Grief Wanes in the Wake of Gratitude

So then, just as you received Christ Jesus as Lord, continue to live your lives in Him, rooted and built up in Him, strengthened in the faith as you were taught, and overflowing with thankfulness. – (Colossians 2:6-7, NIV)

You accepted Christ Jesus as Lord, so continue to live following Him. You must depend on Christ only, drawing life and strength from Him. Just as you were taught the truth, continue to grow stronger in your understanding of it. And never stop giving thanks to God. – (Colossians 2:6-7, ERV) 

Now that you have welcomed the Anointed One, Jesus the Lord, into your lives continue to journey with Him and allow Him to shape your lives. Let your roots grow down deeply in Him, and let Him build you up on a firm foundation. Be strong in the faith, just as you were taught, and always spill over with thankfulness. – (Colossians 2:6-7, VOICE)

 

Grief shows up in unexpected spaces, and seeks to sink the soul. Last night, as I attempted to fall asleep, I was flooded by sorrow as I longed to be with my family. I have never been separated from my boys for more than a week, and after nearly three months, this mama’s heart has found its limit. My heart simply grieved for the time lost. Missed concerts, activities, milestones, mornings, moments, and the joy of doing life together. It has always been my boys and me, and this space of occasional visits on a weekend that works, is simply not enough. I know it is a preview of adulthood, but we have not yet arrived at that point, and I do not want to miss out on the precious time that I am given. This morning, as I read and pondered these two verses from Colossians 2, I recognize how relevant this particular passage is for me right now. The best remedy for grief is gratitude. I cannot dwell on time lost, but rather must fix my eyes, heart and mind on the blessings that I have before me. My boys want me to be with my mom, as they know how important it is that she have her daughter with her to care and advocate on her behalf. Both boys have set aside their own desires, and are thinking of their grandmother first. As their mom, I am beyond grateful for their kind and generous hearts. Additionally, there is the obvious, as I cannot even begin to unpack my praise to God for sparing the life of my mom. She has been the most incredible example of selfless love throughout my entire life, so how could I not be present and invest all that I am in walking beside her on this road to recovery?

As for mom’s moving along, she had her first attempt at walking with a cane yesterday. There is a huge learning curve, and she was not a fan, due to the seeming unsteadiness in comparison to her walker, yet she persevered, and walked a good fifteen feet with it, before transitioning back to the walker to complete two lengths of the hallway and into the kitchen. Her interest in getting out of the house continued as well, as she advocated to go get coffee and spring rolls from our favorite takeout place. We enjoyed our drive into town and back, and then had a very relaxing afternoon and evening. I think that it was needed after the crazy, busy weekend of birthday fun, as it was the first time that there were no extra people in the house. Today mom has occupational and speech therapies on the agenda, and tomorrow, my sister will arrive back in town so that I may return home for a bit of a furlough.

May we be strong in faith and overflowing with gratitude, for it is in this space that we find peace.

 

When we live in Christ, img_2019-07-16_06-35-183702170351870846491.jpg

Strong rooted in Him;

Our faith is built up,

To graciously live.

As we are built up,

Strengthened we give praise;

Hearts overflowing,

With thanks all our days.

In everything,

Pursue gratitude;

Grace overpowers,

Heartache’s solitude.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that we are strengthened in faith as we praise and give thanks. Thank You that gratitude helps overcome the weight of grief. Forgive us for sitting in our own heartache rather than seeking You to show us Your kindness and grace. Teach us to trust You more, as You are loving and kind, ready to hold us and lift us up, no matter how we come. Show us how to love those around us well, so that we may strengthen, encourage, help and hold others in their spaces of grief or lack. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we seek You to be our strength and our salvation forever. Amen.

 

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

 

Give thanks to the Lord, for He is good; His love endures forever. – Psalm 107:1

Pray Expectantly

Listen to my voice in the morning, Lord. Each morning I bring my requests to You and wait expectantly. – (Psalm 5:3, NLT)

Every morning, Lord, I lay my gifts before You and look to You for help. And every morning You hear my prayers. – (Psalm 5:3, ERV)

In the morning, O Eternal One, listen for my voice; in the day’s first light, I will offer my prayer to You and watch expectantly for Your answer. – (Psalm 5:3, VOICE)

 

Most mornings, I am up long before the sun has risen. This is a treasured time of solitude in the silent stillness, where I am able to invest time in His word and reflect on God’s goodness. Though I am spending this time intentionally, my prayers are fairly familiar each day, as my main request is to be equipped to love well. The Lord is faithful and kind, and grants far more patience than I would ever have on my own. However, I imagine there is far more that I ought to be asking for. There are dreams and desires that He has planted in my heart that lie dormant and hidden, rather than being placed on the altar with anticipation before Him – hopes of mighty movement in lives, circumstances, and things yet to come, that I need to present before Him and watch expectantly for Him to answer. God is faithful forever, if we only choose to come before Him in trust. May we begin each day presenting our praise and petitions before our faithful Father, and watch expectantly for Him to answer, as He always hears.

