To Lead with Listening

My dear brothers and sisters, take note of this: Everyone should be quick to listen, slow to speak and slow to become angry. – (James 1:19, NIV)

My dear brothers and sisters, always be more willing to listen than to speak. Keep control of your anger. – (James 1:19, ERV)

Post this at all the intersections, dear friends: Lead with your ears, follow up with your tongue, and let anger straggle along in the rear. – (James 1:19, MSG)

 

Who would have known how necessary and true these words would be in our present circumstances? Though I know that anger can be a stage of grief, the flashes of anger that I have experienced have been out of fierce protection, as people have not understood mom’s need for space and rest as she heals. Countless times, I have had to take deep breaths, listen to His still small voice, and speak with kindness to explain that mom is not able to have guests visit when she is tired or resting or simply not ready to see visitors at this time. I imagine it is extraordinarily difficult as one of mom’s friends, as she loves and is loved well by so many. As she transitions to her home this coming week, mom will need time to adjust to being back in her own environment and find her “footing” in her own space, before she is ever ready to receive visitors. Please do not just “drop by” or “come say hi”, or you will be met by one of her girls who is doing everything they can to listen before speaking and keep anger in check, but push too much, and you may see a ginger, snap.

Mom is continuing to work tirelessly in her therapies, as she is determined and focused. Her desire is set on regaining full movement in her right side, and each day she regains a little more strength and control of what was lost. Mom will be released to home in a wheelchair, as she continues to work on relearning how to walk and regain her strength and mobility. We are extremely grateful that her home is a rambler, so little needs to be done to prepare for her return. Additionally, because my sister or I will be with mom at all times, there is room to recognize anything that may need to be done in the future to make mom’s mobility more approachable for her on her own. Time and experience will be our best teachers. Please continue to pray with us for mom’s ongoing healing, for a smooth transition home, for ears to listen, mouths that are slow to speak, and anger to be kept in check as grace abounds so much more.

 

Lord, help us listen,img_2019-05-25_07-57-12278632563012603228.jpg

To be slow to speak;

To hear with our heart,

Let Your love repeat.

Keep anger at bay,

As it tries to rise;

The need to protect,

Fear’s ugly disguise.

God grant us wisdom,

Show us what to do;

To protect and love,

Bring honor to You.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You call us to listen first, as I imagine that is why we have two ears and only one mouth. Forgive us for speaking without listening to Your still small voice first, or for allowing our anger to get the best of us. Teach us to slow down and breathe; to set all before You and allow You to show us what is righteous anger and what is not; what we are meant to do, and what we are not. Show us how to love people well, even when they do not understand the circumstances or expectations and frustrate us to the point of anger. May our choosing to love point they to a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we bring all things before You and choose to listen first and take our time before talking. Amen.

 

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

 

But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, forbearance, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control. Against such things there is no law. – Galatians 5:22-23

 

 

He Hears

In the morning, Lord, You hear my voice; in the morning I lay my requests before You and wait expectantly. – (Psalm 5:3, NIV)

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)

 

This is yet another reason why I rise so early each day. In the morning, before the world wakes, I read and reflect on God’s promises and present my requests before Him. He listens to us whenever we pray, but for me, it sets my heart right for the day. Yesterday, His grace was abundant, as my humanity and frustration flared up a bit as I first walked into my classroom after being away for a few weeks. It was in a state of disarray, and at first, I felt quite disrespected. The still small voice reminded me that the kids can’t really see past the revolving door of strangers, and they act out accordingly, rather than think about where they are and the possible reason for my absence. After I had the tables scrubbed and garbage off of the floors and bookshelves, I was better able to regain perspective and hold hope and positive anticipation for the day. I found a few sweet notes left by students on my desk, and my demeanor softened further. My colleagues were extraordinarily kind and welcoming, and by the time the bell rang for kids to head to class, I felt prepared and eager to see my students. After greeting them at the door, listening to announcements and taking care of attendance, I filled them in as to why I had been away for the past few weeks. The somber quiet in the room showed me that they understood the weight of my circumstances, and many of them were imagining themselves in my shoes. They were wonderful the remainder of the morning; even my students who often struggle to focus. I know they love their moms deeply, and I think it hit home for them too. Unfortunately, halfway through my second class with my kiddos, I received a strange text from one of my sons. He was quite concerned about an odd symptom, that he feared was asthma related. We did a bit of problem-solving and back-and-forth, but by the time my lunch was nearly over, I knew I was going to need to take him in to Urgent Care. Thankfully, a guest teacher was available for the second half of the day, and I was able to leave for the afternoon. As I arrived on my sons’ campus, there were three ambulances in the bus loop. All I could do was pray, “Dear Jesus, please don’t let that be for my son!”

