Blessing Beyond the Valley

When they walk through the Valley of Weeping, it will become a place of refreshing springs. – (Psalm 84:6a, ERV)

Even when their paths wind through the dark valley of tears, they dig deep to find a pleasant pool where others find only pain. – (Psalm 84:6a, TPT)

When they walk through the Valley of Weeping, it will become a place of springs where pools of blessing and refreshment collect after rains! – (Psalm 84:6, TLB)

 

The Valley of Weeping is a space I avoid like the plague. I fight and fend off the opportunity for ocular malfunction as if my life depended on it, until I can fight no more. Eventually, the dam breaks and I must succumb to whatever is weighing heavily on my heart. Incredibly, God meets me where I am, and provides comfort and refreshment in ways that go beyond what I would hope or imagine. My most recent source of sorrow has been wrapped up in the injury to my leg and that which it is preventing me from safely doing. The biggest disappointment came when it was determined that it would be dangerous for me to fly to Utah with my team for the game this weekend against our toughest opponent. It was a double hit, as not only did I want to be present to support my team, but I have dearly loved family that live in the same city that I was looking forward to seeing. God in His loving kindness, has blessed me with a man who treasures me and lovingly holds my heart. When he realized how hard this loss was going to be for me, he stepped in and planned a weekend escape to the coast for us. My heart could not have been held more tenderly. The ocean is my sacred space, and there is no place on earth that I feel more at peace nor am as deeply in awe of our Creator, as when I set foot on the sand and watch the waves crash before me.  God knew what I needed and He blessed me with one who loves me as I was designed to be loved. May we ever hold fast to our hope in the Lord through our valleys, for even in our sorrows and disappointments, He makes way to bless our hearts and bring refreshment to remind us of His nearness and care for us, individually.

 

In valleys of tears, wp-15237115979951399911556.jpg

Do not be afraid;

God sees and He hears,

Beside us, He’ll stay.

Where sorrow once reigned,

Refreshment will come;

His presence remains,

’til each day is done.

The place that was dark,

Shall soon see His light;

His love will set spark,

As blessings delight.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You love us so much that You walk beside us through our valleys, and You bring blessing and refreshment where there has been sorrow and pain. Forgive us for fixing our eyes on the darkness that lies before us, rather than the light that You ignite within. Teach us to trust You more when we are in the valleys, as You are always faithful to remain present. Thank You that You bring blessing and refreshment out of spaces where sorrow once reigned. Show us how to love those around us in a way that blesses and refreshes and holds up those who feel stuck in valleys. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we rely on Your refreshment and give You praise for all of our days for Your faithful presence, always. Amen.

 

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

God has brought me laughter, and everyone who hears about this will laugh with me. – Genesis 21:6

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

Fifteen

Children are a gift from the Lord; they are a reward from Him. – (Psalm 127:3, NLT)

 

There is no truer statement to be made, as my children are one of the greatest gifts that God has given unto me. To be blessed with two happy, healthy, tender-hearted, intelligent, kind young men is a treasure that fills my heart to overflowing. Fifteen years ago, both of my babies took their first breath. Though they came ahead of schedule and needed assistance as their lungs developed, even then, the Lord used their lives to teach me more of who He is and about His faithfulness as a loving Father. Throughout each age and stage, these treasures have helped me gain understanding about unconditional love, and the beauty of childlike faith. Today, as they journey toward adulthood, it is a joy to continue to watch what God does in and through them, as well as learning my own lessons of new levels of letting go and trusting more. May we each recognize and remember that children truly are a gift from God, and that it is a privilege to be trusted to raise them well.

 

Children are a gift,fifteen

A treasure from God;

They make His heart known,

Among His “ta-da‘s”.

May we each embrace,

Those in our own care;

Help us love them well,

So they are prepared.

Ready to rise up,

Go forth as You call;

Lead us as we love,

Lord, please bless them all.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You for the incredible gift that You give to us through children. Thank You for the blessing that my own boys are to me. Please continue to bless and protect them as they walk out the second half of their teen years. May they ever pursue Your heart and Your will for their lives. Forgive us for not recognizing the great gift that You have given us through the next generation. Teach us to trust and rely on You to love and lead them well, so that You will be glorified and given proper praise. Show us how to love those around us, especially the kids who are challenging to love. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we appreciate the great gift You give us through our children, and may we honor You by loving them well. Amen.

