Prepared Like a Bride

I saw the Holy City, the new Jerusalem, coming down out of heaven from God, prepared as a bride beautifully dressed for her husband. And I heard a loud voice from the throne saying, “Look! God’s dwelling place is now among the people, and He will dwell with them. They will be His people, and God Himself will be with them and be their God. ‘He will wipe every tear from their eyes. There will be no more death’ or mourning or crying or pain, for the old order of things has passed away.” – (Revelation 21:2-4, NIV)

And I saw the holy city, the new Jerusalem, coming down out of heaven from God. It was prepared like a bride dressed for her husband. I heard a loud voice from the throne. It said, “Now God’s home is with people. He will live with them. They will be His people. God Himself will be with them and will be their God. He will wipe away every tear from their eyes. There will be no more death, sadness, crying, or pain. All the old ways are gone.” – (Revelation 21:2-4, ERV)

 

God really is so good. Though I felt compelled to call this site Revelations in Writing, I have not spent much time dwelling in the book of Revelation. The content, quite honestly, makes me a bit anxious, rather than brings clarity. I don’t avoid it altogether, I just have not really dove deep into a dedicated study of that particular book. This morning, however, I was nearly moved to tears by the imagery found in the verses that appeared in my daily devotions. Being such a visual person, these verses struck a space in my heart that needed to imagine such incredible, beautiful hope.

It was a little less than a year ago, and I was the bride, dressing for my husband on our wedding day, right here at my mom’s house. Dear family and treasured friends joined us to celebrate our union before God in this gorgeous setting. As a girl who grew up caring far more about athletics and art than appearances, I have never been one to feel particularly “pretty” or “beautifully dressed”, but rather an artist who has fun with color and pattern and design. However, on my wedding day, I did feel like a bride who had been transformed for her groom – not because of my clothing or hair; it was the way I was viewed through the eyes of my groom.

Additionally, the hope that is held in these verses, offers a load far lighter than what I bore yesterday. Between the early morning’s fiasco, exhaustion, and then learning of the loss of my paternal grandmother, my heart was so heavy that it simply sat in my chest as a stone. I could not even feel because the weight was so great.

Mom struggled with word finding the first half of the day, as the lack of sleep had really taken a toll. We met her new in-home physical therapist, and were both very impressed and pleased. She will begin sessions three days per week, starting Monday. Speech therapy and occupational therapy are yet to be scheduled, but those should begin this coming week as well. She will have in-home nurse visits too, to be sure all is going as it should. So far, her care team is fantastic, and I am grateful that we have the opportunity to keep mom in her own home in Wenatchee.

All that to say, that the hope held in knowing that one day we will be with God, and He with us, where there will be no wheelchairs, monitors, bed rails, strokes, sickness, deaths, diseases, fears, frustration, tears, nor pain, is an incredible promise to hold in our hearts.

 

Imagine the bride,

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Photo by Dee Jones of Open Door Photography ❤

On her wedding day;

Eager and ready,

For all that awaits.

Two lives full of hope,

Placed in the Lord’s hands;

As loved ones witness,

His unfolding plan.

How much greater still,

Will it be one day;

When God comes to dwell,

Among us, to stay.

All sickness and pain,

Death, hurt and disease;

Will no longer be,

In Him, we’ll be free.

No weight nor sorrow,

Just wonder and awe;

Joy in His presence,

No more sinful flaw.

Fear not His coming,

Instead, let hope rise;

There’s beauty beyond,

Our dreams realized.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You are so good. Thank You that You take our heaviness and exchange it with hope. Thank You that the weight of this world may feel heavy for a season, but the hope of eternity is well worth the weight we bear throughout the various seasons in life. Thank You that You strengthen and equip us to carry whatever load lies before us, and You bring others alongside us to share the weight. Forgive us for thinking that we are meant to carry things alone, or that this is somehow all there is, forgetting that there is so much more beyond what is before us in the right now. Teach us to trust You with our today, tomorrow and forever. Show us how to love those around us in a way that helps them see the hope that goes beyond today. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we embrace the hope that is held in eternity with You, and the help You supply in the “right now”. Thank You that You speak to us individually, in the way that penetrates the places in our hearts that feel heaviest and need Your light to shine the brightest. Amen.

