Tag Archive: struggle


“Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest.” – (Matthew 11:28, NIV)

 

This is a promise that I am holding close. As the end of the school year continues to draw ever nearer, the number of activities and obligations seems to grow exponentially. Days are long, and do not slow down, from early morning until late evening. God is faithful, and seems to provide enough energy to successfully navigate each new day, and here I sit on the final Saturday before the final three and a half days of the school year. Today is booked from early morning to evening, but it is an adventure with friends that refuels me with strength in the midst of my weariness. Regardless of the sort of stretch that lies ahead, there is One on Whom we can depend for strength and help and rest. May we ever seek the Lord in both times of weariness and strength, and welcome the rest that He alone will provide.

 

O Lord, here I stand,Rest in Weariness

In need of Your rest;

For You, God alone,

Provide for me best.

When weariness comes,

You grant me a way;

To find strength in You,

That is new each day.

And when I’m so tired,

I fear I am done;

Your strength sees me through,

Magnificent One.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that when we are weary and burdened, You provide us rest in You. Thank You for seeing us through and giving us strength when we are worn, and for walking beside us all of our days. Forgive us for trying to gut things out on our own and not turning in trust to You. Teach us to run to You in times of both struggle and strength, as You are our Source on whom we can always depend. Show us how to love those around us well, so that they would be encouraged and strengthened by Your love through us. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we find our rest in You. Amen.

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

Praise be to the Lord, to God our Savior, who daily bears our burdens. – Psalm 68:19

 

Worry weighs a person down; an encouraging word cheers a person up. – (Proverbs 12:25, NLT)

Worry takes away your joy, but a kind word makes you happy. – (Proverbs 12:25, ERV)

The weight of worry drags us down, but a good word lightens our day. – (Proverbs 12:25, VOICE)

 

The whole idea of “Don’t worry, be happy,” is great in theory, but not as simple in its application. Worry’s weight sneaks in and surrounds us before we realize the enormity of its burden we are trying to bear. At times, something so simple as an encouraging word, has the capacity to lessen our load, and remind us that we are not alone with the weight we carry. Ultimately, worry has everything to do with trust. If we cannot see a possible solution, we struggle to trust that there is a way out from under the weight. God tells us to cast our cares upon Him, as He is more than strong enough to bear the burdens that are far too heavy for us on our own. He promises to go before us, remain with us, and never leave us. If we could only remember His encouraging words when worry wanders our way, we would avoid the trap of being burdened by a weight so overwhelming that it steals our joy. May we go forth this day in trust, knowing that the Lord will help carry our loads, as we both hear His words of encouragement to our hearts and be people who extend encouragement to others.

 

Let not the worries,

Ragnar2016.cheeringrunners

Cheering on runners as the round the corner into the final stretch.

 

Of life weigh you down;

For God is our help,

Our hope that is found.

There’s little as sweet,

As offered kind words;

For they lift us up,

The moment they’re heard.

When worry finds way,

In our hearts and minds;

Help us seek You, Lord,

For Your words are kind.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that we do not need to be burdened by the weight of worry, as You are greater than anything that would come against us or seek to steal our joy. Thank You that Your words for us are encouraging and full of life. Thank You that You place people in our lives to encourage us and for us to extend the same. Forgive us for allowing the weight of worry to steal our joy. Teach us to trust You more, so that we would seek You and Your help, as Your arms are more than big enough to bear any burden that lies before us. Help us to encourage others as we are encouraged by You. Show us how to love well, all whom we encounter. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we give our worries to You, and allow the truth of Your word to encourage our hearts and minds, so that we may go forth and be an encouragement to those around us. 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

Praise the Lord; praise God our Savior! For each day He carries us in His arms. – (Psalm 68:19, NLT)

Praise the Lord! Every day He helps us with the loads we must carry. He is the God who saves us. – (Psalm 68:19, ERV)

 

I am abundantly aware of His help and His arms in this long and exhausting season. This latter portion of the school year has been the most difficult one that I can recall in recent years. There are numerous factors contributing to the building burnout, yet each day, as the final bell rings, I breathe a sigh of relief and recognize the grace that has carried me. God is good, and He is my help and my hope, even when I struggle. He walks beside us, and helps us carry the burdens that we are unable to bear on our own, and He saves us from walking away when we are meant to stay. May we ever seek Him to be our help and our hope, and give Him our praise for all that He has done.