Thankfully, the ambulances were not for my boy, and I was able to pick him up and get him checked at Urgent Care without incident. The symptoms were wise to get checked, as he continues to near adulthood and must learn to listen to when things seem “off” with his health. Everything came back as clear, and they chalked it up to something muscular/skeletal. For me, it had become a blessing of some bonus time with my boy that I would not have otherwise had, so I teased him about the lengths he went to, to get solo time with me. 🙂

As for mom, she is continuing to do the difficult work. After a stroke, it is common for the large muscle groups to “wake up” first, and then the signals to continue to make their way down to the smaller. For mom, her glutes and hip flexor have been cooperating for several days, and it seems that her quad is not joining the party! In her right arm, her shoulder has begun to awaken, and her right tricep is also starting to receive signals. Each new movement is a huge celebration, as the ability to regain movement that was lost is a miracle in the making. Speaking to she and my sister on the phone last evening, I was able to hear more strength in her voice than I have heard before.

May we ever begin our days with the Lord, presenting our requests to He who is abundantly able to do all things.

 

Early each morning,

img_2019-05-17_04-31-267571152975944849692.jpg

Mom in OT, working on standing, balance, and utilizing her left hand for day-to-day tasks.

This is why I rise;

In silent stillness,

Hope is realized.

Placed on the altar,

Each hope and my needs;

The Lord is faithful,

His love far exceeds.

All grace for today,

Hope for tomorrow;

His peace in chaos,

Comfort in sorrow.

Ever seek the Lord,

He’s faithful to hear;

All that we ask Him,

As He remains near.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You for Your overwhelming, never ending loving kindness and grace. Thank You that You hear our every prayer. Thank You that You never leave us nor forsake us, even in the moments when we question “why”. Forgive us for our fears and frustrations with the frailty of our humanity. Teach us to trust You more, and to see the blessings that You provide, even in the seemingly awful or inconvenient situations and circumstances that we find ourselves in. Show us how to love and bless those around us in ways that help them to see the good, even when circumstances are not. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we love You and trust You, and place our prayers before You anew every morning. Amen.

 

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

 

Because He bends down to listen, I will pray as long as I have breath! – Psalm 116:2 

The Gift of Peace

I am leaving you with a gift – peace of mind and heart. And the peace I give is a gift the world cannot give. So, don’t be troubled or afraid. – (John 14:27, NLT)

I leave the gift of peace with you – My peace. Not the kind of fragile peace given by the world, but My perfect peace. Don’t yield to fear or be troubled in your hearts – instead be courageous! – (John 14:27, TPT)

My peace is the legacy I leave to you. I don’t give gifts like those of this world. Do not let your heart be troubled or fearful. – (John 14:27, VOICE)

 

True peace, the sort that settles us to the center of our soul, comes from Christ alone. Though we may search for peace in a thousand different places, the only peace that lasts is that which is given by God. His peace calms our chaos, makes fears fall away, and gives our hearts the grace we need to find rest. His hand is evident everywhere we go, if we only open our eyes to see all that He has made. The changing leaves, a smile on the face of a friend, well-timed lyrics in a song, the mountains, ocean, or the still small voice that whispers words of encouragement when we slow down and just rest in His presence – these are just a few of the ways that God conveys His perfect peace to us. May we ever run to our Redeemer, as He is the true Provider of the peace that removes fears and grants the courage we need to continue to move in the direction we are called.

 

Do not be troubled, Safe in New Seasons

Dear heart, do not fear;

For the peace of God,

Comes as we draw near.

The great gift of peace,

Is from God alone;

It settles our hearts,

As His love is known.

Do not be troubled,

By all that is seen;

Instead, call on Christ,

Our great Prince of Peace.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that there is no peace on the planet that compares to Your perfect peace. Thank You that when we seek You, You meet us where we are and settle our hearts and minds with Your peace. Thank You that Your peace is not dependent on our circumstances. Forgive us for pursuing peace in places other than Your presence. Teach us to trust You more, so that we would depend on You to be our Source of peace. Show us how to be ambassadors of peace to the people around us, as we love as You love us. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as seek You for peace in all things and at all times. Amen.

