in what your flesh desires; instead, use it to serve each other as Jesus taught through love. – (Galatians 5:13, VOICE)

 

Yesterday, we reached an impasse, and recognized that we had to make the final decision as to where mom would land next, as her stay at the acute rehabilitation facility comes to a close near the end of this month. After asking mom what she most wanted, watching how the familiarity of home made such a dramatic difference in her ability to recall information through an activity during speech therapy, and hearing from various therapists how often patients’ recovery accelerates by leaps and bounds in their own familiar settings, it became evident that her home was where she needed to be next. This is where the choosing to serve one another humbly in love comes in; for it is neither an easy nor convenient choice for either my sister or me. Megan has the obstacle of a seven-hour journey if she drives, a crazy, busy schedule at home with work and family, and the heartache of being away from mom whenever she needs to be home. For myself, I am still in my first year of a new marriage, raising two teenage sons, finishing their junior year, attempting to coordinate sub plans and grading from three hours from home, and seeking to maintain balance and normalcy in both spaces. Both Meg and I would not have it any other way. The words penned by Paul the Apostle, were modeled by mom throughout our entire lives. It is a simple decision to make, despite the logistical challenges. Additionally, we are overwhelmingly blessed and supported by our spouses, children, families, friends, and our extended communities – both near and far. The outpouring of love and support, both prayerfully and through notes and messages, has been an incredible blessing, and often just what was needed at the moment it was needed most.

As for mom specifically, she is continuing to make great gains. Her speech and language retrieval is phenomenally fast, but is more difficult by day’s end when she is tired. Physically, she is building more strength every day, and more and more movement is coming along. It is a painfully slow process, but it is happening. She would love to just jump up and take off running, but even as babies, we must first learn to crawl, then stand, then wobble and scoot, before we ever take steps. For a growing infant, the process takes the entire first year. Mom is making tremendous strides toward walking again, and it has not quite been a month yet. So often it is a matter of keeping it all in perspective.

For those who are walking alongside us in prayer, these are our present petitions before our Savior: for a smooth transition home, for protection from fear, protection physically, emotionally, and spiritually, against discouragement, for total and complete healing, for strength, for patience, for calendars and schedules to align easily, for grace, balance and wisdom, for her incredible community to continue to be patient about visiting until she is ready, as it needs to be in her time.

 

Jesus set us free, dsc090724766454540718468749.jpg

And gave us a choice;

To choose for ourselves,

Use heart, mind and voice.

Our purpose is more,

Than our own desire;

But rather to love,

Sacrifice, inspire.

Just as we are loved,

By He who gave all;

So we ought to give,

As we heed His call.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You for sending Your Son and showing us what it means to choose to love and serve freely. Thank You for the treasured gift of our mom, who has modeled the same for us throughout our entire lives. Forgive us for the times that we have chosen to indulge our own selfish desires, rather than love like You. Teach us to trust You more, so that we choose to love and serve in the same way that You have always done for us. Show us how to love those around us as You would. Especially direct our steps as we prepare to bring mom back to her own home. May those around us who do not know You yet, come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we choose to serve in love, just as You have modeled for us through Your Son and those that You have strategically placed in our lives. Amen.

 

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

 

“Though the mountains be shaken and the hills be removed, yet My unfailing love for you will not be shaken nor My covenant of peace be removed,” says the Lord, who has compassion on you. – Isaiah 54:10

 

Make It So

Jesus looked at them and said, “With man this is impossible, but with God all things are possible.” – (Matthew 19:26, NIV)

Jesus looked at them and said, “This is something that people cannot do. But God can do anything.” – (Matthew 19:26, ERV) 

Jesus looked at them intently and said, “Humanly speaking, no one. But with God, everything is possible.” – (Matthew 19:26, TLB)

 

