May Love Unite Us

Therefore if you have any encouragement from being united with Christ, if any comfort from His love, if any common sharing in the Spirit, if any tenderness and compassion, then make my joy complete by being like-minded, having the same love, being one in spirit and of one mind. – (Philippians 2:1-2, NIV)

Think about what we have in Christ: the encouragement He has brought us, the comfort of His love, our sharing in His Spirit, and the mercy and kindness He has shown us. If you enjoy these blessings, then do what will make my joy complete: Agree with each other, and show your love for each other. Be united in your goals and in the way you think. – (Philippians 2:1-2, ERV)

Look at how much encouragement you’ve found in your relationship with the Anointed One! You are filled to overflowing with His comforting love. You have experienced a deepening friendship with the Holy Spirit and have felt His tender affection and mercy. So I’m asking you, my friends, that you be joined together in perfect unity – with one heart, one passion, and united in one love. Walk together with one harmonious purpose and you will fill my heart with unbounded joy. – (Philippians 2:1-2, TPT)

Paul’s exhortation to the church of Philippi is still applicable and relevant to us today. If we know and understand the love, comfort, mercy and kindness that God has shown us, then we ought to go and do likewise. As we do, we are united in purpose. It does not mean we have to see the world through the same lens, nor have the same opinion about things, rather, it is a matter of us choosing to love one another as the priority. When we do, we discover unity and harmony in the relationships around us. Such things bring joy to all. May we ever look to the Lord and recognize His overwhelming kindness, love and mercy, so that we too, can choose to love as we are loved by Christ.

Choose be encouraged,

By mercy and grace;

Let love overflow,

From seeking His face.

For all that is good,

Comes down from above;

Love, mercy and grace,

Because God is love.

Love that’s unending,

Kindness that’s made new;

Fresh each new morning,

May all know the truth.

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You flood our hearts with Your love, kindness and grace as we trust in You and seek You face. Forgive us for the times that we have not given out of the overflow of all that You have given us. Teach us to trust You more to lead us to love like You. Show us how in each situation and circumstance that we encounter. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we seek You to show us how to love and encourage best, so that love may unite us all. Amen.

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

My goal is that they may be encouraged in heart and united in love, so that they may have the full riches of complete understanding, in order that they may know the mystery of God, namely, Christ. – Colossians 2:2

Together in Peace

Finally, all of you, be like-minded, be sympathetic, love one another, be compassionate and humble. – (1 Peter 3:8, NIV)

So all of you should live together in peace. Try to understand each other. Love each other like brothers and sisters. Be kind and humble. – (1 Peter 3:8, ERV)

Now, this is the goal: to live in harmony with one another and demonstrate affectionate love, sympathy, and kindness toward other believers. Let humility describe who you are as you dearly love one another. – (1 Peter 3:8, TPT)

Imagine what our nation would be like if we all attempted to live this way. It has to start small, and then spread outward. I love that the directive is not simply given and then just dropped. There is a clear explanation of how to make it happen. To live together in peace, we must first try to understand each other. As we actively seek to do so, we are loving each other as sisters and brothers. Additionally, kindness and humility break down barriers and remove walls that keep harmony out. Though it is a seemingly monumental task, if we begin in our own homes, our workspaces, and as we engage in our communities, we are contributing to peace, rather than dissent. May we ever seek the Lord for strength and perseverance to seek to understand one another in love, with kindness and humility, so that we may love as was intended and live in harmony with one another.

We’re all called to peace,

The result of love;

True understanding,

That’s graced from above.

When we are humble,

And choose to be kind;

Anger is diffused,

And love is aligned.

Lord, help us to seek,

To love each other;

Bring peace among us,

As sisters, brothers.

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You call us to live in peace with one another. Thank You that You do not simply call or command it, but rather You give us clear and practical ways to bring harmony into our communities. Forgive us for the times that we have neglected to operate out of love. Teach us how to ever seek to understand, so that we may humbly extend kindness and treat all as beloved sisters and brothers. Show us how to love one another well, as clearly You created us for community. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we seek You to lead us in love to live in peace with each other. Amen.

