Respond Gently

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

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)

This is a game-changer in every area of our lives if we abide by it. When someone who is enraged is responded to gently, it seems to flip a switch and bring them back to reality. We tend to match the way that others are speaking to us, so if we are yelling or speaking out in anger and then have someone answer us gently, it is as if the steam that had been built up, is suddenly released, and the press of the fury has fled. I know this to be true in both my home and in my classroom. The challenge is to remember to keep calm and speak with kindness, even when chaos seems inevitable. This is not something we can just do, but rather as we seek God to equip us, He floods us with His peace, and grants us gentle words, even when we desire to do otherwise. We are all a work in progress, and not one of us has this entirely mastered, yet the more we practice, the more natural it becomes. May we ever seek the Lord to grow us in grace so that we may always have a gentle response to bring calm to the chaos around us.

A gentle response,

Makes wrath disappear;

It calms the chaos,

And soothes away fear.

For God is our peace,

Ever He is near;

He grants us the words,

To make His love clear.

Help us keep seeking,

To respond like You;

Make grace abundant,

So Your love shines through.

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You call us to love as You love. Thank You that Jesus showed us over and over again how to respond gently and to love deeply. Forgive us for the times that we have answered anger with anger instead of responding with gentleness and kindness. Teach us to trust You to provide the sort of peaceful response that brings calm and promotes peace for all. Show us how to love others with how we respond in all situations and circumstances. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we seek You to lead us to respond gently when someone around us is riled up. Amen.

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

With all humility and gentleness, with patience, accepting one another in love, diligently keeping the unity of the Spirit with the peace that binds us. – Ephesians 4:2-3

Strength and a Clear Path

God – He clothes me with strength and makes my way perfect. – (Psalm 18:32, HCSB)

It is God who arms me with strength and keeps my way secure. – (Psalm 18:32, NIV)

God is the one who gives me strength. He clears the path I need to take. – (Psalm 18:32, ERV)

The True God who encircled me with strength and made my pathway straight. – (Psalm 18:32, VOICE)

As so many of us return to school today after what felt like the first “real” summer in the last few years, may we be equipped with the strength of the Lord for all that lies ahead. Teaching through the pandemic made for challenge after challenge, and last year, as we all returned to buildings, there were even more trials through the process of having to reacclimate to being on campus and interacting with live humans. This morning, though it marks my 26th first day of school as a teacher, the nervousness and anticipation are still securely in place. How will I create community in my classroom, and how can I help each student feel as if they belong? We all need strength and clarity to navigate this new year, and a clear path to lead and guide well. May we all seek the Lord to be our strength and to show us the steps we need to take to help each student feel as if they belong.

O Lord, bring the new,

Better than before;

Please lead and guide us,

To open new doors.

Show us Your goodness,

Lead us in Your way;

Each step that we take,

Throughout each new day.

Help all who enter,

Feel welcomed and known;

Valued and noticed,

Let Your love be shown.

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You are our strength and the Light that leads us in the direction You want us to go. Thank You that You go before us, remain with us, and walk beside us as we navigate each new day. Forgive us for our fearfulness of what is not yet known. Teach us to trust in You to be our strength and lead us well. Show us how to love those around us as You intended. Give us clear direction in our classrooms so that we might create a welcoming community where every child knows that they belong. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we depend on You to be our strength and seek You to direct our steps. Amen.

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

So do not fear, for I am with you; do not be dismayed, for I am your God. I will strengthen you and help you; I will uphold you with My righteous right hand. – Isaiah 41:10

The Power in Partnerships

Two are better than one because they have a good reward for their efforts. – (Ecclesiastes 4:9, HCSB)

Two people are better than one. When two people work together, they get more work done. – (Ecclesiastes 4:9, ERV)

It is better to have a partner than go it alone. Share the work, share the wealth. – (Ecclesiastes 4:9, MSG)

I love how practical these words are to all. I know this to be true, and can attest to the rewards of working together in a partnership. At work, being on a grade level team for the subject I teach makes a world of difference. Together, we can make meaning of the curriculum and plan together the small steps to reach the end goal. In doing so, the load is shared and the burden is lessened. In marriage, we each bring different strengths to the partnership, and together, we can accomplish far more than we could alone. One simple example is when we need to do yard work. For one person to complete the job, it would take several hours. However, when my Viking and I share the work, we often can complete the task within an hour. Additionally, as we both work and contribute to expenses and savings, we are afforded the blessing of being able to take vacation. God is good, and when we seek Him to lead us to spaces where we can work together and share the load, we discover strength is multiplied and there are great blessings that come from partnering with people to accomplish necessary tasks. May we ever seek the Lord to lead us to connect with those whom we are given to work beside, and may the pairing and sharing be a blessing to all.

