Tenderness Tapers Tempers

A gentle answer turns away wrath, but a harsh word stirs up anger. – (Proverbs 15:1, NIV)

A gentle answer makes anger disappear, but a rough answer makes it grow. – (Proverbs 15:1, ERV)

A gentle response defuses anger, but a sharp tongue kindles a temper-fire. – (Proverbs 15:1, MSG)

A tender answer turns away rage, but a prickly reply spikes anger. – (Proverbs 15:1, VOICE)

This is always a good reminder, as opportunities to gently reply are abundant, particularly when we want to respond in hurt or anger. No truer words have been penned, as when we respond in anger or with harsh or sarcastic words, it only inflames the situation. However, when we pause, take a deep breath, and respond with kindness and gentleness, there is a softening in the exchange that could have gone terribly wrong. We never know what has led to an interaction that begins poorly, yet we can control how we reply. Each time that I have caught myself and checked my heart to answer as I am called to do, I see tangible evidence of God’s love working on my behalf, as tension lessens and calm comes. It seems that one of the most difficult spaces to respond gently is on the road. There is something in many of us that rises up when other drivers make foolish maneuvers. Years ago, I had a great friend who would yell out, “Bless you, in Jesus’ Name! Or Jesus loves you!” whenever another driver would cut him off or jeopardize his safety. It may seem silly, but every time, it has the power to transform the mindset of anger and frustration, and causes a pause that allows for the brain to catch up to the heart to adjust enough to recognize that we all make mistakes and grace goes a long way. This mindset really is transformative in all situations and circumstances. Though it may not be opportune to always yell out a blessing, it is always useful and beneficial to pause and seek to see others through God’s lens. As we do, grace is abundant and good is given. May we ever seek the Lord to show us how to respond gently, and to grant a heart check when we are determined to do otherwise.

A tender reply,

Brings grace where it’s not;

Defuses the fire,

When tempers are hot.

An unkind response,

Only provokes rage;

Yet true gentleness,

Shows others the way.

The way to give love,

Despite what we feel;

God’s kindness breathes life,

Makes His goodness real.

Lord, help us rise up,

Seek to always love;

To respond like You,

Our Father above.

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You call us to respond gently, despite what we are given. Thank You that gentleness brings a calm where rage was rising. Forgive us for the times that we have responded in anger rather than with grace. Teach us to rely on You to show us how to respond with tenderness. Show us how to love those around us, even when love is far from what we desire to extend. May many come into a lasting relationship with You, as they recognize the gentleness and grace that You have waiting no matter the condition in which they come to You. Be glorified O God, as we seek You to show us how to respond to others with tenderness and grace, extending Your love and kindness to the seemingly least deserving. Amen.

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

Hatred stirs up conflict, but love covers over all wrongs. – Proverbs 10:12

Trust Over Fear

In God, whose word I praise – in God I trust and am not afraid. What can mere mortals do to me? – (Psalm 56:4, NIV)

I trust God, so I am not afraid of what people can do to me! I praise God for His promise to me. – (Psalm 56:4, ERV)

In God – whose word I praise – in God I place my trust. I shall not let fear come in, for what can measly men do to me? – (Psalm 56:4, VOICE)

As we enjoy the blessing of a bonus long weekend, my heart cannot help but give gratitude for the brave men and women who served our country with a trust like this. This weekend, may we remember those who stood firm in the face of fear, knowing that they had a purpose to protect their friends, family and the nation they loved and paid the ultimate price. Though people can take a life on earth, they cannot deter the eternal destination of those who trust in God. Our time here is but the blink of an eye in comparison to forever. May we truly place our trust in God, and not allow fear to overwhelm us. For God has promised to be present and is preparing a place for all who trust in Him. 

May we ever choose trust,

In God, whom we praise;

For He’s always faithful,

Forever; always.

Help us not permit fear,

To stand in our way;

Please grant us Your courage,

To do as You say.

