Grace in the Grief

Blessed are those who mourn, for they will be comforted. – (Matthew 5:4, NIV) 

Great blessings belong to those who are sad now. God will comfort them. – (Matthew 5:4, ERV) 

God blesses those who mourn, for they will be comforted. – (Matthew 5:4, NLT) 

 

This morning, as I checked my messages, there was a notice from a friend at church informing me that an incredible lady – a wife and mother about my age, has passed. It has been both inspiring and heartbreaking to watch, for she battled cancer with courage and strength over the last several years, as her family fought alongside her. There was a sense of maintaining as much normalcy as possible, despite the devastation that all must have been feeling. The comfort in this heart-breaking loss, is that she is free of the pain and walking in glory. That being said, her husband has lost his best friend, and the children have lost their mother. Grief is a heavy space. As I pray for the family and those closest to her, I lay hold of the promise held in this verse in Matthew. Though it is not an easy road, God will bring comfort. God will bring His perfect peace. May we hold fast to the promise that He holds the grieving in His hands, and God is our Source of comfort in every season. 

 

God of all comfort, Being Made New

We lean into Thee; 

For the ones mourning, 

Bring Your grace and peace. 

No words that we speak, 

Nor acts done in love; 

Can comfort the grief, 

Like You Lord, above. 

For You know each heart, 

How to help the ache; 

To soothe the sorrow, 

And mend the heartbreak. 

O Lord, be near them, 

As they walk through pain; 

Be their close comfort, 

‘til just love remains. 

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You are our comfort when we grieve. Thank You that You know this family and all that they need. Thank You that You will bring exactly what they need to navigate their new normal. Forgive us for forgetting our own mortality, and not receiving each day we wake as an incredible gift of time that not all are afforded. Teach us to appreciate each new day, and to seek You in all things. Show us how to love well, those who are mourning. May we be used in the practical as well as the prayerful. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we praise You for being our comfort and our peace, even in the most heartbreaking of times. Amen.

 

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

(There is) A time to cry and a time to laugh. A time to grieve and a time to dance. – Ecclesiastes 3:4

Open

Open my lips, Lord, and my mouth will declare Your praise. – (Psalm 51:15, NIV) 

Yet He gave a command to the skies above and opened the doors of the heavens. – (Psalm 78:23, NIV) 

Open my eyes that I may see wonderful things in Your law. – (Psalm 119:18, NIV) 

Open for me the gates of the righteous; I will enter and give thanks to the Lord. – (Psalm 118:19, NIV) 

You open Your hand and satisfy the desires of every living thing. – (Psalm 145:16, NIV) 

 

Last evening, my husband and I went to a New Year’s prayer service at our church. It provided opportunity to be intentional in a sort of resetting as we journey into 2019. As we spent some time in worship and prayer, I wondered if there was a word that would lead as we walk forward into the new that God has for us. The word that kept coming to my mind and heart was “Open”. At that time, I had a sense that it was for me to be intentionally open to what God has for me, and to be open to others so that He can work through me. That being said, my thought this morning was to do a bit of a word study in His word. The verses above stood out to me as guiding principles as to how to be “open”. As I open my eyes and my mouth, I shall see and speak of His wonders. Additionally, God wants me to be open to receive and walk into the new that He has for me. May our hearts and eyes be open to all that God has, and our mouths ready to reveal the love and grace that He has granted, so that we too, may pour out to those around us. 

 

Open my eyes, Lord, The Power of Praise and Worship

So, I ever see; 

All of the blessings, 

And Your great beauty. 

Open my mouth, Lord, 

So that I may speak; 

Of infinite good, 

And point to Your peace. 

Open hands and heart, 

So that I may share; 

All that You’ve given, 

Make clear that You care. 

Open up the way, 

And level the trails; 

So, Your way is clear, 

Your love never fails. 

