Let Love Have a Voice

Words from the mouth of the wise are gracious, but fools are consumed by their own lips. – (Ecclesiastes 10:12, NIV)

Words from the wise bring praise, but words from a fool bring destruction. – (Ecclesiastes 10:12, ERV)

The words of a wise person are gracious. The talk of a fool self-destructs. – (Ecclesiastes 10:12, MSG)

 

As today’s passage continues to point to the power that is packed in our words, again I am reminded of how much we need wisdom to guide each word that we make audible. Words spoken in wisdom are heard and received as a gift, yet those that are not, bring destruction to our reputation. May we ever seek the Lord for wisdom, so that we may have a filter that weeds out foolish thoughts before we speak them, and insight to communicate gracious words in love.

 

Lord help us to speak, Weighing the Why

Wise words, full of grace;

Spoken in Your love,

Throughout all our days.

Please seal our lips,

When foolish thoughts come;

Protect us, we pray,

So Your will be done.

Grow us in wisdom,

Let love have a voice;

Lead us in Your light,

So all may rejoice.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You call us to speak in Your wisdom and truth. Thank You that as we do, Your love and light and life are shared with those around us. Forgive us for the times we have allowed the foolishness of our own selfishness to have a voice and wound those around us. Teach us to trust and rely on You to guard our hearts and help filter our words, so that what we say offers wisdom and grace. Show us how to love those around us well with our words. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we seek You to guard our hearts and guide our words, so that each word we speak is a reflection of You. Amen.

 

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

 

If anyone speaks, they should do so as one who speaks the very words of God. If anyone serves, they should do so with the strength God provides, so that in all things God may be praised through Jesus Christ. To Him be the glory and the power for ever and ever. Amen. – 1 Peter 4:11

Each Word a Gift

Do not let any unwholesome talk come out of your mouths, but only what is helpful for building others up according to their needs, that it may benefit those who listen. – (Ephesians 4:29, NIV) 

When you talk, don’t say anything bad. But say the good things that people need – whatever will help them grow stronger. Then what you say will be a blessing to those who hear you. – (Ephesians 4:29, ERV) 

Watch the way you talk. Let nothing foul or dirty come out of your mouth. Say only what helps, each word a gift. – (Ephesians 4:29, MSG) 

And never let ugly or hateful words come from your mouth, but instead let your words become beautiful gifts that encourage others; do this by speaking words of grace to help them. – (Ephesians 4:29, TPT) 

 

Words matter. They have the power to build up, or to devastate; bring tremendous joy, or pierce the heart with pain. I so appreciate the various translations of this verse, as each one clarifies the power of our words. If we consider every word we utter as a gift that we are charged to give away, perhaps we could more easily garnish each phrase delivered in grace, and be mindful of the purpose of our words. Whether our words are those of correction, direction, exhortation, devotion, appreciation, or affection, each can be delivered with grace to benefit the hearer as a blessing; a gift given with the intent of betterment. May we ever be mindful of our words, withholding ugliness, and choosing with intention, to allow our words to become “beautiful gifts that encourage others”. 

Yesterday evening, on my way home from a very long day, that had concluded with Open House at my school, I had the joy of hearing the gift of my mom’s words, as she shared her joy in the blessing of having had both physical therapy and speech therapy on the same day. Speech therapy was an assessment appointment, but physical therapy was her first “getting after it” appointment, as Monday’s time was to assess her need. Mom was encouraged and eager to have new work to challenge her and keep her growing in her recovery. Based on her response, I imagine that she too, had been the recipient of the gift of good words as she worked with the therapists.  

 

May each word we speak, unseal-my-lips

Be wrapped up in grace; 

Used to encourage, 

Choice loving display. 

Keep the unkind words, 

Where they have no voice; 

God be our filter, 

So love is our choice. 

Help us remember, 

Each word that we say; 

A powerful gift, 

To give love away. 

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You call us to use our words as gifts to those around us. Thank You that You have given us the treasured gift of Your word, and Your Holy Spirit within us to model and speak to our hearts, the words that bring life and love and light to those around us. Forgive us for the times that our words have been ugly. Teach us to trust You more, so that we would choose to be silent in the moments we want to spew ugliness. Show us Your heart for others in the moments that we cannot see past our own injury. Lead us to love others in a way that our every word is a gift of grace to those around us that builds up and encourages and gives strength. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we depend on You to utilize our words as gifts to those around us. Amen. 