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

Let us then approach the throne of grace with confidence, so that we may receive mercy. – Hebrews 4:16

Our Hope and Confidence

But blessed are those who trust in the Lord and have made the Lord their hope and confidence. – (Jeremiah 17:7, NLT)

 

Yesterday, was bittersweet. I was blessed with the opportunity to take a day away from work to go and visit my ninety-seven-year-old grandmother, who has been a constant source of encouragement my entire life. Despite her deteriorating condition caused by colon cancer, and the evident pain that she was fighting against, she remained pleasant and in good cheer, as she shared wisdom, history and humor laced in love, as only she does. Her ability to smile through the pain is a direct result of her trust and hope in the Lord. She knows where she is going, so fear is far from her. The treasures I will hold from our time are her confidence and countenance that come from Christ. Her example to me continues, even in these late days of life. Though there is joy in knowing that she will be set free from pain and disease, there is also some sorrow in the idea that this amazing matriarch will no longer be present to love and laugh with here on earth. May we each place our trust in the Lord, so that our hope and confidence can come from Him alone. For it is in this space of trust, that freedom is truly found.

 

Most blessed are those,our-hope-and-confidence

Who trust in the Lord;

Whose hope is in Him,

Let each heart adore.

For confidence comes,

From the Lord alone;

Future is certain,

As His love’s made known.

May we choose to place,

Our entire lives;

In Christ’s loving hands,

’til our end arrives.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You for the precious examples of people whom You place in our lives to show us what it is to truly trust in You. Thank You for the beautiful blessing of my Grandmother. Thank You that her hope and confidence is in You. Please keep suffering far from her, and Your peace and presence tangible. Forgive us for not trusting You with everything, as You alone are the One whom determines the outcome of all of our days. Teach us to trust You more, so that our hope and confidence will be held in You. Show us how to love others in a way that makes hope tangible and attainable to all. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we trust You, and make You our hope and confidence for all of our days. Amen.

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

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

Our Good, Good Father

Since we are receiving a Kingdom that is unshakable, let us be thankful and please God by worshiping Him with holy fear and awe. – (Hebrews 12:28, NLT)

 

Our inheritance from our Heavenly Father is the only inheritance that lasts. Though our earthly fathers may pass on good things – be it morals, life lessons, or monetary treasures – not one compares to that of the salvation and eternal hope that is held in the hands of our Heavenly Father. As so many rightly celebrate earthly fathers today, may we not forget our Heavenly Father, as it is through Him that we have light and life and hope forever. May we worship the Lord with all that we are, and give Him thanks for the men that He has placed on our path to father us well. May the fatherless know of His love, and men of faith rise up and fill in the gaps in tangible ways.

 

All thanks be to God,Compassion in Confrontations

Our Father indeed;

He sees where we are,

And meets all our need.

Hope for the hopeless,

And light for the lost;

Freedom from our sin,

For He paid the cost.

We give You thanks too,

For the men You’ve raised;

To father us well,

O Lord, we sing praise.

God, You are so good,

And I stand in awe;

Such a good father,

Perfect, without flaw.

 

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You are our perfect Father, and You love us without limits. Thank You that no matter what sort of earthly father we have experienced – good, bad or anything in between – You are the only One who is perfect in all of Your ways and worthy of all of our praise. Forgive us for not seeing You as the ultimate Father, when earthly fathers fall short. Teach us to trust You more, so that we would recognize that all are a work in progress, and You are the one whom we are to worship in all things and at all times. Help us to love and support well, the fathers that are around us. May they come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we look to You as our good, good Father. Amen.

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

Let love and faithfulness never leave you; …write them on the tablet of your heart. – Proverbs 3:3

For a listen to a great song, Good Good Father, by Housefires, click the highlighted title. 🙂

Awe in the Unseen

Now faith is confidence in what we hope for and assurance about what we do not see. – (Hebrews 11:1, NIV)

Faith is what makes real the things we hope for. It is proof of what we cannot see. – (Hebrews 11:1, ERV)

 

This season is full of wonder. It is a joy to see through the eyes of a child. Yesterday, I had the pleasure of spending some time with my niece, who is three. She is smarter than most, yet completely child-like in her awe and wonder. Her faith in what is good is untainted, and she has high hopes for all that she cannot see. Just as she trusts that treasures will be waiting under her tree on Christmas morning, she knows that Jesus loves her and watches over she and her family. She cherishes with anticipation all that lies ahead, and firmly believes in the goodness of her family’s love. May we too have a child-like wonder in this joyous season, as we remember the reason we celebrate. May our hearts be confident in what we hope for, and assured about that which we do not see.