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that because You are open to us, we too, can be open to You and all that You have for us. Thank You that You are intentional with Your plans and purposes for our lives. Thank You that we get to participate in Your goodness and grace, as Your abundance is poured out as we run well our race. Forgive us for the times that we have not been open to all that You have for us or to those around us. Show us how to love others with open hearts and hands, granting You room to move in us and through us in a way that blesses all those around us. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we choose to be open to You and allow You room to move through our open hands and hearts. Amen. 

 

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

 

“Ask and it will be given to you; seek and you will find; knock and the door will be opened to you. For everyone who asks receives; the one who seeks finds; and to the one who knocks, the door will be opened.” – Matthew 7:7-8

To Stay True the Course

But encourage one another daily, as long as it is called “Today,” so that none of you may be hardened by sin’s deceitfulness. – (Hebrews 3:13, NIV)

But encourage each other every day, while you still have something called “today.” Help each other so that none of you will be fooled by sin and become too hard to change. – (Hebrews 3:13, ERV)

This is the time to encourage each other to never be stubborn or hardened by sin’s deceitfulness. – (Hebrews 3:13, TPT)

 

This is part of the explanation of why we need to be part of a body of believers. If left to our own devices, there is no one to encourage nor spur us on in our faith. Even the most devoted need encouragement to stay the course. We are created to be in community. The benefit of belonging grants a place to be plugged in and to grow. As we are encouraged to stay the course, we too, do the same for others.  In strength, our hearts are softened to others, so that they too may learn of the love that the Lord longs to lavish upon us all. May we encourage one another each day, so that none of us become entangled by the web of sin.

 

Encourage others, MSH29

To stay true the course;

To which we are called,

With God as our Source.

We need each other,

To stay true the path;

To steer clear of sin,

And its aftermath.

Invest time with God,

Be part of His church;

To know others well,

And walk out our worth.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You call us to encourage each other. Thank You that the purpose is multifaceted. Thank You that encouragement propels us to do good, and helps keep us from becoming entangled in sin. Forgive us for not encouraging those around us, or for neglecting to be a part of the body. Teach us to trust You more, so that we may mutually encourage one another and help each other stay the course to which we have been called. Show us how to love those around us in a way that encourages others to be the best version of themselves. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we encourage each other to grow and stay the course to which we have been called. Amen.

 

 

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

They help each other and say to their companions, “Be strong!” – Isaiah 41:6

 

 

 

 

Generate Good Growth

Let us therefore make every effort to do what leads to peace and to mutual edification. – (Romans 14:19, NIV)

So, let’s try as hard as we can to do what will bring peace. Let’s do whatever will help each other grow stronger in faith. – (Romans 14:19, ERV)

So, let’s agree to use all our energy in getting along with each other. Help others with encouraging words. – (Romans 14:19, MSG)

 

Peace is a place within ourselves where we feel at ease, despite what surrounds us. Another sort of peace is that which is discovered as people choose to prefer one another and give grace to each other, making peace possible in spaces where we gather and dwell together – be it at home, school, work, church, or out and about in the community. Encouragement and kindness do not require like-mindedness. It is entirely possible (and necessary) to bring peace into places where individuals of great diversity dwell. There need not be common faith, political views, nor upbringing to listen and care for the community around us. Each person has purpose and something to offer, and when we recognize and value one another, peace and mutual edification soon follow. May we do whatever we can to help each other grow, as we pursue peace in the places where we are planted.

 

O Lord help us be, Trusted Thoughts and Worthwhile Words

Instruments of peace;

Who encourage well,

Set people at ease.

For we are not called,

To argue and fight;

But to be at peace,

And walk in Your light.

Teach us, dear Jesus,

To bring about peace;

To love as You love,

And Your grace increase.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You call us to be at peace with one another and to encourage each other. Forgive us for the times that we have been at odds with others, or have chosen to use words that tore down, rather than built up. Teach us to turn to You to lead us and guide us in what we say and do to promote peace in all the places we have been planted. Show us how to love those around us with encouragement that generates good growth. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we seek Your strength and wisdom to walk in peace and wield words of encouragement wherever we go. Amen.