 

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

 

And the Lord said, “I will cause all my goodness to pass in front of you.” – Exodus 33:19

Write Upon My Heart

I desire to do Your will, my God; Your law is within my heart. – (Psalm 40:8, NIV)

I want to do Your will, my God. Your instruction is deep within me. – (Psalm 40:8, CEB)

I am pleased to live how You want, my God. Your law is etched into my heart and soul. – (Psalm 40:8, VOICE)

 

The more we choose to invest our hearts, minds and time into God and His word, the more it takes root, deep within us. Each time His love is made evident through a decision I make, I am in awe of who He is and how He loves. Recently, I received a message that initially irritated and frustrated me. I began to respond in sarcasm, rather than in love. My spirit stirred within me, and I slowed down, and thought about what might have motivated the original message that I received, and I was filled with compassion and changed my response to one that was motivated by love, rather than selfish reacting. How I replied may or may not have had an impact on the recipient, but it had a significant impact on me. No matter what I “think” the intent might be, I must slow down, listen to the Lord, and respond in love. Even if my response is clarifying questions or silence until I am able to respond according to that which He has etched upon my heart, it is my intent to do so, regardless of how things appear in my own eyes. May we desire to do the will of our loving Heavenly Father, and allow Him to continue to etch His instruction into our hearts.

 

O Lord, I desire, Write Upon My Heart

To do well, Your will;

Follow Your leading,

Love as my heart’s filled.

For deep in my heart,

You’ve written Your ways;

To lead and guide me,

For all of my days.

Lord, above all things,

May Your great love lead;

So my life’s pleasing,

In word, thought and deed.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that as we desire to do Your will, and choose to invest time with You and in Your word, You refine us and write Your instruction upon our hearts. Forgive us for ignoring Your still small voice within us, that shows us what to do and say that abides by Your way. Teach us to listen to Your leading in all things and at all times, so that we would extend the same love and grace to others that You give to us. Show us how to love those around us, even when we think that they do not deserve it, as that is usually when it is needed the most. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we ever seek after You and Your will, and allow You to etch Your instruction deep within us so that we will walk in Your way for all of our days. 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

 

 

Words and Thoughts Matter

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 the words that come out of my mouth and the musings of my heart meet with Your gracious approval, O Eternal, my Rock, O Eternal, my Redeemer. – (Psalm 19:14, VOICE)

 

Our words and thoughts matter to God. The things that come out of our mouths provide evidence of that which lies within our hearts. There are days that feel better than others in this arena. It is a choice to either allow our circumstances to dictate how we respond, or rather, we choose to react in a spirit of love, regardless of what we are given. God is gracious and kind, and He will guard our hearts and make us new, even in the way in which we respond with words, if we are willing to allow Him access. May we ever seek the Lord and meditate on His word, so that our words and thoughts may be pleasing before God.

 

 

May all that I say, Words and Thoughts Matter

And each thought I hold;

Be pleasing to God,

As His love is shown.

For I long to please,

My God, who’s my Rock;

Not just with thinking,

But also with talk.

Let what’s in my heart,

Reflect Your love true;

As You grant Your grace,

Ever make me new.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that when we seek You, we find You. Thank You that as we ask, You answer. Thank You that when we choose to fix our minds and hearts on You and Your word, that which comes out of us is a clearer reflection of You and Your love. Forgive us for not investing our hearts and minds in the things of You, or for ignoring Your still small voice that reminds us to silence the thoughts and words that enter in that are not pleasing in Your sight. Teach us to trust and rely on You more, so that we would set our hearts and minds on that which builds others up, regardless of what comes our way. Show us how to love others well, so that Your love may be evident in our every interaction. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we fix our minds and hearts on You, so that our words and thoughts are pleasing unto You. Amen.

 

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

 

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

In Hope, Be Still

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

I must calm down and turn to God; He is my only hope. – (Psalm 62:5, ERV)

My soul quietly waits for the True God alone because I hope only in Him. – (Psalm 62:5, VOICE)

 

I find myself in a strange space this season, as I face impending endings – with dear friends moving away, a grandmother living out her last days, and then the dealing with that which is in my own heart, as I adapt to the new dynamics in my own life. When I quiet myself before the Lord, I am able to see the hope, even in the sorrow of change. For those moving, God is taking them into a new season, as He also is with those of us remaining here. My grandmother has outlived her spouse, her family members, and all of her closest friends, and for her, she is certain of her destination, so she faithfully waits in hope for her homecoming. For myself, in the stillness of my quiet mornings with God, I am reassured of all that He has for me. His plan and purpose for me has not changed, so I am able to continue to hold fast to the hope that is found in Him alone. May we all slow down and quiet ourselves before the Lord, so that we may hear the still small voice within that reminds us that He is our hope and He has good plans for us.

 

Let all that I am,Anxious for Answers

Wait in stillness here;

For God is my hope,

So I need not fear.

In times of great change,

In seasons of doubt;

Help me trust in You,

To show the way out.

