Love Matters Most

Above all, put on love – the perfect bond of unity. – (Colossians 3:14, HCSB)

Together with these things, the most important part of your new life is to love each other. Love is what holds everything together in perfect unity. – (Colossians 3:14, ERV)

And regardless of what else you put on, wear love. It’s your basic, all-purpose garment. Never be without it. – (Colossians 3:14, MSG) 

This is a good reminder as we go into our final Friday of the school year. Final project and assignments and make-up work is all due today, and I imagine for some, will be a stressful day. The best way to approach the day is with love. Through God’s love we can be patient and kind, gentle and protective, full of hope, and persevere. As we extend these things to those around us, calm comes and hope rises. May we ever seek the Lord to lead us in His perfect love so that all whom we encounter may feel His goodness and grace.

The garment we wear,

That matters the most;

Is not external,

But goodness exposed.

A smile, a kind word,

Are such simple things;

And yet their impact,

True joy they can bring.

For goodness and love,

Are what help hope grow;

Making value known,

As His love we show.

So, look for places,

To give love away;

Choose kindness and grace,

Let love lead the way.

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You call us to put on the garment of love. Thank You that to do so is to choose to allow Your love to lead us in all that we say and do. Forgive us for the times and spaces that our words and deeds have been lacking in love. Show us how to love everyone around us well, so that Your heart is made clear through our actions. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we adorn ourselves with Your lavish love so that we can go forth and choose to love those around us well. 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. – 1 Corinthians 13:4

Help Shoulder the Weight

Carry one another’s burdens; in this way you will fulfill the law of Christ. – (Galatians 6:2, HCSB)

Help each other with your troubles. When you do this, you are obeying the law of Christ. – (Galatians 6:2, ERV)

Love empowers us to fulfill the law of the Anointed One as we carry each other’s troubles. – (Galatians 6:2, TPT)

Right now, I know a couple of people who are in the throes of tremendous loss; one just lost her son, and the other’s best friend lost her grandson. The weight of grief is far too great a burden to bear alone. It comes in waves and threatens to pull us under. However, when family and friends and community surround the grieving, they provide a hand to help hold heads above water, and give buoyancy in the sinking spaces. What I have observed in both instances, is an incredible outpouring of love, prayers and practical, tangible help in the places where it is needed most. When we reach out, we are extending a hand that helps lighten the load. Nothing we do can lessen the loss, yet the reaching out, the outpouring of what is needed, reminds the burden bearer that they are not alone. Our hands, hearts and voices can be tangible evidence of God’s love when it is extremely difficult to see. Though we cannot take the pain away, we can do something to share the burden, thus fulfilling God’s law to love. May we ever seek the Lord to grant us wisdom and grace so that we are empowered to walk beside the burdened and help carry the load.

When life’s troubles come,

As they always do;

May we walk beside,

Help see people through.

For we are each called,

To above all, love;

Care for each other,

As God does above.

Each time we reach out,

In practical ways;

We show the Lord’s love,

And extend His grace.

Lead us, Lord Jesus,

To help carry loads;

Through helping, giving,

At life’s tough crossroads.

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You call us to help carry one another’s burdens. Thank You for the countless times that You have surrounded me with a community that walked beside me and lessened the load when it was too great for me to bear alone. Forgive us for the times that we see a need and neglect to reach out. Teach us to turn to You to guide and equip us to do what we can, whenever and wherever we can, to love as You love. Show us practical ways to come alongside those who are carrying weight that is far too heavy to bear alone. Lead us in Your love so that Your help, hands and heart may be made known. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we navigate our days with open hands and hearts, ready to reach out as You would. Amen.

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

Each one helps the other, and says to another, “Take courage!” – Isaiah 41:6

Seek to Start Well

But seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness, and all these things will be provided for you. Therefore don’t worry about tomorrow, because tomorrow will worry about itself. Each day has enough troubles of its own. – (Matthew 6:33-34, HCSB)

What you should want most is God’s kingdom and doing what He wants you to do. Then He will give you all these other things you need. So don’t worry about tomorrow. Each day has enough trouble of its own. Tomorrow will have its own worries. – (Matthew 6:33-34, ERV)

So above all, constantly seek God’s kingdom and His righteousness, then all these less important things will be given to you abundantly. Refuse to worry about tomorrow, but deal with each challenge that comes your way, one day at a time. Tomorrow will take care of itself. – (Matthew 6:33-34, TPT)

Intentionally seeking God at the start of the day does make a difference. Doing so, helps set the heart and mind on what matters most so that everything else can be taken in stride. Yesterday, I had to get to work early to complete some extra planning for the day, and my morning devotional time was cut short. God is good and full of grace, yet I felt less resilient in the challenges that I encountered throughout the day. The love of the Lord is with us, but we need to be aware of it to function as He intended. May we be purposeful in our pursuit of His kingdom first so that we may do His will, and allow the worries for tomorrow to fall away and rest in His capable hands.