 

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

 

Jesus Christ is the same yesterday and today and forever. – Hebrews 13:8

Praises Rise in Trust

In God, whose word I praise – in God I trust and am not afraid. What can mere mortals do to me? – (Psalm 56:4, NIV)

I trust God, so I am not afraid of what people can do to me! I praise God for His promise to me. – (Psalm 56:4, ERV)

What harm could a man bring to me? With God on my side I will not be afraid of what comes. The roaring praises of God fill my heart, and I will always triumph as I trust His promises. – (Psalm 56:4, TPT)

 

As I sat at the kitchen table and watched the sun rise over the hills that surround us, I pondered the application of this verse. It goes far beyond “what can mere mortals do to me,” and really leaves us with our own space for filling in the blank. What can sickness, disease, fear, unknown, heartache, disappointment, obstacles, strokes, etc., do to me with God on my side? God is greater. I must allow His praises to fill my heart so that I allow trust to fill me, for His promises are “yes” and “amen”. He is good and His word endures forever. No mountain is too high, nor a valley too low, that His hand cannot reach to rescue, and hold us up.

Yesterday, there was a space of uncertainty as we navigated our first full day home with mom. After a bit of a startling beginning, as mentioned in yesterday’s post, we smoothed out the wrinkles a bit and began to learn a new sort of normal in her space. We knew we wanted to get mom outside, and Meg had work that had to be done. Mom was easily convinced to “supervise” me pulling weeds and shaping shrubs in the backyard from the deck, as I have limited experience in the finer art of gardening. (I was the heavy-hitting job girl growing up, as I preferred to mow the lawn and continued that track into adulthood) Any way, mom was an excellent tutor, patiently pointing out what were weeds and what were not, as I pulled and dug and collected and shaped. She was all smiles as she soaked in the warm rays of the morning sunshine and breathed in the familiar fresh air. A short while after lunch, mom had a follow up appointment with her new primary care physician. We had to make a change, as she needed a physician who specializes in working with stroke patients. This was a nervous unknown, and we were a little leery of the new. Her fabulous new physician set us all at ease from the moment she walked in. It was clear from the start that her purpose and intent for mom is the same as ours, and she got to work orchestrating all of the necessary hoop jumping and paperwork to set mom’s in-home care and therapies in motion. The appointment was not drawn out, but thorough enough to make sure that every question was answered, and we all left feeling as if we could breathe a bit more easily. We detoured to the grocery store on the way home so that one of us could run in for a few things for dinner, while the other of us waited in the car with mom. This time, Meg went in and I waited. Mom was exhausted after all of the anticipation, transportation, transfers and the new. By the time we arrived home, she was ready for a rest. We shared a wonderful dinner together, followed by a sweet movie before we all retired for the night.

Praises rise as we continue to trust, regardless of the unknown that lies ahead.

 

It is in the Lord, 0530190535_hdr7684487105677418242.jpg

Whose word I will praise;

Who I choose to trust,

And not be afraid.

No person or thing,

That comes against me; 

Is greater than God,

For in Him, I’m free.

Each new day I’ll choose,

Place all in His hands;

Trust Him to be God,

And His righteous plan.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You for Your faithfulness, even when we feel fearful. Thank You that Your goodness and love know no end. Forgive us for fearing anything that stands before us that seems beyond our own abilities. Teach us to trust You more, as the end of our own strength is the very space where Yours begins. Show us how to love those around us in ways that exhibit Your faithfulness and grace. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we trust in You and give praise to You forever. Amen.