Typically, I am a faith-filled realist, that sees the hope. I look at what is, but trust in what shall be. This week, my world has been shaken like never before. Yes, I know that God is good and that He has us, but if I can be real and raw with you – this sucks! My mom is the matriarch of our family, a rock, a love, willing to go anywhere, do anything, and friend and confidant to all whom she meets. To know her is to love her. For my sister and I, we have had to battle frustration and anger, as people love her and want to waltz into the hospital to see her, as if they have known her forever. Sadly, if we don’t know them and mom is uncertain of who they are based on their name, it adds too much frustration for her, and our protective instincts want to build a fortress around her to keep everyone she has not called by name, out, until she is ready to receive guests. I know it is not her nature to have a closed door. One of her greatest gifts is hospitality. That being said, it is hard to be hospitable in the hospital… For now, we are limiting visits to immediate family and those whom we consider “framily” (such long-standing friends that they have become family). Please, those who love mom, be patient, we so appreciate your love and support, and covet your prayers the most right now.

On to the update many have been waiting to hear. First, we are witnessing miracles; daily. Yesterday, mom moved her right arm! Granted, it was slight and not likely a conscious decision, but her arm moved on more than one occasion, which means that the connections are firing. This is very, very good! Additionally, her speech and word recall are continuing to improve. There is marked improvement from morning to afternoon, and one day to the next. The more relaxed she is, the easier words come. The second miracle is that she has been accepted into the best acute care facility in Washington State. We are not yet certain of the when (though we anticipate the end of the week or the weekend), but we are so grateful to know the where. It is in close proximity to me, so I will be spending much time with mom in the coming months on her road to recovery. Once released, the plan is to have her transition to my sister’s house, as it is already able to accommodate potential needs on a single level.

God is good and He makes what is impossible for us, possible. Please continue to contend with us for our mom, as God is far greater than a stroke.

 

Impossible blows,

05011905404454717768608711386.jpg

A celebration in the park after Mom’s first tennis tournament win with her parents ❤

The dashing of dreams;

How do we press on,

What does it all mean?

Questions aren’t too big,

Our God doesn’t mind;

His grace is greater,

For love’s what we find.

Plenty provided,

All that we shall need;

His arms surrounding,

As we let Him lead.

Thank You, Lord Jesus,

That You are enough;

For in our own strength,

We are not that tough.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You for Your kindness and provision in this dark and scary space. Thank You for surrounding us with loving and knowledgeable people who help point us in the direction You are leading, and for opening the doors You intend. Prepare the way, even now, for where mom is going next. Prepare the hearts of every staff member, doctor, nurse, specialist, volunteer, friend and family member who comes near, so that we will best know how to encourage and build her up. May her positivity, and ours, be a witness to those who do not know You yet, pointing them to a lasting relationship with You. Keep discouragement and depression far from her. Bring full healing and restoration, we pray. Forgive us for our impatience. Please God, give us our strong, vibrant, active mom back to us, fully restored as she so desperately wants to be. Amen.

 

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

 

Summon Your power, God; show us Your strength, our God, as You have done before. – Psalm 68:28

 

 

Let Gratitude Grow

Since we are receiving a Kingdom that is unshakable, let us be thankful and please God by worshiping Him with holy fear and awe. – (Hebrews 12:28, NLT)

So we should be thankful because we have a kingdom that cannot be shaken. And because we are thankful, we should worship God in a way that will please Him. We should do this with respect and fear. – (Hebrews 12:28, ERV)

Therefore, since we are receiving a kingdom that can’t be shaken, let’s continue to express our gratitude. With this gratitude, let’s serve in a way that is pleasing to God with respect and awe. – (Hebrews 12:28, CEB)

 

Because of the hope that we have found in Christ, gratitude should ever be in the forefront of our hearts and minds. As we give God praise, let us worship with awe and respect for the One who holds our lives in His hands. When we serve, may it be in surrender to our Savior. With every word and deed, may our lives express gratitude to He who gives us life and breath and hope for all that is yet to come.

 

Let’s ever give thanks, Love that Grows

For all that’s to come;

Unshakable hope,

In the Holy One.