 

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

The Lord gives His people strength. The Lord blesses them with peace. – Psalm 29:11

Restoring Joy

Restore to me the joy of Your salvation and grant me a willing spirit, to sustain me. – (Psalm 51:12, NIV)

Your help made me so happy. Give me that joy again. Make my spirit strong and ready to obey You. – (Psalm 51:12, ERV)

Let my passion for life be restored, tasting joy in every breakthrough You bring to me. Hold me close to You with a willing spirit that obeys whatever You say. – (Psalm 51:12, TPT)

 

Currently, I am on our Sisterhood Retreat with my church. It is a time for the ladies to gather, connect, worship and grow together. Interestingly, it seems that each time there is intentional gathering to connect, the very words of this verse come to life for those who had been walking in a dry and weary place. We have been created for relationships. God intended that we not walk the path set before us, alone. He is gracious and kind, and provides people to surround and walk beside us, if we are only willing to invest and allow others in. Part of maintaining a passion and a joy in who God has created us to be and our ability to obey what He asks, come from the strength we gain through the blessing of being connected. I have found that this applies in every area of my life, be it at home, work, church, my neighborhood, the community or any other place I find Him leading.  The more invested and connected I am, the more my joy remains, despite the circumstances that come and go. May we ever seek the Lord to restore and uphold the joy of our salvation, and lead us to the connections that encourage and strengthen us as we walk out each day.

 

Oh Lord, may we come, fb_img_15400123159817887031286001252606.jpg

With hearts seeking You;

Restore unto us,

Your joy that is true.

Joy that is lasting,

Despite ups and downs;

A heart that’s certain,

Of Your rightful crown.

Make our hearts willing,

To trust and obey;

Surround us with those,

Seeking do the same.

O Lord, You are good,

All joy’s found in You;

Restore any space,

That need be renewed.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You call us unto Yourself so that we may know the depth of joy found in a hope and future in You. Thank You that You have created us for relationships and You provide us opportunities to invest and deepen them as we pursue the path that You have placed before us. Forgive us for not seeking You to restore our joy when it feels lost, or for retreating when You call us to move boldly and invest in those whom You have placed around us. Teach us to trust You more, so that we would be routinely restored as we walk in obedience to all that You ask. Show us how to love those around us in a way that strengthens and spreads joy. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we seek You to restore and uphold the joy we have in our hope in You, and strengthen our relationships as we willingly step out and obey that which You ask of us. Amen.

 

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

 

The Lord is my strength and shield. I trust Him with all my heart. He helps me, and my heart is filled with joy. I burst out in songs of thanksgiving. – Psalm 28:7

Resolve to Love

And may the Lord make your love for one another and for all people grow and overflow, just as our love for you overflows. – (1 Thessalonians 3:12, NLT)

We pray that the Lord will make your love grow. We pray that He will give you more and more love for each other and for all people. We pray that you will love everyone in the same way we love you. – (1 Thessalonians 3:12, ERV)

May the Lord flood you with an unending, undying love for one another and for all humanity, like our love for you. – (1 Thessalonians 3:12, VOICE)

 

In Paul’s first letter to the church of Thessalonica, he admonished them to love one another, and let them know that love for one another and for people everywhere, would be his priority in prayer for all. The very same encouragement and lasting love that Paul had for the body of Christ, ought to be our example that leads us to allow love to direct our steps and choose to pray and lift up one another. A resolution to love, results in God’s love being made known. May we pray and encourage and love one another, just as the Lord loves each one of us.

 

Let love and His grace, The Mirror of the Heart

Lead us each along;

For the Lord is good,

His grace makes us strong.

Strong in the spaces,

Where love can be tough;

Hope in the places,

Where we aren’t enough.

Only by His grace,

Will love in us grow;

So, ever seek Him,

That His love’s made known.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You for Your goodness and grace. Thank You that You love us with an unending love that You plant deep within us so that we too, may love like You. Forgive us for the times that we have ignored Your leading to love. Show us how to choose to love all people at all times, even when it is the last thing we desire to do. Direct our steps so that those around us may know the greatness of Your grace and the endless depth of Your lasting love. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we seek You to love as we are loved by You, and pray for others to be equipped to do the same. Amen.