 

Let awe and wonder,

Awe in the Unseen

fill our hearts this year;

as we celebrate,

that Christ chose come near.

May each heart choose trust,

in the hope we hold;

faith in the unseen,

as Christ’s love unfolds.

We need simply look,

around us to see;

proof of the unseen,

to humanity.

All thanks be to God,

for hope that is found;

through Jesus, His Son,

let praises resound.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You sent Your Son from heaven to earth to make that which is unseen, seen. Thank You that through the life, death, resurrection and ascension of Jesus, we can be confident in what we hope for and have assurance about what we do not yet see. Forgive us for our fears and doubts. Teach us to trust You more, remembering all that You have done and continue to do on our behalf so that we need not fear. Show us how to cherish this season of Your arrival with anticipation, and how to love others in a way that conveys the very same sort of sacrificial love that You have given us, unto others. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we have confidence in what we hope for and assurance about what we do not see. 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

The Focus of His Affection

For me, writing is a process that involves the tactile and the tangible, not simply sitting at the computer for each step of the process. I delight in the joy of opening a new journal for the first time, knowing that it is the beginning of a new chapter of this journey that God has designed, just for me. Typically, I purchase journals well in advance, as I find them on sale. This morning, I had three waiting in line to choose from. As I reached for the one that had the most colorful cover, I discovered more treasures about it upon closer examination. Imprinted on the cover, is the verse: Take delight in the Lord, and He will give you the desires of your heart. – (Psalm 37:4) What a perfect promise to remember, as I am walking through a season of attempting to recall what exactly the desires of my heart include.

On the inside, each page is framed by a watermarked leaf pattern, and includes a quote about God or a verse.

You are God’s created beauty and the focus of His affection and delight. – Janet L. Weaver Smith

When in a season of searching and seeking, it is easy to forget how He sees us. For many of us, there is nothing beautiful about how we perceive ourselves, nor can we fathom His delight. Our brokenness can distract us from the truth that we are deliberately designed, and He delights in each of His hand-crafted kids. Just as we love and lavish our little ones with affection, His affection for us does not end. It is not limited to when we are little, as He welcomes us into His arms to be held, comforted, and encouraged, no matter our age or what we have done. He is hope and He is love. May we take delight in the Lord, and trust that He will give us the desires of our hearts, as we are His created beauty, and the focus of His affection and delight.

Delight in the Lord,The Focus of His Affection

and you’ll come to know;

desires He’s given,

and how they will grow.

He’ll open the doors,

and create the way;

more than imagined,

as we seek each day.

You are His delight,

beauty that He’s made;

and God’s affection,

aimed at You each day.

His arms open wide,

ready to embrace;

to lavish with love,

and cover with grace.

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that as we seek You and come to know You, we delight in who You are. Thank You that as we take delight in You, You begin to uncover and release the desires of our hearts. Thank You that You created each of us intentionally, and the way that we were made, You called very good. Thank You that You delight in Your children. Forgive us for not holding every human, including ourselves, in the same light as You do. Teach us to trust You more, so that we would see the beauty and blessing in everyone, through Your lens. Lead us to love others with lavish affection and delight. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be exalted O God, as we take delight in You, trust You with the desires of our hearts, and receive the focused affection and delight that You grant each of us if we are willing to slow down and receive it. 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

Storing Treasures

But store up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where moth and rust do not destroy, and where thieves do not break in and steal. For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also. – (Matthew 6:20-21)

 

Storing our treasures in heaven is really a matter of where we are investing our hearts and our resources. It is not merely a matter of money, but how too do we spend our time and our talents? Do we seek to serve God and fulfill His purposes with what we have been given, or is our agenda self-serving? If we seek to accumulate “stuff”, and squander our time and talent on that which is self-serving, our reward is only in the here and now, rather than a return that lasts for all of eternity. May we seek to serve Christ with what we have been given, and may our hearts hold fast to our heavenly treasures, rather than that which is temporary.

 

To each one of us,The Holiday of Hope

He has granted gifts;

resources to share,

down-trodden to lift.

What we choose to do,

with what He’s given;

determines what’s stored,

treasures in heaven.

