The Way to Love Well

Be kind and compassionate to one another, forgiving each other, just as in Christ God forgave you. – (Ephesians 4:32, NIV)

Be kind and loving to each other. Forgive each other the same as God forgave you through Christ. – (Ephesians 4:32, ERV)

But instead be kind and affectionate toward one another. Has God graciously forgiven you? Then graciously forgive one another in the depths of Christ’s love. – (Ephesians 4:32, TPT)

 

Kindness and compassion, love and forgiveness, must be how we allow God to lead us in His grace, if we are to love as He loves us. Mother’s Day, or any other day that is intended to celebrate an individual – be it a birthday, anniversary, accomplishment or the like – is a perfect opportunity for these attributes to be extended, especially when what is hoped for is not realized. For example, my incredible husband is a total acts of service guy, his love language is to go above and beyond to do the little things that keep our home running smoothly, and does so without any sort of “honey do” list. In fact, he does things long before I even consider the need for them to be done, and if an issue arises, he fixes it barely after the concern has left my mouth. I, on the other hand, am all about quality time. My heart’s desire is to spend time with the people I love, doing fun things together. Being outdoors, playing games, hiking, walking, biking, going to the beach – you name it – anything together where all those present are engaged, and my heart is filled. As you can imagine, the two methods of expressing love do not always align. Saturday, I did have quality time with the family, and quality time with my love. Sunday, however, turned into a list of things that needed to be accomplished, and it felt as if Mother’s Day was all but forgotten. Now, encouraging words are a close second, and my boys did make a point to speak sweet and encouraging words of their appreciation to me as their mom. They were apologetic about not having a gift, and my genuine reply was about them being my greatest gift, and the two of them continuing to work hard and finish the school year strong would be the best gift they could give.  After a weird lull in the late afternoon, Mark and I spoke about hopes versus reality, and there was kindness, compassion, love and forgiveness extended on both sides by His grace. The evening was concluded with quality time, playing our favorite board game, as love and laughter filled the room, and my heart. We are still learning how to love one another best, and I am certain that it is a lifelong process. Thankfully, we are committed to learning and growing together, and depend on God to guide us in the process. Grace after grace after grace… May we all be kind and compassionate to one another, forgiving each other in the same way that Christ forgives each of us, as we learn to love as we are loved by God.

 

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Forgiveness and grace;

The way to love well,

As we run our race.

In the same way God,

Loves and He forgives;

We’re called do likewise,

To bless as we live.

Extend forgiveness,

Lavishly give grace;

Love as we are loved,

Wherever we’re placed.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You have shown us what it is to be kind, compassionate, and forgiving through the example of Your Son. Thank You that as we seek You, You equip us to be kind, compassionate and forgiving to one another. Forgive us for the times that we have not chosen to extend to others what you so freely give to us. Teach us to trust and rely on You more. Show us how to love others with kindness, compassion and forgiveness as You would have us love. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we depend on You to love those around us well. Amen.

 

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

 

Be completely humble and gentle; be patient, bearing with one another in love. – Ephesians 4:2

Called His Own

Know that the Lord is God. It is He who made us, and we are His; we are His people, the sheep of His pasture. – (Psalm 100:3, NIV)

Know that the Lord is God. He made us, and we belong to Him. We are His people, the sheep He takes care of. – (Psalm 100:3, ERV)

Know this: the Eternal One Himself is the True God. He is the One who made us; we have not made ourselves; we are His people, like sheep grazing in His fields. – (Psalm 100:3, VOICE)

 

As I continue along with the reading plan for the twenty-one days of fasting and prayer that my church is participating in, today’s scripture is Psalm 100. It is a relatively short psalm, yet the gist of the passage is about praising God for who He is. Verse three stood out to me as a great reminder to remember that it is He who made us, and we are His. A shepherd not only watches his/her sheep, but they fend off predators, care for the sick or wounded, know each by name, feed them, and will search tirelessly for one of them if they wander off. God, who created us and knows us far more intimately than by name, goes exceedingly above and beyond the care of a shepherd. He loves us with an everlasting love, as He gave His only Son so that we would have the opportunity to spend eternity with Him. The Lord hears our every prayer, petition and praise, and moves on our behalf, even when we are unaware. May we know that the Lord is God, who made us and calls us His own, and ever give Him praise as His people.