 

When the road is rough,Compassion in Confrontations

And we’re weary, worn;

Trust in the Lord’s help,

With strength, He’ll adorn.

For when we are weak,

He comes along side;

Helps carry our load,

To rest, He will guide.

Rise up, praise the Lord,

He’s our God who saves;

Our help and our hope,

Throughout all our days.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You are the Lord, our God and Savior. Thank You that You carry us in Your arms when we cannot continue on our own. Thank You that You never leave us nor forsake us. Forgive us for attempting to bear burdens on our own, rather than turning to You in trust. Teach us to trust You more, so that we would lay them at Your feet, and allow You to show us what is ours to carry, and what You are already managing on our behalf. Lead us to love those around us in such a way, that we help lift them up and let them know that they are not alone when the road gets rough. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we praise You for who You are, and thank You for all that You do to be our help and our hope. 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

This I declare about the Lord: He alone is my refuge, my place of safety; He is my God, and I trust Him. – (Psalm 91:2, NLT)

I say to the Lord, “You are my place of safety, my fortress. My God, I trust in You.” – (Psalm 91:2, ERV)

 

Though I am a person who typically requires less sleep than most, I do struggle to function well if I get fewer than four hours in a given night. Saturday night, the already late event we went to was delayed by an hour in beginning, and because it was over an hour away from home, I did not even get home to get to bed until nearly 2:00 am. Sunday, I had already committed to running media at both services at church, so that meant I needed to be there by seven-thirty. In order for me to do my usual morning routine, it requires at least ninety minutes. Graciously, God (and strong coffee) kept me alert and able to do that which I had agreed to do. After, I had already determined that the boys and I should drive to see my Mom, as it was her first Mother’s Day without her mom. This is where I felt that the need to trust Him to be our safety and refuge was needed, as going to see her was a non-negotiable. There was only one point on the way where I began to feel drowsy. I made a pit stop for snacks and caffeinated beverages, and we were good the remainder of the drive. Though far shorter a visit than any of us would have liked, I knew after our time together, that it was exactly what we were meant to do. The drive home was relatively easy and uneventful, and my copilot did a great job of making sure I was alert. God is faithful to answer as we ask, even in such seemingly small things. May we ever remember that He alone is our refuge and place of safety; our God in whom we can trust.

 

The Lord’s my refuge,Even in the Small Things

In Him we can trust;

Our place of safety,

He is true and just.

No matter what comes,

Big things or small;

To Him we can run,

He can handle all.

So speak out in faith,

Declare what is true;

“God, You’re my fortress,

And I trust in You.”

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You are our refuge and place of safety. Thank You that You are our help and worthy of our trust. Thank You that You equip and empower us to do that which You call us to, regardless of how things appear. Forgive us for our lack of faith, and teach us to trust You more. Show us how to run to You as our refuge in all things and at all times. Lead us to love those around us in a way that offers safety and trust where it has not been known before. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we trust You to be our place of safety; always. Amen.

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

You have made known to me the paths of life; You will fill me with joy in Your presence. – Acts 2:28

Don’t forget to rejoice, for hope is always just around the corner. Hold up through the hard times that are coming and devote yourselves to prayer. – (Romans 12:12, VOICE)

Be happy because of the hope you have. Be patient when you have troubles. Pray all the time. – (Romans 12:12, ERV)

 