Together we rise,

Accomplish great things;

Working together,

More strengths we can bring.

For work divided,

Is better a task;

When shared together,

We give and get back.

Lord, lead us to work,

Alongside others;

To share with the load,

As overcomers.

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You created us to be in community. Thank You that as we pair up with those around us to accomplish tasks, the work is divided and the reward is blessings. Forgive us for the times that we attempt to do things alone that You intended to be shared. Show us who and where we can walk alongside to work together and get things done. Lead us to love like You, so that we support, encourage, and challenge each other to do what You have for us to do and become who You have created us to be. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we work together with those whom You have placed in our lives to do what we are called to do. Amen.

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

But as for you, be strong; don’t be discouraged, for your work has a reward. – 2 Chronicles 15:7

Our Present Strength

Do not fear, for I am with you; do not be afraid, for I am your God. I will strengthen you; I will help you; I will hold on to you with My righteous right hand. – (Isaiah 41:10, HCSB)

Don’t worry – I am with you. Don’t be afraid – I am your God. I will make you strong and help you. I will support you with my right hand that brings victory. – (Isaiah 41:10, ERV)

So don’t be afraid. I am here with you; don’t be dismayed, for I am your God. I will strengthen you, help you. I am here with My right hand to make right and to hold you up. – (Isaiah 41:10, VOICE)

No matter what comes against us, God is for us and with us. He is our help and our hope; He provides the strength that we need and people to walk beside us to encourage and uphold us. Regardless of how things seem, God is faithful to carry us through, and lead us to something new. May we ever seek the Lord to bring His perfect peace as we recognize His nearness and strength to uphold us and carry us through every challenge we face, and how to be present for those who are in the midst of trials.

In You, Lord, there’s light,

Full of good and grace;

You strengthen, uphold,

As we seek Your face.

Victory in You,

Will surely be found;

Where hope is restored,

For Your love is sound.

Lead us, Lord Jesus,

To trust well in You;

For You are our peace,

And all that is true.

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that we need not fear, for You are with us to uphold and strengthen us. Thank You that You see well beyond today, and make a way where there seems to be no way. Forgive us for our fears when we cannot see an end in sight. Teach us to trust You in all things and at all times. Show us how to walk beside those who are in the midst of struggle, and use us to be Your hands, heart and voice to bring peace, strength and encouragement. Lead us to love like You. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we trust in You to strengthen and uphold us, and help us to ever look to You to lead us to walk alongside those in the midst of challenge. Amen.

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

But those who trust in the Lord will renew their strength; they will soar on wings like eagles; they will run and not grow weary; they will walk and not faint. – Isaiah 40:31

Hearts to Love and Endure

May the Lord direct your hearts to God’s love and Christ’s endurance. – (2 Thessalonians 3:5, HCSB)

We pray that the Lord will cause you to feel God’s love and remember Christ’s patient endurance. – (2 Thessalonians 3:5, ERV)

May the Master take you by the hand and lead you along the path of God’s love and Christ’s endurance. – (2 Thessalonians 3:5, MSG)

In such tumultuous times, my prayer is that God’s love and Christ’s endurance would be made evident to all. The challenge for many of us is that we love people deeply who are on both sides of the political divide that seems to be growing in our nation. If we are truly loving God and loving people, we can disagree on issues and still care deeply for one another. God gave us each a brain, a heart and His Spirit to listen and learn for ourselves to what is right. Life circumstances and upbringing are often deciding factors in how we determine what is good and right. That being said, Jesus was friends with those whom many determined were not worthy of His time or attention. His choice to love is the model that we are meant to live by. May we ever be intentional to seek the Lord to lead us in love, and may our hearts be open to all, no matter what their beliefs. May we have endurance to continue to love, even when dissension around us makes us want to hide away. Lord, lead us in Your love, always.

O Lord, be the light,

That leads us in love;

For one another,

Like You, God, above.

Without conditions,

Choose love anyway;

People are people,

May love lead our way.

Let God’s kindness reign,

In all that we do;

Compassion and grace,

Are what show love’s true.

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You love us without limits or conditions. Thank You that in our brokenness and sinfulness, You love. Forgive us for every word and deed that does not display Your love. Grant us Your love and endurance to care for those around us well. Show us how to love one another, even when we do not see eye to eye on what is going on around us. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we seek You to give us endurance to love as You call us to love. Amen.

