Through the Valleys and Highest Peaks

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)

We know that in everything God works for the good of those who love Him. These are the people God chose, because that was His plan. – (Romans 8:28, ERV)

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)

 

This is the truth. Though the things we walk through may not be good, God can bring good out of our experiences. He will take our difficulties and direct our steps, demonstrating to us, just how much strength that He has deposited within our hearts for such a time as this. Things we might have never noticed before, suddenly become significant and beautiful beyond what our human heart can hold.

Yesterday, I was able to plug into my church and run media, experiencing Sunday in a way that felt “normal” for the first time in a month. There is something significant about being present as our worship team warms up and runs through the songs, then witnessing the wonderful unfolding of what God has in store, in two services. The two never unfold exactly alike, and there are always morsels of the message that I can carry with me into the week, that often come back to mind in moments when the message aligns with what lies before me. It is the great unfolding of His plan, as we invest in the truth of His word. We are not promised an easy or pain-free life, but we are promised that He will never leave us nor forsake us; and He is able to work ALL THINGS toward something good. God truly does bring beauty from ashes when we allow Him in. My own life is a living testament of His faithfulness. So many times, the places of trial or heartache became the greatest sources of strength, victory and grace. God is always good, and I know He is bringing even more beauty to the life He created for my mom.

Mom enjoyed a balance of time with Megan’s family, therapies, rest, and Mark and me even were able to sneak over and surprise her for a hug and quick visit, before trading off with Meg’s fellas. It is a joy to hear the perspective of both Scott and Mark, (Meg and my spouses), as they have had large gaps in between visits with mom, so they see giant leaps in her progress, rather than the day-to-day victories that my sister and I witness. Both of our guys cannot contain their joy as they speak of the change they see in mom. Each has been instrumental in my sister’s and my ability to be with mom every day. If not for them holding down the fort and running the households back home, we would not be able to be here. May we ever remain confident in He who is able to use ALL THINGS for good, and continue to trust in Him for every step of this uncharted journey.

 

Beauty from ashes, 0515190557_hdr3238003239624041706.jpg

Great hope from despair;

Our most holy God,

Hears every prayer.

He’ll never forsake,

Nor leave us alone;

He sees all our needs,

And we each are known.

Trust that He is good,

His plan, purposeful;

Beauty from ashes,

A life meaningful.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You work all things out for good for those who love You. Thank You that even though the circumstances or struggles are not good, You bring good from the process. Thank You that You are God and we are not. Forgive us for the times that we are too blinded by our own hurt or struggle to see how You are working for our good in the midst of it. Teach us to trust You more, as You are far greater that anything that stands before us. Show us how to love those around us as we walk through the valleys and climb the highest peaks. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we trust You and praise You for the beauty You bring from ashes, and watch in anticipation for all that is yet to come. Amen.

 

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

 

…To bestow on them a crown of beauty instead of ashes, the oil of joy instead of mourning, and a garment of praise instead of a spirit of despair… – Isaiah 61:3

Always He is Good

Surely Your 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, NIV)

Yes, goodness and faithful love will pursue me all the days of my life, and I will live in the Lord’s house as long as I live. – (Psalm 23:6, CEB)

So why would I fear the future? For Your goodness and love pursue me all the days of my life. Then afterward, when my life is through, I’ll return to Your glorious presence to be forever with You! – (Psalm 23:6, TPT)

 

God is good all the time and His love endures forever. It is amazing in this season of blessing to look back, as I can so clearly see His goodness and love, and how He has been with me through it all. On the hard days, He held me up, and on the good days, He blessed me with His peace. As wonderful as the blessings can be in the here and now, they are but a whisper of what is yet to come. The hope we hold in the Lord’s presence for all eternity, far exceeds the good we experience in the present. May we ever continue to seek and trust the Lord, as His goodness and faithful love will be present all the days of our lives.

 

No matter what comes, The Endowment of Early Mornings

Hope ever shall be;

Held fast in my heart,

God’s blessings for me.

For when times are tough,

The Lord will uphold;

And when things are good,

His grace we behold.

