Finish the Work

Now finish the work, so that your eager willingness to do it may be matched by your completion of it according to your means. – (2 Corinthians 8:11, NIV)

So now finish the work you started. They your “doing” will be equal to your “wanting to do”. Give from what you have. – (2 Corinthians 8:11, ERV)

So now finish this, so that your eagerness in desiring it may be equaled by your completion of it, according to your ability. – (2 Corinthians 8:11, AMP)

 

This particular passage in context is talking about collecting for and supporting the Lord’s people in their work, as a church, yet I feel it is a bit of an encouragement and a reminder for me, to stay the course and focus on that which I have started until it is finished. It is extra challenging for me as I return to my classroom to prepare for the new school year, as I get caught up in the tug-o-war between wanting everything to look and feel just so, and needing to be certain that my plans are established and in place to create an environment that is conducive to learning and growing. Add to the mix my desire to try to fit in a summer’s worth of activities and visiting/catching up with friends in a matter of a few weeks, and I am challenged in my finishing of the work. God has given me the time, resources and desire to do the work, it is up to me to follow through. My plan is to dedicate a few hours each day to the task, so that I do not burn out and become overwhelmed, but rather remain eager to accomplish all that has been held in my heart. So far, this strategy has been working, and all of the touch up painting in my classroom is complete. I have purchased the main supplies that I need to start the year, and my next tasks will be ones of organizing and sorting. If I manage to tackle all things in my classroom, then the backroom will follow. I have ideas for that space as well, but it may require more than just me to conquer all that resides in that area. Either way, I am encouraged and challenged to finish what I have begun. He is good and will strengthen me to see all through until it is complete.

As for mom, she is continuing to do the work each day as well. Her day begins with walking and exercises to stretch and strengthen, and carries through as she engages in games and activities to further sharpen and hone her word recall and vocal strength. It is a joy to talk to mom at the day’s end, as I can hear the strength in her voice and the delay that used to be present as she searched for words, is no longer. God’s faithfulness is clearly evident as she continues to navigate this leg of her recovery journey.

 

We each have been called, Weighing the Why

To rise and do good;

The things we begin,

Finish as we should.

For He gives us strength,

And all that we need;

To complete things well,

In Him, we succeed.

So, do not give up,

Instead, persevere;

God will make a way,

As He’s always near.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You call us to finish the things that we begin. Thank You that the things which we desire to do, You also equip and strengthen us to complete for Your glory. Forgive us for the times that we allow ourselves to get too “busy” or distracted to see the things we are called to complete all the way through to the end. Teach us to stay the course, so that we may honor You in all that we do. Show us how to love those around us well, as the good we do is for the benefit of those whom need the blessings. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we work unto You and finish what we start. Amen.

 

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

 

Being confident of this, that He who began a good work in you will carry it on to completion until the day of Christ Jesus. – Philippians 1:6

The Solution for Stress

The Lord gives His people strength. The Lord blesses them with peace. – (Psalm 29:11, NLT)

May the Lord make His people strong. May the Lord bless His people with peace. – (Psalm 29:11, ERV)

God makes His people strong. God gives His people peace. – (Psalm 29:11, MSG)

 

Every Friday afternoon, I make a point to ask my boys what homework they need to accomplish before returning to school on Monday, and then give them a run-down of what is on the agenda for the weekend so that they can pace themselves accordingly. At times, there is an unrealistic assessment of what must be done, and the workload come Sunday afternoon, is far greater than it ought to be. Sadly, for one of my sweet sons, that was the case last evening. He had underestimated the number of tasks to be completed by school’s start this morning and began to get himself so worked up and stressed, that he had wasted an hour of precious work time pacing and wandering, rather than actually working. At first, I had a moment of serious frustration, followed by the recognition that my irritation would only worsen the situation rather than help bring resolution. We talked about what needed to be done and then came up with a strategy and manageable plan. Next, I simply placed my hand on his shoulder and prayed for peace, strength and clear thinking. From there, it was up to him to complete the task at hand, and I needed to go to bed and get some sleep. This morning, I woke to a note by my computer where I write each morning, expressing his gratitude with a request for an early wake up. God provided the strength and peace that he needed to get things done, and the resolve to rise early and continue to work to complete what remains to be finished. With only two and a half school days remaining, I trust that His strength and peace with continue to be provided so that we may finish strong. May we seek the Lord to be our strength and peace in all things and at all times, as He is faithful to meet us each time we ask.

 

When life overwhelms, wp-15293227850142624927069206169917.jpg

And things seem all wrong;

Seek the Lord for peace,

As He makes us strong.

He calms our wild hearts,

And grants us His peace;

Deposits His hope,

As grace is released.