 

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

 

My Lord, I will open my mouth and sing Your praises! – Psalm 51:15

Seek for Strength

Look to the Lord and His strength; seek His face always. – (1 Chronicles 16:11, NIV)

Depend on the Lord for strength. Always go to Him for help. – (1 Chronicles 16:11, ERV)

Seek the Lord; yes, seek His strength, and seek His face untiringly. – (1 Chronicles 16:11, TLB)

 

Every day is a day to look to the Lord for His strength, yet days that happen to be overwhelmingly scheduled with busy from morning until nearly bedtime, are especially strong reminders to seek the Lord for His help. Today happens to be one of those days. Our first early dismissal day happens to coincide with Open House. For the kids, this is fantastic, as they are able to have extra time at home to relax before returning to school to introduce their parents to their teachers and tour around the school. However, for staff, early dismissal actually means time with our colleagues for professional collaboration. Early out days for the kids, actually tend to be longer for staff, and for many of us, will be with little or no break all the way to the end of Open House. It is always a joy to meet the families; there is need though, for His strengthening to have the stamina to remain “on” for so many hours. Additionally, the Open House for my own children’s school happens to be this evening as well. This will be the first time in their schooling that I have been unable to attend. I am hopeful that their Open House has later hours than ours, and I can somehow swing by, but I am uncertain yet as to whether or not that is possible. Either way, God is good, and He will provide the strength I need to navigate today. May we ever seek the Lord for strength, for He is faithful to meet us each time that we seek Him.

Today will be mom’s speech therapy assessment for in-home care in Oregon. After more than a month-long battle to work out insurance issues, the day has finally come. Though mom’s speech has returned extraordinarily well since late April, word finding can still be a frustration, especially when she is tired. Speech therapy is fantastic for aiding in rebuilding the pathways to assist with the areas of struggle, and I know mom is eager to get back to it. Please continue to pray with us for the people whom God has chosen to work with mom, and for God to be her strength as she continues in her ongoing recovery and rehabilitation.

 

On the longest days, 0612190457254276551488597199.jpg

When we are unsure;

Of how we’ll get through,

In Christ, we’re secure.

The Lord, He provides,

All that our hearts need;

To rise in His strength,

As in love, He leads.

So, trust in the Lord,

He provides with grace;

Strength, love and His peace,

Throughout all our days.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that we can seek You to be our strength. Thank You that You are faithful to supply all that we need to navigate each new day. Forgive us for the times that we think we have to do it alone, or somehow have to “power through”. Teach us to trust and rely on You more. Show us how to love those around us well, so that we may offer strength and support, grace and peace, to encourage weary hearts to press on. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we trust You to be our strength, even on our longest days. Amen.

 

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

I lift my eyes up 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

Walk in the Way of Love

Follow God’s example, therefore, as dearly loved children and walk in the way of love. – (Ephesians 5:1-2a, NIV)

You are God’s dear children, so try to be like Him. Live a life of love. – (Ephesians 5:1-2a, ERV)

Be imitators of God in everything you do, for then you will represent your Father as His beloved sons and daughters. And continue to walk surrendered to the extravagant love of Christ. – (Ephesians 5:1-2a, TPT)

 

Anyone who is in Christ, is called and commanded to love. When we make the decision to follow God, we likewise are choosing to represent His likeness in our words and deeds. Just as a small child learns how to navigate the world by imitating his or her parent(s), so too, do we learn how to represent our Father in heaven, by imitating Christ in His love for the world. His love is patient and kind, it does not envy or boast, it isn’t proud, rude, selfish nor easily angered, and it does not keep record of wrongs. His love delights in the truth, always protects, trusts, hopes and always perseveres. (1 Cor. 13:4-7) Not only is Christ our example, but He is also our strength and grace in the moments that loving seems too difficult to do on our own. When we seek Him, He is present to help. May we ever pursue the path of love, for we are our best versions of ourselves when it is evident that we are the beloved sons and daughters of the Lord.

Yesterday, mom spent an hour and a half with the in-home physical therapist, as the initial assessment was done. She was encouraged to get back to it, and is eager to meet the speech therapist on Wednesday as well. So far, it has been determined that mom will have in-home physical therapy twice per week, and we will know more about speech therapy after Wednesday. Occupational therapy is still in the works to be scheduled, so we are hopeful that the assessment for that will take place prior to the week’s end. All is forward momentum, so mom was upbeat and feeling good about all that lies ahead. She and Megan were on their way out the door to run an errand, so I know my sister is continuing to keep a crazy busy schedule, as she balances work, family, sports schedules, appointments, and the running around that takes place with a household of five. Please continue to pray for strength and peace, as her work schedule alone is insane.

