Love is a Safe Shelter

(Love) It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres. – (1 Corinthians 13:7, NIV)

Love never gives up on people. It never stops trusting, never loses hope, and never quits. – (1 Corinthians 13:7, ERV)

Love is a safe place of shelter, for it never stops believing the best for others. Love never takes failure as defeat, for it never gives up. – (1 Corinthians 13:7, TPT)

 

God always knows what I need to hear, when I need to hear it. Part of the His design when He made me, includes a strong “mama bear” protective nature, a heart that clings closely to the hope I have in Him, and a spirit that does not understand the concept of quitting. That being said, the last eight hours seem to have stolen my ability to always protect. Though I know that ultimately, protection is in His hands, I want to do everything that I can to keep my loved ones safe at all times – physically, spiritually and emotionally. At 1:45 am, I heard a sound in the monitor that was frighteningly unfamiliar. Mom was making a sort of moaning sound that did not sound like she was sleeping. I bolted upright in bed and dashed across the hall into her room. My fear was realized as I saw her sitting on the floor, beside her bed, looking frightened and a bit dazed. Sitting beside her, I began checking for injury and looking for signs of need for emergency care. Thankfully, it appeared that she had, out of a lifelong habit of rising to use the restroom as needed, simply gone to stand up out of bed, and her legs did not support her standing for long. Before leaving acute care, we had practiced how to get up from the floor, if ever we were in such a position. Though it did not go quite as smoothly as one might hope, we managed, and all is well. Once mom was securely back in bed, with the exit side of her bed blocked better, I returned to my room and checked my phone to be sure my sister had made it home safely. In addition to her text, there was one from my boys’ dad, letting me know that they had not been treated kindly by some of their music people after their spring concert, when everyone gathered at Red Robin. I know that there is nothing that I could have possibly done to protect or prevent these things, however, the protector in me, dies a little when such things transpire. My heart hurts for my mom, as she struggles to regain movement and independence, and for my boys, who are wonderful, loving and sensitive young men, who deserve only kindness, yet are subject to the cruelty of this world. I have to remember that the love that always protects, is His, not mine. God is a far better protector that me. Though only a fool would mess with my people in front of me, I have to trust, hope and persevere, as God is greater and He always protects.

 

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That keeps things aligned;

Trust, hope, protection,

All in God’s design.

Life is a faith walk,

Where we have to choose;

To trust in the Lord,

No matter our view.

Sometimes what we see,

Seems dismal at best;

Trials and valleys,

Life’s endurance tests.

No matter what comes,

Keep trusting the One;

Who grants all we need,

‘til each day is done.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You always protect; You are always trustworthy, You are and will always be our hope; and in You, we will always have all that we need to persevere. Forgive us for our frustration when we cannot protect our loved ones from all the ills of this world; for it is broken and fallen and fallible. Thank You that You are not. Teach us to trust You more so that we would cling to You and depend on You in all things and at all times, not just for ourselves but for those we love as well. Show us how to love those around us well. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we trust You, hope in You, persevere in Your strength, and protect in love, allowing Your love to lead our every step. 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

 

 

The Value of Virtue

“It’s not what goes into your body that defiles you; you are defiled by what comes from your heart.” – (Mark 7:15-16, NLT)

“Your souls aren’t harmed by what you eat, but by what you think and say!” – (Mark 7:15-16, TLB)

“What truly contaminates a person is not what he puts into his body, but what comes out. That’s what makes a person defiled.” – (Mark 7:15-16, TPT)

 

Our bodies are a temple and should be treated accordingly. Though we ought to be wise with what and how much we consume, it is not what makes the temple unclean, but rather the things that come from our heart. Our charge to love God and love people requires an investment in our relationship with Him. When we are intentional to seek time with the Lord and study His word, our hearts are cleansed and what we think and say more clearly reflects what He intends for us. In other words, the temple is made beautiful by the expressions of the heart, not by the appearance of the structure. May we ever seek our Savior to cleanse and empower us, so that we may go forth in love, according to His good and perfect plan.