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

But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, forbearance, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control. Against such things there is no law. – Galatians 5:22-23

Beautiful Strength and Help

I lift my eyes to the mountains – where does my help come from? My help comes from the Lord, the Maker of heaven and earth. – (Psalm 121:1-2, NIV)

I look up to the hills, but where will my help really come from? My help will come from the Lord, the Creator of heaven and earth. – (Psalm 121:1-2, ERV)

I look up to the mountains; does my strength come from mountains? No, my strength comes from God, who made heaven and earth, and mountains. – (Psalm 121:1-2, MSG)

It is no wonder that when my eyes take in the beauty all around us, that I am reminded again and again of the power, creativity and love that God had as He created all. The very same God who made the mountains and seas, stars and skies, is available and willing to love and help us, if only we allow Him in. I am so grateful that the same power that formed all with His hands, is near and ever helping and holding us up. May we look to the mountains and the stars, and recognize that the same power that made everything, is available to help and hold us all.

Majestic mountains,

Sparkling the seas;

Twinkling the stars,

Show His majesty.

All were created,

Formed by the Lord’s hands;

With loving intent,

As part of His plan.

The very same God,

Of power and might;

Loves each one of us,

Our Father’s delight.

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You for the beauty of creation that reminds us of both Your power and love. Thank You that You are willing and available to help and hold us up whenever we call on You. Forgive us for the times we either try to power through on our own, or make You too small. Thank You that You are bigger than anything and everything we face. Show us how to love those around us in a way that extends strength and support to those who need it most. Be glorified O God, as we praise You for the beauty of creation and the powerful and loving hands of You, Who made all. Amen.

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

We wait in hope for the Lord, He is our help and our shield. – Psalm 33:20

The Scent of Promise

For we are to God the pleasing aroma of Christ among those who are being saved and those who are perishing. – (2 Corinthians 2:15, NIV)

Our offering to God is to be the perfume of Christ that goes out to those who are being saved and to those who are being lost. – (2 Corinthians 2:15, ERV)

In a turbulent world where people are either dying or being rescued, we are the sweet smell of the Anointed to God our Father. – (2 Corinthians 2:15, VOICE)

I love that God created us with powerful senses, and that with them, we have memories that can be recalled quickly with a whiff of a familiar smell. For example, I cannot inhale the scent of fresh fruit or baking pies without thinking fondly of my grandparents. For me, there are certain scents that immediately turn my heart to Him, as they draw me into a space of sensing His nearness. As a runner and a lover of being outdoors, every spring, (and sometimes again in the summer) I anticipate the sweet scent of English Laurels in bloom all around our area. It is a smell that immediately brings praise to my heart, for there is something about it that causes me to associate the scent with the aroma of Christ. Incredibly, it is our charge to carry His sweet scent of life wherever we go. To some, it will be received and appreciated, whereas by others, it will be shunned and rejected. Our charge is to keep choosing to love and extend kindness, for that is the sweet smell of our loving Father. May we ever seek the Lord to lead us well, so that we might be the sweet scent of Christ that offers light and life and hope in spaces where they are absent.

The sweet scent of Christ,

Is hope, love and peace;

It’s promised goodness,

That will never cease.

On our darkest days,

Still He’s ever near;

The scent of promise,

That drives away fear.

Lord, help us receive,

So that we may give;

Your sweet, pleasing scent,

Hope each day we live.

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You for the gift of our senses and how You use them to help us be more aware of You. Thank You that scents can be associated with good things, and that we too, can offer the pleasing scent of Your Son to the world. Forgive us for the times that our words and actions were not a sweet scent. Teach us to bring goodness and kindness to all that we say and do, so that Your sweet scent may ring true. Show us how to love those around us best, so that they may see Your heart through our words and actions. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we praise You for the sweet scent of Christ that is all around us, and seek You to help us to operate from the overflow of Your abundant goodness and grace. Amen.

