Understanding Leads to Gratitude

And Mary said: “My soul glorifies the Lord and my spirit rejoices in God my Savior, for the Mighty One has done great things for me – holy is His Name.” – (Luke 1:46-47,49, NIV) 

Mary said, “With all my heart I glorify the Lord! In the depths of who I am I rejoice in God my Savior, because the Mighty One has done great things for me. Holy is His Name.” – (Luke 1:46-47, 49, CEB) 

And Mary sang this song: “My soul is ecstatic, overflowing with praises to God! My spirit bursts with joy over my life-giving God! The Mighty One has worked a mighty miracle for me; holy is His Name. – (Luke 1:46-47, 49, TPT) 

 

As I continue to read through and take in the story of Jesus’ arrival, I am moved by the willingness and awareness that Mary had, as the miracle of Christ was coming into existence through her humility and faith. She stands in continuous awe at the wonder unfolding in her life, and gives God praise for who He is and what He is doing. “Her humble perspective forms the basis of her gratitude. The exemplary character of Mary grows out of her understanding of God’s character.” – (The IVP New Testament Commentary) Mary’s example demonstrates how we ought to view both ourselves and our Mighty God. She recognized that though God owed her nothing, He had chosen her. Consequently, Mary knew that God ought to have all – her heart, soul, mind and strength, because He is the One who is holy and deserving of all praise. May we also recognize the holiness of God, the great things that He has done, and as a result, offer all of our praise. 

 

Let all that I am,

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Photo by Dee Jones of Open Door Photography ❤

Offer the Lord praise; 

For who our God is, 

And all of His ways. 

My heart cannot help, 

But give thanks to Him; 

For all He has done, 

Brought light where life’s dim. 

May my very soul, 

All that’s within me; 

Honor God always, 

As His love sets free. 

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You are our Mighty God who does wonderful things and the One alone who deserves all of our gratitude. Forgive us for not recognizing and honoring You for who You are and all that You do. Teach us how to recognize the everyday wonder that You place in our path and the people whom You provide as blessings in our lives. Show us how to love those around us in a way that reflects our gratitude and awe at who You are and how You love. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we praise You with all that we are for who You are and all that You do. Amen.

 

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

 

Let the message of Christ dwell among you richly as you teach and admonish one another with all wisdom through psalms, hymns, and songs from the Spirit, singing to God with gratitude in your hearts. – Colossians 3:16

Give Rise to the Songs

Speak to one another with psalms, hymns, and songs from the Spirit. Sing and make music from your heart to the Lord, always giving thanks to God for everything, in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ. – (Ephesians 5:19-20, NIV)

Encourage each other with psalms, hymns, and spiritual songs. Sing and make music in your hearts to the Lord. Always give thanks to God the Father for everything in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ. – (Ephesians 5:19-20, ERV)

Sing songs from your heart to Christ. Sing praises over everything, any excuse for a song to God our Father in the name of our Master, Jesus Christ. – (Ephesians 5:19-20, MSG)

 

Psalms, hymns and spiritual songs are all ways that wise words of truth can be transferred from mind to heart, when given a voice. Music has a magnificent way of moving us from one frame of mind to another. When chosen wisely, songs selected can lift the spirit from chaos to calm, desperate to determined, sorrowful to steady, and from wounded to warrior. As we sing and give thanks to God, something shifts within us and our resolve rises up. The purpose of praise is to acknowledge and celebrate the Lord, yet in doing so, we end up strengthened and encouraged as well. May we ever choose to allow the song in our heart to rise, granting words of truth the room to rejuvenate our resolve.

 

O Lord, let our hearts, Give Rise to the Songs

Give rise to the songs;

You’ve planted in us,

To make resolve strong.

Let all that we say,

Be girded in truth;

Our words, a blessing,

In all that we do.

