Love Made Evident

For this is the message you heard from the beginning: We should love one another. – (1 John 3:11, NIV)

The central truth – the one you have heard from the beginning of your faith – is that we must love one another. – (1 John 3:11, VOICE)

The beautiful message you’ve heard right from the start is that we should walk in self-sacrificing love toward one another. – (1 John 3:11, TPT)

 

Our charge, always, is to love one another. Love makes itself known in a myriad of ways, yet a common thread in all is that love is “otherly”. It sees the needs of others first, and gives without worrying about what is received in return. I am beyond blessed to receive such love from family, friends and colleagues. Currently, my husband and I are on a Valentine’s Escape weekend in San Francisco. It was my joy to plan our escape with him knowing nothing of where we were headed. He worked eleven days straight, prior to our departure, as his job requires him to keep all city vehicles running and in good repair. The demands of his skill set grew exponentially as our entire state attempted to keep roads drivable with the triple hit of heavy snowfall. Yesterday, the first day of our getaway, was at long last an opportunity for rest. We were able to balance exploring with relaxing, and last night, both of us slept more than eight full hours. All this to say, he woke up and began making breakfast for both of us. Despite his exhaustion and this vacation being meant as a break for him, he continues to choose to love and serve, rather than sit back. Love works hard and chooses to act on behalf of others, even when rest is desired. May we ever seek to love and serve as Christ has done for us, so that our words and deeds make His love evident to all.

 

To love is a choice,

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My love and dear cousins who drove into the city to visit while we are in town. ❤

We all have to make;

To freely choose give,

Instead of just take.

Love chooses to see,

The needs of others;

Reach out and give grace,

One to another.

May we persevere,

And give love away;

For that is how peace,

Comes in hearts to stay.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You call us to love. Thank You for the incredible examples of people who love well that You have placed in my life. Forgive us for the times that we have not chosen love as our first response. Teach us to turn to You in trust, to lead and guide us in how we are meant to love like You. Show us how to love those around us in practical ways that clearly communicate a love like Yours. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we choose to love others as You have loved us. Amen.

 

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

 

The Lord is compassionate and gracious, slow to anger, abounding in love. – Psalm 103:8

Strength Through Freshly Fallen Snow

I love You, Lord, my strength.  – (Psalm 18:1, NIV)

I love You, Lord! You are my strength. – (Psalm 18:1, ERV)

I love You, Eternal One, source of my power. – (Psalm 18:1, VOICE)

 

God knows what we need, when we need it most. Last evening, as the Superbowl was being played, snowflakes began to fall outside of our living room window. It seemed to be just a whisper of snow at first, as the weather wavered back and forth between rain and snow. By the time the game had ended, the snow was beginning to stick to the grass, trees and cars parked outside. A delayed start would shorten my day, and provide a bit more time for me to rest. I woke multiple times in the night, courtesy of my lovely cough, and at 1:00 am, glanced at my phone to check the time. To my surprise, there was a text alert that our district had determined a two-hour delayed start time. Not only am I blessed by the beauty of a blanket of newly fallen snow covering everything outdoors, but I am strengthened knowing that I have a shorter day and a bit more time to rest. God is so good, and His love grants us the strength that we need. May we ever seek the Lord to be our strength in all things and at all times.

 

I love You, Lord God, 02041904352271528042305942502.jpg

You grant me Your strength;

To overcome all,

Each height and each length.

For You are faithful,

No matter what comes;

Your promised presence,

‘til each day is done.

May we ever know,

The help You’ve given;

Your strength, love and grace,

Equip right living.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You for Your overwhelming love that strengthens us in all things. Thank You for Your grace that surrounds us like freshly fallen snow. Forgive us for concerning ourselves with worry about how things will work out, for You are for us, not against us. Show us how to love those around us in a way that builds strength and hope where it is absent. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. We love You Lord, and are so grateful for the help that You provide. Be glorified O God, as we give You praise for the wondrous ways You strengthen us when we need it most. Amen.