 

Help us each to choose, Inscribed on Human Hearts

To imitate Christ;

In word and in deed,

Most worthwhile, a price.

For love is the way,

To show the Lord’s heart;

A choice to give grace,

And peace to impart.

Just as the Lord gives,

So we should give too;

For love conquers all,

Allows His light through.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You have given us all that we need to follow Your example of love through Your Son. Thank You that You not only call us, but You equip and empower us to love. Forgive us for the times that we have not chosen to love. Teach us to trust You more, so that we would choose the most excellent way in You. Show us how to love, even those who are being unkind or are difficult to love, as so often, they are the ones who need love the most. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we seek You to fill us so that we may love others in the same way that we are loved by You. Amen.

 

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

 

Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It does not dishonor others, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres. – 1 Corinthians 13:4-7

The Pattern of Wisdom

Who is wise and understanding among you? Let them show it by their good life, by deeds done in the humility that comes from wisdom. – (James 3:13, NIV)

Are there any among you who are really wise and understanding? Then you should show your wisdom by living right. You should do what is good with humility. A wise person does not boast. – (James 3:13, ERV)

Do you want to be counted wise, to build a reputation for wisdom? Here’s what you do: Live well, live wisely, live humbly. It’s the way you live, not the way you talk, that counts. – (James 3:13, MSG)

 

Wisdom and understanding come from living right and setting a pattern for choosing to do the next right thing. Our reputations are built on that which we choose to do, and the things that we forego. Both done in humility, speak volumes beyond anything we say with words. May we build a reputation for wisdom through living wisely and humbly, according to God’s perfect will. Let wisdom be shown through how we live.

Yesterday, we spent the first half of our day enjoying the company of Mark’s aunt and cousin, did a bit of running around, returned to his aunt’s house, and then began our journey home. Unfortunately, with all the travel, I did not have the opportunity to check in with mom. However, I do know that today is an important day, with the assessment for in-home therapies taking place before day’s end. Please pray for mom’s needs to be met, and for the perfect, hand-picked people to be placed on her path to work with her toward her ongoing recovery and restoration. Mom is ready to get to work, and I am hopeful for a great fit in personalities and expertise to accelerate mom’s progress.

 

Live well and wisely, img_2019-09-16_05-14-566228885777141234353.jpg

In humility;

With grace and kindness,

Let your actions lead.

Wisdom is not words,

Spoken on their own;

But rather our deeds,

Over time, we’ve shown.

For talk by itself,

Cannot truly show;

How powerfully,

Acts of His love grow.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You for Your goodness and grace that calls us to action, rather than mere talk. Thank You that wisdom comes as we walk in humility, grace and obedience to You. Forgive us for the times that we have not chosen well, or have not followed through where Your loving kindness was needed most. Teach us to trust You more, so that we would seek You to live well, pursing the path that You have placed before us in wisdom and grace. Show us how to love those around us well, as we seek to show Your heart through our actions, rather than mere talk. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we seek Your heart to guide our every action. Amen.

 

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

 

Teach us to number our days, that we may gain a heart of wisdom. – Psalm 90:12

Rely on His Love

And so we know and rely on the love God has for us. God is love. Whoever lives in love lives in God, and God in them. – (1 John 4:16, NIV)

So we know the love that God has for us, and we trust that love. God is love. Everyone who lives in love lives in God, and God lives in them. – (1 John 4:16, ERV)

We have come into an intimate experience with God’s love, and we trust in the love He has for us. God is love! Those who are living in love are living in God, and God lives through them. – (1 John 4:16, TPT)

 

Today we will have the opportunity to visit with Mark’s mom’s side of the family. We are going to meet his aunt and a cousin and family for breakfast, and will spend more time with his mom’s sister again this afternoon, prior to returning to the airport to fly home this evening. There is much love and nostalgia in this place for my Viking, as he spent the first seven years of his life here. His aunt and mom are very close, making the love between them tender too. Just as God has loved us so well, and granted us opportunities to be present to see and love family, may we move forward, living in the very same love, so that God’s love is made evident to all.

Mom, Meg and family are doing well, as they are preparing for Monday’s new beginnings with the addition of in-home therapies. They ended the week with a night out all-together, and it is wonderful to hear and know that mom is enjoying time out to dinner and being out of the home again, this has taken some time and adjustment.

 

The great love of God, The Mirror of the Heart

Indeed’s trustworthy;

For He defines love,

All it embodies.

If we live in love,

Likewise, we’re in God;

For He’ll live through us,

Graciously responds.