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

Accept one another, then, just as Christ accepted you, in order to bring praise to God. – Romans 15:7

United Together

How good and pleasant it is when God’s people live together in unity! – (Psalm 133:1, NIV)

Oh how wonderful, how pleasing it is when God’s people come together as one! – (Psalm 133:1, ERV)

How truly wonderful and delightful it is to see brothers and sisters living together in sweet unity! – (Psalm 133:1, TPT)

There is nothing quite so sweet as when a group of people lives, works, and goes about their days in unity. Unity does not mean that all see eye-to-eye on all things, but rather that there is mutual respect and appreciation, as all are aiming for a similar goal. If we love, respect and prefer one another, unity naturally follows. God was intentional in how we were each designed. We each have strengths and purposes that contribute to the whole when we exist in community. May we ever pursue peace as we navigate each new day with the intent to love well, so that we may walk in unity with those whom God has placed around us.

United in peace,

Surrounded in love;

God grant us the grace,

To walk well with love.

For we were designed,

To live side by side;

Shoulder to shoulder,

With God as our guide.

He shows us the way,

To live and love best;

Care for each other,

Give grace and find rest.

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You created each of us for community. Thank You that You show us how to live and love in a way that brings unity. Forgive us for the times that we have not sought to see others through Your eyes. Teach us to turn to You first, so that we may gain perspective and capacity to listen and love. Show us how to love those around us best, so that all may feel included and valued in the community. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we seek You to lead us to live and love in a way that unites and brings peace. Amen.

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

Make every effort to keep the unity of the Spirit through the bond of peace. – Ephesians 4:3

Strength and Song

But I will sing of Your strength, in the morning I will sing of Your love, for You are my fortress, my refuge in times of trouble. – (Psalm 59:16, NIV)

But I will sing about Your strength. I will rejoice in Your love every morning. You have been my place of safety, the place I can run to when troubles come. – (Psalm 59:16, ERV)

But as for me, Your strength shall be my song of joy. At each and every sunrise, my lyrics of Your love will fill the air! For You have been my glory-fortress, a stronghold in my day of distress. – (Psalm 59:16, TPT)

I am so grateful that all is new every morning. No matter what took place yesterday, last week, last month or last year, we have a fresh start each new day. Sometimes, it takes a simple change of scenery to remind us of all the good that God has provided. God knows our hearts, and blesses us with the things that remind us of His care and concern for us, individually. For me, I am very much a quality time person that craves time outdoors near water. On Saturday afternoon, my Viking and I went for a drive. We ended up in Gig Harbor, driving in sunshine and salt air, with the wind whipping through our vehicle. There is something about seeing the water, green trees, blue skies and Mount Rainier in the background that reminds me of the goodness of God. Yesterday, between church, a scooter ride, dog walking and visiting with our besties, my heart feels renewed and recharged. It is this goodness that God gives that inspires the new each morning and grants songs of praise to rise from my heart. He knows our worries, heartaches, and hopes, and provides safe space to navigate. May we ever seek the Lord, anew every morning, for He is our strength, song and space of safety.

Each morning I rise,

Photo by Lukas Rodriguez on Pexels.com

And find new again;

Your strength and Your song,

Fresh grace to begin.

You know well my heart,

How to bless, lift up;

With goodness in love,

You choose fill my cup.

For from a full heart,

I’m equipped to pour;

Your goodness and love,

To those who need more.

Lord, help me to walk,

In strength and resolve;

So I might love well,

As I have been called.

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that Your strength and song are our sources of joy. Thank You that You bless and renew our hearts as we seek You. Forgive us for allowing the weight of the world to steal the joy that You have deeply rooted within us. Teach us to trust in You and lean into You, no matter what comes our way. Show us how to rejoice in the goodness of Your loving kindness, and to give generously the love that You have overwhelmingly given to us to share with all those around us. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we praise You and depend on You to be our strength and song as each new day begins. Amen.