Choose to seek the Lord,

To start well each day;

Don’t let tomorrow,

Disrupt what’s today.

Each day we’re given,

A gift to live well;

With God beside us,

Of love, let us tell.

Not just with our words,

But may ev’ry deed;

Show of His kindness,

As we let Love lead.

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that as we set our hearts and minds on You and Your goodness and love, You provide all that we need to navigate each new day well. Forgive us for trying to operate in our own strength, or for neglecting to recognize our need for You each day. Teach us to turn to You in trust as we rise each morning, and to hold fast to Your goodness and grace as we go through our days. Show us how to love those around us as You call us to do. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we seek You first each day and trust You to lead us in Your love. Amen.

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

Search for the Lord and for His strength; seek His face always. – 1 Chronicles 16:11

Love Deeply

Above all, maintain an intense love for each other, since love covers a multitude of sins. – (1 Peter 4:8, HCSB)

Most important of all, love each other deeply, because love makes you willing to forgive many sins. – (1 Peter 4:8, ERV)

Most of all, love each other steadily and unselfishly, because love makes up for many faults. – (1 Peter 4:8, VOICE)

This is critically important in culture today. Currently, it is the seeming norm for people to blast those who do not share the same opinion as themselves rather than choosing to love and simply scroll past. Humans are allowed to have their own opinions. No one truly knows what has led a person to view the world through their lens, so name-calling or worse on social media is not going to change their view. Rather, if we love intensely and deeply, we can accept our differences and forgive or look past perceived faults. The more we love, the more willing we become to forgive, and consequently, we begin to value differing opinions and perspectives. Every day is new, and we are meant to treat it accordingly. If we hold onto hurts and disdain for another person, we are only poisoning ourselves. May we ever look to the Lord to lead us to love one another deeply and allow His love to cover us and teach us to forgive.

Choose to love deeply,

Forgive and give grace;

Love one another,

The whole human race.

We are created,

To love as God loves;

Forgive each other,

Like the Lord above.

God, give us Your eyes,

So we truly see;

The power love gives,

To set our hearts free.

Help us to choose love,

Despite what is done;

Grant us Your wisdom,

God, most Holy One.

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You call us to love one another. Thank You that love like Yours forgives and covers sin. Thank You that You first loved us in this way, as You forgive us each time we ask, and love us no matter what. Forgive us for our lack of love when people cross us or have different values than our own. Show us how to love well, no matter how others view the world. Lead us to bless and encourage and begin everyday with a clean slate. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we choose to love deeply and forgive as we have been forgiven. Amen.

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

The Lord of Hosts says this: Make fair decisions. Show faithful love and compassion to one another. – Zechariah 7:9

The Blessing of Benevolent Love

Above all, love each other deeply, because love covers over a multitude of sins. – (1 Peter 4:8, NIV)

Most important of all, love each other deeply, because love makes you willing to forgive many sins. – (1 Peter 4:8, ERV)

Most of all, love each other steadily and unselfishly, because love makes up for many faults. – (1 Peter 4:8, VOICE)

If we are loving deeply, steadily and unselfishly, we have no room to keep bringing up past mistakes or a laundry list of wrongs. Though there are spaces to use wisdom as far as what we are willing to subject ourselves to, typically, we simply need to get to a space of forgiving and choosing love again. When we forgive in love, our own hearts are released from the weight of whatever went wrong. Even if there are no possible reparations for a relationship, forgiveness is a way to choose love that will release one’s own heart from the heaviness. May we seek the Lord to fill our hearts to overflowing, so that we may love one another steadily and unselfishly, ever seeking to bring out the best in one another.

Lord, lead us in love,

Without selfishness;

May we love deeply,

Like You, relentless.

Grant us eyes to see,

In love, each other;

Forgive and choose love,

Sisters and brothers.

Help us forgive wrongs,

Release all to You;

Make love evident,

In all that we do.

