A Homecoming to Celebrate

How does one adequately express the essence of a ninety-eight year life lived well? I thought about speaking of my Gram’s faithfulness to God, her unwavering love for her family, friends and church, or perhaps the way that she utilized the gifts that God gave her of music and writing and art to touch the hearts of those around her for Him. For a few weeks I allowed my thoughts to simply settle, and just waited for words to come. As I was driving home from work a few weeks ago, and the lines I knew I was to record and share began playing over and over in my mind, I discovered that my portion to share was not about what Gram had done, but rather where her faith and hope had taken her. Those who knew Rosemary Elizabeth Steiner, knew that she was certain of her eternity. Her hope was not in earthly treasures, but rather in her heavenly home. Gram reminded us always that we were precious in her sight, just as we are in Christ’s. May we all rejoice in the hope of our eternity, and celebrate her incredible homecoming together.

 

Precious OnesWith Gram2

Weep not precious ones,

For I am now home;

The view before me,

Is like none I’ve known.

I walk on gold streets,

With angels, I sing;

Each breath full of life,Praise in Mourning

Love’s sweet offerings.

And O when my eyes,

At last saw His face;

So tender and kind,

His welcome embrace.

Gentle were His words,

As He said to me,

“Well done, precious child!”

I fell to my knees…

Though strong were His hands,Strength in the Sorrow

My Savior knelt down;

He placed on my head,

My very own crown.

I could not contain,

The tears in my eyes;

As loved ones appeared,

This hope – realized.

Oh sweet beloveds,

Do not weep for me;

It’s but a moment,

To your setting free.

©Shannon E. Moreno 2017

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You for the incredible gift of my Gram that I have known for my entire life. Thank You that my children have had the privilege and the pleasure of knowing her too. Thank You for the example and blessing that Rosemary Elizabeth Steiner has been to so many. Forgive us for not recognizing nor appreciating the treasures we have in those around us nearly enough. Teach us to honor and give thanks for all those whom You have placed in our lives. Show us how to love well, just as she loved like You. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we celebrate the blessed homecoming of those who faithfully follow You. Amen.

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

Show me Your ways, O Lord, teach me Your paths; …my hope is in You all day long. – Psalm 25:4-5

Alive in Him

He is not the God of the dead, but of the living, for to Him all are alive. – (Luke 20:38)

 

There is much hope that is held in this word, as it is a reminder that all who have gone before us who had invested their hearts and lives in the Lord, have not died a spiritual death, but rather they are alive in Christ, living with Him for all of eternity. This brings much comfort, as I find myself caught in glimpses of grief over the loss of my dear friend, Anne. Though she passed a little over a year ago, the end of her life was a battle, and I had the rare privilege of walking beside her for much of it. Over the weekend, I encountered a few situations that hit too close to home, and triggered a heaviness I was not aware I was carrying. Mere moments passed over the last few days, where I would feel a sudden flash of sadness. When I spoke with a friend yesterday, it was only then that I realized what had been tugging at my heart. One particular situation that I chose to walk in, mirrored a portion of the road I walked with Anne. It is no wonder that a bit of sorrow seeped in. Fortunately, sorrow and sadness need not stay long, as Anne was firmly rooted and established in Christ. She is very much alive in Him. I have the blessed assurance that she is Home, and that I will one day join her on the streets of gold. May we each hold fast to the gift of God, that is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.

 

All are alive,OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

who invest in God;

let Christ come rule,

and our praise applaud.

In Him, is life,

after earthly death;

His peace pours out,

as we draw each breath.

Hope for today,

promise for always;

life abundant,

for all of our days.

Be rooted well,

in the Holy Vine;

to bear fruit now,

and embrace Divine.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You are not the God of the dead, but of the living. Thank You that in You, all are alive. Thank You that our earthly death is not the end, but only the beginning of the fullness of life that You have for us. Thank You that those who have gone before us who loved and invested their hearts in You, are secure in the safety of Your presence forever. Forgive us for our lack of vision for the future, and help us to hold fast to our eternity, as our time on earth is but the blink of an eye in comparison. Help us to make our time here matter, as we love others by loving like You love us. May many come to know the hope of eternal life in You, as we live as You call us to live. Be glorified, O God, as we live out the life You have gifted us. 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

Through Spirit Spoken

Yesterday, many gathered together to celebrate and remember our dear friend, Anne. I had been asked to speak the week prior, and on Wednesday evening, I at last sat down, determined to write out what I was to say on Saturday. My prayer was that He would provide words that honored Aine, and glorified Him. Though not in quite the same context as in the word, the following verse rang true: For the Holy Spirit will teach you at that time what you should say.” – (Luke 12:12)

What follows, are the words I spoke yesterday at the memorial.