 

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Each word that’s spoken;

Has power to heal,

Or make things broken.

It is up to us,

To seek and choose well;

And trust in the Lord,

As in Him we dwell.

For He will grant strength,

Remove what’s unclean;

Plant in us, His light,

So His love is seen.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that what we consume is not what makes us unclean, but rather the state of our heart and what we think and say. Forgive us for allowing our hearts to stray from You, so that our thoughts or words no longer reflect Your goodness and grace. Teach us to trust You in all things and at all times to grant us Your grace to speak light and life and love. Show us how to love those around us in the same way that You so lavishly and unconditionally love each of us. May many come into a lasting relationship with You, as Your heart is made visible by our love. Be glorified O God, as we seek and trust in You to help us fix our thoughts on the things of You so that our words and deeds shine Your light wherever we go. Amen.

 

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

 

And over all these virtues put on love, which binds them all together in perfect unity. – Colossians 3:14

 

Falling Into Grace

My flesh and my heart may fail, but God is the strength of my heart and my portion forever. – (Psalm 73:26, NIV)

I admit how broken I am in body and spirit, but God is my strength, and He will be mine forever. – (Psalm 73:26, VOICE)

Lord, so many times I fail; I fall into disgrace. But when I trust in You, I have a strong and glorious presence protecting and anointing me. Forever You’re all I need! – (Psalm 73:26, TPT)

 

Our humanity is fragile and susceptible to failure. We get sick and we struggle, yet when we trust in God, He is our strength and our hope forever. For whatever He has called us, He will equip us so that we may continue and carry out all that we are meant to do. Be it our best day or our worst, God still claims us as His beloved children. We are His and He is ours, always. May we be encouraged in knowing God is for us, and seek Him forever to be our hope and our strength.

 

No matter the state, trust in the battle

We’re in as we come;

God will be our strength,

The Most Holy One.

Always, He is ours,

Likewise, we are His;

His love, eternal,

The place where hope lives.

May we be strengthened,

As His love’s made known;

Powerful presence,

His grace, we are shown.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that though we grow weary and fall short, You love us to life and grant the strength we need to keep moving in the direction to which we are called. Forgive us for losing hope in spaces that we cannot see how You are moving on our behalf. Teach us to trust You more, as You are our strength and hope forever, and we can always count on You. Show us how to love those around us in a way that offers hope and strength and security. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, for we will trust in You forever, as You are our eternal hope. Amen.

 

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

 

Out of His fullness we have all received grace in place of grace already given. – John 1:16

Clothed in His Character

Since God chose you to be the holy people He loves, you must clothe yourselves with tenderhearted mercy, kindness, humility, gentleness, and patience. – (Colossians 3:12, NLT)

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)

 

As God’s dearly loved children, we are called to clothe ourselves with His character. Thankfully, we are given specific attributes to lead us and guide us to represent our Father well. Just as we have been shown mercy, we too must be merciful to others. Kindness, humility, gentleness and patience ought to be the guiding principles that lead us in a life lived out in love. The more we know and understand what it is to be loved, the greater our capacity becomes to love in the same way. May we depend on the Lord to fill us with His love as we endeavor to understand and extend His kindness and compassion to others.

 

As we show mercy,

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Photo by Dee Jones of Open Door Photography ❤

God’s heart is made plain;

A love lived out loud,

Points hearts to His reign.

Kindness extended,

In humility;

Mends what is broken,

And sets captives free.

Patience has power,

As does gentleness;

Quietly they wait,

In love to express.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You do not call us to judge or create barriers between us and those who do things that do not align perfectly with the way we see the world. Thank You that You call us to love with mercy, kindness, patience and gentleness, just as You love each of us. Forgive us for the times that we have lacked Your love for others in our responses. Teach us to trust You more, so that we would respond from a space of love that follows after Your heart. Show us how to extend mercy, be kind, have patience and extend gentleness to those around us in Your love. May many come to know You as Lord. Be glorified O God, as we live a life of love through our mercy, kindness, patience and gentleness. Amen.