Out where there is hope,

And freedom is found;

Where all of me trusts,

In You, I’ll abound.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You are our hope and our peace. Thank You that as we wait quietly before You, You reassure us and fill us with Your hope. Forgive us for not slowing down to turn to You. Teach us to quiet ourselves before You in all things and at all times, so that we may hold fast to the hope that is held in You alone. Show us how to love others in a way that gives hope to the hopeless and peace to those who know none. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we wait quietly before You, knowing that all hope is found in You alone. Amen.

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

For the Lord your God will bless you, …and your joy will be complete. – Deuteronomy 16:15

Given to Show Goodness

He restores my strength. He leads me on right paths to show that He is good. – (Psalm 23:3, ERV)

He renews my strength. He guides me along right paths, bringing honor to His Name. – (Psalm 23:3, NLT)

True to Your word, You let me catch my breath and send me in the right direction. – (Psalm 23:3, MSG)

 

No matter how many times I have read a particular passage, God has a remarkable way of revealing new truth as I choose to invest time in His word. This morning, though I have read Psalm 23 more times than I can calculate, I don’t think that I ever really thought about the depth of why He restores and leads us where we are meant to go. Though it is written, sometimes it takes reading several different versions of the text to have something really sink in. Today, that is what took place for me. God is good all the time – regardless of circumstances, situations, health, hurt or heartache – He is GOOD. Not only does He renew, restore and guide us out of His love, but He makes His goodness known to us as He does that which is tangible. God gives us the strength and guidance we need to demonstrate His goodness, often at just the point that we are ready to give up. His love, His light, and His life, restore us and grant us the grace we need to keep pressing forward in the direction we have been called. May we recognize the honor due unto the Lord, as He restores our strength when it is lacking, and leads us on the right paths that He has placed before us. May we ever bring honor to His Name.

 

The God of all grace,given-to-show-goodness

Gives strength and renews;

He leads us in love,

Helps carry us through.

His giving of strength,

And guidance to go;

Lead us on right paths,

And His goodness shows.

He’s true to His word,

Grants us life and breath;

May we honor Him,

From now unto death.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You restore our strength and lead us on right paths. Thank You that as You do these things, You demonstrate for us that You are good. Thank You for the reassurance, as we so often need reminders of who You are and how much You love. Forgive us for not following Your guidance or not bringing honor to Your Name. Teach us to trust You more, so that we would not only listen, but would obey, every word we hear Your still small voice say. Show us how to follow Your paths set before us in Your strength, so that our words and deeds will demonstrate Your goodness to those around us. Help us to love others with Your generous and unfailing love. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we trust You to renew our strength when we are weary, and listen to Your leading to stay on the paths that You have prepared for us so that we may bring honor to Your Name. Amen.

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

Father, I thank You that You have heard me. – John 11:41

Disciplined in Love

Those whom I love I rebuke and discipline. So be earnest and repent. – (Revelation 3:19)

Just as a loving parent corrects and redirects a misguided child, so does our Heavenly Father do for us. It is because of His great love for us, that He does not allow us to stay stagnant in our sinfulness, nor remain rooted in wrong patterns. Christ came to cleanse us from our unrighteousness, and created the way for us to be called clean. Our charge is to come before Him and repent – to admit our wrong doing and turn away from that which pulled us away from the path which He has placed before us. Any time that we feel that nudge of the Holy Spirit, the check from His still small voice, we must listen and act with fidelity so that we do not become steeped in the snare of sin. May we trust our loving Lord, who is our Heavenly Father, as He loves us and only rebukes and disciplines us because He loves us and wants us to walk out the very best that He has for us. His plans are exceedingly greater than we could ever hope for or imagine.

Because we are loved,Compassion in Confrontations

let us hear His voice;

for He will correct,

when we make poor choice.

He’ll show us the way,

to walk where He calls;

to escape the space,

of sin’s prison walls.

We must choose repent,

confess, turn away;

admit wrong doing,

return to His way.

Trust in our Father,

His love never ends;

His plans are righteous,

as He forgives sins.