 

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

 

As the rain and snow come down from heaven, and do not return to it without watering the earth and making it bud and flourish, so that it yields seed for the sower and bread for the eater.  – Isaiah 55:10

Rejoicing Over Rest

Therefore, my heart is glad and my tongue rejoices; my body will rest secure. – (Psalm 16:9, NIV)

I’m happy from the inside out, and from the outside in, I’m firmly formed. – (Psalm 16:9, MSG)

This is a good life – my heart is glad, my soul is full of joy, and my body is at rest. Who could want for more? – (Psalm 16:9, VOICE)

As I woke with my mind leaning toward rest, with a bonus hour and a half of sleep this morning, I determined to see where I was to go with the thought. Yesterday was an extended day, with the intention of making student-led conferences possible for all families. Though a long day, it was good, and the reward that follows is a short day today, and a three-day weekend, providing plenty of opportunity for real rest. The sort of rest that refreshes my soul may not sound restful, but long runs with my best running buddy, time celebrating my best friend’s birthday, loads of family time, and time with my church family, are all blessings that await me this weekend and make my heart glad. Knowing that rest is coming provides room to remember all of the reasons that I am grateful for the good that God has granted. May we take time to find joy in the little things, the sweet blessings He bestows upon us through the people He has placed in our lives.

 

My heart will find joy,img_2018-11-09_06-09-462423785359695814316.jpg

And my body rest;

Who could ask for more,

As my life is blessed.

Blessed well with people,

To walk along side;

Who listen and love,

In whom I confide.

All thanks be to God,

From whom blessings flow;

Who grants us each rest,

The good things we know.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You for the blessings You bestow upon us. Thank You for Your rest that restores our joy and reminds us of what matters most. Forgive us for not seeking You when we are weary. Teach us to trust You more, as You supply all that we need and are the joy within us, no matter what surrounds us. Show us how to love those around us in a way that blesses, encourages and provides rest where it is needed most. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we give You praise for providing the rest we need when we need it most. Amen.

 

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

 

Yes, my soul, find rest in God; my hope comes from Him. – Psalm 62:5

Empowered to Love

For the Spirit God gave us does not make us timid, but gives us power, love and self-discipline. – (2 Timothy 1:7, NIV)

The Spirit of God does not make us afraid. His Spirit is a source of power and love and self-control. – (2 Timothy 1:7, ERV)

For the Holy Spirit, God’s gift, does not want you to be afraid of people, but to be wise and strong, and to love them and enjoy being with them. – (2 Timothy 1:7, TLB)

 

This morning, though earlier than my summer schedule, I woke feeling rested and refreshed. Normally, the night before the first day of school is a bit restless, and I struggle to sleep through the night. Perhaps sweet sleep came as a result of long hours invested in preparing my classroom over the last several weeks, with the final push to finish yesterday. Though I do not yet have chairs (hopefully stools) in my classroom, I walked away from school yesterday afternoon, feeling ready to pour into the lives of the kids who come into my class, just as I had poured into preparing the room. Additionally, I feel supported more than I ever have before. Not only do I still have an incredible community – through colleagues, friends, family and church, but I have a husband who is willing to jump in and do the difficult work and provide whatever support I may need. God loves me well, and makes His love tangible through my community. As I am loved, so I am empowered to do the same. May this be a year where each of us are empowered to love and enjoy those whom we are given to teach, fearlessly.

 

We’ve not been given,

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My classroom and favorite painting partner. ❤

A spirit of fear;

For God, in His strength,

Loves as He stays near.

He provides power,

Strength, wisdom and love;

Discipline, passion,

All grace from above.

Lead us in power,

Fearless to love well;

May joy be present,

As doubts He’ll dispel.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You equip us for all that You call us to do. Thank You that You empower us with strength, love and self-discipline to walk in Your way. Forgive us for our fearfulness and doubts, as You are our Source and our Supply. Teach us to trust You more, so that we would love fearlessly and listen carefully as You lead. Show us how to love those who seem less loveable, as we know You are especially fond of the hard and the hurting. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we love and enjoy each one whom You bring into our care. Amen.

 

 

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

Never tire of loyalty and kindness. Hold these virtues tightly. Write them deep within your heart. – Proverbs 3:3

To Rest and Recharge

Yes, my soul, find rest in God; my hope comes from Him. – (Psalm 62:5, NIV)

Oh, I must find rest in God only, because my hope comes from Him! – (Psalm 62:5, CEB)

Let all that I am wait quietly before God, for my hope is in Him. – (Psalm 62:5, NLT)

 

