Countless Expressions of Love

Many, Lord my God, are the wonders You have done, the things You planned for us. None can compare with You; were I to speak and tell of Your deeds, they would be too many to declare. – (Psalm 40:5, NIV)

Lord my God, You have done many amazing things! You have made great plans for us – too many to list. I could talk on and on about them, because there are too many to count. – (Psalm 40:5, ERV)

O Lord, our God, no one can compare with You. Such wonderful works and miracles are all found with You! And You think of us all the time with Your countless expressions of love – far exceeding our expectations! – (Psalm 40:5, TPT)

 

Whenever I pause to reflect on the wonders God has done, I stand in awe of the love and faithfulness He has shown me. As a visual learner, I have a tremendous appreciation for tangible reminders of God’s faithfulness – be it in writing, some sort of visual or the imagining of the altars of stone that were made so long ago to commemorate God faithfully seeing His people through a variety of challenges. Saturday, I had a tangible visual placed in my daily sight line, as a reminder of all that He has done. “The dragonfly has been a symbol of happiness, new beginnings and change for many centuries. The dragonfly means hope, change and love.” (- Why the Dragonfly) For me, in my life, this is the epitome of what God has done in my life. Knowing the symbolism behind the dragonfly, I have been gently reminded of His faithfulness to me at some incredibly pivotal times over the last few years. It seemed everywhere I went, I would see beautifully colorful dragonflies; overseas, out of state, and locally. After life took a turn that I had never imagined, God walked me through and brought me to a place of change, happiness and new beginnings. Where hope had been dashed, it was renewed. Where love had been lost, it has been gifted to me in ways I never thought possible. God works wonderful miracles in ways we would never think possible. His blessings far exceed what we would hope for when we trust in Him. May we ever seek the Lord and give thanks for the wonders He has done, for none can compare to the Lord.

 

God’s great faithfulness, fb_img_15485608179591346201081960421969.jpg

To none can compare;

Wherever we are,

God will meet us there.

In the deepest depths,

Or on mountain top;

His love, unfailing,

Grace that will not stop.

Beyond all His love,

His blessings abound;

Our Grantor of hope,

Where new life is found.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You for Your goodness and grace and Your unending faithfulness throughout all our days. Thank You that no matter what comes, You are faithful to be with and see us through in ways far greater than we could have thought possible. Forgive us for losing sight of who You are and how You love, when we are in the heat of our own battles. Teach us to trust You more and continue to show us tangible reminders of Your goodness and faithfulness throughout all our days. Show us how to love those around us, according to Your good and perfect will. May we be a blessing that is an extension of Your hands and heart to those in need of Your touch. May many come into a lasting relationship with You.  Be glorified O God, as we give praise for who You are and how You love, and remember the new that You bring us into. Amen.

 

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

 

Guide me in Your truth and teach me, for You are God my Savior, and my hope is in You all day long. – Psalm 25:5

Beholding New Blessings

Praise the Lord, my soul; all my inmost being, praise His holy name. Praise the Lord, my soul, and forget not all His benefits. – (Psalm 103:1-2, NIV) 

My soul, praise the Lord! Every part of me, praise His holy name! My soul, praise the Lord and never forget how kind He is! – (Psalm 103:1-2, ERV) 

O my soul, bless God. From head to toe, I’ll bless His holy name! O my soul, bless God, don’t forget a single blessing! – (Psalm 103:1-2, MSG) 

 

This morning, after perusing Facebook while my coffee was brewing, I discovered the story I have watched unfold over the last five years through countless runs (that we affectionately call therapy sessions), poured out with complete honesty and zero ill intent, as my dear friend commemorated in writing, her journey to freedom through faith and forgiveness. Her story and my own, though different, had some common threads that ultimately led to a similar outcome. This story tells of one dream being destroyed, while tremendous blessings of God’s faithfulness tenderly delivered she and her children into an incredible new chapter, with many more blessings yet to unfold. These verses, written by David, are amazingly appropriate as my heart responds with joy and praise for all of His faithfulness and blessings poured out over the past several years. The freedom, goodness and grace received are remarkably evident. Though the story seems to be one of extreme heartache, the other side of it holds dreams realized and hopes restored and made far greater than one could begin to imagine. God is faithful, even on our darkest nights, as His light comes and reveals the truth, hope and good that are meant to remain. May we hold fast to God and His grace, ever praising Him for every blessing He pours out upon us as we choose to allow Him room to lead. 