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

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

Blessings in Mourning

Blessed are those who mourn, for they will be comforted. – (Matthew 5:4, NIV)

Great blessings belong to those who are sad now. God will comfort them. – (Matthew 5:4, ERV)

You’re blessed when you feel you’ve lost what is most dear to you. Only then can you be embraced by the One most dear to you. – (Matthew 5:4, MSG)

One of the hardest things we face in life is loss. Though we all know that not one of us will live forever, there is always sorrow in the passing of those whom we love, especially when the loss comes far sooner than anticipated. Mourning is a challenging space for me, as I am not an external emoter. I feel deeply, yet seldom allow myself to give room for tears to escape. It is not intentional, but rather is a well-developed defense mechanism. As only God does, He has placed me in communities with loving, tender hearts, that create safe space to process however my heart needs to do so. For me, there is comfort in simply writing things down. In fact, that is often how I discover how I am actually feeling. Words in writing seem to bypass the filter in my mind and simply land on the page as they are. That being said, I guess my point is that despite my grieving in this space of loss, I am grateful for the comfort and kindness that I am blessed to have surrounding me. Additionally, the one whom my heart aches for the most, is clearly surrounded in community too. Even when life is hard, God is so good. May we ever seek the Lord in our spaces of loss and of blessing, for He loves us and provides safe space to process whatever our heart is holding.

In spaces of loss,

Where our hearts need mourn;

The Lord’s ever near,

To mend what is torn.

He blesses our hearts,

Surrounds us with peace;

Makes love tangible,

As our hearts release.

Release the heartache,

Place all in His hands;

His grace holds us up,

As we trust His plans.

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that in our spaces of loss and mourning, You come near and bless us with Your comfort. Forgive us for the times we delay in turning to You in our grief. Teach us to trust and lean on You, for You bless us with Your comfort and love in all things. Show us how to love, support and comfort those around us in the same way that You support and comfort us. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we thank You for Your blessings in our spaces of mourning, and for the communities that You place us in. Amen.

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

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

The Weight of Loss

My soul is weary with sorrow; strengthen me according to Your word. – (Psalm 119:28, NIV)

I am sad and tired. Say the word, and make me strong again. – (Psalm 119:28, ERV)

I weep with grief; my heart is heavy with sorrow; encourage and cheer me with Your words. – (Psalm 119:28, TLB)

Loss is heavy, and when it is seemingly out of the blue, it is even heavier. Yesterday, as our professional development day was about to begin, I received news that a dear friend and fellow coach in our league had died. The thing is, she, her twin sister, and several others of us, all grew up doing gymnastics together. A few evenings each week, we would learn, grow, laugh, and be challenged together. As adults, our paths began to intersect again through the world of coaching. Just last spring, we had several of our meets together, so we had enjoyed some quality catch up time. Hearing the news of her death hit hard. She was life and love, joy and kindness to all whom she encountered, and had a way of drawing everyone in with her infectious laughter. As a twin mom, my heart is extra heavy for her twin, as I know the incredible bond that twins have. I can’t help but feel weary from the weight of the loss, yet must cling to the hope that we will see one another again. Her love for the Lord was clear, and she never minced words when speaking the truth in love. To know her was to love her, and I cannot fully wrap my head around her passing. My prayer is that God will be our comfort, especially for her amazing twin sister. May we love a little harder, and be a bit kinder in honor of one who lived love out loud.

You were light and life,

Truth speaker with joy;

Contagious laughter,

Wisdom, loving voice.

Each life that you touched,

Made better by you;

Loved and encouraged,

Your faith proven true.

Lord, be our comfort,

As in loss, we grieve;

Renew our resolve,

To trust and believe.

The comfort I know,

Is found in the space;

Picturing entry,

As Your arms embrace.

Dear Heavenly Father, I cannot even begin to pretend I understand why such an incredible life was cut short, yet I know that she lived out each day with purpose and love. Thank You for the gift of knowing Kimmie, and for the imprint that she forever left on my heart. Hold us up in the weight of the heaviness of loss. Forgive us for allowing opportunities to love pass us by. Show us how to live and love each day, so that no matter how many days we are given, each and every one of them counts. May many come into a lasting relationship with You, for You are where true hope and comfort are found. Be glorified O God, as we seek You to live out each day with the purpose You intended, and give You thanks for the incredible gift that You gave us in our friend. Amen.

