All Together for Good

And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love Him, who have been called according to His purpose. – (Romans 8:28, NIV)

And we know that God causes everything to work together for the good of those who love God and are called according to His purpose for them. – (Romans 8:28, NLT)

We are confident that God is able to orchestrate everything to work toward something good and beautiful when we love Him and accept His invitation to live according to His plan. – (Romans 8:28, VOICE)

 

God is able to take all that we experience – every trial and triumph, each heartache and happiness, and use them together for good for those who choose to receive what He offers and walk in His ways. If we never experienced defeat, we would not appreciate the thrill of victory. If we did not know what it was to ache, we could not fully grasp the beauty and bounty of His blessings. God does not cause the struggles and trials that we face, but He does take our ashes and brings beauty for all to behold. I am in a season currently, where I am witnessing just how much beauty and blessing He ushers into the spaces that once were swallowed by sorrow. Dashed hopes have become dreams displayed for my heart to hold again, and where there was once nothing but wreckage, now resides fresh tenacity and vitality, as a new chapter of my story is being authored by He who breathes love and life and grace. May we be confident in our hope in knowing that in all things, God works for the good of those who love Him and have chosen to follow the path that He has placed before us.

 

God takes our ashes, All Together for Good

Our space of despair;

Fills them with beauty,

By His tender care.

He orchestrates all,

To work out for good;

For those who accept,

His plans as we should.

In all things, God makes,

His greatness abound;

Darkness becomes light,

And true joy is found.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You take our wreckage and return beauty and hope and good things as we trust our lives in Your hands. Thank You that though we will face trials, we can hold fast to confident hope, knowing that You will ultimately use all things for good. Forgive us for struggling to see hope when darkness seems to surround us. Teach us to trust You more, and to remember that You are the Light that dwells within us. Show us how to love those around us well, so that we may extend hope in spaces of struggle and celebrate with those in seasons of blessing. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we trust You to work all things together toward something good as we pursue the path that You have placed before us. Amen.

 

 

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

 

May God Almighty grant you mercy. – Genesis 43:14

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The Love That Remains

For I am convinced that neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither the present nor the future, nor any powers, neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord. – (Romans 8:38-39, NIV)

Yes, I am sure that nothing can separate us from God’s love – not death, life, angels, or ruling spirits. I am sure that nothing now, nothing in the future, no powers, nothing above us or nothing below us – nothing in the whole created world – will ever be able to separate us from the love God has shown us in Christ Jesus our Lord. – (Romans 8:38-39, ERV)

I’m absolutely convinced that nothing – nothing living or dead, angelic or demonic, today or tomorrow, high or low, thinkable or unthinkable – absolutely nothing can get between us and God’s love because of the way that Jesus our Master has embraced us. – (Romans 8:38-39, MSG)

 

These are incredibly powerful words of declaration, meant to remind and encourage each of us of just how vast the love of God is for us all. No matter where we go, no matter what we do, God loves us in spite of ourselves. We have the choice to receive or reject His love, but His love remains. The closest comparison I can come up with is the love I have for my children. My love for them is not situational, circumstantial, nor dependent on whether or not they receive and give love in return – I love them because they are mine. If we in our broken humanity have the capacity to love those whom He has gifted us to love, how much more does He who is love, love us in spite of ourselves? When we slow down and are ready to receive that which He offers freely, the depth and breadth of His love surrounds and overwhelms. May we each choose to receive that which God offers to each of us, as His love shall always remain.

 

There isn’t a thing, The Love That Remains

Created on earth;

That can take away,

Our infinite worth.

Because we are God’s,

Made by His own hand;

His love shall remain,

Forever will stand.

No height nor great depth,

For there is nothing;

That can take away,

The love that God brings.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that Your love for us is not dependent on our circumstances, surroundings or on what we do or do not do. Thank You that You love us because we are Yours. Thank You that Your love is ready to receive for all who choose to call on Your Name. Forgive us for rejecting what You freely offer and teach us to trust You more. Show us how to love others with the same tenacity that You have as You love each of us. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we praise You for Your love that never ends and seek to go and love likewise. Amen.

 

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

 

Dear children, let us not love with words or speech but with actions and in truth. – 1 John 3:18

Green Meadows & Peaceful Streams

The Lord is my shepherd; I have all that I need. He lets me rest in green meadows; He leads me beside peaceful streams. He renews my strength. He guides me along right paths, bringing honor to His Name. – (Psalm 23:1-3, NLT)

God, my shepherd! I don’t need a thing. You have bedded me down in lush meadows, You find me quiet pools to drink from. True to Your word, You let me catch my breath and send me in the right direction. – (Psalm 23:1-3, MSG)

 

I never cease to be amazed at how God does this. Green meadows and peaceful streams look different for everyone. Yesterday, my meadow and stream arrived in the form of sunshine after weeks of rain, order, in an annual task that is typically chaotic, and two separate sessions with two different circles of dear friends of laughing to the point of near tears. By the time I went to bed last night, my heart felt light, despite the long, and at times, heavy week, and I slept soundly. This morning, I feel as if I have caught my breath again, and can march forward through today, as this is the final push of the week. Rather than grueling ahead with grit and grace, my forward momentum is rather refreshed for a Friday. May we never stop seeking the Lord and His sweet rest, for He provides peace and replenishes our tenacity to persevere on the path to which we have been called.

 

God is my shepherd,Green Meadows

I don’t need a thing;

For He knows my heart,

True peace He shall bring.

The Lord, He supplies,

New strength and His rest;

He shows us the way,

That is always best.

Drink deep from the streams,

And rest in the peace;

For here we’re renewed,

As burdens release.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You are our Shepherd and that in You, we have all that we need. Thank You that You lead us to quiet places of rest and restoration, so that our strength is renewed and our resolve returns to keep running the race that You have placed before us. Forgive us for not slowing down long enough to listen for Your voice, and help us to be intentional, even in our busiest seasons. Teach us to trust You more, so that we set aside time to seek You, and to be in fellowship with those that You have placed in our lives with purpose. Show us how to love others well, so that we may help extend Your peace and restoration to those whom we encounter. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we rest in Your green meadows and sit beside Your peaceful streams. May we ever bring honor to Your Name. Amen.

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

They will celebrate Your abundant goodness and joyfully sing of Your righteousness. – Psalm 145:7

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.