 

With all of my heart, 385ace51-24e7-416b-8430-0515506705ec7822422687448967530.jpg

I choose bless Your name; 

For You are the One, 

Who does what He claims. 

You take our heartache, 

Darkness and despair; 

And lead to freedom, 

In Your tender care. 

Where hope seems but dashed, 

You mend and renew; 

Your blessings poured out, 

As we trust in You. 

All thanks be to God, 

Whose faithful indeed; 

He loves us to life, 

And meets all our need. 

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You turn stories of darkness and despair into ones of healing and hope and beautiful blessings. Thank You that You turn our ashes into beautiful stories of Your redemption and grace. Forgive us for our times of fear and doubt, as You alone are the One to work all things out. Teach us to trust You in every season and circumstance, as You have a far greater plan that our limited understanding can grasp. Show us how to love those around us well, as You use our stories of struggle to illuminate, encourage and bless those who are in their own spaces of darkness. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we bless You with all of our being for the hope, goodness and promise that You have for us all. Amen.

 

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

 

(God) who redeems your life from the pit and crowns you with love and compassion, who satisfies your desires with good things so that your youth is renewed like the eagle’s. – Psalm 103:4-5

 

*Click on “This story” as highlighted in the text to read the story to which I am referring.

Lifting Up Those Who Lead

First of all, I ask that you pray for all people. Ask God to bless them and give them what they need. And give thanks. You should pray for rulers and for all who have authority. Pray for these leaders so that we can live quiet and peaceful lives – lives full of devotion to God and respect for Him. This is good and pleases God our Savior. – (1 Timothy 2:1-3, ERV)

The first thing I want you to do is pray. Pray every way you know how, for everyone you know. Pray especially for rulers and their governments to rule well so we can be quietly about our business of living simply, in humble contemplation. This is the way our Savior God wants us to live. – (1 Timothy 2:1-3, MSG)

Most of all, I’m writing to encourage you to pray with gratitude to God. Pray for all men with all forms of prayers and requests as you intercede with intense passion. And pray for every political leader and representative, so that we would be able to live tranquil, undisturbed lives, as we worship the awe-inspiring God with pure hearts. It is pleasing to our Savior to pray for them. – (1 Timothy 2:1-3, TPT)

 

The charge we are given in this passage is clear, we are meant to pray for people – for blessings, provisions, and with gratitude; especially for those who are in leadership positions. It does not qualify the call to pray based on whether or not we like or agree with the person in the position. Rather, we are called to pray with purpose so that we might live quiet and peaceful lives. In the wake of being flooded by campaigns that brought out the worst in people, I cannot think of a more important call. Our political views ought not determine our obedience to that which we are asked. Every person who has been placed in a position of authority will need wisdom and grace to lead well. Whether I agree with elected officials or not, I am called to pray. Imagine what the nation could be like if our first thought was to pray for our leaders, rather than to criticize? This is not to say that we ought to stand idly by when there is injustice or wrong-doing, but in the day-to-day, we need to pray for each person who is in a position that represents the people for the people. May we look to the Lord and present our petitions before Him, seeking Him for wisdom and blessing so that we may live in peace.

 

We are called to pray, All Together for Good

For everyone;

The people who lead,

Let us seek the Son.

His wisdom and grace,

Are needed by all;

And provide the peace,

His love does install.

Let us choose to pray,

For all those who lead;

May wisdom find way,

And fulfill each need.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You call us to pray for people not only around us, but those who are chosen to represent us in leadership – be it in our city, state or our nation. Forgive us for forgetting the very thing that we are called to do, as prayer leads to peace. Teach us to trust You more, so that we would lift up our leaders, asking You to bless them with wisdom to lead well. Show us how to love those around us well, so that those who are in positions of authority over us feel supported and encouraged. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Please bless those who rise to lead with Your wisdom and strength. Be glorified O God, as we lift up people and leaders before You, asking that You bless them with wisdom and strength, trusting that You will answer and grant us peace. Amen.