AnneTenacity, strength, and unwavering faith are three of the things I loved most about Anne. Though I had only known her four or five years, Aine quickly became a dear friend. I am not certain whether it was her fiery Irish temperament, or her tenderness for the defenseless, that made it easy to understand and navigate a friendship that felt familial.

I don’t think I have ever met another human being who has had the tenaciousness that Aine had. To fight such an elusive opponent that continued to ravage her body with pain for more than nine long years, took a drive and determination that goes beyond human bounds. Most of us would have thrown in the towel long ago, and simply begged Jesus to take us home. Not Aine. She had faith that would fend off anything and everything that would try to tear her down. No weapon formed against her would ever prosper, and her hope included healing here on earth.

She wanted the healing to be her story – one of flawless faith, that ended in the miraculous.

Though her healing did not come how we had hoped, her story – her very existence and unwavering faith in her fight – was truly a testimony wherever she went. The first time I went to an appointment with Anne, was just before she was to begin chemo. Though she was scared, she was not about to let dear Dr. Linden see a lick of fear. She proudly professed her faith in the Father, and insisted that her healing would come.

One of the many things that I have learned from Aine, is that it is okay to ask for prayer. I so appreciated how Anne did not hesitate to ask for prayer, any time she felt she needed it. There was nothing shy about her, and she knew how very powerful prayer could be. Her boldness and bravery, taught me how to trust Him more.

I am astounded that someone like me, who repels all things medical, could be convinced that I was one of the very people that God had intended to walk beside her through the medical maze. Additionally, she had the uncanny ability to get me to step outside of myself, and do things I insisted I would never do. Even in her heavenly homecoming, here I am, right now, speaking to you, OUT LOUD, despite my fear of using my voice in this way.

In a most profound moment of prayer prior to her homecoming, I was blessed with a picture that not only brought comfort to me, but I was actually able to share it with Aine on the morning of her final day. With a hand on her foot as she rested, I closed my eyes to pray. I had come to a place where I simply sat, ready to listen, as my words seemed to be at a loss. What I saw were outstretched arms with a bright light shining behind Him. Soon, I saw a young, healthy, strong and carefree Anne, running to His extended arms. Jesus embraced Aine, and twirled her around as He held her close. When they stopped spinning, He held her tenderly as she rested her head over His heart. Hesitantly she looked in His eyes, and with a voice full of love, He told her each heartbeat she heard, was just for her. Once she was ready, He carefully set her feet back upon the ground, and took her hand in His. Together, hand-in-hand, they walked upon the streets of gold as He began to show her all that He had prepared, just for her.

Barely able to get the words out, God gave me the strength to share with Aine, what I had seen. She heard me, and gave my hand a squeeze.

All that day and into the evening, I was able to stay beside her and simply hold her hand. By eight or so, I found myself alone in the room with Aine. Her breathing became extremely labored, and I knew she was near her end. I squeezed her hand, and reminded her that it was okay, she could run to Him and she would be safe. Soon, Elka, the night nurse came in. As she attended to Anne, I stepped back and looked away, knowing she would want her dignity intact. Elka turned her on her side, then back again, and she was gone.

I am so thankful that gone does not mean the end, but rather it was only the beginning. Aine is now dancing on streets of gold, lavished in the love and light of the Lord. Though I will miss her terribly, I find great comfort in knowing that I will one day see Aine again. For now, there is sorrow, as a void resides where my sweet sister was held so dear. With time, I know that the sadness will fade, and wonderful memories will warm the now wounded places. Until that day when I see her again, I will hold fast to the very same hope that carried her to her heavenly home.