 

O Lord as I rise, Approaching the Throne of Grace

I come first to You;

With all that I am,

Trusting Your word’s true.

Listen for my voice,

At the dawn’s first light;

I know You’ll hear me,

In us, You delight.

I’ll offer requests,

And all of my praise;

Watching for answers,

You’re faithful always.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that we can come to You each morning and present our requests to You, and You hear our prayers. Thank You that we can pray anytime about anything, and You are available and willing to listen. Thank You that You long for us to be in communication with You. Forgive us for neglecting to bring forth the things that we keep hidden in our hearts, as You already know them anyway. Teach us to trust You more, so that we would seek You for all things, and wait in expectation, knowing that You are moving on our behalf to bring answers. Guard our hearts from discouragement when answers do not come in the time frame we are hoping to see. Thank You that Your timing is perfect. Show us how to love and pray for those around us in meaningful and tangible ways. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we lift our prayers and praise before You each morning, and wait expectantly for You to answer. 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

Wait Quietly in Hope

We are at an interesting place of pause between Christmas and New Year’s Eve. For my boys and me, our break seems to have been passing us by on fast forward. It was intentional that we traveled over the snow-covered pass to spend a few days with my mom. Here, in this wondrous winter wonderland, there is quiet, calm, and rest. The option of constant motion is available, yet it somehow ends up being a space of resting, game-playing, moving watching and the like. For a few days, we slow down, and it is good.

 

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

 

For me, my natural rhythm and routine of rising early to spend time in the quiet solitude with Christ, remains. However, I find that there is something about the surrounding silence, that causes me to quiet my heart more often, and have a sort of lean in and listen posture in this space where I am surrounded by such majesty. I cannot help but be in awe at every turn, and remember that my hope is found in He who created all of this. If God can create such beauty out of nothing, He can bring order where there is chaos, hope to despair, freedom where things are bound, and peace to places of unrest. There is nothing that we have to do to earn His favor or convince Him that we need His help. Our charge is to ask, trust, and then wait quietly before Him. If He has a part for us to play in His provision, He will make it clear. May we wait quietly before Him with all that we are, and place all of our hope in God.

 

In sweet silence lies,IMG_1849

God’s grace and presence;

all hope we can trust,

despite circumstance.

The very same God,

Who created all;

loved us with His life,

so we would not fall.

He calls us to come,

to quietly be;

in the sweetest space,

where we find we’re free.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that as we allow all that we are to wait quietly before You, we find all hope is found in You. Thank You that You are our rest and our refuge, our safety and our strength. Thank You that You love us to life, and grant us hope for all that is yet to come. Forgive us for not slowing down and quieting our hearts before You, as we lose sight of hope in our constant motion. Teach us to trust You more so that we would be intentional in our quieting of our hearts and minds before You, giving You all that we are in uninterrupted spaces. Show us how to embrace the hope that You grant us, so that we may share it with others in how we love. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we let all that we are be quiet before You, and place all of our hope in You. Amen.

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

Is anyone happy? Let him sing songs of praise. – James 5:13

Seeking Solitary Spaces

Very early in the morning, while it was still dark, Jesus got up, left the house and went off to a solitary place, where He prayed. – (Mark 1:35)

Despite the crowds and the chaos that seemed to find and follow Him wherever He would go, Jesus found a way to make time to pray. He established time to connect and communicate with His Father. If Jesus was intentional to create time to connect with God, how much more so should we do the same? In today’s fast-paced world, it is not easy to find a solitary place to pray. We too, must be intentional with our time to make a place in our day for prayer. What I have discovered is that when I consistently make room, I find it is far easier to rise early and be focused than it ought to be, considering the chaos and lack of sleep that occurs some weeks. He is faithful to meet me each morning, as I make the decision to dedicate this solitary time to commune with Him and study His word. I have friends who are faithful to end each day in the same way. Where I would struggle to remain awake, they find themselves energized and encouraged. May we each embrace our own opportunities to seek solitary places to pray. For He is faithful to meet us each time we earnestly seek Him.