No matter what comes,

Trust God who is near;

Our Grantor of peace,

And Calmer of fears.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You for Your strength and peace, as You provide what we need as we need it most. Forgive us for allowing our circumstances to send us in a stress spiral rather than running to You in trust. Teach us to seek You in all things and at all times, as You are our Provider of peace and strength. Show us how to love those around us in a way that offers strength and peace in their spaces that feel unsettled. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we thank You for the strength and peace that You alone provide and go forth seeking to share the same with those around us. Amen.

 

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

 

Shout aloud and sing for joy. – Isaiah 12:6

Pursue Righteousness and Love

Whoever pursues justice and treats others with kindness discovers true life marked by integrity and respect. – (Proverbs 21:21, VOICE)

People who try hard to do good and be faithful will find life, goodness, and honor. – (Proverbs 21:21, ERV)

Whoever pursues righteousness and love finds life, prosperity and honor. – (Proverbs 21:21, NIV)

 

This passage is an excellent reminder for me this morning, as it is a guiding principle in how I walk out my days. Over the last two weeks, despite every effort and strategy in my educational arsenal, I have had a few students that are struggling to respond to our established expectations. Each day is a fresh start, and I greet each individual with kindness and anticipate good things from and for them. Sadly, the behaviors of a few have made me have moments of questioning my career. Thankfully, when I look at the big picture, God has given me an abundant life. I am surrounded by incredible friends, family, and colleagues, I have two terrific teenage boys, we do not lack anything, and I am loved very well. All this to say that my charge is to press on and continue to be faithful in that which I am called to do, and continue to seek answers for those who are struggling to settle in. May we pursue righteousness and love, for that is where life, prosperity and honor are found.

 

Those who seek justice, Pursue Righteousness and Love

And choose to be kind;

Discover respect,

Integrity, find.

For when we do good,

A faithful life choose;

Goodness comes our way,

As grace is infused.

So let us try hard,

Be faithful and just;

God’s love will be clear,

As we choose to trust.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You call us to pursue justice and treat others with kindness. Thank You that as we do, Your hand is made evident in our life. Thank You that we are not expected to do this on our own, but You equip and empower us by Your grace to love as we are loved by You. Forgive us for not wanting to pursue righteousness when we feel we have been wronged. Teach us to trust You in all things, and to choose to place things in Your hands, and follow Your leading rather than our own. Show us how to do good and be faithful in a way that demonstrates Your love in a tangible to those who need it most. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we pursue righteousness and love because You are righteous and loving. Amen.

 

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

 

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

Ragnar Review

After a three-day hiatus from this wonderful community of friends and family near and far, I thought it might be good to share with you, the reason for my absence. Though I have mentioned previously that I would be participating in the Ragnar Relay, prior to actual participation, that was but a glimpse of what was yet to come. So, without further ado, I will attempt to unpack some of the experience.

 

Meg Ragnar 2013One year ago, yesterday, I was on Whidbey Island with my boys, with the intention of watching my sister finish some crazy, long relay race, called the Ragnar Relay. As I stood beside her husband, watching the team of twelve running together in unison across the finish line, I wondered what could have transpired to bring a group of twelve friends and strangers together to stretch themselves to run 200 miles round the clock, until they had finished. Watching the exchanges between teammates as they snapped photos, hugged one another, high-fived, and shared laughs, I found myself drawn into the community of a close-knit team, wondering if I too, should take on such an endeavor.

 

In December, I decided that I was ready to really commit to running again. The process was a slow and painful one, as I had always beEncourage Each Otheren accustomed to being able to run far without my lungs complaining because they had not properly prepared for this. As the months went by, I slowly built momentum, ever improving as I found friends who were able to run too. In the late spring, I discovered a sweet friend from church was a perfect running partner. She and I not only logged miles together, but became fast friends. Our runs have been times to comfort and care for one another, each knowing that the other will be lifting the needs of the other up to the Lord, long after the run is done.

 

Ragnar nailsLast week, leading up to our race, there was running gear to organize, safety gear to purchase, nails to be painted, bags to be packed, and a plethora of other preparations to be made. At long last, Thursday arrived. After seeing my boys off on the ferry solo for the first time, and waiting for the arrival of my sister and brother-in-law, we three then made our way to the meet up for dinner with our van’s portion of our team. The relay teams are typically twelve members, so it was strange to meet up with only two others, and recognize that our five was it in our van, as one of our original teammates had to drop out unexpectedly. That being said, it meant that over dinner, we discussed our strategy as to how we would cover the three legs that were now vacant and needed to be run. It was a small and compatible group, so all was off to a great start.