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

He loves righteousness and justice; the earth is full of the Lord’s unfailing love. – Psalm 33:5

The Port of Peace

He stilled the storm to a murmur, and the waves of the sea were hushed. They rejoiced when the waves grew quiet. Then He guided them to the harbor they longed for. – (Psalm 107:29-30, HCSB)

He stopped the storm and calmed the waves. The sailors were happy that the sea became calm, and He led them safely to where they wanted to go. – (Psalm 107:29-30, ERV)

He commanded the storm to calm down, and it became still. A hush came over the waves of the sea, the sailors were delighted at the quiet, and He guided them to their port. – (Psalm 107:29-30, VOICE)

I feel like this is a perfect parallel to the end of the school year. The chaos and craziness of teaching through a pandemic, as the waves roared around us, are being silenced. At 10:30 today, teachers will be rejoicing as calm comes and we make our way into the peaceful harbor of summer. In the same way that educators have been carried through this crazy school year, God carries us through our most tumultuous storms. Challenge, heartache, illness, loss, and places we are lacking, God meets us where we are and walks beside us to the other side. There were days early on in the school year that I questioned my profession and purpose. Somehow, a way was made and things did improve. I have much hope that next year will be far better than this one. Kids will have become acclimated to being back at school, and two grade levels of students will have had a full school year on campus as they return. May we ever seek our Savior who is the calmer of the storms, and the One who is our safe harbor in whom we can delight.

With merely a word,

The storms had to cease;

Into safe harbor,

As calm is released.

Both throughout the storm,

And when the calm comes;

God will be with us,

The most Holy One.

Our anchor that holds,

No matter the waves;

Our Guide to safety,

Throughout all our days.

Now the safe harbor,

Is plainly in sight;

May we give Him praise,

Our strength and delight.

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You can calm our chaos with merely a word, and lead us to safe harbor when the storms rage around us. Thank You that You strengthen and support us, and lead us through to places of peace. Forgive us for our fears and doubts when the storms last longer than we think they should. Teach us to ever trust in You. Show us how to love those around us in ways that provide safe harbor and extend Your perfect peace, even when storms rage around us. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we trust You to be our anchor and our Guide throughout all of our days. Amen.

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

I will both lie down and sleep in peace, for You alone, Lord, make me live in safety. – Psalm 4:8

Room to Roam and Rest

Trust in the Lord and do what is good; dwell in the land and live securely. – (Psalm 37:3, HCSB)

So trust in the Lord and do good. Live on your land and be dependable. – (Psalm 37:3, ERV)

Believe in the Eternal, and do what is good – live in the land He provides; roam, and rest in God’s faithfulness. – (Psalm 37:3, VOICE)

Wherever we are, and whatever we are called to do, we ought to do our best as unto the Lord. Sometimes, doing so is staying right where we are, even when things are challenging. God is faithful to provide what we need, and we can trust Him as we choose to keep doing good. Today is the final full day of the school year. It has been one of challenges and change, yet here we are on the second-to-last day, still standing. As a teacher, it is difficult not to look ahead to next year and anticipate what the year will hold, but right now, we simply need to choose to continue to do what is good and be present. His faithfulness will see us through whatever the year will hold, but for now, we are approaching our time to roam and to rest as we recharge for all that lies ahead. May we ever trust in the Lord and continue to be dependable in what we are called to do, for He is faithful, always.

Choose rise up in faith,

Photo by Harrison Haines on Pexels.com

Keep doing the good;

Where we have been called,

God’s love has withstood.

Near in the struggles,

His strength was given;

And now there’ll be rest,

His peace to live in.

Thank You, Lord Jesus,

For all You provide;

Your rest and the room,

To roam as You guide.

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You are faithful to meet us where we are and lead us to where we need to be. Thank You that You bring us out of seasons of struggle and into times of rest and refreshment. Forgive us for our fears and doubts when uncertainty lies ahead. Teach us to trust You and Your faithfulness. Show us how to build up, encourage, and love those around us. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we depend on You in all things and at all times, and give You praise for time to roam and rest. Amen.

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

Rest in God alone, my soul, for my hope comes from Him. – Psalm 62:5

The Message Is Love

For this is the message you have heard from the beginning: We should love one another. – (1 John 3:11, HCSB)

This is the teaching you have heard from the beginning: We must love one another. – (1 John 3:11, ERV)

The central truth – the one you have heard since the beginning of your faith – is that we must love one another. – (1 John 3:11, VOICE)

The foundation of our faith is meant to be to love God and love people. If we do these things, everything we say, every action and decision we make, ought to be led by love. This is both our charge and our challenge, as human brokenness and frailty can cloud our vision and divert our hearts from love. This is a lifelong process, yet every day is a new opportunity to seek Him to love well. Each day is a fresh start, with direction and appointments to love others as we are loved by God. May we ever seek the Lord to lead us in love so that we may love one another as He intended.

God’s own foundation,

For what we’re to do;

To love each other,

With His love that’s true.

If left on our own,

We’d fail terribly;

Yet with the Lord’s grace,

We gain eyes to see.