This is a timely reminder, as this particular stretch of the school year is the longest and most difficult season. Students struggle to stay focused, and stress out over the impending state testing. Furthermore, I think they begin to realize that the year is drawing to a close, and the sense of security that has been established at school, will be gone in six short weeks. As the benefactor of the bad behaviors, it is often difficult to remember that there is reason for the rebellion. I am called to pray and be patient, as I have hope in knowing that there is so much more than the difficult days that I feel stuck in at times, in the right now. God has promised so much more. Despite what I see or experience in the present, I can be happy and rejoice in the knowledge that there is hope that lies in what is yet to come. The incredible thing that I find, is that often when I am able to fix my eyes on the joy that lies before me, rather than the rough that I am in, those around me seem to grab hold of the joy as well, and something changes – even if it is only a glimmer of good in what had seemingly gone horribly wrong. May we ever remember our reason to rejoice and have patience in our times of trouble. Let our first response be to pray, as hope in Him will light our way.

 

When hard times come near,Enter With Thanksgiving

Forget not rejoice;

For in Christ there’s hope,

Our happiest choice.

Let us ever pray,

In good times and bad;

For He’s the answer,

And makes our hearts glad.

No matter what’s seen,

In Him we shall know;

Hope that’s forever,

As love and grace flow.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that we can have joy and rejoice in You, because of the hope that You alone provide. No matter what we see or what we are living in, there is always better that will come through You. Thank You that when we pray to You, You hear our prayers. Thank You that You give us patience when we are in the midst of the difficult. Forgive us for our lack of hope and joy, as we forget to set our hearts to pray in all things. Teach us to trust You more, so that we would devote ourselves to pray in all things and at all times, so that we would be patient in times of trouble, and have hope no matter what we see. Show us how to love others, so that we would offer Your goodness and grace in such a way that they too would come to know the hope that is found in You. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we rejoice in the hope we have in You, and choose to pray at all times. Amen.

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

But because of His great love for us, God, who is rich in mercy, made us alive with Christ. – Ephesians 2:4-5

But He never left them without evidence of Himself and His goodness. For instance, He sends you rain and good crops and gives you food and joyful hearts. – (Acts 14:17, NLT)

 

When Paul and Barnabas were sharing the good news in Lystra, and the people began to be misguided and were not recognizing and giving credit where credit was due, Paul reminded them of the great things that God had done for them in the past, and how He was continuing to make His presence known. The same still holds true today. Every blessing and good and perfect gift, comes from our Father above. Though not one of us particularly enjoy seasons of struggle, they tend to help us recognize and appreciate all the more, the glorious gifts and boundless blessings that God so generously gives to us. As we sit for a moment in silence on this Saturday, when so many years ago they were celebrating a most somber Sabbath, we can give thanks, for we know the hope that tomorrow holds. The grave could not contain Christ. Blessing beyond what anyone could have fathomed was on the way, and oh the joy that all would know in but one more day! May we all take pause to recognize the blessings that God has given us; our family and friends, our surroundings, freedoms, employment, homes, hope, health, and more than anything, the promise of eternal life with Him.

 

As I look around,Hope in What is Unseen

It is plain to see;

Evidence of God,

And His love for me.

He’s given me life,

Hope, faith, love and joy;

All things that I need,

And two baby boys.

Even in heartache,

His presence stays near;

His peace gives me hope,

And chases off fear.

Wherever I go,

I can’t help but see;

The glory of God,

In all before me.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You give us evidence of Yourself everywhere we go. Thank You that we can see You in the beauty of Your creation around us, as well as in the eyes of the people that You place in our lives. Thank You for the love, peace and joy that You give, as we come to grasp the glory of our hope in You. Forgive us for allowing our circumstances to distract us from the hope we know, or keep us from giving You glory for all of the good that we know in You. Teach us to trust You more, for just as all seemed silent on that Sabbath, the very next day – You rose and nothing was ever the same again! Show us how to love in a way that offers hope and peace and joy to those who cannot see any. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we recognize the evidence of Your goodness everywhere we go. Amen.

