A Very Good Day

Rejoice always, pray continually, give thanks in all circumstances; for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus. – (1 Thessalonians 5:16-18, NIV)

Always be full of joy. Never stop praying. Whatever happens, always be thankful. This is how God wants you to live in Christ Jesus. – (1 Thessalonians 5:16-18, ERV)

Be cheerful no matter what; pray all the time; thank God no matter what happens. This is the way God wants you who belong to Christ Jesus to live. – (1 Thessalonians 5:16-18, MSG)

 

Thankfully, joy is not circumstantial, but rather something that is deep-rooted in our souls. Praying continually is far easier to remember, especially in times of crisis, and giving thanks is not about being grateful for our circumstances, but rather giving thanks for Who is with us through them.

Yesterday was a very good day. God showed us His faithfulness in countless ways. First thing in the morning, as Megan and I were preparing to make our way to the hospital for the day, we received the call from Sheila, the case manager (whom we adore), that the cabulance would be at the hospital at 10 am to move mom to the acute care facility. Her call hustled us out the door even faster than we would have normally exited, and we were on our way. Upon arrival, mom was seated in a chair and smiling, fully aware of the fact that it was moving day. Additional blessings that immediately came prior to leaving the hospital were: the removal of her IV, removal of the heart monitor stickers, leads and the five-pound accessory box that sat in a pocket on her chest, hospital gowns, as well as the standard hospital required practices of waking patients every four hours to ask a series of questions that may or may not inspire intelligible answers in the midst of a fog of sleepiness. The hospital crew was kind in their sendoff, and the cabulance drivers were incredible. In fact, one driver had been one of the EMTs on the scene when mom had been found in her home by the police, and one of the officers was her husband. (God is so cool!) Anyway, I knew they were in great hands as Megan rode with mom to the new place and I drove over with her belongings in my vehicle. As we arrived, though a whirlwind, we were overwhelmed with kindness and grace. God’s hand was abundantly evident. From the attending doctor, to the lead RN, to the superb social worker; everyone was hand-picked for mom and our family. God knew what we would need. After a sort of orientation with the doctor and nurse, mom met with the speech therapist for nearly an hour. That gave Meg and myself time to explore a bit, and I was able to speak with the social worker about paperwork. After eating lunch with mom in her room, (the only time that will happen, as they have a family-style dining area), we met Penny, her physical therapist, and they got to work. Penny began with some seemingly simple things, to evaluate where the disconnect lies. She asked mom to do something specific, did not see results, then begin making notes and mom did it! Megan and I sat watching in awe. I imagine someone could have come along and pushed our chins to close our mouths, and we would not have noticed… Even more amazing, Penny was so in tune with mom’s needs. She ordered a wheelchair that was the right size for her, an armrest for her uncooperative arm (to keep it safe and from swelling), and she had mom moving herself with her good foot and good arm, down the hallway, by herself! At first, mom wasn’t sure how to make the chair move, so Penny grabbed another wheelchair and sat in it beside her and showed her. It was then that the sweet game of chase began. Though slow, it was on. Mom is a fighter and a competitor. When she became tired, Penny knew to shift gears rather than stop. She helped mom get herself to a hallway that had a railing on her good side, stood her up out of her chair, and assisted her with walking several steps down that hall. I think both Megan and I were doing everything within us not to cartwheel down that hall in celebration! After PT was OT, but primarily a get-to-know-you session, followed by dinner, then we watched a movie, and the piece de resistance, was the freedom to take mom outside. The sun was low enough that it was not bright nor beating on us, the wind was still, and the air was a perfect warm hug, as we sat together in the little park by the tree surrounded by flowers, where bees were buzzing, and the green grass cooled our feet. Though all these things have happened, there was this beautiful, perfect peace. The little smiling angel figurine in the flower bed was a sweet reminder of His faithful army watching over us. We walked out of the acute care center yesterday, far lighter than we had gone in. God truly is so good.