To seek a safe space,Believe Instead of Striving

where we are alone;

to come before God,

as He’s on His throne.

For in solitude,

our hearts shall be shown;

how great is His grace,

and the depth we’re known.

For as we choose pray,

seeds of faith are sown;

God’s Spirit waters,

and hope will have grown.

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that we can seek You in solitary places to pray, where distractions are far from us, and You meet us, and speak to our hearts. Thank You that You are faithful and loving, and that You encourage, instruct, redirect, and empower us as we pursue You in prayer. Forgive us for not being intentional to establish time with You. Teach us to trust You more with our time and space, so that we would be willing to do whatever it is You ask to create a time to be with just You. Thank You that You desire to spend time with us. Lead us to love others with a love that embraces hurting hearts and points people unto You. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be exalted O God, as we seek solitary spaces with You to pray, so that we may be equipped to love as You love each day. Amen.

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

Answer me, O Lord, out of the goodness of Your love; in Your great mercy turn to me. – Psalm 69:16

Compassion in Confrontations

When Jesus landed and saw a large crowd, He had compassion on them and healed their sick. – (Matthew 14:14)

 

Despite having just learned of the death of His dear cousin, John the Baptist, Jesus set aside the solitude He was seeking to mourn, and chose to heal the hurts of others instead. Christ’s compassion is so great, that He chose to set aside His own sorrow, and allow His light and life to flow into those who had not yet come to know what true love looks like. When we are suffering or stuck in a sorrowful space, we need not stand alone. For Christ, who came and experienced loss and pain and suffering far greater than our own grief, is loving and kind, and will be compassionate and close, if we call on His Name. May we remember to reach out to our Redeemer in all thing at all times, for He is compassionate and has wholeness in store for all who call on Him.

 

For Jesus has known,Compassion in Confrontations

the darkness of grief;

the anguish of loss,

the need to retreat.

Yet in His sorrow,

He kept His eyes up;

healing the hurting,

with His tender touch.

May we do likewise,

no matter what comes;

allow Christ to move,

so His will is done.

Christ calls us to love,

as He has loved us;

in kindness be near,

let Him fill each cup.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You are the God of compassion and the Healer of our souls. Thank You that You came and showed us that even in You own season of sorrow, You set aside Your space to withdraw when You saw needs that You could meet in the moment. Thank You that You modeled compassion that was not limited by circumstance. Forgive us for being blinded by our own sorrow or pain, and help us to see the needs surrounding us that You can meet through us. Teach us to trust You more, so that we will be willing and available in all things and at all times, despite what we are going through. Lead us to love with kindness and compassion, just as You so tenderly and completely love each of us. May many come into a lasting relationship with You, as they recognize the hope that is held in You alone. Be exalted O God, as we choose to convey compassion and kindness, even in the midst of our greatest confrontations. Amen.

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

I thank You and praise You, O God of my fathers: You have given me wisdom and power. – Daniel 2:23

Ceasing Seclusion

“Return home and tell how much God has done for you.” So the man went away and told all over town how much Jesus had done for him. – (Luke 8:38-39)

 

In this portion of the eighth chapter of Luke, the account of Jesus sending the demons out of a man into a herd of pigs is being retold. The man had been demon-possessed for many years, not living in a house, nor wearing clothes. He had lived in the tombs in his broken chains, stuck in solitude. When Jesus came along, life as he had known it, forever changed. Jesus restored his right mind and gave him his dignity back. As the demons fled, the man recognized the power and goodness of God, and begged to go with Jesus. However, God had a different plan for the man. This man would be an extraordinary witness to God’s power in his own hometown, as all had seen and known of the man’s previous state. Seeing the man clothed and in his right mind, would be a story that only he could share to help open doors in the hearts of the people in his hometown, so they might hear all that God had to offer. When Jesus asked him to stay, despite his likely disappointment, he obeyed.

 

God has done much for us as well. Are we willing to go where He calls? For some, He may ask us to go, yet for others, we may be asked to stay. Wherever we are, we have a story to share. We all have moments where we can recall when Christ came near, and our hearts were forever changed. What is your story that you will share for His glory? May we go forth wherever You call, and share all that You ask.