 

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

She is clothed with strength and dignity; she can laugh at the days to come. – Proverbs 31:25

Bound Together

Two are better than one, because they have a good return for their labor. If either of them falls down, one can help the other up. But pity anyone who falls and has no one to help them up. Also, if two lie down together, they will keep warm. But how can one keep warm alone? Though one may be overpowered, two can defend themselves. A cord of three strands is not quickly broken. – (Ecclesiastes 4:9-12, NIV)

Two can accomplish more than twice as much as one, for the results can be much better. If one falls, the other pulls him up; but if a man falls when he is alone, he’s in trouble. Also, on a cold night, two under the same blanket gain warmth from each other, but how can one be warm alone? And one standing alone can be attacked and defeated, but two can stand back-to-back and conquer; three is even better, for a triple-braided cord is not easily broken. – (Ecclesiastes 4:9-12, TLB)

 

For years, this verse has been my hope and prayer, held in my heart, especially the last sentence about a cord of three strands being so strong. As my Viking and I prepared to wed, we did a bit of research about Nordic wedding traditions. Incredibly, we found that often, in Nordic weddings, there is a hand-tying portion of the ceremony where the bride and groom’s hands are bound together in a triple-braided cord to represent the two coming together and be bound to one another with God. The visual representation of this joining together very closely matched an image that has stuck with me for a very long time. Consequently, together with our Pastor, we incorporated this tradition into our wedding ceremony.

Already, as we drove home from Wenatchee yesterday, (where our wedding took place) this verse proved itself true for us. We came upon horrendous traffic, and the typical two-and-a-half hour drive turned into eight hours. On our own, either one of us would have been ready to tap out; however, with the support of one another and the grace of God, we successfully navigated our way home through the heat and traffic, unscathed and still speaking to one another.  The wonderful thing about the promise held in two being better than one, is that it perpetuates our charge to be engaged in the body. If we love God and love one another, we are not alone and have the strength of that three-strand cord. May we ever invest in our relationship with God and one another so that we may stand together in His strength, no matter what comes our way.

 

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Us not be alone;

Binds us together,

In heart and in home.

Wherever two stand,

Their strength is greater;

As joined by the Lord,

Loving Creator.

Let two choose unite,

And in God abide;

For their strength shall stand,

With grace found inside.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You created us to be in relationship with You and with each other. Thank You that when two join together and invite You to be the center, You come and intertwine Your heart with ours and grant us strength. Forgive us for the times that we attempt to take on what lies before us on our own. Teach us to trust You and those whom You have given us to walk beside. Show us how to love each other in a way that joins hearts and minds in Your purpose to walk out Your plan. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we stand with You as a three-strand cord, bound in Your strength, hope and love. Amen.

 

© Shannon Elizabeth  (Moreno) Grabrick and Revelations in Writing,

May 2011 – present

 

Glorify the Lord with me; let us exalt His Name together. – Psalm 34:3

Love is an Active Choice

Dear children, let us not love with words or speech but with actions and in truth. – (1 John 3:18, NIV)

My children, our love should not be only words and talk. No, our love must be real. We must show our love by the things we do. – (1 John 3:18, ERV)

Little children, let us stop just saying we love people; let us really love them, and show it by our actions. – (1 John 3:18, TLB)

Beloved children, our love can’t be an abstract theory we only talk about, but a way of life demonstrated through our loving deeds. – (1 John 3:18, TPT)

 

God’s words to us explain what it truly is to love. Love does not merely speak the words, but it is an ongoing demonstration of actions that support the things we say. Tomorrow, I will have the tremendous joy of joining together in holy matrimony with the one who has shown me love in action, day in and day out, in a way that my heart never knew possible. He demonstrates love from the time I wake to a text each morning, greeting me with words that blanket my heart with blessings, to all of the countless thoughtful little things that show me again and again, he loves me and chooses me as his actions demonstrate what love looks like in a life of choosing to love as we are loved by God. Love truly is a choice, and it requires that we align our deeds with the words that we choose to speak. Though not one of us could do this on our own all the time, with God, we are loved in a way that the overflow shapes the things that we do to reflect His heart for one another. May we all seek the Lord daily, so that we may love in action and truth, just as we are loved by Him.