And, for those who appreciate comic relief, we walked to my Jeep, hopped in, and were ready to zip away. Only, I turned the key, and nothing… Seriously? Ugh! It only took a moment, as it is a stick, and we are two, fairly strong-willed, stubborn, redheads. We started out with Meg pushing me and I tried popping the clutch, but could not quite get enough speed. We had it turned far enough around, so we switched spots. A young man and his wife were walking to their car, and he jumped in and joined me in the pushing. The added boost helped get the car to the speed we needed to pop the clutch, and all was well. Plus, I think Megan was eager for an opportunity to drive the Jeep, and this way she had to zip around the big parking lot several times prior to picking me up, just to make sure the charge was up enough. Add the kindness of a stranger to our list of reasons to be thankful for yesterday.

 

Each day we draw breath,

img_2019-05-06_22-33-432372452717547527438.jpg

Mid-giggle as we attempted several selfies together. So, so good. ❤

Let us choose rejoice;

Despite what we face,

We still have a choice.

Joy’s not a feeling,

Based on circumstance;

It’s deep in the soul,

And not there by chance.

Through a thankful heart,

That knows and believes;

That God is for us,

His joy is received.

All thanks we choose give,

To God, our great King;

May He shine through us,

Our praise offering.

 

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You for Your overwhelming goodness and grace. Thank You that You love us more than we could ever hope or imagine. Thank You that You make that love tangible. Forgive us for allowing circumstances to temporarily steal our joy. Fear is a liar and a thief. Protect us from such things. Thank You that You continue to show us the power of a smile, an encouraging word, a gesture; all things done in love. Show us how to love and encourage mom and all those who are touched by her both far and near. May her light spark a flame in the hearts of those who do not know You yet. Lead many into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we rejoice in You and give thanks for Your hand in all things and Your presence, always. Amen.

 

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

 

Give thanks to the Lord, for He is good; His love endures forever. – 1 Chronicles 16:34

To Stay True the Course

But encourage one another daily, as long as it is called “Today,” so that none of you may be hardened by sin’s deceitfulness. – (Hebrews 3:13, NIV)

But encourage each other every day, while you still have something called “today.” Help each other so that none of you will be fooled by sin and become too hard to change. – (Hebrews 3:13, ERV)

This is the time to encourage each other to never be stubborn or hardened by sin’s deceitfulness. – (Hebrews 3:13, TPT)

 

This is part of the explanation of why we need to be part of a body of believers. If left to our own devices, there is no one to encourage nor spur us on in our faith. Even the most devoted need encouragement to stay the course. We are created to be in community. The benefit of belonging grants a place to be plugged in and to grow. As we are encouraged to stay the course, we too, do the same for others.  In strength, our hearts are softened to others, so that they too may learn of the love that the Lord longs to lavish upon us all. May we encourage one another each day, so that none of us become entangled by the web of sin.

 

Encourage others, MSH29

To stay true the course;

To which we are called,

With God as our Source.

We need each other,

To stay true the path;

To steer clear of sin,

And its aftermath.

Invest time with God,

Be part of His church;

To know others well,

And walk out our worth.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You call us to encourage each other. Thank You that the purpose is multifaceted. Thank You that encouragement propels us to do good, and helps keep us from becoming entangled in sin. Forgive us for not encouraging those around us, or for neglecting to be a part of the body. Teach us to trust You more, so that we may mutually encourage one another and help each other stay the course to which we have been called. Show us how to love those around us in a way that encourages others to be the best version of themselves. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we encourage each other to grow and stay the course to which we have been called. Amen.

 

 

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

They help each other and say to their companions, “Be strong!” – Isaiah 41:6

 

 

 

 

Live as Lifelong Learners

Getting wisdom is the wisest thing you can do! And whatever else you do, develop good judgment. – (Proverbs 4:7, NLT)

The first step to becoming wise is to look for wisdom, so use everything you have to get understanding. – (Proverbs 4:7, ERV)

Gaining sound judgment is key, so first things first: go after Lady Wisdom. Now, whatever else you do, follow through to understanding. – (Proverbs 4:7, VOICE)

 

We should never stop seeking to learn and grow. Not one of us has the capacity to obtain all wisdom and understanding in existence, yet the more we know and understand, the better we are able to love as we are loved. One of the greatest examples of this that I have ever known, was my grandmother. During her 98 years on earth, she never stopped seeking to learn and understand more. She was the wisest person I have known and had deep understanding of so many things. Even the most stubborn of her offspring would give ear to her words, as each knew and understood the wisdom that came with the words that she spoke. May we seek to be lifelong learners, as we pursue wisdom and understanding so that we too may love those around us, as we are loved by the Lord.