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

Surely goodness and love will follow me all the days of my life, and I will dwell in the house of the Lord forever. – Psalm 23:6

Look straight ahead, and fix your eyes on what lies before you. – (Proverbs 4:25, NLT)

Keep your head up, your eyes straight ahead, and your focus fixed on what is in front of you. – (Proverbs 4:25, VOICE)

Let your eyes look directly ahead [toward the path of moral courage] and let your gaze be fixed straight in front of you [toward the path of integrity]. (Proverbs 4:25, AMP)

 

It is far better to fix our eyes on what is directly in front of us, than it is to focus on what has been, or on that which is yet to come. We are designed to be fully engaged in each day as it arrives, and we are only able to do that if we are seeking the Lord and trusting Him as we move forward into each new day. The Lord is faithful to show us the ways in which we are meant to move, if we keep our sights set on our Savior. He makes plain the path and lovingly directs our steps, so that we are able to navigate each new thing as it comes. May we keep our eyes up, ever looking to the Lord, so that we may clearly see what lies before us and walk in a way that is upright before Him.

 

Let us lift our heads,Bold in Battle

Each focus our eyes;

Directly forward,

And on Christ, rely.

With the Lord in us,

He helps us to see;

Not just the struggle,

But integrity.

He points us the path,

Where we’re meant to go;

To do right by Him,

Learn, live, love and grow.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You remind us to keep our heads up and our eyes forward so that we do not lose our focus on You and the path that You have placed before us. Forgive us for allowing the things of life to distract us or detour us from the way that You have prepared for us to go. Teach us to trust You more, so that we would not stray from the direction and calling that You place before us, and help us to fix our eyes securely on You and where You are leading us to go. Show us how to love those around us in a way that helps them see the good in whatever is directly in front of them. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we keep our heads up and our eyes fixed forward on You and what You ask us to do. Amen.

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

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

 

Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous! Do not be terrified or dismayed (intimidated), for the Lord your God is with you wherever you go. – (Joshua 1:9, AMP)

This is My command – be strong and courageous! Do not be afraid or discouraged. For the Lord your God is with you wherever you go. – (Joshua 1:9, NLT)

 

My heart leapt within me a little as I read that this was the verse of the day this morning. This particular verse has been especially significant in my life for the last few years as I have navigated a new season. Daily, I am reminded of the words of this verse, yet until this morning, I have not unpacked a few of the words within these two translations. As a self-professed “word nerd”, language fascinates me, and I do what I can to find further significance and meaning from written text. When I heard “dismayed“, I always thought distressed, but when I actually looked up the word, I was surprised to discover that dismayed means: to break down the courage of completely. Additionally, discouraged in my mind, dis – without or not, and courage, and one can figure what I assumed the word meant. “Discouraged” according to dictionary.com, is: to deprive of courage, hope or confidence. Both of these words go much deeper than I had anticipated. God does not want us to allow anything to break down nor deprive us of the courage that He has created within us. He commands us to be courageous – not in our own strength, but in His. We can take courage because He has promised to be with us wherever we go. That alone is reason to be courageous. Greater is He who is in us, than anything that might come against us. May we each rise up in strength and courage as we are commanded, and keep terror and dismay far from us. Take heart dear ones, for the Lord our God is with us!

 

For the Lord commands,Dispelling Discouragement

Take courage, be strong;

Because He’s with us,

All of our life long.

Let nothing find way,

To come and break down;

The courage God gives,

For in Him, strength’s found.

Do not be afraid,

For He’ll never leave;

All hope comes from Him,

By faith, we receive.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You command us to be strong and courageous. Thank You that You unpack it for us by explaining that we are not to allow anything to terrify us or break down our courage or take away our hope. Thank You that this is not something that we do on our own, but we can be strong and courageous because You are with us wherever we go, so there is no reason for fear. Forgive us for our fearfulness, as we forget how great You are and how small our obstacles are in comparison. Teach us to trust You more, as we struggle with discouragement when giants stand before us. Show us Your heart for those around us, so that we can love as You love us. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we stand in Your strength and courage, knowing that You are with us wherever we go. 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

Then Jesus said, “Come to Me, all of you who are weary and carry heavy burdens, and I will give you rest.” – (Matthew 11:28, NLT)

