Life by Love Defined

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

Always be humble and gentle. Be patient and accept each other with love. – (Ephesians 4:2, ERV)

With tender humility and quiet patience, always demonstrate gentleness and generous love toward one another, especially those who may try your patience. – (Ephesians 4:2, TPT)

 

These are words to live by, yet among the most challenging. The Passions Translation is particularly profound, as the “especially those who may try your patience” portion is the reality that confronts and challenges me most. As a middle school teacher, this is not difficult to find, and daily, I am afforded countless opportunities to put this into practice. Some days are more successful than others. Thankfully, I have a calm demeanor, so even when my patience is pushed past where it belongs, the momentary lack of love that I feel is not nearly as evident as it could be. That being said, I need Jesus every minute of every day to be humble and gentle, patient and loving, especially with those who try my patience. On my own, my inner thoughts would spew out in ugliness, rather than the still small voice within, that reminds me to breathe, and that kids need kindness and grace. May we seek the Lord and His goodness, so that we may be equipped to live humbly and gently, patiently accepting one another in love.

 

For we are all called, Life by Love Defined

Be humble and kind;

Extend others grace,

Life by love defined.

We must have patience,

That’s fueled by love;

The will to proceed,

Like the Lord above.

For what is our life,

If not led by love?

Our purpose is plain,

Forever choose love.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You call us to love one another as You first loved us. Thank You that You give us specific instructions as to how to love well. Forgive us for the times that we have lacked humility or kindness, patience or acceptance through love. Teach us to trust and depend on You to love as You call us to love. Show us how to love those around us in ways that extend patience and kindness, gentleness and acceptance. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we rely on You to equip us to love as we were designed to love. 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

Strength When Things Seem Senseless

Finally, be strong in the Lord and His mighty power. – (Ephesians 6:10, NIV)

Last of all I want to remind you that your strength must come from the Lord’s mighty power within you. – (Ephesians 6:10, TLB)

Now my beloved ones, I have saved these most important truths for last: Be supernaturally infused with strength through your life-union with the Lord Jesus. Stand victorious with the force of His explosive power flowing in and through you. – (Ephesians 6:10, TPT)

 

Life is full of obstacles, challenges, peaks and valleys that appear before us without notification. We need the Lord’s strength to navigate trials and heartache, and His power to persevere on this journey set before us. In Christ, we have what we need to press on and discover the beauty on the other side. Though it does not always feel that way in the middle of the loss, trial or difficulty, His presence and His peace are always available if we choose depend on Him.

The impact of loss struck me yesterday, as the tragic news of Kobe Bryant, his daughter, Gianna, and the other seven people on the helicopter that crashed, had lost their lives. It is not so much that it was a celebrity who was lost, but rather one who represented a dream for so many young people, who was passing his dream on to his daughter, and an entire generation that followed after him. A common expression heard in my classroom when students toss trash into the can in basketball fashion, is “Kobe!” if the shot makes it in the can well on the first try. His impact has been tremendous throughout his well-decorated NBA career and beyond.

Where am I going with all of this? Honestly, I am not sure. What I do know, is that we need Jesus, and we need to love the people around us well. It requires strength from within to keep moving forward when we are blind-sided by tragedies. My heart aches for the wife and three daughters left behind, as well as for every young person who looked to the example set before them by the man who successfully navigated a phenomenal NBA career and beyond, as well as a family life, beautifully. May we seek our Savior to be supernaturally infused with His strength all of our days, so that we may go forth and love well.

 

Be strong in the Lord, wp-15801297840646155505631906763539.jpg

For in Him, we’ll stand;

No matter what comes,

We’re held in His hands.

Choose seek after Him,

In good times and bad;

His grace and His strength,

Our safe space to land.

Lord, hold in Your hands,

Each heart that’s in pain;

Let Your love be known,

As Your goodness reigns.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You are our strength and power when we need it the most. Thank You that though we cannot begin to understand why tragedies occur, You remain present to help, hold and love us through them all. Forgive us for our lack of seeking in spaces of loss. Teach us to trust and depend on You more deeply, for no one understands like You. Show us how to love those around us well, so that Your kindness and comfort may be made tangible. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we trust You to be our strength in all things and at all times. Amen.