 

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

 

Those who know Your Name trust in You, for You, Lord, have never forsaken those who seek You. – Psalm 9:10

Hope Deferred and Dreams Fulfilled

Hope deferred makes the heart sick, but a dream fulfilled is a tree of life. – (Proverbs 13:12, NLT)

Hope that is delayed makes you sad, but a wish that comes true fills you with joy. – (Proverbs 13:12, ERV)

Hope delayed makes the heart sick; longing fulfilled is a tree of life. – (Proverbs 13:12, CEB)

 

Hope is a powerful thing, as it reminds our hearts that things will turn out for the best. When something comes along and interrupts our hope, the heaviness that hangs in our hearts can make us feel sad to the point of sickness. However, just the opposite is true when we delight in a dream fulfilled. The joy that floods our hearts makes hope soar as we witness what we’ve longed for come to fruition. Presently, I am in a paradoxical position. One hope that I was holding was dolefully dashed yesterday, yet daily, I am in the midst of walking out a dream being fulfilled and am experiencing joy and blessings that my heart has not known before. God is good, even so, and we have to recognize that He can use both the hopes dashed and dreams fulfilled to bless and encourage those around us as we walk forward in faith, trusting in His goodness. May we rise up in assurance, holding fast to the One in whom all hope dwells, as He is the fulfiller of dreams and granter of joy.

 

When hope is deferred,

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Photo by Dee Jones of Open Door Photography ❤

Heaviness does dwell;

For dreams that are dashed,

Make the heart unwell.

Yet, dreams that come true,

Bring life and great joy;

Our longings fulfilled,

New faith to employ.

Both dashed dreams and joy,

Are places for good;

For His love’s made known,

His peace understood.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You are with us when hopes are dashed and when dreams are fulfilled. Thank You that Your grace and love remain with us through it all. Thank You that You can use both to bless and encourage those around us, as our story is an opportunity to demonstrate Your faithfulness. Forgive us for allowing the heaviness of our disappointment in a hope deferred to weigh us down too long. Teach us to trust You more, so that we would grieve our loss and seek comfort in You. Show us how to encourage those in a space of deferred hope, so that they may see fulfillment in You. May many come into a lasting relationship with You, as You are the One who truly fills our hearts with joy as the granter of new life. Be glorified O God, as we hold fast to our hope in You, no matter what comes and goes around us. Amen.

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

He who refreshes others will himself be refreshed. – Proverbs 11:25

Faith in the Fight

O Lord my God, I cried to You for help, and You restored my health. – (Psalm 30:2, NLT)

Lord my God, I prayed to You, and You healed me. – (Psalm 30:2, ERV)

 

I do not understand why some people are healed in an instant, while others continue to battle day in and day out with sickness and disease. What I do know is that God is able to heal, so my charge is to contend for those who are still fighting, as they wait for healing to come. I have witnessed both healing and heartache, and through it all, have seen the goodness of God. Today, as I learned of a dear one’s relapse in her battle against cancer, I will rise up with resolve to continue to contend on her behalf, just as she will fight with fervor. May His healing come quickly to those in the wait, and may each of us who know Him, be utilized to strengthen and encourage those who are fighting.

 

O Lord hear our cry, Faith in the Fight

As we choose contend;

For those in the fight,

Your healing, please send.

Each word we offer,

To You up in prayer;

Is heard and received,

As Your hope is shared.

Come near, Lord Jesus,

With Your healing hands;

Restore what’s broken,

May Your peace advance.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, we call out and contend for Your touch for those who are fighting sickness and disease. Thank You that You are our Help and our Healer. Thank You that You give us strength and sustain us in the fight, and that You can do abundantly more than we could hope or imagine. Forgive us for our fears and doubts, as it is difficult to see beyond a diagnosis or statistics. Teach us to trust You more, as You are greater than all. Show us how to love, support and encourage all those around us who are fighting for restoration. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we cry to You for help, and trust You to bring healing. Amen.