 

The Lord is our God, Our Help and Defense

Most worthy of praise;

May we give Him thanks,

For all of our days.

He hears each request,

And knows us by name;

He loves and He heals,

Each of us, He’ll claim.

The Lord is so good,

And His love, endures;

Forever, always,

In Him, hope’s secure.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You are God who made us and calls us Your own. Thank You that we are Your people whom You watch over and care for. Forgive us for forgetting how intimately You know and love each one of us, and how much each detail matters. Teach us to trust and praise You more, as You are our Source and Strength, and worthy of all trust and praise forever. Show us how to love those around us as You call us to love. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we praise You for who You are and how You love us as Your own forever. Amen.

 

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

 

Lord Almighty, blessed is the one who trusts in You. – Psalm 84:12

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.

 

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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

Endings and Beginnings

You are my refuge and my shield; I have put my hope in Your word. – (Psalm 119:114, NIV)

You are my refuge and my shield; Your word is my source of hope. – (Psalm 119:114, NLT)

You are my hiding place and my shield of protection; I hope in Your word. – (Psalm 119:114, VOICE)

 

Though David often had need for the Lord to be his literal hiding place, there were times too, that he needed his heart to be covered and “hidden” by God. For me, that is more often the space that I find myself in. When the cares of my circumstances become overwhelming or seem far too heavy to bear, it is in that space that I need seek Christ to cover my heart with His, as He is my place of refuge and a shield about me. He renews my hope with the truth of His word and reminds me anew of who He is. Today, I am being granted the gift of time with my boys as they prepare to leave for a ten-day cruise with the Sea Scouts. I had hoped and prayed for a way to get home to help them pack and prepare and send them off, and God has been faithful to provide faithful friends for such a time as this, so that I could do exactly that and know that mom is in great hands and comfortable in my brief absence.

Yesterday was an incredible day to end mom’s therapies in Washington. As she met with Nick, her physical therapist, he had me guide mom through the paces of navigating her front steps with her hemi-walker. Giving her verbal cues and only keeping a hand touching her low back to remind her that I was present if there was a need, she was able to go down the steps, walk some steps in the grass, turn around, and then return up the stairs. It was the very first time since her stroke that mom had set foot on grass, and after Nick left, she could not stop the tears from falling. For her, it was yet another mile-marker that reminded her that hope is tangible and that she is truly making progress. A few hours later, mom had her final session with Susan, her speech therapist. The beautiful thing about speech therapy is that there is much opportunity to visit, as word recall is largely called forth through conversation. Time flew by, and goodbyes were difficult. Lastly, a bit later in the afternoon, was Larissa, mom’s occupational therapist. Larissa went to great lengths to make certain that we had a solid plan in place for ongoing exercises and stretches for mom to be doing daily during the gap time between now and when therapies begin in Oregon. She has been innovative and kind, and has gone above and beyond to help research and facilitate mom’s needs. As she was leaving, she refused to call it goodbye, but rather a “see you later.” Each of mom’s therapists parted ways with mom with hugs and words of well-wishes, encouraging her and letting her know how much they had loved working with her and how much they would miss her. Mom has a way of winning folks over quickly, and once she has, she is not forgotten. My hope and prayer now, is that she will find the same to be true of her new therapists in Oregon, and that she will discover a new community with which to connect during her season in that space. God has always been her refuge, and I trust that He will continue to provide her hope and tangible evidence of His faithfulness.

 

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Where all hope is found;

The God of all grace,

Your word’s always sound.

You grant me safety,

And You cover me;

My heart is hidden,

In You, lovingly.

Hidden from the things,

That make me choose fear;

Blind to Your presence,

As You’re ever near.

Help us ever seek,

The light of Your grace;

For goodness is found,

Following Your ways.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You are our safety and our refuge, and that we can ever find hope in Your word. Thank You that You are present to help and protect and provide. Forgive us for our fearfulness in the unsteady or the unknown. Teach us to trust You more. Show us how to love those around us in a way that offers peace and grace and safety. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we trust and hope in You forever. Amen.

 

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

 

I will say of the Lord, “He is my refuge and my fortress, my God in whom I trust.” – Psalm 91:2