Live well in the Lord,

Extend love to all;

To live life with love,

We need heed God’s call.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You for the love that You freely give. Thank You that as we seek You, we are found by You. Thank You that the more we love, the more there is to give. Forgive us for the times that we have not chosen love. Teach us to trust You more, so that we would be Your ambassadors of love and peace and grace wherever we go. Show us how to love like You. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we trust in Your love to love others well. Amen.

 

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

 

Give thanks to the Lord, for He is good. His love endures forever. – Psalm 136:1

The Beauty of Otherly

Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit. Rather, in humility value others above yourselves, not looking to your own interests but each of you to the interests of others. – (Philippians 2:3-4, NIV)

In whatever you do, don’t let selfishness or pride be your guide. Be humble, and honor others more than yourselves. Don’t be interested only in your own life, but care about the lives of others too. – (Philippians 2:3-4, ERV)

Don’t let selfishness and prideful agendas take over. Embrace true humility, and lift your heads to extend love to others. Get beyond yourselves and protecting your own interests; be sincere, and secure your neighbors’ interests first. – (Philippians 2:3-4, VOICE)

 

An “otherly” approach brings beauty far greater than anything that comes from simply looking out for oneself. This weekend, I have witnessed two wonderful examples of such love in action. First, my sister has been working tirelessly to fight the insurance battle to orchestrate in-home therapy for our mom. She has been loving mom well, and fighting on her behalf. The fruit of all of Megan’s labor has finally come to fruition, as Mom’s evaluation and step one of in-home therapy will take place on Monday! Second, our trip out to this part of the country has been for the sole intent and purpose for my husband to see his father and let him know he is valued and loved. Mark’s love for his dad is not dependent on their history together, but rather on knowing how important it is to look beyond himself and simply choose to love. Additionally, he wanted his dad to have one more chance to see his grandson and daughter-in-law, along with his son. We had a great day visiting with each other, and Mark is able to go back home knowing that he has cared well and extended love as he is called to do. May we ever choose to have an “otherly” approach, so that we may care well for the lives of those around us with humility.

 

May all that we do, 09141912302527739590534708850.jpg

Be rooted in love;

With others in mind,

Lives valued above.

Held higher than pride,

In humility;

Love without limits,

For in Christ, we’re free.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You sent Your Son to show us what it means to prefer others and to love with others in mind. Thank You for a love so selfless that He laid down His very life for us. Forgive us for the times that we get caught up in ourselves and neglect to look beyond at the needs around us. Teach us to trust You more, so that we would love as You love and without pride or selfish ambition, would simply love others well. Show us how to love like You. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we seek to share the beauty of Your “otherly” love with the world. 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

How to Love

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)

Summing up: Be agreeable, be sympathetic, be loving, be compassionate, be humble. That goes for all of you, no exceptions. – (1 Peter 3:8, MSG)

 

I love how God grants us tangible examples of amazing humans in our everyday experiences to show us exactly what He means in His word. Last night, as we arrived at our hotel near midnight, we discovered that there was a major snafu with our booking through Expedia, and the hotel had no record of our reservations. The next hour and a half were spent straightening out the mess with our incredible concierge, Fontaine, here at our hotel. She went above and beyond what one would expect, and with kindness and compassion, made phone calls to Expedia, found take-out menus to a restaurant that delivered late, and gifted us refreshments as we waited. Her kindness and compassion toward us diffused our frustration, and granted us the patience, in the midst of our exhaustion, to rally. Rather than anger at the end of our ordeal, all we felt was gratitude. If that was not enough to drive the point home, this morning, as I woke early to partake in my typical routine, I discovered that my laptop was a mess, as a result of my futile attempt to download the inflight entertainment app from yesterday. My loving Viking patiently offered his assistance, and he took the time to figure out how to remove all of the junk that had consequently downloaded on my laptop, due to my failed mess brought on by an unsecured network at the airport. Mark’s kindness and patience with me, calmed my frustration and helped me remember the purpose in the first place. We are in Minnesota to love, and that ought to start from the moment I wake. God is so good. May we ever seek Him to show us best how to understand each other and love each other like brothers and sisters, in kindness and humility.

 

With a mind like Christ, 09021914503103742408969719714.jpg

May we choose to see;

Each other in love,

With humility.

Be compassionate,

In kindness, choose love;

Grant grace to others,

Like the Lord above.