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that though we may not enjoy being rebuked nor disciplined, You do so in love and for our benefit. Thank You that You love us so much that You do not sit idly by and allow us to stay stuck in our sinfulness. Thank You that You call us out of darkness into Your glorious light. Forgive us for our resistance to correction. Teach us to trust You more, so that we would be earnest to repent as soon as we become aware of what You are asking us to do. Help us to embrace with grace, every correction that You bring, as we know that all discipline from You brings us closer to that whom You are calling us to become. Help us to love others with generosity and grace. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we embrace Your correction in love, and repent right away so that we may move forward into that which You are calling us to do. 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

Listen and Follow As We Are Known

My sheep listen to My voice; I know them, and they follow Me. – (John 10:27)

 

When we listen to the Lord, we come to know and understand that we are known by Him. There is nothing quite so powerful to propel us to follow our Heavenly Father, as His love for us, individually. Just as a child will follow their parent and listen for their leading when they feel safe and loved, so too, can we trust and obey what our loving Lord asks of us. He leads us to places that we never thought that we would go, for purposes we never dreamed we might serve. However, that being said, all things are ultimately used for His glory, and He uses everything for the good of those who love Him and are called according to His purpose. It is well worth it to listen and follow the Lord, for we are known and loved, and will be lead into the place that He has prepared for us forever. May we listen well for His voice, and follow Him wherever He may lead; for each one of us is fully known by God.

 

We are the sheep,Masterd by Our Maker No Longer Slaves to Sin

that the Lord has named;

we’ll hear His voice,

as truth is proclaimed.

For we are known,

by the Lord on high;

Who loves and leads,

and hears our heart’s cry.

We must follow,

where He calls us to;

He has purpose,

for all we go through.

He’ll take the bad,

and use it for good;

to help others,

His grace understood.

May we each know,

as we are well known;

how much we’re loved,

through all Christ has shown.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that we can listen for Your voice and hear what You have to say to each of us. Thank You that You speak to us through Your word, through prayer, through worship, through people, through pictures, with Your still small voice within; thank You that You are not limited in how You can speak if we are only willing to listen. Thank You that You know us each intimately, as You alone knit us together in our mothers’ wombs. Thank You that You grant us the capacity to follow You, when we give You our hearts and our lives. Forgive us for straying from the path on which You have placed us, or for fearing forward momentum in the direction that we have been called. Teach us to trust You completely, as we are so completely known and protected by You. Lead us to love others in such a way, that they too may come to know Your voice and the light that comes from a life invested in You. Be glorified O God, as we listen to You and follow what You ask, because we are fully known. Amen.

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

Father, I thank You that You have heard me. – John 11:41

Do the Good

Anyone, then, who knows the good he ought to do and doesn’t do it, sins. – (James 4:17, NIV)

If you fail to do what you know is right, you are sinning. – (James 4:17, ERV)

 

Each one of us has an inner voice that directs us in the way in which we are meant to go. Some call this a conscience, others liken it to an internal compass; while those who place their trust in Christ, come to know that this is actually the very voice of God. His Spirit who dwells in us, whispers to our hearts – that which we are meant to do, and that which we are not. So often we think of sin as a long list of “Thou shall nots“, instead of the reality of truly listening and obeying the still small voice within. I imagine few of us have ever gone out and murdered anyone, (though we each have likely harbored unkind thoughts about another) yet how many of us have neglected a need of another that is near us?

 

Yesterday evening, my boys and I were at the gas station and I had just finished filling my car. An elderly gentleman caught my attention and politely asked if I had a few dollars I could spare, as he seemed to be in a bit of a panic, claiming that he must have dropped his card and needed to get a bit of gas to travel home. For some reason, I reached in my wallet, grabbed out the few dollars that I had folded in there, and handed it to him. He graciously and gratefully accepted my small offering. As we drove away, it sparked a great conversation with my boys. Usually, when approached for money in a parking lot, I am able to honestly answer that I do not carry cash. Yesterday, however, felt different. For some reason, I had just a few dollars, and I felt like I should give it to him. After explaining to the boys that sometimes, you just have to trust that you are doing the right thing. Out loud, in front of the boys, I simply prayed for the man to be able to purchase enough gas to take him safely home. May we choose well to do the right which we are called to do, as we listen carefully to the still small voice within.

 

Sin is not only,Compassion in Confrontations

when we choose do wrong;

but when we neglect,

live out our life’s song.

If we’re called to love,

and we opt love not;

then we’re choosing sin,

in selfish snares caught.

If we will listen,

for His still small voice;

and act on His call,

we’ll make the right choice.

When we act in love,

allow the Lord lead;

broken can be healed,

through Him, we meet needs.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You continually show us what we are meant to do; through Your word, through those who have gone before us, and through the still small voice of Your Holy Spirit who dwells within us. Thank You that if we are willing to listen, we will hear You. Forgive us for the times that we did not do the good that we should have done, and teach us to trust You more, so that we will be ready and willing to act in obedience the next time You present the opportunity for us to do good on Your behalf. Lead us to love others in practical and tangible ways. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we do the good that You are calling us to do. Amen.

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

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