 

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

 

It is God who arms me with strength and keeps my way secure. – 2 Samuel 22:33

Contagious Compassion

Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of compassion and the God of all comfort, who comforts us in all our troubles, so that we can comfort those in any trouble with the comfort we ourselves receive from God. – (2 Corinthians 1:3-4, NIV)

Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ. He is the Father who is full of mercy, the God of all comfort. He comforts us every time we have trouble so that when others have trouble, we can comfort them with the same comfort God gives us. – (2 Corinthians 1:3-4, ERV)

All praise goes to God, Father of our Lord Jesus, the Anointed One. He is the Father of compassion, the God of all comfort. He consoles us as we endure the pain and hardship of life so that we may draw from His comfort and share it with others in their own struggles. – (2 Corinthians 1:3-4, VOICE)

 

God is faithful to be present and comfort us throughout all of our days. It matters not whether the need is great or small, His compassion is present and available to all. Days like today, when I wake weary and worn before the day even begins, I know that I need not worry, for He will meet me with the strength I need to navigate today. In the hardest seasons of life, He has been tangibly present to comfort me. Because I have known such goodness and grace, I seek to extend the same to those around me as I am able. Incredibly, the most compassionate and comforting people that I know, have endured some of the most pain and hardship. Perhaps it was out of their own experiences that they gained perspective as to what others need most. May we all praise God, our Provider, as He grants us compassion and comfort when we encounter challenges of any kind. Let our hearts draw from the comfort He provides, so that we too, may comfort those around us.

 

Praise the Lord our God,

H182

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

For He’s always good;

Brings comfort in pain,

Makes grace understood.

The love that God gives,

Beyond what we’d hope;

Floods our hearts and minds,

‘til it overflows.

It’s His compassion,

That fills and renews;

Making us aware,

To do the same too.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You are the God of compassion and comfort, whether our need is great or small. Thank You that You see, hear and know our needs, even better than we do, and You meet us where we are. Thank You that You fill us to overflowing so that we can go forth and extend comfort and compassion to those around us. Forgive us for the times that we have neglected to see the need, or have ignored the prompting in our hearts to reach out. Teach us to trust You more, as You are always faithful to provide whatever is needed where we are called. Show us how to love those around us with comfort and compassion, so that Your heart may be made tangible. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we with grateful hearts receive Your comfort and grace, and reach out to extend the same to those around us. Amen.

 

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

 

But You, Lord, are a compassionate and gracious God, slow to anger, abounding in love and faithfulness. – Psalm 86:15

Choose Praise

And Mary said: “My soul glorifies the Lord and my spirit rejoices in God my Savior, … for the Mighty One has done great things for me – Holy is His Name.” – (Luke 1:46,47 & 49, NIV)

Then Mary said, “I praise the Lord with all my heart. I am very happy because God is my Savior. Yes, the Powerful One has done great things for me. His Name is very holy. – (Luke 1:46, 47 & 49, ERV)

Mary: My soul lifts up the Lord! My spirit celebrates God, my Liberator! For the Mighty One has done great things for me; holy is God’s Name! – (Luke 1:46, 47 & 49, VOICE)

 

I observe in awe and wonder, the heart of Mary, as she focused on the gift and the honor for which she had been chosen, rather than the stigma and challenges that would come with what was being asked of her. She trusted God, and praised Him. In this season, and always, I desire to have a heart like hers. God has done incredibly great things for me, and I know with all that I am, that He indeed, is holy. When challenges come, I desire for my focus to be on glorifying God for who He is, so that I may rejoice in Him, rather than my circumstances. As we walk into the wearying last week before break, may we look to the Lord and celebrate all that He has done. May praise be present within me, as I know the true joy in who He is and how He loves so well.

 

I choose praise the Lord,

With all of my heart;

Celebrate His grace,

And strength He imparts.

So many great things,

The Lord does in love;

Worthy of our praise,

All gifts from above.

He’s mighty to save,

And faithful to show;

The mercy we need,

As His blessings flow.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that we have unending reasons to glorify You and rejoice in Your Mighty Name. Thank You that Your mercies are new every morning and that Your faithfulness knows no end. Thank You that You love us with an unfailing love. Forgive us for doubting the depths of Your love and care when life takes difficult turns. Teach us to trust You more, as You know the outcome and walk beside us each step of life’s journey. Show us how to love those around us well, so that we extend grace and strength and hope to those who are lacking. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we give You praise, our Savior, who does great things for us all. Amen.