 

Let’s choose seek wisdom, Live as Lifelong Learners

May we become wise;

Chase understanding,

So truth’s realized.

Sound judgment follows,

When we choose pursue;

Ever we’re learning,

What we’re meant to do.

So, look for wisdom,

Seek to understand;

Ask for the Lord’s help,

To walk out His plan.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You call us to pursue wisdom and understanding so that we are not left wandering around in ignorance. Thank You that good judgment comes as we develop into lifelong learners. Forgive us for thinking we know enough, or for not seeking to understand further. Teach us to trust You more, so that we would continually pursue more wisdom and insight for all of our days to love others well and walk in Your ways. Show us how to love others as You call us to love. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we seek You to live lives as lifelong learners. 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

A New Heart

And I will give you a new heart, and I will put a new spirit in you. I will take out your stony, stubborn heart and give you a tender, responsive heart. – (Ezekiel 36:26, NLT)

And I will give you a new heart – I will give you new and right desires – and put a new spirit within you. I will take your stony hearts of sin and give you new hearts of love. – (Ezekiel 36:26, TLB)

 

God promises to make our hearts new within us when we submit our lives to Him. All that has been hardened, unresponsive, and stubborn shall be made tender and filled with the love of the Lord. As He fills, we cannot help but respond, for the walls that once stood, begin to break away in the light of His lavish love. May we turn to the Lord and His loving kindness, allowing Him access to our whole heart. Let His love change us from the inside out, so that we might become beacons of hope for a world that needs to know there is hope in Him.

 

Oh Lord, change in me,Receive Life

My hard heart of stone;

Make my heart tender,

As Your love is shown.

Fill me with Your love,

So Your light may shine;

Lead me in Your ways,

Lord, Your will, not mine.

Help me to respond,

To all that You say;

Lead me and guide me,

Lord, show me the way.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You give us a new heart and place Your Spirit within us when we submit our lives to You. Thank You that You transform our hard and unresponsive hearts to ones that are tender and willing to do as You ask. Forgive us for our stubborn self-reliance. Teach us to turn to trust in You in all things and at all times. Show us how to love others with the same lavish love that You give so freely unto us. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we give You our hearts and our lives, trusting You to make us new and lead us where we are meant to go. Amen.

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

Answer me, O Lord, out of the goodness of Your love; in Your great mercy turn to me. – Psalm 69:16

No Record of Wrongdoings

If You, God, kept records of wrongdoings, who would stand a chance? As it turns out, forgiveness is Your habit, and that’s why You’re worshiped. – (Psalm 130:3-4, MSG)

 

Today, I am so thankful that God is not like us. Imagine if God were only able to forgive over time? Or worse, if God held grudges? Though we may pursue to extend the same forgiveness to others that Christ has given to us, not one of us has arrived. There is always something that weighs on our hearts, or that takes us time to walk through, before we can truly forgive. With God, He chooses to take our sin and remember it no more. Such mercy and grace warrants worship. May we embrace the grace that our loving Father grants to us, and offer all of our praise to Him, as we seek His help to do unto others as He has done for us.

 

The glory of grace,Risk to Reward

Beyond what we see;

For not one could stand,

Without God’s mercy.

Forgiveness given,

Though it’s not deserved;

Reason for worship,

Give praise undeterred.