 

May we pass on,Peace He Brings

all that God has done;

make known His heart,

most glorious One.

He takes our mess,

however we come;

washes us clean,

in light of the Son.

The heart of stone,

we once had before;

He makes tender,

as He loves us more.

By His great grace,

we too, may give love;

He fills us up,

with more than enough.

Let us go forth,

wherever He calls;

love as He loves,

beyond our own walls.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You do the miraculous in us, so that we can move mightily in Your strength. Thank You that You call us to tell of what You have done, be it near or far. Thank You that we each have a story to tell. Forgive us for our fearfulness and doubt, and help us to discover the power that You have placed in our voice when we are faithful to speak on Your behalf. Teach us to trust You more, and lead us to love well, all whom You have placed on our path. Let the lost be found, and may many come to know You as their Savior and King. Be glorified, O God, as we go where You call and do as You ask. 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

Prioritizing People

There are times, when prioritizing people, is a pain.  When exhaustion has set in, and I am spent from a crazy day, solitude and silence would be the most welcome retreat in my world; however, as a mom, that is seldom an option.

“When the apostles returned, they reported to Jesus what they had done.  Then He took them with Him and they withdrew by themselves to a town called Bethsaida, but the crowds learned about it and followed Him.  He welcomed them and spoke to them about the kingdom of God, and healed those who needed healing.” – (Luke 9:10-11)

Jesus always made people His priority.  Regardless of exhaustion, sorrow, weather, lack, or any other circumstance that might be a reasonable deterrent for most, Jesus chose to love – to meet people wherever they were at, and meet their needs.  He not only attended to spiritual needs, but He cared about their physical and emotional needs as well.   He healed, He touched, He fed, and He forgave, and as a result, many chose to follow.

I want to embrace everyone as they come, even when it is inconvenient.  When I am weary, I want to lean on Him for His strength.  If I am in the midst of my own grief, I want to trust His grace to guide me and utilize what He has given, so that His love and light is what people see in me.  Some days are more successful than others.  Fortunately, each day is a fresh start to begin anew, embracing all of the opportunities that He offers to be His hands, heart and voice to those who are hurting or are in need.

How might we love,Christmas collage-002

when we’re weary, worn?

How can we trust,

with a heart that’s torn?

Not by our strength,

but rather, by His;

all things through Him,

where we’re meant to give.

His grace is great,

larger than our lack;

He is enough,

so we can give back.

Let all draw near,

regardless of ease;

give as He gave,

our Father, we’ll please.

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You sent Your Son to show us how to love, in all things and at all times.  Thank You, Jesus, that though You would withdraw to quiet places, You always received people as they came, never considering it a disruption in Your day – even when You were ready to retreat.  Thank You that You always love.  Forgive us for our frustration with “disruptions” from our “down time”, and help us to recognize them as opportunities that You are presenting on our path.  Help us to choose to love, regardless of the timing or ease or access.  Thank You that You are our Source and Supply, so we need not worry whether or not we are able to do what You ask.  Lead us in love, Lord.  May many come to know You as we extend our hands, hearts and resources in love.  Be exalted, God.  Amen.

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

Sorrow’s Escape

image by James Fletcher

image by James Fletcher

Sorrow seeps out,

with deep gasps for air;

solitude waits,

tempered with prayer.

Anguish erupts,

with casting of care;

gentle His touch,

as He holds us there.

Gone is the weight,

of such sorrowful snare;

burden He lifts,

removing despair.

Troubled the soul,

that knows not His care;

blessed the One,

who holds us close there.

Sing praise to God,

our Father, so fair;

who heals our hurts,

tender His repair.

“He heals the broken-hearted and binds up their wounds.” – (Psalm 147:3)

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You hold our heart and hands when the weight of our woes seem beyond what we can bear. Thank You that You do not want for us to hold them in our hands, but rather You request that we place them in Yours. Thank You that You hold us close, and provide safe space to grieve. Thank You that though mourning may last for a time, Your joy will remain forever. Forgive us for trying to be strong enough, and help us to allow You to hold us up in our weakness. Teach us to turn to You in total trust, and show us how to cast every care upon You. May our times of mourning further magnify the joy that is found in You alone. Let the hope we hold, even in the grip of grief, lead those who are looking, to Your loving care. All glory and honor to You, our Holy Healer. Amen.

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