 

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

 

I call on You, my God, for You will answer me; turn Your ear to me and hear my prayer. – Psalm 17:6

Giving Thanks

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

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

Give thanks to God – He is good and His love never quits. – (1 Chronicles 16:34, MSG)

 

After a bit more than a week away, my heart is overflowing with gratitude to God for His goodness and love. His faithfulness was evident throughout, and the work of His hands that we were blessed to witness, have left me further in awe of who God is and how He loves. At first, I had intended to continue writing while away on our honeymoon, but with spotty wifi service and a heart led to let go and just take in all that was before me, I took the longest break from writing that I have had in more than eight years. His grace covered my heart and set me free to just be in the moment. The Caribbean holds incredible beauty, and it was humbling to be out at sea with no land in sight for a few days.  Our overwhelming sentiment was awe at the vastness of creation and how little of it most are ever able to witness. God is good and His love never ends. May we give Him thanks for who He is and how He loves forever.

 

So great is His love, wp-15335618508844399711459607615907.jpg

It’s easy to see;

All of creation,

Testifies beauty.

All thanks be to God,

For love and for grace;

For light, life and love,

Found in His embrace.

Such treasure is found,

In eternal love;

All thanks unto Him,

Our Father above.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You for Your loving kindness and blessings that You pour out upon us. Thank You for the incredible work of Your hands. Forgive us for not taking in the beauty and blessings that are all around us. Teach us to see Your hand in all things, and have hearts full of thanks for Your unending love. Show us how to love well, all those whom You have placed in our path. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we give You praise all of our days for Your eternal love. Amen.

 

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

 

Now, our God, we give You thanks, and praise Your glorious name. – 1 Chronicles 29:13

 

 

The Power of Praise and Worship

Let the message of Christ dwell among you richly as you teach and admonish one another with all wisdom through psalms, hymns, and songs from the Spirit, singing to God with gratitude in your hearts. – (Colossians 3:16, NIV)

Let the teaching of Christ live inside you richly. Use all wisdom to teach and counsel each other. Sing psalms, hymns and spiritual songs with thankfulness in your hearts to God. – (Colossians 3:16, ERV)

Remember what Christ taught, and let His words enrich your lives and make you wise; teach them to each other and sing them out in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing to the Lord with thankful hearts. – (Colossians 3:16, TLB)

 

On Sunday, a friend of mine, who happens to be our worship pastor, appropriately spoke about the power of praise and worship. She gave several examples in scripture where it specifically calls us to praise and worship. Next, she defined praise as the expression of admiration, thanks, appreciation and approval for all that God has done. Worship, she explained was an attitude of the heart that should be reserved for God alone; the surrendering of every part of our lives to God’s control. As I went about my day yesterday, I mulled over the words she had spoken. I was intentional in my music selection as I went about my day, both driving and when I slowed down to work on a seated task. The three main benefits found in worship and praise are: 1) It realigns our focus on God. 2) It increases our awareness of God’s presence. 3) It pushes back darkness.

For me, I found all three to be true, as I had discovered myself frustrated and in a less than stellar space having spent the morning cleaning, only to happen upon sugar ants in my kitchen cupboards. After having cleaned out and throwing away many things, I left to spend time in our new home. While seated on the couch writing thank you notes, I selected some of my favorite praise and worship music to listen to. In the process of writing out notes of gratitude and hearing lyrics that gave God glory, my irritation was erased and I found thankfulness overflowing from my heart. The simple act of writing out thanks with music that set my heart right, realigned my focus on the blessings that God has granted, made me aware of His love for me, and pushed back the darkness that had attempted make way through my frustration. God is good and He is faithful to meet us and set our hearts right as we seek Him. May we ever offer our praise to He alone who is worthy, allowing our every breath and heartbeat to worship our Maker.

 

Let all that we know, The Power of Praise and Worship

Of Christ come and dwell;

In our hearts and minds,

As our lives shall tell.

Tell of His goodness,

Sing of His great grace;

With thanks, choose worship,

Both now and always.