 

Love is so much more,

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Photo by Dee Jones of Open Door Photography ❤

Than mere words spoken;

For true love lifts up,

It heals what’s broken.

In every act,

In all that we do;

When fueled by love,

God’s kindness shines through.

True love will align,

All that’s said and done;

For love always protects,

As trustworthy one.

True love perseveres,

For it is a choice;

To match word and deed,

One heart and one voice.

 

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You for the incredible gift of love that we are given through those whom You have placed in our lives to show us Your love through actions over and over again. Thank You for the love that You have given me in the one to whom I will soon wed. Thank You that as I am loved well by him, I come to understand more deeply, the love that You have for us all. Forgive us for doubting the sincerity of love that is demonstrated consistently in our lives and for the times that we do not allow Your heart to lead in the words that we speak and actions that we opt to carry out. Teach us to trust You more, so that we would walk in Your loving way each day and be known as people who live lives of love. Show us how to love those around us with our every deed. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we choose to love as we are so lavishly loved by You. Amen.

 

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

 

Love always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres. – 1 Corinthians 13:7

Beautifully Broken

May these words of my mouth and this meditation of my heart be pleasing in Your sight, Lord, my Rock and my Redeemer. – (Psalm 19:14, NIV)

May my words and thoughts please You. Lord, You are my Rock – the One who rescues me. – (Psalm 19:14, ERV)

May my spoken words and unspoken thoughts be pleasing even to You, O Lord my Rock and my Redeemer. – (Psalm 19:14, TLB)

 

First thing in the morning, before the chaos of the day ensues, it is fairly easy to keep my thoughts fixed on that which is pleasing to the Lord and my words follow, much the same. As the day moves forward and responsibilities and demands grow heavy, it can become far more difficult to keep my heart, mind and mouth aligned. Yesterday, after spending several hours packing and moving things from my old house to the new one we all will share, in the heat of the day, I was hot, tired and a bit grumpy. When we returned to the new house with the last load of the day, I scanned Instagram. What jumped out at me was a post from a friend of mine who had a photo of a broken plate with the words to a Matthew West song that I love. “But if it’s true You use broken things then here I am Lord, I’m all Yours.” – (Matthew West, Broken ThingsHaving read the words, they began to sink deep in my heart and the song began to play on repeat in my heart and mind. I was reminded that even when we are broken down, tired or hurting, He will use us if we are willing. That tug at my heartstrings reset my mind and heart to what matters, and I was able to continue the remainder of my afternoon and evening with the thought that He would use whatever I bring, and He sets my heart where it ought to be. May our every word and thought be pleasing unto God, for He is our Rock and Redeemer.

 

Lord I am the clay,

Scars as Signs of Strength

Just as the Japanese practice the art of Kintsukuroi (the Japanese art of embracing broken and flawed things and making them beautiful), so does God with us as we are willing. ❤

And You, the Potter;

Let my heart reflect,

Love as Your daughter.

Where my heart and mind,

Choose to sit and dwell;

Become the story,

My whole life will tell.

O here I am, Lord,

In my brokenness;

Use what I offer,

In Your tenderness.

May all of my words,

And thoughts in my mind;

Be shaped by Your love,

For You are so kind.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You stop us in our tracks and remind us of what matters most. Thank You that You use us, in our broken imperfections, to touch those around us with Your love. Forgive us for allowing the weight of the world to shape how we see things, rather than coming before You as we are and trusting that You can use all that we offer. Teach us to set our hearts and minds on things of You, so that our every thought and word are pleasing in Your sight. Show us how to love those around us in a way that reflects Your light and love. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we come to You, Lord, and say, “I’m all Yours.” Amen.