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You call us to love one another deeply; with steadiness and selflessness. Thank You that as we do, Your love covers over faults and failings. Forgive us for our selfishness that holds onto hurts. Teach us to give all to You, so that we may know Your freedom found in love. Show us how to love those around us completely, so that may know Your love without conditions. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we seek You to love steadily and unselfishly. 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

Love Forgoes Faults

Above all, love each other deeply, because love covers over a multitude of sin. – (1 Peter 4:8, NIV)

Most important of all, love each other deeply, because love makes you willing to forgive many sins. – (1 Peter 4:8, ERV)

Most of all, love each other steadily and unselfishly, because love makes up for many faults. – (1 Peter 4:8, VOICE)

 

There is a strange tension that can accompany the holidays, as families travel and gather together after extended time apart. I know in our own household, there was a tangible funk, as we are in a season of navigating how to cope with serious health issues in loved ones, and the end of life in another. Thankfully, there was a conscious choice to love, unselfishly, as we each have faults, and need the forgiveness of one another. As we prepare for and anticipate the coming days of travel and time with loved ones we hold dear, we must choose to love deeply and steadily, rather than allowing faults to fog our fondness for one another. May we each, above all, choose to love one another; be it on long road trips, in close quarters, or in one another’s space, let steady and unselfish love lead the way.

As for mom, we are eagerly anticipating being reunited tomorrow! It has been more than a month since Mark and I have seen her, and since summer, for the boys. There is something so wonderful about tradition and routine and familiarity, as all of us gathering at my sister and Scott’s has been our family custom for the last many years. I know for each of us, there is deep love, that looks forward to competitive board games, meals seated together, relaxing conversations on comfortable couches, and time adventuring out in the community to get some fresh air and sunshine. Twenty-four hours from now, we will begin our whirlwind weekend of wonderful!

 

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Choose to deeply love;

For love that runs deep,

In Christ, is enough.

For God’s love is kind,

He’s faithful and true;

Oversees our faults,

Forgives and renews.

May we choose to love,

In much the same way;

Forgive and give grace,

God’s goodness displayed.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You love us more deeply than we can comprehend, and You forgive our faults and failures when we falter and sin. Thank You that You pick us up, dust us off, and love us back to life. Forgive us for the times that we do not extend the same goodness and grace to those around us. Teach us to depend on You to supply all that is needed to love in the way in which we are called to love. Show us how to love those around us best, so that they may see and know Your heart through how we love in tangible and practical ways. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we praise You for Your lavish love, and depend on You as we go forth and gather in love, with those whom You have gifted us with as family. 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

Seek in All Things

But seek first His kingdom and His righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well. – (Matthew 6:33, NIV)

What you should want most is God’s kingdom and doing what He wants you to do. Then He will give you all these other things you need. – (Matthew 6:33, ERV)

So above all, constantly chase after the realm of God’s kingdom and the righteousness that proceeds from Him. Then all these less important things will be given to you abundantly. – (Matthew 6:33, TPT)

 

The difference this makes in my life is remarkable. This morning, I did not have time to begin my day in the usual way, and I felt off and irritable. By rising early and spending time with God, my heart and mind are set on Him, rather on self, and His grace is grown greater within me. Today, that has not been my story. Mom had a rough night, and woke several times. Consequently, my sleep was quite compromised, and we did not get up for breakfast until 6:45. Normally, that would be okay, but today we needed to have mom’s car down to the dealership by 8:30 for an oil change and tire rotation. The morning felt hurried and my heart, unsettled. Small things that normally would not bother me at all, were bringing me near tears, and I could feel my patience running very thin. It took everything in me to not be short with mom, and I was not likely as patient or kind as I normally would have been. After our outing, we returned home and I needed to contact the company whom her wheelchair was ordered through two months ago. Every ounce of self-control was utilized to not unleash on the person on the other end of the line, as she claimed they were still waiting on a signature from a doctor to actually order the chair. By the end of the conversation, I could have utilized a heavy bag and some boxing gloves, or a nice, long run, but alas, neither are options right now. Thankfully, mom was ready to relax and I very much needed to get in the word and chill out with the One who holds my heart. Already, I can feel the tension subsiding, and peace beginning to return to the spaces where it was absent. For me, morning devotions are not about religion or ritual, they are connection and centering and setting my heart right for the day. With intentional time before my day begins, my head and heart are prepared to navigate whatever comes my way. Without it, ugh; my heart gets ugly quickly. May we ever seek His kingdom first, as it is in Him that we find all that we truly need to navigate this life well.

Yesterday, mom conquered more fears, as she had her first hair appointment since March. She had been anxious about going and sitting and worried about transferring from her chair to the one in the shop, but all went well and she felt fantastic after. Additionally, mom had a wonderful visit with two of her dearest friends at lunchtime. They blessed us with lunch and Dutch Bros delivery as well. After they left, mom was ready to relax, so we attempted to watch a movie. Mom was quite weary, but refused to go take a rest. She nodded off several times during the show, but insisted that she did not want to go nap. The remainder of the evening she continued to fight off sleepiness, and finally gave in at a normal bedtime. Whether it was the exhaustion or her mental list-making for the move that made sleep a challenge, her sleep was clearly not restful. Today, I am seeking our Savior specifically for peace and rest, so that mom gets a great night’s sleep tonight.