 

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

 

Give thanks to the Lord, for He is good; His love endures forever. – 1 Chronicles 16:34

Begin With 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)

Give thanks to God – He is good and His love never quits. – (1 Chronicles 16:34, MSG)

 

This morning, I woke twenty minutes prior to my alarm. I am uncertain as to whether it was my full bladder or my strange dream that disrupted my slumber, but either way, I was not pleased to be awake at that time, knowing that I would be up for the day in such a short time. As I felt a toasty blast of heat on my way to the restroom, I had a quick check in my heart as to what really matters. Above all else, I have so many reasons to give thanks. So often, we need to take pause and take inventory. God’s goodness and love know no end. For me, in that moment, I remembered that this is the first day of November, a month often dedicated to giving thanks. Upon further pondering, my mental list of gratitude has grown, exponentially, and I could likely spend the month writing about all of the reasons that I am thankful. At 2:57 am, my list included a home with heat, a warm, comfortable bed, a roof over my head, a loving husband, wonderful children, our moms, siblings, and extended family, as well as an incredible circle of familial-like friends. We all have struggles and challenges and trials to face, yet in the midst of them all, we have God and His unending grace. For all of these things, and so many more, may we give thanks to God.

As for mom, her progress provides yet another reason to give God thanks. This week she had the very last of her in-home therapy appointments, as she is now going to transition to out-patient therapy. The switch is significant, as physical and occupation therapy providers have resources, tools and equipment that expedite mobility and strength, and we are eager to see how mom grows in this new chapter of her stroke recovery. Our prayer now is that the timing of the transition is seamless. We are hopeful that because she is in the same city, insurance will process and appointments will be available quickly. Above all, we give thanks to God that mom is with us, and is on the road to recovery, working hard and growing stronger every day.

 

Give thanks to the Lord,

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Photo by Dee Jones of Open Door Photography

For He’s always good;

His love’s forever,

Through all times, withstood.

Every good gift,

Comes from God above;

Blessings from heaven,

Surrounded in love.

For all that is good,

And help when it’s not;

Give thanks to the Lord,

Who amply allots.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You are good and that Your love endures forever. Thank You for the ways that You bless, sustain and help us throughout all of our days. Forgive us for losing sight of Your goodness when things don’t go our way. Teach us to look to You with gratitude, trusting that even in the struggles, trials, inconveniences and the like; You are with us and will see us through. Show us how to love those around us in a way that multiplies gratitude in others. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we give You thanks for who You are and for Your goodness and love that know no end. Amen.

 

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

 

And whatever you do, whether in word or deed, do it all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through Him. – Colossians 3:17

 

 

All Things Together

He is before all things, and in Him all things hold together. – (Colossians 1:17, NIV)

He existed before anything was made, and now everything finds completion in Him. – (Colossians 1:17, TPT)

He was before all else began and it is His power that holds everything together. – (Colossians 1:17, TLB)

 

Some days, the weight of the world feels heavy on my heart. Yesterday was one of those days. Things in my immediate reach are good, however, there are challenges and trials that greet my grit the moment I set foot out of the oasis in my own home. Even in the comfort of my own space, I know the heaviness awaits me. What I have to remember, above all else, is that God is already there. He goes before me, He knows the solution, and He holds all together in His hands. I need not worry about that which I cannot control, and need seek Him for strength and solutions for the things that I can change. Today, I turn in trust to He who is already where I need Him to be, and believe that He is holding all together as God sees all things through to completion.

Yesterday, Mom had a great in-home physical therapy appointment. She was encouraged, as she did quite a bit of walking, leg strengthening exercises, and some practical exercises in the kitchen standing by the sink. When I tried to catch up with my sister last evening, she and mom were actually at Costco, so we were unable to chat in the midst of errand running. I continue to be encouraged, each time I hear that mom is out and doing “normal” things. Though I am sure a Costco run is a bit labor intensive compared to what she is accustomed to, it has to feel good to get out and see and select things again.

 

Before there was time, trust in the battle

Love, light, hope or fear;

Forever God’s been,

Making life appear.

All things together,

He holds in His hands;

Bringing completion,

Divine, loving plan.

Always we can trust,

Our great God above;

Who brings completion,

In strength and in love.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You have always been and that You hold us in Your Mighty Hands. Thank You that You do not leave us nor forsake us, but You carry us through until things are complete. Forgive us for our faltering faith when the weight of the world wears us down. Teach us to trust You more, so that we place all in Your strong and capable hands. Show us how to love those around us in a way that strengthens and encourages each person to persevere on the path to which they have been called. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we trust in Your eternal goodness and Your capacity to lead and carry us through all things. Amen.