May our hearts worship,

Let’s ever give praise;

To God, who’s faithful,

For all of our days.

Let us not lose sight,

Of Who truly reigns;

May reverence lead,

As we lift His Name.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You for Your faithfulness and the hope we have in You forever. Forgive us for not worshiping or giving Your proper reverence for who You are, as You are our reason for life and breath and being. Teach us to trust You more, so that we would slow down and recognize Your hand in all things, and give You praise for who You are for all of our days. Show us how to love those around us in a way that is pleasing and honoring to You. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we thank You and give You all of our worship and praise for who You are and how You love. 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

Keep Confident Trust

So don’t lose the courage that you had in the past. Your courage will be rewarded richly. You must be patient. After you have done what God wants, you will get what He promised you. – (Hebrews 10:35-36, ERV)

So do not throw away this confident trust in the Lord. Remember the great reward it brings you! Patient endurance is what you need now, so that you will continue to do God’s will. Then you will receive all that He has promised. – (Hebrews 10:35-36, NLT)

 

We cannot allow our faith to be shaken by what we see before us. The very same God who brought us through our previous trials and troubles, is present and faithful today. Our part, is to press in and patiently endure the difficulty, as often there are struggles along the way to grow our faith and strengthen our resolve. What God has promised, He will be faithful to fulfill. The challenge for us is to do our part to receive the promise. In my experience, and that which I observe in those around me, I find that there are steps of faith required on our part to get to where God wants us to be to receive that which He has spoken. As we do what we are designed and equipped to do by faith, He meets us and does that which only He can to complete the fulfillment in incredible ways. May we ever keep the courage that we have known in Christ, and continue to have patience in the time between the promise spoken, and when it is fulfilled. Let us be ready and willing to move in faith wherever He calls us to go, so that we may witness the wonder of His mighty work as He brings fulfillment to that which He has promised.

 

Do not lose courage, Keep Confident Trust

Or confident trust;

For God is faithful,

Loving, and He’s just.

As we are patient,

With hope, we endure;

God builds up our faith,

His promise secure.

So keep with His will,

Trust that you’ll receive;

All He has promised,

Be patient, believe.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that what You promise, You are faithful to fulfill when we continue to walk in the direction to which we are called. Thank You that You develop patient endurance within us in the time between when a promise is spoken and when it is fulfilled. Forgive us for our lack of patience or our wandering our own way in attempt to pursue that which You have spoken. Teach us to trust You more, so that we would only go the direction to which we are called, and that we would stay the course, regardless of what we do or do not see. Show us how to love and encourage those around us, so that they may recognize Your faithfulness through our consistent living in the light of Your love. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we hold fast to our confident trust in You as we patiently navigate the time between promises spoken and when they are fulfilled. Amen.

 

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

 

You have made known to me the paths of life; You will fill me with joy in Your presence. – Acts 2:28

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

Plans that Stand

But the Lord’s plans stand firm forever; His intentions can never be shaken. – (Psalm 33:11, NLT)

But the Lord’s decisions are good forever. His plans are good for generation after generation. – (Psalm 33:11, ERV)

God’s plan for the world stands up, all His designs are made to last. – (Psalm 33:11, MSG)

The Eternal’s purposes will last to the end of time, the thoughts of His heart will awaken and stir all generations. – (Psalm 33:11, VOICE)

 

There is great reassurance in these words, as so often we hear a promise, and wonder how it could ever possibly come to pass. What God says, He will do, for His word endures forever. Though disruptions and detours often come along the way, we learn and grow as we discover how to find our footing back on the path where the Lord is leading. Additionally, God’s timing is not our own. His plans stand firm and cannot be shaken, and they are good throughout all generations. Most of us want to see the fulfillment of a promise spoken within the hour, day, week or at least month in which it was heard. Things that last take time, and the Lord does not operate on our time table. His ways are higher than ours, so we have to trust that His timing is far better than our own, despite our desire to see the fulfillment unfold right now. May we ever trust the Lord and His plans, for His decisions are good and His plans cannot be shaken over time.