 

Seek first the kingdom,

The Lord above all;

He holds heart and hand,

And won’t let us fall.

He grants us the strength,

To love and be kind;

Choose patience and peace,

As He has designed.

In all things choose seek,

The Lord and His grace;

So we may love well,

For all of our days.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that when we seek You, You meet us, no matter how we come. Thank You that You love us through our grumpiness, brokenness, and ugliness. Thank You that You offer peace and patience, and fill us with love to extend to those around us as we trust in You. Forgive us for the times that we have neglected to turn to You for help, and instead focus on our lack. Teach us to trust You more, as You are our Provider and Comfort. Show us how to love those around us well, so that we may extend the peace and kindness that is lacking. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we seek You first in all things. 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

 

 

 

 

Ask for Answers

Call to Me and I will answer you and tell you great and unsearchable things you do not know. – (Jeremiah 33:3, NIV)

Call to Me, and I will answer you. I will tell you of great things, things beyond what you can imagine, things you could never have known. – (Jeremiah 33:3, VOICE)

Call to Me and I will answer you. I’ll tell you marvelous and wondrous things that you could never figure out on your own. – (Jeremiah 33:3, MSG)

 

I am not sure if it is the result of rest and a better night’s sleep, the reality of how short the time remaining in Wenatchee truly is, or if it is the enormity of my own gratitude for the safety and improving health of my loved ones. I know that is not everyone’s story, and I know that there are far too many grieving today in the wake of unnecessary tragedies across our nation. Though I know not the solution, God does. What I do know, is that we are called to love. Not just our family, friends and neighbors, but everyone. If we choose love, then perhaps we will recognize the hurt in others before it becomes too late. The call is daunting for sure, but if we choose kindness with one person at a time, it is far more manageable. Perhaps it is a matter of asking God to show us His heart for people. He sees and knows the heart. There is always a reason for words and actions that bring harm, and maybe, just maybe, the change we long to see in the world begins with us. In my own present circumstances, when I grow weary and frustrated, I ask God to show me what I need to know to be patient and kind. Usually, what comes the fastest, is the reminder of what it would be like for me if I suddenly lost my ability to do all of the things that I loved most, and had to rely on someone else for everything. The quick heart-check softens the edges of exhaustion quickly, and my love and resolve are renewed. May we continue to call on the Lord and ask Him for help, for He is faithful to show us what we need to know to navigate each day well.

As for mom, yesterday was a good day. Sleep wasn’t great, but we were able to rally anyway. After breakfast, showering, and some physical and occupational therapy exercises, mom determined that she was up for an outing. With a face-filling grin, my response was, “as you wish.” Driving along, following her directions, led us to the east side of town. A bit further along, she declared that she wanted to go to Macy’s. I was both pleased and shocked, as she has avoided stores, and really could use a few things that fit better. We ventured into the store and began looking around. She found a few things she liked downstairs, held them, and we took the elevator upstairs to search for an item or two more. The experience upstairs went well, and the fitting room had ample space for mom’s chair and the two of us so that she could actually try items on. Mom successfully found a few things that she really liked, and we headed to the checkout. It was such an encouragement to watch mom realize that she was okay getting out and participating in “normal” life again. From there, we of course went through Dutch Bros and then grabbed lunch at the Taco Time drive thru. All of the activity was a bit wearying, but mom did well and stayed up until bedtime. She did nod a little when we watched a movie in the afternoon, but had no desire to go lay down to rest. Hmmm… Wonder where I got that trait from?  Despite the hesitations and reservations about the unknowns that are yet to come for mom, I think the opportunity for her to part-take in and realize how much more she is able to do, are all part of what God is showing her to continue to prepare her heart for this next season.

May we ever seek the Lord, who is faithful to answer, to show us the things that we do not know or understand on our own.

 

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May we ever seek;

Your heart to show us,

Truth, when all seems bleak.

Out of the darkness,

Your love light can shine;

Transforming ashes,

To beauty, divine.