 

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

The works of His hands are faithful and just; all His precepts are trustworthy. – Psalm 111:7

Realigned for Gratitude

Sing and make music from your heart to the Lord, always giving thanks to God the Father for everything, in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ. – (Ephesians 5:19b-20, NIV)

And give thanks to God the Father every day through the name of our Lord Jesus the Anointed for all He has done. – (Ephesians 5:20, VOICE)

Always give thanks to Father God for every person He brings into your life in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ. – (Ephesians 5:20, TPT)

 

Some days, a reminder to give thanks is well-timed, particularly when the “crud” is still lingering, and I wake up not quite ready to embrace the day. Regardless of how I feel, there are countless reasons for which I can give God thanks. This morning, the simple reminder in His word, helped realign my heart with gratitude. Each new day is a gift, and I am incredibly grateful for the people He has placed in my life. I have an incredibly loving and supportive husband, bright and kind children, loyal and caring friends, colleagues that are included in my circle of friends, extended family that is close despite the distance, a church in which we are firmly rooted, and a job that I enjoy, even on the difficult days. For each of these things and countless more, I give God praise, both today and always.

Mom is one of the greatest reasons to give praise. First and foremost, I am overwhelmingly grateful that she is with us and on the road to recovery. Though the road is long and painfully slow by human standards, she is here, and she is making positive progress. Mom embraces opportunities to work on growing stronger, and remains hopeful, ever trusting in He who is her strength. May we ever give thanks to God for all that He has done.

 

All thanks be to God,img_2019-10-03_05-05-362923133453325865323.jpg

Each day we draw breath;

For light, life and love,

Defeater of death.

Praise Him for the good,

The blessings that come;

Each beautiful soul,

That helps us become.

Become so much more,

Than we would alone;

Encouragement grows,

As people feel known.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You for who You are and how You have surrounded me with an incredible community of support and encouragement. Thank You that even on days that I don’t feel great, I have so much to be thankful for and reasons to give You praise. Forgive us for the times that we allow our frustrations or challenges to overshadow the blessings that You bestow upon us. Teach us to see the good, even in the shadowy spaces. Show us how to love those around us in a way that offers encouragement and support in the way that it is needed most. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we give You thanks for all of the blessings that You bring into our lives. Amen.

 

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

 

Give thanks to the Lord for He is good; His love endures forever. – 1 Chronicles 16:34

Do Not Grow Tired of Doing Good

Let us not become weary in doing good, for at the proper time we will reap a harvest if we do not give up. – (Galatians 6:9, NIV) 

We must not get tired of doing good. We will receive our harvest of eternal life at the right time. We must not give up. – (Galatians 6:9, ERV) 

And let us not get tired of doing what is right, for after a while we will reap a harvest of blessing if we don’t get discouraged and give up. – (Galatians 6:9, TLB) 

 

There is a reason that we are charged to not become weary or grow tired of doing what is good and right – because at times, it is exhausting. Sometimes, it requires every ounce of resolve within us, to continue on and do what we know is right, especially when those around us are not. Often, it is a matter of one or two, sticking to what they know is right and true, in order for others to follow. Before long, there is a blessing in knowing the right choice has been made, and that perseverance has been empowered by God. May we ever seek the Lord to be our strength, so that we do not grow tired of doing what is right. 

As for mom, she is blessed in her persistence with therapies. Though weary by late afternoon when I call, mom is pleased with the new exercises and challenges that the therapists are presenting for her, as she knows that this is the way to positive progress forward. May she persist in the good work she is doing, and see the harvest of blessings in the season to come. 

 

O Lord, help us stay, Weighing the Why

Persistent in good; 

Choosing to live well, 

And do as we should. 

The “should” not set forth, 

By mere human heart; 

But ordained by God, 

To set us apart. 

Apart for His hands, 

To love and to serve; 

To do good, be blessed, 

Such love undeserved. 

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You call us to love like You. While we were yet sinners, You loved us to life. Thank You that You call us to do the same. Forgive us for the times that we have neglected to do good. Teach us to trust You more, so that we will not grow weary in doing good. Show us how to love those around us in a way that blesses, encourages and builds up. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we love You and seek You to be our strength to persist so we may continue to do good according to You will. Amen. 