“Come to Me, all you who are struggling hard and carrying heavy loads, and I will give you rest.” – (Matthew 11:28, CEB)

 

Though the holiday season is busy, as an educator I am blessed with a break that is long enough to actually slow down, set aside the weight of what wears me out, and really rest. There is time to catch up on the little things that need doing around the house, and I am able to sleep longer hours than I ordinarily do. These are the sort of things that lighten the load when the time comes to return to school again, as I will go back rested with less on the list that seems to hang over my head. The incredible thing about the promise in these words spoken by Jesus, is that a vacation is not required to go to Him and hand over our burdens and allow Him to grant us rest. He willingly and lovingly will help handle the load that we are bearing, and provide opportunity for us to find rest in Him. In Him, our strength is renewed and our load is lightened, even in the busiest of times. May we look to the Lord who is our strength, and take our burdens before Him, trusting that He is the One who will grant us the rest that we need.

 

Ever He calls us,IMG_0439

The weary and worn;

To come close to Him,

With strength, He’ll adorn.

He will grant us rest,

From the weight we bear;

No more to struggle,

The burden, He’ll share.

Come all you weary,

For Jesus is best;

His arms are open,

In love, He’ll grant rest.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You call us to come to You when we are weary and worn from bearing heavy burdens, and You give us rest. Thank You that Your shoulders are far stronger than ours, and that no burden is too heavy for You to bear. Forgive us for attempting to carry the weight of the world on our own shoulders, rather than seeking and trusting You. Teach us to trust You more, so that we would bring our burdens before You, asking You for help and hope and strength, so that we would only carry that which we are called to carry, and set aside that which we are not. Show us how to love those around us in a way that lightens loads and shines hope in dark places. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we come to You with our heavy burdens, and receive the rest that You have for us. Amen.

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

The fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control. – Galatians 5:22-23

I pray that God, the Source of hope, will fill you completely with joy and peace because you trust in Him. Then you will overflow with confident hope through the power of the Holy Spirit. – (Romans 15:13, NLT)

I pray that the God who gives hope will fill you with much joy and peace as you trust in Him. Then you will have more and more hope, and it will flow out of you by the power of the Holy Spirit. – (Romans 15:13, ERV)

 

Though this is my prayer for all, it is lifted intentionally for my pastors and their family today, as this will be their final Sunday serving our church family. They are leaving to answer a calling that is clear only in the where, but not particularly certain as to what it will entail. Their hearts to serve and obey have been transparent and exemplars of true servant leaders, as they have been raw and real about the struggle to walk out this new path, as their hearts are so securely planted here. Sorrow, anticipation and uncertainty surround this transition for all. Not one of us is sure of what the “new” will look like, but we all have the assurance that God has not orchestrated this by accident. We have the hope that He has good things in store for each of us, and in Him, we can find joy and peace as we choose trust, despite our despair over our losses. May the God of all hope fill you completely with joy and peace as you trust in Him, and may you overflow with hope by the power of the Holy Spirit.

 

In uncertainty,hope-overflowing

The sweet Prince of Peace;

Fills us with His hope,

And joy He’ll release.

As we trust in Him,

Confidence shall rise;

And hope overflows,

His Spirit supplies.

Let us place our trust,

Where all grace is found;

And boldly go forth,

As His hope abounds.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that as we trust You, You fill us with Your joy and peace, and provide hope in abundance so that it will flow from us by Your Spirit. Thank You for the gift that You have given me and so many through Pastors Jon and Wendy and their family. Please fill them completely with Your joy and peace because they trust in You. May they overflow with confident hope by Your Spirit to all whom they encounter in their new community. Bless them as they are such a blessing to others. Forgive us for not trusting You enough. Teach us to trust as You alone are trustworthy. Fill us with Your joy and peace so that we may pass the same on to those around us. Show us how to love as we are loved by You. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we trust You completely, and in turn overflow with the confident hope that we receive by the power of Your Holy Spirit. Amen.

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

Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of compassion and the God of all comfort. – 2 Corinthians 1:3

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