For songs sung to God,

With hearts fixed on Him;

Chase away darkness,

And let His light in.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You for the gift of praise and worship. Thank You that we are called to do both. Thank You that as we do, our hearts are realigned and we become more aware of You. Thank You that worship and praise push back darkness and allow Your light to fill us again. Forgive us for allowing the chaos and challenges to avert our focus from You. Teach us to trust You more, so that we would rise with a song in our hearts, reminding us of the goodness of Your love and Your power within us as we praise You. Show us how to love those around us as we walk out our days as an offering of praise and worship unto You. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we give You all of our praise with hearts set to worship You forever. Amen.

 

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

 

Therefore I will praise You, Lord, among the nations; I will sing the praises of Your Name. – 2 Samuel 22:50

 

 

Loving the Next Generation

Start children off on the way they should go, and even when they are old they will not turn from it. – (Proverbs 22:6, NIV)

Teach children in a way that fits their needs, and even when they are old, they will not leave the right path. – (Proverbs 22:6, ERV)

Point your kids in the right direction – when they’re old they won’t be lost. – (Proverbs 22:6, MSG)

 

This verse is a powerful reminder of my purpose; not only with my own children, but in my classroom each day. My role as a classroom teacher goes beyond the curriculum that I am asked to deliver. If I can meet kids where they are, and help them know that they matter, the learning that takes place is far more significant than the reading and writing that is required. I know in my own life, there were people, teachers, youth leaders, my mom, my grandmother, and various other family and friends, who greatly impacted the path on which I chose to travel. Their words often echoed in my mind as I reached crossroads, and aided me in choosing wisely, when I could have decided differently. Each of the voices that spoke to my heart had met me in a way that fit my own need, individually, and made an impact that has lasted a lifetime. We are able and called to do the same. May we love the next generation by meeting them where they are, and pointing them in the direction that they are meant to go.

 

Help us to teach kids, 1506783915220

The ways they’re to go;

Meet each in their need,

So Your path’s made known.

When we’re shown what’s right,

Through love on our way;

We’re drawn to follow,

On the right path stay.

Let us show our kids,

The right way to go;

So when they’re older,

They will always know.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that when children are started off in the right direction, You are faithful to continue to call them to remain close to You. Thank You that though educators are not in a role to spiritually lead students, we have the ability to meet kids where they are in a way that fits their need, and help them know that they are valued, loved, and capable of great things. Forgive us for not investing enough into pointing kids in the right direction, as each future has eternal value. Teach us to turn to You for wisdom as to how we can love best, each young person that You place in our lives. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we point kids in the right direction, trusting You to keep them close as they grow older. Amen.

 

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

 

He who refreshes others will himself be refreshed. – Proverbs 11:25

Beyond Routine – There is Rest

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)

 

As an individual who thrives on routine, particularly the one by which I begin each day, it has been a strange few days of breaking that which is customary. For forty-eight hours, I have essentially unplugged. I have not begun the last two mornings with my quiet time, coffee and writing, nor have I even had my phone readily nearby. We had a short window of time to travel to my mom’s home on the other side of the mountains, visit with her, my sister, brother-in-law, and nephews, and catch up with friends who came and camped out in mom’s backyard. It was a time of connecting and rest. No schedules, no agenda, yet the little time we had was packed with laughter, fun, and relaxation. In a place where the evidence of His hand is astounding, I found rest in the peaceful space of being surrounded by loved ones in a place that is a sort of sanctuary for my soul. Though it was not my intention, I am quite certain that it was as God intended, as a brand-new school year is set to begin tomorrow with staff, and on Wednesday with students. The spaces in my soul that felt uneasy and a bit anxious about what this new year may hold, seem to have faded away. My hope is restored and my resolve strengthened, as I prepare for what lies ahead. May we ever embrace the rest the Lord offers, remembering that He knows best how to recharge and restore the spaces within us that require His rest.

 

Wherever He leads, Beyond Routine There is Rest

May my heart choose go;

A break from routine,

For what’s best, God knows.

Sometimes there is rest,

When we choose slow down;

Do as the Lord leads,

It’s where peace is found.