 

We called it a night and returned to our hotel, where we would try to get a few hours of sleep. Our scheduled meet up time with the other halfRagnar Van Decorating of our team was 3:45 am, as we had to drive together up the Canadian border, where the race was to begin. The two vans made a necessary Starbucks stop at the halfway point, and it was the first time that many of us met one another. My dear friend and her friend were in the other van, and my sister and brother-in-law were in the same van as me. Everyone was a bit groggy, yet kind and optimistic. We were able to mingle and decorate the van windows before finishing our drive to the start line.

 

Van 2.

Van 2.

The two vans leap frog each other throughout the course. Runners 1-6 are in van one, and runners 7-12 are in van two. There are a total of 36 legs to be run, and they are all run sequentially and continuously, until the entire course is run. While van one runners are running, van two is resting, getting a meal, and moving ahead to the next major exchange in preparation for handoff.

 

Each leg of the race, presented its only challenges and rewards. The region where the race was run is very hilly, so hills could be counted on,Our team.

in EVERY leg. If you pass a runner while you are running your leg, it is called a “kill”, and “kills” are tallied on van windows. There is a sweet sense of accomplishment to mark “kills” when you are exhausted from running a leg. Each van follows and provides support to their runner along the course as they run. As a van, it is determined prior to running, how much support the runner thinks they might want (water, etc.) and the cheering van shows up, offering the words of encouragement needed, usually right when it is most needed.

Shan Ragnar 2014

Every step I took, I was aware of God’s goodness and His grace, as He so clearly was covering me and my teammates. Despite the lack of sleep and one less team member, we were able to do abundantly more than we thought we could. As I ran, I felt His presence and His strength, especially when I knew I should have had none. So often the song in my heart was “You Make Me Brave“, the lyrics in particular, “You make me brave, You make me brave, No fear can hinder now the promises You made.” In moments that I feared I could not take another step, I would breathe deeply in the truth of God, the fear would pass, and strength was renewed.

Ragnar tired 2014

After four legs run, very little sleep, only two proper meals, and countless stories of God’s faithfulness, grace and goodness, I am ready to sign up to be a repeat Ragnarian again next year!

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You for Your goodness, Your grace, and for Your protection over each one of us. Thank You for helping us do abundantly more than we ever thought we could on our own. Thank You that in You, we find our strength. Forgive us for our fears and doubts, and help us to trust You in all things and at all times. May our faith in You lead us to love others as You love us, and may many come to know the hope that is held in You alone. Let us glorify You in all that we say and do. Amen.

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

The joy of the Lord is your strength. – Nehemiah 8:10

 

Me, My SIs, Bro-in-law

Me, My SIs, Bro-in-law

Love this lady!

Love this lady!

Mercy Shall Reign

This morning Cautious and I had an interesting conversation about forgiveness and a kid who is often unkind at school.  Five of his six classes are shared with this young man, and daily, his heart is challenged to forgive.  Cautious is a serious rule follower, and he is very disturbed by the number of disruptions caused each day by this boy’s behavior.  We spoke of my favorite strategy, to pray for those who persecute (or perturb), and ask to see one another through God’s eyes.  Soon, his sweet demeanor returned, as he realized that he too, has been forgiven much, and is blessed with love and support that surrounds him.

We cannot do anything to be more deserving of God’s grace than another.  It is not earned by being good enough.  However, when we recognize just how great the gift truly is, we cannot help but be compelled to give as we have been given.  The magnitude of God’s mercy extended to all who believe, is beyond what one heart can hold.  Not only does He withhold the punishment that is due – death; but He gives far beyond what we could ever hope for on our own, as He took our place on the cross so that we could spend eternity with Him.

“Blessed are they whose transgressions are forgiven, whose sins are covered.  Blessed is the man whose sin the Lord will never count against him.” – (Romans 4:7-8)

Grace gives what we can never get.Mercy Shall Reign

Mercy withholds His judgment net.

Love extends His kindnesses still.

Faithfulness with hope He will fill.

Peace because His mercy shall reign.

Praise to Him who removes our stains.

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that though we do not deserve it, You forgive us and love us as we are.  Thank You that when we ask, You remove our sin and shame, and no longer count it against us.  Lord, we need Your grace and strength to do the same to others, as on our own, we fail miserably.  We know that we must forgive as we are forgiven.  Please forgive us for any unforgiveness we are holding, or any bitterness that may linger.  Cleanse us from our unrighteousness, and help us to see others through Your eyes, so that we may extend Your love, grace and mercy to all.  May many come to know You, as they see You in our ability to forgive and extend the very same grace that has been given to us.  Be glorified as we offer all that we are, unto You.  Amen.

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