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

You who are my Comforter in sorrow, my heart is faint within me. – Jeremiah 8:18

Piecing Together

For just as each of us has one body with many members, and these members do not all have the same function, so in Christ we, though many, form one body, and each member belongs to all the others. – (Romans 12:4-5, NIV)

Each one of us has one body, and that body has many parts. These parts don’t all do the same thing. In the same way, we are many people. But in Christ we are all one body. We are the parts of that body, and each part belongs to all the others. – (Romans 12:4-5, ERV)

In the human body there are many parts and organs, each with a unique function. And so it is in the body of Christ. For though we are many, we’ve all been mingled into one body in Christ. This means that we are all vitally joined to one another, with each contributing to the others.

As we prepare to welcome kids back to school in person, a huge focus on the forefront of everyone’s minds is to find ways to make connections and help kids engage and feel safe and welcome in our school and classroom communities. God created us for community. If we were not made to be with others and work together, we would all be experts and self-sufficient. Instead, He gifted us each with unique skills, talents and strengths that we have to offer the community that we are placed within. Just as a school would not work without staff with different strengths, a classroom is no different. Our task and challenge is to find ways to help kids see their unique values and strengths, and help them realize how important they are to the class as a whole. It is my hope and prayer that each student and staff member is able to see the value in others and in themselves, as we rejoin to meet in person after so much time apart. May we seek the Lord to show us ways to both participate and facilitate best in building community together.

Though we are many,

Together we’re one;

United purpose,

As each day’s begun.

Show us the pieces,

And how we each fit;

Together in strength,

Let our hearts be knit.

The unique colors,

Sizes and the shapes;

When fit together,

Each piece has a place.

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You have created us for community. Thank You that we have different strengths to offer, and each of us has a place and purpose in the communities to which we are placed. Forgive us for not seeing the beauty and blessing held in each member. Teach us to recognize and encourage the unique blessing found in each individual, and show us how the best way to help the parts work as a whole. Lead us to love and value everyone the way that You do. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we praise You for the part that each of us plays in the communities in which we have been placed. Amen.

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

The purposes of a person’s heart are deep waters, but one who has insight draws them out. – Proverbs 20:5

Safe and Stable Space

When I said, “My foot is slipping,” Your unfailing love, Lord, supported me. – (Psalm 94:18, NIV)

I know I was ready to fall, but, Lord, Your faithful love supported me. – (Psalm 94:18, ERV)

I cried out, “I am slipping!” but Your unfailing love, O Lord, supported me. – (Psalm 94:18, NLT)

I don’t know about you, but in the craziness of all that is going on in the world right now, I feel as if my foot will “slip” daily. Thankfully, God’s nearness and support does not change with our circumstances. He remains present to help, no matter what is going on around us or in us. His love is far more powerful than anything that transpires around us. God loves us far more than we can grasp or imagine, and is faithful forever. There is much comfort in this. Knowing that God is with me, no matter what is going on, grants me the strength and resolve to keep moving forward. May we ever turn to the Lord and His unfailing love, for He will support us and see us through all that comes our way.

When I’m not steady,

Unstable the ground;

I look to the Lord,

Where love and help’s found.

He knows each challenge,

That stands in our way;

Equips us with strength,

To get through each day.

He’s more than enough,

To meet all our needs;

He’ll walk beside us,

Help us to succeed.

All thanks be to God,

Our strength, hope and love;

The safe, stable space,

In the Lord above.

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that Your unfailing love holds us up and keeps us afloat when the world feels like it will pull us under. Thank You that You are greater than every obstacle that comes our way. Forgive us for our fearfulness when we cannot fathom the solution to things that stand before us. Teach us to lean into You all the more, for You are where strength, wisdom, love and resolve are found. Show us how to love and support those around us well, so that they too, will know the power of Your great love. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we trust in You and Your unfailing love in all things and at all times. Amen.

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

Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways submit to Him, and He will make your paths straight. – Proverbs 3:5-6