 

 

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

Let the morning bring me word of Your unfailing love, for I have put my trust in You. Show me the way I should go, for to You I entrust my life. – Psalm 143:8

Grow to Overflow

I pray that your love will overflow more and more, and that you will keep on growing in knowledge and understanding. – (Philippians 1:9, NLT)

This is my prayer for you: that your love will grow more and more; that you will have knowledge and understanding with your love. – (Philippians 1:9, ERV)

My prayer for you is that you will overflow more and more with love for others, and at the same time keep on growing in spiritual knowledge and insight. – (Philippians 1:9, TLB)

 

Paul, in his letter to the church of Philippi, included this verse in the first portion of what was written. He passed along his desire to see their love grow for one another, as they continued to grow spiritually. Paul’s prayer back then was timeless, and not limited to the original group of recipients. Our desire and prayer for one another ought to be quite similar, for as we grow in God’s understanding and insight, the more our capacity to love expands. What we receive and know begins to overflow to those around us. May we ever seek the Lord’s knowledge and understanding so that we continue growing greater in our capacity to love those around us.

 

Lord, this too I pray, Grow to Overflowing

For each one of us;

That we’d learn to see,

Others like Jesus.

For God’s love is kind,

Not conditional;

Grace is His go-to,

Love made tangible.

We’re called to the same,

As we learn and grow;

Equipped as we seek,

So love overflows.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You equip us and model for us all that You call us to do. Thank You that the very things that You ask of us are those that make Your heart visible to those around us. Forgive us for the times that we have allowed our egos or agendas to get in the way of what You intended to do both in us and through us. Teach us to listen, learn and act upon that which You ask of us so that we may continue to grow and allow love to overflow. Help us to truly understand how to love those around us as You call us to love. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we seek You to continue to grow in our understanding and go forth to love abundantly. Amen.

 

 

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

 

Instead, by speaking the truth with love, let’s grow in every way into Christ. – Ephesians 4:15

Empowered to Love

For the Spirit God gave us does not make us timid, but gives us power, love and self-discipline. – (2 Timothy 1:7, NIV)

The Spirit of God does not make us afraid. His Spirit is a source of power and love and self-control. – (2 Timothy 1:7, ERV)

For the Holy Spirit, God’s gift, does not want you to be afraid of people, but to be wise and strong, and to love them and enjoy being with them. – (2 Timothy 1:7, TLB)

 

This morning, though earlier than my summer schedule, I woke feeling rested and refreshed. Normally, the night before the first day of school is a bit restless, and I struggle to sleep through the night. Perhaps sweet sleep came as a result of long hours invested in preparing my classroom over the last several weeks, with the final push to finish yesterday. Though I do not yet have chairs (hopefully stools) in my classroom, I walked away from school yesterday afternoon, feeling ready to pour into the lives of the kids who come into my class, just as I had poured into preparing the room. Additionally, I feel supported more than I ever have before. Not only do I still have an incredible community – through colleagues, friends, family and church, but I have a husband who is willing to jump in and do the difficult work and provide whatever support I may need. God loves me well, and makes His love tangible through my community. As I am loved, so I am empowered to do the same. May this be a year where each of us are empowered to love and enjoy those whom we are given to teach, fearlessly.

 

We’ve not been given,

wp-15360615740967735885644230007656.jpg

My classroom and favorite painting partner. ❤

A spirit of fear;

For God, in His strength,

Loves as He stays near.

He provides power,

Strength, wisdom and love;

Discipline, passion,

All grace from above.

Lead us in power,

Fearless to love well;

May joy be present,

As doubts He’ll dispel.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You equip us for all that You call us to do. Thank You that You empower us with strength, love and self-discipline to walk in Your way. Forgive us for our fearfulness and doubts, as You are our Source and our Supply. Teach us to trust You more, so that we would love fearlessly and listen carefully as You lead. Show us how to love those who seem less loveable, as we know You are especially fond of the hard and the hurting. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we love and enjoy each one whom You bring into our care. Amen.