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

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

To Break the Chains

Yesterday, I had the opportunity to be a part of a huge community event to raise awareness and support to stop human trafficking in our area. The event was a 5k run/walk, and though my dear friend and I had originally signed up to run, we were recruited to be officials at the start line. It was a powerful experience to see so many from our community come together for the common good. The event that had only around three-hundred participants last year, had grown to nearly a thousand this year. Watching each group, team, family, and individual come up to the corral and prepare to enter the chute, ready to begin their own race with purpose, was a powerful perspective on how God intends us to operate as community.

 

Listen to my cry, for I am in desperate need; rescue me from those who pursue me, for they are too strong for me. Set me free from my prison, that I may praise Your Name. then the righteous will gather about me because of Your goodness to me. – (Psalm 142:6-7)

 

Those stuck in the snare of human trafficking are crying out, and in desperate need. They need rescue, and cannot escape on their own. The only way for them to be set free from the prison they have been forced into, is when we rise up and answer what the Lord would ask of us. For some, it is in the seeking. Others have the task of educating and creating awareness of not only the problem, but of how to protect our kids from being lured into the snares of such sickness. Additionally, there are those whom the Lord has gifted with the ability to surround those who have been set free from the prison of such crimes, and care for them so that their minds and hearts may join the physical freedom that they have found. May we each ask of the Lord what we are meant to do, and then walk in obedience to what He is asking.

 

Can you hear the cries,To Break the Chains

of those trapped in chains?

Oh people rise up,

He’s calling our names.

So many are stuck,

enslaved at the hand;

of selfish pursuit,

of the greed of man.

Though they may be strong,

in numbers, we’re more;

for God is our strength,

and He opens doors.

Down with the captors,

and freedom for those;

righteous, come gather,

so goodness is known.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You hear the cries of those who are in desperate need; who need rescue from those who pursue and are too strong for us to fight on our own. Thank You that You set people free from the prisons they have become ensnared in, and You gather the righteous around them so that they may come to know the goodness of Your great love. Forgive us for our ignorance to all that goes on around us, or for our apathy in standing idly by. Teach us to trust You more, so that we are willing to do whatever it is that You would ask of us, and allow You room to move in and through us as You see fit. Lead us to love others in such a way, that they see You through us. May many come into the safety of a lasting relationship with You, as they come to know that true security is found in You. Be glorified O God, as we listen to Your call, and answer all that You ask. Amen.

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

As you know, we consider blessed those who have persevered. – James 5:11

Take Time to Remember

When trials come our way, we have two choices: fix our eyes on the problem, or set our sights on He who is the solution. As we opt to choose the latter, He brings to memory examples of His former faithfulness. In remembering that which He has done before, our faith is strengthened, and we are better equipped for the battle before us.

 

I will remember the deeds of the Lord; yes, I will remember Your miracles of long ago. I will meditate on all Your works and consider all Your mighty deeds. – (Psalm 77:11-12)

 

Not only is the Bible full of examples of His faithfulness throughout the ages, but there are many instances in my own life to draw from as well. I simply must choose to stop and remember His deeds, and consider all that He has done in my life and in the lives of those around me. As I recall His mighty works, I am strengthened and encouraged for the fight before me, and know that I am not alone. The Lord will never leave us nor forsake us, and His love endures forever. May we take pause today to remember His deeds, and meditate on His mighty works so that we may be encouraged for whatever lies ahead.

 

Remember the deeds,Beside Still Waters

of our faithful Lord;

all that He has done,

the strength He affords.

May we meditate,

on His faithfulness;

for He is the One,

who cleans up our mess.

Where chaos has reigned,

the Lord has brought peace;

where hearts were captive,

He has brought release.

Healing in sickness,

provision for need;

love for the hopeless,

so faithful, indeed.