In all things, choose seek,

The Lord, who is love;

He’s strength in weakness,

All good from above.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You for Your goodness and grace that bless and uphold us now, and for the hope we hold in You, forever. Thank You that no matter what lies before us in the here and now, our eternity with You is beyond what we could imagine. Forgive us for not holding fast to an eternal perspective when we walk through seasons of both struggle and those of strength. Help us to see Your strength in our struggles and Your goodness in times of blessing. Teach us to trust You in all things. Show us how to love those around us in a way that offers strength, hope and love. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we trust in You forever and hold fast to our eternal hope. Amen.

 

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

 

May our Lord Jesus Christ himself and God our Father, who loved us and by His grace gave us eternal encouragement and good hope, encourage your hearts and strengthen you in every good deed and word. – 2 Thessalonians 2:16-17

Wedding Photo Preview

Yesterday, we were blessed to receive a plethora of photos from our early morning photo shoot on our wedding day. We are over-the-moon with how they turned out, as each shot captures our heart for one another and the way in which we love and enjoy each other. Rather than my usual writing, I thought I would share this joy with you before I head to my oral surgery appointment this morning.

Can you tell how much love

Lifted kiss

Laughter by the rock

Smiling fields

*Photos are by Dee Jones of Open Door Photography

By day the Lord directs His love, at night His song is with me – a prayer to the God of my life. – Psalm 42:8

Dear Heavenly Father, we thank You and praise You that You direct Your love and that Your song is with us wherever we go. I am so grateful for the blessings You have granted in my life, and am trusting You to go before me and remain with me in the unknown. Teach us to trust You in all things and forgive us for our fearfulness in the unknown. Show us how to love relentlessly, especially those who are most difficult to love. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we receive Your love and listen to Your song in our hearts. Amen.

Promise to Save

“For I am with you and will save you,” says the Lord. – (Jeremiah 30:11a, NLT)

I am with you and will rescue you, declares the Lord. – (Jeremiah 30:11a, CEB)

For I am with you to save you, declares the Lord. – (Jeremiah 30:11a, ESV)

 

When I am with people and my mind is occupied, I am in a reasonably good space, considering I am not allowed to do the very things I long to do the most. However, in the quiet moments, when I am alone, I find fear and anxiety try to find a foothold, as I become acutely aware of my own mortality and the potentially ticking time bomb that is currently calling a vein deep in my calf, home. I know that not one of us knows the number of our days, nor have we been given any sort of guarantee nor shelf life. However, I do know that this verse in Jeremiah is a great reminder this morning, as God is with me, and He will save me from this season in His time. For whatever reason, it is a road that I have to currently walk. I do not know if it is to learn patience, perseverance, or to simply be shown in an even greater capacity, how He remains present through all things. Whatever the reason, I will keep fixing my eyes on the reality that He is with me and that He is present to save. May we set our hearts and minds on the truth and trust in the Lord who is mighty to save.

 

Allow not the fear, Ready to Rescue

To find a way in;

For God is present,

He fights from within.

Ready to rescue,

The Lord’s ever near;

Let anxiousness go,

As He calms all fear.

Rise up in His strength,

Keep moving, be brave;

For God is with us,

He’s mighty to save.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You are with us and You save us. Thank You that Your presence preserves and strengthens us as we keep pressing forward. Forgive us for our fears and anxiety over the unknown, as lack of faith fuels these things. Teach us to trust You more, for You have promised to be with us, always. Show us how to hold fast to Your promised presence, so that we will walk boldly into all that You ask of us. Lead us to love others in Your strength, so that we would encourage and support those around us well. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we trust in Your presence and Your promise to save. 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

Answers in Love

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

Answer me, Lord, from the goodness of Your faithful love. Out of Your great kindness turn to me and help me! – (Psalm 69:16, ERV)

Now answer me, God, because You love me; Let me see You great mercy full-face. – (Psalm 69:16, MSG)

 

God’s mercy and grace are always at the ready, because of His great love for us. Yesterday was one of those days where I was acutely aware of His goodness and faithful love for me. The morning was a bit of a rough start with a sick kiddo at home, students were very much out of sort, and news of disease destroying bodies of dear ones, could have set the day for complete disaster. Thankfully, in His kindness, God was with me. Calm covered me, when chaos could have reigned. Peace was present, where turmoil tried to rise. Despite the struggles of the day, His love is what led the way. That is not to say that I did not have to pause to breathe in grace, for surely without it the day would have gone far differently. However, in the goodness of His faithful love, mercy and grace were given to me, so that I could do the same. May we ever seek the Lord and His loving kindness, as He is faithful to meet us with His mercy.