Yesterday was an unusual day for me. Though I easily woke at the typical time, the more I moved around, the more I became aware of my own weariness from my lack of sleep the night prior. After doing my devotional reading, and even determining which verse stood out to me, I was struggling to stay alert as my fingers kept missing the keys they were aiming for on the keyboard. Thinking perhaps a shower would help, I set aside finishing my reflecting and writing, and went downstairs. However, after that, my head felt heavy, and all I wanted to do was lie down; so, I did. At first, I thought a short “power nap” would do, but soon discovered that my body really needed real rest. What I realized is that He was providing me time to recharge, as God did not demand that I finish writing, and that He was ready to grant me the rest needed if I would only slow down and just rest. The extra hour plus of sleep that I gained yesterday morning carried me through a full day of meetings, followed by a long union meeting in a hot high school gym to learn about and vote upon our newly proposed teaching contract. The vote was ratified and our district is pleased to have a nearly unanimous “Yes” vote on the new three-year contract. I went to sleep easily, knowing that hope in Him and the rest I’d found had carried me through a day that would have otherwise been difficult. May we ever seek the Lord to be our rest, for our hope comes from Him alone.

 

When weariness comes,

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Photo by Dee Jones of Open Door Photography ❤

We need to find rest;

In Christ, choose recharge,

For His grace is best.

The Source of all hope,

On God we depend;

As His love for us,

Does not know an end.

So, ever choose seek,

The Lord God above;

Our hope and our rest,

He grants us in love.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You for Your amazing faithfulness and love. Thank You that You see us and know us, and are ever ready to grant us the rest and hope that we need. Forgive us for not slowing down to recognize our own spaces of need or for neglecting to seek You. Teach us to trust You more, as You are our grantor of hope and rest. Show us how to love those around us in a way that provides the help and hope that is needed to lighten hearts and loads, and ultimately draw people unto You. May many come into a lasting relationship with You, Lord. Be glorified O God, as we find our rest in You, our holder of hope. Amen.

 

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

 

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

Let Us Rejoice and Be Glad

This is the day the Lord has made. Let us rejoice and be happy today! – (Psalm 118:24 ERV)

This is the day the Lord has made. We will rejoice and be glad in it. – (Psalm 118:24, TLB)

This is very day of the Lord that brings gladness and joy, filling our hearts with glee. – (Psalm 118:24, TPT) 

 

This particular day that the Lord has made provides tremendous reason to rejoice! After months of waiting and imagining what the day would be like, today is the day. Though I set my alarm for 5:00 am, I woke, with this verse on my heart, at about 3:40 am. I rose full of joy at the realization that this is the day on which I wed the one whom God has provided to love and be loved by well. After an incredible evening of loved ones gathering to dine and rehearse for today, my heart is overflowing with gladness and joy, as I have seen and known His faithfulness that brought us to this day. We will have our “first look” at 6:00 am, as my dear friend and photographer explained the glory of the morning’s early light for photos. After our hearts are captured and recorded, there will be much time to rest and relax prior to preparations for the ceremony this evening. God has blessed us with family that we would choose as friends and friends whom we consider family. No matter how the day unfolds, I have reason to rejoice, as I will become the wife of my tender-hearted Viking. May we each rise with a thankful heart, recognizing that each new day is a gift from God and holds countless reasons to rejoice.

 

This is a great day, wp-1532171212517484228603887301688.jpg

Which the Lord has made;

Full of glad reasons,

To praise the Lord’s Name.

Joy that’s unending,

Because of His grace;

Sweet love descending,

As we seek His face.

Let us choose rejoice,

In all He has done;

All thanks be to God,

O great, Holy One.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You for this day and all that it holds. Thank You for the countless reasons that we have to rejoice. Thank You for Your incredible gift of redemption and the way in which You bring beauty from ashes and hope from despair. Forgive us for not rising with gratitude each day, for each new day is a gift with reason to be glad for who You are and all that You have done. Teach us to rise with hearts full of praise, as we rejoice in Your love throughout all our days. Show us how to love those around us with hearts that rejoice at the goodness You grant us with each breath that we take. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we celebrate Your goodness and faithfulness, both today and forevermore. Amen.