Help us to choose honor,

Those whom have served well;

Paid the ultimate price,

Before their time, fell.

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You showed us what it is to sacrifice for others. Thank You for the men and women who have sacrificed and paid the ultimate price for our freedom. Forgive us for allowing any to be forgotten, for You love all with a love that laid down Your life in our place. Teach us to trust in You and be not afraid, for You are with us, always. Show us how to love those around us in such a way that they come to know the faithfulness found in You. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we trust in You and fend off fear, knowing You are with us always. Help us to remember and honor all who sacrificed so that we might be free. Amen.

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

God is our refuge and strength, an ever-present help in trouble. – Psalm 46:1

Make Me Strong

The Lord gives strength to His people; the Lord blesses His people with peace. – (Psalm 29:11, NIV)

May the Lord make His people strong. May the Lord bless His people with peace. – (Psalm 29:11, ERV)

God makes His people strong. God gives His people peace. – (Psalm 29:11, MSG)

I am so grateful for this. Today is the first high school gymnastics meet in which I will be coaching as the appointed interim head coach. It is both an honor and a blessing, but it is also an entirely new role, much different than fulfilling the role of head coach in middle school. This will be a long day, yet I know that God will be faithful to provide the strength that is needed to navigate this new. Additionally, His peace is already present, despite the nervousness in the unknown. More than anything, my heart is filled with gratitude for God’s nearness and faithfulness as He walks beside me and leads me in the new. May we ever turn to the Lord in trust, for He is faithful to provide the peace and strength required to continue to move forward in the direction that we have been called.

O God, make me strong,

When I’m feeling weak;

Grant wisdom and peace,

As my heart does seek.

Whatever I do,

Each step that I take;

Please lead me in grace,

In You, make me brave.

Brave to step into,

All that I’ve been called;

Strength to lead like You,

May peace be installed.

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You are our strength and peace as we seek You in all things. Thank You for the blessings of new opportunities. Thank You that You provide places for us to grow in the things we enjoy. Forgive us for attempting to do things in our own strength, rather than turning to You to lead us as You intended. Teach us to trust and rely on You, for You are our supply of strength and our place of peace. Show us how to love and encourage those around us in ways that extend strength and peace. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we praise You for Your presence that provides peace, and the strength You supply to sustain us. Amen.

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

Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged, for the Lord your God will be with you wherever you go. – Joshua 1:9

Abounding Love for the Asking

You, Lord, are forgiving and good, abounding in love to all who call on You. – (Psalm 86:5, NIV)

My Lord, You are good and merciful. You love all those who call on You for help. – (Psalm 86:5, ERV)

O Lord, You are good and ready to forgive; Your loyal love flows generously over all who cry out to You. – (Psalm 86:5, VOICE)

David, the author of the eighty-sixth Psalm, understood and experienced God’s goodness, mercy and loyal love as he called on Him. He was no stranger to desperately needing God, calling on His Name, and then experiencing His goodness, forgiveness and lavish love. In the same way that David sought the Lord and saw His faithfulness, we too, can seek and find the  Lord. If we call on Him, He hears us, and pours out His love upon us. May we ever turn to the Lord in every season, and call on Him to lovingly lead us along every twist and turn our journey provides.

Goodness and mercy,

Mystery of grace;

Lovingly poured out,

As we seek God’s face.

Forgiveness given,

Though it’s undeserved;

Faithful to answer,

Holiness observed.

May we ever seek,

For it’s where we’ll find;

Love that’s unending,

Grace from the Divine.

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that as we seek You, we find You and all of Your goodness. Thank You that as we call on Your Name, You hear us and hold our heart. Forgive us for not seeking and pursuing You in all things. Teach us to trust who You are and how You love. Show us how to love those around us in the same way, so that Your goodness and grace may be evident to all. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we relentlessly pursue You and recognize the blessing beheld in time spent with You. Amen.