Show us the unknown,

The things we can’t grasp;

So we may love well,

Honor all You ask.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You show us the things that we do not know when we ask You. Thank You that You give us wisdom and insight so that we may love the way that we have been created to love. Forgive us for neglecting to seek You in the spaces where we lack understanding. Teach us to trust You more, so that we would always ask You for wisdom and guidance and insight. Above all, show us how to love those around us well. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we seek You for understanding, as You already have the answers we need ask. 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

Remember to Give 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)

Oh, give thanks to the Lord, for He is good; His love and His kindness go on forever. – (1 Chronicles 16:34, TLB)

 

On mornings like this, I need to above all, remember to give thanks. We always have a choice – to fix our eyes on the goodness of God, or on the difficulty of our circumstances. Sometimes, in the moment, particularly on the fourth wake up of the night, it is easy to forget His goodness, and simply get frustrated with the sleep that I am not gaining. However, with the dawning of a new day, and time in the word, perspective is regained and I am again reminded of His goodness and love. Today is another day that I am blessed to have with my mom. Had things gone differently, I would not. Additionally, mom is continuing to make gains in this whole healing process. Yesterday, as she worked with her new physical therapist, Nick, she actually completed 15-20 of the steps with her walker, unassisted; whereas before, she always needed help bringing her right leg through. Right now, she is able to complete three or four steps without help before her hip flexor becomes fatigued, and she needs a little assistance bringing her leg the rest of the way through. Nick had mom rest a moment, reset, and begin again, so that she would truly know and feel that she was indeed walking all by herself. It was so encouraging to watch!

In the morning yesterday, mom was struggling a bit with frustration, as she was discouraged about how terribly slow the progress is with her right arm. I sent a text to one of her dearest friends in town, and her response was that she was just about to message me to inquire about a visit. God knew she needed the boost. Another positive that I was able to pass on to mom, was that my husband had dreamed about an interaction with mom the night before, and in his dream, they were joking around about something (probably banter about our favorite family game) and she reached up and over with her right arm at him. It had been very vivid and clear, and I shared it with her, receiving it as a glimpse of good that is yet to come. Regardless of our circumstances, God is good, and His kindness goes on forever. May we give Him thanks and trust in Him, rather than on the temporary that is seen.

 

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In each circumstance;

Our reason to rise,

And strength to advance.

In everything,

The Lord shall be near;

With kindness and grace,

Help us persevere.

Trial and triumph,

He’s present in all;

Trustworthy always,

He’ll not let us fall.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You are good and that Your love and kindness endure forever. Thank You that Your character and faithfulness are not dependent on our circumstances. Forgive us for forgetting how very faithful You are. Teach us to trust You more, so that we would rest in Your presence and gain strength from Your goodness and grace. Show us how to love those around us through both trials and triumphs, as goodness and grace are always needed. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we give You thanks for who You are and how You love both now and forevermore. Amen.

 

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

 

Praise the Lord. Give thanks to the Lord, for He is good; His love endures forever. – Psalm 106:1

 

 

Seek to Do Good and Love

Whoever pursues righteousness and love finds life, prosperity and honor. – (Proverbs 21:21, NIV)

People who try hard to do good and be faithful will find life, goodness, and honor. – (Proverbs 21:21, ERV)

Whoever pursues justice and treats others with kindness discovers true life marked by integrity and respect. – (Proverbs 21:21, VOICE)

 

The human condition becomes quite ugly when individual agendas are pursued, rather than righteousness and love. If we cannot look past ourselves to extend the same love that we have so freely been given, peace is lacking, and satisfaction never arrives. I cannot help but cringe in today’s political climate. With both sides in seeming pursuit of personal agendas, rather than what is truly right, there is no love extended, and it becomes an episode of adults behaving badly. What if each party set aside their differences and looked for solutions that are founded in love, kindness and justice? Integrity would remain intact, and representatives would be respected, regardless of party affiliation. Currently, all I know to do is pray – for both sides. On a personal level, if I am working hard to do good and be faithful to love, I know peace in my pursuit of right living. May we each pursue righteousness and love, personally, and pray for such for those who have been chosen to lead our nation.

 

We each have been called, Ambassadors of Love

To live right and love;

Choose good for others,

As God does for us.

For as we choose well,

A true life is shown;

Honor and respect,

As grace is made known.

Imagine a place,

Where righteousness reigned;

Love motive for all,

Peace could be maintained.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You reward righteousness and love with life, goodness and honor. Thank You that this is not something that we are expected to do on our own, but rather as we seek You and pursue a life of loving You and loving people, goodness and love are extended according to what is right. Forgive us for the times that we have chosen to withhold good or do anything out of selfish ambition rather than love. Teach us to seek You and follow Your leading, so that love and righteousness will be our mode of operation. Show us how to give good and love well for the good of those around us, and not just ourselves. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we seek to do good and love well. Amen.

 

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

 

Above all, love each other deeply, because love covers over a multitude of sins. – 1 Peter 4:8