Be now encouraged,

for He is enough;

the Lord is with you,

through easy and tough.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You have given us so many examples of Your faithfulness through provision, power, presence and mighty miracles, that we need only open Your word or think about moments in our own lives to consider Your mighty deeds. Thank You that when life becomes difficult, we can fix our eyes on You, and remember Your former faithfulness to find encouragement for our present circumstance. Forgive us for allowing our focus to fixate only on what lies before us, and teach us to trust You more, so that we may be strengthened and encouraged by You. Lead us to love others in such a way, that they too may consider all of Your mighty miracles and find a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified as we remember and meditate on the mighty works of Your hand. Amen.

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

Not that we are competent in ourselves to claim anything for ourselves, but our competence comes from God. – 2 Corinthians 3:5

Safety’s Stay

Struggles, sickness and the sorrows in this life, can suck the fight out of even the most resolute.  So many around me are facing battles far bigger than seem possible for them to endure.  If the fight were their own, that would surely be true; however, they are not in the battle alone.  Each has a Defender, Physician, Comforter, and Friend who is able to see them through.  Regardless of the outcome, in Him, our hope is secure.  Despite what we see, Love is more.  “It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres.” – (I Corinthians 13:7)  I want to love like that – always.

If we hope to love as we are loved, we must be invested in Him who is love.  When we know Christ, we more clearly reflect His love and light into the world.  I don’t have the answers as to why some people suffer with sickness, while others remain the picture of health their whole lives, but I do know that He who created us all, does.  God uses every trial for the good of those who love Him, when we place our trust in Him.  Again and again I find myself in awe of just how quickly this comes to pass, after weathering one of life’s storms.  Though I have my moments of questions and doubts, I know where I can turn, and on Whom I can depend, to be my Safe Harbor through every storm.

May we hold fast to truth,OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

as life’s storms come our way;

may we trust our Safe Harbor,

our Strong Tower, Safety’s Stay.

In struggle or in illness,

or in sorrows of this life;

may we know Who is fighting,

and trust You to end all strife.

For You alone are always,

before, now and forever;

steadfast, faithful and loving,

promise to leave us NEVER.

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that in You, our hope is secure, regardless of what is going on around us.  Thank You that we don’t have to understand the “why” or “how” things happen as they do, we need only know the “Who” that we can always run unto.  Thank You that You use our past experiences of pain to come along side another to bring comfort and offer hope.  Forgive us for our fears and doubts when we are in the throes of the storm, and help us to hold fast to You, our Anchor and Safe Harbor, regardless of the storm’s intensity.  Father, please give comfort to all those who are in the throes of the fight, and may we be people to come beside them to be You hands and heart made tangible, and help them to know that it is You in us that brings comfort and peace.  May many come into a lasting relationship with You, as a result of our obedience.  Be exalted in all that we say and do.  Amen.

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

Strong Tower by Kutless is the song on my heart this morning. Click the colorful title to have a listen. 🙂

True Treasure

image by Publications International

image by Publications International

Worry, it wanders

its face like a flood.

When fear surges through us,

gets into our blood.

Sickness, disease,

poverty, bills;

expenses, deficits –

foreboding hills.

Consider the ravens,

they do not sow nor reap,

they have not a storehouse,

nor home where they sleep.

Yet for even the birds,

His provisions abound.

If so for the creatures,

how much more for the found?

He clothes in splendor the lilies.

He cares deeply for His flocks.

He knows each of our needs,

and keeps His storehouse unlocked.

Trust in true treasure,

in Him our freedom is found.

From the trappings of worry,

we shall ever remain unbound.

(response to Luke 12:22-34)

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that in You, we have no reason to worry. Though things around us may seem impossible, nothing is impossible for You. Thank You that You are God and You care so intimately for all of creation that You provide for all creatures, great and small. How much more do You provide for us, whom You created in Your own image and knit together in our mother’s wombs? Forgive us for our worry and for forgetting just how great You are. Help us to keep an eternal perspective when trouble finds us. Teach us to trust more deeply, so that our true treasure lies in You alone. May Your light in our lives shine brightly before all whom we encounter so that they too may come to know that the only true and lasting treasure, is You. Amen.

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