 

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

 

Commit your way to the Lord; trust in Him and He will do this: He will make your righteous reward shine like the dawn, your vindication like the noonday sun. – Psalm 37:5-6

 

Trust for Perfect Peace

You will keep in perfect peace those whose minds are steadfast, because they trust in You. – (Isaiah 26:3, NIV)

God, You give true peace to people who depend on You, to those who trust in You. – (Isaiah 26:3, ERV)

You will keep the peace, a perfect peace, for all who trust in You, for those who dedicate their hearts and minds to You. – (Isaiah 26:3, VOICE)

 

Trust is a tricky thing, yet peace is well worth the price. It requires an ongoing leap of faith to trust God, even when we cannot see a solution nor an end in a stormy season; however, when we lean into the Lord and place our trust in His hands, there is peace that comes, even in the midst of the storm. God is good, and He is the perfect peace for those who depend on and trust in Him. Such peace translates in every aspect of our lives that we choose to trust – both personally and professionally. As an educator, peace is needed daily to navigate the ever-changing challenges that arise in my city, school and classroom. Personally, I have to trust also, to know peace in this season of parenting young men into adulthood. With twins who are about to begin their senior year, and a bonus son who just turned nineteen, wisdom, guidance and peace are required as I choose to trust in the Lord. Though there are moments where my trust waivers, God is faithful and His peace wraps itself around my heart and mind. May we ever choose to place our trust in God, for He is the One who provides our hearts with His perfect peace.

 

Choose trust in the Lord, img_2019-08-27_04-25-214429094360914476009.jpg

And His perfect peace;

Our hearts in His hands,

Bring Love’s sweet release.

No matter what comes,

The Lord will be near;

As we choose to trust,

He helps fend off fear.

Far greater is He,

That dwells within us;

Than storms and trials,

Our Savior, Jesus.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that as we choose to trust in You, You are our perfect peace. Thank You that whether in storms or in calm, You provide peace to those who trust in You. Forgive us for our faltering faith when we cannot see solutions or the shore. Teach us to trust You more, as You are our anchor and our safe harbor, no matter what comes our way. Show us how to love those around us in a way that provides peace and safety, trust and kindness. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we praise You for Your faithfulness and Your goodness that provides our hearts and minds with Your perfect peace. Amen.

 

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

 

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

Faithful Through All Generations

For the Lord is good and His love endures forever; His faithfulness continues through all generations. – (Psalm 100:5, NIV)

The Lord is good! There is no end to His faithful love. We can trust Him forever and ever! – (Psalm 100:5, ERV)

Because the Eternal is good, His loyal love and mercy will never end, and His truth will last throughout all generations. – (Psalm 100:5, VOICE)

 

God has been overwhelmingly faithful throughout the generations. Between my mother and her mother before her, (and so on) there have been incredible examples set before us of God’s loving kindness and faithfulness that have been made tangible. Today, we celebrate the gift that is my mom. For seventy years, she has graced the earth with her goodness, life, and light. Though this past year has likely been her most challenging, (particularly the last four months) she has risen to every challenge and is persevering with strength, faith and fortitude, trusting in Him to be her Healer. Where some would grow grumpy and lose their graciousness, mom has remained loving and kind, full of humor and grace, willing to laugh at the humor that comes with the obstacles we all face in the midst of life’s challenges. I know that I would not be the woman, mother, wife, friend, teacher and human that I have become, without the leading and influence of my mom. Her guidance has taught me that I can be tender and tough, sweet and strong, and extend kindness to all. She models each of these through her very existence. May we all trust in the Lord and the goodness of His love, for His faithfulness endures through all generations.

 

God’s blessing to us, img_2019-08-18_07-53-379032292884983487160.jpg

Is like no other;

In the treasured gift,

That is our mother.

No matter what comes,

Her presence is near;

Prayers tangibly felt,

Strength to persevere.

She models the way,

To love and to live;

May we do the same,

And of ourselves, give.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You for the treasured gift that You have given us in our mom. Thank You for Your grace and protection that spared her life and that is granting her strength and hope and courage to recover what was lost four months ago. Thank You not for the stroke, but for the blessings that have come from it – the time together that far exceeded what we would have ever had otherwise. Lord, bless our mom with the desires of her heart in the coming year. Forgive us for our impatience with Your timeline. Thank You that You know best and that You have a plan and a purpose, and that You bring beauty from all things. Teach us to trust You more when we cannot see the next step, or feel discouraged in the here and now. Show us how to love and encourage all those whom we encounter. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we follow the example of love and joy that mom offers to all as we navigate each day. Amen.

 

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

 

Give thanks to the Lord, for He is good; His love endures forever. – 1 Chronicles 16:34