 

When chaos tries reign, 0109181835_15155887641285679451.jpg

The Lord, He is near;

Full of His mercy,

His love is made clear.

He answers each call,

In kindness, He turns;

With help, He’s ready,

As goodness is learned.

So great is His love,

That shows us His grace;

Hears each cry for help,

As we seek His face.

So call on the Lord,

He is ever near;

His love overwhelms,

As mercy’s made clear.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You answer us in Your great mercy and love when we seek You. Thank You that in Your faithfulness and kindness, You help us. Forgive us for not seeking You in our struggles, or not giving You proper praise for the help You provide. Teach us to trust You more, as You are our help and our hope, and faithful forever. Show us how to extend the very same kindness, love and mercy that we’ve been given to those around us, that we’ve been given by You. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we seek You to receive mercy because of Your goodness and faithful love, so that we may offer the same to others. Amen.

 

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

 

Your righteousness reaches to the skies, O God, You who have done great things. Who, O God, is like You? – Psalm 71:19

Keep Nothing Back

 

Present With Me

I know the Lord is always with me. I will not be shaken, for He is right beside me. – (Psalm 16:8, NLT)

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)

He is ever present with me; at all times He goes before me. I will not live in fear or abandon my calling because He stands at my right hand. – (Psalm 16:8, VOICE)

 

The one thing that we can count on in life, is change. No matter how much we want the world around us to stay the same, there are variables that we cannot control, and change is inevitable. Often the change that we fear the most, challenges us and grows us the most. If we remember who goes before us and is present with us, regardless of what lies ahead, we will not be shaken to the point of no return. Some of the most beautiful transformations take place in dark and uncomfortable spaces. Incredibly, what emerges at the end of the press, is a thing of beauty, strength, and new life. God does this with us too. This new school year that lies before me is full of change. We have new administrators, many new staff members, and I will be in a new teaching position. I am not necessarily fearful, but am a bit reluctant, as I know not what lies ahead in this unknown. What I have to remember is who goes before me, and why I do what I do. May we ever trust the Lord and His presence in the places and spaces that we are called to walk, knowing that He will go before us and never leave us, even in the new and unknown.

 

The Lord is with me, Present With Me

Wherever I go;

He goes before me,

This truth, I do know.

He’ll stay by my side,

No matter what comes;

I need never fear,

All battles, He’s won.

Let us choose rise up,

In faith, move ahead;

Answer all He asks,

Do all He has said.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You are always with us. Thank You that we will not be shaken because You will remain beside us. Forgive us for our fears or for the moments we move away from that which we’ve been called to do. Teach us how to trust You and Your presence more. Show us how to love those around us in a way that strengthens and encourages others to be all that You have made them to be. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we go forth without fear, trusting Your presence every step that we take. 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

Seek to Know

God looks down from heaven on the entire human race; He looks to see if anyone is truly wise, if anyone seeks God. – (Psalm 53:2, NLT)

From heaven the one True God examines the earth to see if any understand the big picture, if any seek to know the true God. – (Psalm 53:2, VOICE)

God looks down from heaven to see if there is anyone who is wise, anyone who looks to Him for help. – (Psalm 53:2, ERV)

 

The Lord is not looking for those who “have it all together” and think that they know all the answers that they need to navigate life well, but rather He desires the hearts of those who earnestly seek Him. As we come to recognize our own need for the Lord and His help, wisdom comes our way. It is only in knowing our need for God that we desperately desire more and more of Him. Incredibly, as we seek Him, we find Him, and He is faithful to answer all that we ask. Answers may not appear the way we would anticipate, but His ways are higher than our ways, and His plans are always best. May we ever seek the Lord and His help, as we come to know our own need for His hand in our lives.

 

God’s ever seeking,Beside Still Waters

Those who seek Him too;

Hearts longing for help,

To know what is true.