To see each other,

As the Lord intends;

Brothers and sisters,

Meant to love as friends.

Show us, Lord Jesus,

To love as You do;

Make our hearts like Yours,

So each day love’s new.

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that the foundation of our faith is all about love. Thank You that You first loved us, though we were unworthy. Thank You that You have shown us what we are meant to do, and that You are willing to equip and empower us to love like You. Forgive us for our lack of seeking You when we feel irritated or depleted. Teach us to turn to You in all things and at all times, so that we may see others through Your lens of love. Show us how to love those around us as You do. May many come to know the goodness of Your love and grace and choose to live a life in pursuit of You. Be glorified O God, as we seek to live out Your love throughout all of our days. Amen.

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

“I give you a new command: Love one another. Just as I have loved you, you must also love one another.” – John 13:34

Lead Me to Water

The Lord is my shepherd; there is nothing I lack. He lets me lie down in green pastures; He leads me beside quiet waters. He renews my life; He leads me along the right path for His name’s sake. – (Psalm 23:1-3, HCSB)

The Lord is my shepherd. I will always have everything I need. He gives me green pastures to lie in. He leads me by calm pools of water. He restores my strength. He leads me on right paths to show that He is good. – (Psalm 23:1-3, ERV)

God, my shepherd! I don’t need a thing. You have bedded me down in lush meadows, You find me quiet pools to drink from. True to Your word, You let me catch my breath and send me in the right direction. – (Psalm 23:1-3, MSG)

God is so good. He leads us to quiet spaces to rest and be refreshed. He renews our strength and leads us in the ways that we are meant to go. The challenge is to actually seek Him and allow Him to lead us. It is easy to get caught up in the endless cycle of busyness, and neglect to seek God to lead us in the day-to-day. When we pursue the Lord to lead us, we gain wisdom and strength to do the things that we are meant to do, and understand what we need to let go of, step away from, or wait for the right timing to do. He is good, and He knows what we need far better than we do. May we ever trust the Lord and His leading to move forward in His wisdom and strength, for with Him, we find rest and refreshment and all that we need in His goodness and love.

Lord, I will seek You,

With each brand new day;

To lead and guide me,

To walk in Your way.

Lead me to water,

To rest, be refreshed;

Empowered in love,

To do what is best.

Thank You, Lord Jesus,

For Your faithfulness;

To strengthen and lead,

Remind us we’re blessed.

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You are always good. Thank You that You lead us to spaces to rest and find refreshment in You. Forgive us for getting caught up in the cycle of busy, rather than seeking You for wisdom to know what we should and should not take on throughout each day. Lead us in Your wisdom and grace. Teach us to love well, all those whom we encounter throughout our day so that they too, might know the refreshment found in Your lavish love. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we seek You to grant us wisdom and rest to be refreshed and ready to do all that You have for us. Amen.

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

For You are my rock and my fortress; You lead and guide me because of Your Name. – Psalm 31:3

Believe in All Things

Love finds no joy in unrighteousness but rejoices in the truth. It bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things. – (1 Corinthians 13:6-7, HCSB)

Love is never happy when others do wrong, but it is always happy with the truth. Love never gives up on people. It never stops trusting, never loses hope, and never quits. – (1 Corinthians 13:6-7, ERV)

Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres. – (1 Corinthians 13:6-7, NIV)

This can be the challenge in love. To bear all things does not mean to just attempt to deal with trials on our own, but rather it is in God’s strength that we are able to still stand when the storms sweep through. Believing all things is to trust in the truth, no matter how things appear; to hope all things is the confidence in knowing Who is ultimately in control. Lastly, to endure all things is to seek Jesus to hold us up and continue, even when circumstances feel impossible. It is Christ in us who will always protect, always trust, always hope and always persevere. When Christ is within us, we delight in what is true. May we ever seek the Lord to lead us in love, for He is love, always.

The love of the Lord,

Photo by Lukas Rodriguez on Pexels.com

Is what leads us home;

No matter how far,

In life we have roamed.

For God’s love endures,

He loves through all things;

Providing us hope,

As strength He does bring.

Strength to choose rise up,

Protection and peace;

Grace to keep going,

Help and hope released.

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that Your love does not delight in evil, but rejoices in the truth. Thank You that You always protect, we can always trust You, in You we forever have hope, and You provide what we need to persevere. Forgive us for attempting to weather the storms on our own. Teach us to trust and rely on You to provide all that we need to press on. Lead us in Your goodness and strength to do all that You set before us. Show us how to love like You. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we trust You to lead us in the light of Your love so that we can extend the same love that You give us to all. Amen.

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

Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways submit to him, and he will make your paths straight. – Proverbs 3:5-6