For each time we see,

Kindness, love and grace;

We too are inspired,

To set love in place.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You for Your goodness, kindness and compassion that You make tangible through those whom we meet. Thank You that every day we have the opportunity to be Your ambassadors to do the same. Forgive us for the times that we have not shown kindness, grace or compassion. Teach us to trust You more, so that we would slow down, take a deep breath, and listen to Your heart for those around us. Show us how to love those around us like sisters and brothers, in the way that You intend us to love. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we rely on You to love as we are loved. Amen.

 

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

 

Be devoted to one another in love. Honor one another above yourselves. – Romans 12:10

Faith Not Sight

For we live by faith, not by sight. – (2 Corinthians 5:7, NIV)

We live by what we believe will happen, not by what we can see. – (2 Corinthians 5:7, ERV)

The path we walk is charted by faith, not by what we see with our eyes. – (2 Corinthians 5:7, VOICE)

 

Life is full of opportunities to walk by faith; for few of us have a path that is made plain enough to see our every next step. Faith is trusting that God will take us where we are meant to go, even when we cannot see a clear path, nor do we have our footing established. Often, we know where we are meant to go, but then only know how to take the first step. The steps to follow come with faith as we forge forward, and trust as we go. This evening, my husband, bonus son and I will be flying more than half-way across the country, to pay a final visit to his father. His health is failing, but we are trusting in faith, that our timing is right, and that we are doing what we ought to do. No matter what we see, we can trust that God can move mountains in the hearts of men, and we are going, trusting in His goodness and grace.

As for my Mom, I know that this road she walks is all about faith. I imagine there are days that it feels as if there is no end in sight as she longs to regain all that she has lost, yet by faith, she perseveres. Yesterday, I was thrilled to receive a text from her that her bible study ladies had called her while they met, and included her in their conversation. Her whole day was made by being remembered and included, as I know how hard it is for her to be away from her beloved friends. When I spoke with her after work, the joy and excitement was still present in her voice. Christy, Sandy, and the rest of you ladies – thank you!

 

Faith is a strong heart, Trust in the Unseen

Trusts when it can’t see;

Possibilities,

Allow the Lord lead.

This journey of life,

Is an unknown road;

Requiring faith,

Space for trust be sown.

Each time we choose faith,

The Lord’s faithfulness;

Meets us in our trust,

By grace, He does bless.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You call us to trust, even when we cannot see. Thank You that You fortify our faith as You move on our behalf. Thank You that You never leave us or forsake us, and that You are our strength and our peace. Forgive us for our lack of faith when we cannot see what we hope to see. Teach us to trust You more, as You already know the outcome, far beyond what we can see or imagine. Thank You that Your plans for us are good. Show us how to love those around us in ways that build faith and express the depth of Your goodness and love. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we trust in You, even in the spaces where we cannot see a solution. Amen.

 

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

 

For the word of the Lord is right and true; He is faithful in all He does. – Psalm 33:4

A Day to Remember

I lift up 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 at the vast size of the mountains – from where will my help come in times of trouble? The Eternal Creator of heaven and earth and these mountains will send the help I need. – (Psalm 121:1-2, VOICE)

 

It is impossible to begin today without taking pause to reflect on the events that transpired on this date, nearly two decades ago. The shock and horror of the tragic losses, are forever etched in images in my mind. However, in the midst of such devastation, people came together and helped one another, in ways that have seldom been matched since. Stories of ordinary people doing extraordinary things to help and provide for those around them, brought great light in the midst of so much darkness. When I see such dissent in our current culture, and the ensuing animosity that follows, I have to take pause and remember to lift my eyes to the One who can be the help and the peace that is present, and trust Him to bring change, beginning with me. May we look to the Lord to be our help and our hope, as we extend the light that we long to see in the world.

 

A day to remember, 9-11-memorial-03-marley-white__large

Let us never forget;

All the loss that took place,

Sorrow’s sea of regrets.

Lives tragically taken,

Families left alone;

To pick up the pieces,

Acts of terror had sown.

The nation chose rally,

Stand together, unite;

Support one another,

Rise and do what was right.

May we capture the heart,

That came from tragedy;

Choose to love others well,

Agree to disagree.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You are our help who we can always look to, no matter what we face. Thank You for the countless ways that You made Your heart known through the kindness of people on that fateful day, years ago. Thank You that we saw the best in people in the worst of times. Forgive us for forgetting that there is good in the world. Teach us to go forth and be the example that we long to see. Show us how to love those around us in a way that spreads Your light and life and hope. May many come in a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we look to You and go forth in love. Amen.

 

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

 

A new command I give you: Love one another. As I have loved you, so you must love one another. – John 13:34