 

The Lord’s plans shall stand,Rediscovering Dreams

Firm forevermore;

They can’t be shaken,

Always, they’ll endure.

For His plans are good,

They are made to last;

Awakening hearts,

To do as we’re asked.

As we choose to go,

Wherever He calls;

We see faithfulness,

As hope He installs.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that Your plans stand firm forever. Thank You that Your intentions cannot be shaken, despite our lack of faith or patience in the process. Thank You that You are loving and kind, and that You are patient with us as You lead us in the ways that we are meant to go. Forgive us for where we lack, and attempt to go our own way. Teach us to trust You more, so that we would stay the course to which we have been called by You. Show us how to love those around us in a way that stirs hearts and minds to seek You, as they see Your faithfulness in action. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we trust in Your plans that stand firm forever, and Your intentions that cannot be shaken. Amen.

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

Taste and see that the Lord is good; blessed is the man who takes refuge in Him. – Psalm 34:8

Restoring Joy

I will shout for joy as I sing Your praises; my soul will celebrate because You have rescued me. – (Psalm 71:23, VOICE)

 

Yesterday was the best day that I have had with students in a long while. For whatever reason, the air was lighter, kids were set to task, and I thoroughly enjoyed interacting with my students all day long. Because my heart was full, and joy was restored, my countenance was not shaken when I needed to call to have a student removed from my last class of the day. The other students in the class were doing a terrific job, and I was not going to allow one child’s poor choices steal the joy that had come to rest in the room. God was faithful to hold my heart throughout the day, and the atmosphere in my classroom was exactly what was needed to help carry me to today. This morning, rather than dreading one more day to drudge through (as I was that weary on Wednesday), I am eagerly anticipating today, and have hope for a repeat of positive student engagement, as well as necessary work being accomplished. An added bonus and reason to celebrate is that we are being rescued from all the rain, as sunshine and clear skies are at last in the forecast as well. May we all celebrate the goodness of God, as He has rescued each of us, granting our heart reason for joy.

 

Let each heart sing praise,Gifts Given to Glorify

As joy enters in;

For we’ve been rescued,

Set free from our sin.

Though we’ll have struggles,

On Christ we can call;

He’s our help and hope,

Makes way through it all.

Let shouts of joy,

Rise up, fill the air;

Our Forever Hope,

Is present; aware.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You rescue us. Thank You that You are our strength when we have none, and that You restore joy in spaces where it has been depleted. Thank You that in You, there is always joy. Forgive us for fixing our eyes on our circumstances or allowing what is in front of us to weigh us down. Teach us to trust You more, so that we will place our burdens in Your hands, and allow You to carry the weight. Show us how to love well, those who need it most. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we praise You and celebrate who You are and all that You have done. Amen.

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

May God Almighty grant you mercy. – Genesis 43:14

Knowing His Nearness

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)

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

 

No matter where we go or what we are facing, we are never alone. When we have invited Christ to be Lord of our lives, He remains present to be our help and our strength. I love that He cares about even the little details. Yesterday, I walked into a situation that I was nervous about; not because it was bad, nor dangerous – just that it was new and unknown, and I was uneasy. He was with me, and postured people appropriately to put my heart at ease. As I left my experience, I found my heart full of gratitude for the grace that I had been given, and the care I had been shown. The Lord is as close as our next breath, and will never leave us nor forsake us. He is faithful, and I am grateful. May we ever place our trust in Him.

 

The Lord, He is good,Enter With Thanksgiving

He always remains;

My help and my hope,

With strength, He sustains.

I won’t be shaken,

With God by my side;

As He is for me,

In Him, I’ll abide.