As we are recharged,

Our hope is restored;

All thanks be to God,

Whom our hearts adore.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that sometimes rest is found in the breaking of routine, even when the routine is good. Thank You that people are Your priority, and when we do the same, we are blessed in ways we might not have expected. Thank You that You provide renewed hope in the spaces of rest. Forgive us for not slowing down to rest in You, however You ask us to rest. Teach us to trust You more, so that we would recognize the remarkable ways that You grant us new hope as we rest in You. Show us how to love those around us in a way that provides hope and encourages rest in spaces where it is needed most. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as our souls find rest in You and You fill us with Your hope anew. 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 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

Grace Where We Are

God gave these four young men the wisdom and ability to learn many different kinds of writing and science. Daniel could also understand all kinds of visions and dreams. – (Daniel 1:17, ERV)

 

Despite having been captured and taken into the possession of a foreign king, Daniel and his three friends placed their trust in God. Because they were faithful to follow God’s leading, He granted them favor and wisdom above all others who had been brought into captivity by the king of Babylon. Though I have heard the story of Daniel many times, it dawned on me this morning how much trust he must have had in God to do the things he did after having been captured and removed from all that he had ever known. Daniel did not volunteer to go and serve Nebuchadnezzar, but rather the king’s army had surrounded Jerusalem and carried him off to Babylon. It was likely violent and hostile, yet somehow, Daniel had the peace of God upon him, as he earned the favor of those in whose care he was placed. For me, this is a reminder of how much God moves when we are willing to trust Him. In spite of the less than ideal circumstances, Daniel was faithful. As a result of Daniel’s obedient trust, God honored and blessed him, despite his location and position. May we ever trust the Lord and be faithful to follow Him, for He can bless us and grow us even in spaces we’d rather not remain.

 

When we choose to trust,Enter With Thanksgiving

Despite what we see;

God will do wonders,

He hears our heart’s plea.

Sometimes His help comes,

Right here where we are;

So we can rise up,

Show His grace, thus far.

When we stay faithful,

His presence is known;

For He’ll move mountains,

So His love is shown.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that when we place our trust in You, You meet us where we are and make Your presence known. Thank You that though You do not always remove us from situations and circumstances that we would like out of, You meet us where we are and provide what we need to thrive in spite of them. Forgive us for our frustration when we feel stuck. Teach us to trust You more, so that we would ask for Your help and Your hope, and the wisdom to understand if we are meant to remain in a space or season of discomfort or not. Show us how to love those around us well, so that we encourage, strengthen and lift up those who feel stuck. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we trust in You, no matter what our circumstances or surroundings, as we know You are greater. Amen.

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

He who refreshes others will himself be refreshed. – Proverbs 11:25

Seeking in the Specifics

And whatever you do or say, do it as a representative of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks through Him to God the Father. – (Colossians 3:17, NLT)

Let every detail in your lives – words, actions, whatever – be done in the name of the Master, Jesus, thanking God the Father every step of the way. – (Colossians 3:17, MSG)

Surely, no matter what you are doing (speaking, writing, or working), do it all in the name of Jesus our Master, sending thanks through Him to God our Father. – (Colossians 3:17, VOICE)

 

If we truly think about everything we say and do being a representation of Jesus to those around us, our approach changes in how we interact with others and operate throughout our day. Often, the only Jesus that people see is that which we present through how we live our lives. Are we propelled from a place of gratitude that gives glimpses of God’s glory, or do we grumble and withhold grace? Thankfully, we all are a work in progress. God does not expect us to get it right every moment of every day. We are called to seek Him, and pursue a life lived according to His purpose. As we walk it out, our words and deeds become more aligned with His. The more we recognize the loving kindness and grace that God has given us, the easier it becomes to do likewise with those around us. May we give God thanks for all that He has done, and pursue a life lived like His Son.

 

Let each word spoken,Forgiveness is Free

And every deed;

Be done unto God,

Planting faithful seed.

For where there is love,

And undeserved grace;

Gratitude rises,

For sweet is such space.

Our words and actions,

Opportunity;

To let Christ’s light shine,

And His grace set free.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that when we invite You to be Lord of our lives, You are with us and influence all that we say and do. Thank You that You empower and equip us to follow You as You call us to do. Forgive us for not honoring You with all that we do and say. Teach us to trust and rely on You more, so that we would give You all of ourselves, withholding nothing from You. Show us how to allow You to lead us where we struggle to give You the reigns. Guide our words and actions so that we love those around us in a way that shows Your goodness and grace. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we seek to allow You to guide all that we say and do, so that all is done unto You. Amen.

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

May God be gracious to us and bless us and make His face shine upon us. – Psalm 67:1