 

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

 

And walk in the way of love, just as Christ loved us and gave Himself up for us as a fragrant offering and sacrifice to God. – Ephesians 5:2

*Another song that comes to mind and is a great reminder, Beautifully Broken, by Plumb.

 

Sent to Save

God sent His Son into the world not to judge the world, but to save the world through Him. – (John 3:17, NLT)

God didn’t go to all the trouble of sending His Son merely to point an accusing finger, telling the world how bad it was. He came to help, to put the world right again. – (John 3:17, MSG)

God did not send His Son into the world to judge and condemn the world, but to be its Savior and rescue it! – (John 3:17, TPT)

 

Mercy and grace are such crazy concepts to grasp at times, especially when we are our own worst critics. The times when we have messed up the most and someone comes along and extends grace or forgiveness, though we do not deserve it, become the most memorable and tangible examples of God’s intentions for us. Though we are all sinners and fall short of His glory, He loves us just the same. He sent His Son so that we could be covered once and for all and be called righteous in His eyes, no matter what we have done. Knowing this reminds me how important it is that I extend mercy and grace to those around me. Yes, there are actions and behaviors that have to have consequences so that learning takes place, however, I have to separate the action from the individual. Just as my children at times make choices that require redirection and consequences, my love and care for them does not and will not change. God views us in the very same light. Though there are at times, natural consequences for our decisions, His love is ever-present to pick us up, dust us off, and love us to life again. May we ever look to the Lord for forgiveness and grace, trusting that He has come to save us.

 

With mercy and grace, Sent to Save

God sent His own Son;

To forgive our faults,

All wrongs that we’ve done.

He came to restore,

What we had broken;

With His dying breath,

Forgiveness spoken.

And when He was raised,

He reclaimed His throne;

Where He covers us,

With love He’s made known.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You sent Your Son into the world, not to condemn us, but to save us. Thank You for Your amazing mercy and grace, though we deserve it not. Forgive us for the times that we resist receiving what You freely offer. Teach us to trust You more, so that we would walk in the light of Your love, forgiven and free, extending the same grace to others that we have been given by You. Show us how to love those around us in a way that demonstrates mercy and grace in a tangible way. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we praise You for coming to save us and go forth extending to others what You have given to us. Amen.

 

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

For the Son of Man came to seek and save the lost. – Luke 19:10

Searched, Known and Loved

You have searched me, Lord, and You know me. – (Psalm 139:1, NIV)

O Lord, You have examined my heart and know everything about me. – (Psalm 139:1, TLB)

O Eternal One, You have explored my heart and know exactly who I am. – (Psalm 139:1, VOICE)

 

The very One who created us knows everything about us and loves us for who we are. Though we are broken and flawed, He loves. As we seek Him, we find Him. Once we choose to invite Him to be in charge, He will not leave us nor forsake us. There is much comfort and reverence in knowing the overwhelming, never-ending, all-encompassing depth of His love for us in spite of ourselves. May we ever give praise to the Ancient of Days, as He knows us and loves us far better than anyone else ever will.

 

God, our Creator, Searched and Known

Has searched us and knows;

What dwells in our hearts,

When we come and go.

Though dark and broken,

His love still remains;

He brings light and love,

And washes the stains.

So, ever seek God,

He knows our hearts best;

In His love and grace,

We come to know rest.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You have searched us and know us and love us anyway. Thank You that You do not place qualifications on Your love. Forgive us for the things within us that are not pleasing to You. Teach us to trust You more, so that we would give You access to all. Show us how to allow Your light into the dark spaces and give grace room to move where it is needed most. Help us to love those around us the way that blesses and encourages them and helps them to feel known. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we praise You for knowing us and loving us as we are, and for refining us to become more of who You are calling us to become. Amen.

 

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

The fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control. – Galatians 5:22-23