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

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

Let Each Word Be 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) 

The things that come out of our mouth can either bless or curse people. We have a free will to choose how we speak. Our decisions either give life to the hearers, or they bring death and destruction. Words have power, and how we use them makes all the difference. May we ever seek the Lord to wash our words and help them align with His heart. Let our every word be a gift to those around us, as we encourage, lift up, strengthen, bless and give life with our words. 

O Lord, let my words, 

Typography poster lettering love and ethnic patterns. The feathers of birds form a heart. Vector illustration hand drawn.

Reflect a heart true; 

Extending kindness, 

And love, just like You. 

Let the truth in love, 

Bless all those around; 

Encourage, build up, 

So Your heart is found. 

Lord, help me offer, 

Encouraging words; 

May all who hear them, 

Be blessed by what’s heard. 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You call us to use our words wisely. Thank You that as we submit our heart, voice and every word to You, You use what we say to bless the hearers. Forgive us for the times that we ignore the still small voice within that reminds us to speak in love. Teach us to make every word captive so that we clearly reflect Your love through our words. Show us how to use every word as a gift to those around us. Let Your love be made evident in all that we say. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we seek You to use our every word as a gift. Amen. 

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

Instead, speaking the truth in love, we will grow to become in every respect the mature body of Him who is the head, that is, Christ. – Ephesians 4:15

True Community

If one part suffers, every part suffers with it; if one part is honored, every part rejoices with it. – (1 Corinthians 12:26, NIV) 

If one part of the body suffers, then all the other parts suffer with it. Or if one part is honored, then all the other parts share its honor. – (1 Corinthians 12:26, ERV) 

In that way, whatever happens to one member happens to all. If one suffers, everyone suffers. If one is honored, everyone rejoices. – (1 Corinthians 12:26, TPT) 

If we are truly living in community as we are called to do, our love for one another compels us to know and love each other so deeply, that when one is hurting – we all hurt; and when one is honored, we all rejoice with them. In a close-knit family, this is a natural response to one another. However, to become a body that cares for one another in the way that God intended, requires an investment of time and devotion to each other. As we grow in understanding and care for one another, we naturally mourn with those who mourn, and celebrate with those who celebrate. As a body, a true community, we come together with compassion and empathy. May we seek the Lord to show us and grow us in how to be in community with those around us. 

Lord, teach us to love, 

 One to another; 

With Your compassion, 

For sisters, brothers. 

Show us how to love, 

In ways that are clear; 

Through mourning and joy, 

Let all know You’re near. 

Show us how to mourn, 

With those stuck in grief; 

And how to rejoice, 

As they find relief. 

Help us walk beside, 

Helping each other; 

As You do for us, 

One to another. 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You call us to community in such a way, that we have empathy for those around us. Thank You that You call us to both mourn with those who are suffering, and to celebrate with those who are experiencing blessing. Forgive us for neglecting one and embracing the other, or for not investing well enough in those around us to know when either is taking place. Show us how to love as You love; for You walked among the broken and lifted up the downtrodden. Lead us to have compassion and empathy for those around us, no matter what season they find themselves in. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we learn to have compassion and empathy for all those around us. 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

Act Justly and Do Good

Blessed are those who act justly, who always do what is right. – (Psalm 106:3, NIV) 

Those who obey His commands are happy. They do good things all the time. – (Psalm 106:3, ERV) 

The happiest one on earth is the one who keeps Your word and clings to righteousness every moment. – (Psalm 106:3, TPT) 

When we act justly and do what is right, there is joy in knowing that we have carried out the will of God. Our obedience brings happiness, as we discover what it is to know God’s pleasure. He loves us no matter what, yet knowing He is pleased with our words, thoughts and actions brings blessing to the depth of our being. The more we seek the Lord, the more equipped we are to know what is right and just. As we ask, He is faithful to answer and show us what it is to act justly and to do good at all times. We are all a work in progress. No one gets it right 100% of the time, yet those who are actively seeking wisdom and grace, find joy in choosing well. May we ever seek the Lord to lead us to act justly and do what is right, each new day that we draw breath. 