May Your words of love,

Flood our hearts and minds;

So the songs that rise,

Are gracious and kind.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You for the gift of music. Thank You that Your truth can be sealed in our hearts through songs. Forgive us for not allowing the truth planted in our hearts to rise and flow from us to encourage and lift others up. Teach us to trust You more, so that we would give ear to the songs that resonate in our hearts, allowing Your love, grace and encouragement to flood every part of our being. Show us how to love those around us well, extending the same encouragement and grace to others that You so generously pour out to us. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we sing the songs that You have planted deep within us, and encourage others with Your goodness and grace. Amen.

 

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

 

Sing to the Lord a new song; sing to the Lord, all the earth. – Psalm 96:1

Wedding Photo Preview

Yesterday, we were blessed to receive a plethora of photos from our early morning photo shoot on our wedding day. We are over-the-moon with how they turned out, as each shot captures our heart for one another and the way in which we love and enjoy each other. Rather than my usual writing, I thought I would share this joy with you before I head to my oral surgery appointment this morning.

Can you tell how much love

Lifted kiss

Laughter by the rock

Smiling fields

*Photos are by Dee Jones of Open Door Photography

By day the Lord directs His love, at night His song is with me – a prayer to the God of my life. – Psalm 42:8

Dear Heavenly Father, we thank You and praise You that You direct Your love and that Your song is with us wherever we go. I am so grateful for the blessings You have granted in my life, and am trusting You to go before me and remain with me in the unknown. Teach us to trust You in all things and forgive us for our fearfulness in the unknown. Show us how to love relentlessly, especially those who are most difficult to love. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we receive Your love and listen to Your song in our hearts. Amen.

Strength and Help Supplied

So do not fear, for I am with you; do not be dismayed, for I am your God. I will strengthen you and help you; I will uphold you with My righteous right hand. – (Isaiah 41:10, NIV)

Don’t worry – I am with you. Don’t be afraid – I am your God. I will make you strong and help you. I will support you with My right hand that brings victory. – (Isaiah 41:10, ERV)

Don’t panic. I’m with you. There’s no need to fear for I’m your God. I’ll give you strength. I’ll help you. I’ll hold you steady, keeping a firm grip on you. – (Isaiah 41:10, MSG)

 

The saga of moving and cleaning the old house was met with grace and strength. All five of us, (my Viking, my bonus-son-to-be, my boys and me) worked tirelessly yesterday to finish all that needed to be done. By mid-afternoon, everything was a wrap. After everyone had time to shower, pack and load up, we were on our way. God kept our tired crew safe as we traveled east over the pass to my mom’s house to begin preparations for Saturday. The weather was cooler than it has been, which was a huge blessing for preventing our older motorhome from overheating too often. Each of us was comfortable and content as we drove to our destination. As I sip my coffee and enjoy the quiet of the morning while the fellas all still sleep, I find that I have no worries and no fear. I know God is with us, and that He will uphold and help us with all that is yet to come. May we ever place our trust in the Lord, who holds us steady and will never let us go.

 

No matter what comes, wp-15320047487975195601837310296282.jpg

I’ve no need to fear;

I am in His hands,

And I know He’s near.

All strength and His help,

Are granted to us;

As we trust in Him,

Our Savior, Jesus.

So be not afraid,

And trust in the Lord;

He’s faithful always,

All grace He affords.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You for Your goodness and grace that strengthens and helps us as You hold us by Your righteous right hand. Thank You that we need not fear, for You are with us; always. Forgive us for our times of doubt and teach us to trust You more. Show us how to love those around us with Your strength and help, as You supply all that we need to walk in Your ways. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we fear not and trust You to be our strength and help in all things and at all times. Amen.