As we choose to search,

We always shall find;

The Lord’s path made plain,

It is His design.

Wisdom is granted,

To all those who seek;

God shows us the way,

He’s faithful to speak.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that as we seek You, You are already available and waiting for us. Thank You that wisdom is found by those who seek Your will and Your way. Forgive us for not always seeking You. Teach us to trust You more, as You alone hold the answers to all of our questions. Show us how to walk out our faith in love, so that we love those around us well. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we seek to know You well, as all wisdom and understanding come from You. 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

Choosing Strength and Courage

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)

 

As I prepare to depart for a four-day conference in Denver, this is an excellent reminder. Though I am not necessarily feeling fearful, I am a bit uneasy, as I venture into the unknown. Being away from my boys while I fly several states away, and tackling new training for a job that I want to do to the best of my ability, are triggers for a bit of nervousness. I know that God will go before me, be with me, and will be with my boys, but it is still an unknown. Strength and courage come as we choose to trust, so I must choose to trust this day anew. May we each hold the truth in our hearts as the new lies before us. Not only are we called to trust, but He commands us to be strong and courageous in Him. The Lord does not ask of us anything that He will not also equip us to do. Let us go forth in His strength and courage today.

 

With courage and strength,Compassion in Confrontations

Choose trust in the Lord;

For He’s always near,

With grace to afford.

Whatever we need,

The Lord freely gives;

To help and to guide,

So in Him, we live.

As our God commands,

Be strong and be brave;

The Lord’s ever near,

And by grace, He saves.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that we need not be afraid nor discouraged in You. Thank You that You command us to be strong and courageous – not in our own strength, but in Yours. Thank You that You are with us wherever we go. Forgive us for our fearfulness and lack of faith. Teach us to trust You more, as You go before us and make a way where we are uncertain or afraid. Show us how to love others well, so that they too might find their strength and courage in You. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we choose to be strong and courageous because You are with 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

Day and Night He Loves to Life

But each day the Lord pours His unfailing love upon me, and through each night I sing His songs, praying to God who gives me life. – (Psalm 42:8, NLT)

By day the Lord commands His faithful love; by night His song is with me – a prayer to the God of my life. – (Psalm 42:8, CEB)

Yet in the light of day, the Eternal shows me His love. When night settles in and all is dark, He keeps me company – His soothing song, a prayerful melody to the True God of my life. – (Psalm 42:8, VOICE)

 

God’s love for us is not limited. He does not operate on a time clock, nor does He only make Himself available during certain hours of the day. The love of the Lord is being poured out upon us, day and night. When we prayerfully seek Him, He meets us in the moment – to comfort us and remind us of His presence and the hope that we have in Him. The more we seek Him, the more readily His songs rise up within our hearts, and go out to Him in prayer. His faithful love soothes even the weariest of souls, and we are never truly alone when we have the Lord in our lives. May we turn to Christ in prayer, and rest in Him as He pours His unfailing love upon us and soothes us with His sweet songs of life.

 

The love of the Lord,Bold and Unhindered

shall never fail us;

for both day and night,

the Lord hears requests.

As we pray to Him,

He soothes us with song;

grants life unto us,

hope for our life long.

When all things seem dark,

the Lord’s love is light;

that chases away,

all that is not right.

For He is our God,

Who hears each heart cry;

He loves us to life,

and peace He supplies.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You pour out Your unfailing love upon us each new day. Thank You that Your love is not limited to certain times of the day, but day and night – always – You are available and listening, present and willing to meet us in our place of need. Thank You that our prayers are met with Your comfort, and that Your songs soothe the weariest of souls. Thank You that You give us life everlasting in You. Forgive us for placing limits upon You, as if You were a mere man, rather than the Most Holy God, who sees, hears and knows what we need before we even ask. Teach us to trust You more, so that we would come to You in all things and at all times, confident that You will meet us in our moments, as You are always faithful. Show us how to love others in a way that brings comfort and encouragement, just as You comfort and encourage us. May many find hope and life everlasting in You. Be glorified O God, as we seek You and sing Your songs, as You grant us life. Amen.

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

He will yet fill your mouth with laughter and your lips with shouts of joy. – Job 8:21

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