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You are so faithful to meet us in our moments of need, and provide the strength and courage that is needed to do all that You ask of us. Forgive us for our fear of failure, (as though we could do anything You ask in our own strength), and teach us to trust in Your unfailing faithfulness. Thank You that so many gathered to remember my sweet sister in You, and thank You that though her own sister was unable to travel from Ireland with her newborn baby, technology afforded her the opportunity to see and hear how deeply Anne had touched so many lives. Please be the comfort and strength of all who are mourning, and help each of us to hold fast the the hope of our own heavenly homecoming. May many come to know the comfort and care that You provide, and help each heart to hear how they too, may truly trust in You. Amen.

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

So Long, Sweet Aine

Sweet Aine

Sweet Aine

The faithful fight,

now knows its close;

no more in pain,

nor torments throes.

Such blessed rest,

yours to behold;

He takes your hand,

on streets of gold.

He waited near,

arms open wide;

for you to run,

unto His side.

Into His arms,

loving embrace;

you hear His heart,

and feel His grace.

You know each beat,

of His heart true;

as He holds close,

the perfect you.

Your hand He takes,

as you two walk;

He shows you all,

with loving talk.

All pain that was,

is now long gone;

in heaven, home –

where you belong.

So long sweet warrior, until again we one day meet…

The long and valiant fight of my dear friend, Anne, has come to a close. Last evening, I had the joy of holding her hand as she struggled to breathe her last breaths. She went from suffering struggle to perfect peace, in but a moment.

As I was praying for her during the day, seated by her side, God showed me such a sweet picture, and I was actually able to share it with Aine (On-ya), while she was still able to respond. I saw Jesus with outstretched arms, and Aine ran to Him, as a carefree child. He scooped her up and they twirled around and around. When they stopped, Aine rested her head over His heart and He held her close. He spoke and told Aine, “each heartbeat you hear, is just for you.” When she was ready, He set her down, took her hand, and led her along the streets of gold, showing her all that He had prepared for her.

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You are loving and merciful and so very kind. Thank You that You hate to see Your children suffer, even more than we do. Thank You for the amazing grace You give, and for the people and provision You grant us, O God, our great Provider. Thank You that all hope is held in You. Forgive us for our fear, and help us to embrace all that You offer, so that we may come boldly before You and rest in Your grace. May many continue to be moved toward You through the way we live our lives. Thank You that Aine was such a faithful example of how to place all hope in You. All thanks and praise to You, our perfect Prince of Peace. Amen.

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

Splendor’s Space

photo by Joan Davis


A day will come,

when all will pass;

and streets of gold,

shall shine like glass.

No sun nor moon,

to light the day;

God’s radiance,

will be our stay.

The Lamb of God,

His splendor shine;

no more dark nights,

all glory, Thine.

He’ll wipe away,

tears from our eyes;

no death nor pain,

to realize.

For all the old,

shall pass away;

the First and Last,

will ever stay.

All those who thirst,

shall drink what lasts;

living water,

our righteous glass.

Together, we,

in glory dwell;

Christ’s family,

now eternal.

(Responding to Revelation 21:3-7, 22-27)

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that the hope we hold is not in what happens here, but rather in our home in heaven with You. Thank You that there will be a day when all pain and suffering pass away. Thank You that You will wipe away every tear, and hold us close as You draw near. Forgive us Father, for losing sight of that which truly lasts. Teach us to let our lives be lived in the hope of Your glory that is yet to come. May we present Your precious promises to people everywhere as we love as You love us. Let those who are lost, find their forever hope in You. Amen.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAAnne update: Last evening, I spent a few hours with Anne and the faithful and wonderful family who are providing her a loving home and tender care. It is such a strange space to be seated near one so close to their eternal homecoming. To be both overwhelmed with sorrow, yet overjoyed with the promise of no more pain, presents time to feel very torn. As the evening wore on, and visitors had come and gone, her breathing became shallow and slow. It seemed as though she would be leaving soon. Each time Anne started to sink into a space of rest, she would startle and fight to keep going. Her pain is so great, that I could only pray that He would cradle her close and carry her home. Please pray that she would let go of the fight, and allow our Heavenly Father to take her home. May His peace that passes all understanding fill our hearts and minds, and may His perfect rest be ours to find.
Holding onto His holy hope, Shannon

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