 

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

 

The Lord is my strength and my shield; my heart trusts in Him, and He helps me. My heart leaps for joy, and with my song I praise Him. – Psalm 28:7

Help in His Name

Our help is in the name of the Lord, the Maker of heaven and earth. – (Psalm 124:8, NIV)

God’s strong name is our help, the same God who made heaven and earth. – (Psalm 124:8, MSG)

For the same God who made everything, our Creator and our Mighty Maker, He himself is our helper and defender! – (Psalm 124:8, TPT)

 

Today is the day that we will travel to Wenatchee, the place where my Viking and I will wed. Our intent was to leave this morning, so that we would have three full days there to prepare prior to the main event. As it turns out, the process of moving my boys and me out of our old home and into the new, takes far longer than anticipated, and our drive will not begin until late this afternoon. The past two days have been spent tirelessly working to pack and move and move some more. To look at what is yet to be done seems daunting, yet I know that all will be done as we seek Him for strength to press on. The very same God who made everything, is able to equip and empower us to finish all that must be done – both here and in Wenatchee. Though our departure time is going to be later than planned, I am certain that His timing is perfect, and all that needs to be done, will be. May we ever seek our Mighty Maker to be our help and our strength, for He is faithful forever to all who trust in Him.

 

The Name of the Lord,

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Post work party dinner above and an example of things waiting to find a place to be stored… ❤

Our strength and our song;

He helps in our need,

All to carry on.

For great is His Name,

Our God, He is near;

Our help and our hope,

Our lifter of fear.

All strength for today,

And in all to come;

Blessed is the Lord,

The Most Holy One.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You are our strength, help and hope in all things and at all times. Thank You that nothing is impossible for You. Thank You that You meet us each time we call on Your Name. Thank You that Your timing is perfect and You see every need before it arises. Forgive us for our frustration and concerns when things do not go according to our plans. Teach us to trust You more, as You are faithful forever. Show us how to come alongside those around us in love, so that we may strengthen and support those in need. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we praise You, our Strength and our Help, for You are near. Amen.

 

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

 

The Lord is my strength and my shield; my heart trusts in Him, and He helps me. My heart leaps for joy, and with my song I praise Him. – Psalm 28:7

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.

 

With Gratitude, I Rise

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

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

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

 

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

 

Wake up, rise and sing, With Gratitude I Rise

For the day has come;

School’s at last ending,

The work has been done.

All praise to the One,

Our strength and our song;

Who carried us through,

All of the year long.

Safety and comfort,

Through His love given;

sing grateful praise,

This life I’m living.

 

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

 

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

 

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

No Fear of Bad News

They will have no fear of bad news; their hearts are steadfast, trusting in the Lord. – (Psalm 112:7, NIV)

They will not be afraid of bad news. They are confident because they trust in the Lord. – (Psalm 112:7, ERV)

They won’t be frightened at bad news. Their hearts are steady, trusting in the Lord. – (Psalm 112:7, CEB)

 

Yesterday, as I had a check back  appointment about my whole leg situation, I had a very emotional response to the words spoken. The prognosis given was a far longer recovery time than I had originally been told, and he did not pull any punches as he spoke of the gravity of the condition residing in my calf. Though tears did not fall at the time, they were threatening, and I am not a crier. Not sure what to do with my own spinning thoughts, I scooted out of the office as quickly as possible. As I drove home, I saw such a perfect representation of the verse above. On the road before me, there were dark, heavy storm clouds, yet at the base of them, there was light in the form of a rainbow. What it told me in the moment, was that even in the darkness, He promises to be present. Additionally, the song that was playing on the radio was incredibly timely too. Fear is a Liar, by Zach Williams flooded my heart as I took in the truth of what was unfolding before me. Still overwhelmed by everything, the dam burst as I finally processed what had taken place at my appointment, with my fiancé. After a few minutes of actually giving voice to my frustrations and fears, I was comforted and reminded anew that I was held in His hands. God is good even when our circumstances are not. He brings beauty from ashes and hope from despair. May we be confident in Him no matter what comes, as He is greater than anything that we will ever face.

 

When news comes my way, wp-1523626205021976056124.jpg

That is hard to take;

I’ll choose trust in God,

Light on darkest days.

For we need not fear,

No matter what comes;

Because God’s greater,

And He is not done.

Our heaps of ashes,

One day soon shall be;

Redeemed by His grace,

Turned into beauty.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that we do not need to fear bad news, as You have us in the hollow of Your hands. Forgive us for being fearful when news is not what we hope it will be and teach us to be steadfast in trusting You. Show us how to love those around us with confidence and grace, so that we may extend love in fearful and needed space. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we are steadfast in trusting You and do not fear when bad news comes our way. Amen.