True happiness comes, 

As we freely choose; 

Justice and mercy, 

Proof of God’s good news. 

When we choose what’s right, 

God’s pleasure is known; 

Our hearts find blessing, 

As goodness is shown. 

So, seek the Father, 

Act justly, choose right; 

In everything, 

Choose to be His light. 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You remind us of the happiness our heart will hold when we act justly and do what is good in Your eyes. Forgive us for the times that we have been unjust, unkind, or negligent in doing what You have called us to do. Teach us to trust You always; for You alone are good and faithful. Show us how to love those around us through acting justly and doing good. 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 all. Amen. 

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

Human, the Lord has told you what goodness is. This is what He wants from you: Be fair to other people. Love kindness and loyalty, and humbly obey your God. – Micah 6:8

Love Builds Up

We should help others do what is right and build them up in the Lord. – (Romans 15:2, NLT) 

But do what pleases them and is for their good. We should do whatever helps everyone grow stronger in faith. – (Romans 15:2, ERV) 

Our goal must be to empower others to do what is right and good for them, and to bring them into spiritual maturity. – (Romans 15:2, TPT) 

In order to help others and build them up in the Lord, we must be invested and growing in the Lord ourselves. The more deeply we understand and receive the love He has for us, the better equipped we are to empower others to do what is right and encourage them to be their best selves. I know I keep coming back to loving God and loving people, but this is the greatest command. If we do this, all else will follow. When we love people, we want to help them do what is best for them. When we love God, we want others to know and understand the beauty and blessing that is held in a relationship with Christ. May we invest in our relationship with the Lord and allow Him to grow us in our love, so that we may go forth and love others in the way that He is calling us to love. 

May we choose to love, 

In Christ’s righteous way; 

Building others up, 

God’s grace on display. 

Empower others, 

To do what is right; 

Support, encourage, 

Shine bright, God’s love light. 

For as we love God, 

And love each other; 

Good and grace rise up, 

One to another. 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You call us to build each other up and encourage one another. Forgive us for the times that we have neglected to build others up. Teach us to invest in our relationship with You, so that we might love as we are called to love. Show us how to best encourage and build up those around us in Your love. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we seek You to lead us to love like You. Amen. 

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

In Your unfailing love You will lead the people You have redeemed. In Your strength You will guide them to Your holy dwelling. – Exodus 15:13

Beautiful Unknown

As you do not know the path of the wind, or how the body is formed in a mother’s womb, so you cannot understand the work of God, the Maker of all things. – (Ecclesiastes 11:5, NIV)

You don’t know where the wind blows. And you don’t know how a baby grows in its mother’s womb. In the same way, you don’t know what God will do – and He makes everything happen. – (Ecclesiastes 11:5, ERV)

You can no more predict the path of the wind than you can explain how a child’s bones are formed in a mother’s womb. Even more, you will never understand the workings of the God who made all things. – (Ecclesiastes 11:5, VOICE)

 

Back during the times of King Solomon, when he scribed Ecclesiastes, there was no Doppler radar system, nor ultra sound; the discoveries made over the last century in technology were not even an inkling of an idea, and so, and that time, those were reasonably comparable things to the ways of God. In current times, it seems that the comparison would be more along the lines of knowing what this COVID-19 virus actually is, if an effective vaccination is possible, and if and when life might return to a non-shutdown state of existence. God can do incredible things, and we never know how He will move in any given situation. After walking through last year with my mom, I thought this year might be a breeze, in comparison. This separation is an equal sort of difficult. I cannot predict how it will go, nor when it will change. All I can do is trust God, who is far greater than every obstacle we face, and seek Him to be with us through this season too. In the same way that the Lord never left me, and was faithful to show me His nearness every step of the journey, (and still is doing so), I know that He remains present in our current circumstances and is walking us through the valleys so that we may reach the other side of this seemingly sordid space. God is faithful, even in our most difficult seasons. To honestly look at this current season, I cannot say it is all bad. More time with my boys is an absolutely gift, and the time to get a puppy and be present to bond and train him is blessing as well. Though we cannot predict or know how God will move and work in all things, we can be certain that He will move and He will work all things for good for those who love Him.