 

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

 

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

Faithful Answers

You faithfully answer our prayers with awesome deeds, O God our Savior. – (Psalm 65:5a, NLT)

God, You answer our prayers and do what is right. You do amazing things to save us. – (Psalm 65:5a, ERV)

You leave us breathless when Your awesome works answer us by putting everything right. – (Psalm 65:5a, VOICE)

Yesterday morning began in a hurried panic. My boys and I were supposed to be up and out the door by 3:30am to get to the airport by 4:00am for departure for their school music tour to San Francisco. My alarm sounded first at 2:45, and I have a vague recollection of glancing at the screen and rapidly pressing the dismiss option, knowing that there would be a second alarm ten minutes later. At 2:55, as the second alarm debuted, I think I thought I hit snooze, but actually pressed dismiss again. Perhaps the combination of not returning home from football practice until close to ten and staying up until nearly midnight helping the boys finish packing, had pushed me to the point of exhaustion. After what felt like a few minutes, I woke, looked at the clock in a daze, read 4:30, and realized in a panic that we were already thirty minutes late! I ran through the house to wake the boys and hustle them out the door, scrambling to get luggage loaded as I called out a quick checklist for the boys. We rushed out the door and I had them at the airport drop off curb by 5:00am. I gave them specific instructions of where to go to check-in their bags and line up for the security check-through, informing them that I would wait in the cell phone lot, just in case, until I heard that they were checked in, through security, and on their way. Sadly, about twenty minutes later, I received a series of anxious calls from both them and their music director. The boys had missed the bag check-in deadline by two minutes and their director was not allowed to permit them to take a later flight by themselves, due to liability issues, so I had to go pick them back up. Though sleep-deprived and frazzled, my mind was in solution-mode. My first go-to was to call mom as I drove to see if she could look up later flights and if she knew anyone who might have a “buddy pass”. Within five minutes of returning home, I had a call into the principal of their school, a call back from mom with a later flight that had two seats available that she went ahead and booked, (as the airline only charged a minimal fee for the flight change), and I determined that I would go straight to the district office to sign some sort of release of liability paperwork to get my boys where they needed to be. We were in and out of the district office in fifteen minutes, and on our way to the airport where the boys were able to make their flight and then reconnect with their group, having only missed a tour of Alcatraz. All throughout, there were some serious prayers being audibly offered. My boys may or may not have thought I was a bit loony as I prayed aloud for each step we took. However, they were witness to doors opening rapidly, and ways being made, when we had been told by their music director that it was impossible. God is faithful to meet us, even in the seemingly small things. He moves mightily on our behalf and shows us His power where we have none. May we ever seek the Lord in all things, for He is faithful to answer our prayers with His awesome deeds.

 

Faithful to answer,

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The Lord God, He hears;

He opens the way,

As He is so near.

When all seems but lost,

God’s presence remains;

He’ll lead and He’ll guide,

He makes our path plain.

So, trust in the Lord,

In faith, call on Him;

His love makes wrongs right,

When invited in.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You for Your faithfulness to hear us when we call on You. Thank You for the way that You are faithful to answer, in ways that we would not have imagined. Thank You that You care about all things – great and small. Forgive us for trying to navigate difficulties on our own rather than seeking You, our Source and Supply. Teach us to trust You more, as You do amazing things as we call on Your Name. Show us how to love those around us in ways that demonstrate Your faithfulness. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we seek You for answers and give You praise for Your faithfulness forever. 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

You Make Me Strong

I love You, Lord; You are my strength. – (Psalm 18:1, NLT)

Lord, how I love You! For You have done such tremendous things for me. – (Psalm 18:1, TLB)

I love You, God – You make me strong. – (Psalm 18:1, MSG)

 

Though I am quite sad to have missed practice last night, I know that the rest my body received as a result, has made a difference. This morning as I woke, my throat no longer hurt, and I know that the sleep that was desperately needed, was granted at last. I appreciate how God uses the people whom we trust most, to be the voice of reason. Both my fiancée and best friend worked in cahoots to convince me to stay home and rest. His love surrounds me, and His strength renews me. Gratitude and love flood my heart and mind, as I think of the tremendous things He has done for me. Not only in these small things to get through each day when I am fighting sickness, but throughout my life, as He has been my strength for all of my days. The Lord is good, and I am grateful. May we ever seek the Lord, who is our strength, and tell Him of the love we have for Him who provides and guides throughout all of our days.

 

I love You, O Lord,

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For all You have done;

The strength that You give,

The battles You’ve won.

Your grace and Your love,

Make me strong enough;

To rise and press on,

When life seems too tough.