 

 

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

Never tire of loyalty and kindness. Hold these virtues tightly. Write them deep within your heart. – Proverbs 3:3

The Favor of Forgiveness

And forgive us our sins, as we have forgiven those who sin against us. – (Matthew 6:12, NLT)

Forgive our sins, just as we have forgiven those who did wrong to us. – (Matthew 6:12, ERV)

Forgive us the wrongs we have done as we ourselves release forgiveness to those who have wronged us. – (Matthew 6:12, TPT)

 

Yesterday morning, we were up fairly early, and had plenty of time to finally finish watching “The Shack”, before we needed to get ready to go to church. What stood out to me in the final hour of the movie was the powerful impact that the decision to forgive had on the life of the main character. “The Shack” beautifully illustrated how forgiveness is often not a one-and-done decision, but rather it is an ongoing journey that we make a thousand times, choosing to forgive again and again, each time the pain enters our awareness. Though not an easy path to traverse, the healing that comes is well worth the work. As the main character, Mackenzie, made the most difficult decision of his life to choose to forgive one who had brought such incredible pain to his entire family, he was granted forgiveness of his own that set him free from a weight he had carried most of his life. It was a powerful reminder that we all have a story and each one of us needs to choose to forgive. May we seek the Lord to see others through His lens, so that we may be quick to forgive and love well.

 

Let us choose forgive, The Favor of Forgiveness

For it shall be done;

With equal measure,

Through the Holy One.

We are forgiven,

As we freely choose;

To give all to God,

Let His Spirit move.

For His grace and love,

Bring healing and life;

He mends broken hearts,

Brings peace where there’s strife.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You for Your forgiveness and grace. Thank You that You forgive us as we choose forgive others. Thank You that we never have to forgive on our own, but rather You walk beside us and grant us the strength, peace and love to do the seemingly impossible. Forgive us for all of the times that we have withheld forgiving others. Teach us to trust You more. Show us how to forgive as You have forgiven us. Lead us to love with Your grace and goodness that breaks down barriers and brings peace to places that need to know it most. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we choose to forgive others as You have forgiven us. Amen.

 

 

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

 

But with You there is forgiveness, so that we can, with reverence, serve You. – Psalm 130:4

Gather With Gladness

Every day they met together in the temple and ate in their homes. They shared food with gladness and simplicity. – (Acts 2:46, CEB)

The believers shared a common purpose, and every day they spent much of their time together in the temple area. They also ate together in their homes. They were happy to share their food and ate with joyful hearts. – (Acts 2:46, ERV)

 

I love the value that was placed on community in the early church. There is nothing that brings people together better than sharing a meal with joy and generosity. When those around us who are united in purpose come together as family, the joy that is discovered in fellowship over a meal is multiplied. Each summer, my church creates opportunity for family connect groups. These groups meet one evening a week for a meal at a host home during the month of August, as new friendships are discovered and relationships are formed. My first connect group of the year begins this evening, and I am reminded of the early church as I prepare to go. Though I know not who will be in attendance, I anticipate joy and gladness as we gather in grace to share a meal together. May we ever seek opportunities to gather together with those around us, and meet with others to share a meal with joy – as God so often uses such circumstances to form friendships He intended to occur all along.

 

Actively look for, Welcome Boxes 1

People that we know;

To join together,

So His grace may flow.

With hearts full of joy,

May we freely share;

What we’ve been given,

So all know You care.

May our hearts be filled,

As we share a meal;

Joy overflowing,

His way is ideal.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You created us to be in community. Thank You that You call us to continue to do what the early church did – to gather together to worship and to share meals and fellowship together. Forgive us for isolating ourselves and not plugging into the community to which we are called. Teach us to trust You more, so that we would be willing to go where You call and invite others to share time and fellowship and food with us. Show us how to love well the people that You have placed in our path. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we gather together with gladness. Amen.

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

As you know, we consider blessed those who have persevered. – James 5:11