May we seek the Lord,

for His love and grace;

So we can extend,

The same all our days.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You keep no record of our wrongs when we repent before You. Thank You that You forgive out of Your abundant love. Forgive us for our stubborn hearts that hold grudges and hurt, rather than giving the offenses over to You. Teach us to trust You more, so that we would bring all of our burdens before You, and allow You to mend the brokenness with Your lavish love. Show us how to keep no record of wrongs, and to extend mercy and grace to all those around us. May many come to find a lasting relationship with You, as they see Your love in our words and deeds. Be glorified O God, as we seek to love without limits and to forgive freely like You. 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

The Master Surgeon’s Touch

And I will give you a new heart, and I will put a new spirit in you. I will take out your stony, stubborn heart and give you a tender, responsive heart. – (Ezekiel 36:26, NLT)

And I will give you a new heart – I will give you new and right desires – and put a new spirit within you. I will take out your stony hearts of sin and give you new hearts of love. – (Ezekiel 36:26, TLB)

 

As I woke and sat down to begin my quiet time, I began to reflect on how guarded I have become with even those who are most dear to me. I know much of it is my automatic response of self-preservation, and has absolutely nothing to do with my people, and everything to do with my circumstances – yet I recognize that it is not the way that God intends for me to be. I am quite visual, so a few scenes flashed through my mind, and my heart was pulled to the pages that remind me of the truth. Though He has already given me His Spirit, and renewed my heart and mind, there are times when we really need our Master Surgeon’s touch in a specific area. God is gentle and kind, and loves us to life, even in the dark and dying places. Where we are fearful or stubborn to hold fast to what we think will keep us safe, He lovingly reminds us that He is far stronger than our circumstances, and will go before us, with us and behind us – so we need not worry about the “what ifs“. May we be quick to trust He who holds our hearts in His hands, and allow Him to give us the new heart He has prepared for us. His heart for us is one of tenderness and love, and seeks to pursue all that He has for us, in His strength.

 

When our hearts grow hard,

and our love is cold;Receive Life

we must trust the Lord,

take His hand to hold.

For He will remove,

the hardness of heart;

and put in its place,

a gentle, kind part.

His Spirit in us,

is tender and kind;

to lead and to guide,

and when we seek, find.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You give us a new tender and loving heart in exchange for our hard, stubborn ones. Thank You that when we seek You, You show us how to live and love according to Your will, not our own. Forgive us for allowing our hearts to become hard or walled in by fear, and teach us to trust You more, so that we would remain tender-hearted toward You and all whom You call us to love well. Show us how to love as You love, so that others too, will desire a new heart in You. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we trust You to touch the places in our hearts that hold hurts that keep us from loving completely, so that we may go forth and love as we are loved by You. Amen.

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

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

Truth that’s Tangible

I always remember that the Lord is with me. He is here, close by my side, so nothing can defeat me. – (Psalm 16:8, ERV)

For me, I know in my heart that He is here, close by my side, and that what He says is true. However, there are times that it takes some struggling in my own strength, before I remember that the Lord is with me, and because He is for me, nothing can defeat me. I am so grateful that God is patient and gracious with us, as He so tenderly comes beside us to remind us of His presence in the midst of our panic, and shows us His nearness in the center of our need. Often, He uses people to be His hands, heart and voice to make tangible that which we need to know. May we go forth this day with hearts full of thanks, as we remember that the Lord is with us, close by our sides so that nothing can defeat us.

Lord help me to know,Truth that is Tangible

how near that You are;

so close to my side,

not God from afar.

The Lord God with me,

is strength, hope and grace;

I’ll not be shaken,

with Christ in His place.

He’s always present,

the choice is all mine;

to truly trust Him,

be whom He designed.

I keep my eyes on the Lord. With Him at my right hand, I will not be shaken. – (Psalm 16:8, NIV)

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that when we keep our eyes on You, we remember that You are with us, always. Thank You that You remain close by our side, whether we are aware or not. Thank You that in You, we will not be shaken, nor defeated, as You have already overcome every obstacle we face. Forgive us for our fearfulness and our stubborn independence that seeks solutions on our own. Teach us to trust You more, so that we would ALWAYS remember that You are with us – IMMEDIATELY, rather than after a bit of struggling. Lead us to love others in such a way, that we might be Your hands, heart and voice to those who do not yet know You. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we remember how very near You are as we keep our eyes on You. May we walk boldly where You lead, knowing that we will not be shaken with You by our side. 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