 

Though we do not know, Beautiful Unknown

All that lies in wait;

Nor why things take place,

The next that awaits.

For God’s ways are not,

The same as our own;

Unpredictable,

Beautiful unknown.

Though sometimes scary,

And not understood;

God’s ever working,

For ultimate good.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You for the certainty of You, when everything else around us is uncertain. Thank You that though we cannot possibly know and understand all of Your ways, we can know Your heart and Your character; that You work all things out for the good of those who love You. Forgive us for our fear and doubt when we cannot figure out how things could possibly change, or find ourselves frustrated with timelines that do not align with our own. Teach us to trust Your ways and Your timing in all things. Show us how to love those around us in the waiting. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we trust You to bring good through all things. Amen.

 

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

 

“For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you a hope and a future.” – Jeremiah 29:11

To Be Clothed Well

Therefore, as God’s chosen people, holy and dearly loved, clothe yourselves with compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience. – (Colossians 3:12, NIV)

God has chosen you and made you His holy people. He loves you. So your new life should be like this: Show mercy to others. Be kind, humble, gentle, and patient. – (Colossians 3:12, ERV)

You are always and dearly loved by God! So robe yourself with virtues of God, since you have been divinely chosen to be holy. Be merciful as you endeavor to understand others, and be compassionate, showing kindness toward all. Be gentle and humble, unoffendable in your patience with others. – (Colossians 3:12, TPT)

 

The times that I feel like I am the very best version of myself, are those in which I am led by the mercy that God has overwhelmingly shown me, again and again, so that I might interact with others with compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience. Some of these attributes seem to be more abundant than others, and I clearly have “hot buttons” that when pushed, deplete my seeming supply to love as I am called to love. Constant bickering (when my boys were younger), or a teething puppy that struggles with impulse control to nip, are a few of the things if on repeat all day long, wear me down and deplete my capacity to feel merciful. Thankfully, much in the same way that patience and perseverance carried my boys and me through their younger years when they fought often, I know the same is true with this short-lived stage in puppyhood. The Passions Translation version drives it home well for me, as it is an ongoing reminder of how to operate in the struggle: “Be merciful as you endeavor to understand others, and be compassionate, showing kindness toward all.” It is a reminder that there is always a root reason for the unwanted behaviors, and through patience, compassion and kindness, a solution may be discovered and better way be made. Incredibly, sometimes, it is merely consistent kindness that transforms the heart of one who needed it most. May we embrace the blessing we behold in knowing that we have been shown mercy unending and love beyond what our hearts can hold, and go forth choosing to be merciful; ever extending compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience to all those with whom we interact.

 

Because we are loved, wp-15892942076306151823366680093252.jpg

We need to love too;

Extend great mercy,

Compassion, exude.

With humility,

May we choose be kind;

Gentle and patient,

With others in mind.

May those whom we meet,

Through our love come know;

What God’s love is like,

Through mercy we show.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You love us with kindness and compassion, mercy and patience beyond measure. Thank You that because of Your love, we can love others. Forgive us for the places where we are lacking compassion, humility, patience, kindness, gentleness or mercy. Teach us how to love more like You. Show us the places and space where there is a greater need for mercy, compassion, humility, patience, kindness and gentleness, and help us to love in a way that represents Your heart tangibly. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we praise You for Your love and mercy, and rely on You to help us love like You. Amen.

 

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

 

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