All love and all thanks,

I lift unto You;

As You make me strong,

By Your grace and truth.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You are our strength and You do tremendous things for us. Lord we love You and give You all honor and praise. Forgive us for not seeking You to be our strength in our need. Teach us to trust You more, as You show us the way we are meant to go and empower us to do all that You ask. Show us how to love those around us in the same way that You love each of us. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we love You with our lives and praise You for the strength that You grow in us each new day. Amen.

 

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

 

Shout aloud and sing for joy. – Isaiah 12:6

Finding New Strength

But those who trust in the Lord will find new strength. They will soar high on wings like eagles. They will run and not grow weary. They will walk and not grow faint. – (Isaiah 40:31, NLT)

But those who trust in the Lord will become strong again. They will be like eagles that grow new feathers. They will run and not get weak. They will walk and not get tired. – (Isaiah 40:31, ERV)

 

Today is the first day that I did not have to set an alarm since last August. I first woke at 1:30, as I had already slept nearly four hours and my body thought it was time to wake. After reminding myself that no alarm was needed and that I could sleep as long as my body would allow, I drifted off again until 6:15 a.m. In one night, I nearly doubled my average number of hours slept. This is the season in which my strength is restored, and my body and mind are renewed. Though I am sustained and strengthened for all that God calls me to do during the school year, I am so grateful for this season of refreshing, where I actually find myself being made new. May we each trust in the Lord to be our strength, as He grants us wings to soar. As we fly where He calls, we will run and not grow weary; walk and not grow faint.

 

As I give my trust, strength-in-waiting

To the Lord of all;

He takes me to heights,

On my own, I’d fall.

But God in His grace,

Grants us strength to soar;

To rise and press on,

In Him, so much more.

Like eagles, we’ll rise,

With feathers anew;

We’ll walk, run and fly,

God will lead us through.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that when we trust in You, You renew our strength and help us to soar. Thank You that You strengthen us so that we can run and not grow weary, walk and not grow faint. Thank You that You equip us to do whatever You call us to do. Forgive us for folding in our weariness, or for lacking faith in spaces where we need to trust You more. Teach us to trust You with all that we are, so that we will come to know the capacity of Your grace and strength and goodness that is given when we place our lives in Your hands. Show us how to love those around us in a way that refreshes and renews the weary. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we trust in You to find our strength and soar to new spaces, as we are refreshed and renewed in 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

Good and Faithful Forever

Give thanks to the Lord, for He is good! His faithful love endures forever. – (1 Chronicles 16:34, NLT)

Give thanks to the Lord because He is good. His faithful love will last forever. – (1 Chronicles 16:34, ERV)

 

This morning, though I woke easily to my alarm, my heart did not feel prepared to return to my regular routine. So much was packed into the four-day weekend, that no real rest was had and I found myself longing for Christmas break. As the above passage appeared as the verse of the day on my Bible app on my phone, I had a bit of an attitude adjustment. Though I am still very much looking forward to a longer break, I am so grateful for the abundant blessings that He poured out upon me over the past four days. My boys and I were kept safe as we traveled a few hundred miles south to my sister’s home to celebrate Thanksgiving, and had an uneventful drive home. I am grateful for the fantastic family time that we had together, and know how blessed we were to be able to spend time. God’s goodness continued to be poured out upon us as we spent our entire Saturday gathering with dear friends. Sunday was filled with our church family and the typical necessary preparations for the coming week. The Lord’s faithful love was made evident through the hands and hearts of all of those with whom we gathered. My heart is full and I am thankful for God’s goodness that lasts forever. May we slow down and recognize the goodness of God that is all around us, and give thanks to Him whose faithful love endures forever.

 

Let our hearts give thanks,Enter With Thanksgiving

Because God is good;

His love always lasts,

Our hope understood.

When life is busy,

Take pause and slow down;

We need remember,

Where our peace is found.

All thanks to the Lord,

For love that endures;

No matter what comes,

In Him, hope’s secure.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You are good and that Your faithful love lasts forever. Thank You that You bless us and keep us and remain with us, no matter what lies before us. Forgive us for our lack of gratitude for the things that You have done. Teach us to have hearts full of thanks and praise, regardless of what is presented before us. Help us to trust You more, so that we would remember that Your goodness and faithfulness remain forever, no matter what we see. Show us how to love others with goodness and faithfulness, just as we are loved by You. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we give You thanks because You are good and faithful forever. Amen.

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

Let the heavens rejoice, let the earth be glad. – 1 Chronicles 16:31