No one can destroy,

what’s given in grace;

the Lord’s light won’t dim,

as we seek His face.

May we invest well,

all that is growing;

so many may come,

into a knowing.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You have created each of us with gifts and talents that can be used to honor You. Thank You that all that we have can be trusted in Your care, and utilized for Your glory. Forgive us for allowing our hearts to treasure anything that is not of eternal value, and help us to hold fast to You, so that our heart will treasure that which lasts forever. Teach us to trust You more, so that we will not limit our investments in Your Kingdom, but rather that we would be willing to be obedient however You ask us to give. Lead us to love in such a way, that Your light is made evident through each of us. May many come to know Your saving grace as we seek to invest all that we are and all that we have, into that which is eternal. Be glorified, O God, as we operate in obedience in how we invest the gifts that You have granted. Amen.

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

Father, I thank You that You have heard me. – John 11:41

Wanting the World for Our Children

Then the mother of Zebedee’s sons came to Jesus with her sons and, kneeling down, asked a favor of Him.

“What is it you want?” He asked.

She said, “Grant that one of these two sons of mine may sit at your right and the other at the left in your kingdom.”

– (Matthew 20:20-21)

 

As a mom, I can understand the motivation that was driving Zebedee’s wife’s question. She wanted assurance that her boys would be secure and established not only now, but in Christ’s kingdom, forever. Though the question was a bit over the top, the heart that had the audacity to ask, was one of a mama who wanted the very best for her boys.

 

Based on the response that Jesus gave, our charge as parents to help establish security for our children, is to teach them to have a heart to serve Him, rather than to pursue recognition. If we keep in mind that our children are not our own, but rather are a precious gift from God, granted for a tender time to raise in the way that He calls them, and then are meant to be released to go forth to pursue whatever path He has placed before them, we may continually be in a space of lifting them up before Him. Our prayers do not go void, and our children never stop being our kids.

 

Faithful the love,Wanting the World for Our Children

of a mother’s heart;

seeks to provide,

safety from the start.

The greatest gift,

granted as they grow;

roots deep in Christ,

so His path, they’ll know.

Lead them in love,

show a heart that serves;

quick to forgive,

give praise that’s deserved.

Not in our strength,

but clearly in His;

faith, hope and love,

great blessings He gives.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You for the treasures that children are to us. Thank You that You consider us Your children, regardless of our age or upbringing. Thank You that You are loving and full of grace, and that You provide all that we need to parent and love children well. Forgive us for our own selfish desires for our kids, and help us to submit our children wholly unto You. May Your purposes and plans for their lives come to pass. Teach us how to love and raise them in the way that they are meant to go, and help us to cover them in prayer, always. May many come to know the gift of Your goodness and grace through our precious progenies. Be glorified through the faithfulness of our families. Amen.

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

Let us then approach the throne of grace with confidence, so that we may receive mercy.

– Hebrews 4:16

 

He Hears Our Cry

“O Lord, I say to You, ‘You are my God.’ Hear, O Lord, My cry for mercy.” – (Psalm 140:6)

Yesterday afternoon, just prior to setting out for a gathering with dear friends, I learned that a gal whom I had grown up with, had lost her seventeen-year-old son. My heart filled with heaviness on her behalf, and all I could do was cry out to God, to cover she and her family with His peace and His presence in this horrific time of grief.
Too often, young lives end long before they seemingly should. These treasures that we are given from God, are cut short, leaving so many to grieve and wonder why. There is hope, despite the desperate tragedy. When we raise and instruct them in the ways that they are meant to go, the truth will be hidden in their hearts. Our ultimate hope is held in our eternal reunion. Though there is a seemingly agonizing season of separation on earth, imagine an eternity together…

When precious lives lost,Shan

young taken too soon;

hearts torn and broken,

with Christ, come commune.

He is the sweet space,

where healing begins;

He is the hope held,

as anguish extends.

Every cry heard,

that we offer up;

He’ll hold heart and hand,

and carry our cup.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You are our God, and that You hear our every cry. Thank You that You are merciful and kind, and that You are able to bring beauty from ashes and hope from despair. Forgive us for our fearfulness, and help us to place all into Your hands. Please provide Your peace and comfort to those who are in desperate spaces of despair, and move hearts and minds to surround the hurting to extend Your comfort and calm, simply by being present. May we love as You love us, and may many come to know the security and safety found in salvation in You. Be exalted in everything that we say and do. Amen.

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

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