Always remember,

In love the Lord reigns;

With our God for us,

No fear can remain.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You are with us, close beside us so that nothing can shake us. Thank You that You are our Defender and our strength. Forgive us for our fear and lack of faith. Teach us to trust You more, so that we would not forget how much greater You are than anything that may lie before us. Show us how to love others in such a way, that they might see Your faithfulness through us. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we trust in Your nearness, always. Amen.

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

May God be gracious to us and bless us and make His face shine upon us. – Psalm 67:1

His Plans Are Firm Forever

But the Lord’s plans stand firm forever; His intentions can never be shaken. – (Psalm 33:11, NLT)

The Eternal’s purposes will last to the end of time; the thoughts of His heart will awaken and stir all generations. – (Psalm 33:11, VOICE)

 

The plans and purposes of God cannot be altered nor changed by human persuasion. Just because we think we know what may be best, God’s ways are always higher than our ways, and His plans higher than ours. God wants the very best for us, His created, so He will not allow our short-sightedness to shake His plans for our ultimate good. Instead, He stirs in us, a desire to seek Him and His will. As we follow after Him, He draws us unto Himself, and points us to the path that leads us on to life everlasting. May we choose to give ear to His leading, so that we might walk in the light of His love where He is calling. Let every heart seek the Lord, and answer that which He is asking.

 

The plans of the Lord,Faith for Forever

Stand firm for all time;

They can’t be shaken,

Holy and divine.

What He is asking,

Draws us to His side;

Where hearts awaken,

Cross faithful divide.

Let us choose to seek,

Pursue the Lord’s will;

Fulfill what He asks,

By faith, pray, be still.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that Your plans stand firm forever, no matter what goes on in the world around us. Thank You that Your intentions can never be shaken. Forgive us for the lack of security in our stance at times, as we are easily shaken when things around us fall apart or go sideways. Teach us to trust You more, so that no matter what goes on in or around us, we know that Your ultimate plan remains. Show us how to love others in such a way, that they might see You through what we say and do. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we seek to follow the plan that You place before us, and to trust in the way You call us to walk. Amen.

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

The fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control. – Galatians 5:22-23

 

Wise Builders

“Whoever hears these teachings of mine and obeys them is like a wise man who built his house on rock. It rained hard, the floods came, and the winds blew and beat against the house. But it did not fall because it was built on rock.” – (Matthew 7:24-25, ERV)

“Anyone who listens to my teaching and follows it is wise, like a person who builds a house on solid rock. Though rain comes in torrents and the floodwaters rise and the wind beat against that house, it won’t collapse because it is built on bedrock.” – (Matthew 7:24-25, NLT)

 

The foundation on which we build our lives, matters. If we seek the Lord and pursue understanding as we walk in obedience to His ways, we establish the foundation of who we are in Him, who cannot be shaken. Though storms will come, as they inevitably do, when we are firmly rooted in Christ, even the scariest of storms may shake us, but it will not destroy us. He upholds us through the wind and waves, and grants us safety in the storm. Christ keeps us and cares for us, despite the seemingly destructive force around us. May we listen to His voice and obey all He asks, as His word and His way are the foundation that set our lives secure to withstand every storm.

 

True wisdom displayed,

is through how we build;The Word of God

our true foundation,

where our hearts get filled.

If we seek the Lord,

pursuing His ways;

we won’t be shaken,

on the stormy days.

For our God remains,

steadfast and secure;

true place of safety,

when all is unsure.

Let our hearts delight,

in Christ we can trust;

in Him we’ll remain,

marked as God with us.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that when we build our lives listening and obeying You, we have a firm foundation that will not fall when the storms of life come our way. Thank You that You are God with us, when all is being tossed and turned about. Thank You that You keep us steady and secure, regardless of what is going on around us. Forgive us for taking our eyes off of You and fixing our gaze on the storm. Teach us to trust You more, so that we would see the storm and recognize that it is simply another opportunity to see Your mighty power at work in us and around us as You lead us through it. Show us how to love others well, as they feel stranded in their own storms. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be exalted O God, as we listen and obey what You have to say, so that we establish a firm foundation in You. 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