 

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

…He will give a crown of beauty for ashes, a joyous blessing instead of mourning, festive praise instead of despair… – Isaiah 61:3

Love Endures

Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres. – (1 Corinthians 13:6-7, NIV)

It does not rejoice about injustice but rejoices whenever the truth wins out. Love never gives up, never loses faith, is always hopeful, and endures through every circumstance. – (1 Corinthians 13:6-7, NLT)

Love joyfully celebrates honesty and finds no delight in what is wrong. Love is a safe place of shelter, for it never stops believing the best in others. Love never takes failure as defeat, for it never gives up. – (1 Corinthians 13:6-7, TPT)

 

The longer I am a parent, the more abundantly I become aware of our Heavenly Father’s heart for us. Each attribute of love mentioned in these two verses, really resonate from a parental perspective. I delight in truth winning out in the lives of my children. I will never give up, never lose faith, will always be hopeful, and will endure through every circumstance to be present and love my children well. Loving this way is present with those nearest my heart also. God uses the tangible around us to make His heart for us known. The love we have for those closest to us, pales in comparison to that which He has for us. My heart is full to overflowing for those whom He has gifted me, therefore how much more ought my heart hold for He who has given me life and love from the start? May we ever rejoice in the truth as we always protect, always trust, always hope, and always persevere.

 

Love does not delight, Love Made Known

In things that go wrong;

But celebrates truth,

Rejoices in song.

Love always protects,

Trusts our hope secure;

Always keeps up faith,

Chooses persevere.

Love is a shelter,

Where we rest assured;

Where hope never ends,

As God’s love endures.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that love does not rejoice about injustice, but rejoices when the truth wins out. Thank You that love never gives up, never loses faith, is always hopeful, and endures through every circumstance that we will ever face. Thank You that You are with us in all things as we seek You. Forgive us for allowing our perspective of love to become tainted by human understanding, rather than relying on You, the author and creator of love. Teach us to turn to You in trust, so that we would love as You love. Show us how to protect, trust, hope and persevere in love in a way that believes the best in others and points hearts to You. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we seek You and Your heart to show us how to love like You. Amen.

 

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

 

Your righteousness reaches to the skies, O God, You who have done great things. Who, O God, is like You? – Psalm 71:19

Ever Be

But You are always the same; You will live forever. – (Psalm 102:27, NLT)

But You never change. You will live forever! – (Psalm 102:27, ERV)

But You are the same, You will never change; Your years will never come to an end. – (Psalm 102:27, VOICE)

 

As I read the various versions of this particular passage, song lyrics began to play through my mind immediately. The song, Ever Be, by Aaron Shust, has a line that kept repeating over and over as I took in the truth – “Faithful You have been and faithful You will be…” God is always the same and will not change. His love and faithfulness for us, remain for all time. Before the world began, He was. Long after life as we know it ceases, He will be. The constant is God. When everything that surrounds us seems to be swirling out of control, the one true thing that shall always remain, is who God is and how He loves. He is the anchor of our soul, and the One on whom we can always depend. May we ever trust in the Lord, for He is good and loving and kind, and His faithfulness will never end.

 

For You never change, The Reason for Reverence

You’re always the same;

Faithful forever,

We trust in Your Name.

Though we are all born,

And will one day die;

You are forever,

Hope never denied.

Help us always seek,

You, our faithful Lord;

All praise be to You,

The One we adore.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You are always the same, and that Your Kingdom knows no end. Thank You that Your faithfulness is forever, and we can trust in You. Forgive us for thinking that You are fickle like us, that You would somehow change Your mind. Teach us to trust You more, so that we would readily believe and receive all that You have for us, as You are faithful forever. Show us how to love others with the same faithfulness that You give to us. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we give You praise for all of our days that You never change and that Your years shall not ever end. 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